Warhammer Online: The MMO that jumps the shark
Aug 19, 2008 19:05:03

jump the sharkFor a solid decade now, we've been playing these MMOs. We all have made some serious investments in the MMORPG genre. Those investments are not simply monetary. Many MMO players have devoted their lives, or at least their valuable free time, to these games. Time is a valuable currency, and as we get older (read: closer to the big fade) time seems to become both harder to come by and harder to dismiss as a limitless resource. Naturally stemming from that change in perspective is the lone shift we've seen in MMOs: reduced grinding. Many members of the MMO blognotti are on record saying that MMOs have not changed much over the past ten years, and they'd be right. Core mechanics have stayed the same, the player base has remained focused on core gamers and the stories told within our favorite massive titles haven't shifted far beyond cranky Dwarves and stuffy High Elves. Only a single factor has continued to spiral toward change and that is the level of grind observed in MMORPGs (It has gone down). All other elements have remained static. For ten years.

Most game genres are allowed to rest on their laurels a bit. Puzzle games ranging from Tetris to Sodoku to the crossword puzzle need no innovation. Strategy wargames, computerized or tabletop, do not require much in the way of revolution. Even a relatively modern form of gaming, the almighty First Person Shooter, remains largely unchanged over the course of the past decade and suffers not an iota because of its sameness. These genres might already be perfect as they are. The game mechanics, simple or complex, are rooted permanently where they stand. Virtual worlds, RPGs and Massive games in general are nowhere near their potential. Not until we have environments nearing or exceeding those described in Snowcrash can we even begin to say the genre has reached it's pinnacle and for that reason, Mythic has officially jumped the shark that is the first generation of massive titles.

(Waits for Keen and Graeve to simmer down.)

Having taken part in the variety of game play modes that Warhammer Online offers, I can say with complete confidence that this game might as well have been released 4 years ago as it offers us nothing aside from one standout evolutionary concept, the public quest, that moves the genre forward. Is Warhammer Online the worst massive title on the market? Not even close. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that the overall quality of its execution put its easily in the top handful. Will it be a commercial success? Yes. I have no doubt that this game will be the number two western-world subscription-based game, probably before the year is out, perhaps much sooner.

All of that said, why am I so hard on Warhammer Online? The answer is simple:

It isn't fun.

When Richard Bartle said "I've played Warhammer Online before, it was called World of Warcraft", he could not have hit the nail more squarely. In fact, he hit that nail with an anvil wielded by a 200 foot crane. He's exactly right. What most witnesses to that nail-smashing carnage failed to note, was his true message. What they heard was "Your beloved title Warhammer Online is being called a copy-cat game". What he meant (and what I mean) is "Mythic spent tens of millions of dollars and a ridiculous amount of man hours to churn out the same old game." What makes a game that works just like every other historically fun MMO, not fun? The timing. The timing is horrible. It is way too late for a game that plays like this to be emerging on the scene. Repetition is decidedly not fun. As players, we're no longer grinding mobs, we're grinding MMOs. If you've walked away from WoW, EQ2, or AoC because you got tired of that world, that grind, that content - strap on your newbie boots - you have a whole new grind to work through. Here are some of the un-fun things you'll get to experience:

  • Killing Ten Rats. If you haven't killed ten rats enough in the past ten years, you're in for a treat because right out of the gate, Warhammer Online offers a myriad of Kill X Mobs quests to delight you. And that's not all! You won't even need to read the quest text because it is pointless. Story be damned, we're here to kill rats, not read. Gone are quests that have compelling stories or rewards. Just vacuum up those exclamation points and join the XP grab.

  • Realm vs Realm PvP combat. If you've killed enough rats today, you can participate in an exciting PvP game that I like to call "Chase the guy with the red name". It doesn't matter what the objectives are, or who that guy is. If he has a red name, chase him down and hit him in the back until he drops dead. And don't worry, there are no consequence to these battles - you'll spawn right back in. It's part of the game! For extra XP, try bunny hopping in a game engine that isn't suited to that sort of maneuver.

  • Looting. The real reason we play games: to get digital loot. It doesn't really matter how much fun we're having as long as the longsword has one more stat bonus than the other guy's. Get that loot at any cost, you can have fun later when you're playing your Wii.

    Great game? Not really. Bad game? Not really. It is hard to say it is bad when we've been playing that game for 10 years. The primary gripe is that MMO veterans like Mark Jacobs we unable to look into the future 5 years ago and say: "We better do something fresh." Instead, it honestly feels like they went for a WoW-cash grab. "We better get some of that market." We've seen tons of MMOs spring up with that same mentality and we've spent a ton of time making fun of them. What we didn't expect is that one of the big boys in the market would make the same mistake, even with a massive budget, a long timeline and plenty of talented veteran designers.

    Oddly enough, the right intellectual property or artistic vision can curb the pain, but it can't heal the wound. Age of Conan didn't break new ground in a huge way, but their vision and art direction seems to keep the life support on, at least for this player. After playing numerous classes in Warhammer, I started to think that perhaps I wasn't in the mood for Warhammer Online. To prove or disprove the theory, I quit out of Warhammer and loaded up Age of Conan where I played for 4 hours. And I had fun. I was still killing ten rats and fed-ex-ing items, but I was doing it in a world that had some heart, some beauty and some purpose. Warhammer seems to have none of these things. For that reason, this gamer isn't going to waste any of that increasingly valuable game time playing Warhammer Online.

    - Brent

  • Submitted by Brent on Aug 19, 2008 19:05:03 CST (comments: 81)


    'Interesting you mention Bartle' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 20:34:03 CST
    Bartle admitted that WoW was fun and that a game like WoW would be fun. Your argument sort of falls flat. Let me know how those fancy second generation MMOs come out.

    Though, I admire that you have an opinion on the matter differing from the majority of beta testers. I will put my money on WAR over AoC any day and I think the anemic AoC subscription numbers will continue to prove me correct.

    'esh..' by cyanbane
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 20:49:18 CST
    Its all subjective, but I have to say I think you are 100% wrong on this prognostication.

    PQs, Weapons, Sieges, the fact I was in a 200+ person battle (http://www.eq2-daily.com/discuss/yaf_postsm2088_WAR-The-most-fun-I-have-had-with-an-MMO-in-years.aspx#2088) with no lag (where the background wasn't black). After recording 50+ podcasts in which we pretty much gripped and bitched 75% of the time about a certain game, I think that 75% of that 70% of bitching has been implemented in WAR. Not just implemented, but implemented well.

    There are still some things that I am eager to see within WAR (other 2 cities, auction house, itemization of subset populations (PQ'ers vs RvR vs XP crawlers etc) but this game is going to be big. Really big. So big I can't believe all the time I have spent in beta (when I know my chars are getting wiped in a few days).

    Also I don't think you can underestimate the backing and resources of a company like EA. Thats a HUGE bonus that you don't touch on even if you feel the game does seem cookie cutter. There is money and people there for change (if the rest of the mmo player base does agree with you).

    I won't argue there may be some treadmills, but the beauty is that there are multiple treadmills. There might be a treadmilll for some people that seems very EQish, but there might be another that seems very DAOC ish, and even another with some very well written random group quests (PQs). Some of the treadmills you also have to fight on with your 200 closest buddies and hundreds of real PC enemies. Shit, I am all for that - treadmill or not.


    'He Wants Something Truly "New"...' by bildo84
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 22:10:17 CST
    I don't want to speak for Brent, but all I really got from his beta review is that he (like Tipa and a few others around our little community) is really looking for something new from this genre.

    I can't blame him for that.

    But I can tell you this Brent... you're dead to me. No one disses the Fonz and his water-skiing skills, no matter how inadvertent.

    Look, the fact of the matter is this. WAR is not going to change the genre at a fundamental level. It's still the same game we've been playing since the mid-late 90s. But it has done a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT of things that I wish those older games did. So many little improvements that it really does feel like a great new game.

    If the genre's going to see a paradigm shift someday soon, it'd be fitting that Mythic made the last truly great traditional MMORPG. But when this one hits, if it scores big (which it will) this won't be the last time you see Brent making these claims. Because more games will follow suit.

