Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

The past few years for MMOG veterans have been action-packed, but there
really hasn't been anything that could compare to the excitement many
of us felt during the late summer / early fall of 2004 when the
up-and-coming target="_blank">World
of Warcraft
took on the sequel to the incredibly
popular target="_blank">EverQuest.
On top of that, other big name titles like style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars Galaxies
and Guild Wars
were looming in the background, giving players other options to choose
from as well. In retrospect, it was a perfect storm of massively
multiplayer online gaming. Eventually, style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
won the battle, but the drama behind the whole situation was priceless.

Although solid games like
of the Rings Online
and style="font-style: italic;">Pirates of the Burning Sea
have been released recently, there really hasn't been a pair of
blockbuster titles (unless you count style="font-style: italic;">Vanguard and the
Burning Crusade)
released at the same time since that fated 2004 match-up. Now nearly
half a decade later, we're finally going to see a pair of games going
head to head in the late summer / early fall of a given year: href="" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online: Age of
Reckoning and style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft: Wrath of the
Lich King.

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Managing Editor Cody
"Micajah" Bye thinks WAR has the recipe for success.

Most of us can assume that Blizzard will probably sell a few million
copies of Wrath of the Lich King, but will we see Mythic's style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
garnering any sort of success? Will players be interested in purchasing
this new MMORPG? Once they do, will they stay for more than that free

Those are the questions Danny "Ralsu" Gourley and I asked each other in
our "round the water cooler" conversation we had a few days ago. Would
WAR really be here to stay? Or would we be having a "where did all the
player go" sort of situation a few months after the games release.
While Danny played the devil's advocate and struck the chord of
negativism, I was far more positive about the upcoming game. In my
opinion, Mythic Entertainment has a winner on their hands, and we'll
finally be seeing a game that can compete with - and maybe even defeat
-  the reigning king of MMOG's.

Something a Little

First and foremost, we've seen time and time again that style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
is beginning to see some players that are itching to find a new MMOG to
play. With every game that is released, WoW players seem to get
continually more eager to try new titles. Nearly every game that's been
released since the original launch of style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
has seen a migration of a number of players to the latest game, and
each time a fair number of them stay with the particular game. While
all of the other gamers have seen a large number of that WoW population
travel back to the game, WAR does a few things that may increase their
retention rate and keep those WoW players from going back to their
game, namely among those is the idea of providing a gameplay evolution
rather than a revolution.

Just like World of Warcraft did back in 2004, style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online is
not trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to gameplay. On the
contrary, the developers at Warhammer
seem to be expressly trying to improve the gameplay
elements that they began in href=""
Age of Camelot
and have seen progress throughout
the life of that game and modified in other MMOGs like WoW, EQ2, LOTRO,
and AoC. In fact, Warhammer
even bears a fairly striking resemblance to style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft,
at least in the fact that the graphics are a bit more stylized than
what players have seen in many other MMOGs (and this is also the
general style of the Warhammer unverse). All of these elements should
keep more players around WAR than in the previous games.

A Dedicated Unofficial
Player Base

One of the elements that may have had the biggest influence in WoW's
success - and looks to have a similar affect on the end results of WAR
- is the idea of a dedicated fan base that will automatically be
interested in the game and be one of the most vocal groups in
attracting more players to the game. Just like WoW had in 2004, style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
already has a dedicated fan base that has been created through the
exciting antics of the WAR developers (more on that later), the
popularity and success of other Warhammer-based video games, and the
sheer popularity of the Warhammer
miniatures game.

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The WAR developers
have created a cult of personality all their own.

However, as we've seen many times in the past, it's not wholly about
having a dedicated player base; it's also about having the ability to
keep those players and then giving them the confidence to go out into
the interwebs and spout their mouth about how "freakin' awesome" the
game they're playing is. On the opposite side of the coin, Mythic also
hopes to keep those angry, distracting, "vocal minority" people away
from other interested players.

