Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘Warhammer Online

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.

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Written by Gordo

July 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

The end of my Hyborian Adventures.

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Age of ConanIt is with some sadness that I announce my time in Age of Conan has come to an end. I cancelled my subscription after finishing my free month. Some sadness I say, but in honesty, not a great deal. The game was too unfinished. While grinding was fun in AoC compared to many games, it was by no means fun enough to constitute doing it full time. And, at level 72, the grinding was tedious and mind-numbing. I was unable to do it for long periods of time, and that led to it taking literally ages to get levels, which made it even more tedious and mind-numbing. So this post, I guess, is an autopsy of my time in the game.

What was good about Age of Conan? The start. Tortage was excellent. I’ve got a day before my subscription ends, and I might just make another character to play through Tortage again. Levels 20-40 felt a bit disjointed, but still, on the whole, were pretty good. 40-50 the fun picked up again for me, but after 50, the levels of grinding sucked. That was what killed the fun for me. That and seeing the lack of endgame content at present. Very few raids, which would end up being treadmills raids I think, and PvP looking in a pretty much pre-beta stage. This game could have done with time, plain and simple. Time would have made this game a much more fun experience from launch. And I’ll give it time. Maybe I’ll come back in several months time, that is, if another game hasn’t grabbed me by then.

This game promised so much, and yet delivered so little. Maybe the speed I play the game at is the problem – Funcom clearly didn’t bargain for players like me, who level quite quickly, but still expect quests. Well, Funcom, you should bargain for players like me. Blizzard do.

What shall I do now? Well, I’m playing through a couple games I got out of my dust-filled cabinets that I plan to review for my ‘The Classics’ series, so watch out for those. I’m preparing myself for WAR this autumn! As I said, I’ve been reading the book ‘Tales of the Old World’. I’m finding it thoroughly enjoyable. Paul Barnett summed up the Warhammer Universe perfectly when he said ‘it’s fantasy with all the crap taken out’. Also, a game that’s consistently tempted me, but never forced me to take the plunge is EVE Online. It seems like a very special game, but I’m not sure if I’m the kind of person who thrives in it. Clearly some people do, and other don’t. I guess the only way to find out is to play it and concentrate on it, and see what happens, and the new expansion could increase playability for a newcomer, or so I’ve heard.

In other news, my WAR preorder is starting to worry me a bit. Play.com, who I ordered it from, seem to be very unsure what they need to do! I don’t think they realise they should be sending pre-order codes. War-europe.com says they’ve been sent, a poster of the WHA forums claims otherwise, whilst I got an email from Play.com, informing me it’ll be with me within a week. Why oh why did you choose them, GOA/EA?

Written by Gordo

June 21, 2008 at 4:58 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