    'Consider' by mackeson
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 22:25:34 CST
    Consider that when Mythic began developing WAR they were an independent studio. That means the design was originally made for the budget and staffing abilities they had at that time. The EA acquisition is what allowed them to improve and expand the original design. It was developed, not designed, with EA's money, and I don't believe anyone will claim WAR is lacking content or polish.

    I think Brent (and others) are holding Mythic to a standard that is a bit unfair. I expect Copernicus, Stargate Worlds, and even KotORO will not be held to such a standard. Time will tell.

    Last bit, the one thing I definitely agree with is if you are not enjoying the game there is no reason to play it. Personally I have enjoyed watching WAR develop since I was invited to beta in Aug 07, and I enjoy the game immensely.

    'What's wrong with reaching for the stars?' by hoss
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 22:52:49 CST
    Brent I would like to thank you for your honest thoughts on this game. I'm amazed how so many people defend this game because if it's IP or because it's not WoW. It seems that some people can't see the forest for the trees. WAR is not a WoW Killer... and who cares.

    Ever since first reading Dr. Bartel's words I thought, "Thank you. at least someone can tell the truth". And then the Hammer of the "Internet Community", the so called denizens of our beloved games, had to prove that they knew better then the man who created the genre. I full heartedly agree with Dr. Bartle said.. there is no innovation in todays MMO's, and you know what, that's fine as long as the game is *FUN*.

    Now Bildo84 is right.. Fun IS subjective, however the mob rules. If 2 Million people pick up the box and then after 3 months the subs are down to 400K then 20% of the players find the game FUN (and probably found the game fun before playing) and the other 80% will go back to what they were doing until something NEW comes along. Obviously those numbers and 100% fictitious, but the point still stands and could prove to swing the other way.

    Since neither the hardcore fans nor the silent majority don't have a crystal ball (if you do can I have it), lets wait and see how WAR is doing after 3 months in the wild. If the game is fun enough, then it should do well, but if it's just the same old thing with a new shiny box then the results may vary.


    'Treading water' by Token
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 23:29:39 CST
    Very well written thoughts there Brent. I have dreamed of MMO's that use the potential of the genre. Online experiences that take us to new places, a couple of years ago I felt we were moving towards that at a painfully slow rate, more recently though I just think we're treading water.

    'Okay, so you don't like the game' by Keenandgraev
    Submitted on 2008-08-19 23:47:17 CST
    okay, so you don't like the game. There's nothing wrong with that. It's not your style. It's not what you're looking for. Most importantly, it's not going to change.

    I disagree with a few of your points, namely that this game plays anything remotely like WoW, but if you truly feel that way no one can dissuade you or talk you out of it regardless of how logical or reasonable they may be.

    May you find what you're looking for in the next mmorpg... It's only 2-3 years away! ;) But then again, what if it's no different either?

    'Responses' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 00:43:20 CST
    @Heartless - Did I claim subscription failure?

    @Cyanbane - 100% wrong on what prognostication? Honestly, I made no predictions.

    @bildo84 - My apologies to the Fonz, yeah, the genre is moving rather slow isn't it?

    @mackeson - There's an observation I haven't seen before. Quite astute. That is something to ponder. Does the EA shroud cause us to expect something bigger than was originally intended.

    @hoss - Yes, like I said, I anticipate this game will be a rather large financial success, and I agree, fun is a subjective thing, isn't it?

    @Token - Fingernail ripping slow pace, I'd say. But that is to be expected when $40+ million is on the line, isn't it? I fear that is one of the largest issues.

    @keenandgraev - I'm disappointed to say, you're probably right. My initial impressions, and my second and third impressions were rather bad and it'll take some considerable time and modifications to change my mind at this point. That said... I've changed my tune on LotRO to some extent (I didn't like that much out of the gate, but grew to see it's strong points) and I positively ripped the heck out of DDO when it launched, but am playing it now and having fun, though that is largely thanks to the team I'm grouping with, which as I've said in the past does tend to set the tone for a multiplayer title more than anything else. I can only hope salvation is less than 2-3 years out, but who knows.

    '@cyanban - correction' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 00:45:10 CST
    I was wrong, I did make predictions.

    " I have no doubt that this game will be the number two western-world subscription-based game, probably before the year is out, perhaps much sooner."

    You disagreeing with that?

    'Daoc 2?' by coppertopper
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 01:57:42 CST
    my only real concern is will this game give me the same intensity that daoc did with it's 3 realm(faction)
    RvR. That you can kill stuff and possibly get some random cool loot, and improve my avatar along the way - that's all I need until mmorpg 2.0

    'Yes its not MMORPG 2.0 but...' by coppertopper
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 03:46:11 CST
    ....to add to the above comment...Yes I would L0ve to have the crafting system of EQ@, and the combat system of AoC and the possible random purple loot drop of from any mob ala WoW, and the deep character customisability of DAOC - add it all up and you still have a current evolution MMO. But I would be exstatic to have all the above in one game. Does WAR have all that? I doubt it very strongly. Still, I hope many are drawn to the world RvR objectibes over the WoW clone PvP for gear grind currently offered in all but 7 year old DAOC>

    'mis-Bartling' by StEWork
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 04:03:15 CST
    I recall Bartle explaining, whilst wading threw flames, that his throw-away WoW/WAR quip was intended to be a reference to Blizzard's legendary "involvement" with the GW IP.

    Now, the author is dead, obviously, and Bartle certainly riffed heavily on the "incremental improvement" argument during that whole debacle, but I don't believe that quip was quite it.

    'This isn't a WAR sucks post..' by Brad
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 08:02:43 CST
    I think you really nailed it. Its not that WAR won't do well, its not that it isn't fun for some folks (I'd probably enjoy it), and its not that they haven't worked hard. Its just not a major step/revolution in the MMO world. It is still more of the same, save for a few baby steps in the right direction. I think some of us are looking for the next revolutionary jump, such as when things went from BBS' to the Internet, and from MUD's to MMO's. Something major, something spectacular, something that knocks the socks off of everyone. But as you and other say, its hard to make that type of risky jump when you have $40 million on the line, and you are dealing with case studies, stockholders, and the marketing department.

    'What changes are required to qualify as MMORPG 2.0?' by Kludar
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 10:49:25 CST
    I tend to agree with Brent's blog entry. That doesn't mean I won't give WAR a try, but I'm not expecting the kind of awe and wonder I had when I first played EQ all those years ago. I recently quit WoW out of boredom and went back to EQ2 for the Living Legacy promotion. The basic game play mechanics are very similar but my current enjoyment with EQ2 is based on familiarity with the IP from my EQ days, a graphic style that I prefer, and a much more enjoyable (IMHO) crafting system. For now, that\'s how I\'m getting my MMO fix and I'm sure it will sustain me for several months. (I won't be trying WAR at release after my experience with AoC at release.) However, it's just a matter of time before I'll get tired of EQ2 just the way I got tired of WoW. They are, fundamentally, the same game.

    Being fairly new to the VirginWorlds podcast collective, I don't know if this has been covered before, but I think it would make an interesting podcast or two (or three) to identify what types of innovations we would need to see in a MMO to qualify it as a next-gen game. Is it just a matter of cherry-picking the best features of everything that's come before and rolling them into one game? That sounds evolutionary, not revolutionary. When it comes to fantasy-based MMOs specifically, how does one revolutionize the basic gameplay?

    'Some like chocolate, some like vanilla...' by Snafzg
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 10:59:27 CST
    "I was still killing ten rats and fed-ex-ing items, but I was doing it in a world that had some heart, some beauty and some purpose. Warhammer seems to have none of these things. For that reason, this gamer isn't going to waste any of that increasingly valuable game time playing Warhammer Online."

    I can't fault you for it, but it doesn't really seem as though you're at all invested in the Warhammer universe. If you were, I think you'd be having just as much in WAR as you were having in AoC. Personally, AoC does nothing for me on a story or mechanical level, so I haven't invested any of my valuable time into it either, so I can't blame you for doing the same with WAR.

