Warhammer Online: First impressions

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Well, I know there’s info everywhere, but we had to add our two cents about the so-called first World of Warcraft real competitor: Warhammer Online. Brilliant stuff?

My first impression is that Warhammer seeks a more realistic representation of its world, graphics try to gain accuracy and detail, contrary to the cartoon-style that World of Warcraft uses. However, they don’t quite achieve to provide really polished graphics: buttons are too big and simplistic, character selection is a little bit messy and confuse in the beginning (for some reason, my character got out of the screen when I was choosing his physical appearance).

“Warhammer Online Cinematic Trailer”

I heard that Warhammer Online was meant to be a revolution in mmorpg. I heard it wasn’t going to be just an alternative to WoW, that they were implementing a different way to play the game: it was going to be more PvP oriented, the factions will be in confrontation and there will be storylines created by the players themselves. However, I guess these were just rumors, or maybe they were just ideas that have changed over time, since it has taken so long to see this game come to life that everything might have changed from the original conception. Needless to say that I would have loved to see something very different in action, but time will tell.

From what I’ve seen and played, it all starts off as a Warhammer conception of the WoW type of game. Everything works quite accordingly to the classic WoW style: quests based on repetitive structures (kill certain amount of mobs, pick up certain number of objects…). There are elite mobs called “paladins”, you’ve got quest givers, trainers (although there is just one for all classes), and so on. Classes are different, but roles aren’t: tanks, melee dps, ranged dps, healers.

I’ve rolled a Chaos Magus, which is some sort of spellcaster ranged dps who travels in a flying shield. Have you ever read any Asterix comic book? The whole idea was taken from there:

Well, maybe it’s not exactly the same thing but… you get the point, right? Well, first thing I noticed is that spell effects are not so great. I started off with two spells, a tiny fireball and another one in which the flying shield bites your enemy in some sort of purple effect. The renders of those are a little bit disappointing, but hey, we are level 1, there must be something more to this game.

The first different thing is public quests. Public quests are played by any character in the area that has picked up that quest, consisting on different stages or phases. First one I did, I had to kill mobs: some kind of mobs in stage 1, some others in stage 2, and in stage 3 I had to kill some sort of boss. Number of kills were shared by all the players involved in that quest. When done, you’ve got a prompting screen that ranks the participants, and there’s a roll for some gear and goods as a reward.

“The Chaos Magus in action”

I also tried the PVP feature. This is very similar to battlegrounds in WoW: you enter in a PVP map and you have to capture some flags. Good vs. Evil. Since I joined when I was lvl 2, I did not much: even when my spells were put at lvl 8 in order to have some chance in the battle, I hadn’t acquired new spells from the trainer yet, so I just came out with the little fireball and the shield bite.

However, there’s the Realm vs. Realm feature that might help the game to deliver a different side of a mmorpg game.

In conclusion, my first experience with Warhammer leaves me with a numb sensation, I would need more to evaluate. It has disappointed me that it resembles this much to WoW, but I admit that it wasn’t easy to create something totally different from scratch. There are aspects that will improve when the game will be officially released, and I’m thinking about giving it a try while we wait for the Lich King…

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