Mythic Entertainment has already created a particularly effective way
of insuring that some players will go out into the world and voice
their opinions while keeping those "nasties" away. As Mark Jacobs has
said over and over again, href=""
will never feature an official message board.

What does that mean? For many players and forum veterans, this
veritably insures that a vast percentage of the negative element will
be eliminated.  If you go on to any official message board,
are literally thousands of "negative" posts. The individuals that post
are often those who want to "nerf X class" or "fix broken class Y" or
"know how to design better than Josh Drescher" or......the list goes on
and on and on. However, most of those individuals are only interested
in the potential of having a developer see their post and give them
their 30 seconds of fame. Although the WAR developers still post on
various forums, there will never be the same sort of piss and bile on
non-official forums compared to what's on any official boards.

Yet the contrary is almost true when it comes to the players that
actually enjoy the MMOG their playing. While most complainers are
simply looking for attention, those individuals who actually have
constructive comments or simple compliments are willing to disperse
them on any message board. href=""
target="_blank">Those are the individuals that are willing
to spread the word of WAR, and those are the type of people
that the WAR team has recruited with their online strategy.

The Competitive Edge

However, even with that fairly large fan base and a whole host of
players that are willing to go out and spread the word of style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online,
the developers have the monstrous task of actually insuring that all of
those players that initially buy their game continue to play the title
after a month of gameplay. Although we won't know whether gamers truly
enjoy Warhammer Online
until the game is actually released, there is one major portion of style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
that World of Warcraft
will never be able to truly compare with, and that's the href="" target="_blank">realm
versus realm content.

For those that may not agree that realm versus realm content is a
guaranteed draw for Warhammer
, one must simply look back to the first title that
Mythic released with realm versus realm combat, style="font-style: italic;"> Dark Age of Camelot.
Back when DAOC was released, EverQuest
was the reigning king of the MMOG hill and many expected DAOC to be
totally destroyed by EQs popularity. However, with DAOC's RvR content,
the developers eked out there own chunk of players that truly enjoyed
their content. Due to EverQuest's
lack of true PvP content, Dark
Age of Camelot
really grasped that particular chunk of the

Like EverQuest,
World of Warcraft doesn't
have a truly integrated PvP environment like style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online.
WoW does have more PvP options then style="font-style: italic;">EverQuest
did, but it still doesn't compare with the thoroughly integrated PvP
experience that WAR claims. The realm versus realm content and the
powerful immersion that it creates will keep players playing WAR for
many years.

Add a Dash of the

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Will WAR really
succeed? We'll have to wait and see.

Warhammer Online
- to this editor anyway - has that same touch of the undefinable
"power" that World of

did when that game was first released. Although it's certainly a
position that will bring up a lot of arguments, I think many MMOG
aficionados would agree with me. As style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
continues to draw closer to their release date, writers and editors all
over the internet continue to sing the praises of this upcoming game.

While the majority of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, there were
dozens of articles pushing out of popular websites that sang the
praises of WAR. If you read the recent gameplay blogs of our WAR community site
, you'll see just what I'm talking about. WAR continues to
spread, and thousands - if not millions - of players are just itching
to jump into that world.

In addition to all the articles coming out, an individual can't deny
the sheer exuberance, passion, and creative lust that seems to exude
out of all the Warhammer

developers. Mark Jacobs, Paul Barnett, Jeff Hickman, Josh Drescher, and
the many other WAR developers have done everything they could to drive
the hype of their game to astronomical levels. If you haven't been
paying attention, just href="" target="_blank">check
out target="_blank">all of these href="" target="_blank">WAR
videos target="_blank">to see what href="" target="_blank">I'm
talking about. 

The Perfect Storm

Finally, I think Warhammer
is striking at exactly the right time in the MMO
market. Although Age of
may have hit things first, style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
jumps in before the release of Wrath
of the Lich King

and the rest of the late 2008 releases and the PR extravaganza that is
BlizzCon. Perfect timing and perfect hype - and by all accounts really
exceptional gameplay - and Warhammer Online should have nothing but the
recipe for success.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016