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News & Features Discussion  » Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning: Re-Reviewing WAR

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  3/25/10 9:21:37 AM#1

MMORPG.com's Luke Brooks takes another look at Mythic Entertainment's RvR MMO, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning a year after its original review.

With so many MMOs currently available, it’s easy for us, as gamers, to shun a title due to a few minor flaws. Being spoiled for choice has made us scathing critics, so it is a rare occasion in a gamers’ career where you find yourself truly immersed in an online world.

The first time I experienced this ‘feel-good’ sensation was in October of 2001. Mythic Entertainment released Dark Age of Camelot, which boasted an amazing world enthralling thousands of gamers. With a 25 year old thriving Warhammer franchise fan base, it was expected that developer Mythic Entertainment, which had a demonstrated ability to develop an excellent MMO, would deliver an experience with Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning to shake the very foundation of the MMO genre.

MMORPG’s Michael Bitton first reviewed Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning in April of 2009, several months after the initial release. Today we take a look at the past year, and determine whether it’s still worth joining the WAR .

Read Re-Reviewing WAR.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Paragus1

Highlighted Blogger

Joined: 6/29/06
Posts: 1748

Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.net

3/25/10 9:50:26 AM#2

Not sure I quite agree with the score given the cons listed on the side of the review.

Desolate ghost cities make for a very lonely gaming experience.
Endless Free Trial…
It’s still US$14.95 a month for the full game. Money which could be spent on a complete, polished MMO.
Poor End-game content
The already lacking solo and PvE content has been hacked down to little more than a stump.

These to me sound like pretty serious flaws that would make me not want to touch this title with a stick, specifically the poor end-game content and horrid PvE.    PvE is half of the game, so if it is THAT bad, I don't see how the game is scoring this high.  We also have to remember that this game follows the "theme-Park" model, so if the endgame content is piss poor, then there really is no point in playing this game.  Maybe if you compare this game against what is a standard MMO in recent years, I guess it is "Average".  I find this descriptive funny and depressing at the same time.

Regardless, always glad to see MMOs being rereviewed as they change for the better or worse.   The bit about the endless free trial I found pretty interesting.   I never really thought about the extent that people would milk it.   The only other beef I have is talking about Mythic statements about future plans and factoring them in.   We can't rate games on potential or what they could be, only as they are.

  arctarus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/26/06
Posts: 2582

3/25/10 10:00:54 AM#3

For me 1 of the things that kill this game is too many PQs in each zone. They should also remove SC totally, no point playing BGs over and over again.

Basically they try to be like WoW and fail. If we wana play WoW we would have stick with it.

Surprisingly i dont think any other companies learn this lesson...

 

 

 

RIP Orc Choppa

  Gunstra

Novice Member

Joined: 9/03/07
Posts: 13

Pull your britches up boy this isn't East LA, this is the RVR Zone.

3/25/10 10:01:23 AM#4

All games have flaws in one area or another, there is no true great mmo on the market, no, not even WoW which is over rated and boring.

I play War, I pay $14.95 a month and so does my wife. The game is by far the best thing on the market, we love the PQ, RVR, Rally Calls and so on. The game has a unique feel and when I play War I don't feel like I am playing any other game or have played this game before over and over like I do with a lot of other titles (IE: perfect world, ether saga, jade dynasty, kung foo, and etc all built off the same engine just different graphics, same play style).

I will continue to play War and support it until the day it dies. Peeps can play the endless trial but to actually get a better feel for the game buck up and spend a few dollars, grab a couple months or 90 days and then come back and tell me what you liked and didn't like, you can't play 3 days to lvl 10 and then say it sucks, you didn't even give it a chance to even offer an opinion.

Mythic...keep up the good work. I will say that getting rid of the PVE content will keep it from feeling like any other mmo, but it is also not a great idea, if you had more of PVE balanced content with PVP/RVR it would be by far untouchable. Just my 2 cents.

Aion - Gladiator/Chanter Class
War - Warrior Class

  Vinterkrig

Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 1706

3/25/10 10:07:55 AM#5

no daoc has the best rvr , this game holds nothing on it

  arctarus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/26/06
Posts: 2582

3/25/10 10:08:08 AM#6

I agree PQ is a great idea and personally i love it and imo it should replace the current raid instance in all games.

