Warhammer Online gets first big update

US servers now, EU tomorrow morning.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is currently receiving its first major content update since its launch in September.

Update 1.1a is now live on the North American servers for the Mythic MMO. European operator GOA has told Eurogamer that the patch will be applied to European WAR servers tomorrow morning. Expect around three hours of downtime while the patch is applied, starting at 7am.

Update 1.1a marks the official debut of the game's two new careers, the Knight of the Blazing Sun and the Black Guard - although these were made available to some players last week, and to everyone else a couple of days ago.

Of more significance to all WAR players is the introduction of an "influence" system to open-world realm-versus-realm warfare. Working similarly to the loot system for the game's Public Quests, it's intended to add extra incentives to battle other players in the game's open-conflict zones, which tend to be on the quiet side at present.

Also addressing the game's population-distribution problems is the addition of "easy" Public Quests. One Public Quest per chapter will be rebalanced so that it can be completed by between one and three players, starting with Tier 1 in the current update. This answers the frustrations of players who have been unable to enjoy the Public Quests since the servers quietened down after the game's launch.

New adventuring content is being added in the form of some fresh quests and lairs. Item rewards are being boosted too, with revamped armour sets for all levels, new drops for some of the harder dungeons, and improved chances of getting good rewards from Public Quests. And statues to high-ranking players are now being erected in capital cities.

Mythic says it's made many improvements to the "responsiveness" of the game, a common criticism among early players. The effect of lag has been reduced, and some animation glitches have been ironed out.

Finally there are a host of fixes to the user interface, including the ability to hyperlink to items, abilities and quests in the chat window, and official support for community-created user interface mods.

We'll be taking a look at the two new classes soon on Eurogamer MMO, and reviewing the overall impact of the changes to the game early next year.

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