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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 10:56AM (Unverified) said

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"It's not the be-all end-all of the genre, and it's almost certainly not a "WoW Killer." "

I'm gonna hold you to that.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 11:07AM (Unverified) said

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Hmm, given your description and the fact that this would have at the very least one months breathing space before Wrath of the Lich King, I would disagree that ...

"...it's almost certainly not a "WoW Killer."

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 11:29AM (Unverified) said

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I've played the beta a bit and I am in full agreement with you on the lethargic comment. Everything I did seemed... slow or clunky. I enjoyed the classes I explored, mainly the Dwarven Engineer, the Greenskin Shaman and the Elf Shadow Warrior (not the right name... the ranged guy). They all were unique and had interesting aspects to them. That being said, all my actions felt slow, the run speed felt slow, getting around was time consuming. This was really my only complaint.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 11:37AM Sunlover said

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I agree with just about everything written here. As a Beta Tester, I would have to say that this is a very fair review of the game as it is.

With that said, no mmo is perfect or even close to it, when it first releases. But we should all know this by now. Even the unstoppable WoW had plenty of problems when it released. Were I to start playing vanilla WoW as it was then today, I would most likely pass it up, acknowledging its potential.

The one thing I wish you could have touched on was the User Interface, which, in my opinion, completely owns any and all UI systems in any other mmo available. No UI that I have played with seems as complete and as customizable as WARS. I appreciated not having to waste any time to download a single mod to aid with questing, modification of UI layout, or aid in pointing out important data in combat, not to mention the time spent setting all those mods up. Play WAR as is in its starting areas and then try to play even the newest staring zones in WoW without any mods, and I guarantee it will feel like a lot is missing. If you haven't played WoW with mods, then you won't miss a thing, but play WAR and then try to, and you'll agree, I think, that it is time for Blizzard to step up their overall UI experience.

As for WAR being a WoW killer, it is with great sadness that I must admit that, in it's current state, it is not. But it is for this reason and this reason alone: the 'feel' of combat. This is where I agree with Mr. Zenke's review the most. For any mmo, especially one where the focus is war, the combat needs to be great. If you are an mmo developer and happen to be reading this, let me tell you the real secret to WoW's success- it has great combat. Period. That's it. That is the single most important thing that WoW does that other mmos don't. Yet as simple as that is to point out, all of the little things that make the 'feel' of combat great are what is difficult to nail down. The character animations, spell and skill animations, timing, speed, smoothness, reaction timing, UI lag, instant attacks, interrupts, length of time to cast, time in battle, truly useful and iconic skills and abilities, and the sound, for God's sake, get great SOUNDS (and more of them!), are just a FEW of the elements that help to make great combat in an mmo, or any game for that matter. I wish I could be there with developers and designers while they were making the game to let them know that their combat just is not right. Heck, I wish I could BE the designer! Devs, we want to play the next great mmo, we just need you to get the combat system right!

If WAR had truly great combat, I could say that it definitely has a chance at dethroning WoW, or at least sharing the throne to an extent. Without this, however, it will have to settle for second best, which is what I'm pretty sure WAR will be considered after some more polishing and patching. WAR is coming. Along, that is. Here's hoping one day, it truly does arrive. That day will be awesome.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2008 10:29PM (Unverified) said

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I can't speak for others, but for me Guild War's combat is easily a step ahead of WoW.

WoW's best characteristic is lore. They do a great story, and they have a big fan base.

But all the people that I know who have played both Guild Wars and WoW find Guild Wars to be the vastly superior game.

In fact, of the people who don't like Guild Wars that I know, they don't like it simply because it is too challenging. WoW is a graphical chat interface. It requires almost no skill, just like Everquest or Everquest 2. I was in one of the best guilds in Everquest 2 and was included in all high level raid content, and considered one of the "best" healers. But a blind monkey could do what I could do, just like in WoW.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2008 11:38AM Softserve said

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Nothing is going to be a "WoW Killer" by simple definition because no one really can pinpoint the one thing that makes it work so well... because there simply isn't one thing. It's many things to many people. I'm not expecting this to run in and destroy WoW and at least neither were the developer/publisher.

Anywaway... on the flip side, I found myself not caring enough about what was going on around me to even want to open the Tome of Knowledge after doing the quests in the first place.

This was largely because the general quest text is "simple" and, essentially, uninteresting to me. When I realized I could do everything without ever opening the tome, I had less reasons to open it to begin with.

And maybe some people like that sort of thing. Some people don't care about that stuff at all and this game provides them a quick way to just get into the action.

There are times when I enjoy the more recent concept of not being forced to hunt out some tiny object on a huge continent thanks to vague quest text... but with this game I feel so much more detached than I usually did. Every last thing is pointed to on your map and the tracker pop-up text is almost FAQ-like in its details. Do this, do this, do this, you're done.

And because what I'm doing is usually as inane as in most MMORPGs, I really just don't care to open up a book, turn through pages and read a bunch of text about character's names I can't even remember anymore because they barely seemed important at the time.