But just not too much of it in a single zone which not only diverse the players but when the pop is low, its hard to find players to play with.

Glad that you enjoy it mate, and hopefully what the head of bio/mythic said is true, more contents to be added and even an x-pac to come for this game soon...

 

 

 

RIP Orc Choppa

  red_cruiser

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/07
Posts: 443

3/25/10 10:16:14 AM#7

Faction vs. Faction will never be the best RvR... need at least three to keep it interesting.

  SteamRanger

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/24/03
Posts: 919

I don''t have to know how to make a better game, I only need to know where the "CANCEL" button is!

3/25/10 10:27:59 AM#8

At this point, it would be better for EA to shut down WAR for 6 - 12 months, focus on releasing a complete game, then re-release the thing without the influence of Mark "We Know How To Design Games" Jacobs. Trimming content is just stupid. Conventional wisdom is that giving customers more is the key to retention.

The Empire/Chaos Tier 1 area is a mess because of the Endless Free Trial and illustrates real well how lengthy free trials are a bad idea. There is no real community here, only a chaotic mess of freeloaders playing the same content over and over because they can be jerks for free. There is no real commitment to the game. Playing through either of the other racial pairings is a bittersweet lesson in wasted potential. I can't see how EA will be able to restrain itself from pulling the plug on this title after SWTOR releases, if not before then. Right now it's just a money pit.

"Soloists and those who prefer small groups should never have to feel like they''re the ones getting the proverbial table scraps, as it were." - Scott Hartsman, Senior Producer, Everquest II
"People love groups. Its a fallacy that people want to play solo all the time." - Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer, Rift

  User Deleted
3/25/10 10:38:08 AM#9

 yeah i would have to agree take war offline and actually make it worth wild, played in the beging but bailed due to how little it offered. make the factions split up more make it how warhammer should be better yet team bioware up with games-work shop that will give us a good MMO to call warhammer. our only hope now is THQ making warhammer 40k mmo that hopefully will be truely epic. we can only prey.

Originally posted by LordDraekon

At this point, it would be better for EA to shut down WAR for 6 - 12 months, focus on releasing a complete game, then re-release the thing without the influence of Mark "We Know How To Design Games" Jacobs. Trimming content is just stupid. Conventional wisdom is that giving customers more is the key to retention.

The Empire/Chaos Tier 1 area is a mess because of the Endless Free Trial and illustrates real well how lengthy free trials are a bad idea. There is no real community here, only a chaotic mess of freeloaders playing the same content over and over because they can be jerks for free. There is no real commitment to the game. Playing through either of the other racial pairings is a bittersweet lesson in wasted potential. I can't see how EA will be able to restrain itself from pulling the plug on this title after SWTOR releases, if not before then. Right now it's just a money pit.

  Jpizzle

Novice Member

Joined: 12/01/06
Posts: 396

3/25/10 10:44:10 AM#10

The improvements mentioned as ‘coming’ are things that have been requested or demanded to be addressed for one and a half years now.

Client and server stability are a must. It’s almost patronizing to list that as an addition to any game. I play AoC and anytime people list ‘stability’ as an ‘improvement’ I cringe. It should be a gol’damn standard!

But, for all its neat ideas and potential (which I think WAR has/had) it falls way way way short of being worth $15 a month. Other then large scale PvP encounters, which by the reviewers own accounts are viewed as counterproductive, the game is essentially as shallow and empty as a Cryptic game.

Having the ‘most fun’ PvP would be something to boast, if players could log on and experience it 24/7 (outside of the freebie area). But it’s not the case. WAR forces a mind-numbingly long wait-and-see type experience in RvR and players just don’t participate. Or, you have to be on at specific times. Further, it ostracizes casual players by not regulating “pre-mades” where the chance for random scenario groups to have a chance at winning (or having fun. Or not being farmed for RP) is zero. Being able to enjoy the core of the game is a gamble, and I don’t want to waste $15 a month HOPING I’m on at the right time, w/ the right people.

