Research might help

It seems I’m a bit late to address this, but I think it’s important enough to talk about it here, late or not. A few days ago a Wired blog written by Earnest Cavalli commented on the January video clip released by Mythic showing some in-game footage of Warhammer. It would seem Mr. Cavalli was not very impressed with the video, so much so as to write an entire post about it. So following his lead, I’ve decided to make an entire post about his post about said one minute video, here goes.

Alongside the January issue of their newsletter, EA Mythic tossed out a link to a video clip that demonstrates the hectic realm vs realm combat in Warhammer Online, which looks awfully familiar.

Wrong. Paul very clearly states at the beginning of the video that this is not RvR or even PvP combat, but footage taken from a 30 minute presentation. They figured since they have the stuff already recorded, why not give the fans something new, even if it’s just something silly. I guess we know the answer to that question now…

For those who haven’t been spending the last decade engulfed by virtual worlds, “realm vs realm combat” is similar to “player vs player combat” only it occurs on a much larger scale.

Wrong again. I’ll give the guy a break here and assume he never played DAoC, the only game that has featured RvR (since Mythic coined the term). If he had, he would know most RvR combat was group combat, not ‘larger scale’. Large scale might refer to a relic raid, something that happened only on occasion in DAoC. Or maybe he means EVE’s fleet battles when he says ‘larger scale’, but fleet combat is just called PvP, so hmmm… In reality, RvR is the same thing as PvP, just that the PvP in DAoC was called RvR due to the three realms fighting for control. It has nothing to do with scale, large or small.

Instead of one-on-one fighting or small group skirmishes, you have tens or hundreds of players all fighting simultaneously in the closest virtual approximation of real war currently available in an MMO.

So DAoC simulated real war did it? Far more accurately than say EVE or Shadowbane do? Right… Last I checked, real war looks a lot like group vs group PvP now anyway. Maybe he meant WW2 style war, but I think we had an MMO based on that war already…

While the video does look nice, I’m honor-bound to point out two issues with it: it’s heavily scripted and it looks so very similar to World of Warcraft.

And I’m honor-bound (wtf does that mean when you are talking about a one minute video anyway?) to point out how flawed your post is.

I can forgive the scripting — this isn’t a finished game, after all — but I’d be hard pressed to tell WAR’s RvR apart from WoW‘s Battleground combat if YouTube added just a few more instances of graphical artifacts.

I’m glad you can forgive the scripting, considering you were told it was scripted at the beginning of the video. Oh and the game is finished enough to make a similar video without the scripting, but what are details… I think most people would be hard pressed to tell two PvP systems apart from a one minute video which does not show PvP. Maybe if it was actual gameplay footage, showing the interface, maybe we could make some simple comparisons about the PvP, like how hotkeys react in combat and cooldown lengths. What we really should be comparing is WoW’s scripted pre-release videos to this, but that would require some effort in finding those old WoW videos, and who has time to do some research before typing…

Of course, I realize the Warcraft universe is functionally lifted wholesale from the Warhammer universe and I also realize it’s an excellent idea to mimic the current market leader when creating a new MMO, but I’m just incredibly struck by how similar the two games look.

So knowing Warcraft copied the artwork from Warhammer books published years ago, and knowing that Warhammer Online also (legally) uses that same artwork, you are ‘incredibly struck’ that they look similar? And when you say similar, you surely mean level 50 and under WoW characters, right? The last time I checked Iron Forge, it looks more like a Power Ranger hangout than anything resembling the original artwork and lore stolen from Warhammer.

Then again, with the number of people WoW has seduced, maybe having a similar look is the only way to create a successful MMO anymore.

It’s a good thing WoW is the only successful MMO since 2004, and games that use different art styles have all failed. Long live the cartoons!

On a seperate note, if you’d like to see a version of the video with higher resolution and a more complimentary aspect ratio, take a trip over to Mythic’s site

The above is the only actually helpful sentence in the whole piece, but congrats on that. I recommend you yourself give that link a click, and listen to that funny man talking in the first section of the video, as clearly you missed it the first time around.

