Play Warhammer Online Free Forever

By Kieron Gillen on November 6th, 2009 at 5:16 pm.

Ah, Alec's screenshot. Bless it.

Well, up to the first 10 levels anyway. It’s quite the move; replacing the traditional 10-day trial, you’re now able to play Warhammer Online as much as you like. You can’t go past the first ten levels, but that still allows you to try all the character classes to see if any fixes. Also, rather than the enormo-client download, the game’s been re-jigged to work on a Guild-Wars-esque streaming basis. So you can just go and get it here and start playing. If I get a chance, I plan to actually go back and have a nose – I’ve heard some interesting word on stuff they’ve been doing on the quiet, and I want to see if it’s true or not. How’s RPS’ Warhammer-playing readers finding it?

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58 Comments »

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  1. zuzia says:

    “” :D

  2. zuzia says:

    Aw, crap. It was supposed to say “Nichuja”.

  3. Gundrea says:

    I have a Collector’s Edition of Warhammer Online sitting on a shelf somewhere. I never played past the free first month.

  4. Heliocentric says:

    I’ve been playing dungeons and dragons online:unlimited

    Being trapped at level 10 sounds annoying. Still, i guess it is intended as a trial.

    I wonder how much griefing you can achieve.

  5. Gorgeras says:

    I can’t help but notice you link to the real Warhammer Online trial page and not the GOA terribadness.

    I first noticed when made a new account. It took less than a minute. Had it been GOA, it wouldn’t have been so simple.

  6. Tei says:

    This could be really awesome news for some people. I remenber War as a game that has fun pvp from level 1. And a “alternate leveling system” that would give something to look for. But playing one million times the same scenario will be like hard.

  7. Jockie says:

    Saw this earlier and as far as I could tell it was for US customers only, is that not the case?

  8. Zaphid says:

    tier 1 is the best part of the game

    • Nerd Rage says:

      I remember a time… maybe beta, maybe just very early after release, when people were complaining that you couldn’t turn off RvR xp (like the battlegrounds in DAOC) and just stay in T1 forever. Looks like that option has finally come around, and for free too!

  9. cyrenic says:

    I agree with Zaphid, 1-10 was the best part of the game. I quickly quit playing once I had leveled up 5 or 6 characters to tier 2.

    Still, not a bad idea, I think they’re trying to repeat the success of games like D&D Online and Freerealms.

  10. Downloads says:

    Well that’s certainly quite the free offer, I’d say.

    I had a go at this a few months ago with some type of 10 day trial…it seemed pretty good to me, but I think I’m still far too burnt out from WoW to throughly enjoy any type of game like this.

  11. nabeel says:

    Yeah but … Dragon Age just came out.

  12. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Who knows, they might eventually switch to f2p…I remember the tier 1 to be really atmospheric…I liked the witch hunter storyline and the dwarf one… I might check it out again.

  13. Gorgeras says:

    After tier 1, the game became heavily instance/Scenario-centric. What a friggin suprise it started going downhill. We came for war and got mini-games instead.

  14. Railick says:

    I just looked into free realms and it apperas to be , not free ? Shouldn't they change the name ;P

  15. Nick says:

    A few problems.. the game changes every tier, the first tier being the simplest and, as a result, often the most balanced. This means you can’t really see any improvements beyond the awful engine (ie if it can actually large armies any better than before) and even then you can’t see the real issues like keep taking or city combat where the AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL engine just ground to a halt. The higher level balance changes are where it really needed work and again, no way to see if that has changed either.

    Still, its a bold effort and for what it’s worth, the first 10 levels of PVP are often immense fun and free from a lot of the more annoying features like crowd control and mass AE death and overpowered classes.

  16. MikeBiggs says:

    I had a look at the faq it would seem you can only play as empire or chaos.

    Which is a real shame :(

  17. Railick says:

    No Orks? (ends download)

    • Starky says:

      Hmmf, Empire and chaos are also the least fun races to play in terms of storyline and starting zone.

      Ork, Dwarf and Dark elf in that order.
      The rest are pretty dull.

  18. Hug_dealer says:

    the game is not worth your time. Extremely simple combat, and it all comes down to /assist dps fest.

    /assist is ez mode for people who cant actually play a game.

  19. Starky says:

    I was really looking forward to this game, yet it failed to deliver on every level, Like so many people I spent my money for the game and never played it beyond the first included 30 days (though I think it was more like 40 for us EU players due to GoA screwing up and giving us free days).

    It hyped itself as a successor to DaoC (Dark age of Camelot) based on a much better and much loved IP, sadly it delivered a poor mans WoW-Clone.

