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A World of Warcraft player's guide to Warhammer Online

Michael Zenke

Whether or not you see many similarities between Blizzard's epically popular title and Mythic's Warhammer Online, the reality is that World of Warcraft players are going to feel very comfortable in the brand-new game. Much of the framework that has made the world of Azeroth so successful over the last four years is in full force within Warhammer. Questing as a central component to leveling, an intuitive user interface, and combat very much like that found in Warcraft are all going to be great handrails to incoming players.

There are plenty of MMO players (rightly) curious about what kind of game Mythic has created for them. For the curious Azerothian citizen, despite the familiar handholds, there are a number of big differences and additional features you're just not going to have experience with. Warhammer's a brand new world, with a lot of different sights, cultures, and expectations. To help you out as a brand new WAR player, we've compiled a guide to ease that transition, in the same tradition as our guides to Age of Conan and Guild Wars. WoW players, welcome to a brand new world ... one without gnomes!
Warhammer Online Coverage Did you enjoy this? Make sure to check out all of our previous Warhammer Online features, and don't miss any of our ongoing coverage as Massively goes to WAR!

World Setting

As a WoW player, you're going to have to put aside a lot of your preconceptions about lore and setting when coming into Warhammer Online. Despite the obvious DNA the two worlds share, Stormwind is a very different place than the battle-scarred walls of Altdorf. Put off any expectations you have about what kind of fantasy game Warhammer is, and just read your quests as you go. The world of Warhammer is a great one ... it's what Azeroth is built on, at that. Here are some of the biggest differences a WoW veteran will probably notice:

  • WAR is low fantasy. Magic is obviously a powerful force in Warhammer, and several classes sling it around like hash at a buffet, but generally the world is much grittier and brutal than what we see in Warcraft.
  • One faction is evil. No, actually evil, not just 'misunderstood'. The Orcs want to eat babies, the Dark Elves are sadists, and the Chaos Marauders want everyone dead or corrupted. You are playing a very bad person if you fight for Destruction.
  • The humans are deeply religious. The worship of Sigmar is a driving force for their culture, and religiosity is present in the game in a way very much absent from Warcraft. Not that this doesn't make the humans virtuous - in truth, they're every bit as conniving as the residents of Stormwind.
  • War is now. In Warcraft, the war has been over for a bit. The world as a whole is in a state of relative peace, though there are obviously plenty of border skirmishes and political problems. In Warhammer what little peace and prosperity people can find is beset on all sides by violence. There are famines, plagues, and war is everywhere.

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