WAR = Epic Fail

One of the annoyances of being an MMO blogger is the ever-present buzz-o-meter in which you are immersed. While you can blog about MMOs without reading other MMO blogs, and I’m sure some people do, I would not be comfortable with that. The buzz at the moment is basically about two things: WAR’s near-total collapse and the great epic awesomeness that is Wrath of the Lich King.

On the first… well, much as I hate to say it, I’m forced to agree with the first. In recent weeks we’ve found out that ‘contribution’ for the purposes of loot rolls in keep battles is nothing but two random rolls. Some commentators are saying they feel ‘betrayed’ by this revelation, and while I think that maybe these people are taking things just a little too seriously, I have to admit that this is crap game design. That, plus the fact that the game is being deserted by players at a simply astonishing rate. Our own Averheim server, for example, once a comparative hotbed of action (in which, I note, it was still mostly impossible to find anything actually going on,) is now a wasteland, which Mythic is encouraging people to transfer off of before they merge it with some other unpopulated servers.

In contrast, World of Warcraft is a game much less dependent on ideal population balance, which even at its recent nadir (during the massive pulse of phoney WAR buzz) was suffering no lack of players, is surging again with the launch of its new expansion, which by all accounts is excellent.

I’m not going back on my decision to never return to WoW, but I’m amending it to say that I’ve also decided not to return to WAR, either. The game is fun when it’s working, but it mostly isn’t, and as time goes on it certainly seems like those occasions of working will become fewer and farther between. These are both tough decisions, but in WoW’s case it’s harder, because WoW is a game that, despite all the issues with it, is actually functional. The overhyped fiasco of WAR has no future. Age of Conan is the better game.

This makes me glad, though – along with the recent removal of all NCSoft titles from my ‘worth playing’ list, removing WAR gets that down to just three games – EVE, EQ2 and Vanguard, with EQ and DDO on the list as games I will occasionally dabble in.

12 responses to “WAR = Epic Fail

  1. All I can say is…

    WoW…that was really heart felt and spot on. I know there has been rumblings for a while in the WAR camp, but that is really some major “WAR” attitude on your part.

    But, is it possible to get a link to what started this /rant?

    You stated
    n recent weeks we’ve found out that ‘contribution’ for the purposes of loot rolls in keep battles is nothing but two random rolls

    Did one specific site mention this issue? Or is that running through the forums?

    And the “AoC is the better game” comment…we may be the only two bloggers who feel that way. I think it has more ongoing potential. But, of course, the doom and gloom is still present for most…quite funny really.

    Anyways, good way to whittle down those games though. I am glad I did the same.


  2. Interesting stuff for sure about that Contribution Roll. Servers are being consolidated too. The game is on the verge of needing to make a MAJOR move right now. Getting the players together is a good start, but WoW is a huge juggernaut and many PVP’ers that left to try WAR hated it and are now back in WoW, leveling for Lake Wintergrasp. At least 10 of the former Destro players I know are back on the Horde side and leveling.

  3. I don’t think that Warhammer has suffered “total collapse” YET, though I’ll concede that my grounds for saying so would be stronger if I hadn’t failed to renew my own subscription.

    The real tragedy here is that the game simply launched too soon. By most accounts I hear, performance is horrible for large-scale RVR, and the recently announced incentive changes really needed to be in place at launch to get the kind of gameplay they wanted to have happening. I think they WILL actually have the game together in another six months, that may just be too late.

    Also, Mythic definitely needs to grow a spine and just merge servers already. This half-assed idiocy of letting players transfer off medium servers onto high population servers is effectively a mandatory transfer anyway, since anyone who doesn’t bite is going to be left with a server that’s too sparse to be viable.

  4. @Ardwulf

    Thanks. I have not visited many “dedicated” WAR sites is why I never knew this mechanic came up.

    Read Wall of Text which really summed it up well.

    Just one word comes to mind.


    Thanks for the heads up.

  5. It’s not impossible for Mythic to fix all this stuff, or for WAR to be saved. But the game’s biggest asset in getting an audience that could compete with WoW’s was its momentum out of the gate. That’s totally dissipated now, and overcoming that to build WAR into a major market force is going to be very hard.

    Oh, and most of those didicated WAR bloggers are now talking about being back in WoW, and how much fun they’re having there.