    To me, the above quotation seems hilarious because I find all of those qualities and more in WAR.

    To each his own.

    'No Suggestion' by Caedo
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 11:31:11 CST
    I can understand, and respect, your point that you didn't enjoy playing WAR. However, I believe it does bring a few new things with the Public Quest system, capital city taking, and several others to the table. Are these features genre changing? No. Are they good additions that other games should have thought of long before WAR? Yes. I've personally played almost every major MMO since UO at one point or another. I find WAR as the game that WoW was envisioned as to by the players before it hit. Everyone though it would be large scale war, but it wasn't. At least Mythic was able to do that. Of course, this all depends on the person that plays and who they play with. You can play an MMO that other people find crappy, as long as you're playing with your friends and you enjoy the time you're spending in it. So to each their own.

    Yet this isn't the real reason for this post. My argument with the post is that you complain that the genre is not evolving, yet you offer no suggestions on what it needs to evolve besides the subtle hints to remove the "Kill X" quest. Now I've heard you're exact same argument many of times (actually had the same one this weekend with a close friend), and if you're on the same level as him, I suspect your issue is with how you level.

    My friend wants a system where it's not "Kill X number of mobs and/or do X number of quest and you level. Wash, rinse, repeat." but where you earn the exp then spend it towards skills or stats. Mind you this system would work, but it's once again, the same thing with just a different outfit. You're still having to grind exp to get skills. Now I know UO did it where you didn't have to grind XP and would just get skills from use. This system worked but it still turned into a grind of getting skills up as fast as possible.

    Personally, I think if you're going to bash a game for not evolving the genre to the next generation, you should suggest what they need to do to do so. Personally I think you've been playing the genre to long and are expecting each new MMO to be ground breaking on all fronts, which is not going to happen. Look at FPS games, yeah the colors changes, maps changes, weapons, but how many out of the 100's that have been made over the years actually broken the genre into a new front. Not many.

    'Dead Argument...' by Wilhelm2451
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:13:05 CST
    @Caedo - The whole "don't criticize unless you can suggest better" is a dead end, and it almost always is. Why should Brent be held to do something that apparently Mark Jacobs and Paul Barnett couldn't? Brent doesn't get paid to do design games, but Mark and Paul do.

    Once in a while games do come along that drastically change or redefine a genre, or create a whole new genre. They are rare birds though.

    Was it fair to expect that from WAR? Probably not. I personally only expected incremental evolution and good technical execution. Judging from the beta impressions, from the most glowing to this one, that is what we got.

    '@brent' by cyanbane
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:14:45 CST
    Fair enough.

    Your right, after rereading it you didn't make any predictions only statements about your thoughts (and the one you did make I agree with).

    "Having taken part in the variety of game play modes that Warhammer Online offers, I can say with complete confidence that this game might as well have been released 4 years ago as it offers us nothing aside from one standout evolutionary concept, the public quest, that moves the genre forward. "

    I think the above is pretty much the synopsis for your writeup and like i said its all subjective, but I think the statement is full of fail.

    'MMO's need to become like Table Top RPG's' by BiggDawg98
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:17:05 CST
    The advancement system in MMO's was taken directly from table top RPG's ala D&D. Now the difference is in a table top game you don't feel the grind because the story pulls you in. In an MMO you dont have this story experience to cover up the grind (you only have the visual representations on the screen to draw you in, go pixels!). At it's base level all table top RPG's are a grind because they are just mathematical formula's for equivalent power varying on how long the game is played. If you just interacted with the mechanics of a table top RPG it would feel grindy as hell. What MMO's need is not a revolution in game mechanics, because by there very nature game mechanics are kinda lifeless and dull, but a revolution in online storytelling. The next generation of games will give players a more personalized and engaging experience while still tying them into a larger world. Kinda like a bunch of different table top gaming groups linked together through a common world, but each having there own unique experiences. To be honest I am not techy enough to figure out the details if this is feasible, I just see this as the only meaningful direction games could go in. There could be others, but then again I am no Prognosticator :).

    '@Willheim2451' by cyanbane
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:22:03 CST
    "Once in a while games do come along that drastically change or redefine a genre, or create a whole new genre. They are rare birds though."

    Minus M59 (and even that is arguable), what games have done this? EQ (M59 with some $$ backing)? EVE (Red Baron Online on a larger scale and in space)? I personally can't think of one pivot point for MMOs excpet maybe the jump from Door Games to Net based games.

    I don't see any 'next step' MMOs anywhere on the horizon, we can't all even decide what the hell constitutes one, much less know if one landed on us.

    I do agree that 'don't criticize unless you can suggest better' is a dead end though for all of us. I would love and MMO where I am fully immersed in virtual ale and whores (with bluetooth motion control!) for $15 a month, but that doesn't mean it is possible.

    '@ cyanbane' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:23:02 CST
    "I think the above is pretty much the synopsis for your writeup and like i said its all subjective, but I think the statement is full of fail."

    ...why is that "fail" statement?

    'IM not surprised yo udidnt like it' by hater
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:29:32 CST
    I've listened to you podcasts for a while now and Brent you seem to stuck in the EQ/raid/loot whore mindset to really get much enjoyment out of a pvp focused mmo. I knew you were not going to like WAR - everytime you mention it you never really had anything nice to say about it and i could tell you actually hated the game and were just covering it because it had a lot of people following it. (Where people like Michael Zenke, Keen and Graeve and even the MOG guys seemed really interested in the game)

    I cut my teeth on UO - I'd love another skill based sandbox mmo. I have played wow and eq2 for a good while (as well as a ton of other mmos) and I think at its core War is really fun and the game makes it easy to jump in and do things without having to wait around for other players. That is the revolutionary thing WAR brings to the table - gameplay that is easily reached by any person playing the game. Warbands and public quests are so simple but why has nobody bothered to implement anything like them before? Public quests are a great alternative to regular quests and are pretty entertaining. The tome of knowledge is more than a glorified collection of achievements as it actually has quite a lot of information in it.

    You mention Snowcrash? haha keep dreaming. While in principle that is i sound idea for a game the technical aspects of creating one along those lines are still a long way from being overcome.

    Most of the negative reviews i have read on war (and there are not many) seemed to be written by people that never got out of tier 1 or 2 and didnt really see how things open up at the endgame (Sacking cities and the dungeons that open up or even the massive rvr battles like Praag)

    Some of you misgivings sound to me like someone that gets a new car and says "this car is junk because it has 4 tires" because you really wanted a flying car

    '@Cyanbane' by Wilhelm2451
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:36:56 CST
    Are you saying that UO's game play or EQ's success did not change the genre? I will agree that anything that followed those two are not, but those two were flash points that changed the landscape. (Yes, M59 came first, but being innovative and first is not enough, you have to change the landscape of your genre.)

    'manlove to Brent' by Nezrak
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:40:22 CST
    Hey there, it's been a while since I posted something here but well... To tell you the truth, i was a bit surprised to see the article signed by you. I was expecting another post from our friend July! I do miss your posts Brent!

    As for the FPS: I guess you are wrong there, they did evolve, and for me, seeing the FPS getting in multiplayer online with Quake (and the others), it was a revolution. Seeing how AA, BF and now COD made the multiplayer fragfest into a mutliplayer objective squad based games, it was a revolution to me.

    Now, the only revolution we've seen into the MMORPG's is the changes already stated above: BBS to MUD to Graphics.

    1. In between the BBS and MUD, there was a huge gameplay change to integrate realtime multiplayer capabilities.
    2. In between the MUD and the graphx, well graphx.

    Now, what everyone want to see is : What can we do now with the genre? I do find that the RPG element is slowing moving out of the picture with the direction of everything. To me, WoW was a success because it was a massively multiplayer action game, implementing RPG elements (like the FPS are doing). What I find really sad, is that the RPG element is fading away with games like WAR.