Now, what DOES this one minute of video show us? Well not much actually, without breaking it down frame by frame or analyzing tiny details. We do see how collision detection might affect combat, as we see the two sides stopped when they hit each other. Other than that, it was another chance to see a new clip of WAR, regardless if it’s scripted or not, and for many fans, we will take what we can get. Clearly Mythic should have been clearer about the video for some, maybe with a big banner ad above the video stating “scripted footage” or something, but for actual fans new stuff is new stuff.

Easy media bashing aside, the above is a good preview of the coverage we will be seeing as Warhammer gets closer to release. Uninformed people assigned to write something about this new ‘WoW like game’ are going to throw around inaccurate statements left and right. The art style topic has been covered enough times, and anyone with a few minutes will be able to research who copied who. On top of that, character art is only one component of the overall look, and does nothing for actual gameplay. As the recent realizations about PotBS PvP system have shown us, making only a few small changes to a formula can make massive differences. A few tweaks to the WoW formula, and a PvP based design team, and we could have an entirely different game, regardless of how similar they look. Just be prepared to deal with a lot of laughable media coverage, regardless of how much information Mythic puts out.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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11 Responses to Research might help

  1. tenfoldhate says:

    Yeah, that piece was terribly off-base and uninformed. I’m assuming it was just written to stir up nonsense and get a little attention, because prior to reading that article from a link on VirginWorlds, I had not looked at Wired since 1999.

    I think the WAR mainstream press is going to be just TERRIBLE, and the Wired article is just a taste of things to come. Fortunately, I think there will be that solid minority of gamers in the know and Warhammer tabletop enthusiasts who won’t be swayed as long as Mythic delivers us a fun game.

  2. Swift Voyager says:

    The major mainstream media hubs in New York and California will certainly love the fact that the very name of the game is “WAR”. Most of them won’t even need to go farther than that before bashing it at every oportunity.

    …or maybe I’m just cynical

  3. Knaledge says:

    I understand that you’ve a bit more experience with MMO’s than this writer, and the posts you publish generally tend to at least display that you’ve played a few of these games for a fair amount of time.

    I find it odd though that you are so quick to shoot down the _opinion_ of someone else hot off the heels of a fairly uninformed post of your own regarding the next WoW patch and some of the changes being made to PvP. That’s my opinion.

    You have yours. He has his. I have mine. And I think you’re placing a bit too much weight toward your own analysis when it comes to how he perceived these bits of the game. He’s writing for mass market – Joe Shmoe. I wouldn’t expect there to be much depth, and I’m surprised that you would either. It’s commentary… sometimes you have to just relax and recognize opinion for what it’s worth – one man’s take on something.

    There is a major difference between the Fox Mass Effect debacle and some Wired blogger posting when he had a chance some commentary about a video he (along with millions of other people) saw. So what.

    As for the “minority of gamers” from the comments – check the NPD pre-sale sell through and beta application rate of growth. There’s a lot more than the “minority of gamers” interested in WAR and, had you had access to the beta forums, would see that there’s a LOT of people “in the know”.

    I don’t think you should jump on commentary like this… it’s just a bit much and makes me feel like the other posts I might come across here are a bit overboard.

    Besides – his comments are based off of the exact same information that you have. So how can you truly expect him to be… informed and researched? That’s why it’s OPINION – not editorial or even an “article”. When you get into the beta and the NDA is lifted and everyone else can post too… I’d truly be interested to see how well researched your articles are. You’re placing a lot of undue scrutiny on this guy.

  4. syncaine says:

    The difference with my post about a prediction for WoW BG PvP, and his comments on the video, is that he comments on something that is not being shown. He talks about how the video shows unrealistic PvP, when the video itself states its not a true PvP video. I simply made a prediction on what we will see in WSG once DR are removed. The 50 kill cap does little to actually change that prediction, since part of it was that people will afk out once they see it is a GY camp.

