Warhammer Online was my first MMO, and it’s the only one I play. I feel I was lucky to enter the game without any real expectations, except that I would get to kill things with my friends.
However, whenever I bring up the topic of WAR to people, gamers and non-gamers alike, World of Warcraft inevitably enters the conversation. They try to understand WAR through their experiences with WoW, and you see the same thing reflected in posts on the official forums. Often, new players ask about content and careers by referencing those of WoW.
It’s understandable, and I would do it too if I was in their shoes. But really, the two games are like apples and oranges.
I was briefly exposed to WoW by the same people I started playing WAR with. I made a character on my fiancé’s WoW account and, while I enjoyed cannibalizing NPCs, WoW really wasn’t the game for me. We just didn’t click.
WAR works for me, providing more than enough PvP and just the right amount of PvE. It’s not just that though. I’ve tried to put my finger on why I’ve stuck with Warhammer for a year after all my friends left, my career was weakened and my servers died and were merged.
Then Monday I came upon Nick Halme’s new blog post at Gamasutra.
He says he finally figured out the reason he likes WAR so much is because “WAR is the small town to WoW’s big city.”
Whereas in WoW I would get to the top floor only to see they’ve constructed more floors for me to run up, I feel like WAR with it’s conservative level cap of 40 (as opposed to 80) gives me a world I can fit in my pocket, and that makes me comfortable. It doesn’t have the population of a city-state and I can see the top of the building from where I’m standing.
Halme’s post reminded me of something my fiancé used to tell me when he played WAR, after months of WoW. He enjoyed being able to log in, do public quests, scenarios, RvR, whatever he wanted. And then he could log off.
WAR was something he could walk away from. He didn’t have that addiction to the game that WoW cultivated, and that was a good thing.
And according to Halme, it’s this lessening of intensity that is WAR’s selling point.
Trying to build your skyscraper next to Blizzard’s is not a good idea, because that thing is only getting bigger. Build a hamlet for the veterans to retire to, though, and you have yourself some market share.
It’s not just the WoW veterans. There are actually people like me who never seriously played WoW and never will. Together we make up a pretty dedicated group of players supporting WAR.