WAR’s graphics showing polish

There are some great screenshots still surfacing from Mythic’s latest press event. These screenshots really show the polish that Mark Jacobs has been talking about. Looking at screenshots from just a few months ago and then looking at the ones from today show a big difference in shadows, textures, depth, and art. Things are really starting to take shape and I think the game is looking fantastic. Things like this make the wait a little more justified.

Since I want to make this entry about more than simply drooling over my favorite artsy graphics, let’s tie this in with yesterday’s blog post. I’ve read and reread my entry from yesterday at least twenty times and the more I read it the more I realize that I got carried away and failed to touch upon one of the finer points in this whole debate. I focused too much on the negative impact that high-end graphics have instead of focusing on the great accessibility that more artsy less intense stylized graphics can provide. So think about that when you look at these screenshots. Everyone’s opinions are different because we all have our own tastes. While I enjoy the artsy graphics, someone else may really have a passion for the realistic style. For the sake of respecting everyone’s preferences, try and focus solely on how lowering the entry barriers for PC gaming can better be achieved by designing a game with more accessible system requirements.

Think of all the things that are made possible when a game doesn’t push the limits of hardware. Could, for example, Age of Conan have more than 48v48 in sieges if the graphics weren’t so intensive? I would happily sacrifice a bit of foliage here or a texture resolution there for the opportunity to truly experience Epic gameplay. Would you?

I think WAR is looking fantastic and can’t wait to see how much further these extra six months of development and polish will take it.

You can see more screenshots at VE3D or the Official Site.

  • Weird, I keep looking at WAR screenies and thinking the exact opposite, that they look too detailed and realistic for the not totally serious atmosphere of the Warhammer universe. Unless they’ve done something amazing in the coding everything I’ve seen out of WAR looks taxing enough on hardware that it’ll provide something of a hardware hurdle, but haven’t pushed it far enough to actually look good, and instead landed squarely in the uncanny valley where the higher detail over a WoW or TF2 type art direction only serves to emphasize that they haven’t gone far enough to be able to take a stab at photorealism.

  • @Shutter: That’s an interesting perspective. For me they look exactly like the graphics for a Warhammer mmorpg should look. They’ve nailed the art style perfectly which really has always been somewhere in the middle of high-fantasy and realism — more of a fantasy grunge look, I guess?

    It’s definitely important to note which screenshots you’re looking at since many of them until recently were showing low textures and zero lighting. Does this screenshot do anything for you?

  • @Nassir

    i got them from the same place Bartlebe i pulled em out my ass 😀

  • I will say this love the details on that dwarf siege machine there are more photos that I know of even a video I found showing promise on the graphic side of war.

    To Shutter I would say this not even wow gnomes can take away the unseriousness of the orcs and goblins of warhammer.
    They are so funny looking and temps me to screan waaaaagh all day long…

  • @ bartlebe graphics dont kill progress potential its unpolished games that kills it….

  • @Keen

    Part of my problem I’ll admit is the fact that Warhammer’s art direction, even in the tabletop games, always left me a bit lukewarm (I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t do much for me). And a lot of games live or die on art direction for me (Spacetime could probably sell me a copy of Blackstar (http://www.spacetimestudios.com/games/) now without finishing the damn thing).

    The sreenie you linked is nicer, better textures, spiffier lighting, but mostly that makes me worry again about the system requirements. I guess, WAR’s detail just seems to highlight it’s divergences from reality, wheras WoW’s lack of detail lets you gloss over it, and AoC’s highlight’s it’s fidelity. I guess looking at WAR’s screens, I see an AoC-like detail focused game, more than I see a WoW-like stylized game, so the conflict between high detail but unrealistic art direction starts to be an issue for me.

    In some ways games with high requirements that shoot for photorealism don’t have to live or die as much on their art direction. Something like AoC, or, out of the mmo field, Assassin’s Creed, get a pass because our eyes recognize human beings as human beings, and only have to worry about uncanny valley issues. If you get it realistic enough, you’re good.

  • I was quoting that statistic to prove a point. Don’t count on it for factually accuracy.



    When you make a game that has had the graphics honed to such a fine, fine degree with high system requirements…as have some games that will remain unmentioned…you can cause your game to only be accessible to certain audiences. In the case of Crysis or Eldar Scrolls…it worked out great but THOSE AREN’T MMOS.

    You must understand that doing this to an MMO is counter productive to your goals…Massively Multiplayer goals.

    “graphics dont kill progress potential its unpolished games that kills it”

    Your straw man holds up but that does not change the facts in my orgional statement. Alienating the gigantic, casual gamer audience with your “leet omg!11” screenshots is only holding yourself back.

    Now unless WAR has some crazy complicated stuff behind their graphics, it doesn’t look like its going to be TO hard to run for the average joe.

  • Some of the order stuff looks realy good imo but the one of the goblins. Take a close look at the giant his armor on his arm loos fine but the model itself . . . . meh looks like a low poly model with mediocur texturing. Then take a look at the wolves i know they are supposed to look mangy but too me they look anemic, just MHO

  • I don’t understand why people would say something like Conan is more realistic. As far as the human type characters go both games are trying to make them look as realistic as possible within the boundries of their given graphics engine.

    Then you look at the trolls and orcs and what not, well both games have that stuff, and both games have their own art style to portrait what a lizardman might look like, or a giant. That doesn’t mean that one isn’t “artsy”. They are both perspectives and art types because they are both art.

    Don’t confuse “cartoony” and “low polygons”.

    Here is an example for, we’ll look at 2 different 3d animated movies. “Antz” and “Horton Hears a Who”. This is a really good comparison of something that is making an attempt to emulate reality, versus something that has a distinct art style. Yet the one which is using an art style (Horton) has a much more realistic feel to it. This is because of animation quality, texture quality, and any other technological advancement made in the way of render quality.

    I know there is a big difference between live rendering and CG rendering but for this argument I think you can kind of see my point here.