    There are so many things this game should have done, should have had, and should have delivered that it just failed too.
    I think somewhere along the way Mythic lost sight of what they did well with DaoC, and tried to do everything, and ended up doing everything badly.

    Great idea’s lost to mediocrity.
    Public quests such an amazing idea that all MMOs should have from now on, failed because they had too many servers at launch, each holding too few players and the world was too big… net result, no one to ever do public quests with.

    Actually now that I think about it I think that was the biggest failing of WAR, server numbers.
    It had the players at start, but spread them way too thin, so much so that even at launch the game felt empty, devoid of life (the fact that 50% of players were in scenario’s didn’t help).

    I wanted so much to like it, and could drone on for hours on what I think they did wrong and what they should have done – What I’d say is pretty much in line with what the entire community has said about it from launch though.

    Worth trying if you never played it, if only for the first 10 levels of each zone (ork especially), but beyond that it’s not worth a monthly subscription.
    It’s a game screaming for an alternative pricing plan, it’s not worth £10 a month, but it might be worth £2-3 a month, or maybe £15 per 3 month.
    Or some kind of pay as you go system, £20 for 100 hours or something, or 30 non-sequential days (so if you play on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday you only use 3 days time).

    Sadly I can’t see them doing it, fear of losing/devaluing what few subscriptions they have left.

  20. Torgen says:

    If they’d done this before DDO came out with (IMO) a better plan, I might have been tempted. As it is, I’ve already purchased two adventure packs in DDO (one by “newbie grinding” bonus Turbine Points and one by buying TPs) and dropped $17 to pay for 32pt character builds. This is all opened up for any character I make on any server.

    I don’t think Mythic is going to see the 40% boost in paid subscriptions (plus microtransaction fees) that Turbine did. The vast majority of new people seem to be from WoW, and probably won’t try a third game until/unless the bloom falls off of DDO for them. They should have done this *before* Turbine.

    • Torgen says:

      Oh, meant to add: I did play in the pre-order beta, but never actually bought the game.

  21. Railick says:

    I like the ork starting zone. I believe there is a part where you climb into a cannon or catapult in order to get up ontop some fortress wall that I liked a great deal :) Still nothing compares, for me, to flying around the WoW world on the back of a grphon and flying into the dwarf city through the statue, I really loved that game :(

  22. The Hammer says:

    Absolutely brilliant idea. Gonna take advantage of this, merrily.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Flimgoblin says:

    You start in Empire or Chaos by default now but you can choose to travel to the Orc/Dwarf/Elf pairings.

  24. Gurrah says:

    It’s certainly a graet model for a potential customer to REALLY try the game before he decides to shell out. Even though I found the game extremely boring it’s a great move by the developers.

  25. Railick says:

    But can you choose to actually BE an ork with this deal?

    • Premium User Badge

      Flimgoblin says:

      As far as I know you can play any class – just only to level 10.

    • Premium User Badge

      Flimgoblin says:

      So you can be an Orc (Black Orc or Choppa), but not an Ork as they’re only in 40k :)

  26. Railick says:

    Bah, I refuse to spell it orc! Not for you, not for Games workship or blizzard or anyone else, it's Ork!! :P

    • Apelicks says:

      There’s almost 4 hundred years of precedent…

    • Railick says:

      I conisder orcs and orks to be diffrent. Lord of the Ring orcs are orcs , Wahammer orcs are Orks (IMO) I don’t see why they don’t spell them both the same way. Whats the difference betwen a Warhammer orc and a Warhammer 40K Ork when you really think about it ? Sure the Orks use more advanced technology but otherwise they are the same. ( I know if you get into details and history Orks are actaully way diffrent because they have the inate ability to use technology from the day they are born and can build advanced technology and use advanced technology without being trained, which orcs obviously can not :P ) I’m just being silly really , is all it is.

  27. TRJP says:

    Warhammer Online was an OK game crippled by 3 things (none of which will have changed much)

    Firstly the client punishes anything other than top-end hardware – and doesn’t look that amazing despite this (it’s miles behind AOC and needs a more powerful PC anyway)

    Secondly the way the userbase exploded and then imploded led to server transfers/mergers to the extent that community within the game was torn apart – simply due to lack of planning and consideration for the players (from an existing MMO developer this is totally unacceptable)

    Thirdly the developers made it clear they were neither listening to nor cared about the concerns of the players. Changes were made against players wishes – promised content was delayed or implemented in a broken condition – it was a total mess (and I think Marc Jacobs exit was probably directly related to this alone).

    It’s a shame because the material is there – the atmosphere is there and the whole thing has potential but the way people were treated from launch through the first 6 months was appalling and I doubt many would bother to return for any reason.

    p.s. they’ve merged the starter areas into the Chaos one I understand – losing the Greenskin starter area (the best by far) is an idiotic decision if it’s true…???