    It’s not on the same scale as the Fox issue, but it is similar, and will no doubt continue far past the release of WAR, which was the main point of my post. Wired reaches a far more casual audience than this blog, or any other ever will. So giving incorrect information to someone who only picks up bits and pieces might go a long way to influence opinion or spread false information.

  5. Knaledge says:

    I think the issue is more that you tend to always draw a clear line between “wrong” and “right” and label other peoples opinions as such. You’re soapboxing a lot on here and it’s in sharp contrast to why I became interested in your ‘blog’ in the first place.

    I’d imagine you’d generate a much more positive response from your readers, however many that many be, if you took a less bias approach or at least gave more benefit to the doubt. At the rate you’re going… it’s not hard for me to picture you getting upset if someone somewhere out there openly disagreed with you and broke down your posts sentence by sentence.

    At the end of the day – all of this is just opinion and we’re all entitled to it.

    The point I was trying to make is that you’re not better off than him – you don’t know any better than him. You’re not part of the WAR experience at the moment and most of your posts seem to be pushing for this ethereal reality about a game you’ve yet to even touch. He’s just doing the same thing. That’s my point – you’re both doing the same thing except you have a different opinion than him.

    It’s not that big a deal and the world won’t collapse if someone out there, no matter what their affiliation, doesn’t quite “get it” yet. The game will speak for itself.

    Based on my own experience.

  6. Wilhelm2451 says:

    I am surprised what a mini-storm this post on Wired has caused. A journalist expressed an opinion that, for somebody at a non-gaming publication, seemed pretty non-controversial. My only thought on seeing the headline for his piece was something of a “Well, duh!”

    On what Mythic actually said during the video… I don’t accept the idea that that somehow inoculates them from criticism. If they put out another video that featured a huge, steaming pile of horse crap on screen, but Paul said, “Hey, sorry this video is nothing but a huge, steaming pile of horse crap, but WAR will be a great game and nothing like this!” I don’t think anybody would be defending him saying, “Well, he said it was horse crap! What did you expect?”

    As for somebody doing deep research for a short piece like that… his editor would fire him for wasting time. This is why I get wrapped around the axle when people say that bloggers as a whole do not have the same standards of quality that the “legitimate” press does. The press has proven to me, time and time again, that such standards are an ideal, but their deadlines come first.

  7. Knaledge says:

    No one cares. Is that better?

  8. Knaledge says:

    I mean… it’s a post on some blog… on the internet. Why not just wait to try it for yourself and form your own (rational) opinions? Seriously – opinion pieces on a blog are hardly going to gain any respect. Move on… nothing to see here. I think this site has about… one or two more posts left in it before I throw in the towel.

  9. syncaine says:

    Well that’s what blogs are, places to voice an opinion. This is my blog, hence my opinion. Whether you agree, disagree, or don’t care is up to you.

    It’s a bit different than a Wired piece, which reachs who knows how many people. Either way, old news now, and my prediction still stands that we will continue to see this type of reporting about WAR, which is unfortunate.

  10. Dobermann says:

    We cant judge any game before it’release. If you remember WoW pre release was described by Blizzard as a very different game then it is now.
    What we recieve now from Mythic is what we want to hear. I’m sure there are much more things that we don’t know yet and they can turn the game up-side down.
    We don’t know for sure how similar or how different will be WAR from WoW. We all have to remember that what we hear and see now is similar of what we see and hear from Teleshoping commercials.
    WAR certanly sounds as The Game but it can be just another teleshoping commercial…
    I also tend to skip what Paul Barnett says and didn’t knew that this video is shown as “scripted video” and was thinking that this is actual PvP footage…

  11. swiftvoyager says:

    I signed up for a WordPress account. Since I still can’t post on ANY wordpress blogs, this is a test post. sorry for the intrusion. Hope this works now.

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