    Using a specific art style is not an excuse for bad graphics. For instance, Warhammer would benefit greatly from the use of “Bump-Mapping”. This would attach onto a pre-existing art style and add more of a 3D effect. It is going to make it look more realistic, if we are defining realistic by way of literal. So in otherwords, its going to make the graphics to look more literally there, kind of the way watching a claymation movie gives a more literal feeling then a 3D animated one.

    So for a feature like bump-mapping, it can be turned on or off with a check box. This gives us end users a much greater scope of choice in 3D graphics performance vs quality.

    Here is another example that might shed even more light on the situation. If Blizzard could make World of Warcraft play graphics look othe same as the opening movie CG graphics and still be able to sell to as many people, they would.

    If you compare the opening CG graphics of World of Warcraft to the gameplay graphics of Age of Conan or Everquest 2. Then Warcraft is much more realistic. A lot of the argument going on for what is and is not cartoony, or what is or is not stylized isn’t based on any actual fact as to what the games are. Most of this stuff was created in fanboy defence mechanisms as crappy means to win arguments against people who are just as ignorant as they are in the first place.

    In reality all of these games are using their own art style, they have to because we cannot emulate reality at this point. I find it ironic that people use these arguments to slam on games with high quality graphics engines that push the limits of computers power. If there is anything to be said for it, its that they will have a limited market, just as Ferrari or Maserati have limited markets because not everyone can afford to buy one, it doesn’t mean that Ferrari should stop making those sweet sweet automobiles. Nor should companies like Crytek stop making hard core graphics.

    So if you don’t like the high requirements of a game, don’t buy it, play something else. If your going to get online and cry about it and how unfair it is…. http://www.ferrari.com head on over there and give the same arguments for why you can’t drive a Ferrari.

  • I think WAR is shaping up to look quite nice. But then, I also suspect the minimum requirements won’t be much different from AoC’s – art style does not necessarily have any bearing on performance.

    Besides, if you *really* want cartoony graphics, just play DOMO…

  • With respect to detail level and only simple per-pixel lighting shown here, unfortunately, its nothing fanciful. Seriously, a poor man’s Geforce 4 hardware actually run it.

  • On another note, and some counter fanboyism. Keen I’ve noticed you sort of pick the “best of the best” SC’s from Warhammer. What I’ve noticed though is that those are fewer then the crappy looking screenshots. The nice ones make me want to play the game, but every every nice one I see 3 more like this that make me gag.

    BTW these are from the most recent batch of SC’s on the Warhammer site from April 25th.


  • *kmxs

    Me again…

    Ferrari’s “fun factor” doesn’t hinge on how many people buy the car. MMO’s most certainly, certainly do.

    I didn’t post to nit-pick your analogy and I can certainly see where you’re coming from. We are all speculating as to its success based on the facts that we’ve been given. You can’t ask people to stop speculating or stop discussing it. This is what comment sections are for, after all.

  • *Bart

    “Ferrari’s “fun factor” doesn’t hinge on how many people buy the car. MMO’s most certainly, certainly do.”

    That would only be true if we all played on 1 big server in each game. 10k people on a server is 10k people on a server in any game on the market. There are not more people on a single WoW servers than a single Vanguard Server. What really matters is how good the game is so those players stay on each server long enough to form a community.

  • I beg to disagree, don’t like the WAR graphics much at all. Find it much to similar to WOW (cartoonish), prefer Conan immensely for graphical “look”

  • AOC’s 48 vs 48 . At first I was disappointed. I had hoped for large epic battles. Then I thought. 48 vs 48 means a LOT more guilds can have a chance at winning a battle keep…NOT just 8 MEGA guilds.More guilds involved is good.i will be playing to have battle keep and orher pvp fights.Close to 100 players is still a pretty good fight.

  • 58.7% of the Conan download complete…slowly chugging along

    a few days until early release, can’t wait !

  • keen just delete one of my posts awaiting moderation, thought if I dropped it down to 2 links it would let it post. you should set the limit at 4 links or something, nobody is going to spam with that.

  • @Bartlebe

    Actually, like most luxury items, the fun factor of a Ferrari most certainly does hinge on the number of people who buy a Ferrari. Unlike MMOs, however, the fun factor is inversely proportional rather than directly proportional.

    I agree with the general point you were trying to make; however, kmxs is right when he states that it’s more players per server rather than players per game that determine the fun factor. This is why you will generally see games take measures to consolidate their playerbase as they start to bleed subscribers (Vanguard did server merges; DAOC did server clusters.)

  • Shutter – “I guess looking at WAR’s screens, I see an AoC-like detail focused game, more than I see a WoW-like stylized game, so the conflict between high detail but unrealistic art direction starts to be an issue for me.”

    Yeah, if I spoke that eloquently then you would have taken the words right out of my mouth. Warhammer is a silly game of stylized violence and fantasy characters. I was hoping for more WoW-like graphics honestly, and the meat of the engine being excellent visual feedback during fights, for both pvp or pve.

    Early on, someone noted WARs graphics were a perfect balance between realism and WoW art style. Seems to be tipping towards pure realism now.

    But its all conjecture until you see it in action. If AoC can pull off smooth frame rates, then I can’t imagine WAR would have any problem given the latest screenshots.

  • WAR’s graphics have to match those of Games Workshop’s current art and I’d say with what I’m looking at here that they’ve done exactly that.

    AFAIK Games Workshop is still involved in Mythic’s art direction and they wanted it to match their art, but not necessarily the miniatures themselves.

  • kmxs… just no. Comparing WoW’s CG intros to gameplay graphics of Conan or EQ2, Conan and EQ2 are still more realistic in terms of art direction. Fidelity of lighting, use of automated cloth systems.. these are simply advantages taken by the WoW Cinematic team simply because they are making pre-rendered movies. The exaggerated character designs, bold use of color, ridiculous murlocs, those are all still part of the cinematics and are at the core of WoW’s design philosophy. EQ2 and Conan are still seeking to replicate real life, WoW is not, that is the key.

