- A PvP [RvR] focused game that
actually provides reasons to PvP (especially lorewise)
- A variety of ways to level and obtain loot
- The 'Tome of Knowledge' provides a great way to track and
- A strange chat system (though
recently improved) leaves zones feeling unusually quiet
- Graphic bugs detract from the immersion
- Population imbalances can affect gameplay experience
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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
Score: 8.0 / 10
Warhammer has a long history as a fun table
top game that has generally failed in the video game market. The Dawn of
War series, by Relic, started to change this perception for Warhammer
40K, but the Warhammer fantasy video games have been forgettable at
best. Warhammer: Age of Reckoning by Mythic may finally be the title
fans have been waiting for.
Throughout its development, Mythic proudly hyped Age of Reckoning by
claiming that ‘War is Everywhere’ and stressing the game's PvP [player
versus player} and RvR [Realm vs. Realm] focus- a focus intended to set
it apart from other MMOs currently available. In WAR you will side with
either Order [composed of High Elves,
Dwarfs and the men of the Empire] or
Destruction [Dark Elves, Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins) and Chaos] to
attempt to conquer your foes on all manner of battlefields up to and
including the opponent's capitol city.
The Warhammer world is rich in history [with Tome of Knowledge unlocks
and experience providing players a reason to look for it] and I take my
time in levelling to enjoy the content. So, my
impressions of WAR which follow are based mostly on the first tier
material and generally from the Order side.
Stepping into the Age of Reckoning for the first time, it is obvious
that Mythic has delivered on some of its promises, while for others the
execution is still lacking. After two weeks in WAR, let's look at the
good, the bad and the iffy.
Your first quests won't involve killing rats or wolves, but will
immediately bring you into conflict with the opposing forces [even if
they are just NPCs]. If you are looking for a bigger challenge though,
it is possible to leap into the RvR scenarios right away without being
too much of a hindrance to your team. When anyone enters a scenario or
one of the open world RvR areas, their level is boosted to *8 [where *
is the Tier number - one]. So, a first level character in one of the
first tier scenarios will have the stats of a 8th level character. They
don't get all the abilities or the gear, so don't expect to tear it up
right away. As promised though, you can level without ever fighting an
Collision detection is in, between both enemy and friendly characters in
PvP combat. Combined this with tanks having taunts which add to their
damage if the target ignores them, and every other class having a
detaunt which can make them a less than optimal target and you
accomplish two things. First, tanks are finally useful in PvP and are
especially so [as in almost unkillable] in a well organized group.
Secondly combat takes on a new tactical feel as pushes, fallbacks, and
defence, have to be more coordinated and organized than in MMOs lacking
As with any MMO launch though, there are still a couple bugs to worked
out with the collision as lag can sometimes make players you think you
have blocked, suddenly 'teleport' behind you.
The idea of grouping without grouping and setting up scripted, raid-like
encounters in the open world is great. The quests themselves are not
necessarily that ground breaking [often involving killing a certain
number of mobs, or protecting NPCs], but they are executed very well. In
fact, I go back as a higher rank character to replay the first Empire PQ
just to see the entrance of the final 'boss' again. Another quest which
bears special mention is in the Kron Komar Gap. Here, the Dwarf and the
Greenskin PQs occur in the same area and run counter to one another.
Another nice little bit of PvP in a PvE idea.
The loot distribution is also well
executed. Anyone who contributed in a significant way to the quest gets
to roll for one of the numerous loot bags. To this roll is added a bonus
based on the amount of contribution and a 'persistence pays' bonus if
the player is doing the quest for a second or more consecutive time and
missed out on a loot bag the last time. More importantly, when opened,
the loot bags will give the player a choice of rewards, one of which is
always equipment useable by their class.
There are still some bugs kicking around which impact the game. The
primary among these is the disconnect between casting times and
animations. The animations themselves are good and each spell has a
distinct pattern, but these patterns do not respond to cast knockback.
So, if you are being hit while casting a spell, you have to watch the
cast bar rather than your character to tell when a spell is finished
which detracts from the immersion.
There are other problems as well such as slingshoting mobs and some
strange issues between mobs and the terrain which can result in target
not being attackable, or losing line of sight to targets which seem to
be standing directly in front of the character.
Extending on the animations described above, the characters in general
seems to have an unpolished look. Between attacks in battle, the
characters don't necessarily look like they are fighting, though the
attack animations themselves are nice. Some of the areas ooze character,
but others are somewhat underwhelming. This may go back to the MMO at
launch idea, but visually the game could use another layer of polish.
Don’t take this to mean the game looks bad because it doesn't. It just
doesn't yet have the spit shine of established MMOs or many next gen
With a lack of set recipes, the crafting system encourages
experimentation which is good, but it can also be confusing. Further,
the shear number of ingredients can be daunting, especially in the early
levels when bag space is limited. The small differences which exist
between potions and prevent them from stacking exacerbates this problem.
Overall though, I am happier rifling through the pockets of a fallen foe
for materials to make a talisman than picking flowers in the middle of
what should be a war.
Like the crafting system, the sound design is, sometimes, outstanding- I
especially like the opening theme. In other places, it can only be
described as barren; there simply is not much going on. At its worst,
the sound is actually a distraction as the ambient growls or battle
cries sound too much like an aggroing mob.
Not so much now, but in the future, for late adopters and alts a lack of
population could be an issue. War is very much a multiplayer game, whose
features really shine when there is someone to share them with [like the
aforementioned Public Quests]. I am not certain how fun the game will be
in the levelling areas if there is not a minimum critical mass of people
As a Warhammer table top player, all I can say is this game has been a
long time in coming. If you are tired of the PvE grind in WoW or simply
prefer a more tactically oriented PvP game, I heartily recommend WAR.