Playing WAR again after having played DarkFall is changing my mind about what WAR might be all about. Pre-release, WAR was being positioned as a great RvR game with a lot of great ideas. (ToK, PQs, Scenarios) While I think WAR is a very good game, it failed rather hard in the ‘impact PvP’ area, because individual battles don’t matter, and even the eventual winner of the campaign wins some gear and a server reset. Even DAoC had more ‘impact’, since at least relics were not reset and one side could continue to dominate the others with good numbers/strategy.
Now it’s no secret the masses don’t like impact PvP, as most can’t handle losing and would much rather quit than fight back, hence that style of MMO is a niche. The previous problem with that niche was it had a good start (UO), a nice follow up (AC-DT), and then a string of disappointments, most notably Shadowbane. DarkFall fixed that problem, and for me, removed the need for WAR to fill that void, a void it never set to fill anyway. (impact PvP fans just hoped it would) I have my impact PvP option, and now WAR sits nicely as a casual PvP option.
And I’m not saying casual PvP as an insult, but rather just a comment on the overall time/effort needed to get enjoyment out of it. You can’t log in for 30 minutes and have a complete PvP experience in DarkFall (usually), while you can log into WAR and jump into a warband or scenario and get your PvP fix. At the same time, I don’t get that ‘continual build’ feeling from WAR that I do in DarkFall, and I’m far more attached to what happens overall in DarkFall than I am in the current status of WAR’s RvR campaign.
At rank 40, you can only improve on your gear (and even that is rather easy to get now) and your renown rank (which has a rather limited impact the higher you go), and so the majority of the progression stops. With the progression aspect minimized, the actual gameplay is left, and in this I think WAR is a success. It’s genuinely fun to queue for a scenario with some friend, or jump into a guild/alliance warband and push/defend the RvR campaign a bit. The rank 40 dungeons make for a nice PvE diversion, and Land of the Dead will only further increase all of the options available to players. In this regard, I think WAR stacks up well as the PvP version of WoW, where the barrier of entry is minimized and what remains is just the actual gameplay.
As always, it’s nice to have options, and in the last few years the MMO genre has expanded well in that regard, giving the masses their titles, and also filling in the gaps those games fail to address. We don’t need a WoW killer, we need more WoW filler. (+1 corny rhyme for me)