    Low-poly, low-rez graphics lend themselves well to stylized (often this means cartoony, not always) art because they aren’t seeking to reproduce the minute detail that is the goal of games which shoot for realism. Stylized games seek to evoke an emotional response in the player with the art through the use of exaggeration, color, lighting, and other aspects of design.

    One cannot argue that MMO’s by definition should shoot for the largest player base possible – honestly any game should in a business sense – and one of the easiest ways to expand potential player base is through availability to a broad set of systems.

    The obvious conclusion here is that MMO’s which have lower system requirements would tend to look better if they feature a distinctive and effective art style to leverage the advantages such a style has over realism on lower end systems.

  • @Devries – You missed the point, and I went over the advantages of higher 3D technology and even stated I realized the difference between CG and Gameplay so someone wouldn’t do, exactly what you’ve done.

    My point is that because the CG of Warcrafts game is more realistic then the gameplay of AoC or War, it speaks volumes to what they “would do” if it were feasable with today’s computer systems. They aren’t choosing for it to look less realistic, and listen to this, which is more important.

    They’re graphics engine is making the game look less reasistic, not the stylization.

    Devries said: “Low-poly, low-rez graphics lend themselves well to stylized (often this means cartoony, not always) art because they aren’t seeking to reproduce the minute detail that is the goal of games which shoot for realism.”

    I covered this as well, and I gave you a visual reference in “Horton Hears a Who” which replicates the Dr.Suess style near perfectly with its very exaggerated characters and structures which completely ignore physics but look beautiful. Not only that it is one of the most detailed CG animated movies to date.

    Low-Poly and Low-Rez don’t lend themselves to a more stylized game, stylized games tend to hide Low-Rez, Low-Poly, but that is where it ends. You can have just as much style with a very detailed game. There is a lot more detail in “Mario Galaxy” then in “Super Mario 64”. Both games have the “exact” same style and the detail does not change that. If we went ahead and believed your argument then we would say “Super Mario 64” is a better looking game, which is simply is not.

    Details heighten the quality of style. That is not to say that some details are poorly done, the same way animation can be poorly done. If anything is done bad it will make other aspects of the game look bad.

    Warcraft has one of the single coolest fantasy styles going, that is made so obvious in their CG video of the game. Unfortunately the WoW graphics engine was built to be sold to a mass market so you get a game with an excellent style that ends up looking like this.


  • @kmxs: I just picked the new ones that I saw from VE3D. All the newer ones look better than the older ones. That’s why I linked to the sources. 🙂

  • @Keen – Well you know what I mean though, like in this example of the video of the month for War.


    That video is gag-tastic. Weak animation in combat, crappy particles, and a lot of the char models are pretty weak.

    The part I liked the most about it was the dragons, then I pulled up an old video of Nefarion and then they just looked weak in comparison. And BWL is what, 2 years old now?

    That is only on the graphics end of things. The combat in that video looks kind of boring as well. Maybe that’s just my opinion, but based on that video the game doesn’t look very fantastic. And that is the video Mythic released last month as the “Video of the Month” to show off their own game.

  • All this talk of killer graphics is meaningless in an RvR game because you know it’s all about pulling the camera back as far as you can, to display the widest angle of visibility, and then panning it around psychotically as you seek out your next target! 😛

  • Watching scripted NPC’s fight on a client that has shadows, lighting, and textures turned off or to their lowest setting is going to look gag-tastic and boring. I agree with you completely that Nefarion and BWL look 100x better than that. And I think that’s March’s votm.

  • “Watching scripted NPC’s fight on a client that has shadows, lighting, and textures turned off or to their lowest setting is going to look gag-tastic and boring.”

    Spoken like a true Fanboy, I bet its an old client as well right? 😉

  • Also on that point Keen. What evidence do you have that shadows and lighting are turned off. The new screenshots you posted are global light with bloom and no dynamic shadows as well. There is no evidence that the game is going to look any different then that.

  • I havent read the other comments that have been said so far but from these screenshots WAR is looking pretty good graphically. I dont know what they specs are looking like now but if they were to get similar specs as AoC it would make alot of sense, the ability to get really nice graphics and in 6 months from now the amount of people able to run it will be alot better

  • Are you trying to provoke me or something kmxs? I just agreed with you that it looked gag-tastic and boring, but you’re not stupid, right? I’m going to assume you recognize the differences between scripted AI fighting and real people fighting. I’m also going to assume that you recognize the absence of all lighting, shadows, etc, right. So again, why does that make me a fanboy?

    And it has been said numerous times that the client currently has all shadows, textures, and lighting off. That’s a fact.

  • Keen…why are u so in love with WAR..when u haven’t even played it…its beta is worse than AoC from what i have read and heard from! AoC is better! just learn2play on a good pc! >.< still <3 your blog tho.

  • @ bartlebe

    ouch man the bla bla bla stuff wasnt needed I thought we were discussing, but either way nm that comment took me away from discussing cheers….

  • Keen, you said “Looking at screenshots from just a few months ago and then looking at the ones from today show a big difference in shadows, textures, depth, and art.”

    The shadows and textures look the same to me as the “Ever Forward” Video. If Warhammer was supposed to be released one might assume that they have tested the graphics engine and textures and they are just working on content and gameplay which has been slowing the release. This is the impression I get anyhow.

    Is there an interview I missed somewhere that says the game will have full dynamic lighting and shadows eventually? Most of the arguments defending the graphics of the game are speculation by diehard War fans who defend it without any actual merit or credibility. Honestly I think at this point what you see is what you get, if I’m wrong I’m wrong. But until I get actual evidence otherwise the game looks like it could benefit from a few graphic features that are available in most of the games that come out these days. namely, dynamic shadows, lighting and bump-mapping. To me it looks like it uses the WoW engine and just has a higher polygon count on character models. The environments are extremely low poly count and the animations looks stiff and unatural. Whether a player uses an ability or an AI-Script the same animation occurs.

