The highly anticipated MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is finally launched and I have, as most of you, started playing. Right now I'm stomping through Blood Mountains (at least I think it was called that) as a fierce and funny black orc, screaming and yelling as I rampage around and kill anything I see. My first impressions of the game are really only threefold:
I didn't play the first release of WoW so I can't compare with it. But I can compare WAR with Age of Conan, Vanguard and Tabula Rasa. It's kicks ass in the polish department. WAR feels complete, I have yet to see any bugs and though some animations and quests are a bit jerky at times they don't subtract a whole lot since they're never really believable in an MMO anyway.
There's a whole lot more to do in WAR then in WoW or Vanguard. The developers behind WAR have really pulled out some great innovations in using MMO mechanics to come up with gameplay activities. Quests are sometimes logically based on other quests which I had no idea I was missing in other MMOS. For example: one of the first quests as a greenskin is to kill dwarfs found in barrels washed up on a shore under the towering walls of a dwarf keep, and thirty minutes into the game I find a quest where I stuff dwarfs in barrels and throw them off the keep. Now this might exist in certain areas of WoW or Vanguard, but I have yet to notice it if it does. In WAR, my experience so far really seems integrated into the world. Not taped on like the quests of early WoW.
Public quests work great by the way. And they are a really fun way to spend 15minutes away from solitary questing.
3. World or Setting
Warcraft is a ripoff of Warhammer, which in turn is a ripoff of Tolkien's middle earth. That's ok.
But Warcraft really started to invent the setting while they build WoW, so we can see the cracks in the setting design in the early parts of WoW that get smaller as the setting is refined into later stages and of course the expansion. WAR doesn't have this problem, it's based on an very fleshed out fantasy world that has so much story, depth and humour that it rubs of on all the people working with the world. In short, WAR feels a lot more like a world then World of Warcraft and the humour of Warhammer is everywhere, spot on, and making sure that it never gets too serious.
I'm impressed by WAR so far, I'll be back with more thoughts on the game in a few days.