The Death of WAR

A Weary Greenskin - So is the man behind the toon
A Weary Greenskin - So is the man behind the toon

I unofficially left Warhammer Online: The Age of Reckoning early in February due to work and other perusals. Handing over the reins of the top destruction guild in the hands of a fellow compatriot was difficult because Warhammer brought many good memories both in game and outside the game.

I must say the good experience I had with it was mostly down to the guild I led rather than the gameplay itself. I had a great bunch of fun people to play with who were also active in guild outings. But this is where it ended.

I played WAR off and on after Feb and each time it became a drag to get back in to play. Being in closed beta, open beta, headstart and forming one of the early core guilds of the game, I believe the reasons below have caused the game to shrink massively.

1. Continually Buggy Client

No game, no matter how brilliant, can survive with a buggy client. WAR was given 9 months to smoothen their client yet each patch made things worse. Players kept getting stuck, people still got CTDs, slow loading speeds plagued older computers. In short, Mythic forgot they needed a huge player base to make this work. That means accomodating as many different system specs as possible. It is no fun to play a full scale war at 10 FPS. Granted I saw a big difference in performance after upgrading from a Dual Core system to the famed Core i7. But no one spends S$1,300 to play a game. Mind you, my old comp could handle Crysis fine.

Adding to that, server lag was bad. The login server continued to be plagued with issues long after launch. Extremely important capture points like keeps continued to be bugged. Fortresses still had crash issues. Picking up items was still buggy and there was an endless number of pebbles that my 7 foot character got stuck on.

List goes on… MMOs need time but 9 months was more than enough to fix basic client and server issues. I’m not even touching on buggy bosses and NPCs and quests and so on…

2. Not Supporting Their End Game

WAR was supposed to be a massive battlefield. Open concept non instanced warfare. Unfortunately it was not only the client that killed that, Mythic’s own reward system did not support it. In the early days, the fastest way to level was via scenarios (instanced combat) and the best items via quests (PVE). Open RVR was nearly of no use. They did increase experience gains in RVR later but the hardcore group was already at L40.

Past 40, it was nearly impossible to cap a zone without needing to GRIND PVE quests. Killing tons and tons and tons of NPCs just to get victory points. A PVE route to win a PVP game. Our server had its first zone capture when 4 guilds got together to hit Praag. I remember co-ordinating with 3 other guilds and all we got to do was to place 2 guilds to guard the RVR zone for hours and the other 2 went on to grind quests. Not a very fun thing to do. (They fixed it later but again too little to late)

WAR had a Renown Points sytem. Kind of like a XP for PVP deeds. And the fastest way to accumulate RPs was not killing other players, it was taking objectives that were undefended (RVE).

City sieging was broken as well. The best defense continued to be no defense. Players AVOIDED each other to get maximum loot. You would have an instance full of defenders and another full of attackers. Reason? Quickest loot grind. City sieges became nothing but 40 people waiting to kill 2 respawning mobs.

Mythic kind of forgot it was a RVR game. EVERYONE should have been sent flying into the RVR zone from Day 1. Rewards should come from killing other players to create a sense of unquenchable bloodlust. Keeping to these simple principles would have kept the game alive.

3. No Central Focus of War

WAR had too big an ambition to start with. There were 3 Tier 4 fronts. Too many. Destruction used to have to chase Order all over 3 fronts in a merry go round fashion that yielded no results. We weren’t fighting, we were playing catching. Should have 3 rotating active fronts and have everyone fight in there.

I wasn’t around when Patch 1.3 launched. 1.3 was supposedly the saviour patch for WAR but instead it went the other way. Patch 1.3 introduced Land of the Dead and extra zone that had NOTHING much to do with the original end game of capturing your enemy city. So the game now had 2 end games. Guess what? Destruction would hit Land of the Dead while Order would not bother fighting Destruction at LotD but instead go hit the City instead. Again, no one was fighting each other. RVR game down the drain. Again.

4. Poor Class/Career Balance

Mythic played a dangerous game of trying to have mirror classes that had completely different mechanics. Examples are Marauder (Melee) – White Lion (Pet Class), Squig Herder (Pet Class) – Shadow Warrior (Ranged). No way on earth were they going to be able to balance things easily and it got progressively worse as the days got by. Class balance is the most important thing in a PVP game and Mythic should have solved themselves a big headache by giving themselves more symetrical mirrors to balance.

Not all they did were bad. Here are some good points which I will miss

1. Excellent Guild Support

Mythic gave their all in supporting guilds. Guild vaults, taxes, tithes, banners were awesome. Guild benefits were done in a way I would call unmatchable by any other MMO. Other MMOs should look to WAR for an exemplary guild system.

2. Excellent Marketing

One word. Paul. Period.

WAR had a great future but they forgot the little steps and had their eyes glued to the horizon. MMOs have to grow slowly but they tried doing too much when their population could not support it.

Just hoping it might relaunch at a later date with a proper focus and a less buggy client.

For now, adios!