    For different reasons, I highly doubt that WAR will do it for me. One thing is for sure, I hope EA don't start trying to be helpfull with the game in any ways... because they fail to be helpfull to any game communities (as far as my experience goes).
    @ BiggDawg98: I agree!

    '@ hater' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:46:30 CST
    "Most of the negative reviews i have read on war (and there are not many) seemed to be written by people that never got out of tier 1 or 2 and didnt really see how things open up at the endgame (Sacking cities and the dungeons that open up or even the massive rvr battles like Praag)"

    ...that would be an incorrect assumption sir.

    'WAR biggest appeal to me is the community' by Murashu
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:47:21 CST
    My guildmates and I have debated quite a bit over the last couple of months on what makes an MMO fun for each of us and obviously none of us agree on everything. Some seem to like games like AoC that focus more on solo play, pretty graphics and boobs but many more of us prefer the community feel that WAR encourages. I've heard AoC called a beautiful single player game over and over by friends and guildmates because that is what it feels like. FUNCOM starts the trend by making the first 20 levels a single player game and continues by having dull dungeons that give you less exp for grouping as you would get if you solo'd easier content outdoors. Not to mention they launched with a broken PvP system offering no rewards in a game that should focus a lot on PvP. WAR doesn't force you to PvP but they do encourage it by rewarding you for it. You aren't forced to group or socialize with others, but the game encourages it and rewards you again. For those who don't spend a lot of time playing the same game every night, solo grinds games like AoC and WoW might be more enjoyable but for those of us who want a game that encourages and rewards you for being a part of the community then I think WAR is by far the better choice. The only thing I really miss and think that AoC did right was the combat system, the rest of the game is just blah...

    And before anyone suggests it...nope I am no fanboi. I've never played the tabletop game and have only followed WAR for about a month but it's made a believer out of me.

    '@darrenl' by StEWork
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 12:50:39 CST
    "I've only really played tier 1 and some of tier 4...so I don't think I have a very good picture just yet."

    'huh?' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 13:19:15 CST
    @StEWork: You are correct...so that would make his statement incorrect since I did play tier 4, Praag etc....wouldn't it? At least in my case. And, since most beta people on the test server were bumped up to that tier in a recent patch, his statement becomes even more presumptuous. Bottom line....lot's of people got out of tier 1 and 2 to at least sample the experience, some even wrote reviews.

    'Evolution' by Foxmoon
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 13:53:30 CST
    While I agree that MMOs are evolving slower than I would hope, you have to remember that the genre is still very much in its infancy.

    The other important consideration is the industry is driven by profits. Companies with stockholders are not going to put up the millions it takes to develop an MMO based upon the hope that it will be successful. They need convincing. Nothing convinces them more than past success. No parent company is going to risk significant capital on an experiment, and frankly, anything revolutionary or even significantly evolutionary is basically an untested experiment.

    Each game that is worthwhile is going to move the genre forward...some with baby steps, some with toddler steps, but the mainstream games are not where you are going to find the major innovation...it will come from the smaller, upstart, fringe efforts by companies we've never heard of.

    As the industry grows, more companies will become involved, more games will fill the void, and the onus will become to stand out from the crowd. In that environment, taking risks will become more acceptable.

    We're just not there yet.

    I have in my mind the game I want to play. We're about 3% of the way there. The technology doesn't yet exist to make it on an MMO scale. The game I want to play may only appeal to 5% of the gaming population...or .5%...

    That having been said, I am very much looking forward to playing WAR. I will play it as long as it's fun, then I will move on. Considering that $15 a month is less than the price of taking my family to a movie (a large amount less!), I don't think of it as much of an investment for my entertainment dollar.

    Thanks for listening.

    '"You say you want a Revolution, well, you know..."' by Grimjakk
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 14:40:10 CST
    "We all want to change the World..." ahem.

    I respect Brent's opinions, but I totally disagree with the statement that "It isn't fun".

    If he'd said, "I didn't have fun", then there'd be no argument. People are going to find fun in different things. I can't stand Eve or WoW, for instance. ;)

    For me, as both a 25 year Warhammer fan and a long-time RvR fan, WAR is frankly the perfect game at the perfect time. Now, maybe I'll think differently once I've pushed a character or 3 into T3 and 4. In my one week, I only got 3 characters into T2 and played another 5 or 6 up to the top of T1.

    I had a blast. ;)

    A game doesn't have to be revolutionary. It just has to be good.

    'Bad Brent! I think you're wrong on this one for sure.' by Celestian
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 15:34:52 CST
    Warhammer is the only game that has RVR. Yeah you can PVP in WoW and a lot of other games out there but it's not RVR. Keep, tower, milegate defense is some of the things I find the most enjoyable. That is innovative. Yes DAoC had RVR but it's even better in Warhammer.

    The PVE, is well PVE. I quit PVEing at level 5 and PVP'd from then on out, leveling up, making cash and having fun. That's innovative. I dunno any mmo coming out or in existence that actually lets you level up in RVR as fast as PVErs.

    I respect your opinion but I think your dead wrong Brent. Could be you just don't enjoy RVR style play or something but for me I can't get enough of Warhammer.

    'I think it's a fun game' by Rotacidare
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 15:51:03 CST
    Ok, is it a rehashing of many of the same things we've been seeing in MMO's for years? Yes, I will say it definitely is. Does it bring something fun and new to the table? I say yes. The game's well done PVP that offers so many of the aspects many players have been wishing for years is a great feature. In addition, there is some really fun and engaging PVE content. I agree with you in the sense that there are some drawbacks (totally agree on the kill 10 rats comment), but I think the game is fun and many people will like it.

    If there's anything I have learned over the past year through branching out and trying a bunch of different MMO's it's that the people you play with make or break the game. If you have a great group of friends to play with you will love a game and if not you will get tired of it and leave. I do think WAR's open grouping system and RVR combat make it a lot easier to want to work as a team. However although the public quests are awesome in War they encourage "temporary grouping" that only lasts 10 minutes. So you have a lot of grouping, but not many long term friends made.

    My point is I think the game is worth checking out...and is certainly possible to get engrossed in. I agree with you that many will find it just another run-of-the-mill, but those that are willing to look deeper might find something they have been searching for for a long time.

    'Predictions...' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 16:24:27 CST
    Predictions are only valid if you back them up. Posting that WAR is "dead on arrival", "just more of the same", does not support a prediction of "2nd largest western MMO". At some point down the line, you changed your opinion Brent and that is completely fine.

    You don't like WAR, because you want "next generation". Propping that position up with references to other game genres, Bartle quotes, etc. is not going to change the fact that a lot of players will be playing WAR come September.

    I even managed to pass over your factual errors in the post. RvR (aka PvP) requires absolutely no PvE input. You can run, as a level 1, straight into a RvR scenario or area and PvP to your fingers bleed. Oh, and you can level, gain gear, and attain realm ranks via PvP. You can play the entire game engaged solely in PvP and still advance alongside those that choose PvE or a combination thereof.

    Next, the WoW cash grab comment. Lets go back in history and check how many MMO titles Blizzard has. Now, Mythic. Hmmm... something seems out of place here. Lets look further. Oh look Brent, WAR is an evolution of the games that Mythic has made for the past 20 years!

    Finally, do you even know what jumping the shark means? I mean, Fonzi picture and all, and you miss the point. If WAR is more of the same old stuff that you claim it is, then in no way can it be said it jumped the shark. To jump the shark, WAR would have to be a completely new and unforeseen direction for Mythic and the MMO industry. It is neither.

    You want to talk about jumping the shark, it would be SOE jumping into the kiddie pool because Blizzard kicked them out of the deep end. Mythic at least has the balls to tread water.

    '@ Heartless for the last time' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 16:32:07 CST
    Heartless, if you think any of what you just said holds water, matters, begins to make an impression on me or change the validity of my post, then it isn't even worth dolling out the point by point deconstruction that reveals just how empty your recent rant was. Give it a rest fanboy.

    'don't make me address lame arguments, please' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 16:43:50 CST
    @ cyanbane re: "statement is full of fail"
    Here is an interesting phenonmeon. Me thinking a game sucks turns people I'd normally classify as sane into ... I don't even know what ... I mean seriously, where the hell does that come from?

