Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 02, 2008
 
Silence isn't disapproval

I am very aware that in the last weeks I have written a lot about Warhammer Online, and very little about World of Warcraft, except as point of reference. There are two reasons for that: Writing about the new game is more fun, and the news about WoW currently aren't reliable. If I had gotten around to write about the WoW honor point wipe, I would now have had to write about how that wipe has been cancelled. I already did write about how Deathknights are far better in soloing than Warriors, but can't tank in group, only to see that change with every beta patch. Anything you read right now about patch 3.0 or Wrath of the Lich King could very well be not true any more tomorrow. So waiting until the patch and then the expansion actually come out, playing them, and reporting about how they are is more my style than getting all huffed about beta changes that never make it into a release version.

But my silence about World of Warcraft and extensive discussion of Warhammer Online should in no way be interpreted as me liking WAR more than WoW. Both games have their good and their bad sides. I am having great fun in WAR when I'm in a large group doing public quests or RvR. But when I'm soloing I actually like WoW better, and I also like the WoW dungeons more than the WAR version. Also the current version of WoW (not the beta or PTR) is infinitely more bug free than the current version of WAR. I play WAR now because it is new and shiny, and not a bad game. But unless Blizzard is having major release problems, on November 13 I will play Wrath of the Lich King. Because then *that* will be new and shiny, and not a bad game.

I am happy that WAR sold half a million copies in the first week, and is well on their way to sell over a million by year's end. I am happy because monopolies are principally bad for customers, and we all profit from Blizzard having some viable competition. But I'm not naive enough to see WAR as a "WoW killer". I won't be the only one running after new and shiny. There *will* be a significant decrease in WAR players mid-November, with many people rushing back to WoW. How things will develop in 2009 is anyone's guess, and I don't worry about it yet. It will be interesting to see both games develop, trying to iron out their weaknesses and building on their strengths. Has WoW improved its endgame? How fun is the raid-free WAR endgame in comparison? I'm looking forward to finding all that out. Getting all religious and proclaiming one game the true god, while condemning the other, isn't really me. I find good things in most games, and never fail to see the bad sides too. I don't even expect to ever see the perfect game. A large choice of good games is all I can hope for, so I'm pretty happy right now.
Comments:
Of course they canceled the Honor & Mark Wipe, that was just a ridiculous idea to begin with. If they'd gone ahead with that my subscription would have stayed dead. Now, there's a chance I may renew somewhere down the line because I know I'll still be able to pick up the PvP Offhand Blade with minimal grinding when my Troll Rogue dings 70. Sure, it could be a waste of Honor, but who's to say Honor will be the currency of the PvPing 80?

That's actually an interesting hypothesis. Blizzard are letting you keep your 1-70 Honor & Marks because doing the BGs at 71-80 will earn you a different PvP currency.
 
I wont be heading to Lich King because it's more of the same: a 10 level sight seeing trip with pretty colors ending with grinding and worthless PVP that doesnt matter, and more E-PEEN gear earning in raid guilds that look down on people that cant play 24/7. Enjoy!
 
I just picked up WAR, but of course did not cancel my WoW subscription. I can see playing both for a while. If a clear winner emerges, I'll go there, but I don't think this is likely for a long time.
 
"a 10 level sight seeing trip with pretty colors ending with grinding and worthless PVP that doesnt matter"

That comment always gets me. None of the PvP in WAR matters either...until you get to the T4 stuff.

The Renown gear you get from Keeps in t1-t3 is matched by gear from Quests/PQ/Inf so they aren't "needed". The bonuses you get for control of a zone are nice...but again not needed, and are just a slight variation of say..owning the towers in Terokkar in WoW.
 
Hudson, being an Explorer I didn't actually mind the sight seeing trip to 70. I have/had two Ally 70s & a 67, plus Horde at 67 & 63, (& numerous Alts). I'd probably even like the journey to 80, a couple of times.

But that's the thing: How long can I keep doing that? And what's the point? Sometimes you feel as if you'd like to ding 70, return to Orgrimmar or Ironforge, and there'd be trumpeting and Heralds proclaiming, "Congratulations! You made it! Well done!" and then there'd be a GAME OVER screen, and you could start all over again if you desired.

Sometimes "Game Over" is not such a bad thing.
 
"a 10 level sight seeing trip with pretty colors ending with grinding and worthless PVP that doesnt matter"

I think fun is the missing variable in this comment here. PvP in WoW, for people whop describe it this way, doesn't have enough fun to compensate for the gear grind and the fact that it doesn't influence the world.
 
"The bonuses you get for control of a zone are nice...but again not needed, and are just a slight variation of say..owning the towers in Terokkar in WoW."

Yea... slight variations... About as slight as questing in EQ1 and WoW, basically still kill ten rats right? Right? :)

The biggest problem with WotLK is not what it brings, but that it's only the second x-pac (and almost identical to TBC in terms of game changes) to a game now 4 years old. WotLK in 2006 would have been great, but adding 10 levels in 2008 is just not enough for those who have been there since 2004.
 
Thanks for your article, Tobold. I haven't picked up WAR but enjoy reading your impressions of it. And I hope Blizzard developers read it too and glean ideas to roll into WoW.

To me, WoW went through *fundamental* changes when TBC was released. The general trend has been towards more reward of skill. For example, vanilla WoW raiding was gathering 25 skilled raiders and 15 no-skill raiders for mid-level (Tier 2) content. I healed through AQ20/BWL/Ony as a clueless feral druid in greens. :-) As another example, the old honor rank system was purely time-based: how many hours/day can you spend in AV? The new arena system has flaws but is infinitely better than the Marshal/Warlord grind.

The trend towards skill will continue in WotLK. By making raid-wide and more homogenous class buffs, player skill will become more important than class. (No more need to stack shamans.) And PvP gear will move away from "welfare epics" to a combination of honor points, arena points, and arena rating.

Casual players get "10 more levels", a new class and tradeskill, and pretty pictures along the way. Serious players get changes to the game mechanics and reward system. By emphasizing and rewarding skill, WoW is moving towards an e-sport model, which is a lot easier to do in a themepark environment rather than a sandbox.
 
To a small degree all of the pvp in war contributes to the overall effort so at least it means something, even if not much. And then once you reach T4 you are fighting for an overall common goal and get gear as well.

WOW is a great pve game but no matter what they do PVP just ends up pointless other than to grind out new gear. I reserved a CE lich king but will be more likely to ebay it than play at this point. It's a great game to those who enjoy it, but for me it's boring and WOTLK is just going to be more of the same.

I love being able to level just from doing RVR in WAR and it really makes it more fun to play for me personally. Since I can't make raid schedules in WOW there really isn't anything for me to strive for in that game so I'm content to hang out in WAR when WOTLK comes out.
 
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