Warhammer Online first impressions or, "Do I expect too much?"

Mythic reminds me of that kid in school who would relentlessly raise their hand for every question the teacher asked - not necessarily knowing the answer, but fearlessly willing to make an attempt. Walking into their booth this year, I wanted to see what the follow up to Imperator's failed development was, and what - if any - lessons were learned by way of it. Surprisingly, it seems as if they're drawing from the same design playbook as their previous titles, adding very little in the way of innovation - which is depressing, considering the talent on their team.

Original Comment by: Dumyr

Its painfully evident that this is your first look at the game. I suggest you go read up on it (even at this early stage information abounds) and then try and say that it isn't looking innovative.

Original Comment by: Tenabre

I would suggest the same thing as Dumyr: read up on the game before making such judgements. Of course, if you spend a few minutes in the starting areas, you won't see the major innovative features.

Original Comment by: Volomon
I just hope you don't get paid for reviews.

A hands-on first impression doesn't require back reading. More players are likely to form their opinions based on a few minutes of gameplay than on thorough research of the high-end experience beforehand. You're all better off for having looked into the game beyond one writer's first impression, so you should be able to read this opinion piece from a more informed perspective. But faulting a first impression for being based on first exposure is a wee bit nuts.

Original Comment by: *cough*

Well, I'm sure the people who commented above me are truely objective individuals and not total fanboys.

Or rather, I'm not sure of that at all.

I think the fact that you have played the game speaks loads, but remember that WoW did very little in the way of innovation as well - and has totally dominated the industry. Also, as the game isn't in any sort of "beta" stage, I'm not sure if you can make any true calls on its lack of innovation.

Your review was an honest and brutal one though, and I appreciate you cutting through the cheese.

Original Comment by: Kane

Warhammer Online had a lot of potential, the first information released by Mythic was exciting. The current rumours are that characters will not be able to change career and a standard leveling system will be added. I'm predicting now that the PVE game play part to become more important and grouping will be required by release.

Original Comment by: Mozi

I, for one, think it a refreshing change to hear someone straigh and unadroned with cosmetic ajectives opinion. Whether I liked what I read or not is another matter.

Contrary to what most peopl might have thought I did not take this review and down right negative reamrk on the game.

More like a "not bad, but not great". And if the talent and resources are there (and with Mythic and GW it certainly is) there is every reasosn to complain for un-actualised potential.

Honestly, I didn`t expect much more. Mythic did a great job at refining the MMO experience with DAoC, and that`s what I was anticipating with Warhammer. The real question is whether or not there`s much room left to refine the experience after Blizzard did the same thing - that, after all, is their biggest strength as well. I suspect there is, though not much, and in the end we`ll see a game that is very similar to WoW, but with a bit more DAoC thrown in.

Of course, all they would need is to do that, while maintaining a focus on providing entertaining solo and small-group experiences throughout the player lifecycle, and I think they`d do very well. It`s unquestionable that WoW has set the bar very high for new releases in the field though - unless you`re doing something significantly different, you have a very high "at least as good as" level to meet.

Original Comment by: Lynx

Warhammer Online isn't even in the Beta Stage.

It's still early Alpha. The E3 Demo was rushed so that they could actually show something which is pretty damn commendable.

Original Comment by: Brian Easton

Commendable? How about pedestrian? A large percentage of the games at any given E3 are works in progress / alpha code. It's not unsual at all for a dev team to go into crunch mode before E3 just to be able to bring a playable demo to the show floor. Sure, it's nice that they had a playable demo, but rushing the code to the floor isn't anything new or special.

Original Comment by: Morskittar

I really appreciate this review. It seems fairly objective, other than a few biases ("I wanted to see what the follow up to Imperator's failed development was"), but a good baseline opinion from a non-Warhammer fan.

As noted, by previous posters, MMORPGs are an evolutionary process. Taking what is essentially WoW/EQ/everything else-style gameplay and layering on a solid PvP system (lacking in most other games) seems like a VERY solid design philosophy. No need to reinvent the wheel, just make it run longer without squeaking. I believe the real test will come when we see the endgame execution. Judging by developer notes, it's by far the most ambitious component of the game, as well as the area where games like WoW fail for many players. So far, we've only really seen the EQ item/instance grind endgame... WAR's promised "eternal war" between armies sounds quite entertaining.