    • Daniel Klein says:

      The starting areas weren’t really merged. All three races of your chosen army start in either the Empire or the Chaos starting area, but there are quick and easy ways of switching over to the DvG and HvD tier 1 zones. The empire/chaos starting areas were also redone quite a bit to make for a smoother intro into the game. I think the idea was to funnel everyone into one grouping so you’d have some good RvR going on. This makes the other starting areas very empty, of course, but they’re still there, and still fun to play for people who like solo questing (or even a 3-4 man group of people who want to do PQs unharassed).

  28. edosan says:

    It’s about time all of these non-Warcraft MMOs start trying something new if they want to survive.

    • TRJP says:

      In reply to edosan:

      WoW did nothing new whatsoever – it just took what existing games did and polished it, so it’s unfair to criticise lack of innovation in others.

      Many revent MMOs have innovated anyway

      WAR – actually contained some War, something WoW has never really managed to pull off. Factions hate each other – people engage in meaningful PvP/RvR – that aspect of WAR is way ahead of WoW (WAR actually spoiled WoW for me in this respect – it feels like a kids game in comparison).

      AOC – it’s combat system is revolutionary in MMO terms and it makes playing other MMOs feel like an 8bit game after an HD title, so far is it ahead of everything else in that respect. AOC also scores graphically and in it’s world design which is genuinely and properly breathtaking in places…

      Aion – err, you can fly and fight (tenuous but it’s in there!!) :)

      The other thing about WoW is how stagnant it’s become – how it’s all about Achievements and Pets and Mounts whilst they keep all the juicy stuff for their next game no doubt…

  29. lePooch says:

    I played for nearly a year, grinding up to 40 as a Chaos Marauder(DPS Class), and as a Elven magic/healer thingy(forget the name). For anyone who has not played it ever, there are things there that I would love to see in every other MMO.

    Public quests were awesome when they worked, in that you would just be passing by and suddenly you would notice someone else had started the first phase. So you would join in, and then others would pass by and join, until you had a huge group chopping away, clumsily coordinating through the first few phases until it came to the final phase, where teamwork was essential, and suddenly this ad hoc group starts clicking, and you make a concerted push to end the quest.

    The realm vs realm combat was another awesome idea. Towards the end of my playing time, I managed to participate in a raid on a Capital City with my guild, with waves of guards and public quests galore, not to mention an overpowered Lord to kill. The only problem was that there was never any incentive for the defenders to actually PROTECT the city. The attackers got amazing loot, the defenders generally just made a half hearted attempt before logging off and waiting for the fall.

    Of course, as mentioned earlier, the engine was horrendous, so these capital city sieges were lagfests where entire groups would chug for three seconds and be wiped out. But I have a history with EVE Online, where massive fleet battles would run for hours at crippling lag, so it was no problem for me to adjust.

    And there was always whining about class balance. The thing is, some of it was justified, and the developers just ignored it. It was sad that there were these alternate types of healers for each side, but the only one chosen was always the AOE melee healer instead of the classic ‘cleric’ archetype. It got to the point where some classes were generally sidelined at Tier 4 because they were supposedly underpowered. My marauder was apparently one such class, but I had no real frustration, so I can’t comment on it.

  30. Jemre says:

    The engine was vastly improved with the 1.3.2 patch, for about 90% of users. I went from 10-15 fps up to 30+ constantly in seiges involving over 60 people, and saw a few 120-person seiges a few days ago.

  31. Gorgeras says:

    Mythic appears to have dropped whatever ridiculous technical restriction they had in place keeping European players off US servers.

    The game runs much better, even if it’s still damn ugly. Maybe now all the people that didn’t care about actual PvP(and not the gimmicky WoW-PvP they managed to get forced on the rest of us) have left, there is some hope for WAR.

  32. The Codicier says:

    I played WAR for around 4-5 months, i had some great times but in the end i parted ways with it.

    @Hug_dealer: yes assist trains were a issue but then they are a issue for any game which uses ‘lock on’ targeting, i don’t think war is by any means a bad example. WoW for instance is hugely worse, war had solid damage reduction skills & efficient healing which negated it when things were organized.

    That to me is the key to why it failed eventually, it attracted the self proclaimed ‘hardcore pvpers’ who by their very nature were individualistic, but the games design was all about working as a team.

    @TRJP : what u say about the client, id agree it never performed well but i gotta say i haven’t seen anything do better, I think i speaks volumes that WoW’s answer to WAR Lake Wintergrasp(a open comabt zone with seige engines) had exactly the same problems as WAR did & used the exact same fix (a pop cap during seiges).

    About the userbase fuckup however im in total agreement.

