The grand warhammer online experience turned out to be…well, not so grand. After a little over a month, I decided to cancel my account. The game did provide an interesting experience in the early levels, but things started to taper off towards the level cap of 40 (I had reached level 37 before calling it quits).
On the flip side, I re-activated my World of Warcraft account to play with some of the new talents before the next expansion hits, Wrath of the Lich King. Taking a minute to reflect on WAR and make some comparisons to WoW:
Achievements: I believe Xbox was the first to really push an achievement system, and WAR definitely took that idea and ran with it. Unlocking special novelty items while exploring off-the-beaten-path areas can be fun for a bit, but I’m not big on achievements. Besides, Warcraft just patched in it’s own system so it’s a wash.
WAR’s Public Quests vs. WoW’s elite quests: These are basically tasks in the game that require multiple people to complete, offering very good rewards. The Warhammer public quest system was a great idea, but once a player gets past level 20 or so, the public quests are often deserted. If they somehow tweaked the system to make it either more rewarding or easier to complete with fewer people, I’d like the public quests a lot more. For now, I think the Warcraft model of simply creating outdoor, 5-man encounters is the way to go. Do it on your own time, with your friends.
Player vs. Player: this is WAR’s claim to fame. 80% of the game is dedicated to PvP, with a large focus on massive combat involving 100+ players fighting against one another for control of keeps and castles. Between the instanced scenarios and the open realm vs. realm combat, WAR clearly has the upper hand in PvP. It was also nice being able to gain experience and level through PvP. I hear Warcraft might be implementing a similar system, which is a good idea.
Player vs. environment: in the end, this is why I canceled my WAR account and went back to WoW. The PvP in WAR was a great time, but the scenarios got dull. The large, open PvP was a blast, but it seemed to only take place during prime time playing hours. I found myself looking for people to run dungeons, but I could rarely find enough people to run one or there simply wasn’t a dungeon for my level. In Warcraft, it’s much easier to find 4 people to run a dungeon, and dungeons are everywhere.
Warhammer was refreshing for a bit, but lost its appeal quickly. Even though WAR had one of the better releases in the history of MMOs, it was plagued by server ques, bugged quests and talents, and periodic bursts of latency. Mythic is still hot fixing the game several times a week to try and squash bugs. I hope Warhammer goes on to be successful because it is never good having a single, dominant game for an entire genre. Competition is a healthy thing, and will force Blizzard to keep innovating and improving their game.