Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor
As a long time reviewer of both online and offline games, there's
usually a point in the process of the game review where the game
reaches above the below average status and begins to earn its stripes
as a high quality game. Sometimes a game never reaches that average
status, either because of nagging bugs or just a thoroughly
unimpressive presentation and gameplay experience. Other titles take a
few days to really sink in, with the depth of the control mechanics or
competitive playstyles helping push the game into the average or above
WAR did not
immediately appeal to my sense of MMO gaming.
But then there are games that instantly appeal to a player. These games
- and they are few and far between - come out with all of their guns
cocked and loaded, and the player merely has to pull the trigger to be
totally enthralled and immersed in a flood of gaming enjoyment.
Some of you may be expecting me to tell you that href="http://warhammer.tentonhammer.com/" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
was just that sort of title. Other editors from various media sites
have pushed hordes of flowered prose down the throats of their readers
telling the various wonders and enjoyable encounters they'd been a part
of during their short stints in WAR. Since I've been fairly positive
with other titles in the past in my first impressions, it could be
assumed that Warhammer
Online deserved a heaping pile of praise right from the
Online didn't instantly win my heart. But - and that's an
enormous "but" - Warhammer
Online has gradually shown me what a studio focused on
giving MMO gamers a cooperative *and* competitive experience can really
accomplish when both elements of their game are full of novel elements
and quality moments. Throughout the rest of my first impressions
article, I will attempt to outline how style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
won me over. Along with that, I'll give some of my favorite elements,
some areas that still need improvement, and the bits that still require
a bit of exploration on my part before I dole out a full review.
The Beginning of an Epic
Although I'd played Warhammer
Online a few times during my trips to the various
conventions and conferences, when I first stepped foot into WAR I was
relatively inexperienced with the game, especially the PvE side of
things. With the vast majority of gamers singing the praises of the
classes in the Destruction side of things, I began my time in WAR as a
High Elf Swordmaster to get a feel for things. Upon being dropped into
the world of WAR, I was given a short fly-by intro that explained my
purposes as a High Elf and what my entire race - and the general side
of Order - was all fighting against. My sword was tucked at my elbow,
my chin was held high, and I was ready to slice up some of the enemies
of the light-skinned race of fey folk.
found the RvR scenario experience, which completely changed the state
Like so many of the modern games, a quick set of tutorial pop-ups seem
to appear at every other juncture as you explore throughout the world,
and, thinking myself to be the ultimate MMO veteran, I opted to turn
these tutorials off. My first initial quests seemed to be of the
standard fare, with "kill this" and "find that" to be the overall
theme. Basically, I felt the all to familiar "quest grinding" theme
coming on, and I settled myself in for the long haul.
However, before I could jump too far into the grind, a item popped up
on my screen informing me that I had earned a bit of experience by
killing my first Dark Elf, the evil cousins of my High Elf's kin. After
clicking on the pop-up, I found my way into the Tome of Knowledge
which informed me that I could kill 25 of these creatures to
gain a bit of experience. After exploring the Tome a bit more, I read
up on the struggle between the High Elves and the Dark Elves and what
it truly meant between these two races. Smiling, I set off to kill a
few more of my elven cousins.
Eventually, I found my way down past my initial starting point and
acquired a few more "kill this" and "travel to" quests. Along with
these quests, I also discovered my first quest that was labeled RvR.
Basically, it informed me that I should play through an RvR scenario
named "Khaine's Embrace" and come back to the quest giver when I had
completed the scenario. I queued myself for the scenario, and set off
to complete my other quests in the meantime.
Believing in Competition
After about 45 minutes, I was allowed into my first scenario
experience. As a fresh faced new player, I stumbled out into a barren
landscape totally unlike the area that I had just come from and watched
as other players appeared around me. Eventually, our pre-game timer hit
the 00:00 mark and we were unleashed into the world to find and kill
To make a long story short, I died early and often, but my experience
in the scenario totally changed my view of Warhammer Online. Rather
than find myself concerned with whether or not I was earning enough
experience to make it to the next "rank" ( style="font-style: italic;">Editor's Note: Levels in the WAR
world), I instead was concerned with how many players I
had killed and whether I could increase that number in my next
encounter. I was still very much confused with exactly what I should be
doing in the world, but the RvR experience was so unlike anything I had
ever done in any MMOG before.
attained very quickly in WAR.
Not only was I gaining experience as I killed my enemies, but I was
also increasing my "renown" within the faction and pushing my name
higher up the leader list on the "Realm War" leaderboards. To be
honest, I felt an element of gaming that I hadn't experienced - at
least truly experienced - in MMOG gaming.
Although Ultima Online
had plenty of competitive elements and style="font-style: italic;">Dark Age of Camelot
was built on this sort of competitive gameplay, neither of those games
had truly captured the sort of hectic, instant gratification type of
competitive gaming that so many players enjoy in games like style="font-style: italic;">Halo and style="font-style: italic;">Madden NFL Football.
Realm versus realm warfare was different, and it instantly took my
dark, gloomy thoughts about Warhammer
Online and turned them on their ear. The game was built
for competition, and the players could feel it as soon as they jumped
into their first scenario.
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