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Reader Comments (59)

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:12PM Mr A said

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Mythic should have targeted existing fans of Warhammer. The Warhammer world is supposed to be dark and Gothic and serious. Instead, they made the setting practically like a cartoon. It's nothing like the Warhammer of the RPG or novels. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, this isn't real Warhammer, and I canceled my account after about a month.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:26PM wjowski said

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Dark and gothic and serious? You do realize this is the same gameworld where an avatar of pure evil got headbutted into unconsciousness by a giant orc, do you not?
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Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:36PM (Unverified) said

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LOL
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Posted: Jul 1st 2009 8:48PM Mr A said

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Let's see. Extreme violence. Lots of explorations of madness. The RPG even warns the game is for mature audiences only in the front of the book. A literal demonic orgy at the beginning of another book. Explorations of the mind of a Chaos worshiper in another. Yet another orgy in another, but this one by elves. Exploration on themes of marriage. More explorations of death, friendship, sadism, gore, evil, incest, rape, cannabilism. One book is basically even Silence of the Lambs in the Warhammer setting.

So yes, dark, Goth, serious. Perhaps you're not familiar enough with the setting to realize this.
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Posted: Jul 2nd 2009 2:28AM (Unverified) said

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You are right the lore and the pictures are usually very gothic. On the other hand the miniatures themselves, some novels, some specialist games etc. are very comic.

So even Games Workshop tries to appeal a wider audience with different aspects. The models of the game are pretty much taken straight from the TT.
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Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:19PM (Unverified) said

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Warcraft is a copy of Warhammer, and Warhammer Online is a copy of World of Warcraft. Hence, it's basically a copy of a copy, setting-wise. It's simply not dark enough, not brutal enough. It's like a Saturday morning version of the Warhammer universe.

Plus WoW's 'balancing' of PvE and PvP was never really there. It simply can't be done. I'm not sure why Mythic thought they could do it, and with an IP like Warhammer it should never have been attempted. It would have made a great hardcore PvP game, got that modest base, and done fine. But no, they went with the 'WoW-killer' model, and paid the price.

I don't feel sorry for them.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 10:53PM Celestian said

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I could give 2 shakes if the game is "dark and brutal" enough. What I care about is the game is BOOOORRRRING at end game. I wanted to RVR at the end yet I am mostly sitting around waiting with little or nothing else to do. We get LOTD and makes it even worse. oRVR is fading more and more daily and it's because they don't address the aoe CC/stun issues or even class balance problems.

I've given up and moving to Aion and hope they got decent end game RVR.
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Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:34PM (Unverified) said

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This is the results of an over saturated market and too much emphasis on making money. There is nothing wrong with making money, but the game has to be good in order for that to happen in this market. Who wants to play a copy of another game? You would think that most mmo developers would have figured this one out by now, but apparently not. If they really wanted to make a good game it may be wise not to focus on whether someone has a degree and see if they have any actual ideas. I have a degree and I meet people in my field that have little to offer it, they just want a job. This needs to go "Lord British Old School" and develop good ideas instead of demographics. It's high risk but high reward, ask Richard Garriott he has seen both sides.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2009 12:50PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, WAR online launched into a niche market - fantasy MMO with a PVP focus, something that appeals to many many consumers. I don't believe there are any other games like it, it was the only one in it's market... Aion will be the next of this kind. There are no excuses for the failure of WAR besides the poor efforts at Mythic itself.
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Posted: Jul 3rd 2009 9:46PM mjemirzian2 said

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The game is designed without safeguards against population imbalance. WAR lost a lot of subs just over the fact that people felt overwhelmed on the outnumbered side, or bored on the overpopulated side. As you might expect this has a see-saw effect where a lot of one side quits, then a lot of the other side quits, until you are left with about 5 med pop servers.

The developers insistence on pushing out new content and classes instead of fixing, balancing, or bugfixing old content and classes. Cranking out 4 new classes while ignoring balance and bug issues with the launch classes, and cranking out new zones while ignoring the fundamentally badly designed T4 RvE game simply amounts to a bread and circus trying to lure back customers into mistakenly giving up another $15.

The PvE in this game is completely awful. Most 6 man instances are incredibly boring, buggy, and brain numbing. It can't hold a candle to better PvE MMOs (WoW, LOTRO, DDO) and frankly it shouldn't have even tried.

RvE is still a huge problem. The endgame consists of PvE encounters. LOTD is the complete opposite of RvR - one side goes into the instance and PvEs, while the other side grinds PQs outside.

