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Warhammer Anti-Hype

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. 😉

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Timebomb/Pip - February 18, 2008

I purchased WoW when it first came out. Leveling to 60 and doing Strat when it was able to be 40 man raided. I was server first full tier 0 magister mage and I felt that there was nothing more to do. The raiding was boring as heck. A wipe and 20 minutes to rebuff for the next attempt at a core hound. We did PvP at Southshore and TM before there was honor. After a raid on Onyxia I quit my first account.

Second account I got into after 6 months after I quit the first, started my own raiding guild and did a lot of raiding, quit this account because the account had someone elses name on it.

Third account I played up until May in a guild that has since cleared the game, when i just got bored to the raiding and attempts, feeling like the same old same old.

I really hope that WAR is what I’ve been missing. It looks great. But as you know when you are playing WoW you don’t even look at another game. But I for one am totally into whooping the other factions ass especially if we get some land out of it. I hope that it will have some good raiding too, when PvP gets boring.

Timebomb/Pip - February 18, 2008

One more thing I hope it is a lot more finished than WoW was, I finished all the BC quests in two weeks and had to wait for others to get up to speed to do Heroics and raiding. Not until a few months did people start doing them. I just feel that Blizzard has always been too slow to keep my interest with the patches. If this game is the same slowness I’ll give up on MMORG’s. WoW was my first and WAR might be my last.

Keen
Keen - February 18, 2008

Mythic’s raids were actually enjoyable pre ToA. The focus wasn’t on the loot but instead it was on the experience. If you like PvP games with a dash of PvE on the side then Warhammer definitely has the potential to deliver.

Timebomb/Pip - February 18, 2008

I saw somewhere where they were talking about mounted combat. That would be cool. Also I hope they have flying mounts about to fight each other too. Many times did I kill people on their flying mounts making them spirit res at the graveyard. Here is a nice link for people to choose themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpgvmHTBFt8

Bodkins - February 19, 2008

I’ve beeing playing wow for over three years, I know a lot of the lore of the game through the other warcraft games and the books so for me its more interesting than warhammer. I am a fan of the mintures and the table top game, but having spent 3 years on developing characters I dont think I would switch. I have tried a lot of other MMOs including: Star Wars galaxies, Eve online, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, D&D online and probably some others. Each game has its own unique feature and game play which makes each a good experiance, but theres just something about WOW that keeps me coming back. I agree with the point about popularity of an MMO so long as ten people in my guild keep playing i dont really care if theres millions of subscribers – its all about community with in a group and how well that works. Most wow players will try WAR but dont be surprised when they go back to WOW to pick up there level 70s again.

Aspendawn - February 19, 2008

My interest in Warhammer has nothing to do with some MMO self-help program. I intend to play it because I love Mythic. I absolutely loved DAOC….and I didn’t even pvp. My whole experience was pure pve and I still enjoyed it tremendously. Probably one of the best pve experiences I have had in any MMO.

They impressed me with how they ran things there so I’m inclined to look forward to anything they’re involved in.

Tipa - February 19, 2008

I’m not REALLY saying that WAR is being developed to wean people from WoW, or that WoW players wish to use it in that way. Allow me a little bit of hyperbole 😛

What I’m saying is that it might have that effect. WoW players always have a tough time leaving it and staying away. The game has a powerful pull. I know lots of WoW players who just can’t enjoy any other game because… it isn’t WoW. They WANT to. They CAN’T.

It really is an addiction for a lot of people. They can’t conceive of a life without WoW, or a game better than WoW.

Maybe, for those people, WAR will be similar enough and yet not engaging enough that they can step away from WoW, find another game they enjoy, and perhaps learn to play more casually. Spread their play time around. And find out that, yeah, there’s bunches of real quality games out there that don’t demand their absolute devotion and are fun to play to boot.

Warhammer could be the game to do that. And heck, maybe they’ll like Warhammer on its own merits. Lord knows we need another mega-popular game to prove WoW wasn’t a fluke.

Tipa - February 19, 2008

@Aspen — DAoC PvE was okay, but it was nothing compared to EQ1’s. DAoC’s RvR was really something amazing; it’s hard to think of playing DAoC without the random roving DF death squads, or the massed armies lined up outside EM, ready to battle. And later on, the battlegrounds for just free for all fun.

