Wednesday, 31 August 2011

WoH, WAR and keeping me subbed

As expected the discovery of Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes has prompted predominantly negative rumblings within the WAR community, predictably amongst the vocal angry people that are always angry regardless of anything, but clearly it has also rattled the faith of many others. And you can understand why, since folks were expecting proper WAR news, which WoH obviously isn’t, at least not to start with. Sure there’s potential for WoH leading to good things for WAR, but for a lot of people the whole “potential” thing has got a bit old. There’s always something potentially good coming for WAR, but so often it just doesn’t quite happen.

I remain fairly apathetic towards Wrath of Heroes, despite Bioware and some community member’s attempts at hype. I do think it will be a good game, a very good game in fact and I do think it is going to be hugely successful, but I continue struggling to care a great deal about it. Perhaps the beta will change my mind... For me it sits in the same personal category as games like League of Legends, APB, Battlefield and World of Tanks, they’re good fun and brilliant at what they do, but I just don’t play them for long periods of time in MMO terms. I’ll do a couple of months of solid play and then move on, perhaps dipping my toe in for brief visits but never really getting stuck in again. I think it’s their completely instanced and enclosed nature that eventually halts my interest, much like it did with Guild Wars. So for me it is unlikely that Wrath of Heroes will be a factor in how long I am subbed to WAR, regardless what attached benefits that sub has for WoH. The fate of my WAR sub can only be decided by WAR itself. At the moment I’m quite happy with it and looking forward to having spare time for playing more in the near future, but as I’ve said before, long term WAR is going to have some competition and I want to see some further return for that subs fee we’ve been paying for so long.

Unfortunately for us, those subscriptions are very much speculative investments, there is no guarantee that our funding will result in expansions, new content or anything else and in fact our contract with the game’s publishers is in reality just to give us access to the game right now; we have no legal rights to demand anything else. However, regardless of what publishers may think about what a subscription is for, we as MMO gamers pay a sub fee so that game we like grows, stays fresh and can continue to keep us interested. But if that ceases then so will our subscriptions. If the future looks bleak then we’re likely to stop investing, particularly if there are new shiny things elsewhere. And PC gaming has a LOT of lovely shiny things on the way.

So as I’ve said before, for WAR to not be royally buggered by new shiny things (hello GW2, SWTOR, Diablo3, Skyrim et al), it needs to deliver some pretty solid temptations of its own and share some community confidence about. The question is though, considering the whole lack of resources bit, is there anything realistic that could do that?

Actually, yes! There already are things that Bioware Mythic are looking at that could go a long way to securing my (and many others) long term loyalty. Of course this goes back to how I started this post; talking about potential. As such perhaps none of these will see the light of day. /facepalm

Sylvania - They have unused Sylvania assets that were previously developed but never made it into the game. This place is the home of the Vampire Counts and has some pretty cool stuff associated with it. I don’t know how much they’ve got sitting there to use, but if this was a new PvP zone then I would be extremely happy.

West Praag, Cinderfall and the other wasted side zones - I don’t know what Mythic are considering for these zones, but they are considering something. I want them RvR enabled with objectives that affect the campaign somehow. Something that would promote small scale roaming and battling in those zones would be perfect. Not instanced copies though please. Having new scenery would be hugely refreshing, in fact it would be HUGE MASSIVE OMFG! PLEASE GIVE US SOMEWHERE NEW TO FIGHT. Ahem. WAR’s tagline was “WAR is everywhere”, but unfortunately, much like cake, that is a lie. Make it a true instead please.

Monsterplay that doesn’t suck - Yeah I would rather have proper new playable careers, cor blimey would I like that and I remain MONSTROUSLY (sorry) disappointed with the Skaven implementation. Though I would settle for new monster play options that don’t suck, fit better into the game than the Skaven nonsense and are actually fun. Ideally with some form of progression or advancement system that makes them feel worthwhile and perhaps gives customisation options. Now we know that Bioware Mythic are toying with more monsterplay and we know they’re looking at an advancement system, so it seems like this one is half way there. If we could have things like Chaos Trolls, Ogres, Goblin Fanatics, Empire Greatswords, etc, etc it could work quite well.

