Don’t Panic

Phil left this comment on my post yesterday, responding to boatorious, who said “I still expect WAR to be more fun, since unlike WoW they will make the right game to begin with.” Phil responded with this:

Funny statement. Right game if you like PvP. Right game if you like RvR. But, to Tobold’s point, what if you don’t like either? So many people are jumping on the blanket statement of “Its going to be so much better than WoW” when in reality its going to be better in some ways but not all. And no I’m not on a “its gonna be a WoW clone” kick.

Two points in there that I’d like to explore a little more. First, indeed, what if you don’t like PvP or RvR?

Well, I spent a lot of time yesterday talking about why PvP in Dark Age of Camelot felt far different to me than PvP in any other MMO ( or MUD) I’ve played. If you didn’t get a chance to play a lot of DAoC at end game, or, if you didn’t happen to be on a server with good RvR opportunities (some of my friends on The Well seemed to have really lame RvR imbalance issues, which I rarely experienced on Percival), you might still labor under the impression that Mythic’s RvR ideas are similar to Everquest on the Zeks, or Eve Online’s low-sec and 0.0 space, or Age of Conan’s gank-a-rific kill-me-while-I-talk-to-this-quest-NPC mechanics. I dislike that kind of PvP. Generally, I avoid PvP.

However, I love Mythic’s RvR, and I think they’ve made improvements from the DAoC model into the WAR model. If you didn’t like DAoC RvR, you might be pleasantly surprised by the changes they’ve made to make WAR more accessible, balanced, social, and just plain fun. If you don’t like PvP, but you haven’t played DAoC, don’t be put off by Warhammer. It’s absolutely PvP for people who think they don’t like PvP. I can’t tell you how many PvE-ony guildmates I had in DAoC that gushed about the fun they had running the frontiers with us, once we finally convinced them to come out to a keep siege, or to defend a milewall. I think it’s going to be even easier to cross the border, from not liking PvP in other MMO’s, to getting Mythic’s concept and discovering it’s a lot of fun.

Phil’s second point: “So many people are jumping on the blanket statement of ‘Its going to be so much better than WoW’ when in reality its going to be better in some ways but not all.”

I can’t tell you how much I agree with this statement. I want to start a new campaign of MMO tolerance. I’m advancing the radical new thesis that it is indeed possible to greatly enjoy two different massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. Wait! Before you tell me I’m a crackpot, and the earth is actually flat and only 6,000 years old, and humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs, let me summarize my theory.

% of extremists who can only love WAR, and think WoW sucks in every way: 5%
% of extremists who can only love WoW, and think WAR will suck in every way: 5%
% of non-extremists who like WAR, but prefer WoW(*1) for certain reasons: 25%
% of non-extremists who like WoW , but prefer WAR(*2) for certain reasons: 25%
% of non-extremists who (gasp!) appreciate and enjoy both games: 40%

And, the kicker:

Percentage of posting by extremists on forums and blogs about WoW and WAR: 90%
Percentage of posting by non-extremists on forums and blogs about WoW and WAR: 10%

(*1): For sheer PvE content, endgame raiding opportunities, a marvelously meticulous gameworld, etc.
(*2): For better PvP opportunities, burned out on WoW, more accessible endgame, etc.

See where I’m going? I’m so sick of flamebait arguments about WoW and WAR. Phil’s exactly right to be tired of people proclaiming WAR will be better than WoW, or vice versa. Why the hell do we think our opinions need to be universal truths? Saying “I think…” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “I’m right, because…”

Just because you don’t like WoW, or you’re burned out on WoW, doesn’t mean WoW suddenly sucks. It means you don’t like it. Or, just because you love WoW and you have a blast playing every night doesn’t mean you have to feel threatened by WAR and need to run it down every chance you get.

It’s an interesting phenomenon. There’s a possibility that we’ll be looking at a choice between two quality triple-A MMO’s at the beginning of ’09, but instead of being happy about it, some people have to insist on rooting for and defending one game over another. This is why I got sick of professional sports. I can’t take one more argument about how “my team” is better than “your team”. Dude, you’re not on the team. No one on the team knows who you are, or cares that you root for them. PS – You look stupid in that team jersey. No one over the age of 25 should be wearing team jerseys.

I’m going to spend my time talking about what’s good about both games. I have a lot of respect for what both teams have accomplished, and I’d rather acknowledge their efforts than just sit back and bitch. I’ve got no time to be a hater.

