Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Archive for the ‘Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning’ Category

WAR

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Sorry for my absence. I’ve been kind of busy in real life. Fear not though, for I am back.

And as I come back, I bring my verdict of WAR. The gaming world seems to be ablaze with people raving about WAR. It’s the MMO of the moment, and the majority view is that it has suceeded, where Age of Conan didn’t.

My verdict though? Been there, done that.

It feels “samey”. Sure, they’ve added a few innovations, improved some jibes I had with other MMOs, but it doesn’t feel new. It’s kind of like when you watch a classic episode of the Simpsons that you saw a few months back. It’s kind of new to you, but when it comes to the best jokes, you know the punchline before they say it. It ruins it for you, doesn’t it? Nothing’s the same as seeing a brand new episode. That’s what WAR is like. It’s so similar to other MMOs that I’ve played before that it’s not as fun as it was the first time I experienced it in LOTRO. Does that mean that any MMO that’s similar to this style, the EQ model as it were, I won’t be able to enjoy? Maybe. Kind of sad, but I think I’m only indicative of the average gamer, and in the future we’ll be seeing new things in MMOs. By the way, by the EQ model, I don’t mean the UI, I mean the style of game. All these games have the same basic progression model, same combat style, same objectives in game.

I’ve got a week left of my subscription, yet I’ve uninstalled the game. I found no fun in the Old World.

What now? My eyes are looking firmly towards LOTRO, with the expansion coming, hopefully, next month. In the mean time, I’ve got myself a spot in the Football Manager Live stress test. That’ll be an interesting experience – there’s a game that doesn’t use the EQ model. I’ll certainly be buying FM2009, but depending on how I find FM Live, I might be trying a totally different game!

Written by Gordo

October 3, 2008 at 5:54 pm

And stay out!

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While scouring the blogsphere this evening, I came across a comment by Thrade on Syp’s rather excellent WAR blog. This is what he said:

“I hope as many WoWfanboys stay with WoW as possible; I don’t want any of there [sic] kind in our new game.”

It got me thinking – as a potential future player, nay, stakeholder in WAR, do I want WoW fanboys joining me in the ‘World of Warhammer’?

Now, my good, charitable, kind upbringing causes me to immediately say I shouldn’t say I want them to stay away. I should offer a place for them, I shouldn’t discriminate. But what if it ruins the experience for everyone else? What if it causes other players to leave? Kind of like the big loud blokes who gatecrash a party, and the original, pleasant guests disappear. Surely you’d say you should have locked your doors to them before they came in, and allow everyone else to enjoy the party? That’s what I’d say too. But Mythic can’t shut their doors to people. They can’t have interviews with people who want to play their game, and review them on a case-by-case basis. People who want to play do so. So why would people from WoW, come to WAR, dragging alongside them their ‘CHUCK NORRIS PWNZ UR MOM’ attitude? Well:

  1. WoW is old. No denying it. It’s passed its sell-by-date. It’s lost its youthful vigour and now creaks and groans each time you load it up.
  2. Blizzard butchered their lore, their dignity and their souls to keep it on top. As a result, it’s not really a hugely fulfilling experience. It feels like a timesink.
  3. They’re now clutching at straws trying to keep the subscriber numbers up. If they lose their grip, the subscriber numbers will snowball. They’re shamelessly stealing sucessful features from other MMOs (that’s where this whole discussion stemmed from) – as a result, WoW is losing it’s originality, starting to look like some sort of inbred mongrel rat. Sort of like this. Whereas WAR, built from the ground up to integrate these features, holds them much better, and is looking pretty slick and smooth.

As a result, many WoW players want something new. But, even after 4 years in Azeroth and Outland, they still demand quality. And enough polish so you can see your face in it!

Why do they need the attitude? I hear you ask. Well, I think it’s more of an environmental thing. I guess when everyone around you, 10 million other players are talking like that, you just kind of pick it up. Naturally, you can’t beat them, so why not join them? Indulge in your immature side! The only problem is you find out you can’t revert back to standard English. You forget the phrase ‘is/am better than’ and in place your neurons only recall the term ‘Own’ or ‘Pwn’. You forget all manners of earthly Deity, and in his/her/their place is Chuck Norris, Texas Ranger. And for some reason, you have a strange obsession with peoples’ mums…

I guess what I’m trying to say, is try to show these people a little understanding. Clearly we can’t be shot of them, so use it as an oppourtuinity to show them that you needn’t behave like they do when playing with people online. Show them the civilised way, chuck them an invite to your guild if you’re able too. Maybe if everyone can ‘De-PWN’ a WoW fanboy, the WARld will be a better place.

Written by Gordo

July 17, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Fallout and the Fallout.

