It can’t have escaped your notice that WAR’s RvR Pack and 1.4 are coming out around the same time as World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion. This is not totally dissimilar to when Wrath of the Liche King (WotLK) arrived shortly after WAR’s launch, but this time I think the impact will be far less.
Back in 2008 loads of people from other games (presumably primarily WoW) jumped ship to try out the much hyped Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. For a range of reasons the game didn’t live up to a lot of people’s expectations and I think for a lot of people it was just too far from the WoW comfort zone they’d been living in. I remember a guildie who quit in the early days telling me he just couldn’t get used to playing a MMO where sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t win. He’d got so used to PvE encounters from other games that he expected to win, all the time. Alas for him, PvP and particularly RvR just aren’t like that.
Not that this was the only reason people left. At the other end of the scale were those people who were expecting WAR to be Dark Age of Camelot with Orcs were and that just didn’t turn out to be the case. And there was no doubt all manner of reasons in-between, so when WotLK came out there was a mass exodus from WAR back to WoW.
Since then WAR has improved dramatically. It’s far from the finished, perfect game we all want, but it is hugely different in performance, balance and general game play. As a result a while back the population stabilised and then started to grow. Yes certain servers are still struggling, but others are getting busier and while I’ve not been able to get any subscriber numbers from Mythic, they have told me the population is growing. Of course you may like to dispute that, but I can only speak about what I see on Karak Norn and Mythic’s word tallies with that. On Norn recently we’re even getting the Supply Lines function kicking in when a zone gets too busy. So where Iron Rock is struggling, other places like Karak Norn, Karak Azgal and Badlands are getting insanely busy.
Anyway I’m starting to go on a tangent and I shall now rein myself back in… The point I was getting to is the population has stabilised in a general sense. If you’re playing WAR right now its most likely because you like PvP and RvR more than PvE. Perhaps you could say WAR is now a niche game for those of us that are primarily PvPers, but don’t want to play EVE for whatever reason. So when WoW’s latest expansion comes out with its excellent PvE, but crap PvP and non-existant RvR, will many WAR players actually care? If you wanted to play a PvE focussed game, wouldn’t you already be doing that?
I know I don’t care about WoW’s expansion; I had my fingers burnt with WotLK. I went and tried it and found myself unable to hit max level due to boredom with the nonstop PvE. Not that I think WoW is a bad game, oh no. I think it’s excellent at what it is good at and is focused on, that being PvE. It’s just not for me anymore. As I talk to other people this seems a pretty common point of view.
So this time I don’t think WoW’s expansion will have that big an impact on WAR. And the same goes for the other MMOs coming out. They have different focuses to WAR and surely if that’s what you want out of your MMO, after 2 years of WAR’s crazy rollercoaster, wouldn’t you have already left?
From my friends I only know a couple of people that are talking about Cataclysm, everyone else is looking ahead to the RvR Pack. As such I suspect that this time for WAR, much like how it won't impact on EVE, the WoW expansion won't have such a cataclysmic effect.