    @ All arguments: For the record, there's nothing to contest in this article. Read it again. Nothing. Honestly, I'd be put more stock in someone coming on here and saying "Warhammer will never be number 2 by the time the year is out" than I can in all these "Nyah, my game roxxors, you must hate games and stuff" comments.

    People, lovers, haters, fanboys - think your comments through a little. Some good stuff in here but for every 3 lame ass rants saying that I'm wrong (again, there's nothing to be wrong about), there is one person that says something worthwhile.

    'Don't blog...' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 16:57:26 CST
    Don't blog if you can't take the heat. You can't have it both ways Brent. You can't hold up a success prediction and a fail prediction and expect us to sit idly by and wait for you to say "told you so" no matter how WAR turns out.

    There has been a lot of great discussion in these comments, most of it fairly civil. If anything, you are one that should be thinking through what you've posted. Its a bucket full of holes and you are running to a fire with it.

    If you don't want your posts to be deconstructed, then either defend your position or stop posting. I think there are some very legitimate counter points posted that you are refusing to address.

    How exactly did WAR jump the shark?

    Mythic has churned out the "same old game" since 1985, adding graphics along the way. How does that fit copy cat? When did WoW start development again? Where did the Warcraft lore come from?

    Name one other game on the horizon that is not in some way copying those that came before it?

    I'm in no way saying you have invalid points, only that you make invalid references. You are 100% correct that the MMO and gaming industries innovate at a snails pace. You personally do not care to play every step along the way, preferring to come in when a significant step has been reached.

    We're just here to tell you that we don't care to hear your double standard predictions.

    'ack a timeloop!' by TheRemedy
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:12:27 CST
    Unless I'm in a timewarp, Mythic was founded in 1995 as Interworld Productions with their first game being Aliens Online released in 1998


    'It kind of did....' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:20:29 CST

    You might want to look at the "Jump the Shark" colloquialism again. Usually it means to pass ones peak.


    WAR has "Jumped the Shark" in that way from it's use of the same game mechanic that we have seen, making it a game very suitable circa 2004.

    From that angle, Brent is totally on the ball, because...well, they have. When will we get past the mechanics that WoW has perfected?

    PQs...frickin awesome. RvR, nice...very Mythic-ish. Tome of Knowledge...nice implementation of the "me story". Beyond that...I'm pressing "1", "2" "3", getting experience and doing quests.

    Don't be a fanboi if you can't take someone saying your Jesus-game is not divine and is at best a prophet

    'Let me fix that...' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:25:45 CST
    Mark Jacobs started in 1985 with Dragons Gate and has maintained his developer role on every project since. Yes, Mythic was not formed until much later. Designs have pretty much stayed the same, adjusting to the technologies and gameplay styles of the times.


    I'm not sure I buy the "passed its peak" definition. A lot of things are passed their peaks, but only some of them do something crazy like have Fonzi jump a shark on water skis. WAR is doing nothing crazy, or out of line for where it fits into the MMO timeline.

    'Well..' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:38:46 CST
    You can't change definition just because they don't suit your argument....nor can you dismiss Brent's points out of hand. It terms of game play mechanics...yeah....the shark has been jumped. As for crazy? I don't know, spending all that money and talent on something that, in most ways, offers the same game mechanic as everything else? I would think that is a bit crazy. I don't know, is PQ, RvR and The Tome worth that much?

    ...that, however; does not mean that the game will not be successful...because I think we all agree that it will be.

    '??' by Token
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:40:57 CST
    @ Heartless

    Did you just spend all day dissecting and twisting the opinions of one man? What is wrong with you? Get a life seriously.

    '...' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 17:44:10 CST
    From your own link.

    Jumping the shark is a colloquialism used by U.S. TV critics and fans to denote that point in a TV show or movie series' history where the plot veers off into ridiculous story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations, undergoing too many changes to retain the original appeal of the series.

    Absolutely against everything Brent has stated, because WAR is just more of the same with a few new additions.

    '...and' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:01:22 CST
    "...because WAR is just more of the same with a few new additions. "

    ...that isn't that his main point?

    Brent: "Great game? Not really. Bad game? Not really. It is hard to say it is bad when we've been playing that game for 10 years. The primary gripe is that MMO veterans like Mark Jacobs we unable to look into the future 5 years ago and say: "We better do something fresh." Instead, it honestly feels like they went for a WoW-cash grab. "We better get some of that market.""

    Am I missing something? Are you reading the same thing we're all reading???

    '...also' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:03:43 CST
    ...from that same link re: Jumping the Shark:

    "Shows that have "jumped the shark" are typically deemed to have passed their peak as after this point critical fans can point to a noticeable decline in the show's overall quality"

    ...so Brent's argument is totally in play here.

    'jump it' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:09:24 CST
    /sigh, more @Heartless:
    Uh, I think we all know what jump the shark means in this case.
    I didn't post any double standards or predictions.
    I don't plan on saying I told you so unless WAR really is the number 2 MMO by year end.
    I think I take heat pretty well, but even more so, I guess I must manufacture it too.
    You what I did say? I said that your new favorite game bores me to tears. I didn't say much more than that. Pretty simple message, eh?

    @ Snafzg, Re: "it doesn't really seem as though you're at all invested in the Warhammer universe."
    - Good observation, I guess that's true. I find it... kinda ... uninspired. Sorry.

    @Celestian. Re: "could be you just don't enjoy RVR style play or something but for me I can't get enough of Warhammer."
    - See upcoming podcast for more on that... I really don't care for it, never seems to work well enough in MMO engines.

    @Foxmoon, RE: "No parent company is going to risk significant capital on an experiment, and frankly, anything revolutionary or even significantly evolutionary is basically an untested experiment."
    - All too true.

    @Grimjakk, re: "If he'd said, "I didn't have fun", then there'd be no argument."
    - Now here is a voice of sanity in the wilds... you're dead right there sir. But if I want to be bold I do have to say "It isn't fun", I'm sure you understand. :) Thanks for the comments.

    @Heartless, yet again, RE: "RvR (aka PvP) requires absolutely no PvE input. You can run, as a level 1, straight into a RvR scenario or area and PvP to your fingers bleed."
    - I never said you couldn't... please read more better

    @Token, re: "Did you just spend all day dissecting and twisting the opinions of one man? What is wrong with you? Get a life seriously."
    - He did.

    @Darren, re: 'because I think we all agree that it will be. "
    - I think we do.

    'Yes' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:10:07 CST
    I think you missed my whole point. Yes, that is exactly what Brent is saying. No, it has nothing to do with jumping the shark. I don't agree with the WoW cash grab comment, because Mythic has the track record to show where their design for WAR came from, some of which can be found in WoW.

    Again, Brent's point is valid. His "jump the shark" and Bartle injections don't fit that point.

    Brent says WAR isn't fun, backed up by Bartles comment about a game that Bartle found to be fun.

    Brent says Mythic is jumping the shark with WAR. By Brent's own account, WAR is nothing different than what we had ten years ago, aside from a new great feature in Public Quests. None of that fits the definition of jumping the shark.

    '...' by Heartless
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:15:19 CST
    No, Brent, it is obvious that some people here don't understand jumping the shark. Darren can't even correctly understand his own link to the subject. You both are picking out only part of the definition you want to apply to your argument.

    "Realm vs Realm PvP combat. If you've killed enough rats today, you can participate in an exciting PvP game that I like to call "Chase the guy with the red name". " - Brent

    Poorly worded on your part Brent. Remove the If.

    I'm eating dinner.

    'oy' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:22:43 CST
    (Darren, I think Heartless had too much to drink at dinner.)

    Meanwhile, here's a guy who gets it:


    'Dude..' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:25:35 CST
    You're going in circles Heartless....very clearly going in circles.