There’s just too many issues w/ WAR, and frankly the “band-aid” development that the game has gone through over the last 1.5 years shows in their patch notes and their populations (another factor that contributes to being able to have fun).

  AOCtester

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/08
Posts: 445

3/25/10 10:46:32 AM#11

Over all this is a decent revisit.  But it sadly lacks the insigth into the game and what it has been going through in the past year.  What I can tell you is that some things have gotten better - others have gotten worse - and some are still just the same even after Mythic tried to "fix em".

It’s still far from the game it should have been at launch, and it’s unfortunate to think it will ever reach that point.


This sentance pretty much sums up WAR.  Most players that played the game found the shortcomings pretty fast - and then soon realised that Mythic and specially EA were not gonna really try to fix the real issues.  That was just to big of a task to even try. 


I will give you few pros and cons based on my regular revisit to the game both on high levels and in endless trial. 

Pros.  
PvP at low levels.  First levels of War will give you quite abit of fun when it comes to PVP.  You can pretty much jump in and soon you will develop your basics of your class.  At level 10 you will find quite abit of fun jumping into the game for few mins killing others and beeing killed yourself

Interface is very good and well designed.  It gives you diffrent varieties over what class you play.  But since the game is now played by very few players - the addons are no longer the strong points that the game had.

Customising the characters:  The game has one of the best colour and dye system created in any MMO.  Sadly the lack of variety of looks and armor soon turn this feature into a negative - rather than positive.

PVE variety of mobs.  War has great potential features for The high lvl of variety it COULD offer.  The drawback ofc is that its not really used since developers are focuing 99,99% on PVP. 

 

Cons.

Quality control.  One of the worst quality control you will ever find in an MMO.  New patches are littered with huge issues that then takes weeks to fix.  Maybe thats because the devs are busy playing on the testservers and feeling like kings of the world.... instead of actually fixing the issues that are reported.

Bugs - bugs - bugs - bugs...  From graphical glitches of mobs dissapearing into walls - to exploided class mecanics - to pets running in the air... to scenario maps freezing up.  Its all there - and its not getting better.

Balance:  All sorts of balance is lacking in the game.  Class balance is one but it has been getting better after crowd control was reduced.  It took months tho and alot of players gave up or got sick of the same class mecanics beeing used to destroy the enjoyment for others.

Faction balalnce:  One faction will dominate the other on every single server you will find.  Nothing that Mythic have done in past months have changed it.  But they have tried.

Lack of variety.. You will play one scenario - and you pretty much have played them all ( specially now when they have been reduced to just few).  You play one Public quest - and you have played them all  (they are all the same 3 stages and kill the darn boss).  You play one keep battle and you have played them all.  ANd... you play one city capture ... and then you have played the entire endgame...  Do this for few months and you will soon understand why this game has so few subscribers.

I will add more about the game later - Have to do some work now ;Þ

  Thillian

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/06
Posts: 3228

3/25/10 11:03:30 AM#12
Originally posted by arctarus

I agree PQ is a great idea and personally i love it and imo it should replace the current raid instance in all games.

But just not too much of it in a single zone which not only diverse the players but when the pop is low, its hard to find players to play with.

Glad that you enjoy it mate, and hopefully what the head of bio/mythic said is true, more contents to be added and even an x-pac to come for this game soon...

 

 

 

 I believe the PQs are horrible idea. Even the last bits of group-content where you actually have a chance to socialize, is trivialized into this scripted event.

REALITY CHECK

  arctarus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/26/06
Posts: 2582

3/25/10 11:06:04 AM#13
Originally posted by Thillian
Originally posted by arctarus

I agree PQ is a great idea and personally i love it and imo it should replace the current raid instance in all games.

But just not too much of it in a single zone which not only diverse the players but when the pop is low, its hard to find players to play with.

Glad that you enjoy it mate, and hopefully what the head of bio/mythic said is true, more contents to be added and even an x-pac to come for this game soon...

 

 

 

 I believe the PQs are horrible idea. Even the last bits of group-content where you actually have a chance to socialize, is trivialized into this scripted event.