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So it’s that time of the year again. E3. One of the most exciting games for me is Fallout 3. Made by Bethesda Softworks, creators of one of my favourite games of all time Morrowind (and also its sequel, Oblivion, which I also enjoyed). It’s got a great setting, outside of my comfort zone somewhat, as in, no orcs, elves or trolls, but with an essence of what made Bioshock great. As for the gameplay, that’s where I believe it’ll truly shine. It gives choice. I’ve seen videos showing how you can play it as a real-time FPS, or as a series of queued moves that play out after you’ve planned the combat in advance. Your character, too, can be whoever you wish. A sneaky character, a manipulative character, or a brutal combatant. I’d love to play the game through a few times in the different styles. But perhaps one of the best things I’ve read about the game so far is that your choices aren’t ignored as you progress through the game, but they have consequences. I’m not talking ‘if you break a law, you’ll get hunted by the police’, I mean that your actions throughout the game really influence how the game ends for you. Todd Howard said there would be 10,000 possible permutations.

And the world is large. The whole of post apocolyptic Washington DC is up to explore, with many different factions and organisations struggling to survive.

I’m genuinely excited about Fallout 3. It has atmosphere, it has grit, it has action, suspense and consequences. And it’s being worked on by one of the most talented teams in the industry.

In other news, the fallout to the announcements of Black Friday are now becoming apparent. Countless bloggers have talked in detail about their thoughts of the announcements, but my initial fury has subsided somewhat. If you haven’t done so already, see Syp’s silver lining piece, it raises some good points and it is true that too many people were expecting too much of WAR. I’m still excited about it, still locking away my beta codes in the safest place in my house. All in all, I look to the fall.

Written by Gordo

July 17, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Why I won’t become a fanboy.

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It might happen in every game ever released. It might not. The ‘Mark Jacobs’ moment, where the veil of enthusiasm built up, by, who now appears no more than a Lancastrian spin-doctor, is shattered as the truth is revealed and the buzzwords and promises of the last year are shown to be no more than hooks, to get the unwary viewer or reader interested in this game, this wonderful new concept. But that wonderful new concept is not entirely true. Intermingled are lies and padding to make the game appear better than the team working on it are able to create.

Yes, I’m talking about Warhammer Online. And I’ll quit the abstract nonsense and return to normality. Last week I was deeply troubled by the announcement of Mark Jacobs. And I got thinking – why does it trouble me? A few reasons:

  1. By condensing the battle into just the two cities, I fear the WAR will be diluted. I loved the idea of the struggle on three fronts – you could redirect forces to another, weaker area, at the risk of losing one you already hold. You get the idea.
  2. Realm vs. Realm inbalance. Two races no longer have a tank? Yet their counterpart does? What’s with that?
  3. Punkbuster. To be honest, this is more ‘Meh’ than anything. I just think its kind of a shame that they have to assume the worst of their players. Why can’t they give them a chance, let them play for a few months without Punkbuster, but with it on backup, ready to implement if cheating caused a problem.
  4. They lied. Weeks ago I remember reading ‘Yeah, we’ve basically just got the game in polish mode now’ (or words to that effect). Well Mythic, you’ve done what I really hoped you would not. You’ve cut content to fulfil deadlines. I really, really hoped I’d see another delay instead of an announcement like this. I think of Age of Conan with nausea because that is exactly what they did.

But the real topic of this post? Fanboyism. It shows why I refuse to truly enter the ranks of a fanboy. Sure, there’ll be a game I get excited about occasionally (it happened with WAR. Am I still as excited? Sadly, no.) But to pin all your hopes on that game, and truly believe every statement they make, is just foolish. Every comment must be taken with a pinch of salt. Sure, if you expect the worst, then you don’t get the same levels of excitement as a fanboy, but when the cutbacks come, the ‘Mark Jacobs Moment’, you don’t feel disappointed to the core. And if you do find the perfect game, you get really excited when it launches, and you realise how good it is.

Written by Gordo

July 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Entering the world of Warhammer.

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2 weeks into Age of Conan, and it’s clear that it won’t be the game I stay in forever. So, my eyes are turned now to Warhammer Online. Warhammer Online is based in the fantasy world of Warhammer, a rich and diverse universe created over 30 years ago. It was originally created to house a roleplaying gaWarhammer Onlineme, but’s grown in popularity, and over the years has steadily grown in content. So, for me, it’s a challenge to get into a totally new universe like this. After some looking around, I was recommended the book ‘Tales of the Old World’, an anthology of short stories set in the Warhammer universe, and stories which were suitable to a newcomer of the series.

I’ll let you know how I get on as I enter the world of Warhammer, what I think of it, and whether it heightens my anticipation of WAR or not. But, it’d be fair to say I’m fairly excited about WAR – it’s the first time I’ve ordered a collector’s edition of a game, and it seems I got in just in time, as Play.com, the sole online suppliers to the UK, seem to have sold out recently. The team working on it have the perfect vision for what I want from an MMO, they seem determined to release a quality product, which they’ve shown by delaying (something Funcom decided against, and preferred to get massive sales when the market was quiet, but leaving the game unfinished). It has a load of neat features I’ve not seen the likes of before, public quests sound great, the Tome of Knowledge sounds awesome for the way I play games, and the RvR should be really enjoyable. Crafting as well sounds good, it might be the first time I’ve actually embraced crafting, as EA Mythic aren’t using it as simply a timesink, designed to get players’ playtime up, but actually something that adds to the experience, something you don’t need to take time out to do – the question’s not craft or level, because they occur hand in hand. Which, I think, is awesome. Bring on the autumn!

