We’ve all heard the phrase “Hindsight is 20/20″ in regards to past failures.
I do believe Warhammer Online is a prime examle of Hindsight at its finest. Often overlooked, many people simply cannot put their finger on what is lacking in WAR. We have been given everything we have ever wanted, and somehow it has ended up being a whole lot less fun than we had anticipated. While many have left, others hold on to some strange combination of confusion and a last bit of hope.
Looking back on a decade of MMO experience, WAR seems to have offered two key elements that truly appealed to many people:
Mana vs Action Points
We see mana as a way to keep a caster’s capability in check (along with minimal armor) while still allowing them to be the power-players (healers, heavy damage-dealers). The problem that people found was that many battles simply came to a halt as a result of lacking mana.
Mythic has done about as fine of a job as anyone could have hoped for at maintaining the pace of combat. The check of mana has been replaced by separate, perhaps better checks and balances.
So whats the problem? “Resource Management”. In games where limited resources are a factor, there is also the availability of ‘emergency’ abilities. You could pull some miracle healing or sudden burst out of your wazoo, but at a cost. “Rage”, “Mana” and “Energy” of WoW are prime examples of resource management. What set me apart from every button mashing rogue in the world? It came down heavily to my Energy Management. I could save, conserve, and strategically burst.
Now we have WAR, where AP is nearly a non-factor. It is lost and regained at such rates that conservation is a non-factor. Spells as a whole must be toned down. God forbid we have abilities as powerful as other popular MMOs without the check of mana! However, a problem arises: Without emergency buttons, it pans out very simply. Mythic must directly relate healing and damage. Healing must be ‘balanced’ around damage. There is no ‘emergency’ button in WAR because there is nothing to stop you from chain-using it aside from a cooldown. A cooldown is a cooldown, used once within a period of time. An ‘emergency’ is reusable at some large expense to the caster.
Have we traded skill for convenience?
Our second, but no less critical misconception that initially appealed to many is that of Epic Warfare. How many late nights have you stayed up, assaulting cities in games where such was not even part of the ‘content’, dreaming of future MMOs where you might lead an army charging, laying waste to any who may stand in your way.
That is what we had hoped WAR would be. Epic. Grand beyond imagining. Unfortunately ‘we’ are few. A fact that we so easily forget has surfaced again to slap us in the face: You cannot force anyone to play your game how you think it ‘should’ be played. Players will play it exactly as they see fit. And usually that does not spell ‘epic’ or ‘legendary’ unless stamped across a piece of loot. They will bend and twist your rules, push your boundaries. The quick path to the next item with some false pretense of ‘preparing for the war’. In reality, we are avoiding the very war we continually claim we are preparing for.
If I were forced to point a finger at a solitary design flaw, I would blame wards. Syp made some great points regarding wards. More or less: To tell people that in order to have any hope of reaching the pinnacle of RvR, they need a set of loot most easily acquired through active avoidance of such is fundamentally foolish. However, I believe this does not touch one one key point. Wards discourage any hopes of ‘epic warfare’. Epic warfare implies struggle. Struggle implies time. Time is money, or in our case, loot. So the community avoids warfare at every turn, clinging tight to the excuse of ward requirements.
Which is the lesser of the two evils? Skill or Class Limitation? Blatant Greed or False Glory?
Just last night, I stood tall with < Fist of Sigmar> on my Rune Priest, Convert. We both defended and assaulted keeps against well more than twice our numbers. Our organization and determination won the day.
Cling tight to your excuses. Grip fearfully to your pathetic wards. Your falsely-justified greed is soon to be revealed! Your days of free reign are numbered! While I may at first stand alone, others will soon gather ’round. No matter where you go, there will you find us. Together we will fight for Glory, Honor, Pride & Ultimate Victory!
With whom will you stand?