Tenfold Hate


/getalife
October 20, 2008, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Warhammer: Age of Reckoning

The Chicken Little “Sky is Falling” brigade has come out in full force for Warhammer Online. WAR is not a perfect game. Nor is it a game for everyone. Some fixes and rethinking need to be done on the part of Mythic regarding some pretty big issues, including getting players out of scenarios and into the open world and doing something with PQs so they don’t turn into the oft-ignored, unmined gems they seem to be turning into across many zones on many servers.

The thing is, WAR needs a hell of a lot less fixing than 90% of MMORPGs on the market. That’s why I can’t help but sigh and throw my hands in the air when I hear some of the more outlandish criticisms being leveled at this title at the moment.

My personal favorite? WAR is a failure because several shut-ins with too much time on their hands reached “endgame” and staged a successful city siege. The problem? No developer has yet had the foresight to thwart determined players with no goals, responsibilities, or obligations outside of “beating” a game. Though I’ve heard whining of exploits and bugs in endgame throughout the troll-o-sphere, I think we all need to take a deep breath and reevaluate something: WAR is one of the sole titles that actually bothered to release with an endgame to participate in.

If this were Vanguard or Age of Conan or World of Warcraft a month into release, players would have reached endgame to find…nothing. Nada. “But, but, but,” stammer the naysayers, “But it was so easy. Endgame’s not supposed to be so easy.” Yes, but endgame in WAR is about player combatants versus player combatants. If 3/4 of your opponent’s army is still in boot camp, guess what? You’re probably gonna win the war, and win pretty easily.

And why are MMORPG players so concerned about what the other guy (or woman, or greenskin) is doing anyway? Why should the fact that people invested way too much Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets into maxing out their characters in two or three weeks and toppled a city detract from anyone else’s fun? Who cares? It’ll easily be another month or two before I max out one of my characters in WAR–and since there are substantial numbers leveling at my pace (or well ahead of me on the leveling curve), I’m guaranteed a pretty challenging fight once I eventually make it to the gates of the Inevitable City.

I’d level the “epic fail” not at the development team, but at players who gloss over content to race to the end of the line, failing to stop and smell the roses and appreciate the gorgeous world a lot of designers put their blood, sweat, and tears into. I’d level the epic fail at players who are so single-mindedly driven to rush to their destination, that they’re blind to the random encounters and casual socializing with other people that color the journey. It’s fitting that their destination was as empty as their frantic sprint to get there: a bunch of scripted NPCs to fight, just like any other MMORPG. Devoid of the life and spontaneity that other players bring to the mix.

Until more of these folks realize it’s not what you experience in an MMORPG, but how you experience it, and who you experience with, there’ll always be the chronically unsatisfied legions knocking on the gates of the castle, only to find nobody home.

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[…] been morbidly curious about new MMORPG Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and Tenfold Hate’s posts over the last month have done a great job of stoking that fire. Finally I’m going to point you in the direction […]

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