  6. I agree pretty much in the assessment of WAR. I was a big booster of the game initially, but I have found that it just has too many issues, and that these are issues largely of design. Design issues around RvR, around zone takes and keep takes, around scenarios vs RvR vs PvE, around endgame gear, etc. All these areas are plagued with poor design decisions.

    To me, it’s as if Mythic didn’t really know what it wanted to do — and ended up creating a game which is a mish-mash of various ideas that mesh poorly, in *addition* to having the mostly fixable “polish” type issues.

    I would never have said this in September, but at this point I’ll have to agree that AoC is actually the better game, and in my opinion, has the better potential to do well in the future than WAR does.

  7. Reading all of these comments, I am surprised no one has disagreed with this post in regards to WAR. The PQ rolling system is broken, yes, but that isn’t something “that cannot be fixed”, as one commenter wrote. In act, nothing in WAR is beyond repair because the basis of the game remains quite interesting. The PQ rolling system isn’t that big of a deal anyway, since you can get equal or better loot elsewhere, or get it eventually from the PQ. PvE in this game is very easy compared to most other MMO’s.

    Low population is a problem for an RvR game. My entire guild transfered to a higher populated server, and this solved that problem for us quite nicely. We now have very enjoyable oRvR in T4 nearly every day all day. Mythic has handled this problem very well from this player’s perspective.

    I am even more surprised that you didn’t mention the real problems with WAR. Mark Jacobs has been addressing these problems recently with the WAR community, and Mythic is focusing on fixing them. In particular, the Victory Point system, and the incentives to defend keeps and participate in oRvR, both need improvements. Mark Jacobs has expressed that Open RvR is the purpose of this game, and they will make that happen. Being a fan of DAoC RvR, I am looking forward to these changes.

    Even with all of these bugs, at end game I am still enjoying this game a lot more than I ever enjoyed WoW or AoC. WoW is just a grind for loot. Although the game was designed for PvE, PvP was added in as an after thought into a game that will never be able to have good PvP mechanics. AoC may have improved since I played it, but the PvP system is dull and not very well thought out.

    WAR’s system is far from perfect (the game is only a month old, after all), but the foundation of the game is much more appealing than either of the other two games you mention.

    Of course, I am not a PvE’er. Games like EQ2 and WoW drive me nuts. If you enjoy the PvE play style then WAR was never meant for you.

    Finally, I would like to remind everyone that most MMO’s start off pretty broken and badly designed. WoW, DAoC, AoC, etc. The list goes on and on. The foundation of the games is what makes them good or not, not these little bugs that get worked out over time. DAoC’s RvR was horrid at first, but over time Mythic created what I think was the best PvP MMO ever. WoW went through the same growing stages. So, considering WAR is still far more entertaining for me than these other games, I will be sticking it out.


  8. Who said that the rolling system can’t be fixed? It can obviously be fixed, but that doesn’t make it any less halfassed now.

    If you’re enjoying WAR, I’m glad for you. But I really think that if you believe that the Victory Point issue is the game’s biggest flaw, then your opinion on the issue is blinded by your own enthusiasm. The big problem is, instead, that players are fleeing at an astonishing pace. Your server’s pop may indeed be strong right now – so was mine. How long will it stay that way?

    Your point at the end about games growing out of their problems is true, as far as it goes – for second tier MMOs. The question is not whether or not WAR will evolve into a solid, long-lasting second-tier game isn’t the point – I expect it still will – it’s the squandered opportunity for it to have been a first tier game, and WoW’s first serious competitor.

  9. Good decision. I wouldn’t say that I’ll never go back to WAR, as the game may come good in an expansion or two (if it’s still around), but I highly recommend that Mythic bring a new game designer on board. The current ones aren’t really doing that well. There are game design issues all over the place. Possibly the worst I’ve ever seen in an MMO.

  10. When WAR works, it works very well. My server has a huge T4 RvR battle every night. It is not realistic to expect the game to challenge WoW for numbers – 4 years of player investment, by millions of fans of lowest common denominator gaming will probably never be bested. So what?

    Why does the MMO community regard WoW comparisons as the only way to measure success? There are dozens of successful, profitable, fun games to chose from but yet the obsession with the Blizzard product continues. Surely MMO bloggers are capabale of talking about more than one game?