  • On defense of keen he isnt sayign war is better or whatnot what he is saying is war has great ideas and innovation especially for pvp. And that shouldnt be overlooked.

    What i got from keen when it came to Aoc was the performance I still think he is going to give it a shot coming release date.

    I for one didnt get the amount of bugs keen recieved but I did crash a descent amount and the skipping was annoying. Bugs and crashes are a huge turnoff in games so i feel werhe he is coming from…

  • @kmxs

    Do you like anything? Ever?

    Before you say yes and defend yourself…think about it a second time.

    I have been known to argue just for the sake of arguing but you sir, take it to a whole new level. I tip my hat.


  • I’m not saying one is better then the other either Trix. Just debating the topic on hand.

    Did I miss something Bartlebe said or something? I try to make sure to read his posts 😉

  • No you didn’t. I was just poking fun at you a little bit because you’re always so combative! I hear that star trek fight music play in my head whenever I prepare to post something to you.

  • Hye keen my last posting for the night I want to see a graeve post he is so queit Oo

  • @kmxs: Yes, you missed an actual statement by a dev that said the settings were down. (I’m scrambling to find the link) But, you’re right in that it looks like it has a lower poly count. It does. That’s basically akin to the whole topic here about accessibility paving the way for better gameplay.

  • The animations, at least in their currently displayed state are what kills this game for me. The video of the month looks like a turn based battle, like something I’d see in Baldur’s Gate. Those games were awesome mind you, but that also was not a mmorpg, which requires a bit more action since the story is a bit weaker.

    All the PVP focus in the world doesn’t help if combat looks turn based.

    AoC has me worried too… is the NDA STILL in effect for it? Wow, I’m glad I have a few days to wait and see before I decide to pickup my preorder. Guess I’ll start waiting for Sacred 2 now.

  • Blah looks like WoW. Not that it’s a bad look just tired of it. Now there is a game called The Chronicles of Spellborn that looks tasty…I love that art direction.

    AoC is smoking hot but not sure if I will be able to play it…if I can then I will be in Hyboria for a very, very long time.

    Although Spellborn may take me away simply because of the team there and their attention to story.

  • @Bart what are you basing that on? I like the graphics in AoC and I don’t think they went far enough with the graphics in Warhammer.

    If you are refering to why I pick points to debate that are contrary to what others say, well that’s because conversation isn’t going to benefit from a bunch of “yes men”. That is why I come back here and post, Keen has very different opinions to me in a lot of areas, it wouldn’t be very interesting if we agreed on anything.

    I could say the same thing about you regarding my posts, you get all nit-picky on my comment and make the statement that “more subs make an mmo better” without actually making an argument to defend your claim. Did WoW get any better at 10 million subs as opposed to 2 million? Subscribers are indicative of how good a game is, or how variable a crowd it caters too. As long as the company is making enough money to pay its developers its going to become the game they think they want it to be. On the contrary some might say that too many subscribers can hurt a game, because then the content and balance decisions become more about holding onto subscribers and making money for the shareholders, I’ve seen that a few times in MMO’s only to watch them turn into massive boring timesinks. Two examples of that type of thing would be AA levels in Everquest, and Daily quests in WoW.

  • Dam thought this was my last post but I have heard really good things from people in spellborn.

  • kmx I like the sunwell Daily quests quick and easy money lol and better pvp then the Bg’s….

  • Keen that’s part of the point I made earlier though. A ferrari doesn’t need to be accessible to a larger crowd in order to be a fine ass car to drive. If WoW had sold with a much more robust graphics engine and was only able to support half of the subs that it did based on PC limitations, the gameplay would be the exact same, it would just look better. I’m not saying one way is right and the other is wrong. I’m saying that high end graphics don’t subscract from the quality of gameplay. If your trying to run it on a computer that wasn’t intended to handle it then yah its going to ruin your gameplay. It seems people think its their “right” to be able to run a new game on their existing PC.

  • @Kmxs: I appreciate where you’re going with this but you’re taking it slightly too deep for the topic at hand. The topic is simply about whether or not graphic intensive games become a barrier for better gameplay. Example: AoC’s city sieges are only 48v48 (pending, according to Funcom). Could they have been 100v100 if the game didn’t require so much from your system? DAOC had epic battles twice that size six years ago.

    48v48 battles can still be great, which I think makes us in agreement when you say that graphics don’t subtract from quality. But they certainly do get in the way when they are pushed to the bleeding-edge.

    @Q: Please don’t derail this and turn it into a “WAR is WoW!” or WAR vs AoC debate. That’s not a battle you’re going to come even close to winning here.

  • There you go, Q’s video has character cast dynamic shadow yet the rest of the npc’s and models don’t, and the world doesn’t either. I am willing to bet that is exactly what the game is going to look like. And it doesn’t look that bad, like DaoC meets WoW, but why not just take the time to add in a few extras with toggles in the menu? And the poly count of the environment could be higher, then give people control over the textures to change performance/quality. Bump mapping would be sweet as well, flat textures look so horrible once you’ve played anything recent. It’s like switching back to VHS after watching DVD’s for a year.

  • I’m fine with the 48 vs 48. Its large enough to be a wild time, yet its small enough to still be controllable. Besides this has more to do with bandwidth capacity then it does graphics. Its the same reason you don’t find many FPS games with 50 vs 50, because half of the people in the game are going to be 200 – 300 ping. I am not saying that having a lot of char models on the screen at once doesn’t affect performance, but I doubt that is the fulcrum of why they have chosen 48 people on each team.

  • Umm Q feeling like wow isnt exactly a bad thing but will say this all the arguements abou the melee combat in war bieng horrid just flew out the window mind you there is only what 3 skills to use in that video. The graphics look really smooth…

  • “This looks a hell of a lot like WoW.

    And it did. There was no denying it. From the low-poly engine, to the cartoony models, even the UI layout¡ªeverything had an immediate sense of¡­ familiarity. It was nearly deja vu¡­ as if suddenly it were 2004, all over again.