 

Erm.. compare to current instance raid, where you finish and go, its not much difference. But at least in PQ any class can participate, no such thing as 1 tank 3 dps 1 healer crap...

 

RIP Orc Choppa

  Lobotomist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/20/07
Posts: 4808

I got so much trouble on my mind Refuse to lose.

3/25/10 11:09:45 AM#14

I really dont understand EA , or Mythic

In a core WAR is a great game with great ideas behind it. And anyone that have played can tell you that when WAR works, its a blast.

So what went wrong ?

First of all - real bad PVE design. Lack of interesting content.

But this could be easily fixed.

 

Second. Scenarios.

The game was supposed to be ultimate RVR experience. Yet they added instanced scenarios that yielded much more experience than anything else in the game. Than they were suprised that scenarios was all anyone ever played, leaving the game desolated.

Simple fix. Either remove scenarios , or make the rewards much much smaller.

 

... and so on. I dont want to lose my time writting about this.

 

Bottom line. If there was a will, the game could be fixed and made very good. Easily.

But there is no will.

RIP

 

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17119

3/25/10 11:15:07 AM#15
Originally posted by Lobotomist

Second. Scenarios.

The game was supposed to be ultimate RVR experience. Yet they added instanced scenarios that yielded much more experience than anything else in the game. Than they were suprised that scenarios was all anyone ever played, leaving the game desolated.

Simple fix. Either remove scenarios , or make the rewards much much smaller.

 

There are posts in Warhammer forums from Beta testers who claim that it was the opposite. That the scenarios were prominant and that RvR was always secondary.

I don't know if that's true or not. i do know that I found the scenarios a blast and had some of the most fun pvp that I've had in a longtime while playing them.

  maideth

Novice Member

Joined: 3/25/09
Posts: 5

3/25/10 11:16:13 AM#16

i agree with almost everything,except for the part where you say "A restructure at Mythic is showing promise for updates and improvements"  they are lying to us from day 1,promising things they never deliver,why believe them now?

after more than a year they still didn't fix npc ai! that says it all!

  describable

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/10/09
Posts: 407

3/25/10 11:26:08 AM#17

The game desperately needs an expansion... something for the subscribers to look forward too, something for the Mythic staff to ge their butts into action and fix everything with the core game before then.

With an expansion they can do what was promised in 2008, and redo some of the game engine... they already have a better one developed (or did when talk of an expansion was first talked about).

"nothing actually matters, we're just slightly evolved monkeys clinging to a dying piece of rock hurtling through space waiting for our eventual death." - Frankie Boyle, Mock The Week

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17119

3/25/10 11:32:08 AM#18
Originally posted by describable

The game desperately needs an expansion... something for the subscribers to look forward too, something for the Mythic staff to ge their butts into action and fix everything with the core game before then.

With an expansion they can do what was promised in 2008, and redo some of the game engine... they already have a better one developed (or did when talk of an expansion was first talked about).

I agree. Look at the expansion for AoC.

It has reinvigorated the idea of playing AoC. Will it succeed in cementing AoC as a game to play for years to come? Don't know.

but given the changes that people (and themselves) have said that they made and this upcomign expansion, suddenly AoC feels like it has forward motion.

Warhammer needs this and they need to announce it with all good speed.

  FolbyOrb

Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/08
Posts: 357

3/25/10 11:32:40 AM#19

I played Warhammer for a few months after it originally was released. I enjoyed it a great deal. People complain about all the things I liked, which I guess is the quintessential "one man's treasure is another man's trash."

I quested while queuing for Scenarios. When I came across a PQ I'd do as much of it as I could on my own and if there were others there I'd party up with them and sometimes we'd do the PQ two or three times or until everyone wanted to move on.

Crafting was the one big disappointment to me, but I went into the game not expecting a lot from crafting, since they had said it wouldn't be important in WAR.

I left when people who had leveled to 40 before me played endgame and confirmed the rumors that the city sieges were PvE and not PvP or RvR. That strongly disappointed me. Why play an RvR game all the way through, put in all the time and effort of locking down zones, through RvR, only to get an instance of the enemy city so you could kill their King?

