Kevin of The Server is Down recently got some hands on time with Warhammer: Age of Reckoning at GenCon, and his review is glowing while not containing all the hype of Paul Barnett's speeches. As much as I love that guy's personality, I know he's purely in selling mode, and not giving the nitty-gritty. So it's always great to read actual people's impressions from hands-on with the game.
Overall, Kevin's write up, and many of the write-ups from GenCon give me this distinct impression that Warhammer just might be WoW without the "suck". Let me explain.
It's no doubt known by now to my readers that I have a love/hate relationship with WoW. I love the game's art, the music, the combat, the story, the leveling, even the wretchedly imbalanced Battlegrounds. But for all of that, the insistance on Raiding being the overarching feature of the elder game makes me want to puke. Were it not for love of my hunter and the prospect of getting some decent PvP gear I never could afford before, I'd not be back to playing the game right now. The reliance on Raiding, the same type of Raiding that drove out a lot of players from old EQ1, boggles my mind. Everyone, but Blizzard themselves, seems to know that very few people really progress in the raiding game, and far more love leveling content and the casual pace of the Battlegrounds and 5-mans.
But alas, I'm getting off track here. This isn't a post about what's wrong with WoW. That's been done many times and doesn't need to be done by me again. This is a post about WAR, and why it might one-up WoW in my book.
When I first started reading up on WoW, I read of siege battles, of war between the Alliance and the Horde, of lots of fighting and lots of tension, all with a mix of good, healthy, PvE thrown in. I was shocked to find at release no real PvP game, and even more shocked to find that when BGs were introduced they were but "games", and had no real standing in the world. No siege weapons, no capturable graveyards and control points. No real war. Just skirmishes and games of tag between factions.
So Warhammer, from the makers of Dark Age of Camelot comes along and tells me all the things that Blizzard told me... only I know from Mythic's past that they can do it. They can present a world at war and have me believe I'm a part of it. They can make a game that makes the player feel for his comrades and want to defend the realm with them. They were doing it while WoW was still in conceptual stages.
Is it possible then, that when Warhammer hits next year that WoW will forever be off of my radar? Is it possible that in Warhammer I could find the "war" I was looking forward to in Warcraft? I think it is. Even with "scenarios" (like WoW's BGs) you have each of them playing into your Realms status in the ongoing war. There are PvP objectives in every zone. There are capturable capital cities. There's looting your enemy's corpse (without actually taking anything from the other player, huzzah!). There's going to be a real war going on in Warhammer. It's going to be ingrained from rank 1 to 40, and not just be something to do when you're capped at the max rank (level).
There will be raids. There will be dungeons. But primarily, what will matter, will not be how many DKP points you have, but how much you care for your brethren... and how well you kill your enemy, and how often you bathe in their blood.
This excites me, if you couldn't tell. Pirates this Fall. Greenskins next year.