The following is based on a few assumptions that are key to understanding my thinking here. Please keep them in mind when reading.
- Assumption one: Most MMO players have only played WoW.
- Assumption two: Most MMO players don’t know about MMO gaming outside of WoW.
- Assumption three: Many WoW players will be looking for another MMO to play.
- Assumption four: Many of those WoW players will try Warhammer Online.
I’m not looking to debate the above, as that’s not the point of this post. With that out of the way, here is today’s prediction: people will be shocked by the PvP in Warhammer, both in a good and bad way.
Using the above assumptions, we know most people consider PvP to be BG’s and perhaps Arena combat, with some amount of random PvP server zone ganking thrown in. If that is all you know of PvP, you are under the impression that PvP is mostly a queue up, run around in a forced group ignoring general chat, everyone gets a token at the end slugfest. You run to a few combat hotspots and mash your hotbar until either your target dies or you die. You get resurrected and you repeat until the game ends, at which point you queue up and repeat until you have whatever epic you are aiming for. Oversimplified, but I think that basic description covers a large base of the WoW community. I am fully aware of the premades and the PvP guilds, but those are the minority among the general WoW population.
So what’s going to happen when that WoW player base signs up for Warhammer and they find that not only is PvP emphasized far more than they are use to, but that it is also AT LEAST a bit more tactical than the ‘hotbar spam and die’ game they know? While we don’t know all the details of WAR PvP, we can safely say it will be at least a little deeper than WoW’s model, both in terms of actual gameplay types (not just instances BGs) and in terms of character skills and abilities.
My guess is that many will attempt to play it like WoW PvP, and slowly learn that such an approach is ineffective. At the same time a smaller community of PvP experienced gamers will rise up and become the example of PvP execution. Communication and group skills will overshadow the heavy gear influence players have grown accustomed to, and most players will be left with a choice, adapt or quit. What will determine the ratio of the adapt/quit population is exactly how good Warhammer Online is overall. If the game delivers on half the hype surrounding it and is overall a great game, players will find it good enough to shift focus and adapt. On the other hand if Warhammer is just another fantasy MMO, I believe many will find the ‘PvP shock’ too great and move back to WoW.