The combat system is too simplified and rewards zerging.

Itemization remains a mess and PvE is still required to get the best gear, not to mention being faster to obtain than PvPing.

Anyway.. they blew it and their game sunk.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:38PM mysecretid said

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The article raises interesting questions, but I must disagree with some of the "given facts" it uses as evidence.

I played Dark Age of Camelot as someone disinterested in PvP or RvR combat; I expected to barely last a month, and stayed much longer (primarily as a soloist) because I found the PvE and gamestory lore very interesting and enjoyable.

So, to suggest that DAoC only appeals to PvP/RvR players may be innacurate; the only reason I left DAoC was that the outdated graphics started to bug my eyeballs after a while. It remains one of the better MMORPGs I've played.

By contrast, WARs PvE (I haven't gone back for Land of the Dead) was really sort of shallow. I even tried the PvP for a while, and while I found it more interesting than I expected, I quickly realized it too was sort of shallow -- a pointless competition; warring just to war.

For me, WAR borrowed one design concept from WoW that I wish they'd left alone: the obvious treadmill.

PvE or PvP, it all seems to boil down to "Do this, get phat loot, so you can level up and do *this*, and get phatter loot, and so on, and so on, and so on ..."

Yes, most MMORPGs have some sort of treadmill action, but the "phat loot" treadmill can be the worst -- and neither WAR nor WoW made much effort when I played either to distract from the grinder aspects with entertaining stories.

I like WAR, and I hope it ultimately sorts its problems and succeeds -- but neither myself, nor my friends have liked it _enough_ to keep paying to play it.

This may be WAR's problem; it's good, but it's not good enough in any one game aspect to make people stay?

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:46PM (Unverified) said

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Lets not forget that Warhammer Online's techincal performance was piss poor. I can't tell you the number of client crashes I had the first months after launch. Many people had technical problems, and that failing cost them more in subscriptions than they'll ever know. I think WAR's problems were that they had man issues to deal with, from client performance to realm balance to unrewarding game play and several things in between. I recently unsubscribed from WAR for the 3rd and last time, Land of the Dead does little to save that game in my eyes.

Soon, there will be other MMO's with good PVP (or RVR) out there and WAR will not just be headed to nicheville, but will be firmly planted there. Good write up Snaffy.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 7:45PM (Unverified) said

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First off, amazing article, you really covered everything with a level headed approach and touched on every matter the game has been dealing with. Really, fantastic!

Now, for the question of target audience. I think Mythic should have kept the community that had supported them during development, in mind when designing the major aspects of the game. The community consisted of Warhammer lore fans, DAoC players, and people looking for an alternative to pure PvE grindfests.

They unfortunately did exactly as you said, they tried to cater to too many audiences and ended up with a watered down product that people just couldn't stick with. People couldn't justify paying $15 a month to only take part in one aspect of the game because of it being the most effective or even the only fun part.

They also faceplanted when it came to balancing, like you said. I realize that RvR isn't intended for 1v1 situations, but the fact that so many of the fights ended up being a numbers game, either levels or bodies, really killed the open-world RvR. Too many crowd control abilities, too many powerful AoE attacks, and too many heal over time spells, there are no true counters for a lot of that. You can counter crowd control, but with so many people stacking it you run out of options. You can't counter AoE, and a lot of times you can't even get out of the area before dying. You obviously can't over come the massive heal over time spells, because there just aren't enough options to allow for burst damage.

The key to improving this game is in making it a more open world, combined with more balancing and maybe even revamping the class system itself. There's no real reward to flipping zones, defending zones, or doing scenarios. Mythic really didn't do enough to tie all of its many aspects into one common goal, defeating the opposition, and unfortunately now they are on the proverbial chopping block waiting for EA to drop the axe.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 8:08PM CCon99 said

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Amazing read, you pretty much cover everything that went right and the tons that went wrong in this game that at one time had almost 800k people wanting to enjoy it. Awesome read and one of the best articles not only on this site, but on the failings of WAR subject since its launch.

Of course Abriael we'll be along shortly to call the author of the article a troll who doesn't know what they're talking about and shouldn't have an opinion in an opinion piece. But such is life.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 8:30PM Synthetic said

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The article didn't need to be as long as it was.

Basically, Mythic's target audience was WoW’s audience. And PvPers after that.