    Well, I told myself, appearances can be deceiving. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and all of that. Let’s see how it plays.

    Unfortunately, this thought was very shortly thereafter followed by another: This plays a hell of a lot like WoW, too. ”

    Source: http://news.mmosite.com/content/2008-01-23/20080123041020120,2.shtml

  • @kmxs: Okay, so that example didn’t go over well with you but do you at least see what I’m trying to say?

    And in regards to the shadows, etc, again please see my comment that it’s been said officially that dynamic lighting, shadows, and all the slider toggle goodies and such have not yet been added to the client being shown. I’m trying my darndest to find a link for you.

    @Q: No disrespect meant Q but please, enough already. I’ll start deleting future comments.

  • Yah lowbie level aside and what not that is one of the better War videos I’ve seen yet for sure.

    @Keen, in thinking you need to realize I argue points, not complete preference of game. I try to keep on topic. I like Warhammer and I want it to work out, I wish it had better graphics considering it isnt even out yet, and I am very sketchy about the longevity of the end game PVP.

    Think back to when we argued about the macroing and mashing of the AoC combat system. I was never defending it because I liked it, I was pointing out how you had given a false interpretation of what “would or would not work” within the system they did give. Honestly I don’t even prefer the system and I doubt it will ever be copied, but just try to keep that in mind here, I’m not attacking you bud, just your opinions in specific areas.

    Besides, this place would be boring without me around 😉

  • Looking at the new screenies and I am reminded of a little game called Granda Espada…buth with out the dynamic shadows/bump mapping/lighting. Just looks like a rehashed old engine.

    I think I would have taken a serious look at this game if it actually appealed to my left hemisphere. Should AoC SUCK BALLS and this game NOT be WoW 1.5, I’d try to get a free trial. However I am NOT and WILL NOT buy a game that looks like this even if it is screaming fast on my 3 y/o comp.

    Again, I am not downing it or anyone who wants it, but it is not my (or my friends) cup of tea.

  • After several years in the graphics/game industry, I can tell you guys one VERY important thing that I realized. Its doesn’t matter if there are crashes/bugs/performance issues with AoC’s game client, simply because it CAN be fixed. What I am trying to tell you is something more sinister… so to speak. The premise that because WAR uses older generation graphics can surely run well and better than other mmog games that rely on latest hardware, it is unfortunately a fluke.

    Graphics hardware vendors/manufacturers do not necessary cater for backward compatiblity support. The recent range of hardware we have right now on the market are far more homogeneous than those in the years of Geforce 4/Radeon 8500. Sure you can play WAR using these old hardware. Sure you rely on crappy old graphics for the sake of gameplay, by relying on some amount of backward compatibilities.

    Once the plug on a particular old component in the supporting drivers is pulled, you won’t be able to even play it. Its that simple. So what good is the innovation in WAR if you can’t even play it, because they can’t run older generation graphics on their new hardware??

    The second thing is that if there is a glitch that is due older components in the drivers or the older hardware, it won’t be fixed. Thats the deal. So we will always have that glitch, not that it can’t be fixed, but the people who have the power to order it, wouldn’t spend his resources there.

    Simply because, we are all expected to upgrade. And not by Mythic and Funcom, but rather by NVidia and AMD/ATI. I have my fair share of disappointments. I don’t see a much of millionaires right here that can spend on the latest hardware every now and then. Change is hard.

  • @kmxs: It’s tough to judge WAR’s graphics when the game is still undergoing so many drastic changes. That’s why they delayed the game. We ARE in agreement (as much as you’re not going to like agreeing with me) that the graphics could look better. But here’s where preferences enter and the topic can’t go much further… you either like it, don’t mind it, or you hate it. Nothing either of us can say can change that.

    The graphics for what they are trying to accomplish are perfectly fine for me. I like them. Heck, I really can’t find anything that I don’t like about them. The art style, direction, and Warhammer continuity are spot on. They’re also going to allow for A LOT more freedom than AoC’s graphics which are beautiful, but c’mon you can’t deny they’re restricting what Funcom can do at THIS point in time.

  • Keen isnt criticizing aoc graphics just its performance guest yoru one of the lucky ones that didnt crash or lagged or staggered.

    Well anygame out on retail beats war graphics cause perchance war is in beta closed at that.

  • time will tell about AoC performance…no one can 100% say it was random, was because of stress test, or was because of client…to whether y some had performance issues in AoC and some had none…im just hoping release is good enough…Funcom can fix the bugs later…i just want a good foundation/concept.

  • <– I’m in the Closed Beta for War and played in the Open beta for AoC.

  • So there is nothing you don’t like about this:

    I think AoC’s engine will restrict some PC owners from experiencing the full beauty of the game, but that’s life. I mean where do you draw the line? There is no black and white on this one only how much quality you want to sacrifice for performance (made this point in last thread or 2). Just because there will only be 100 servers in AoC opposed to the 1000 in WoW because the hardware limitations only allow for higher end PC’s does not mean the game itself will be worse or better because of it. Those 2 things do not coincide.

    In fact the irony of it is that most of the frustration with AoC’s engine “after the miracle patch” were that people with shitty computers “want” to play it but can’t. I “want” to drive a Maserati, because I cannot doesn’t make the game worse, nor does it limit the potential or progress of the automobile now, or in future incarnations.

    I’m not trying to get “deep” here I’m trying to bring it to the surface to point out that if AoC sucks, its not because they made it look rad, its because they put in shit like that gimicky combat system that forces us to micromanage mundain details of gameplay and takes the focus off of the really cool abilities.

  • Keep in mind that anyone in the WAR beta can not discuss anything. Additionally, even if you aren’t in the beta I’m going to do my best todelete nda violations.

    I’m hoping that when Graev and I go to E3 we’ll be able to sit down and play some WAR to really give our impressions on how it ‘feels’. Perhaps they’ll have a more updated version to show at E3.

    @kmxs: Screenshot looks fine to me. Could use the polish that they’re going to add later to the graphics engine but overall it looks good.