    Full definition of Jumping the Shark from that link:

    "Jumping the shark is a colloquialism used by U.S. TV critics and fans to denote that point in a TV show or movie series' history where the plot veers off into ridiculous story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations, undergoing too many changes to retain the original appeal of the series. Shows that have "jumped the shark" are typically deemed to have passed their peak as after this point critical fans can point to a noticeable decline in the show's overall quality."

    You quoted one part...so did I. Somehow that makes me not understand the definition and makes you the resident expert. Funny how that works eh?

    Re: Barltes comments. Brent's quote from Bartle was:

    "When Richard Bartle said "I've played Warhammer Online before, it was called World of Warcraft", he could not have hit the nail more squarely."

    ...which totally fits with a game who's gameplay has...say it with me now kids "...passed their peak as after this point critical fans can point to a noticeable decline..."

    You're essentially merging and confusing the main thrust of Brent's argument of why WAR has jumped the shark from a game mechanic point of view and his feelings that he didn['t find it fun. Two TOTALLy different things.

    ...sit and think while you eat.

    '..before you talk again' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 18:30:13 CST
    ...look at the whole thrust of the argument there. The whole is not the sum of the parts.

    'What the hell...is this for increasing traffic?' by pvthudson
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:22:42 CST
    I mean no disrespect Brent but I am not sure what has happened lately to you trying to CREATE drama on this subject. You havent even seen the end game content and other things to do (like my city siege post over on GAX). It started with your dead on arrival post and now all these links on GAX. Not sure what you are trying to stir up. I guess I will stay out of it but it kinda makes me confused since I haven't seen posts like that from you before. YOU HAVE TO SEE THE WHOLE GAME BEFORE YOU JUDGE. Otherwise its like a Gamespot review of an MMO two weeks in. Like many of the Sony fans.

    'Disappointed' by Fizzleton
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:23:47 CST
    What a terrible review.

    I don't mind that you don't like the game. That's fine. But the reasons you give all boil down to "it's not new enough"

    Mythic never promised to redefine MMOs. They promised to deliver a MMO based on a particular IP, with a certain play style and a certain set of features... and they have largely succeeded in doing exactly that. If you had expectations of something different, then you simply were not paying attention.

    It sounds like me that you are simply bored with MMOs. That's fine too. But many other people are not. I don't see the point of bashing an MMO for being an MMO simply because you are tired of MMOs. Go do something else with your time.

    I'm serious about that... You might need a break. These are games that are suppose to be an escape for you. This review is seeped with nose-in-the-air-snobbery. If you've been in the MMO "business" for so long that you can't just take simple pleasure in them for what they are... it's probably time to move on.

    'Hmmm...' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:31:58 CST
    @ Fizzle: His points boil down to "the mechanics are the same"....I think we all agree that it's new. The question you should ask yourself, is, does a "new" game with similar underlying mechanics justify your time and money. If yes...go play it. If you have fun...more the better.

    If you don't want to push the industry to get better, well...then it's time for all of us to move on.

    'The biggest disappointment in this review...' by Wilhelm2451
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:48:07 CST
    We're not going to see Brent in Casualties of War.

    I've seen Brent in a game, online, and communicated with him exactly once in the last two years. (In EVE, and I didn't even see his ship.)

    I thought with Darren and Zenke and all the people piling into CoW for the day one mayhem in WAR (and I'm not talking about game play) we'd be able to con him into coming along for the ride.

    But it is not to be.

    'Patience' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:49:58 CST
    Something tells me that if I wait long enough I'll see something wonderful happen in the MMO space. I'm not really tired of MMOs, just sorta miffed with the lack of vision on them, this one in particular. Lately, I've been playing several MMOs. AoC: still loving the mood and beauty of that world, for now. I don't like the classes much though. SWG: Attempting to learn the space game since I never played that portion before. DDO: Having fun due to the company I keep in that game, but it's hard to say that it goes far beyond that. It's clever enough, but I'm still not blown away. So, what I'm saying is, MMOs are not dead to me. On the other hand, I was excited to get into this beta, but my time spent there was painfully dull. Mileage WILL vary, I'm sure of that.

    Also, @Fizzleton, I think you're reading a level of passion into this review that isn't there. How can a rather plain "It isn't fun" statement translate into "a terrible review"? I don't see it that way.

    'Casualties...' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:51:18 CST
    @Wilhelm ... heh, that's probably true, but maybe I'll visit and chase the guy with the red name a few times.

    'Well Brent' by Luvz2splooge
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 00:45:51 CST
    First of all, AoC was a complete failure. You are running joke on most message boards. I am glad you enjoy the beauty of the AoC world, but I suggest you take a walk outside and save 14 bucks a month. Its funny that you take such a hard line in your original article, but in responding to comments, you flip flop like a fish out of water.

    The problem with MMO's or any game for that matter, except FPS, is that they are grind and will always be a grind because there needs be the creation of player-toon value. I hate to add another cliche, but part of the fun for me is grinding, even the shitty grinds and enjoying some in-game result at the end. Sounds oddly fimilar, like life.

    I think you need to reexamine your statement that your not tired of MMO's. I blame it on playing the awful ones, like EVE-online and AoC.

    '@Luvz' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 00:56:39 CST
    Haven't flip flopped a bit. Game sucks in my eyes. Can't force myself to like it. That's that.

    'Motivation' by Sente
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 01:42:18 CST

    "is that they are grind and will always be a grind because there needs be the creation of player-toon value"

    Why? First, creating "player-toon value" is one way to make a game interesting, but not the only one. In the realm of persistent worlds it is certainly an option to choose. They keyword here is persistence though, not grind.

    'This Shocker Just In...' by StEWork
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 05:08:38 CST
    ...faced with choice of badgame, heterosexual prefers Pink Nipples to Kinky Elves.

    *internet explodes*

    '@Luv' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 07:12:03 CST
    I don't think Brent ever said that AoC was a better game than WAR, he said:

    "...I had fun. I was still killing ten rats and fed-ex-ing items, but I was doing it in a world that had some heart, some beauty and some purpose. Warhammer seems to have none of these things."

    ...the fact that he's having fun (...a purley subjective metric, we can all agree...) in AoC and not in WAR is a joke because, why?

    I'm still wondering if some of you have actually read and understood the thrust of this article. The double standards some of you hold for someone elses judgement of WAR is simply amazing.

    '@darrenl' by StEWork
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 07:58:35 CST
    "I'm still wondering if some of you have actually read and understood the thrust of this article. The double standards some of you hold for someone elses judgement of WAR is simply amazing."

    ...that would be an incorrect assumption sir.


    Meanwhile, If the article had a spot more clarity on the Sharkjump (great headline, but I think the metaphor needs to be more deftly embedded) and provided a preposition and a personal pronoun on the end of "It's not fun" I suspect the temperature of the BBQ might have been lower. Likely not. ;)

    Anyone would think Brent had decided to Do A Bartle - pithy off the cuff comments, not really the main point of discussion, honestly-not-intended-to-inflame-no-really... Add a stand-out headline, dangle the "DOA" thing (great bait!) ahead of drop - heck he telegraphed his plan cunning all with a quote from the Man Himself... *kaboom*

    Tin foil hat shortage; Brent is Tzeentch, and I claim my five pounds!

    'Official Derailing...' by bildo84
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 08:24:11 CST
    I heard there was pie here.

    (Seriously, it's one guy's opinion. He's entitled to it. And it in no way should effect the way you enjoy the game. Has the whole world gone insane?)

    'This Is Madness!' by Brad
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 09:01:37 CST
    I'm not sure what it is with MMO's, but whenever you say you don't care for someone else's game that they love and hold near and dear to them, they go insane. Only thing close to this might be a sports team, but whereas sports team are in competition with one another, MMO's from a players perspective really aren't. You can still play as many as you want, and get the same thing from them. Unlike a sports team where there is only one winner of the superbowl/world series/etc.

    But you don't see this with any other product, like a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese. No posts about when someone doesn't like it, that perhaps they didn't eat enough of it, or perhaps they need to slow down and savor it. Perhaps it will be better cooked next time, or it had too much ketchup on it. But if they don't like it still, then obviously they are an idiot and can never be satisfied.. get my drift ?

