It’s Warhammer rant time, gather round kids!

Continuing with the Warhammer talk today, there has been some disturbing news of late. First off the big news is that the game is delayed until Q2 of 2008. While not exactly unexpected, it does raise some questions, and resurfaces certain rumors about what exactly is happening to Warhammer. Next up was the disappointing monthly news letter, which contained nothing new and likely raised concerns that the game is not shaping up as expected more than anything. When you have nothing new that you want to share with your fans, odds are things are not that great in WAR land. Lastly, from the podcast released, we see that city siege combat seems to be limited to 50v50 battles.

Since it’s been somewhat slow on the gaming front for me (although I did hit chapter 3 in NWN2, and the game still has me captivated), I’m going to go into rant mode and spread some doom and gloom about Warhammer, purely based on the limited amount of knowledge we have and my previous experiences with MMO delays and releases.

The delay, combined with the closing of beta, and the embarrassing newsletter, all indicate to me that WAR was not shaping up as well as expected. A month or so ago Mythic stated that WAR was NOT being changed to make it more WoW like, but they also stated that WAR would hit its Q1 release date. The 50v50 cap on the top end of the PvP scale, if true, is nothing short of WoW’s BG’s with a higher cap. Fixed participant combat is not RvR like we had in DAoC, and if WAR does indeed release with a cap on PvP combat, all expectations of it being a great PvP game can be thrown out the window. Games like DAoC, Lineage, and EVE have shown that mass PvP battles are not only possible, but might be the biggest rush an MMO can give a player if done right.

To cap the number of combatants, and instance your PvP, is taking the easy way out. Instead of finding a way to balance the sides and solve the issue of lag when huge numbers of players gather, you instead decide to short change your players and insult them with instances carebear combat. I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. In WoW, no one really cares if you win or lose a BG, since everyone gets a cookie at the end, and you just queue up again. Whether you get three cookies or one is the only motivation to even attempt to win, and as WoW has shows, for many people that’s not enough, and they are more than happy to zone in and fish than fight.

Before WoW, the Warcraft world was all about the epic battle between Humans and Orcs, and later the Burning Legion. It was harsh, tragic, and at all times the war raged. Now the Warcraft world is about cute emotes, collecting pets, and glowy weapons; where in the end everyone wins and it’s hugs all around.

The Warhammer lore has also always been about constant combat, constant strife. It’s even less cuddly than pre-WoW lore was, often times being much darker. If Warhammer Online is released, and we get carebear land 2.0, it will be one of the greatest bastardizations of lore in gaming history. All along we have read and watched podcasts about how ‘awesome’ Warhammer will be, about how it’s ‘all about war’. Perhaps what cool guy in white shades indoors meant when he said ‘all about war’ was ‘queue up, put on your fluffy dress, and have some huggies fun in a set piece battle, rainbows for everyone at the end!’

Does anyone find it odd that a game so heavily based on PvP, we are constantly being reminded about the great PvE content WAR will have? While unfair, this really reminds me of pre-release Shadowbane, the last game that was to be the great savior of PvP. (I hate you SB for not delivering, damn you!!) Months before the first release date, all news of SB revolved around its PvP features, which on paper all sounded amazing. Yet as we got closer to release, the focus shifted from PvP to PvE news. The rest, as most of us know, is history.

Going further, most leaked information from the beta has been negative. The overall response has been ‘it’s got a lot of good stuff, but overall it’s just… not fun’. ‘Not fun’ is a large problem for a game. ‘Not fun’ was also a major problem with Shadowbane. Great feature set on paper, great team focused on delivering what fans of PvP wanted, yet at release… not fun.

Rant off. I know the above is very likely complete off base, and for all I know, Mythic might be putting on the final coat of polish to the greatest game of all time. That said, it would not shock me if come Q2 2008, I go back and re-read the above and call myself a genius. We shall see I guess, but what great momentum WAR had seems to be turning around, and we are hearing more and more about its rumored problems.

To quote Bob Ryan here “let us hope that the rumors… are not true”. And major bonus points for anyone who can tell me what he was talking about when he said that.

BTW, Patriots 52, Colts 21. More ‘running up the score’ talk come Monday.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in MMO design, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to It’s Warhammer rant time, gather round kids!

  1. Nuyan says:

    I think I agree.

    When I heard the details about RvR combat I stopped following WAR mostly. Gaining points for items in combat. Yay! You know what happens when side A conquers all of side B? The whole place resets! Yay! Meaningless game without consequences, where the majority will be playing for items like WoW.

    It’ll have need to have very very fun gameplay for me to get interested cause I don’t fall for these kind of games (anymore). For me instanced battlegrounds is what killed WoW.

  2. Solidstate says:

    > “Now the Warcraft world is about cute emotes, collecting pets, and glowy weapons; where in the end everyone wins and it’s hugs all around.”

