Will Warhammer be good enough to overcome the inevitable PvP shock?

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.

About SynCaine

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

21 Responses to Will Warhammer be good enough to overcome the inevitable PvP shock?

  1. tipa says:

    Well, you make an assumption that there will be WoW players on one side, and skilled PvPers on the other.

    What you will ACTUALLY be confronted with is WoW players on one side and WoW players also on the other side, and they will play the game exactly as they like, regardless of what the developers may have planned. Forcing the developers to change the game so the WoW players are not driven back to their game of choice.

  2. Talyn says:

    Other than collision detection and a taunt debuff, what exactly will be more “tactical” about WAR when it’s Yet Another Gear Game? TAB 1,2,3 – rinse – repeat. Just like WoW and… oh yeah… every other Diku-based MMO.

    Bunny hopping like a fool with no collision detection or bunny hopping like a fool while being blocked by a wall of “tanks” is still bunny hopping like a fool.

    Hotbar spam is hotbar spam.

    Gear-based PvP is Gear-based PvP.


  3. syncaine says:

    But you can’t stop the fact that certain guilds will be comprised of PvP focused players, ones who know the ins and outs. And you be bet that those guilds will have a field day with the ‘WoW kids’ in PvP, to an even greater extent than they do now in the BGs.

    The difference will be that in WAR those guilds will actually effect the world around them, while in WoW they only effect the 10-15 people they roll over in any one BG. Even in WoW tactics overcome gear, hence why premades roll PUGs regardless of gear. In WAR that will be even more pronounced due to its PvP-focused development.

  4. sid67 says:

    I agree with your assumptions, but would add another one: PVP is not EXCLUSIVE to MMO. WoW has it’s roots in the RTS genre which at its best is all about PVP. How many WoW players also played War3 or Starcraft? How many people played any of the FPS games, particularly those that are more strategic in nature (Tribes, Rainbow Six)? In other words, the idea of PVP or even strategic PVP is not going to be a foreign concept to everyone who’s only MMO PVP experience has been limited to WoW BGs and Arena. Speaking for myself, my only MMO experience prior to WoW was an unhealthy addiction to Neverwinter Nights PVP on AOL. When MMOs became popularized, they didn’t have a likable PVP element, so I moved on to RTS and FPS games. WoW brought me into the MMO fold and while I have tried out SWG and EQ2, it’s WoW that has held my interest in the MMO market. While WoW is certainly explosive and has brought lots of new players to MMO, I would say that a good % of those were simply cannibalized from other genres where PVP is the norm.

    BTW- NWN was only unhealthy in the sense that I couldn’t afford the pay/hour and got thousands of dollars of credit card debt while in college as a result. PVP in NWN was more like chess than anything.

  5. Guy says:

    I would say your concerns are based on fairly high hopes for WAR, both the game and its eventual players, as the other commenters have pointed out. Those are assumptions five and six. I don’t think it’s “safe” to say WAR PVP will be deeper and better; it is in fact the big question that we all want answered when WAR finally comes out and the emergent PVP gameplay has a chance to show its true character.

  6. Frank says:

    I think MMO PVP is interesting at times (okay, I’m speaking only from WoW experience), but not really comparable to skill based PVP like you would see in an FPS game. I think the winning ingredient missing in WoW PVP is PVP that matters like controlling zones or cities and affecting what happens in the game (i.e. the world is not a stagnant place anymore). A game that delivers that, along with a nice story and presentation like WoW could be a real winner. A game that just tries to make MMO PVP a bit more ‘twitchy’ isn’t really accomplishing much in my opinion, though we can decide that when WAR launches.

  7. syncaine says:

    Well if WAR fails to do anything but give us the WoW version of PvP, it’s safe to say the game itself will fail. If you spend all your development time making a PvP focused game, and you end up with WoW, that’s a failure, as WoW PvP is an afterthought to the lvl/gear grind PvE focus that is WoW.

    But considering WAR is coming from the same people who gave us DAoC, and that game has deeper PvP than WoW, it’s not a stretch to image WAR being better than DAoC in that respect.

    Oh and Frank, WAR already has the stuff you mentioned you would like to see, while making little reference to twitch gameplay. Thats more AoC-ish.

  8. Keen says:

    WAR/DAOC style PvP is very different from WoW. The most challenging thing that the ‘majority’ of players will have to learn is teamwork. WoW players are used to short bursts of PvP without consequence. They’re used to battlegrounds where they can go in, do their thing, and leave at their leisure.

    In WAR PvP is the game. PvP is in open world. Working with you team will result in your team doing well. Playing WoW BG style pvp and thinking it will fly in open world RvR will be a shock to many.

  9. Bonedead says:

    The only thing I hate about WoW is that it brainwashed so many MMO/gaming newbs. I think they will play Warhammer and then die. After they die they will probably make their way to the forums to complain about crap and, though some may not say it, present changes to “problems” that are very similar to what WoW has.

    I’ve been playing Savage 2 the past few weeks and ever since IGN rated it 8.3 there have been swarms of bad people coming on the forums complaining about normal, accepted, aspects of the game and offering WoW-like solutions. The game isn’t even an RPG of any kind, it is an FPS/RTS.

  10. Bonedead says:

    Also, not only do these people complain about things that the core community has accepted, but the only reason they do so is because they don’t TRY and LEARN the game. They say something is completely underpowered because they don’t know how to use it. I sure hope WoW hasn’t turned 10 million people into people who give up every time they run into a learning curve.

