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Snafzg returns to WAR (week one): An introduction

Brooke Pilley

Rank 40/44 Squig Herder of Phoenix Throne / ex-dedicated Warhammer Online blogger looking for group!

Hey folks; my name is Snafzg. You might remember me from such internet adventures as "Author of," the now-defunct but first dedicated WAR blog, and "A somewhat elusive gobbo of Phoenix Throne!" Welcome to my little experiment: Snafzg returns to WAR. You see, I haven't played the game for quite some time, so I'm going back in for one month (with an open mind) to give it another shot.

Some history

Warhammer Online and I have a history dating back to October 2007. I hadn't played an MMO for over six months and was starting to feel the itch again. A long-time gaming friend told me to check out WAR because he was currently in beta and the game was slated to be coming out soon. I started doing research and got so engrossed that I started a blog about it.

The game was delayed one month later. Bah! I thought, but I at least I have the first dedicated WAR blog. Let's make it grow while we wait. And wait I did. The game was delayed again from Q2 to Q3 2008. At this point though, I was in beta, so I could wait. To be honest, I felt the game needed a lot more time in the testing facilities anyway. Delaying was a good thing.

Come summer 2008, it was apparent that Mythic would not delay WAR again even though true success depended on it. My blog posts became more and more cantankerous as I was forced to write from behind the NDA wall. Well, no-one was forcing me to write anything... but as any writer can tell you, there is an unseen force that drives us and it's pretty hard to ignore.

The game came out and did really well for the first month. The new car smell started to fade by month two. By month three, the major design and implementation flaws became glaringly apparent and Wrath of the Lich King launched. It was all WAR could do to hold on to 300,000 players by month four.

Personally, I was not enjoying the game at all. You see, I'm a bit of a polish nut (not to be confused with Polish, though I'm sure they're a fine people). WAR had a number of decent things going for it, but polish wasn't even in the same hemisphere at launch and in the few months afterward. Bad performance. Tons of bugs. Poor itemization. Shoddy responsiveness. I realize you must give MMOs a bit of leeway in the area of polish but WAR was bending it so far it threatened to snap.

The blogging community was also starting to falter around this time. I was probably the most vocal about WAR's issues, but it was (almost) all constructive and in an effort to help improve the game. Hey, it's just a thing we armchair developers like to do! We had a big blogging boost around New Year's with the Age of Blogging initiative but it didn't last very long -- not too surprising when community veterans start dropping like flies.

I went from playing 20-30 hours per week leading up to December 2008 to playing barely 3 hours per week from January to March 2009. I finally quit around that time but still kept close tabs on WAR in order to cover it for Massively.

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