    As for mythic i feels its more not that they didn’t listen, but more they listened to the wrong things. Often it seemed they were asking the community ‘Why are you thinking of leaving the game’ instead of ‘what does WAR do well which you want more of’ and so they ended up trying to please people who would leave the game anyways the ‘mmo tourists’ rather than trying to solidify its player base.

    @lePooch: You nailed it when you say the big problem was a lack of reward for defending, they did make some attempts to improve it but they never really had much teeth.
    Class imbalances were at their worst when you hit a siege(of any size), when ranged dps became just plain better than melee.

    I still miss certain things about the game,but to paraphrase, when it was good it was very very good, but when it was bad it was horrid.

  33. bill says:

    If they did this for Middle Earth Online I might actually try my first MMO.

    I don’t really have any interest in MMO gameplay, and I’m totally anti-social… but I’d just like the chance to run around a well realised Middle Earth for a bit. Heck, i probably wouldn’t even do much gameplay, just sightseeing.

    Oooh look, Beorn’s house!

  34. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Considering the first 10 levels of WAR are the best, this is a pretty good deal :)

  35. Hyudra says:

    Played this for maybe half a year (September-early April), and had a real love-hate relationship with the game.

    The game is split into four ‘tiers’ (1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40), and you can ascend in each tier via. either PvE or PvP. My first dedicated character (White Lion) leveled through PvE with a friend, while my second and third dedicated characters (Archmage, Shadow Warrior) leveled almost exclusively through PvP, with some PvE to pick up some quick levels when in the earlier levels of a tier. The latter is far, far better.

    I say ‘dedicated’ characters above because I made a ton of alts, pretty much one of every class, and leveled them from 1-10. The earliest levels are just about the most balanced (with exceptions for Warrior Priests and Disciples of Khaine, which have to be focus fired as they’re pretty much 50% MDPS, 75% tank and 100% healer at that stage in the game.

    The thing is, though, while leveling from 1-10 is a great diversion and can be a lot of fun, the 31-40 stage of the game is pretty brutal. Trying to get from 31-39 through PvP is agonizing (and not recommended for several reasons, including the fact that you’re hurting your realm’s chances of success). At that point, you’re not just eight or nine levels below the curve, but as many as 40 or 50 levels below the curve as far as ‘RR’, or PvP ranks (Max level is 40, max RR is 80). On many servers, you won’t get into a tier 4 scenario (battleground) without going up against premades – organized teams of RR60-80 players that will dispatch any PUG with a vengeance. Outside of scenarios, victory in the open PvP areas is decided more by the number of people fighting than anything else.

    I say I have a love hate relationship with WAR because I really do like the classes, the background, the flavor and the overall concept. I just despise the implementation. I was incredibly frustrated that, when playing classes that were generally seen as being among the weakest in the game, patch day would ~nerf~ said classes as part of sweeping changes to game mechanics. An example: changing how procs (% chance on hit effects) worked to nerf Witch Elves, reducing their strength by 15%, while at the same time accidentally/ignorantly nerfing White Lion DPS by 30-40% (Because white lions had/has very few skills worth using, one of which was a proc). They did update the Archmage (the third class I leveled) to bring it up to par, but the Shadow Warrior (Elven archer) remains rock bottom (and terribad compared to it’s evil counterpart, according to ongoing complaints in the forums). The overarching balance system boggles the mind, has failed to significantly improve over more than a year’s time, and if the company’s earlier game DaoC is any precedent, may never be fixed. That’s poor form for a game that’s so PvP centric.

    PvP endgame is a mess and endgame in general is not something to look forward to. I don’t know if they’ve changed it, but getting sets together endgame (which you need to do to compete) is a nightmare. Someone did the math and it was said to take an average of 40 runs of the second ward dungeons to get a complete set of armor. Each run takes 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, gives you about an 8% chance per boss of getting the item you want (need), and you get locked out of the dungeon for 2 days after trying. Once you’ve done that, you move to the next dungeon, where runs take longer and you get locked out for 3 days after each attempt instead.

    TL;DR: Great concept, poor implementation, don’t get suckered by the first 10 levels. Balance issues are really bad for a PvP game and endgame is really, really disappointing.

  36. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    In short: Lots of potential, if only it came out more. I genuinely enjoyed parts of the game, especially the first two dwarven areas. And RvR if I could find it.

    But I’m kind of burned out on it. I certainly wouldn’t pay money for it unless it would be improved massively. And while this news tickles me a bit, I am unlikely to download a huge trial when I have the game at home, in a box. It’s the thought I think.

    Then again, I’m not exactly the primary audience of the game.

  37. daniel says:

    warhammer rocks.I love crushing people soles and wining.Getting stronger is one of my favorites.

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