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September 18, 2008



- 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 remember accomplishments



- A strange chat system (though recently improved) leaves zones feeling unusually quiet
- Graphic bugs detract from the immersion
- Population imbalances can affect gameplay experience



Review: World of WarCraft (PC)

Review: City of Heroes (PC)

Review: Warhammer: Battle March (360)



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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Score: 8.0 / 10


warhammer online          warhammer online


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,




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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 AI mob.

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 collision detection.

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.


warhammer online          warhammer online


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 games.

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 populating them.

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.


- Garrett Kutcher

(October 13, 2008)


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