An analysis of WAR’s game world

Thanks go out to Bartlebe and Wickidd for sparking the idea to write this blog post.  We were talking on ventrilo about a review Wickidd had found that discussed the game world in Warhammer and it got me thinking about how I can relate the game world in Warhammer to other mmorpgs.  The game world is one of those ‘things’ where I often have a hard time transcribing my feelings into words.  In this review that we were discussing the authors described the world as small and restricting in regards to exploration –  I believe the term “linear” applies — compared to WoW.  In many ways, they are correct.

Warhammer’s game world is a healthy mix/falls between LOTRO and WoW.  LOTRO’s game world is really linear but also restrictive with mountains, ledges, and quest objectives being placed often times only feet off the beaten path.  WoW’s game world is rather open, does to an extent promote exploration, but has a lot of wasted space that serves no purpose.  WAR’s game world, especially early on, is fairly linear by design.  You always know where to go to level because once you have finished chapter 5 you go to chapter 6, etc.  (That’s why there will never be a need for leveling guides!) Although the game is linear it is also designed to allow, encourage, and reward exploration.  WAR is not just about quests like WoW and LOTRO; there are PQ’s, quests, and of course RvR and dungeons to level – and grinding if you really prefer.  Once you get out of the first tier, which you really should before passing judgment or commenting on the world, the world gets much bigger and spread out.

I think this type of layout is ideal.  Although I really love enormous game worlds, I really hate wasted and useless space.  EQ2 is a great example of a beautiful and vibrant complete waste of space.  There are entire regions and even entire zones that are worthless.  What’s the point of that?  I would rather have a smaller world if it meant the space was used efficiently.

People, for the most part, will be pleased with WAR’s game world.  It opens up a lot more in the higher tiers and is really fleshed out with content.  This is slightly off-topic but I’m really excited about the sheer number of things to do in the game.  It feels like whichever direction I turn my character I always have something that I can do!

  • I agree with what I have seen as well. Theres alot of things to do to keep one occupied and break the monotomy.

    Been playing AoC since it came out to kill time before War.

    The content is very limited and the endgame, Nonexistent.

    Glad they waited to put out a fine tuned product 🙂

  • I agree…and from what I have heard in video interviews, many good loot opportunities are OFF the beaten path. Explore, enjoy, WAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHH!

  • Yup dont forget the lairs which you have to explore to find, and the little bits of scenary (like hidden books etc), and views that give you tome unlocks.

  • I kind of plan to spend a good deal of the OB off exploring some of the nooks and crannies of the tier 1 zones. This way I can quickly get though them on release then have a leisurely stroll though the rest of the world.

  • Huh? WoW is wide open? Since when? I recall it quite striking that so few zones (mostly those surrounding Elwynn Forest) were “open” while so many of the other zones had bottlenecks that were the only way in or out. I’ve encountered only a scant few bottlenecks in LOTRO… Maybe Outlands is more open, I don’t remember much of the zone layout in beta, but I certainly remember the vast majority of Azeroth being bottlenecked.

  • It’s all relative, Scott. I used two mmorpgs (LOTRO and WoW) that are very close to WAR’s style of world on either side of the spectrum. Compared to some mmorpgs these games are tiny and nothing more than a cage.

    WoW is definitely more open than LOTRO in terms of more than just zone layout. WoW is ever-so-slightly more open than WAR because of geography and the tier/chapter layout, in my opinion. Taking into consideration ‘reason’ to explore and content in regions/zones/areas and my point is illustrated a little better. WAR is the ‘sweet spot’ between size and functionality.

  • I assume the second screenshot is from LOTRO? It looks quite amazing compared to WoW and even WaR (the screenshots that is). I know my brother played LOTRO and didn’t really lik it, hence why I never tried it I guess.
    anyways, WAR’s world is sure going to be unique from what we’ve heard and seen so far, so no worries there.

  • I haven’t gotten a feel for WAR’s geography yet. Having only played a Rune Priest to rank 11 and renown 9 I am somewhat limited in my perspective. I did however run through some type of swamp area that was mid to upper teens content. It seems pretty open and the only complaint I have at all on the layout is some surfaces seem like you could walk up them, but your character actually would get caught on an invisible ledge of sorts.

    One of those things that really bugs me in MMOs is invisible barriers. Places where it looks like you can keep going, but run into an invisible wall. There were very few of those in WoW. EQ2 was filled with places like that, not to mention zoning in and out of every area.

    The best games keep the map mostly open and have no linear progression path to follow. If I want linear progression I can always play Titan Quest or something…lol

  • Like liberty, try Vanguard. Talk about a game were you can explore a lot and do whatever you like at any given time.

    Build your boat and explore the ocean, rent a flying mount for a few coppers and fly over mountains, pretty much anything is possible from the exploration standpoint in VG.

    Actually, the game is so open and does not much to give you those precious hints on where to go next and you feel sometimes pretty lost out there…

    Maybe that’s a reason why I didn’t stick to the game for very long, mind you that was at launch where everything was soooo buggy.

    Now with Trial Island coming up soon, it might help new gamers or returnee to get a better grasp at the world.

  • pretty much the only thing i liked about LOTRO was the game world, it just felt right, rest of the game was just boring to me.

    WoW did it best if you ask me tho, they just had it right. War does feel more boxed in to me, but you notice it less and less as you go, and the world just feels right also.

  • Got to say the wide open world is always something I’ve really liked about WoW. Of course there are some arbitrary barriers, but they tend to be really well hidden/disguised. In most areas, your ingenuity could let you travel wherever you wanted. So you could swim around the old continents, you could climb over the mountains that separated many zones, you could jump down cliffs (provided you had a way to survive the fall or fell into water) to get from place to place, etc. But I agree that, pretty and accessible as they were, there was really no reason to visit a lot of locations. I always wished Blizzard had put more quests, etc. in hard to find locations just to reward explorers with a bit of fun. There are quite a few, but there was room for tons more.

    Warhammer definitely seems more constrained in the brief time I had to look during Preview Weekend, but I see the logic of their approach and understand the zones get larger and there’s more room for exploration in later levels.

    Plus I’m really, really, really happy not to fly in real time between flight points (Blizz always claimed those 15 minute cross-continent flights were necessary to make the game more immersive, but they were just a huge waste of time after the first trip).