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Snafzg returns to WAR (week five): Oh, the places you'll go! (p3)

Brooke Pilley

I don't believe EA and Mythic gave Warhammer Online a very good chance from the outset. Puffing up their chests in the face of Wrath of the Lich King showed confidence in the product, but unfortunately, that confidence was misplaced and misjudged. Performance and polish were dismal for a AAA MMO at release. People always fault them for launching with too many servers but that wasn't the issue. The issue was not responding accordingly when the server populations started sliding. Their fault was waiting too long.

The past is the past though and there's not really anything they can do about it now. One year after that rocky start, the game really is a better game. Oh, it still has flaws, but the most difficult hurdle Mythic needs to overcome is the languishing interest in their title. I believe they realize this and it's one of the driving forces behind their new buddy system (in the works).

WAR is a fantastic game if you're into RvR, even in the lower tiers. Its problem is that half the world is built around PvE and no-one's interested in doing it. Even if you are, try finding someone else to join you. It was difficult enough at launch when RvR wasn't so great. It's even more difficult now that RvR has improved.

Some (ex-) players have been calling for lower monthly subscription fees or a free-2-play model because they don't believe that WAR delivers a complete MMO experience. "It's amazing in short bursts of RvR," they say, "but that's about it." Part of me agrees with them. Ironic since back in beta they were pondering charging more than $15/month to play.

I just don't think there's enough to keep you occupied once you reach the endgame unless you want to RvR all the time with the odd dungeon raid when you're not locked out. Where are the game play elements of economics, crafting, or even achievement earning? They're there if you look for them, but they don't really stack up to the competition.

When I first started writing this series, I wanted to know if WAR could regain my subscription. After reading my negatively slanted impressions in this final piece, you're probably thinking I won't maintain my sub. I'm going to play the surprise card here, and actually tell you that I will.

I don't really think WAR is a comprehensive enough MMO for everyone's tastes, but I do find the RvR fun in short bursts. During this series I also joined up with a guild in a fairly big alliance, which makes coordinating non-RvR events a lot easier to do. Is it worth $15/month? That all depends on your situation. I don't mind paying $15, even if I only get 4-5 solid play sessions out of the game per month.

That said, I will be playing Aion when it launches too, which I think might be a strong contender for the top RvR MMO crown. I'm not sure whether or not it will misstep in the same areas WAR did, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

You know what game WAR reminds me a lot of right now? Team Fortress 2. I can't fully immerse myself in it, but it sure can be fun if you play it for what it is. Right now, it's a not-too-deep injection of adrenaline from time to time and I'm okay with that. Are you?

Thanks a lot for reading this series and leaving a lot of insightful comments. If I was surprised about one thing it's that there seemed to be a lot of genuine interest in us giving Warhammer Online another thorough examination one year after release. So again, thanks for the ride and see you on the battlefield!

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