None of those are unfeasible and all of them are being talked about at Bioware Mythic, so they could happen. If they actually do and they’re done well, that will make Boots a happy bunny. Obviously there’s a bloody huge list of other things I would rather see, but these would go a long way towards preventing other distractions becoming the new obsession.

PS: Fortresses could be a big help, if it gives us some dynamic PvP that works well alongside the campaign, but we'll have to see and it's not enough for me on its own.


  1. I share your apathy towards WoH. Doesn't really interest me. If I'm subbed to WAR anyway I don't see why I'll get involved. Good luck to them and let's hope it brings some players to WAR.

    As for WAR, I'm still enjoying it. I do wish they'd do more to encourage smaller scale fighting though. Must remember to always keep an alt in tier 3, the great escape.

    Been investigating GW2 this week. The lore seems pretty gay, as does the PvP on first impressions. Will do more reading and perhaps get some thoughts down in a blog post.

    Not a bad start to the football season eh? I reckon I might even be able to stomach MOTD again. Here's hoping...

  2. Still got my mara in T3, but I'm mainly playing my shammie, choppa and chosen at the mo.

    As you probably know, I have very little faith in GW2. I didnt rate the first game and the new one just looks like a graphic update for WoW. Plus I loathe it's cutesy emo high fantasy cheese bollocks visual style.

    Oh and the first GW's PvP was hugely overrated. HUGELY.

    I think this football season is going to be quite good for us :) I am quietly confident.

  3. Agree about the graphics. Some of the concept art looks nice tbf, but overall a bit crappy. Not dark enough by a long shot. None of the races in GW2 capture my imagination, visually or lore. And the little mole creatures just undermine the whole operation. I've tried my best to put that to one side and see if the actual PvP proposal is interesting enough.

    Sounds like the instanced stuff are like WAR scens but you have more control about what you can join. A bit like the server lists in Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2. This has potential. The downside (for me) is that all gear is stripped for the instanced PvP. Don't get me wrong, I hate the idea of really high-level players steamrolling lowbies, but I particularly enjoy the idea of levelling your character and getting better gear with the ultimate aim of being more effective in PvP. The instanced stuff doesn't offer that.

    The open-world PvP sounds a little confusing. My impression is that unlike the instanced PvP you can keep your gear and stuff but it's not truly open-world (i.e. located in one designated area The Mists). Also, and most off-putting for me, is it sounds like all races go out of the window. You play alongside races who are lore enemies and play server v server v server. I could be wrong, but that's my impression. And that just doesn't appeal really. Call me simple, but I enjoy fighting realm v realm. I like to know my enemy and stick to the lore.

    Star Wars is not far away. I used to think I'd be super excited about this one. But as it draws closer and closer I feel less and less bothered about it. There's something really frustrating about the whole Star Wars IP. It's dangerously close to being fantastic but always ends up being disappointing. The problem there is trying to appeal to too many markets. They want to engage adults and young kids. I just can't get past the gayness of it all. WAR will surely suffer when Star Wars comes out but I'm hoping that Star Wars simply draws most annoying gamers to it like a magnet. It will surely have loads of expansions so perhaps they'll stay there too.

    As for Skyrim, I'm definitely not as excited as you about it :) I'll take a look for sure but I found Oblivion much less engaging than Morrowind. Therefore, I don't have huge hope for Skyrim either if it follows the same trajectory (as I assume it will). Plus, finding time for more than one game is really tough with family/work/play - I'd almost certainly have to take a break from WAR to immerse myself in something like Skyrim. Not saying I won't, but I'm sceptical about it.

