So, HWR has finally arrived. Us, HW players, have been waiting for this day with much anticipation. I know I have.
Let’s start with good stuff. It’s here, and I can play it. It’s on Steam, which means excellent access to the multiplayer community. After playing a few games, I can really appreciate all the improved graphic effects. Up close ships look very impressive. Battle damage has been improved significantly. Weapon effects look beautiful. Overall, I think graphics are a huge plus to HWR.
Also, the ability to play HW1 and HW2 races together is an absolutely huge undertaking. Kudos for this difficult attempt.
And that’s about where positives end, from my perspective. Unfortunately the negative list is longer…
First, sensor view needs improvements, especially for HW2 maps. Clouds are next to impossible to make out, as are the harvesting patches. This is probably due to background color being very close to the cloud/patches colors.
Second, there’s essentially only one multiplayer mode available. This was probably done for simplicity purposes. Instead of maintaining three different MP source code sets, there’s only one. But this is forcing both HW1 and HW2 players to settle for something in-between. Although it’s probably not practical, having three different modes (HW1, HW2, and the new HWR) would’ve been a much, much better solution. As it is right now, we’re going to take a very very very long road trying to balance out all four races.
Talking about balance, currently there’s no competition for Hiigaran players. Most of the MP code ended up being based on HW2, and with the new race changes, I just don’t see how any experienced players will play anything but Hiig if they wish to win. A few negatives that Hiigaran race had against Vaygr have been adjusted, and I didn’t really see any buffs to Vaygr. And Taiidans/Kushans with their slow ships and no upgrades… they’re just not competitive.
Another super-bummer (what’s with all the “bummers” in HWR?) point in HWR is the adjustment to the ship passing code. Build-capable ships can no longer be passed between players, and this is taking away many very advanced team builds that were developed over the years in HW2 community. It is disappointing that the very top HW2 builds which take high level of coordination and game play understanding are going away. Those builds kept us going for a long time after HW2 lobby became sluggish.
And then there is other, hopefully temporary stuff that should be fixed when beta is done. Many games do not launch, and drops while playing are frequent. It feels like we’re back to HW2 1.0 release, when router issues were plaguing majority of MP games. Game filters need serious work - make drop-downs for some fields and add password-protected games filter. Scrolling doesn’t work.
Overall, I think this is a very good start, but there are lots and lots of work ahead. I sincerely hope that the support continues and community doesn’t die - Homeword is a great game, completely unique, and it deserves to live and evolve further.