I have to admit, when I first read about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), some little voice inside me screamed "WoW clone". The first screen shots and game play videos looked awful and the lack of information when it was first publicised, really didn't help. A year ago I would have predicted the game would only appeal to the Warhammer fans and a few hardcore MMOers. All that has changed now, as Mythic has been releasing a plethora of information about the game. In fact the game is sounding so good, that not only have I joined the hype train, I've already started trying to figure out which character class I'm going to play first.
In a recent interview with EA Mythic's Jeff Hickman, Senior Producer for Warhammer Online, a lot of details were spilled about the philosophy behind developing WAR. In my life time of playing MMORPGs, the one thing I've come to enjoy most is the PvP action. It's the main reason why I preferred Guild Wars over WoW. In the interview, Jeff Hickman says:
"We generally start everything in our game with a thought toward PvP. PvP isn't the first thing we think of, but it's one of the first things. We think of Warhammer Online as a PvP game that also has monster and PvE content. So, when we balance our careers, we balance the content around player verses player, not fighting monsters. We balance the classes against each other. Then, instead of balancing those classes against the monsters, we balance the monsters against the classes. Our philosophy is to make the best PvP game in the world and build the PvE content around it. We know how much damage each class can do and take, plus all the utility each class can provide. So, instead of balancing each ability, we just need to modify the overall damage output and absorption of each career."
ZOMG!! I could not have created a better philosophy for developing an MMORPG myself! Jeff Hickman has just been boosted to instant legend status in my books. When WoW was being developed I can guarantee you that they built a PvE game with some PvP thrown in. I actually think this is WoW's achilles heal. So if any game is going to knock it off its mighty pedestal, WAR is looking like the front runner. Mind you, i don't expect it to happen over night as WoW has one hell of a fan base, but I bet a large percentage of those fans are sick of grinding the same old crap.
With RvR combat, Living Guilds, Public Quests and six different races, each with four archetypes, WAR is sounding like one hell of a game. It promises some MMO innovation, which I'm deeply looking forward to, I just hope the graphics do the game play justice.