    There's nothing on the horizon which really captures my imagination game-wise right now. The only thing I'm really excited about is Dark Millenium and that seems a long way off. So it's WAR for me for the foreseeable future. Unless they really do take the piss and don't ever produce any meaningful content. I can't stay interested forever.

    What a rant! Back to work...

  4. Lineage 2 got another patch with content lately.
    Crap game.
    Still. Content.
    Same deal with AOC, except that was a fairly decent game.
    Neither of which ever matched WAR, and yet WAR is starved for quality content!

    Unsubbed from WAR and 'unliked' WOH facebook page as I really can't support that.
    If you're still buying the 'hype that mythic/ea themselves admit isn't hype, so don't get too excited TM' then you're kidding yourself. You've had the most fun you will ever have in WAR.
    If you enjoy it, if you like the people: fantastic. No hate and no haters can swing you off track.
    I'm kind of a misanthrope so I really just enjoyed the killing people part and never really made 'friends' in game.

    You can't play a game based on promises of what may be.

    I had no particular dreams of what Warhammer might have become, because I took it as it was; but it deserved more than this slow death.

    I think negativity breeds negativity in a way and the fact that SO many ungrateful bastards drowned the forums in whinging didn't help, either newcomers, or the morale in the office.

    A few good bloggers have done more for subscriber confidence and interest than the EA/Bioware/whatever media/production (lol) team combined.

    There are so many talented people, some of the most talented people in the world who would have stepped up and work for free on this project; be it conceptual, 3d, world art, programming.. not rookies but serious professionals. There is an abundance of talent, not a lack of it out there.

    Unlike your Elder Scrolls Titles, you can't just mod your way to a better place; you have to sit and watch Rome burn for no good damn reason.

    Skyrim will allow me to be a marauder bastard in northern climes again.
    Cannot wait.

    So many Tier 4 zones in Warhammer online and basically only 1 and a half (Kadrin hardly counts) with wintry weather and snow, and Chaos Wastes looks more like apocalyptic ash.

    Sex sells, and so does snow.

    See: Game of Thrones & new LOTR: War in the North title; in other games during the Christmas season (November through January) Lineage, FPS custom maps, Planetside, EQ and it's failed successor; population in snowy areas rocketed.

    Give me an axe, snow, furry loins, a horned helmet and people to hack to bits and I'm happy.

    This was a reply to a post at one point.

  5. Also thanks for this blog post. It's very well written and I think we know a few people who might yet make a difference read this same blog.

  6. WAR will stay in history as the only MMO that never got a proper payed expansion. Shame really.

  7. Viidias & Anon - I completely agree. Those things I mention that are possibly on the cards for WAR are in the grand scheme of things really minor and whilst they may keep me subbed a bit longer, they're not headline news enough to do much more than retain existing subs.

    I do think it is absolutely ridiculous that Age of Conan had a full expansion when WAR didn't. And as for Lineage 2... that's barely a game. :P

    TBH I'll always have a bit of hope for WAR, but that hasn't stopped me quitting the game before and with SWTOR approaching... well my WAR time is _at the very least_ going to reduce for a month or two when that comes out.

  8. Thanks for the shout-out & support on twitter, don't know how else to contact you to show gratitude so I thought I'd pop in here.

  9. [shakrah]
    Not to add too much to very complete and informed answers, I would just point out that, even though there is no doubt that resources are thin on the ground for whichever reason, and hence prevent major coding, changes, expansions, zones, what-not, I am rather surprised that more ovious, cheap and manageable solution shave not been rolled out.
    In the last legs of Planetside (yeah-yeah), the GMs would come down and organise events (meteor showers, Black Ops).
    It requires just one GM (x4 servers = 4 guys, not even dedicated, it can be a programmer hopping in) to take control either of a character, monster, tweak the zone reward system (forcing AAO for example), dropping gold bags if he/she dies, create a WB with perma shield, whatever, and create some "fun"...

    I can understand that balance tweaks, armor, whatever takes too much, but it seems that low budget-more creative solutions could be at least expected.


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.