It would be fair to say that I have something like a love/hate relationship with Warhammer Online. On the one hand, I really do enjoy the gameplay that it provides, and on the other, I hate it that so much of its population funnels all of their play down one or two of those channels.
I’ve left Warhammer twice, both times because player activity withered away, and there was no one around. Some servers were lucky and this happened to a much lesser degree or not at all, but I went with my guild (Casualties of War, one of the Best Guilds Ever,) and we had bad luck.
Scenarios don’t fire. Nobody’s around to do Open RvR. Nobody’s bothering with Public Quests. If any two of those things are true, then Warhammer simply falls apart, and anyone not utterly fanatical simply can’t maintain enough enthusiasm to play. I’ve bitched enough about this in the past that I don’t feel the need to go into it again in detail, but the bottom line is that insufficient population, or insufficiently balanced population, runs the game off the rails. It’s my opinion that WAR’s server architecture was poorly designed to support either of those things, and for a good long while now, Mythic hasn’t seemed to want to openly acknowledge the issue, or do anything about it.
Ah, but now. Mythic finished dancing around the bad press that “server merges” inevitably generate and just did them – and it’s a good thing, because WAR desperately needed them. The number of servers is now down to what appears to be a manageable number, even if it does imply a significantly contracted population.
CoW, with whom I have re-established contact after a long absence, is officially or unofficially present on three servers: Volkmar (Destruction,) Badlands (Order,) and Iron Rock (mixed-faction alts.) I’m delighted to report that stuff appears to be happening on all of these.
Now, my one high-ish level (23, as of last night,) character is on Badlands, where I haven’t played all that much since coming back. But T3 scenarios pop, and warbands form to take keeps and Battlefield Objectives. And on the other two servers, T1 activity is lively – on Iron Rock, where I’ve created a slew of Order characters, scenarios pop constantly, and there is always open RvR happening even at stupidly off-peak hours. WAR needs numbers of people concentrated in the most interesting aspects of its gameplay, not becuase it’s social, but because without them it’d be rather like running around on a big Team Fortesss 2 map playing against one other player.
Things are going well so far. There’s still pretty much nobody bothering with PQs, so it remains to be seen how my interest level will fare on an exclusive diet of scenarios and open RvR; WAR’s PvE without Public Quests is pretty much ass on toast, so it’s not really a play option except as an occasional diversion. But I’m hopeful. I’ve got two months, after all; the first three or four days have been lots of fun.