    You’re sorta taking what I said on a tangent in the wrong direction about AoC’s graphics being restricting. I’m not talking about the end-user here. I’m talking strictly about Funcom’s ability to develop gameplay around their client/engine/graphics/etc. Simple fact is they’re going to be barred from doing some things that ARE doable in a game with less bleeding-edge graphics.

    “I’m not trying to get “deep” here I’m trying to bring it to the surface to point out that if AoC sucks, its not because they made it look rad, its because they put in shit like that gimicky combat system that forces us to micromanage mundain details of gameplay and takes the focus off of the really cool abilities.”

    You have my complete and utter agreement on that. Completely 100% no questions about it.

  • @Medve_Bosc whats ur overall opinion on both? cons/pros? if u dont mind…even tho u were only in the open beta and didn’t get enough time to play AoC more…im still would like to hear what people like u have to say about these 2 games.

  • Yah, but he can say which he likes better. The War beta or the AoC beta. Or did you have more fun in the WoW beta?

  • Actually that gimicky combat system is quite fun, especially those of us who came from Asheron’s Call where that type of combat system got it’s origins from.

    As far as graphics go, both games have good graphics. I was initially in awe of WAR’s before I started playing AoC.

    Graphics though don’t really matter much to me, especially in a pvp setting. What matters is gameplay and so far I enjoy AoC’s game play a lot. The one good thing about WAR is that their DEV’s, other than Mark Jacobs, actually listen to their beta testers. So here’s crossing our fingers that they get it right.

  • Dang these comments are moving so fast I can barely address them quick enough…

    @kmxs: I edited my last comment #79, please read. 😀

    Additionally, it’s an NDA violation to imply any feelings about the WAR beta whatsoever even saying that you like one game more. Strict, I know, but I’ve been enforcing them as a moderator on the VN boards where Mythic gives us very clear direction on that.

  • I played AoC Pvp weekend(again low settings, older comp) and it looks about 20% better than all the WAR screenies I’ve seen. When I upgrade my comp soon, I want to be able to make my games look better, not just run better while looking the same.

  • Yah I just don’t see what the nice graphics engine is limiting that’s all. By the time battlekeep and borderlands is really starting to pick up (6 months – 1 year) more folks will have better computer, more technology will be out on the market and more patches and performance fixes will be in place for AoC. Also like I said, I would like to give 48 vs 48 a try before I go asking for more folks. I remember some of the keep defences in DaoC with much smaller numbers that felt like pure chaos.

  • I had decided to play both games even before I was invited to the closed beta for WAR back in Aug. of last year. Right now though, I really enjoyed AoC’s combat system more. Not to say I didn’t like WAR’s but AoC’s felt much more meaningful.

    I also found it quite ironic and most people already know this from WAR’s podcasts but WAR’s beta was moved to the kind of focus testing they are doing now because…well I won’t say why but take a hint. I also found it funny when they said in places like VN that they brought it down because the beta testers hated Scenarios. Think about it for a second. What did EAMythic add to WAR and start heavily promoting after taking the beta down in Nov of last year, hmmmm…..?

  • Well you can always google search it and you’ll find lots of beta players opinions on war =) I have access to a beta account through a friend but he can’t use it for a couple more weeks or something. That being said there is an NDA anyhow so it doesnt matter for arguments sake.

  • @kmxs #87: That’s being reeeaaally conservative on the time it takes people to get battlekeeps. Most people will max out their chars within 2 months. If it takes 6months-1yr for battlekeeps to pick up then AoC is in real bad shape.

  • Like I was saying, they brought the WAR beta down, went into focus testing and pushed back the release date a full year for a reason(s). Again I will also state that luckily there are other developers there besides Mark Jacobs, because if there weren’t… I shudder to think of the state WAR would be released in.

  • WoW didn’t have PVE Endgame or PVP at all until the 1 year mark, so… you may want to revisit your presupposition on that one.

    People level and guilds build at different speeds, its going to take a while before the system starts to work out the kinks of a growing lowbie population and guild base. It’ll settle into a rhythm, until then its going to be hard to get the scope of how that system will really play out.

    On another note altogether. Check this guys blog out Keen I think you’ll like it, I am putting a link to a thread he posted that I got some enjoyment out of.


  • @Medve_Bosc: I shudder to think what state it would be in WITHOUT Mark Jacobs. He’s really been showing lately that he knows what the WAR community wants.

    @kmxs: Oh, I know it takes a while to level and all of that. But keep in mind the competition AoC faces in 6months-1year and how their game is appealing to a very small niche right now. WotLK and WAR will take AoC out back and give it beating to remember if it takes 6months-1year for the game to take off. They’re going to have to do all they can to get people loving the game’s long term content asap.

  • Keen think we could get a discussion going like the one on that site I just linked to? I think that would make for some interesting conversation. When you ask yourself “What do you really want” out of an MMO and consider all the options available its not an easy question to answer, thats for damn sure.

    Well I’m gonna settle in with the wife and watch some shows, great topic for today =)

  • from what i have heard on youtube, blogs, and ventrilo chat…WAR beta is worse than AoC ever was….more bugs, more glitches, etc. but time will tell i guess….anyways im upgrading my pc in 2 days..spending $500..hope AoC is worth it…but right now..I REALLY NEED A NEW GAME….ive been bored of PC since GW…and Console games…don’t have MMOs…so they bore be after like a week!

  • @kmxs: Last year around September I had a series of discussions like that. I’ll revive them not that more people read my blog and see what type of talks we can get going. 🙂

  • Keen, sadly you have no clue what goes on in the beta boards.

    Like I said, I’m happy there are OTHER peopole doing WAR, without them…I believe WAR would be a completely different game and moving in a completely different direction than it is now. Luckily, it’s moving in the right direction. The question remains, will it reach the goal of where the consumer wants it to be when it’s released?

  • even tho most think I am like a fanboy for AoC..which I am…WAR will outsell AOC…just because it has a bigger audience and can handle most pcs…that being said, it doesn’t mean it will be a better game.