  11. Tholal says:

    Well thats actually the beauty of WARs PvP system (assuming they deliver all of the parts they’ve talked about). The battlegrounds in WAR will almost certainly be extremely similar to the battlegrounds in WoW. Players can drop in at any time and play capture the flag for fixed sessions.

    Those who are more hardcore PvP players will be out fighting over keeps and other points of interest in the actual gameworld.

  12. Swift Voyager says:

    The real question in my mind is what the concequences will be when you die in WAR. I get the sense from all the comments I’ve read that WoW players don’t like the idea of losing gear and stuff when they die. If WAR offers some kind of bonus for fighting, even if they get killed, then they are more likely to be happy.

  13. Thallian says:

    Sometimes I wonder why most people don’t gravitate towards strategic fights. I guess its cuz their focus is on #1 and not on the team. I also don’t know why every game I play is devoid of siege weaponry, collision detection, etc.. etc.. but is instead a button mash fest and why people prefer that. I would be fine with those things and with rvr. If you are going to play in a world where theres war then it may as well reflect real war in some twisted way. World of Play craft doesn’t, its more like some odd sport where people on one side get to start with an invincible advantage, and if they don’t they jump ship. (the pansies) Make it so they cant jump ship, cant escape, (can log out but their chars stay there and get creamed). Make them face the facts instead of warping all over the place and running through people. I think the kiddies (I am not talking age I’m talking maturity) will prefer to pound a kill button or get endless head shots through reticles while the seasoned players will probably tire of this and gravitate towards strategy pvp.

  14. Dobermann says:

    syncaine, if you played Q2 before you played CS it doesnt mean you will play CS like Q2 forever.
    We are not machines, we are adapting based on the current situation.
    I think that so called “WoW kids” will adapt to a potential new game much more faster then you and me.
    What if WAR PvP is not so different than WoW’s? I’m actually thinking that WoW’s and WAR’s PvP have much more similarities that differences. Players can’t be looted, players have no death penalty, UI Mods, no mounted combat, both games are RvR, will have BG’s, both T-rating… Hell, even both games are based on Warhammer’s IP?!
    WAR is marketed as the anti WoW game, but I’m sure you realize it cant be too different than WoW, cause obviously WAR is targeted on WoW’s player base.
    Don’t forget that all we know about WAR PvP are solely based on the info released by EA Mythic’ marketing department, not by our own impressions gathered during actual gaming. You seems to play games since like forever and you know the usual game-prerelease-marketing, how everything is shiny and bright…

  15. Swift Voyager says:


    I guess I’m still bannished to the blogging leppur colony.

  16. Thallian says:

    Good point Dobermann, it really isn’t that different.

  17. Tobold says:

    I doubt there will be a “shock”. Because the situation you describe for WAR already happens in WoW: premade groups that totally dominate pickup group opponents in battlegrounds. People will call the guild that pwned them a “premade” and shrug it off.

    The bigger deciding factor of whether people will like WAR PvP or quit the game is disgust is on the level of death penalties and PvP rewards. If you “gain” something while doing PvP, some sort of points or badges you can exchange for an individual reward, people will play it. If the only reason for PvP is for “your side to win”, WAR will fail. The number of players on your side is larger than the Dunbar number, and most people will feel very little loyalty towards their side.

  18. syncaine says:

    Well Mythic has stated that the greatest gear is only avaliable from a successful City Seige, so certainly the motivation to win will be there. Plus the lossing side will have limited access to conquered zones and questing. I think the simple fact that PvP will actually effect more than an instanced area for an hour or so will be enough to cause some ‘shock’.

    By simply not rewarding lossing like WoW does, you stop all the ‘let them 5 cap us’ crap that happens almost constantly.

  19. garry says:

    I think warhammer online will be awesome, just take a look at some videos and see for yourself http://warhammeronline.tv

  20. tommy says:

    My pvp resume is as follows:

    Ultima Online pk
    Diablo 1 pk
    Diablo 2 pk
    Everquest 1 Rallos Zek (Item loot server) pk
    DAoC Pk

    All through these games I have made multiple guilds very well known and hated.. lol

    I played WoW for about a year, got 70, season 2 gladiator gear, and the game is so fucking easy, it’s basically an MMORPG with training wheels so retards can get to level 70 and raid. The pvp was so disappointing, tokens? Come on, give me a break. Where is the item loot ? The thing I loved about rallos zek, was ambushing people hunting, killing them, and stealing their armor that was worth about 5k platinum. That really made it exciting, IF Warhammer online allows item looting and random ganking, you had better believe I will play it. Chances are too many carebears will cry to developers and after a year it will be revamped, though, that’s what happened to Everquest, and that’s why I quit. I hope WAR brings back some oldschool pvp, where being ganked has dire consequences for the loser, and instant gratification for the ganker.

  21. justin says:

    warhammer has definitely got what it takes to trump WoW pvp. people say it will just be a wow clone but if you actually pay attention to the development going on with warhammer it is far from it. warhammer has one major thing wow does not have… a point. all wow players do is grind a ton of honor or arena points then buy a gladiator set to grief lowbies with at that point it becomes boring once you have the full set. then in a few months OMG new set comes out lets regrind some honor. the idea of taking control of citys with pvp will truly be an impressive design and will give players a reason to enjoy it.

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