    This same nonsense happened with Lord of The Rings Online, Age of Conan, Tabula Rasa, and now Warhammer. I thought the AOC fanbois were pretty bad, but I think the Warhammer ones have edged them out. Who really cares if someone finds one game fun and exciting, and another does not, for whatever reason. Does it really matter ? If someone doesn't like your game you play, does it really impact your life or gameplay ? From the fanboi's comments you would think that it makes their life a living hell because someone doesn't like their game.

    Whats interesting to me, is I still run a MUD. Yes, one of the old text based online games, predeccessor of the MMO. I have friends of mine that play there regularly, and even though I have given them free trials to nearly every MMO I have played on, and yet they tell me they don't like it. They say the graphics take away from the immersion, and I guess in a sense they are probably right. What you can come up with in your head is at this point 100% better than what you can create with an MMO. There are limits on what the PC can do, but no limit on the imagination.

    Perhaps that is why in old-school games like the Infocom ones (Zork, Planetfall, Enchanter, Wishbringer), the story really had to pull you in. They had to do a knock-down, drag-out job on the immersion. It had to pull you in like a good book. Whereas with a FPS, its more akin to firing up a game of Centipede, Asteroids, or Robotron 2024. How many hours did some of us of the arcade era spend dropping quarters in an arcade on the fast action of these games ? I'd say FPS games are appealing to the same gameplay style.

    But where does the MMO have to go now to take the next major step ? You take tabletop D&D, then the mechanics were pulled into DIKU mud, which then sprang all the offshoots of that type of MUD. Then came more-or-less a merging of the single player graphical RPG game with the online mud aspect, ala UO or EQ. What would be the next logical major evolution ? Is it a merger between the FPS world and the MMO world ? Somehow getting rid of the grind but still making you earn your way to the top somehow ? How would you do it, how would the game companies do it ? I'm sure they would like to know how to make that jump, but it may take someone with some real vision and drive, like a Steve Jobs, to push the platform in the next big step.

    But for now, we have what we have, all the different flavors of MMO's, but for the most part its still the same wheat based cereal. It may taste different, but underneath most of them are in the basic form, still about the same. Just pick your favorite flavor (or flavors) and enjoy them, and don't be standing in the cereal aisle to make sure that everyone who comes thorugh only likes your cereal.

    I will give Mythic (and ArenaNet) this - they are smart to NOT have official forums. I'd say that the smartest move both of them have ever made game-wise.

    '@ Brad' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 09:20:21 CST
    ...you sir, are my hero. Thanks for "getting it"

    'Looks about right' by Flashheart
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 09:29:01 CST
    Opening post looks about right to me, it's just another MMO game.

    A good one granted, but still hardly ground breaking. Kill stuff, quest, kill other players, level up, get loot, get new skills, kill next level of stuff.

    When you can truly interact with the generated world around you and change it in a fluid, dynamic manner, then we will have something new. And before you reply.. if I knew how that could be acheived and the horrific level of technology and development it would require could be made, i'd be already doing it and making billions... but i don't.

    'Plz give me 1 gold , k k ' by Dathmar
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 10:54:59 CST
    Can one of the haters lead me their beta key so I can join in on this Review Vs Review Battle ?
    Think most of yourselves lucky - this is the first MMO in the last 4 years I haven't even got a sniff at the Closed Beta....and I have Pre-Ordered the Collector's Edition...but that make not difference in Europe.

    Me thinks GOA are going to be pretty rubbish come release day.

    ....you lucky chaps with your Warhammer experiences....grumble grumble....

    'Carebear' by Redwind
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 13:26:24 CST
    Well Im really happy to read that kind of post because reading i will be sure that carebear ppl wont be playing WAR

    Its not about omg i need buy 10 exps to get the new item so i can play with my friends WOOT

    No, this game is about skill, outsmarting people and tatics not just random dragon ball siht that everyone has ilimited power..

    If they run out of content just add another instance with a fancy boss that you need some diferent kind of resistance ( That will be added on a new set on the next released instance ) with more uber itens

    Well all I can say is that you are a Carebear, either go play WOW or The Sims since you just want have objects to bragg to your friends

    Saying that RVR isnt fun just show how unskilled you are and that you will be prolly one of the frustrated zergers that will get steamrolled all the time by decent groups

    If you hate the game give me your account so lol.. we still need 1 member of our clan on closed beta =)

    Anyway /respect

    'lot's of thoughts' by Brent
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 15:03:18 CST
    Redwind ... yeah, that's a pretty big topic. I have a ton of complaints about PvP in MMOs and despite what you're thinking there, it's not fear of PvP, it's just that PvP in MMOs seems to always be incredibly flawed. Very few have done it right, and based on the WAR experiences I had, they didn't do it for me.

    I firmly believe that RvR COULD be fun...

    'War RVR' by cyanbane
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 15:36:34 CST
    Tier 3/4 RvR in WAR is the epitome of what I want in a PvP/RvR system. From the small team strategy to the large scale defense of control points, to the pure chaos of 200 people slamming into each other it is absolutely epic for an mmo to look this good, play this good, and be this fun.

    I like Tier 1/2 but I think people are going to fly through those levels (except at the tier caps). I hope I am wrong and those places get love also, but I have not had this much fun in years with an MMO.

    '/Agree' by Sphexish
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 16:40:27 CST
    As much as I love what WAR is bringing, I have to agree.

    Short-Term: WAR brings great changes, and is clearly unique.
    Long-Term: WAR is nothing special at all. A rehash of old and new concepts.

    Although I think the #1 change in MMOs over the years has actually been *polish*, followed closely by *less grind*. But yes, the worlds are persistant, but also permanent. Player actions do not matter in the slightest.
    You cannot have any lasting impact on the game world,

    and though WAR offers some temporary dynamics, when the day is through, the entire world is just one big battleground. Reset after each match. Exact same concepts as seen in every MMO, just on a larger scale with a different focus.

    These are wonderful things, but the industry is still progressing at a glacier (or perhaps a *Blizzard*) pace.

    And after seeing the new Indianna Jones movie, I think the term should be "nuked the fridge" rather than "jumped the shark". :)

    Seeing things as they truly are. More power to ya' Brent.

    'Some broader context might help...' by Nissl
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 17:33:18 CST
    WAR is a game. Given the IP it's inevitable that as a game it will have you fighting enemies (either AI or human) and somehow advancing your character. Given that I accept these basics, and have a casual playstyle that mixes a lot of gametypes, I am thrilled with what I have been hearing about WAR. It sounds like the PQ/OG system fixed the most fundamental problem in WoW, the solo grind that is the backbone if its gameplay. I want to point out that Brent agrees that WAR is well-made for what it is and will shoot to the top of the charts and be a solid #2 within months. I don't think there's much disagreement on this position to be found anywhere post-NDA.

    So why is he frustrated? There is a distinct stream of thought in MMO circles that seems to want something that is more worldy than we have seen to date, but still not a non-game like Second Life. (In passing I'll note that a lot of them seem to be futurists who see such a game as a stepping stone to a far more socially powerful Web 3.0.) This group probably got its hopes up a bit too much between the EA $$, the unregulated open RVR, and the shifting battlefronts. I think they want a more persistent, influenceable world with a more organic economic and political structure. Doing something like that with a game like WAR means that either you short PVE and PVP content or the game is going to cost about 2x in a market where WAR and WoW probably cost $80m+ already. None of the big players are going to take a risk like that anytime soon.

    It's kind of back to what I see as the eternal issue of MMOs, where more content would fix everything, but it's not profitable to produce, so you're left disguising what you have as best as possible. Hopefully you do it well enough that your game is more fun and interesting than watching TV, surfing the web, or playing offline.

    I for one would never play a more persistent world game because I am just too busy and my schedule is too irregular, but I appreciate the other camp's position. I think EVE's success (growing slowly to 200k now I hear) shows that there is a market for this kind of game. Take some of the basic endgame design decisions of EVE, make it more user-friendly and add real leveling content, slap a fantasy setting on it and I think you have a game that might hold 500k. Which according to my estimates is right at the borderline for a $100m game to make money. Which brings us back to the fact that it's probably going to take a disappointingly long time to bring such a game to market.

