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Blogzilla 1985 (The MMORPG.com Edition)

The greatest MMO blog inspired by a Japanese movie monster that you'll ever read. Do YOU Blogzilla?

Author: TuxedoSLY

The Death of War....hammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Posted by TuxedoSLY Friday September 20 2013 at 1:34PM
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It was with a sadness in my heart that I read this morning about the closure of one of my personal favorite MMORPGs - Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. This is a disheartening development, but not an entirely unexpected one. The MMO world is starting to emulate Hollywood in the sense that they'll use you, abuse you, and bury you on a whim. If you've read any of my other MMO-centric blogs you'll become suspicious that I'm very critical of the industry as a whole.

You'd be right on the money, my friend.

Don't be mistaken though - I'm the biggest fan of the MMO genre there could possibly be. I respect it as something unique and ambitious. I had stars in my eyes and love in my heart when I was a teenager and the industry was new. Games like Ultima Online and Everquest showed me that a video game could become something more than a "one and done" single player experience. These games built worlds and relationships between strangers, and we all grew in a new era of discovery.

Fast forward fifteen years or so and the discovery is dead.

The bonds are broken.

The strangers are now enemies.

There are a number of factors you can blame the demise of the MMORPG on.

First and foremost is the player base grew up and apart. Even the worst game can become something spectacular if the players make it that way, but the golden age of gamers is over and has been replaced with this new era of tea bagging, shit talking, and cowardice behind the safety of a computer screen. The good ones have either left their virtual days behind them or barricaded themselves into their own group within these games and have become the minority. They're outnumbered by hordes of kids with their parents credit cards and a lack of maturity or civility. Call of Duty and Halo have taught them to shoot first, shoot second, shoot third and when everyone is dead maybe ask some questions. They bring that sense of territorial isolation to OUR worlds and drag us all down as a result. Some of those players grow up and develop into worthwhile human beings, while others call you a faggot or nigger for doing something as simple as not having the right gear score.

The mass amounts of MMO's released every year is the other big contributor the downfall of my favorite genre. I think there are somewhere along the lines of twenty to thirty games put out per year when you factor in F2P and P2P titles. If you count mobile games the number increases to a staggering level when you consider that when the industry was new you were lucky to have four to five different choices. The community was smaller and more devoted to each other, and the games really benefited from that. Once the flood gates were opened and "casual gamers" started invading the MMO space, they started pumping out new games monthly.

 
It would be so easy to criticize World of Warcraft at this point for being the ultimate villain to this world we love. A lot of people would point to WoW as the Lex Luthor of our story - ruthless, greedy, and powerful enough to do whatever they want. Games blame Blizzard for opening those flood gates, and some even fault them for ruining the industry with the now standard "fetch and kill" quest style. But, believe it or not, Blizzard and the monster it created are not the Anti-Christ of multi-massive online role playing games. You cannot fault someone for becoming successful. Blizzard never forced anyone to play, and they certainly never forced the other developers to rip them off and take the industry in a completely "copy and paste" direction.

Individuality is up to the individual, that's sort of why it's called that.

Regardless of the reasons, the industry is suffering from a lack of a good community and fresh ideas. A whole slew of games have come out recently that seek to change the way we look at MMO's. From the best selling Guild Wars 2 and radically unique Secret World to the upcoming EQNext, it feels like they're really taking a stab at fixing what we all broke.

But I present to you the argument that fresh ideas have been available all along, and we've just been stuck in a daze. It's like Street Fighter, and the big strong fighter named Cliched Design just hit us with an uber combo that made us puke and stand there with birdies circling our heads.

There have been some games that I've really enjoyed that bit the dust way too early, including ones I've mentioned on here before like Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes. They were great games and revolutionary in their own ways. There have been a lot of titles to be laid to rest in the MMORPG graveyard in the past few years, and yet we're still pumping out title after title like a goddamn Mediocrity Machine (TM).

And that brings us full circle back to Warhammer Online. As I got myself settled in at my other job, which conveniently enough is still in the gaming industry, I read that they'll be shutting down the serves in December.

That one hurt a little bit and I got the same kind of sickly feeling that I had when I heard about City of Heroes. This one is a little worse though, because as much as I liked CoH as a game, I love Warhammer as a universe. From the witch hunters to the space marines, I love everything about Warhammer. My best friend and I play Dawn of War 2 quite often, and I even bust out the original Dawn of War sometimes. I love the miniatures, although I'm way too broke to dive too deep into that aspect of the universe. Besides, I'm more of a digital kind of guy.