Nearly every video update during WAR's treck to launch was filled with not-so-subtle comparisons to WoW and talk of how WAR would do it better or funner* and that they weren’t going to be like that other sissy MMO. Waaaagh!

They got greedy. They failed. And I don’t think they can recover from where they are now. At least, not to where they could have been if the launch had gone better or if they’d just focused on WAR and PvP fans from the start instead of trying to steal players from an unflinchingly successful game.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 9:04PM (Unverified) said

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you talked about class balance in WAR.. that it wasn't great... well it's better than in any mmo I've ever played -- PVP wise atleast... still awesome post, many things true there

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 9:01PM Comrade Domovoi said

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Maybe they should have aimed their game at the demographic that likes playing a game that isn't a buggy mess. Maybe not even so much the bugs, but the stability issues. I remember the excitement I had building up when I hit level 40 on my WH and was going to join an assault on the Maw (the pre-city fortress for the Inevitable City). So I get there, thinking oh man, oh man this is gonna be cool. I get there, and I can hardly do anything because of the game turning into a slideshow (my computer is definitely not at fault I play the new 1.5 Dx10 AoC Client full blast without even the slightest hint of a stutter).

So, I thought early adoption was maybe the culprit. But then I rejoined the game several months later. Aside from the game being empty as hell on what was supposed to be a very popular server, the same problem existed. Not to mention for some reason more so than in the beginning, the game just plain looked like ass. It was very jarring how bad the game looked.

Whenever I read about the game now I just laugh with glee to see that it has the same problems. I know it doesn't speak well of me as a person, but I really want this game to just crash and burn to the ground for messing up such a solid concept based on an awesome universe. And don't get me started on the promises from the developers. When Jacobs got fired I couldn't be happier, was really tired of his failed promises and crap (oh were gonna make CC balanced by making everyone else more powerful, no nerfs guys, no nerfs - and the most recent list of priorities says that the top issue is CC). And don't get me started on the fact that they put in Land of the Dead before bringing in capital cities. That was another thing that pushed me over the edge of never subbing for the game again.

Posted: Jul 1st 2009 9:09PM (Unverified) said

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@br3ntbr0

Bugginess kinda goes with the first few months of an MMO. If you judge a new MMO by the bugginess in the first few months, WoW would have no subscribers anymore. That game had so many glitches and server crashes in the early days. But they've had years to iron it out. Thats one of the reasons its so hard to combat WoW.

On a side note, I think that what this article said without really stating it is that if you want to have a massive amount of subscribers as the almighty WoW, you have to focus first on PvE. It has to be polished and fun and engaging. You can focus your MMO on PvP, but then it still should never receive more than 40% focus.

WoW's PvP has always been weak and 3 steps behind PvE. I know some people really enjoy it and there have been times where it has been at the forefront, but in all reality, most people play a game with an action bar because they want to have a semi-systematic way to take down bad guys. Everyone I know who plays WoW fell in love with it because of the PvE, and then possibly got involved in PvP as a way to supplement. If you want to steal from WoW - steal from them by doing that better.

Posted: Jul 2nd 2009 2:06AM Angelworks said

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These days its a hard gamble - when WoW was launched there wasn't nearly as much competition as there is today. All they had to do was release a game that was better than EQ - and they did. 30 minutes playing any mmo if you find yourself suddenly thinking "gee I could be having more fun playing WoW right now" - its game over they failed.

EA has a history of marketing crap, relying on the store sales and then dropping said project and moving on - you can't do this with MMO's.

I'm not a huge Warhammer fan (so I don't know much about it admitedly), but in talking to friends who are - they were disappointed with WAR mmo because they didn't use any of the actual lore or stories and they didn't make you feel part of the story. WoW does a pretty good job of this.
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Posted: Jul 1st 2009 10:11PM Justpotatoes said

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Hmm... Like some of the other commenters, I think Mythic probably should have focused more on their PvP audience.

I know I'm in the minority, but I really enjoyed RvR, when it worked. Skirmishing with guildies while avoiding the zerg was some of the most fun I had in WAR. Unfortunately, too often there were technical glitches (or exploits) and it would end up frustrating for everyone, attackers and defenders. Even the balance thing really didn't bother me too much until choppas/slayers came out, and my poor WH kept getting mowed. So I rerolled a sorc, got to T4 and started dropping PoS at choke points, at which point the game became fun again. (I'm sure the bright wizards can relate! I wonder how many sorcs/BW are former WH/WE?) ;)

I'd still be playing WAR if not for the technical issues and lack of in-game support.

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