Sunday, August 24, 2008

WAR First Impressions

After being in the open sandbox that is Eve Online for a few months, it was time to go back to the amusement-park-on-rails I was so used to in previous MMORPG's. My very first impression is that Games Workshop really needs to update their logo. That thing really hasn't aged that well.

The graphics are stylized and cartoony in a style similar to WoW but not quite so over the top. The gear looks a lot nicer and more functional on the WAR toons. No exaggerated anime swords and the shields look as though they might actually be able to block a few hits. The sound effects were okay for the most part aside from the annoying choices they made for the jump and running animations. The music was suitably inspiring and sparse; in fact I left it on the default setting which is something I never do in a MMORPG.

The game ran pretty well for the most part on my machine which is about a year old and could barely run AoC. There were some spots which caused FPS loss but it's my hope that they weren't done optimizing the whole game yet.

Gameplay wise, there was more than enough content to go through the preview weekend with. Public quests, open groups, and Tome of Knowledge are really as nifty as advertised. I especially liked the little nods to explorers they included in this game. If you like to venture off the beaten path or find out exactly what happens when you do this; you will enjoy the little tome unlocks you get as a result.

The PVP feels like a very integral part of this game; unlike in WoW where it was pretty much an afterthought. From the ease of queueing for a scenario to very nice equipment you can purchase with the right PVP rank; even getting XP while PVPing. There is literally no more excuse for players to not want to PVP in this game. I hope they can get the class balance right though. I definitely do not want to be the guy that has to do it for this game.

For the TLDR crowd, I'll sum it up in this paragraph. WAR is a very polished RvR MMORPG. If that's what you're looking for, then sign on the dotted line. If you're looking for the next WoW killer or something that can replace WoW for you; you might want to look elsewhere. I don't really know if I'm looking for what WAR has to offer but they have me at least for a month while I find out.

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