It's a cool idea and I imagine a lot of people will get a lot out of it. I just was surprised to find it had the opposite effect on me. I enjoy reading the quest text if it's clear what its affects are on the story (as in say, LotRO) and then I'd be more interested in finding out more. I'm not interested in finding out more simply because it wasn't presented to me in gameplay.

That's not to say the game isn't fun. I just found myself far less interested in the PvE than I expected. The PvP stuff and public quests and anything involving other people was actually a LOT of fun. I'd say arguably more than any MMORPG I've played so far.

So I'm mixed on it, but I'd be mixed on any MMORPG. I've not canceled my preorder yet, if that means much lol.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 11:40AM (Unverified) said

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I dont think anything could make 10 million people instantly change their minds. But this game certainly has me convinced that I am going to have a crapton of fun

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:03PM (Unverified) said

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A very well done overview.

To comment on a previous poster who said:

"Without this, however, it will have to settle for second best, which is what I'm pretty sure WAR will be considered..."

I agree that Warhammer isn't going to 'dethrone' WoW but I don't think it ever really intended to either. PvP, even if it's RvR, is much more of a niche than PvE and War is quite clearly catering to RvR. A lot of the 'slowness' of War actually works quite well for RvR in my opinion (though it should be quickened slightly and there are some legitimate issues around it). The run speed for example is spot on in my opinion to give players a speed that prevents a range advantage from being instantly negated (while still being fast enough to catch up to an enemy player). For general travel it's only 20 levels until you get your mount so while it's slow up until then it's really not that far off.

The quests again could use improvement but they also show an RvR focus. The shorter quests cater well to the PvP crowd in my opinion. You can easily hop into a PvP area get a few quests and complete them without feeling like you're wasting all of your time grinding mobs. Most kill quests in War are more of the order of kill 4 mobs, kill 6 mobs etc. There's no gather 20 stingers with a 1/20 drop rate or anything like that.

It's not as good as Wow's questing system now but it surely is as good as Wow's questing system at launch which isn't 1/2 bad for a PvP focused game.

Most importantly 2nd best to WoW is a huge success of a game. My expectations are that we will see War sit somewhere around the 2-4 million mark depending on international appeal. Anyone who call's that something other than a smashing success is a fool.

If Age of Conan can hit 800k with it's bugged to hell systems and low level design flaws I don't see how a game that gets all the fundamentals right and only misses the mark on a few details could do any worse. Plus Warhammer has 2 things AoC never had:

-Staff Dedication. Say what you will about Mythic but you're a fool if you don't think that they're incredibly devouted to Warhammer.
-A clear direction. AoC (and other MMOs) tend to suffer from a lack of direction in what the game is trying to accomplish. From the first 5 minutes of playing Warhammer you know exactly what kind of experience they're trying to deliver and everything builds towards that.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:10PM (Unverified) said

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"WoW-Killer". What the hell is it with the obsession with this lame term?

You speak in vague metaphors or exist in a world where all WoW players are a mindless flock of gazelles, just waiting for someone to take the lead so they can all swarm to the next game with little thought in player demographics.

You know what? Some people are happy with their MMO, no matter how bad it is. People played Horizons up to the day the servers lost power. People still play EQ1 and Anarchy Online and Asheron's Call.

People will always play WoW, if only for the familiarity of it all. Blizzard can release a sack of feces as the next expansion and people will still pay for it, and their subscription, as they march along happily on their hamster wheel of PVE / PVP progress and they'll be happy alt-tabbing to WoWhead to find where new generic quest item X is or item number Y is obtained.

The term "WoW Killer" is plain silly because it implies that the release of some futuristic MMO can go all Terminator/SkyNet and actually literally kill it. Though that sounds cool, I don't think Mythic has something grand enough to actually start hitting the Blizzard servers with targeted laser fire or is capable of sending a robotic army to eliminate them.

Let me give you a best case scenario with Warhammer and it's ability "WoW Kill" - whatever the hell that means:

- Warhammer releases and everyone loves it. Yay!
- They tell their friends and guildmates from WoW - some join.
- A good portion of WoW subscribers leave.
- WoW has lost 50% of its player base to Warhammer. Warhammer is now the #1 MMO for subscribers. WoW is a close second.

There you go. That's as good as it could ever get. Only, if you think WoW is going to lose 50% of it's remaining player base to a game focusing primarily on PVP and RVR combat, you should probably go play WoW again. It's a PVE game with PVP as an afterthought. It's the new Evercrack. People farm, people buy gold, people do their nice little safe daily quests like some army of twisted robots. They play on PVE servers or avoid all world PVP on PVP servers. These "Carebears" will avoid WAR like the plague.

I ask you at Massively to step above this crap and not use the term "WoW Killer" anymore. Ban it from you site. Kill it with fire. Get the astro-glide and... well, I'm not sure where I'm going with that one.

In any case, nice review on Warhammer. ;)

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 2:01PM (Unverified) said

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I absolutely 100% agree with daedren. There is no such thing as a WoW killer and there will not be in my opinion.

