Mythic is still developing WAR's crafting system, and they were only ready to show a few aspects of the system. I learned about three gathering professions: butchering, scavenging and cultivating. Butchering allows players to cut up dead animals for components. Scavenging allows you to cut up dead humanoids for components ... or maybe just rifle through their pockets. I like the cutting up version better. Cultivating allows you to grow seeds - found as loot drops or from other gathering professions - into useful items for the apothecary. The apothecary lets players make potions. Starting from a base ingredient that determines the effect, players can then add other items that change the duration or potency. You can make a highly potent but short-duration buff potion, perfectly suited for RvR, or you could make a long-lasting, moderately potent buff for questing or raiding.
One thing about crafting that appealed to me was the removal of the mechanic requiring you to be near a specific crafting station (a forge, anvil, loom, etc.) in order to create an item. Allowing players to make potions on the fly or craft a new weapon or piece of armor in the field removes a large part of the hassle and tedium involved. I'm glad that someone remembered that these games are supposed to be fun and not a second job.
Tome of Knowledge
The Tome of Knowledge is another interesting feature in WAR. It functions as a logbook of all of your achievements and quests, a bestiary and a lore guide. It's a book, filled with knowledge! Really, it is a cool thing to have available. For people like me who blitz through quest text to hit "accept," it's nice to have something that I can look at later when I'm stuck and don't remember the "who," "what" and "where" of a quest. You can also gain XP and earn titles by unlocking entries. Some of the Tactics you can use to enhance your character come from Tome unlocks. I'm sure explorer- and achiever-types will have a great time with it, as there are a great number of things to discover.
It's also a great reference as a bestiary. As you kill more of a certain type of creature, you will gain more information about the beast, possibly even a list of what types of weapons and attacks are more effective against it.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning seems to be shaping up into a game I would enjoy playing. While some of the features I saw were still in development, the ideas and concepts behind them were appealing. The game was very playable, and even at this stage seemed more complete than some other recent games were when they launched. With EA Mythic's announcement this week that they are delaying WAR's release in order to polish and tweak it into a better game, I feel they may be able to pull it off.
And no, I'm still not in the beta.