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7 Responses

  1. Umm also Mark Jacobs has stated himself that the game will appeal to both types of players, Also the PVP in WAR IS head and tails above anything WoW has attempted, even I do it and I dont like PVP. Simply because it means something in WAR. From what I have seen in beta its dead on a great representation of a struggle

  2. I plan on using WoW for PvE/raiding and WAR for PvP. Yea for 2 games 🙂

  3. I try to stay out of the WoW vs WAR comparisons, but I still make casual observations towards the two. It is quite hard for me to avoid them completely, especially when so much misinformation starts spreading. Too many “talking heads” have latched onto a “WAR is WoW” without any research for me sit idly by.

    I have a couple examples of where the WoW vs WAR debate has been useful for me.

    Example: I argue that players that hate WoW will end up hating WAR, because WAR will play similar to WoW. The mere presence of similarities will incense the WoW-hater crowd, and dare I say, already has.

    Another example: WAR will have all of what can be found in WoW currently, better in some areas like Living Guilds, but in smaller quantities for others such as PvE raids. Other than e-sport arenas, no one name one thing WAR will not have that WoW does.

    I think WoW is a great platform, going unexploited by Blizzard. It is a shining example of how to do the basics right, but a publisher is eventually going to come along and take advantage of the potential. WAR will be a start and eventually enough chips will bring down the WoW wall.

    I am not going to say WAR is a WoW killer. The scope of WAR is not broad enough (by design). I don’t think anyone knew that WoW would have such broad appeal, but it does and in order to maintain it, Blizzard can never specialize parts of the game without losing new player appeal. WAR will be a more focused adventure for many experienced players looking for a game that is as solid as WoW, but more feature-rich and social-friendly.

  4. Until WoW broadens their endgame beyond folks that like FPS style PvP matches (but governed by the relative gear levels of opponents as much as by skill) and Raiding there will be an opportunity. WAR is exploiting it in one way, but I honestly don’t think RvR will have a broader appeal that the current WoW end game. It will just appeal to different players, and probably fewer than find WoW’s end game perfectly acceptable.

    As for myself, I hate the WoW engame. I too always loved RvR in DAoC, it’s the only style of PvP I’ve ever gotten into for all of the reasons that you mention.

    Case in point: I actually enjoy PvMP in LoTRO more than any of the PvP in WoW, just because it’s a RvR style set up with keeps to capture, a changing persistant battlefield, and ranks and abilities to earn through PvP. And PvP is a complete afterthought in LoTRO. It’s very firmly focused on PvE.

    Needless to say I’m looking forward to WAR.

  5. “WAR is exploiting it in one way, but I honestly don’t think RvR will have a broader appeal that the current WoW end game. It will just appeal to different players, and probably fewer than find WoW’s end game perfectly acceptable.”

    Yep yep. I agree.

    I never tried Monster Play in LoTRO, but I had guildmates who raved about how much fun it was. They’d square off against each other (it was a huge guild), and they had a great time killing each other.

  6. A commendable and refreshing attitude! Bravo! Subjective Experiences; this season’s Must-Have!

  7. /signed

    You can officially put me in the following group: “% of non-extremists who (gasp!) appreciate and enjoy both games: 40%” It absolutely drives me crazy when people try to pass over their opinions as fact. As if my contrary opinion is wrong. /shakes head

    Been playing WoW since pre-launch. I enjoyed the grinds and end game to a point. But, leveling is where I get the most of my enjoyment. Having 5 lvl 70s, I’ve reached the point where I probably wont be playing WoW til WotLK is released and then the grind/end game starts all over.

    Currently enjoying the leveling in AoC but 5 more levels and I’m at end game. In WoW I could see the end game and it was decent (my opinion). But in AoC I can’t see any end game so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll play AoC.

    In comes WAR. I’m sure I will enjoy leveling in WAR. How can I not? From all the screen shots and reviews I’ve seen its going to be a great game. Is it going to be a WoW killer? Probably not for me. Will it get a ton of my subscription money? You betcha. I’ll level to max just to see what the end game is like and hopefully, along the way, WAR will convince me their RvR is fun. As of right now, I’m skeptical. I’ll trust you when you say its nothing like Guild Wars. 🙂

    One game I miss tremendously and wish I could play again… The one game that (with a few changes) trumps (my opinion again) WoW, AoC, and probably WAR… Man, I miss FFXI. If it weren’t so darned slow/painful to level… Why wasn’t the ideas of subclasses or one character/many jobs ever adopted in more MMOs? /sigh

    Oh well, getting off track now. 🙂

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