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Aug 2009 03

WoWvsWar

Games Warhammer

Wow versus War

I love the Warhammer universe.  I have been an avid player of the various table top miniature games as well as the couple RPG games in the same universe.   So when Warhammer Online came out a year ago, I was stoked!

I figured it would be pure liquid awesome and finally give me a computer version of the game world I have enjoyed playing in for so long.

Of course I was let down quite a bit in that the game was lacking..  but I get ahead of myself.

When I learned that Warhammer online was licensed to Mythic Entertainment, I was less than thrilled. Their only other game of note is Dark Age of Camelot which was a one trick pony (realm versus realm combat) that has no long term play associated with it.. And while the game is still around, it's just not fun. There is nothing there to keep players like me playing the game.. I just don't enjoy it nor does it have the massive fan base that it could have if they had bothered to keep innovating.

WoW on the other hand has gobs and gobs of things to do long term as well as lots of mindless achievements and other end game elements to keep players attention.  They are adding new content and new fun things to the game all the time and this is from a guy who really doesn't like WoW..

When it comes to long term play, WoW is the clear winner. I play it still today and have for a while now. My guild has killed the end game boss (Yogg) many times at this point and is starting to work on getting to the next guy..

I'm playing WAR too at this point, but it's just not that fun and my interest is waning.. As I played WAR originally (and as I am relearning more recently), I realize it is exactly the same game as DAoC just in a slightly different universe. It suffers the same issues that DAoC did and really brings very little new to the table..

What WAR does wrong:

  • The PVE aspects of the game are absolutely horrible.. The questing is painfully linear and just about always forces you to venture into PVP areas even if you don't want to.
  • The zone's are confusing and poorly laid out which makes navigation with out the flight system near impossible.
  • The flight mechanic from zone to zone is long loading and lame -- considering that you must use it, it needs an overhaul.
  • The models are pretty bad, but the animations are down right dreadful...
  • I can go on and on but will leave it be as otherwise this list will be too long...

What WAR does right:

PQ's, SC's and PVP.

The public quest system is neat and I wouldn't be surprised if blizzard "adopts" such a system in the near future.. It's well thought out and works quite nicely. This I think is likely to be the single innovation that folks will remember WAR for in several years..

So far the majority of the scenarios (SC's.. Think battlegrounds for you WoW players) are a lot of fun. Again way more so than any of the BG's in WoW which I find to be tedious and boring.

DAoC's big plus was the Realm versus Realm thing.. Mythic of course followed that same model in producing WAR and as such their PVP model is excellent. The realm versus realm thing is a lot of fun.. for a while.. it becomes tedious and boring fairly quickly, but still the PVP is very good.

The PVP in WAR is far far far better than what is offered by WoW. Period. Full stop.

The reason for that is how the classes are balanced as well as the fact that blocking is turned on. In WoW it's perfectly reasonable for a frail clothy to stand toe to toe with a fella in full plate and win. Generally in WoW PVP any one class well played, can defeat any one other class.. What's the point?

In War, this is unreasonable and usually punished harshly. As a bright wizard (weak clothy) I know that if a tank (guy in plate) charges me I have only a few seconds to react before death.. I better make them count! Each class in the game has a specific function and is only really good at that function!

With blocking turned on (collision detection) the tanks can stand in front of the more frail classes and prevent them from being slaughtered..

The only place that this fails WAR is you have a lot of WoW players playing WAR who don't realize their place and as such just charge in and die, or refuse to block, or simply wont heal..etc. I can't fault War for the players being stupid..

The problem here is that the game somewhat encourages players to play stupidly in that even if they don't work together in a SC the losing team still gets' a lot of experience for it.. but that's an aside.. again I really can't fault Mythic for morons..

What I can do though is fault Mythic for producing a game that is so completely unrefined. There are so many little things about War that is a complete fail..

The Macro system is bad.. The map system sucks.. The models are lame.. The animations are really bad.. The PVE content is tedious.. Some of the classes seem out of balance.. The crafting system is horrible and pointless.. etc.. It's just not that fun of a game and a lot of that is due to these little things..

Let me be perfectly clear.  I don't like World of Warcraft.  I don't enjoy the universe at all, the stylistic game play, the mindless grinding, the life sucking raiding..etc..    I play it solely because my wife enjoys it..  Fine I'll play for her..  But I don't really like it.   I do however have to say that Blizzard has made a good game.   It's very refined in that stuff works.  It has it's own problems too.. (the inability to launch more dungeon instances is a big one.. )   But over all WoW is a good game.

Mythic with WAR however isn't all that good.  It really seems like they doggedly stuck to their one trick (realm vs realm) in the hopes that it would make a WoW Killer and not bother to innovate.  Okay fine, PQ's.. but that's ONE thing..   And of course just as DAoC's one trick failed to make the game a success, the exact same trick on WAR also failed..

The real issue I have is, it's been a year..  the game has done nothing in that time and at this point it doesn't look like its going to do anything..  If they don't care enough to fix their game, or innovate and make it better.. then I don't care enough to play it..

Can't fix stupid.

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