The only possible scenario that will happen in my opinion is WoW will die on its own... and most likely when the majority will leave the game it will still hold a substantial number of subscriptions.

WoW was a frist MMO to too many people to just have some other game come and take all those players away who are still very new to the genre.

The use of this term "wow killer" just shows that some people just give into these lame terms too easily.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:14PM (Unverified) said

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As to the comments about "lethargic" combat, is that before or after the huge update they did recently to address just that?

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 3:06PM Nadril said

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I'm curious about this too. I watched some videos the other day of WAR's 3.3 patch and the combat pace seems pretty damn fast.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:57PM (Unverified) said

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Deleted my comment criticizing the use of "WoW Killer"?

So much for objective journalism.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:59PM (Unverified) said

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Disregard last comment.

So much for a working web browser. ;)

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 3:28PM (Unverified) said

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I'm now in my second phase of beta, and the one telling quality about WaR is I have yet to solidly decide on a class! I have tried them all at 1 and at 31 and still cant pinpoint the one I love most. There is a very slight imbalance in a couple classes and spec lines, er well the bright wizard dot line is ludicrously powerful in pvp and its virtually impossible to kill a decent runey over lvl 30, so maybe not so slight but im sure theyll fix it. The saving grace of this is both these classes are Order which is for some reason the most underpopulated of the two realms. So you can choose massive power or massive numbers at the moment.

One thing that seems to keep getting skipped in reviews is the snarky humor not so well hidden everywhere in the game. From the npc that yelled "My eye! He shot out my eye!" to various little bits of quest and lore text I am finding all over the place it truly captures the tongue in cheek seriousness that the tabletop and book versions of the IP are so well known for. Just try to make it to lvl 10 as a orc without cracking up a few times! This taste of humor is what I always loved in wow too.

I do think the loss of the 6 classes was painful, especially for dark elves trying to do early public quests without tanks. I hope that they focus there resources towards bringing them back after the initial bugs are worked out. By the way, I always try and actually beta when i beta. I have a pen and paper next to my desk to write down bugs I find and whatever info I can send them to help, I have like 3 things writtin down right now....
AoC I had pages on day 1.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 1:44PM (Unverified) said

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I don't quite understand the infecting infatuation with the "WoW Killer" concept either, although it says a lot for our narrow-minded culture and use of familiar references for everything in life.

Another thing I don't quite comprehend is a game reviewer's insistence that an MMO be "finished" or "not finished". Clearly, MMOGs are never meant to be finished, complete, or otherwise perfect. It's a dynamic, living entity that receives constant love, attention, development, polish, expansion, and TLC from its caretakers.

Having said all that, the review is spot-on. I've been in the WAR Beta for over a year, and it amazes me to no end the amount of progress this game has made in 13 months. I've beta tested my share of MMOs, and Mythic has hit the nail on the proverbial head with their development process and interaction with both their Beta Testers and the community as a whole.

Whether or not this game truly succeeds is yet to be seen. Comparing the game to World of Warcraft, while being a cliche in itself, is inevitable, but truly unfair to both games, as they are apples and oranges.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 7:15PM wjowski said

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It's no different from back when EQ sat at the top of the heap. Every up-and-coming MMO was branded as a potential "EQ Killer". Though in the end, what ended up being the real EQ Killer was the devs obsession with catering to a tiny fraction of the playerbase (high-end raiders).
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Posted: Aug 20th 2008 2:09PM (Unverified) said

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I agree that this obsession with WoW-killer is annoying and besides the point. WoW is a great game and I will continue playing it and will definitely buy WotLK... but I will also play WAR.

WAR is new and FUN. I was desperately hoping that Age of Conan would be a good game I could play, as something new instead of WoW, but it failed for me... it just wasn't really fun. WAR, on the other hand, is very polished for a 1.0 release IMO and I just have a lot of fun playing it. Its PvP is a lot better put together than WoW's, so my plan is that I will play WAR for PvP focus and WoW for PvE... the MMOs can get along just fine :)

I personally don't have any issues with the combat and it doesn't seem overly slow to me. There is definitely some tweaking that has to be done in that if I hit another spell right after one finishes casting, it often tells me that it isn't ready yet, which is really annoying. Otherwise, I like the pace of the gameplay and the innovations they came up with like PQs and the whole WAR feel is very nice. I had high expectations for this game and it met them, which is saying a lot.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 3:02PM (Unverified) said

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I liked the beta. I agree the combat was clunky in a way. Also I loved the idea of the tome and all the info but I wish there was voice over for it all...at least for the story when you enter a new area. I liked it but at the same time I didn't want sit and read instead of playing.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 3:52PM (Unverified) said

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The review here is a fair representation of the game as is now. Except combat speeds. One of the more recent updates addresses that issue very well. Also remember that this game is still in beta, and there will be more updates before this game releases. Having been in beta for several months now - and now that the NDS is lifted - I can say with great confidence that WAR will be a superior game. And who knows what wonders await us as the game develops post-launch.

As for WoW-killer? I too am getting tired of hearing that comparison. No game is going to accomplish that, only the passage of time and the actions of Blizzard itself will do so.

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