    Not really. Read the official Blizz forums sometimes.
    The amount of drama, angst, gnashing and grinding of teeth, fist waving and name calling regarding PvP in general and class-balance in specific is unbelievable.
    Well unbelievable at least to me since I don’t PvP, maybe someone more immersed in PvP can comment on why this is so.

    People really do care about whether they win a BG or not, and you seem to have forgotten Arenas – with them, PvP drama has been raised to whole new heights :)

    @Nuyam, “Meaningless game without consequences”? What did you expect, *it’s a game*! In the end, it’s ALL digital pixals. Or did you want an electrode attached to your body and an electrical zap whenever you lose? Maybe a fist comes out of the screen and punches you? Now that would be funny :)
    As for in-game consequences, e.g. perma-death or the like – this has been tried before and those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it… to the *vast majority* (and what MMO game wants to cater to a small crowd?) perma-death or the like are NOT FUN. I don’t blame WAR at all for not going that way.

    If you know of a game that seriously punishes the player for losing (and even WoW has a little punishment), and is popular, by all means, share it with us. I don’t think you’ll find such a beast.

  3. syncaine says:

    Solid: I know the people who play WoW ‘think’ PvP might be a big deal, but my guess is most of those people have never played another MMO, or have very limited experience. Compare the results of victory in WoW to say EVE or DAoC. In WoW you get a few more points or some rank towards items that eventually anyone can attain. In EVE, you can lose a Titan ship worth countless hours of work and dedication by hundreds of people. In DAoC a successful Relic keep raid grants a bonus to everyone in your realm, and allows your realm access to a special dungeon which has some of the best items in the game.

    The same examples can be applied to the game having ‘meaning’. A PvP focused game can’t cater to everyone, because it MUST be harsher than a PvE game. It’s the nature of PvP, someone wins at the expense of someone else. The reason PvE caters to everyone is that the monsters never get their feelings hurt when you repeatedly beat them. If you remove the consequence in PvP, you remove it’s meaning. When everyone wins (WoW) no one cares if they lose, and the overall level of competition goes down.

  4. Ted says:

    I just listened to the EA Earnings Reports for F2Q08 and the CEO of EA mentioned that, “They missed part of a milestone (and) Mark came forward and said it would affect quality if he held the March date.” I doubt they’ll reveal why they missed the milestone. My guess is their dealing with the beta feedback is probably taking them longer than they anticipated. Either way, I’m frankly glad to hear that the CEO acknowledged that Mythic needed more time and saw fit to give them more development dollars to work on the game. Lets just hope they don’t miss anymore milestones. EA investors were obviously (judging by their questions) not happy about the delay in revenue so delaying the game probably wasn’t an easy decision for EA management.

  5. Nuyan says:

    @Solidstate: Let me explain, to me actions should have consequences. Because when actions do not have consequences, actions will be meaningless and the only way to add meaning to it is in your imagination. In WoW you can be the biggest asshole of the whole realm and you’ll be just as efficient in your item-grind as anyone else, you can insult your own faction and nobody will be able to do anything about it. It doesn’t make sense RP-wise.

    I also like roleplaying, I try to stay ‘In Character’ in MMO’s and one of the biggest annoyances you’ll run into in a game like WoW that it’s all sooo extremely meaningless, people talk shit and you aren’t able to punish them. The only way to make it worthwhile and meaningful is roleplaying with your own circle of people that share your views on it.

    And syncaine mentioned Eve, which is a good example of a popular MMO that does have consequences. I also think that a well made sandbox MMO that is PvP with consequences can easily have a few million of subscribers. Also know that PvP isn’t always about killing eachother in a short fight. In Eve for example there isn’t a real border between PvP and PvE, it’s all part of eachother. Crafting and selling your items cheaper than other players is also a form of PvP.

  6. Pingback: Curtas: Filme de Tekken, WAR Adiado, « Pacman ate my Puppy

  7. Tick says:

    In WAR: Losing a BG or Open field objectives gives you 0 points. If you lose constantly lose, you lose the zone, and the side that wins gains benefits to that zone. If you lose your city, you get debuffs (Said debuffs have not been announced) and the opposite side gains buffs when fighting the side they just won against. Said buffs and debuffs won’t last forever though.

    There are consequences for having big consequences. If the whole point of the game is that one side will have to lose for the others enjoyment, having a system that punishes a player severely for PLAYING THE GAME is terrible design. Having minor consequences so much that they kinda slap some sense into the player, but not knife them in the balls for losing (perma-death, crippling effects, losing all your gear, no chance of regaining ground).

    In WAR. If a side loses their city, its bad, and they feel it, but its not permanent. Having the system reset gives the side that won another go at getting the best rewards, but also gives the side that lost another chance to pull it together and try and improve.

  8. Bill says:

    You’ve got it right on the button. As a member of the WAR beta community, not only is the game “not fun”, it is taking several steps BACKWARD in terms of MMO gameplay.

    The focus is clearly on PvE, PvP is very restricted and the graphics are not as good as WoW’s.

    So what, exactly, will pull gamers in?

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