Original Comment by: Bear
I know that the tendency is to think that people that don't agree with a review such as this are just "total fanboys", but I assure you that I'm not.

This article really betrays a pre-existing negative bias that's thinly disguised with some very passive-aggressive writing techniques. It's very clear that this reviewer had their mind made up about the game before hand, or maybe more correctly the company making it, and used this opportunity to spew some possibly pent up vitriol.

Unbiased and accurate reviewing is of course appreciated, but I'm afraid that this particular one falls under a different catagory.

I suggest that this reviewer not be given any writing tasks involving this gaming company anymore.

Original Comment by: Jon Hayter

This was never intended as a review of the game, I simply reported exactly what I saw and how it made me feel. During the demo, the individual showing the product - while enthusiastic about it - had little to offer when asked what about the game was new and exciting for the MMOG market. I had absolutely no prior knowledge of the game or Mythic's intent with it, and I let them know that explicitly when I walked through the door. The title was then sold to me as a very intuitive (based on similarity with other premiere titles in the market) MMOG, with several directed features (RvR and the Morale abilities among them).

Any perceived bias I may have comes from following the cancellation of Imperator closely, and hoping fervently the same doesn't happen to Warhammer - or worse, have it published with the same problems that caused Imperator to be shelved. I'm not down on Mythic at all, quite the contrary - and I believe that's quite clear in my post.

A good summary would be, I walked in wanting to be impressed, wasn't, and hoped that I simply had a bad showing, or was too ignorant of the full development to understand the upcoming feature set.

As media, it's not our mandate to perpetuate stories about might become, but what has become. When Warhammer is the awesome game it's being marketed as, then you will see me say just that.

Original Comment by: temuchin

a very even-handed report. although Warhammer predates (and inspired to a large degree) the world of Warcraft (small letters as in the lore and races of Warcraft I-WOW), the circle has turned and clearly WOW's gameplay and art is heavily influencing WAR. your point that the game looks polished and fun, and yet not revolutionary in any way is well taken

given your knowledge of Mythic however--you mention Imperator--it's surprising to me that you'd expect anything "revolutionary" or "innovative" from MJacobs and co. I believe Mythic to be the most professional and among the most talented outfits out there but if you now anything about Mark you understand that Mythic is a business first and foremost and the corporate mantra is "follow the leader"

you're looking at the wrong company to take gambles or innovate. Mark's proudly modelled his games after whichever game is leading the genre at the time. for DAOC he loudly "borrowed" from UO (then EQ). Imperator was a developed (then dropped) modelled on the SWG (which was SOE's flagship until it sunk). With 6 million subscibers, obviously WAR follows WOW.

Mark's clearly stated his preference over the years to follow "established leaders" and to only base games on widely recognized realms and franchises (such as Arthurian legend, Classical Rome and now Warhammer). Mark is a great businessman and his companies make fun, solid games but you ARE expecting too much if you expect them to take risks and break the mold. In fact you're looking at the wrong bunch of folks entirely

Original Comment by: Sanya
The closed door meetings went into more detail about what was new/cool/special/shiny, just FYI. If you walked into the booth cold, you only got to try and learn what was new from playing, and sixteen months from launch, there wasn't much to learn from playing that was really innovative. Our PVE stuff, while not the focus of the game, actually has a number of tremendously awesome things - but they weren't playable at this E3, and we only went into detail behind closed doors.

I *really* suggest to all media that you make an appointment in advance - I always advertise on the community webpage when I'm taking signups. (I am usually booked solid two weeks before E3 kicks off, and I had only one no-show this year.) WAR's community page will be www.WARHerald.com when we launch it... soon (TM).

Sanya Weathers

Director of Community Relations

Original Comment by: Sanya
(Er... should have put Mythic Entertainment. Also, most of my guys already know this boring and irrelevant personal stuff - Sanya Thomas is how I post on the Camelot site, but it's my maiden name, and I'm switching to my married name with Warhammer since most WAR fans will be getting to know me for the first time.)


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