WAR: The casual PvP MMO

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)

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Asheron's Call, Combat Systems, Dark Age of Camelot, Darkfall Online, MMO design, PvP, RvR, Ultima Online, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to WAR: The casual PvP MMO

  1. shadowwar says:

    -1 for the typo!

    In all seriousness though, what you said is true. Sadly, the super-casual aspect of it is starting to be a little difficult for me.

    • greedyken says:

      Graphically, you’re right, but why destroying it?.
      The character itself is original. Typo is the first video games super hero, he deserve more respect than that.

      The MMO setting? It will refresh the serie a little bit because, after 11 sequels, a reboot is welcome.

  2. syncaine says:

    Yea epic fail on my part… damnit.

    The casual part was difficult for me as well, in terms of WAR being my one and only MMO. As a side MMO, I think it will work out nicely.

  3. Bonedead says:

    That’s pretty much what CS is for me, casual PvP. I do love me some Tier 1/2/some 3 Warhammer scenarios though. Tier 1 Scenarios really should be it’s own game.

  4. Centuri says:

    Its amusing that even with the complete lack of impact for PvP death, so many players will never leave the safety of the zerg.

  5. Werit says:

    I think casual PvP is pretty accurate. It is also why I like it. 30 minutes to an hour is my most common chunk of playtime. It is not conducive to impact PvP like Eve.

  6. Rostam says:

    I took a break from AoC because of the lack of consequences in PvP. Without consequences you just tend to PvP for the sake of PvP, and this is great until the game mechanics and class balance wears you thin and you don’t have anything to really fight for. I agree WAR can be a fun distraction or filler, but it’s not the type of game that you could really sink your teeth into.

  7. Thallian says:

    hmmm.. mmm hmmm yep

  8. Dave says:

    The problem I had with WAR was that it just seemed to lack ‘soul’ somehow. A shame, really, as I’ve been a fan of the IP for a decade or more.

    Little casual things did it in for me. The fact that I can’t walk, though the animations are pre-existing, the fact that the Cities were little more than placeholders for banks, and that there was nothing really immersive or social about them, the fact that the game consisted of a couple of warbands bouncing between zones to contest keeps, queuing up for some scenario runs or running about solo doing PvE in a disappointing gameworld.

    Mythic went so far as to claim WAR was meant to be ‘just a game’, rather than an immersive enviornment-type-MMO-experience-thingy, which is kind of absurd if you think about it. Remove the immersion from the gameworld and all you’ve got is the same damn capture-the-flag/storm-the-keep scenario you ran three months ago, a grind with no carrot or sense of accomplishment.

    For all its ups-and-downs, WoW pulled off the gameworld feel, an essential component to any MMO because, let’s face it, we all want to get stoned at the end of the night and just chill after ‘running scenarios’ for hours.

    Screw Mythic. What a shame.

  9. Dave says:

    Let me amend what I posted before because yes it’s late and yes, I’m a wee drunk.

    WAR lacked (for me) any drive to keep playing when I was done ‘Playing’. Casual is great and all, but when you’re done running that dungeon or taking that keep or what-have-you, what do you do? You turn it off.

    WoW (the Great MMO Metric) had, or has, the hook. How many times did you ‘wrap it up for the night’ only to find yourself flying back to town, maybe peruse the AH, maybe sit and have a beer watching the freakshow in Stormwind or Goldshire… check the time and realize you ‘wrapped it up for the night’ two or three hours ago?

    It’s the downtime in games (and MMOs more precisely) that lend impetus to the uptime, know what I mean? Standing around thinking about what productive shit you -could- be doing, or hearing what productive shit Guildies or passersby are -actually- doing both motivates a player and ironically rewards him/her for slacking off a bit. It’s fun. Goofing is fun, not just grinding and/or RvRing.

    WAR is too casual to be… casual. Stand around a warcamp or city sometime and see what I mean. There’s nothing interesting going on. Ever. When you’re done your fighting, then what do you do? You log.

    If I want to do nothing more than fight-fight-fight, well… for that there’re games like Battlefield, or there’s my 360 under my TV with a comfy couch thrown in for good measure.