Written by Gordo

June 6, 2008 at 5:33 pm

ChaosCast and WAR

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ChaosCastThe Warhammer Online community is growing fast, and with many people disillusioned with AoC, bored with WoW, and with nothing else shining out in the near future, many people are pinning their hopes in WAR.

3 guys at the helm of the WAR community recently grouped together in forming the ‘ChaosCast’ – a podcast where they discuss the issues of WAR. I’ve listened to the first episode, and I must say it was a very interesting listen. You can hear it at Keen & Graev’s Gaming Blog, The Greenskin or Waaagh!. I’d recommend  you check it out, if you’re a WAR fanboy, or merely interested, there’s some good information and funny banter.

As I stand at the moment, I’m still playing Age of Conan. I’ve hit a bit of a low at the moment, as I’m finding Tarantia Noble District a horrible place to level, but I’ll persevere, and once I’m through, hopefully I’ll start enjoying the game again. But, if I’m honest, Age of Conan won’t be my all time favourite game, unless they add good new content fast (which they won’t). So, I too am looking to WAR. I managed to get my preorder of the Collector’s Edition in before they cancelled them at Play.com (lucky, as there’s not a HMV around for miles where I live). Although I’ve seen little actual gameplay, the direction they are taking is awesome, and the systems I’ve heard so far sound great. I love the non-grinding approach, as probably, of all things in an MMO, grinding is what bogs me down the most. If I feel as though I’m grinding, I get bored, I leave the game, and often I don’t come back. It’s why I never got to 70 in WoW. Outland was one big grind-fest for me, and the prospect of getting to endgame to grind didn’t do anything for me either.

Written by Gordo

June 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm

WAR – the MMOMessiah?

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The MMORPG community is a large and complex one, not easy to analyse at all. However, many players are looking for the next mass-popularity MMO. That is, the MMO that becomes the largest game in the world. There is a consensus that World of Warcraft, long the undisputed King, Emporer, Tsar and High Priest of the MMO world has had it’s day – the best is behind it. Whilst the upcoming expansion pack ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes, I can’t see it fulfilling the players’ every dream.

WoW nowadays is a mix of people playing for the social aspect purely, some who are doing a little bit of the raid content and endgame PvP, and Pro-gamers and 1337 raiders. Many of which have played the game for far too long, and are striving for something else, only sticking with WoW until that messiah comes.

Many people saw Age of Conan coming, and thought it would be that game. As much as it would be nice if it were, I guess I always knew it would not – why? It’s too different. It explores adult themes, and WoW has always been quite a teenager-friendly game. The graphics are good, but need a decent rig to run; single mums who can’t afford to spend that much on a PC could play WoW and enjoy it, a little time away from their busy lives – but no way could they do the same with AoC. Also, AoC is a strongly male-orientated game; I’ve yet to meet a female gamer on my server (yes, I guarantee they do exist, but in WoW, there was a pretty large percentage, considering this is a video game, once the realm of only middle-aged men and teenage boys). That has the result of repelling women, repelling men who normally play with their girlfriend or wife, and repelling men who hope to meet a woman in the game (yes, I’ve met ingame couples in previous games that have ended up with a real life marraige!).

As well as this, the combat in AoC is more skill-based – it rewards people who’ve played RPGs and fighting games for years, and makes progression much harder for those who’ve not. WoW didn’t do this; it’s combat was so simple, anyone could pick it up and learn to play in minutes, yet it had the depth, that it attracted ‘Pro-Gamers’ (and still does) – a mistimed skill can cause a wipe for a group in the toughest of dungeons or fiercest of battlegrounds.

What am I getting at? Well – WoW is, as far as I’m concerned, history. There’s room for a new MMO on the block, one which will take over the world like WoW did. And, this Autumn (Fall for the American reader), Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is coming out. This game comes from a 30 year old IP, one that, probably, of all the IPs you could use to build a game on, has the most content available. It is similar enough to WoW in all the good respects, and different enough in the bad. It’s a game that’ll be built for the average Joe’s PC, so it can tap into the mass market. It has a realm vs realm PvP system, giving you automatic allies, and a common cause with them. It promises quest that affect the state of the world you reside in, large scale battles allowing you to even take your enemies’ city for a limited amount of time. All you actions, directly or indirectly, lead to the promotion of your side – but simultaneously, another body of players will be doing the same, belittling the effort you made. This game could be special, and I’m definetly going to be checking up on this game as it progresses. I have my collector’s edition pre-ordered, and I can’t wait until the Open Beta, when I should get to see the game for myself, and see if it really works. And if it does, could it be the WoW-beater? The messiah of MMOs?

Written by Gordo

May 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm