Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
WAR review

Some readers preferred that I do a specific WAR review with a recommendation of whether to play it or not, so here is my take on that. As I've already talked enough about how the game works, this post is pure opinion. I don't do scores, but rather prefer relative comparisons: Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is better than Age of Conan and Lord of the Rings Online, but not as good as World of Warcraft. This isn't to say that you should play WoW instead of WAR, because that totally depends on how burned out you are of playing World of Warcraft. If you've been there, done that all in WoW, WAR might be a good option, at least until Wrath of the Lich King arrives. So, lets have a look at various aspects of Warhammer Online to judge it by:

Graphics: As many people remarked, WAR graphics are somewhat similar to WoW's, being cartoonish instead of photorealistic. In my opinion that is a good thing, because photorealistic games have problems with high hardware requirements, and the Uncanny Valley. Nothing wrong with a game looking, well, like a game, and not like the real world. While similar, WAR's graphics are somewhat less cheery bright and colorful than WoW's, which is consistent with the grimmer lore. (Hah! Smooth transition to the next point!)

Lore: The Warhammer lore has a quarter of a century of accumulated material, a miniature game, a roleplaying game, and lots of books. It is considerably richer than WoW's lore, and more mature. Not Age of Conan's bare nipples kind of mature, but grim and serious. You won't meet any Haris Pilton selling gigantesque handbags in WAR. That is good. But there is also a serious downside: As Michael Zenke so correctly remarks, Destruction in the Warhammer lore is really, really evil. But only in the books. In Warhammer Online, playing a character on the Destruction side is exactly as good or evil as playing a character on the Order side. Dark Elves get quests to kill High Elves, but High Elves get quests to kill Dark Elves, so which of the two sides is "evil" is just a question of semantics. A Destruction character, just like any Order character, will spend a lot of time being helpful to complete strangers by running errands (aka quests) for them. In the Warhammer books the evil of Destruction might churn your stomach, but in the game this is unlikely to happen. WAR is more like a war between the red and the blue army than an epic struggle between good and evil.

Technical: I'm only talking about the game itself here, the European account registration site is a different chapter. Warhammer Online has less bugs than Age of Conan, but more than World of Warcraft. WAR is generally quite playable, but you *will* come across bugs, some of them annoying, in your daily gameplay. A week before release, and with Mark Jacobs' explicit statement that Mythic isn't doing miracle patches, the "this is just a beta" excuse for bugs is wearing thin. The current version 4.1 is rather solid, and improved things like pathing and the Tome of Knowledge. But it isn't bug free. You will still see some bad pathing, albeit less than in the first preview weekend, and you will come across mobs that can't be hit. My most hated bug: If you alt-tab out of the game and try to alt-tab back in, you are greeted by a black screen and can do nothing but shoot down the game with the task manager. But I finally managed to "fix" that problem by playing in windowed mode. Nothing game-breaking, but certainly one point to consider in our judgement.

PvE: Despite all the marketing hype praising WAR as a PvP game, WAR is a great PvE game. PvE fun might stop at the level cap, which is only 40. But for making alts and leveling them to the level cap without doing any content twice, WAR even beats WoW. You can level up at least 6 characters to 40 before doing any quest twice. And there are more character classes than in WoW, although I can't exactly say how many. Technically there are 20, but some are mirror images; an Archmage plays exactly like a Shaman. But not every class has a mirror image, so the number of different classes is somewhere between 10 and 20. And there are more different game mechanics than WoW has. WoW only has 3 right now, using mana, rage, or energy, with a 4th on the way for Death Knights using runes. WAR has more different basic mechanics right out of the door, but again I haven't played all the classes yet and thus don't have an exact count. Another great WAR PvE feature are public quests, which are a lot of fun. But WoW still keeps the PvE crown, because it has a wider variety of quests, and a huge PvE raid endgame.

PvP: I like WAR PvP. I'm a carebear. If you are a pre-Trammel UO, hardcore impact PvP fan, that should make your toes curl up: If I like WAR PvP, you won't. WAR does not have "meaningful" impact PvP with permanent consequences and the ability to free-for-all gank anyone you dislike. WAR has a solid system of carebear PvP, which is much better integrated with PvE than it is in WoW, and there is a whole lot more of it than in WoW. It just isn't much more permanent than in WoW. At best you can conquer the enemies capital, which will cause the map to reset a couple of days later. The keeps you conquer will be lost to a sneak attack at 3 am in the morning, unless you are crazy enough to organize a 24/7 substantial guard, armed with the telephone numbers of all your guild members, and your guild members are willing be woken up in the middle of the night to defend that keep. I think the WAR PvP is the best option for a mass market MMORPG, but the real hardcore PvP fans will certainly be disappointed by it. WAR PvP is substantially better than WoW PvP: Staying to the end is more important than winning, so no people afking out when they start to lose. But actual participation is better measured and rewarded than in WoW, so no people staying back in the cave and collecting rewards while absent either. Another great feature is good PvP reward gear for every level, not just epics for the level cap. In WAR you don't level up to the cap doing PvE and only then start with PvP. In WAR, just like the marketing slogan says, war is everywhere, you are best off if you do some PvP at all levels, and constantly switch between PvP and PvE. Maximum fun by maximum variety, a good concept.

Social: With open groups, public quests, and living guilds, WAR beats WoW easily in social functions. It is a lot easier to play together with a bunch of strangers in WAR than it is in WoW. Groups in WAR are inclusive, the more the merrier; groups in WoW are exclusive, you better take the right mix of classes, levels, and talent builds. But while in WoW "pickup group" is a dirty word, a good group in WoW is a marvelous machine of collaboration, and WAR is missing that somewhat. The social dynamics are very different, you group easier with strangers, but you don't feel that much of a bond with some once you finished beating that public quest together with them. It remains to be seen how that works out for WAR guilds; in principle it is easier to do something together with all online guild members, regardless of class or level, in WAR than it is in WoW. But by making cooperation easier, the level of trust required is necessarily less high. WAR will probably have a lot less guild drama than WoW, but we will have to wait and see whether a WAR guild raiding a keep will feel the same level of connection as a WoW guild raiding a dungeon.

In summary, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is a good game, albeit not perfect, and it will have some problems living up to the excessive marketing hype from Mythic. It is certainly worth buying and trying out for a month or two. But I honestly don't know yet whether I will play WAR or WotLK in December. And I certainly can't tell *you* which game to play. But I would suggest you give WAR a chance while Blizzard is still building their expansion. WAR has enough good, and new, features to justify giving it a try. Don't let anyone tell you it's just a WoW clone! Recommended!
Clearly you are only recommending WAR because you are on the Mythic payroll via a $200 subscription.

Never mind the years of coverage you have given to WoW, this review PROVES your bias!
Clearly you are only recommending WAR because you are on the Mythic payroll via a $200 subscription.

Never mind the years of coverage you have given to WoW, this review PROVES your bias!

Hehe. That is probably just a joke, but in case it's not, this review is pretty consistant with everything Tobold has posted even BEFORE he got that pass. So I'm certainly not surprised by it.
On PvP:

The hard-core full consequence UO and AC-Darktide PvPers seem to be desperately hoping that Darkfall will be their game.

After 7 years of being probable vapourware, it may actually hit a large beta stage soon, maybe.

So far people seem to still be having fun, however I have heard that class mix can be very important in PvP (e.g. no healers means you lose, can still compete but not much hope)
I completely agree about cartonish-graphics being the way to go. Oblivion and Age of Conan are two games that supposedly had "great graphics" but looked horrible to me due to their attempt at realism. The thing is, I already have access to realistic graphics - my eyes. When I play games, I'd rather see something stylized and unique.

-Michael Hartman
Blogging about Online Gaming and Virtual Worlds:
You are clearly biased.

How is it any better than LotRo for example?

LotRo can slap themselves on the back for providing and incredibly rich game and keeping the content coming like no other MMO at the moment.

The game was practically bug free when you compare to what Warhammer EU is going through. Yes I know this is only Beta.

The two games are different too! One is clearly for PvP players the other is a rich immersive world for fans of Tolkien's Lore.

Your review is simply full of sweeping comments that have no real substance.

To be honest I don't think you are even in a position to compare it to LotRo as by your own statements you haven't even played the game in months.
Luckily late last night, I was finally able to play the euro beta. And I liked the game much more than I expected. Your review seems to be pretty accurate.

One thing worth mentioning: The combat feels a lot different than in Wow. I had expected I wouldnt like it, but I actually do. It has a more laid back, strategic feel to it. And as a noob you don't get oneshotted :)
"As I've already talked enough about how the game works, this post is pure opinion."

You did read that part, didn't you?

Living in the EU, I'm not sure if I should try it in the next few weeks. I think I'll wait till GOA gets their stuff together.
> You are clearly biased.

Ofcourse he is, this is a BLOG. He likes this game more than LOTRO. Nothing wrong with that...
if you want to be regarded as media/press, then learn and do a proper journalist review.

if you want to say whatever you want because this is just a blog and opinion-driven, then don't come and take for granted your newly (and shallow) "media" status and online subscription offer.
"if you want to say whatever you want because this is just a blog and opinion-driven, then don't come and take for granted your newly (and shallow) "media" status and online subscription offer"

lol - Sounds like someones bitter they didnt get a free subscription to the game ;)

Grow up you fool...

To be fair to Tobold, and I think we all owe him that, I don't think he has ever said or in any other way expressed that he wants to be regarded as a journalist. Quite the opposite, it is a steady mantra of his that he indeed is "just a blogger".

Thanks for the review. I'd love to try Warhammer, but I'm on that "other" platform, the inferior and oft-ignored Mac. I don't think EA will start looking in that direction anytime soon ;)
Very good review, I can't find any fault with it, no matter how hard I try :P

WAR's "grimmer" graphics alone (my orc looks like how I expect an orc to look) will make going back to the "pretty" graphics of WoW a hard choice.
I concur with Tobold, and I'm pretty psyched about the game. I have high hopes for the blend of PvE and RvR maxing the fun.
"if you want to be regarded as media/press, then learn and do a proper journalist review."

Ah yes, like all those 'proper journalistic reviews' you get in games magazines. Get real.

Oh, and if you want people to take YOUR comments seriously, post under a name, rather than anonymous.
People seeing bias in that review? Seriously? I think that's probably as fair as you're going to get when comparing a 4 year old game with mass content to a new game that 'isn't WoW'

Great points all around, especially on the PvP. It warms my heart that the anti-social gank loving PvPers are going to be turned off this game.
Morph said...
> You are clearly biased.

Ofcourse he is, this is a BLOG. He likes this game more than LOTRO. Nothing wrong with that...

If he hasnt played LOTRO in months, he is not qualified to make the comparision, truth is lotro is way too different for a comparsion, just because its in the same genre doesnt give you the right for a comparision.
If he hasnt played LOTRO in months, he is not qualified to make the comparision

Why wouldn't comparing LotRO at release to WAR at release be a fair and qualified comparison? LotRO certainly has become better with time, but I'm pretty confident that WAR will as well.
Something i haven't heard many people mention that has been my experience so far, the Chaos/Empire scenario feels just like Arathi basin to me. Maybe because i have been on Empire side mostly, but destruction seems to be all marauder+zealot, or chosen+shaman, with combinations of those, and it's damn near impossible to take the healer out before you get basically two shotted. The longer respawn also makes it so they then just push past lighthouse, and kill you pretty quickly again. Then there is the just plain out numbered rvr, where destruction is almost always beating order. The only time not is late at night here (central us) when a group of five order can take it back.
I don't see the queues solving this either, as people who would prefer destruction won't roll order to skip lines, but would just roll on another server or wait.
I'm liking the game a good deal, and agree with you on a lot of what you said, but wonder if the numbers imbalance is going to lead to bigger problems.
"If he hasnt played LOTRO in months, he is not qualified to make the comparision, truth is lotro is way too different for a comparsion, just because its in the same genre doesnt give you the right for a comparision."

That's absurd; of course it does. WoW and WAR are very different, but there are enough commonalities that it's useful to compare their differences (i.e., WoW has a lot more end-game PVE content, WAR has a lot more PVP content). Likewise with LoTRO.
Anon said, "if you want to be regarded as media/press..."

That's just the thing, Tobold never did want to be regarded as media/press, he has always insisted that he's just a Blogger.

IIRC the reason for his apparent switch from Blogger to Journalist is because he was denied access to a certain event because the coordinators considered him to be "Press", so he played up that angle and this is what it's got him.

Tobold didn't decide to be a gaming Journalist, the industry made that decision for him.
@Anonymous said...
You are clearly biased.
Another LOTRO whiny apologist...OMG.
LOTRO is not any good...period.
Get over it, and get back to running around with that Hobbit "Full Diaper" Run!

Anyways, this seems fair. The review did not come off as biased in my opinion.
They already gave you the free scrip, so write what you feel...right?
WAR is not all that and a bag of chips.
It is mediocre at best.
But, for the WoW crowd, it is perfect. It does not "suck" like some games I know, but it sure is slow and tedious...I think you have even mentioned this before.
It will sell well.
But, myself, I hope something comes along that shakes this industry.

WAR is Status Quo!
I'm still undecided with WAR. It really does sounds too much like WoW and why do I need that with WRATH coming soon?

PVPing throughout the game does sounds interesting, but I don't think it's enough for me to spend the money.

I think they need to offer a free trial if they really want to grab some WoW converts.
Does anyone know if crafting is in the game yet? I've heard conflicting reports....
Thanks for the write-up - much appreciated. :)
It sounds like WAR will either sink or swim based on how well public quest are received, as that seems to be it's most distinguishing feature.
Good review.

I've been playing the open beta, and there's a lot I like. But the game really needs some polish. The bugs are killing it for me, personally.

It seems like every other public quest I try is ruined by a boss being non-attackable or a scripted event failing. With only a week before it goes live, these issues will still be around for a while after the game goes live.

I'm sure everything will get fixed later. But I think WAR would have done much better if Mythic waited until AFTER WOTLK came out. No cities or classes would be cut, and people would be looking for something new after consuming all the WoW expansion content.

I'll probably give WAR a chance next year after I'm done w/ WoW.

I mostly agree with your review, Tobold. At least of the early game that we have seen thus far and I would be surprised if the level 15-39 game differs from this at all. My only quibble is that the review is a bit premature in making comparisons about what the game will be like at level 40. Comparing a game that you have played at endgame (WoW) to one that only a few Elder beta testers have played is a bit premature.

I think WAR will a better fit for someone who is time constrained. If you only have an hour or two to play a day, you can easily jump in and find fun things to do in WAR. In WoW, that's usually not enough time to do anything meaningful unless it was pre-planned.

As I mentioned above, it still remains to be seen how the Tier 4 endgame plays out. You described the city takeover as just winning the city for 3 days. Mythic described it this way:

Quote:”You lock down 2 pairings by capturing the fortress at the end of each. At this time the city becomes contested and enemy players may storm the gates and begin a city wide public quest build on ransacking, pillaging, and killing their enemies. We have tested capturing 2 pairings and watched the city flip to contested. In addition to the public quests you also have a scenario of epic proportions. It encompasses multiple rulesets and requires a large amount of coordination in order to win.

Cities are broken up into instances of 48 on 48, which in the concentrated, urban environment is quite intense. Players must play a tug of war in the city wide public quest to attempt to beat the other side (one side is trying to put out the fires that the other is lighting) in addition to controlling battlefield objectives at key strategic areas. This PQ plus winning scenarios contributes victory points, and much like normal zone capture this is displayed in the victory points bar above the minimap.

At this point the defender will either win and oust the attacker or the attacker will capture the city. No defenders can enter the city at this time and the rest will be booted once they're dead (but they're still able to put up a fight!) If the defenders win the campaign resets and control goes back to the neutral tier 4 zones.

Once the city is captured 2 public quests unlock and players are able to explore the PvE dungeons within the city. (expanding the amount of PvE content available to the server.)

Once these two PQ's are defeated the king encounter unlocks for all city instances and warbands can now assault the palace and challenge the king.”

Not to nitpick, but that sounds like a bit more than just taking over the equivalent of Stormwind for a few days.
Obviously WAR is not as polished as WoW, has various bugs, etc.

But here is my opinion: WAR blows WoW of the water in FUN. RvR with even a few people on vent with you is a blast, even if you are on the low end of the tier. Three lvl 14 guys can make a big difference and defeat a pug with 5 or 6 of 18 and 19s.

As a matter of making leveling a genuinely fun thing to do, instead of something you have to do to have fun later, War just beats the living f*** out of WoW, hands down. The sheer variety of things you can do to effectively level makes it pretty damn grindless. This is the first game where leveling wasn't a chore to me.

And the PvP can get fairly tactical with only 3 people cooperating. I cannot frigging wait to see two guild groups going at it in scenarios. It will be wild!

I love pvp. War has the best pvp I've ever seen in an MMO. It has the whole PvP package in ways that WoW simply doesn't. I simply cannot imagine going back to WoW and grinding bg's for honor, grinding mobs for xp, and generally considering myself lucky if I spent 1 hour of grind to have one hour of fun. A few mobs bugging out, and a few desktop crashes are a minor annoyance. In terms of leveling gameplay, War dominates WoW so hard its not even funny. I haven't tried the end game, but realistically for 90% of MMO players, an end game where you don't have to block off 6-11 4 nights a week to succeed should be welcome.

So I emphatically recommend trying it out with a few friends.

Thanks for the space Tobold!
While I don't always agree with Tobold, I do largely agree with his take on this game (minus comparisons with LotRO, which I've not played).

The degree of similarity to WoW is striking, and while WAR does up the ante in a few cases, there are at least as many things that WoW still does better.

The bottom line here is that WoW remains a clear winner in terms of guild-centric PvE, and it's an absolute no-brainer if that's what you're after. WAR is a slightly better PvP game at the moment, but I'm not even sure how long it will retain that edge - Blizzard has a lot of money, and there's nothing WAR is doing that they couldn't copy and improve if they chose to.

Oh, and as for the "quality" of Tobold's review here - he's not a "game journalist," which is to his credit. He's a guy who likes games and likes to write about how they make him feel, and that's what I come here to read about. From my perspective, the opinion of an actual gamer is way more valuable than a numerical rating by some shill "game journalist."
Slightly better pvp game?

You are crazy sir. War PVP, and I don't just mean the pew pew bit, but how it is integrated into the rest of the game, is far and away the superior system. I could write a small dissertation on this, but I'll put it this way:

1) You don't have to spend thousands of gold to respec between your PvP and PvE spec. As a corollary to this, you do not have the constant battle between balancing a classes PVE abilities against their PVP abilities (WoW uses excessive CC to bandage this problem). This is very big impediment to fully enjoying the game, as the number of people who have either quit out of frustration or sworn off half the game show.

2) No healbotting. Anybody who has wanted to roll a ret pally can testify that the pressure to spec "correctly" is a major drag. Here, just roll a Warrior Priest. Each class does what it does, the trees are just flavors of the same basic play style. WoW tries to include three different subclasses with each spec.

3) PvP doesn't start at 70. WaR has integrated PvP into the characters development from the start of the game by making it count. If you didn't want to twink a toon out in WoW, you didn't pvp at lower levels, or at least didn't do much besides die. Here, you can level pretty efficiently by PVP alone. And it is fun.

4) PvP doesn't suck at 70. Look me in my cyber-eyes and tell me the BG system in WoW works well. I dare you. It's honor point format nearly demands pugging it outside of that month when they release new gear. A new player gets to grind 130,000+ honor with pugs if he wants to be two generations behind on the gear curve. This is not fun, it is not functional, it is worse for PvP than the rank system that proceeded it. If there are organized pvp groups having fun in WoW bgs, I haven't seen them.

Arenas are fairly fun, but don't really represent functional PvP for most people, who probably have a hard time getting the same 5 people to show up for 10 games a week to get points, or even more if they want to do well.

World pvp in WoW is an utter joke. They've tried so many times now and they still can't figure out how to make it fun, or how to make it last.

So WAR's pvp isn't just slightly better; it is vastly superior in pretty much every way. It's two or three leagues up from WoW pvp.

Half the so called carebears in WoW dislike pvp because the only type they've tried is WoW pvp. If they'd grown up on WAR style pvp, they'd probably be pvp nuts. WoW's handling of PVP is truly a disgrace. The only excuse WoW has for its system is that the PvP was an afterthought.
One more point: I don't think WoW can copy a lot of the really important things that War is doing in PvP because they would have major consequences for the PVE side of the game. They can't just copy War, because War was designed from the ground up with pvp as the main focus. It doesn't have to worry about making sure Paladins are competitive in Arenas and that their healing won't be so powerful that guilds will roll through content on the back of endless flash's of light, or whatever. They are as subject to every past decision, good and bad, as anyone else. They can't just magic up a fix to the fact that PvP makes every decision about talent trees and abilities a minefield, as one example.
reading your blog since mid of last year i slowly get the impression you get paid by mystic for how you sell warhammer in your blog. especially in your review it is more than obvious that you just point out the positive and make it sound the game is all in all a better version of wow. it is not, by far. i could start pointing out the flaws, but i don´t think you are able or willing to see them.
only one point: saying that war pve is any good, compared to wow pve is more than laughable. and the oh so great pvp, where every healer has unlimited "mana" combined with the absence of real cc make up for totally awesome pvp i guess. meaning 10 players will always win vs 7, no matter how good the 7 are.
i guess that is revolutionary pvp !

Bullcrap. Me and two other dudes have been regularly fending off numerically superior forces, even if they are higher level. Its teamwork and good tactics that will determine the winner in War. And there are plenty of ways to do that besides spamming cyclone.
[WAR] doesn't have to worry about making sure Paladins are competitive in Arenas and that their healing won't be so powerful that guilds will roll through content on the back of endless flash's of light, or whatever.

That's an excellent point.

Moreover, they don't have to be concerned about making gear too easily aquired in PvP versus PvE. Or different sets gear for PvP.

Basically, WoW has to balance for two games and they keep screwing over one game when they "fix" the other. I just don't see anything like that being an issue in WAR.
"WAR will probably have a lot less guild drama than WoW, but we will have to wait and see whether a WAR guild raiding a keep will feel the same level of connection as a WoW guild raiding a dungeon."

If WAR RvR guild groups are anything like DAOC RvR guild groups, you will easily feel the same level of connection. It brings new meaning to the term, "Blood Brothers."

Great review overall! :)
Snafq: I would bet that there would be as much or more.

There is less loot to get jealous about, less pressure to spec ways you don't especially want to, probably no particular reason to demand that players attend 90% of raids.

Basically I'd suspect War guilds won't be subject to the same burnout and drama, which lowers turnover, which should increase bonding.
"it is more than obvious that you just point out the positive and make it sound the game is all in all a better version of wow."

Totally. Especially the part where he wrote:

"Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is better than Age of Conan and Lord of the Rings Online, but not as good as World of Warcraft."
This is a pretty fair review. Server stability is better than launch WoW, but there are a ton more coding bugs. (If anyone from Mythic is reading, the not targetable bug should be your top priority this week. And bolstering down is a 10x better solution than the chicken mechanic).

Combat timing feels ok enough now, but the fluidity and impact of the character animations is not nearly as good as WoW. It is not a killer issue for me as it was in launch LOTRO, but it is mildly disconnecting at times. YMMV.

Classes are built around PVP, which means they stay up longer and have less individual flexibility. That makes extended solo PVE sessions a little simplistic and tiresome, despite the well done lore... although PVE is starting to get tougher in T2 as far as patrols, mob placement, etc. Crafting is garbage, and I will probably just take scavenging for some extra $$.

The diversity of scenarios and how they are handled (queueing, leveling, etc.) are giant plus relative to WoW BGs. The open PVP is what WAR will ultimately hang its hat on, though. It is well done and quite unique (or it's at least a good rehash of DAoC, which most haven't played.) In particular I urge everyone in OB to get past the T1 EVC zerg and try some warband/small group stuff across T2. Much more interesting and surprisingly different. However, I am still worried that population-wise Destro>Order at launch. It seems a lot of the best Order guilds in OB are planning to go back to Destro for launch.

Who shouldn't buy WAR:
1. Anyone who specifically wants to focus on an extensive instanced group PVE endgame.
2. Anyone who wants a "worldy" game with an interesting economy.
3. Anyone who wants consequential FFA PVP.
4. Anyone who demands single-player levels of polish.
5. Most people who don't want to ever group or guild; they will probably find the solo leveling game a slightly less polished version of WoW.

I would encourage anyone else, particularly those with limited schedules, a good guild, and some interest in PVP or FPS multiplayer, to check it out. I have seen more interesting situations and engaged in more PVP in PW/OB than in about a year subbed to WoW.
I kind of hope there is a bit of an imbalance. I'll be rolling Order. I like fast que times and open rvr challenges.

But supposedly a lot of guilds had assumed that destro would be the less populated realm and so rolled there. After OB they are probably convinced of that fact, since pretty much every server consistently had higher destro pops. I think quite a few will switch to Order now so they can play the underdog.
Day 2 of my Warhammer Online (or as I call it, World of Warhammercraft Online) experience had me healing folks in a boss-fight in an open-air PvE raid. True, when the MT died the boss tried running across the map to the graveyard in pursuit of him (then evaded back to its spawn point before trying that same thing again) but let me reiterate:

Day 2: Fought raid boss with PUG.

I'm in favor of that.
Woot! Thanks for listening to readers, Tobold. You've earned your influence in consistent and original commentary.

And honestly, I'd give my left nut for your access to the industry...Anyone critical of your accepting a little swag can go ahead and start their own damn blogs---Wait, is it a blog if no one reads it?

Thanks again for giving me good stuff to read every day!
Can you explain why you say War is not as good as WoW? Is it the bugs alone? Because everything else you mentioned, even PVE, went to War.

You also didn't touch on the chapter progression and how the story actually progresses with your character as you rank up.

I know I found myself pushing futher in PVE than I really wanted to just to see how some of the longer quest chains ended and I was not dissapointed.
WAR is FUN AS HECK. Ive played Wow off and on for 3 years, all the others and this one is the first MMO that Im thinking might make me not get WOLK on day 1. Yeah, of course Ill play WOLK, I mean COME ON. But WAR really is good. Really. Had me hooked in an hour...
tobold, i am curious to how much fun you think WAR would be to somebody who isn't all that great at MMO's. I regularly allow an older family member that i live with to create a character on my WoW/LOTRO accounts, and while they have a lot of fun leveling up, they are very slow and not all that great at it.

How high is the barrier of entry for this game? Will it be unplayable for somebody who, for example, finds a thrill in a double-mob pull, but has trouble keeping their eye on their health bar to decide if a fight is indeed winable?
How high is the barrier of entry for this game?

Good news on that front, PvE in WAR isn't any harder than in WoW. The slow combat means you don't die instantly if you make a bad pull, and everyone has a "flee" ability to leg it if something like that happens.
46 posts many with comparisons to WoW yet not a single one recalling WoWs first 6 months of major bugs - Authenticating server issues anyone ? No battlegrounds yet it was printed in the manual that shipped with the game ? Server crashes with blue posts promising they would come back up soon yet crediting everyones accounts for a day here and another day there - I have the records to prove this ! Lol WoW has become a behemoth over the last 4 years no doubt but it has taken them 4 years AFTER launch . WaR is already offering things to this industry that we have yet to see from anyone else. Looking forward to the road they pave.
"46 posts many with comparisons to WoW yet not a single one recalling WoWs first 6 months of major bugs"
That's because WAR isn't competing against WOW as it was at launch. It's competing against WOW as it is now. That's what happens when you launch a few years later: the opposition get a lot of time to refine their product. The upside is that you get to learn from what worked and didn't in your predecessor.

On to the game itself. WAR in its current beta state is reasonbably solid, well put-together game. It's not bug free, but it is good enough to play without annoyance.

The graphics look ok (not mind-blowing, but they scale well to large RvR events, so they're well suited for the intended purpose).

Open quests are an important step forward for the genre. I would be surprised if future games didn't incorporate them.

Unsurprisingly, the PvP is better than in WOW, largely as a result of being designed in from the beginning. For most people, I think WAR would class as the best PvP MMO available. The small (but vocal) minority of FFA PvPers should look elsewhere. At first sight, class balance seems reasonable, if not perfect. Having said that, the game hasn't been exposed to four years of "OMFG I can't win every fight, it's not fair, nerf Ironbreakers" whining on the forums yet. How well Mythic cope with that pressure will make or break the game long term. I also have my doubts that a PvP only endgame is enough to keep people's attention for more than a few months. I'd advise Mythic to add more end-game PvE content in future patches, to give people a change of pace from the RvR. It needn't be as much as in WOW, just enough to provide some variety.

PvE-wise, it's quite good. I find the quests (particularly PQs) more involving than those in EQ2, Vanguard or LOTRO, but less so than WOW.

Lore is far more a matter of taste. I'm not a great fan of Tolkein's world, so I'd put it ahead of LOTRO. However, I like the more morally ambiguous setting of WOW, so the clearer lines of good and evil in WAR are a disadvantage to me.

On to the gripes. It's important to note that my main concerns about WAR are nothing to do with the game itself, but outside factors. However, they still affect your playing enjoyment, so it's important to mention them. Firstly, GOA are inept and dishonest in their dealings with their customer base. This alone may be enough to kill WAR in Europe, even if it thrives in the USA.

Secondly, I (and many other observers) saw very little evidence of effective teamwork in the early PQs. For example, I have only ever seen one tank who knew how to hold aggro. I suspect this may be because the game is attracting the people who soloed to the level cap in WOW and then played PvP and don't really understand how threat mechanics work. If this persists into the live game, many PQs may end up empty, even though the game does its level best to encourage cooperation.

Overall, I'd say that WAR is a good game. It's added some strong new ideas to the MMORPG genre and is reasonably stable and fun. Is it the best game out there? No. I think WOW still holds that crown, but it's a solid second and that's nothing to be ashamed of.
thanks for the short (but sweet) recap on warhammer. i think i will try it with more confidence (im so glad i avoid AOC)

one more question , what is your opinion on LOTRO vs Warhammer , from PVE quest standpoint, PVE dungeon issues and from Graphic Quality comparison ?

Graphics quality, as I said, is subjective, unless you just count polygons, of which LotRO probably has more. The strong point of LotRO are the "book" quests and dungeons, which are a milestone of storytelling in MMORPGs. You aren't that closely involved with the WAR lore. But then for those dungeons you needed to organize a group, and in WAR you just walk into a public quest. The involvement is more superficial, but there is less barrier to entry. As somebody said, you'll be raiding epic bosses by level 5. Only you probably won't remember the name of that epic boss.
>>if you want to be regarded as media/press, then learn and do a proper journalist review.<<

Is someone saying what I think they are that journalist's aren't biased---- Grow up, smell the coffee, and take off the blinders all journalist's are biased

at least his is honest enough to say it is just his opinion
"Can you explain why you say War is not as good as WoW? Is it the bugs alone? Because everything else you mentioned, even PVE, went to War."

I noticed that as well and would love to see Tobold explain a little more in that area. From the points listed in the review, I came away thinking he saw WAR as the better game.
Well, of course I talked a lot about the features of WAR in a WAR review, without talking that much about the features of WoW. But WoW certainly has a better quality of execution, at least if you compare WoW (now) with WAR (now). The solo quests in WoW are better, and more varied. Dungeons and raids in WoW are better.

But probably the biggest difference between WAR and WoW is the *concept* of the end game. Note that I didn't play the WAR end game yet, but I'm well aware about the concept. The end game of WAR is PvP, there are no raids, no epics, and the only character development still happening is renown ranks, and even those are capped at 80. At that point your character is getting no more rewards, no more power increases, he just plays PvP, winning some, losing some. In WoW there is a, admittedly sometimes tedious, constant improvement through the raid circuit. I can't help but think that many people will prefer that. But we'll have to see how the WAR end game works out in reality.
Can't agree on the stability issues. I've played since the start of European OB, and while GOA's account management made the last sunday hell, it has run flawlessly since then. No lag, no crashes. There are certainly some problems with pathing and pet ai, but that will be fixed soon I'm sure. This game is great. It has everything WoW has and more. It does not have all the annoying factors and insane grind of WoW.

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