As you might have heard, Warhammer Online is shutting down. TAGN has a post that links to many others; use that if you still need a background or more opinions.
There is a lot that can be (and has been) said about WAR today, which I think itself says something about the game and its impact. Compare WAR to Aion for example, is anyone writing anything about Aion? If it shut down tomorrow, how many “End of Aion” posts would people create, and at what depth/feeling? WAR not only created an insane amount of hype pre-release, it also generated a lot of emotion post-release, and I fully include myself in all of that.
For starters I love the Warhammer IP, so much that it very well could be my favorite IP all around. It works great for the tabletop game, and it should have translated so well into MMO form. The world is huge, every area has a rich history, and rivalries and alliances between the various sides can be logically (in a world with fire-breathing dragons logic) explained.
In much the same way Ultima Online had something extra special because it was the Ultima on top of a great game, WAR should have been special because it was in a world I’ve long wanted to just live in.
WAR is also an MMO my wife really enjoyed, playing it long enough to reach the level cap and do some group content. In particular she liked PQs, to the point of not really enjoying GW2 in part because of the differences between their PQ implementation (less transparency) compared to WAR.
I think WAR’s PvE was underrated (early dungeon content aside, Wilhelm!). Had WAR delivered fully on the PvP, I think more people would have appreciated how the PvE blended into the zones (especially the early zones) and what a nice change of pace it was. I’m not saying it was amazing, but again, had WAR been a solid PvP MMO with PvE, the PvE would not have been judged as inadequate.
Like so many MMOs after it, WAR’s biggest issue is it tried to be everything to everyone, and ended up not retaining anyone. It contained countless design flaws, from the hard-locked two-sided conflict, the inclusion of instanced PvP, and the end-game being a total mess, but its biggest flaw was that Mythic didn’t simply attempt to create a PvP MMO. They tried to create what they thought was a better WoW to compete with WoW, and utterly failed.