Obviously.

I preordered the collectors edition of Warhammer Online and, even when I sold off a huge chunk of my collection, kept it simply because it was Warhammer. I played the game for years off and on, and every time I logged in I felt like I was apart of something awesome. Aside from the stylized and darker graphic style that I adored, I felt like the core gameplay was a real shot in the arm for an industry thirsty for change.

Go back a few paragraphs and read again about the argument that we've been fed fresh ideas for years and were too blind to see it. Warhammer Online was a big push in the right direction and gave us all something new, or at least did it better than previously thought possible.

It was the first game I can remember doing public quests in, so those FATEs you do in FFXIV are nothing new. Hell, Guild Wars 2 based a majority of their game around that system.

The PVP, to me, was a major selling point, atlhough it made it difficult to convince my fiancee to play with me since she absolutely despises fighting other players. I absolutely loved the feeling of real war though, and I felt an emotional investment in destroying the agents of chaos with my witch hunter. I became an incarnate of death, with a sword in one hand, pistol in the other, and a skull painted on my face to let my enemies know that judgment was coming. The battles we had in that game will live on in my memories next to those guild battles in Ultima Online and vanilla WoW when I was a sergeant in the Stormwind army. Warhammer presented a violent and darker alternative to the kind of race wars that games like WoW presented. You really felt like you were apart of war.

As a whole, from the unique questing system, graphics, and PVP, Warhammer should have been a massive hit.

It wasn't.

It sold a lot of copies at first and was quickly praised by a lot of reviewers who found love for WAR. But that was at a time when it seemed like every MMO that came out got great reviews, sold tons of copies, and a few months later suffered a horrible player base loss and a reversal of opinion. I remember Age of Conan suffering a similar fate, and that was another title I feel should have been way bigger than it became.

So why did everyone abandon WAR? It was fun and unique, but also suffered from a lack of content and the people in charge made it clear very quickly that they weren't going to support it like they should have. There have been no real expansions for Warhammer since it's release, barely any updates or new content, and just a general lack of interest in a game from a beloved IP with all potential in the world.

Who can we blame for that one? What company could piss away such a golden opportunity with such a fantastic world to explore and expand?



Oh, yeah.

Them.

They killed the Ultima franchise, which is one of the most respected and influential RPG series in history, so why shouldn't they be the one to kill Warhammer?

I'm reading an official post on the WAR website that states the closure is due to the licensing agreement between themselves and Games Workshop ending. For those interested, it reads as such -

We here at Mythic have built an amazing relationship working with Games Workshop creating and running Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning over the last 8 years. Unfortunately, as with all licensing deals they do eventually  come to end and on December 18th, 2013 we will no longer be operating Warhammer Online. As such we will no longer be selling 3 month game time codes or have the ability to auto renew your accounts for 3 months as of September 18th, 2013. If you would like to read some additional thoughts from one of WAR’s Producer please check out http://www.warhammeronline.com/.  From all of us here at Mythic we thank you again for your dedication and support over the last five years.

A lot of people are going to say that this is just a normal closure and I'm blaming the wrong people for this. I call those people naysayers. If EA supported the company behind Warhammer Online then they would have put out more content, more expansions, fixed a lot of the linger problems that held it back, and increased the player base.

The only reason I stopped playing in the first place is because I developed a fear that the game would shut down due to lack of commitment. I was right, albeit a few years later than I originally expected.

EA is one of the most corrupt and evil entities in the gaming industry. Screw those bridges, let's burn them all down right now. From their arrogance to their shady tactics like repackaging the same sports titles and selling them at full price, EA is a devil that needs to die. They buy people up just to destroy what they've done. They pushed out Richard Garriott and took Ultima away from him, in the process turning my favorite game of all time into an uglier version of WoW with poor quests and gear progression that destroyed it's soul.

Sure, I'm bitter about that. I've never forgiven them for it, and when news like Warhammer's closure comes out I realize I'll never have to forgive them.

I'm honestly surprised that Ultima Online is still active,  much less a completely P2P title when so many others have converted to a free system. It's just a matter of time, really.

I know that Ultima will soon be dead, and EA can add another notch to it's bedpost. On this day, though, we have Warhammer to mourn.

From Leinhardt the witch hunter, I lay my pistol and blade down for the last time.

MMORPG.com writes:
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