Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WOAoR: A Traditional Review

Alright, alright, I'll go back to the more traditional review format, but only for the sake of comprehensibility. Yes, it's a word. Deal with it. :-P

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
A vast improvement of the MMO experience

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is an MMORPG set in the world of the tabletop fantasy wargame, Warhammer. The game pits Order, consisting of Dwarves, Elves, and the Empire (Humans) against Chaos, composed of Orcs, Dark Elves, and Chaos (Really Unpleasant Humans). While it follows the traditional MMORPG model with standard "kill this many of this thing" and "go find this person and talk to her" quests, it offers a more varied and serious play experience than other MMOs. And by "other MMOs," I am, of course, referring to World of Warcraft.

For one thing, the graphics are more realistic than previous MMORPGs, going for a grittier feel and starker imagery. This goes well with the game's main theme: war. The player in this game is not some magnificent hero or chosen one. She is a soldier, like everyone else, and her job is to get to the front lines and do some killing. Sure, there are quests, but they feel related to the war effort, especially such inventive quests as "Go nail x enemy players." Overall, the focus is on the Realm vs. Realm combat, to which each area has a substantial amount of space devoted. RvR provides opportunities for characters to earn Renown (which can win them special abilities) and Influence (which can be used to purchase special items). Despite the game's focus on RvR competition, players tend to be surprisingly mature during RvR play. In my time playing the game, I've seen very little grief and even less complaining about unfair play. That characters incur only small penalties from death encourages them to get back to the war.

The game's public quests provide an alternative to simply "grinding" for experience. Each quest has a few stages, in which anyone in the area can participate in return for influence (special items) and XP. This encourages people to group, as these quests are exceptionally difficult to complete without the support of other players. Rewards upon completing are given based on level of contribution.

The game has some notable flaws. Setup requires the user to create her own shortcut - a wonderful experience, especially when the WAR.exe file isn't the one you're looking for (it's the patching file). Also, there is so much cash to be earned that even after purchasing the best equipment available and dyeing it your favorite color set, you're still probably going to be loaded with gold, silver, and brass (no, I don't know why brass either) coinage.

These flaws, and the obvious fact that WOAoR is an MMORPG aside, it presents much more engaging and varied experience than other MMORPGs.

Gameplay: 19/20
Storyline: 15/25
Graphics: 4/5
Streamlined: 5/10
Innovation: 8/15
Fun: 24/25

Overall: 80/100

For the Optimists:
-Mature and developed Realm vs. Realm combat
-RvR and Public Quests provide variety and reduce "grind"
-Class variety and special mechanics differentiate play experience by race and class

For the Pessimists:
-An MMORPG, need I say more?
-Setup is cumbersome
-Not enough cash sinks

I, BoltAction, recommend Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning for you if you like a more serious and mature MMORPG experience.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds cool. I would definitely give it a try if I hadn't already sworn off MMORPGs.