Tipa from West Karana made an entry in her blog today titled “Why Warhammer hype works so well“. After reading her entry I felt inclined to respond in a comment, but halfway through writing I decided to formulate a blog entry of my own instead. Before I go on to what I want to say on the topic, I feel it’s important that everyone reading realize that I love debating mmo theory, concept, and design. It has become almost as fun as playing the games themselves. Never take anything personally; I don’t. Simply enjoy a good spirited mmo discussion. Alright, on we go.
For those of you who haven’t read Tipa’s post yet I want to highlight a few points she made and then respond.
“Since Mythic was bought out by Electronic Arts, simply making a more modern update to their groundbreaking Realm-vs-Realm MMO, Dark Age of Camelot, was taken from the table. EA/Mythic is just as large a company now as Activizard, and their goals are just as large to match.”
I’ve been following Mythic closely since DAOC’s release and I have never seen Mark Jacobs or anyone else at Mythic ever make any mention of a more modern update to DAOC. Mythic was independent for a very long time and while independent they were working with Games Workshop on Warhammer. EA acquiring Mythic was in the best interest of the game. Warhammer Online deserved more than an independent company could deliver within a reasonable time (note that I didn’t say impossible). EA’s funding allows for Mythic to make Warhammer Online a greater game. EA Mythic is not as large a company as Activision Blizzard because it wasn’t simply Acitivion merging with Blizzard – it was Vivendi merging with Activision (Blizzard being of Vivendi). EA Mythic is a division of EA. Activision Blizzard is a merger. And funny enough, WAR is turning out to be more like DAOC every day – a good thing if you ask me.
“The question isn’t why people expect Warhammer to be anything like a WoW replacement or WoW 2.0 when, aside from a similarity of visual styles, they are very different. Rabid Warhammer fans will insist they look nothing alike and anyone who says otherwise is a doodoo head, but come on.
The question is, why are people so desperate for an alternative to the World of Warcraft, that can’t be satisfied by one of the many OTHER fine MMOs out there? LotRO and EQ2 are both absolutely fantastic, popular games with enough similarities to WoW to be easy for a WoW player to pick up, yet different enough to give a new experience.”
That’s like asking someone why they like steak but not broccoli. It all comes down to personal preference. LotRO is the same revolving door as WoW and EQ2 follows in close pursuit when looking at their PvE game (raid for loot to raid for more loot in a treadmill of progression). WoW, LotRO, and EQ2 are all games designed for PvE that all decided they wanted PvP after the fact (Read: Afterthought). WoW made it their top priority to recover from this label but continues to prove time and time again that they just don’t get it. So when you ask why people are so desperate for an alternative, it’s really easy to see why – IF you see these games the same way they do! You can’t feed someone broccoli and convince them its just as good as steak if they truly do not want broccoli. My analogies suck, but am I getting my point across?
“It’s because these games are simply not popular enough. How can they take a chance on a game that only has 500K subscribers?”
I think you’re being sarcastic, but I disagree. A game’s popularity has zero impact on my decision to drop $15 a month on a game. As long as there are enough players on my server to sustain the gameplay then I care not whether there are 10 million or 10 thousand people playing. The real reason I’m not playing LotRO or EQ2 and why I stopped playing WoW a long time ago? I’m tired and bored of being bored and tired with the same old revolving door. I’m ready for a change.
“Warhammer isn’t just a game. It’s being marketed to WoW players as step #1 in a 12 step program to help wean them from Warcraft. Finally, a way for them to stop playing WoW with a clear conscience. Look! Looks kinda WoW-ish, has all the battlegrounds you love so much, and you don’t even have to group up to do some quests! And then when they find out that Warhammer really is quite different than WoW, they’ll be able to more easily move on.
People love Warhammer because it is the MMO world’s first self help program. And that’s all there is to it.”
Maybe I’m not reading the right blogs or articles. The vocal WoW players I’ve encountered do nothing but belittle the idea that there could possibly be a “new” or god forbid “better” mmo in development. Most people playing WoW aren’t looking for a WoW alternative! People playing WoW are playing for a reason – they like the game. And why shouldn’t they? If WoW’s style appeals to them then they are playing by far the best MMO of it’s type out there. Going back to a previous comment, I feel the question is about why people are thinking WAR will be the next WoW 2.0! Dismissing it as a ripoff and declaring boldly why they want nothing to do with the game. If I had a dime…
Personally, I’m not playing any mmorpg right now because none of them are appealing to what I want out of this hobby. None of them are offering me gameplay that sounds fun enough to justify spending money. Warhammer does look fun enough to justify the cost. Age of Conan is in close second. I have yet to see Warhammer Online be advertised as a 12 step program for quitting WoW. If someone is jumping ship at WAR’s release because they are tired with WoW then you can’t suddenly blame Mythic for it. Those people would have signed up for the first “different” mmo regardless. And that’s really what it’s all about. Warhammer is offering something different from the current trend – a trend that the absolute majority of current mmo gamers have only known because WoW introduced them to mmos in general. Veterans will know that WAR is not entirely different because they are making a game very similar to DAOC, but different from the current mega trends that have most recently defined this industry.
I love Warhammer, or rather what I’ve seen of concepts and ideas, because it is being made by my favorite developers. It’s also being designed with many of the exact same concepts that made their previous MMO my favorite. I love Warhammer because there will finally be a game that embodies almost everything I love about mmorpgs. And that’s all there is to it. 😉