    Don’t get me wrong… I’m no Goldshire Cyber… but I do like to down a few beers at the end of the night and decompress. In-game. WAR doesn’t give that.

  10. spinks says:

    I think it works brilliantly as a side or casual MMO. It’s just that if you do get into another game, you’ll want to drop it for awhile.

    And the T1 experience of creating your character and bombing off to a scenario straight away is still one of the most fun things I’ve done in an MMO.

    I think you’re right though, sometimes you just have to enjoy a game for what it is, not what you wanted it to be.

  11. I don’t have a problem with WAR being casual PVP. I don’t even really know what that means. We pretty much assume casual = less time. But what time are we talking about here? 30mins? 1hr?

    I think the thing that put me off WAR, as you said, is definitely the whole impact thing. I just felt like another cog in the wheel and that’s not what I enjoy about PvP.

    Honestly, if you want good PvP, you should check out EQ2’s PvP server. It’s amazing fun as, pre-80, all of the battles are fought with small groups.

  12. Centuri says:

    WAR T1 is hands down one of the best PVP experiences available out there. Sadly after that I just find it all a bit downhill. The bar is set so high in terms of enjoyment that later tiers don’t have a chance. That hour or two before you ding 12 while you are rank 10-11 in tier one is filled with tons of joy.

    I guess the real question is, do you feel that WAR being such a casual friendly PVP game is a good thing when there are other games out there that do it better?

    If you want casual PVP in a more immersive world, running around in gear off of the auction house in WoW delivers that. If you want casual PVP in a less immersive world then you can load up Team Fortress 2.

    WAR falls somewhere in between those two and suffers because of it.

  13. syncaine says:

    Never got into EQ2 PvP, but something tells me DarkFall might cater a bit better in that area for me :)

    Which really was my point. For all those who find WAR too casual, other PvP MMOs exist. EVE if you want more political/buildup PvP, DarkFall if you want a bit more FPS in your MMO. But when people ask for more impact, it goes both ways. Yes you impact the other side more, but they also impact you. In WAR, a bad night is losing a few scenarios and maybe a Keep. In DarkFall, it might be losing 3-4 sets of top-end gear, or the city your guild has worked to build up over the last month. I love that, but when it comes down to it, most don’t, and hence WAR caters to that crowd better than EVE/DF.

  14. syncaine says:

    @Centuri: I would disagree on the WoW PvP part. The PvP in that game is broken on so many levels it’s not even close to WAR in any tier. Between the impact of levels, the twinking, the PvE-for-PvP skills, etc, it’s a terrible formula. In that regard WAR beats WoW, and if we are talking casual PvP, usually that crowd is not that interested in the mailbox social life.

  15. Pingback: There Is No Such Thing As Casual Or Hardcore - We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog

  16. tariqone says:

    Damned Darkfall tourists.

  17. howtoloseyourlifetoanmmorpg says:

    Just wanted to say: I agree with what you said, on We Fly Spitfires about no amount of skill in WoW PVP.

    I had an article, not about that, where I mentioned how I hate WoW PvP and it is starting to seem like PvP is less skill and more just button-mashing. I related that comment to why I thought Blizzard nerfed macros so much: “Because maybe it would become glaringly apparent to the player that the time and skill they were putting into setting up macros(which is all about strategy and skill) would make no difference, and they’d likewise see that it was obvious there was little to no skill in fighting in PvP(in WoW)”

  18. sid67 says:

    I’m playing WAR again (after about a 9-month break) and I’ve been having fun leveling up again in Tier 1 and Tier 2. I briefly started playing my Archmage and Bright Wizard again (both in Tier 4) and sadly it didn’t take long for me to stop. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just don’t like the game in Tier 4.

  19. fizzlebixx says:

    I agree with what you say about WAR being so short term pvp friendly.

    The problem is that you have to pay a fee for it. Most games that people play for drop-in pvp are not mmos and provide the same feeling.

  20. TariqOne says:

    Darkfall tourists.

  21. syncaine says:

    Definitions are difficult, I understand.

  22. Bonedead says:

    I’m in the same boat as Sid 6.7

    The lower level tiers are just more fun.

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