    'Well...' by Redwind
    Submitted on 2008-08-21 17:59:12 CST
    "Looting. The real reason we play games: to get digital loot. It doesn't really matter how much fun we're having as long as the longsword has one more stat bonus than the other guy's. Get that loot at any cost, you can have fun later when you're playing your Wii."

    I have to quote this. because it just make me sad...

    This is what WOW people think, WAR have what we call CAP ( even if its a SOFT CAP )

    You can build TEMPLATES and not just get more and more upgrades all the time.. if you just wanna brag about itens you can setup your own private server and get all tiers you want or play Second life and buy your own Abercrombie tshirt and show to all e-girls on night clubs

    The focus on WAR is RVR.. class integration and battle tatics not just omg lets cyclone and then sheep and then recyclone and resheep

    Sorry thats not the kind of skill you need to play WAR people that think they are skilled with 50apm and can beat 12yrs old kids on arena doing that... Then they can stick to WOW or they will be just 10 guys running arround to kill 1 red name on WAR ( Guess you said something like this ? )

    And prolly will be the same guys that will make crying posts on warherald whining because they were 40 and got rolled by 12...

    Be sure i will be the one that will reply: "Seomeone got rolled on a rvr zone"

    'An Observation' by wonkthesane
    Submitted on 2008-08-23 15:58:09 CST
    In your article, you said:

    "You won't even need to read the quest text because it is pointless. Story be damned, we're here to kill rats, not read. Gone are quests that have compelling stories or rewards."

    This seems a little strange. You seem to be saying that you want quests with compelling stories that are interesting beyond "Kill X of Y" but at the same time it seems like you aren't even reading the quest text.

    I've found WAR quests to have a much more well written description and back story than other games.

    Moving on, what I got from this article? The writer should move on from the MMO genre. If the genre is truly that recycled and dead to you, go find other games that you can enjoy. You come off as the type to power level to the cap and then complain about how bad/limited end game content is at the release of a game.

    You admited that the reason that YOU (NOT everybody) play is for loot. Like the person above me said, that's just sad.

    You seem to have grinded yourself out, to the point where you care nothing for the charm of the environment, or quest descriptions, background lore, or any of that. All that matters is getting your character to the end of the game and getting the "leetest loot."

    Please, move on to a different genre and make yourself happy, and spare those of us with genuine enthusiasm for this genre your uncaring drivel.

    'Uncaring drivel' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2008-08-23 16:40:14 CST
    To some extent WAR is more of the same - agreed.

    What we might get, though is a more "expandable" programme, since it was written somewhat later than WoW. Such expandability might allow the game top progress in new directions etc. in time.

    The other thing I will say is that I didn't really tire of WoW. I just found the players too annoying. I still loved exploring new areas, battling new bosses and helping out guildmates. For this reason, I expect to enjoy WAR for a while too, until the irritating crowd spoil the game.

    Uncaring drivel - clearly not, but still I think we should keep an open mind. Who knows what WAR has up its sleeve? I would be surprised if it has nothing.

    'Not fun' by Sanctified
    Submitted on 2008-08-24 00:20:19 CST
    I just have to know that if Warhammer is like every MMO and it isnt fun, why does Brent dedicate his free time to covering them?

    Youre awesome dude, but did you have a bad day or something?

    'Has Everyone Forgotten What MMO Means?' by PeZzy
    Submitted on 2008-08-24 03:23:15 CST
    I have been playing MMOs since the '80s and one noticeable trend has been occurring - MMOs are becoming less and less "massively multiplayer" and more like single player games. WAR attempts to 'buck' the trend. There are elements of the game which aren't entirely desirable, but their attempt to pack people into massive events brings back what MMOs are meant to be. It is something that I have pined for since the 80's. WoW tried to provide a MMO experience, but IMHO has failed.

    People need to review why they are playing MMOs. Perhaps they should think about sticking with single player games because they can't comprehend what MMO truely means.

    'Here we go again' by Sente
    Submitted on 2008-08-24 08:12:38 CST
    If you think there is One Single Truth to the interpretation of what an MMO can include in terms of gameplay I think you are slightly off-track. I do not even know what your view of what an MMO is and it does not matter. That view is ok. As are many other interpretations.

    And even those who do not want to get involved with any other player whatsoever is ok as well, if it is fun for them and they enjoy playing.

    Feel free to advocate your view and play style, but do not put down others just because they might not share your particular view.

    'my 2 cents...' by Kasil
    Submitted on 2008-08-25 16:40:11 CST
    Well interesting read. Just to give a tad of background I have played DAoC, SWG, Horizons, EQII, Conan and WoW. For the most part I have played WoW since release day and enjoy it a lot. Currently I am the GM for a small progression oriented raiding guild. My major complaint with WoW is the pure lack of content. Anyone with any play style that has played WoW as long as I have has seen and done every possible solo/small group content over and over again to the point of sever boredom.

    Anyway I know most of the bloggers (Brent, Darren, Cuppy...etc) have this romantic notion it be cool if we did not have set classes (healer, tank, DPS), no grinding was necessary, it was all fun all the time. Well I am here to tell you NO, that would not be cool or fun (ok it would be fun for a day or 2 and then you would quit the game because there was no challenge to it, similar to putting in cheat codes into a console game). People that want to play that type of games (all fun all the time), play those type of games. Those are FPS, console games and arcade style games. People that play MMO's want to painstakingly plot their character progression. They want to farm for hours to get the "Sword of Death" that no one else has, they want status symbols they had to earn. Now there are degree's of this and WoW in large part was successful because they cut back the degree to difficulty compared to similar games and that brought in a larger player base along with a lot of other stuff they did right.

    Additionally this notion that our regular healer is not here so I am going to switch from Tanking to Healing will destroy a game. People want to be special and needed they want to feel the 100's of hours they have spent in the game can't be simply replaced by the next guy. To a large degree the people within these games are striving to be useful within the virtual world. You setup a game where anyone can play any role you take away people's value and if you take away their value you take away their motivation for playing.

    So how does this apply to WAR? Well first off WAR is not a ground breaking game because that would be a risk EA simply did not need to take. EA is a shareholder owned company, they don't have an obligation to push the genre forward or to make the most interesting game. They have an obligation to make a crap load of cash for their shareholders, which they are going to do because they made polished game with some interesting tweaks to the current offerings. If I have the math right Mythic got serious with WAR right about the time it became apparent that Blizzard hit a home run with WoW and they wanted in on the money train. There is nothing wrong with that, it's what they are in business to do.

    Anyway do I plan on playing WAR? yes I do. Do I care that it's a grindy MMO that looks and plays a lot like WoW, EQ, LoTRO and Conan? No, I really I like these kinds of games and I am looking forward to exploring some of the minor differences between WoW and WAR within a different world.

    PS "" One comment on public quests.....everyone seems in love with them....I am not so sure. Over the weekend I did 3 different public quest zones in WAR. The first zone I ended up doing 7 or 8 times until I won the role. I keep doing it with the same people because we all wanted the "Epic" drop that you can get if you are the highest roller, and of course your competing to have the highest "Contribution" so it increases your odds of winning. Anyway we will see how it works out but it started to feel ...grindy.

    'Hey Brent...' by Whocares
    Submitted on 2008-08-27 15:10:21 CST
    Do you get to cash the checks Blizzard sends you right away, or do you have to wait until the end of the month when they tally up all their money?

    'Excellent' by robin
    Submitted on 2008-08-27 16:51:39 CST
    Great post dude. So many gamers cant see beyond whatever product they are into to accept your thoughts on the genre. Its funny how so many people are happy to be or need to be boxed in by race + class + level. Perhaps you and the Terrible Two at MOG could do a show about what second generation MMOs might bring? I have a feeling a lot of what you might say will point towards Eve Online which will only raise more hackles!

    Anyways, money well spent is all i can finish with. Take care!

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