  • This is kinda cool:

    “- More than 1 million people signs up for the Age of Conan beta!

    – More than 5 million unique visitors to the official Age of Conan website in 2008 –


    The coverage and interest on external gaming sites has skyrocketed as a result of the growing anticipation. Age of Conan has topped numerous charts as the most read about, most popular and most anticipated PC game in development. As an example, GameSpot.com has Age of Conan as the #1 most read about upcoming game over the last month, on any format. The game has seen a similar interest on genre specific sites, including being the #1 most popular MMO over the last 12 months on MMORPG.com. Print gaming publications have also covered the game widely, and the game now has over 20 covers, including the coveted cover of PC Gamer US. ” ~ Source: http://funcom.vnewscenter.com/press.jsp?id=1210680470510

  • “When all is said and done, what was my overall impression of Warhammer Online?

    That it’s going to be a solid horserace for a new number two MMORPG this year between it and Conan.

    Taking into consideration Funcom’s checkered history in the genre, and what I would assume to be the greater popularity of the Warhammer universe over Conan, I’d put my money on WAR.”

    ~ Source: http://www.mmogamer.com/01/21/2008/first-and-second-impressions-warhammer-online/5

    kinda agree with this…but i think AoC will be a great game…kinda wish they had like…6 more months to work on it – to get it perfect before release..but whatever.

  • Guys, again, I’m deleting comments that violate the NDA.

    You CAN NOT imply your impressions or feelings of the game without breaking the NDA.

    You can only say:

    1. There is a beta
    2. I am in it.

    Nothing else.

    Thanks guys for respecting my wishes. 🙂

  • This is what I get for leaving for a couple of hours. I miss all the fine chances to argue with kmxs.

    There is always tomorrow!

  • i showed a friend a War screenshot she knew nothing at all about the game i did not tell her what it was but her comment was cool you make a new char in WoW i really did not see how much they where alike before that

  • In my opinion WAR is a game with a realistic style just like AOC is. The developers tried too hard styling characters and environments, wich resulted in too many realistic details for a fantasy setting. In my opinion a fantasy style is casual and cartoonish. We can all recognize shapes and constructions, but the colours and details make the difference. In a fantasy setting they don’t realy matter. Things look “cool” in fantasy stylized games. In Realistic stylized games things look “real”. The big difference between AOC and WAR is the subject of the game. WAR is a full fantasy subject while AOC has some elements of our own history, wich makes it correspond more to “real”. In my opinion AOC is in the right style compared to the subject. I think WAR has a much bigger chance in a fantasy setting.

  • Sadly to say, when AoC releases all the WAR-Lovers/AoC-Haters will rate it a 1 in everything just to pull it down a few ranks on mmorpg.com. So after it is release it wont stay on top of the charts for very long. Thats also the people rating stuff like gameplay low if they personally do not like it.

  • One of the things I rarely see mentioned is that games tend to go for the graphical style that best suits the mood they want to depict.
    Games like WoW, Warhammer Online and the new Battlefield Heroes try to convey a light-hearted, zany atmosphere. Sure, in the appropriate world lore all hell has broken lose, but the mood created by the graphics is not one of doom and gloom. Trying to put it in a nutshell, the cartoony style means it’s Asterix and Obelix in what, lore-wise, ought to be a fantasy version of World War I, with Vietnam (erm…Stranglethorn Vale?), genocide and ethnic cleansing thrown in for good measure.

    With all due respect to the skill of WoW’s artists, the cartoon style doesn’t help creating a feeling of universal war, mayhem and suffering. It does help creating a fun and, dare I say, family-friendly game…

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and there’s certainly nothing “easy” about it either. But it’s a road games that take place in a more grim, “serious” setting can’t copy. If they want to give you really a “feel” of being in their respective universe, they have to emulate that fictional reality as best they can. And that means more “realistic” graphics (really meaning “stylised pseudo-realistic”). And the more “realistic” graphics are, the more they have to look “up to date”, as it were, as these graphics tend to be judged by the standards of what’s current at that moment (for instance, Morrowind’s graphics were amazing when it came out, now they look crap – though various mods may help a bit here).

    In other words, a game with a grim, realistic and serious mood (which does not exclude a sense of humour, but isn’t dominated by it) requires grim, realistic and serious graphics. And that still means relatively hefty hardware requirements. When it comes to these kind of graphics, being seriously behind current standards will cost you. Years ago I was interested in EQ and UO, simply based on the idea of being “multiplayer” online. I never played because, frankly, their graphics looked like crap; they were WAY behind the graphics standards of that time (both, by the way, went for as “pseudo-realistic” a style they could manage, given that their worlds were “non-silly” fantasy settings).
    I was, and am, genuinely astounded at (and in a way grateful for) the willingness of so many people willing to play those games. It might be interesting to investigate whether those games remained niche activities (compared to more “mainstream” games of that time) not just because of their mechanics and the lower degree of internet connectivity, but also because of, erm, less than stellar graphics.

