WAR – Core Problems?

I’ve long since stopped my love affair with Warhammer online. After following it’s development for nearly two years, WAR’s release was met with mixed reviews and general disappointment with not what it is, but what it could of been. Where did this sleeping giant go wrong you may ask; I’ll attempt to answer as best I can.

First off, lets say this together, Warhammer Online was not and is not a commercial flop yet. Most games would kill for 300k subscriptions within their first three months of release. This is especially true in a down economy, up against four new expansions (WotLK, MoM, SO, and QR) to four of the largest domestic mmorpgs (WoW, Lotro, EQ2 and EvE respectively) and with such lofty IP expectations. They hit their break even numbers in early December, and somehow have been able to retain and even add to their player base steadily.

That said, WAR is a failure in design thus far.

While WAR does have great pieces (PQs, keep sieges, oRvR, leveling through pvp), how they’re currently arranged does not fit the puzzle as a whole. Doing PQ’s as a main stay in oRvR doesn’t fit. Forcing players to scenario grind – then keep grind – for gear does not fit. Flipping ownership of a zone back and forth, when there is little net benefit to defending, does not fit. Guilds leveling based on the xp gained by it’s members, does not fit in a rvr mmorpg. 

Pretending to know what WAR exactly needs to do to fix it’s problems is outside the scope of this blog and my job description, but I do know the reward structure in particular needs reviewed. Individual players need rewarded for their individual efforts (open world pvp). Guilds need rewarded for doing guild related activities (taking keeps/ defending keeps). Zones need to be highly rewarded for completing zone based objectives, and likewise the losing zone needs to be negatively affected.

Most of all, realms need to be rewarded for realm based achievements, not the player. While I do agree there should be some PQs and instances in a Capital City siege, the main idea should be simple, loot, plunder and kill as many of the opposing faction as possible in the process. In a way this relates back into Directed Game Design by allowing the player to create their own end game expereince out of the peices the Mythics supplies them.

Many ideas have been suggested the past 2 months to get players to pvp inside of a city siege, so again I won’t go through all of them. I personally do like the idea of a ladder system, ranking all of the realms on the different servers as far as time spent plundering a capital city. The top realms are then rewarded each week /2 weeks, and the realm points are split among the total number of active account level 40s to prevent server zerging.

Competition is important for pvp in mmorpgs, even more so when put in the rvr context, and WAR has very little internal competition currently.

In short, I’d almost venture to guess Mythic originally had a grand direction they wished to take the game, but got bogged down trying to find ways to use their assets. So the question remains, is WAR flawed at it’s core?

Three months in, my personal opinion is no. While a huge undertaking, I think if the devs re-implement a lot of their grand ideas slightly different, Warhammer still has a chance at being something very special.

It’s just hard to tell at the moment the direction they are heading.



3 Responses to “WAR – Core Problems?”

  1. WAAAGH32 Says:

    mythic is in trouble, ea is cutting jobs….

    not sure how you can have such a positive outlook….

  2. trolltastictalk Says:

    It would be a shame to see WAR blown to smithereens, for it has its golden moments. This post made me think about taking a second look at the game, and see how far I can agree with you here…

  3. Thanks Trollta, I appreciate the kind words.

    I wonder if they focised too hard on making WAR “fun”, and forgot how hard it is to balance consquence to make it “meaningful”. Or maybe we as gamers were jsut expecting too much.

    These are the same guys who made DoAC, so I’ll give em the benefit of the doubt that they have already started moving in the right direction.

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