I wouldn’t mind just playing DAoC again, but it’s a barren place now and I don’t know anyone who still plays. I’m hoping WAR has that same magic, but it looks a little cartoony… I’m one of the people who really dislike the cartoony aspects of WoW and wish WAR looked even more different.

Alex Taldren - February 19, 2008

WAR’s look is one of its low points for me. Like I’ve said before, I’m a moderate fan of the Warhammer universe. Although, I am more drawn to the WH40K. Nevertheless, when it comes to WAR, I’m expecting a gritty, bloody, and gruesome experience and, to be honest, the “cartoonish” visuals I’ve seen don’t compliment that well.

For me, the PvP aspects of WAR need to be different at the core. I don’t care how many different XP bars they give me (one for PvE, one for PvP, one for RvR), how many skills trees I get, nor how many regions I can fight for control of. In the end, all they are doing is adding quantity to a predefined combat system. There is little to no innovation to be found.

I’m not saying that adding loads of new skills isn’t a step in the right direction, but it shouldn’t be the only step. For MMOs to truly evolve, developers need to take a look at the fundamental gameplay mechanics of today’s MMOs and figure out what needs to be changed or tweaked. Right now, it seems like they are seeing these systems and thinking, “Well, this is the way it has always been, so I guess this is the best way.”

Keen
Keen - February 19, 2008

Warhammer seems to blend between the “cartoony” look WoW and the middle of the road look we saw back in the old EQ day – actually, very similar to LOTRO.

The low res videos don’t do the game justice, but gameplay demos really show a deeper detail to the game that lifts it out of the “cartoony” look and in to a more gritty, bloody, and gruesome experience.

I appreciate the replies guys and gals, ty!

Thallian - February 19, 2008

Personally I am all about the experience and I couldn’t care less about what color or how many more points I can add to my awesomeness via gear. Sometimes it is nice to hunt for something really cool looking yes, but in the end if you didn’t have fun doing it then it was kind of like, why didn’t you just pay an artist to make you a custom char instead of working your butt off to get something lots of other people have? Anyways the real point is that while the gear cannot be so unique and custom, the experience CAN be unique, though it may have similarities to other people’s so I am hoping they continue to put focus in this department and that the other clueless game companies start to catch on a little :P. GDC this week btw make sure to watch the news since the focus this year is MMO’s http://www.gdconf.com/

Warhammer Hype « BGbendax - A World of Warcraft Hunter blog - February 19, 2008

[…] it’s the fix for pvp in MMO’s that he’s hoping it will be. After reading this, https://www.keenandgraev.com/?p=811, I’m not sure if the Realm vs Realm PvP is a significant enough change for the better in […]

Jadawin - February 19, 2008

Mythic’s raids were actually enjoyable pre ToA. The focus wasn’t on the loot but instead it was on the experience.

Amen to that- the main reason I want to play WAR is to try to recreate the feeling of a successful relic raid.

The Warhammer Hype debate | MMO Gamers - February 20, 2008

[…] the blogosphere is Tipa’s comment over at West Karana. Keen writes a good reply over at his blog. Tipa expresses her opinion on the subject, and while it differs from my own, that’s not what […]

Frito - February 20, 2008

WAR is getting a lot of hype. Some of it is WoW’s similarity to it, and obviously the PvP/RvR-centric gameplay.

Personally, I don’t care for PvP or RvR (and subscription numbers tell me there are a lot of people like me), so WAR or AoC won’t appeal to me. I’m not playing solo, just not playing against anyone else.

Drakorn - February 20, 2008

I can remember when EQ was the 800lb gorilla and everything was going to be better, faster, stronger, etc. Now it’s WoW that’s king of the hill so everyone is comparing WAR to it.
I also don’t agree with the idea that just because WoW has the most subscriptions that makes it the best game. Like several people have said and I agree, I don’t care if WAR gets more people playing than WoW has. I just hope it gets enough to make it worthwhile.

Severius - February 26, 2008

Before Mythic won the license to Warhammer they were working on something called Imperator or some such. A sci-fi MMO based in a world where the Roman Empire never had collapsed. http://www.imperatoronline.com. A few months after some of the first images were released came word that Mythic was working on Warhammer and had put Imperator on indefinite hold. This was in the spring of 2005.

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