Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Review

Ah, Warhammer Online. For untold time I looked forward to your release! (Actually, it was probably something like a year and a half.) Taking the best of several successful MMORPGs, and tossing in what seemed to be the greatest PVP set-up yet, was a match made in Heaven; especially when you combine that promising gameplay with the Warhammer world.

Now that it’s been out for over a month and has had sufficient time to patch a lot of the launch issues (of which there were surprisingly few – easily the smoothest MMORPG launch I’ve ever witnessed) it’s time for me to give my “final” impressions, which I’m sure will be amended over time as new content is added.

The verdict? WAR is an MMORPG on the verge of greatness, but a few smaller issues which impact a large portion of the gameplay experience are holding it back.

When playing WAR, one takes place in a battle fought between two warring ideals: Order and Destruction. The background and lore for the war is detailed in the collector’s edition graphic novel, but basically the bad guys are trying to take over the world and kill everyone, and the good guys don’t want that. On the side of Order you’ll have dwarves, high elves, and humans; on the side of Destruction you have the greenskins, dark elves, and chaos.

Unlike that other Warhammer-“inspired” MMO on the market, WAR is built first and foremost for PVP between the two factions. Starting at rank (level) 1 up until the maximum rank 40, you can enter a scenario for your tier (groups of ten levels) at any time. To balance things out, people of lower levels have their stats boosted to a minimum level equivalent when they enter a scenario. Scenarios range from simple capture-and-hold objectives to maps where you need to deliver an artifact to certain points. They’re fun, they’re fast, and most importantly they give you XP for both rank and renown. (Rank is the equivalent of levels, and you get your skills from leveling that up; renown is the PVP [Realm vs Realm] level of your character, and unlocks additional tactics and renown gear.)

Scenarios aren’t the only way to earn renown, though. You can also earn it by entering RVR flagged areas in each tier’s maps, and capture objective points and keeps. Capturing an objective point takes as little as one person (but by the end takes at least a small group or great duo), and gives you a modest amount of renown in return. Capturing a keep, however, is what WAR is all about and requires massive, tactic-using groups.

Keep raids is WAR’s way of getting players ready for the ultimate end-game experience: capturing the other side’s capital city. City sieges are gigantic, epic events which can affect the entire server. Lose your city, and you lose out on numerous quests, dungeons, vendors, and other things; capture theirs, and your available resources will increase, plus you’ll be getting some nice bonuses.

While the PVE is almost fully up to what the developers have in mind (with the exception of public quests tending to be barren for certain tiers depending on which server you’re on), a lot of small issues are plaguing the realm vs realm content.

For starters, the balance between the number of players on Order and Destruction is usually 2:1 in favor of Destruction on most servers. If you play Destruction, expect to wait longer to enter a scenario. If you play Order, you’ll get into scenarios much quicker but when it comes to any open RVR (objective taking, keep taking, city sieging) it’s a constant uphill battle against a foe which always has more players than you. To combat this Mythic has tried giving incentives in the form of more XP and renown gain to get players to make Order characters on some servers, but really it just doesn’t seem to do much more than chip away at a gigantic boulder of a problem.

The other issue is, thankfully, much easier to address. Several classes have had broken skills since day one (or beta…) which have yet to be addressed. Mythic has promised to fix them in the near future, but it is worth noting that as of now, classes such as the Squig Herder, Shadow Warrior, and Magus just feel lackluster, incomplete, and less effective when compared against other classes in the game.

Overall, Warhammer Online is a smashing success given the previous MMORPGs to come out and the monster that is WoW. The gameplay is fun, the PVP is the best in any MMORPG to date, and the only real issues will either solve themselves over time or be fixed by Mythic. If you’re looking for a new online RPG to entertain you when you’re bored of WoW, WAR should easily be at the top of your list. Even if you’ve never been a huge fan of PVP before, the way Mythic constructs it with the various game modes and the in-game lore and rivalries makes it a wonderfully entertaining experience.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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