    In this respect, LotRo has been mentioned several times as a game that manages the “payoff” between graphical quality and hardware-friendliness well.
    I wonder. Two things: First, despite being a reputably well-made, polished game with attractive, hardware-friendly graphics, it has only managed somewhere around 150,000+ subscriptions. Nice, but nothing astounding and THIS IS A GAME AROUND THE BIGGEST IP IN ALL OF FANTASY LITERATURE, IN THE WAKE OF A HUGELY POPULAR MOVIE TRILOGY.
    I would suggest that, compared to the WoW juggernaut, and regardless of initial launch troubles (lack of higher-level content, blabla), neither the polished gameplay, nor the illustrious IP, nor the good-yet-hardware-friendly graphics have been more than moderately effective selling points.
    Second, concerning the “mood” that the game’s graphics convey. I have to admit I base this on watching a gazillion movies and screenshots, rather than actual gaming experience, but the game, while having moments of undeniable beauty, feels…odd. All too often, I don’t have the feeling of looking at Middle-Earth; the graphics are sometimes too colourful, other times they have a “crude”, somewhat cartoony feeling to them. It’s an odd mixture of not-so-good, okay, good and even great graphics that somehow feel “not quite there”. It’s a personal reaction that I suffer far less from when looking at AoC. “Hardware-friendly” graphics come at a price too in terms of immersion, I suppose…
    I know from some friends – also old fantasy fans and Tolkieniacs – that they have the same feeling regarding LotRo. I would summarise it as “LotRo looks very nice, but it has a slightly cartoony look and it’s not Middle Earth to me”. AoC, to my critical eye, seems to get much closer to what I envision the Hyborian Age to look like. And that’s why, with a new machine and after 3 months of waiting for the game to settle down, I will almost certainly buy AoC and don’t really consider LotRo.
    I will consider Warhammer and maybe even dip into WoW again after WotLK, but I’ll definitely be wearing my “funny hat”. I mean, squig herders and goblins in tuxedos…funny, but I won’t experience the “taste and smell of blood, iron and sweat” in those games, that’s for sure.

  • Nice post Tentakel, I agree with you on the immersion and feel. DaoC didn’t go overly cartoony but stayed true to their own style and gave the game a somewhat gritty feel. I always felt my character belonged in the DaoC world and the immersion experience with the environment held a real tangible nature to it.

    That reminds me of the random MMO’s I try out and sometimes they look like everything is done correctly, but something is just not right. You can’t always put your finger on it but it gives you that sensation.

    In AoC I didn’t really get a fantastic sensation from my Tortage newbie area experience, but the first time I zoned into Old Tarantia I was blown and away by it. I really don’t think Tortage is doing a whole lot for AoC, if it was trimmed down to like 10 levels and they got rid of directional combat and threw in auto attack it would go a long way to making the game feeling more accessible right off the start.

    3 more days =)

  • I’m not sure if this helps, but this is a pre-alpha video showing the difference in the graphics between lighting off / lighting on. There have been numerous discussions on forums all over the place about the fact that until very recently all the bells and whistles have been turned off in the beta client. They’re testing content and balance, not graphics.

    No, WAR is not going to have AoC level graphics. Yes, it is going to have more extras than most of the current screenshots/videos would imply.


  • @kmxs Thanks, my post was a bit wordy but it’s not easy being concise in another language when it comes to a complex and subjective matter like graphics and mood.

    I know the “not quite right” feeling well. It’s probably your subconscious telling that something – usually the visuals and they way things are “arranged” in a zone do not fit either the graphical style or the accustomed level of quality (or “cohesion” with the rest of the world).

    I myself like a lot of the Warhammer visuals. The dwarves look great, so does Altdorf and witch elves, hmmm…:-)
    Still, something does not feel quite right to me. In my case, I suspect it has to do with the discrepancy between the (pseudo-) “realistic” humans and elves, the somewhat more cartoony dwarves and the very cartoony orcs, goblin shamans, squigs etc. (as well as some of the landscape and architecture). Stylistically, Warhammer looks schizophrenic; somehow, this seems less apparent in the miniatures game. Warcraft has this too, to some extent, in the depiction of relatively “realistic” (if heavily idealized) female humans and elves versus the more cartoony rest (now guess why that is so…)

    (Come to think of it, I am beginning to suspect that I prefer Mythos’ seemingly more consistently cartoony graphical approach over both WoW and Warhammer J)

    As for Tortage it’s one of the oldest parts of the game; Cimmeria probably also; their imagery was some of the earliest shown in vids and screenshots. I suspect that, as in all things, the artists and programmers got better over time. Certainly, the inspiration in real-world historical architecture and non-D&D-esque traditions of fantasy illustrations is very palpable. Funcom’s artists did a lot of research (in one vid, I could see one of them studying one of the Osprey books on ancient military history). Whereas other fantasy art is very self-referential (fantasy art imitating fantasy art imitating fantasy art imitating…well, you get the picture), Funcom seems to have gone at great length to “feed at the source” and stea…er, borrow, from the best.
    There’s a fairly successful recent fantasy movie trilogy which did the same thing J

    Anyway, I agree that graphics alone do not make a great game, not without great gameplay. With the latter, AoC would be the kind of game pushing the sale of a lot of PC upgrades (and well-equipped new PCs). Without it, it’s going to be just another “has-been”. Right now, the varied reactions seem to indicate it’s somewhere in-between.

  • I’m not going to read all 116 comments, but I want to forwarn everyone: do NOT get pulled into a game from screenshots. Remember how amazing Vanguard looked in screenshots? The minute you started moving around in the world that beauty was lost by aliasing, bugs, bad lighting, lame animation, etc…

    Unlike a picture a screenshot speaks one phrase: Our game looks neat when it’s not moving.

  • Just wanted to point out that AoC isn’t based on realism, it is based on Robert E. Howard’s universe set in Hyboria. Sure, it doesn’t have elves, goblins, or trolls in it, at least in the Tolkien-sense, but it isn’t based on reality.

    Anyway, I’ve been following both AoC and WAR. I’m more of a WAR 40k kinda a guy, but I’ve enjoyed the few RTS games of WAR like Mark of Chaos. Unfortunately, WAR just looks like another run-of-the-mill MMO.

  • @Alex Taldren:

    At least as far as I’m concerned, by AoC being (pseudo) “realistic” I mean it’s closer in feel and mood to (historical) reality, albeit with the violence and sex turned up to 11.
    Howard’s Hyborian universe was certainly fictional, but he did link it to the history of our own world, setting it in the Old World “before the last ice age”. Some of his “historical” stories had direct connections with his (fictional) prehistory.
    Anyway: fantasy yes, but with roots in historical romance. It is sometimes suggested Conan (and other characters like King Kull) came into being because it saved Howard some hard historical research. If you look at some of the country and city names you’ll find many of them were taken from the real world(‘s history). A country like Stygia was supposed to be the direct ancestor of historical Egypt in Howard’s universe.