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Jul 2008 26

Warhammer and Warhammer Online

Games Warhammer

I play Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy table top games. I also used to play the Warhammer fantasy role playing game when I was in highschool.. Right now I'm doing my damnedest to assemble and paint models for my new Warhammer 40k Orks Army.

I love those little green bastards but I have a billion of them to paint.. (Okay, a billion might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.) Over the years I have had Necron, Tau and Orks as my 40K armies, and Orcs & Goblins, Skaven and Tomb Kings as my Fantasy armies. I played the role playing game for years and really preferred it to D&D or any of the other traditional role playing systems..

I tell you this so that you will come away with the understanding that I have a pretty good idea about the Warhammer universe and to convey to you how absolutely excited I was about Warhammer Online, Age of Reckoning. I had long thought this universe was ripe for computer games.

I was proven right when Blizzard pretty much raped the Warhammer universe for all of it's games -- but that's for another post..

Needless to say, after doing a lot of looking, I'm a little disappointed in the direction the Warhammer Online game is taking. Firstly, it looks terrible. The graphics look extremely "Last Generation" in my mind. My first thought was, wow.. it looks like Dark Age of Camelot. I then learned it was being put out by the original DAOC creators.. that gave me a chuckle, and worried me. If their mark was to make a game that from launch looks 4 or 5 years old, then kudos boys, ya did it. If you're intent was to make a modern looking game then you failed.

It has a wonderful Cinematic Trailer but that doesn't tell you anything about the game play -- and that trailer is over 2 years old at this point..

It really looks like they are trying to duplicate Blizzards World of Warcraft art style, all the while blizzard is basically using clones of their intellectual property.. It's just sad. Especially considering one of the Q and A presenters when asked how they would deal with competition like World of Warcraft responded, "Kill them!" But.. you're imitating them.. OH.. I see.. kill them, then you can say what you're doing is original.. Got it.

More over in the modern era of dual and quad core machines they are intentionally keeping the system spec's dreadfully low. They haven't released the system requirements yet, but I bet you I could play it on my phone.. It doesn't look any more advanced than Everquest 1 was.. To be honest, World of Warcraft actually looks a little better.. (I shun myself for saying that.. ) The Beta footage of Warhammer Online looks extremely lack-luster. They are talking about not wanting to make users need "liquid cooled super computers", but from the looks of it don't come anywhere near close to that. They may be very high poly count models, but they use the blizzard art style and thus they all look flat with sharp corners in an almost cartoon style.

During the Q and A session one of the devs was bragging about how he plays it on his old laptop and has zero problems.. sigh I can't help but feel the game industry is going the wrong way here.. This is yet another case of "Blizzard did it so, it must be right!" I'm not saying go extreme high graphics like Crysis or Vanguard, just more than WoW cartoon blockiness.

They claim to be looking to the future, but it doesn't appear that's the case with regards to the LOOK of the game. Now I will be the first to stand up and say that game play ALWAYS comes first.. But why start with it looking old and outdated?

I do appreciate that they are looking to the future with content though.. they have 2 years of content planned to include the first 2 major patches, as well as being in planning and pre-production of the first expansion.. that's nice.. That usually means they have budgeted it and that the game wont be here today, gone tomorrow. But, When do we get a graphics update? (Even World of Warcraft desperately needs one at this point and is my major sticking point with Wow. I hate the look.)

They are all proud about how their game doesn't start until you have gotten to the end of your leveling. Meaning, you play the game from 1 to 50 and at 50 the game "really starts". They tout that as being original and exciting when that's EXACTLY what World of Warcraft does, the WoW game doesn't start until you get to 70.. Period. All the grind to get there has nothing to do with WoW.. Its actually true of most games..

They are excited about all their "unique" advancement systems, but none of them sound unique. WoW gives you all the armor stuff, EQ1/EQ2/WoW gives you the alternate advancements and traits.. D&D Online gives you stat advancements.. City of Heroes gives you the badges, awards and trophies.. etc.. It's been done. Move on.

And what the hell, if you want to customize the look of your character above the standard 2 or 3 sliders you have to buy the special copy of the game?! Fuck you! That's just asinine and is the first HUGE red flag for me. Talk about nickel and diming the hell out of people.. I can't think of anything that will make me not want to play the game more than being forced to play the same looking toon someone else plays simply because I didn't want to fork over the extra $40 to get the "special" edition of the game. I want to be able to customize and I should be able to using the standard edition of the game.

It really seems the ONLY thing that Warhammer online has going for it is the realm versus realm, and player versus player game play. To be honest, I could give a crap about that. I didn't enjoy it in DAOC, and I don't know that I'll enjoy it here. From what I can see, it doesn't look like they have any end game PVE?! Are you kidding me? Of all the shit to NOT copy from WoW or EQ, you miss this one?

In the end, if I wanted to play world of warcraft, I'd play world of warcraft -- if I wanted to play DAOC, I'd play DAOC. I have yet to see anything that makes this game stand apart from blizzards blatant IP theft of the Warhammer Universe or DAOC.

This game seems like nothing but DAOC 2 using the Warhammer IP. And that's sad, it could have been so much more. Games Workshop, you should hang your head.

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