If they do change that aspect, as has been rumored, I'll be back in the WAR in a heartbeat.

Playing | FFXIV: ARR
Wanting | ??
Watching | Arch Age
Retired | WAR, Cabal, MO, CO, SHK

  royalewit

Novice Member

Joined: 2/01/08
Posts: 78

3/25/10 11:35:41 AM#20
Originally posted by Jpizzle

The improvements mentioned as ‘coming’ are things that have been requested or demanded to be addressed for one and a half years now.

Client and server stability are a must. It’s almost patronizing to list that as an addition to any game. I play AoC and anytime people list ‘stability’ as an ‘improvement’ I cringe. It should be a gol’damn standard!

But, for all its neat ideas and potential (which I think WAR has/had) it falls way way way short of being worth $15 a month. Other then large scale PvP encounters, which by the reviewers own accounts are viewed as counterproductive, the game is essentially as shallow and empty as a Cryptic game.

Having the ‘most fun’ PvP would be something to boast, if players could log on and experience it 24/7 (outside of the freebie area). But it’s not the case. WAR forces a mind-numbingly long wait-and-see type experience in RvR and players just don’t participate. Or, you have to be on at specific times. Further, it ostracizes casual players by not regulating “pre-mades” where the chance for random scenario groups to have a chance at winning (or having fun. Or not being farmed for RP) is zero. Being able to enjoy the core of the game is a gamble, and I don’t want to waste $15 a month HOPING I’m on at the right time, w/ the right people.

There’s just too many issues w/ WAR, and frankly the “band-aid” development that the game has gone through over the last 1.5 years shows in their patch notes and their populations (another factor that contributes to being able to have fun).

You covered my main issues with the game in your post.  I reallly wish this game could have lived up to its promise.  Even today when I log in I see how much potential the game has, but there are so many little things that needed to be addressed in this time that they've been adding new scenarios and classes and zones.  I would have loved to see a few months time where they did absolutely nothing but polish and bugfix things, unfortunately all they've given us is additional content piled on top of a mess of a core game.

I wonder if any big-name but failing MMOs like WAR have considered dropping their sub price below $15.  Right now there are just too many other games available for someone like me to justify spending more money on a game that might bore me after a couple weeks.  I think WAR would be a perfect test subject for a lower price point subscription MMO, say $5-$7 a month.  Do you think they could pull 2x the subscribers they have right now by offering a more realistic price point?  I think they could.  I think they could.  It's not a terrible game, but for the money there are a half dozen other MMOs that I'd rather spend $15 on.  $5 a month is something I would consider hopping in now and again to kill some time and check out new patches.  But it just isn't polished and engrossing enough for me to fork over $15 a month.  And I say all this as an ex-fanboy who was planning to be involved in this game for the long  haul--a CE owner who didn't subscribe past the first 30 days.

Two things MIGHT make me want to pay $15 to check it out again:

A 3rd Faction, which is not likely to happen when you consider all the extra animations and artwork or classes and skills and quests and crap that would need to be added to the game.  That would be only likely to happen in a full-size, boxed expansion update.  GLWT.

Alternately, consolidation of the 4 tiers into 2 tiers.  Tiers 1 and 2 become the lower tier, and tiers 3 and 4 become the upper tier.  This would help keep the players together, making the game seem more populated.  People always say that the game needs lots of players to reach its full potential, and if you divide the populace into two segments instead of four it could instantly help things out.  As it stands currently, it seems like the only people sticking with the game are either free trials or max level.  Tiers 2 and 3 suck so hard and are so underpopulated that 90% of the people who make it past level 11 are going to quit before reaching tier 4.

Tier one was some of the most fun I've ever had in an MMO.  Tier two started to slow down for me.  Tier 3 made me unsubscribe.  Even though what I propose would be a massive reworking of the game, I think that combined with some tweaking and polish of the different game systems (public quests, open groups and fortress/city sieges are 3 things that immediately come to mind as incredibly promising and exciting that never quite got there) it could really make this game as entertaining as it should be.  It really is a shame to have such a full and beautiful world be so empty and boring.

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