Nail In The Coffin: Warhammer Online Going Offline

By Nathan Grayson on September 19th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

One more war, then? You know, for old times' sake.

Warhammer Online, we hardly knew ye. OK actually that’s not true at all. But still, it is a bit weird when you realize that Mythic’s fantastical dig through Games Workshop’s toy meticulously crafted figure chest launched in 2008. Five years is hardly a mail-clad, blood-drenched spring chicken, but it is rather young by MMO standards. And yet, here we are. Mythic’s deal with Games Workshop has run its course, and the once tighter-than-a-too-small-sweater war buddies have decided to part ways.

Mythic made the announcement in a post on Warhammer Online’s website:

“We here at Mythic have built an amazing relationship working with Games Workshop creating and running Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning over the last 8 years. Unfortunately, as with all licensing deals they do eventually  come to end and on December 18th, 2013 we will no longer be operating Warhammer Online. As such we will no longer be selling 3 month game time codes or have the ability to auto renew your accounts for 3 months as of September 18th, 2013.”

“From all of us here at Mythic we thank you again for your dedication and support over the last five years.”

Meanwhile, if you want to toss back a tankard of the ol’ warm-and-fuzzies, this farewell post by producer Carrie Gouskos ought to do the trick.

So that’s basically that. On the upside, Warhammer Online’s DNA (well, hopefully the good parts) will live on in Mark Jacobs’ next MMO, Camelot Unchained, so you’ll be able to get your RvR fix elsewhere in, er, probably a lot of years. For now, though, do any of you still play Warhammer Online? If not, did you? Are you going to miss it? Share stories. Bravado, blood, ages, reckonings, wars, hammers. Reminisce!

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51 Comments »

  1. drewski says:

    I did originally intend to try this, but I never actually heard much postive news about it.

    Unfortunate.

  2. Random Gorilla says:

    At least we’ve got the 40K MMO to look forward to. Right? Right?

    • razgon says:

      Thats long dead, sadly.

      Anyways – I had a TON of fun in Tie2 in this game. Some of those early keep defenses that lasted 3-4 hours were incredibly fun, as was the keep assaults.

      When it degenerated into simply switching keeps and flags, it got very boring quickly.

      The battlegrounds were pretty darn fun as well, especially with the diversity in the classes.

      • TormDK says:

        There is a new Warhammer 40K MMOG under Development, it’s not DMO.

        • razgon says:

          Could you please link to this? Thats the first I’ve heard of it, since the last one was closed down.

          Edit: is it the Eternal Crusade thingie?

        • MobileAssaultDuck says:

          And it is supposed to be more akin to Planetside 2, but in Third Person.

          Some interesting F2P mechanics as well have been discussed such as having new players play ork boys, who are weak but strong in numbers, and then progressing their way to more powerful units.

          So your character may not be persistent, it could be more like choosing a class in an FPS for one match.

        • TormDK says:

          @Razgor – Yes, it’s the Eternal Crusade thingy.

          The developers are fairly open about Development over on mmorpg.com

  3. Maxheadroom says:

    Me and a group of people I played WoW with at the time tried this when it first came out. I really enjoyed it by they gradually drifted back to WoW and left with no one to play with I eventually followed suit.

    Shame really, i thought it did a lot of things right.

    • engion3 says:

      Same situation. These guys had the perfect timing it seems like but just couldn’t create something that kept me away from wow.

  4. Shockeh says:

    I played for a few months shortly after release – I was really excited for a WOW alternative at the time, and had pre-ordered. The problem I found wasn’t that they copied WOW, but they copied WOW circa 2004. It was like they’d give the team a copy of vanilla, let them play it for a few months whilst the novelty was still there then locked them in a room and not let them see how the industry had changed in the intervening time.

    Years before I decided to grow up and get a proper job, I worked for GW, and I have a lot of interest in the IP if not the company, so it was a huge disappointment for me. When it worked, it had moments of brilliance, (enemy players blocking movement at the time was a fantastic idea, for example) but it just shambled it’s way into being when it could have shined.

  5. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    I am really sad to see this go. I really enjoyed my time with WAR and it had some pretty neat and fun ideas. But some of the larger issues never got fixed and it lost more and more players in the process. Me included.
    Well, maybe other MMOs pick up some of the ideas of WAR and refine them.
    For now I will have a good final look at my collectors edition and whisper sweet good-byes to it.

  6. Pich says:

    RIP in pieces.

  7. Optimaximal says:

    The quoted sentence says ’8 years’. Bit more than 5…

  8. RichieStacker says:

    I played for a few months, starting from a couple of days after launch, but after that point, and a combination of continually feeling lost and not really having anyone familiar to communicate with, my interest waned. I did try to return to it once, but everything felt even more quieter than it had been at launch, and then I think I was permanently put off when my server got merged with the only other English-language RP server.

    A large part of it was likely my own fault, though. I joined an RP server, having spent most of my time Roleplaying in another game (City of Heroes), but instantly felt intimidated by the fact that I was entering a universe with far stricter limitations upon characters (lore & backstory, the roots of any character’s skills, character nationality, etc). City of Heroes, of course, had limitations of its own, and there were a few roleplayers harshly criticised for their unwillingness to adhere to them, but for the most part, your character could be pretty much anything. The Warhammer universe didn’t have that freedom, and I feared the slightest misstep would ruin me. That attitude may have affected my will to keep playing.

  9. herschel says:

    I came to play gritty, backstabbing, Chaos-ridden Warhammer, I actually played a WoW clone, I left in certainty that there never will be a proper Warhammer Fantasy Game.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      So certain are you. Always with you what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?

  10. Firkragg says:

    Some of my favorite pvp moments comes from WAR, most memorable to me will be the concerted efforts of multiple warbands working together to pick apart castle defences, the sallies out of the front combined with deadly flanking manouvres, the tense small-scale fights for control points in the rvr zone and the constant scouting for that Order warband that simply HAD to be somewhere in the zone. I may be looking back at this with rose tinted glasses (is that the right expression?) but the absolute high-point to me was when my alliance fielded 3 complete warbands coordinating over vent.

    I remember it as unbalanced in lots of ways but the real charm of WAR to me was always the different classes being distinct enough between Chaos and Order to feel unique; white lions, marauders, sorcerers, each class was unique in a sort of way. I love that system and will always prefer it over class systems like WOW, where Alliance/Horde classes were identical (at least since I last played it, quite some years ago).

    • neolith says:

      This.

      Despite all the faults Warhammer had – I’ve never in any game had so much fun in PvP as in the first three weeks in this one…

  11. Screwie says:

    Ahh, I remember having a good time with the PvP in this game, particularly the Tier 1 open world and arenas (nothing beat the Empire tier 1 open world battleground).

    This was my second MMO after City of Heroes, and I bounced off it hard. What I felt was too different, cold and dull at the time was actually me just not being familiar with the standard MMO template that WAR was adhering to (and making awkward jumps through poorly-shaped hoops to get the GW mythos to fit that template – something SWTOR also did years later). As it turns out, CoH really gave me distorted standards. :(

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yeah, I tried it during one of those ‘free week’ offers, and found it to be really poorly done. And I kinda like the Warhammer Fantasy grimnosity. But the game was just badly implemented. Of course, had the same negative experiance with WoW, and having started out on CoH, that was perhaps understandable. Playing CoH has had the effect of making the narrower cookie cutter MMOs less interesting for me.

  12. Doghaus says:

    RIP, this was a fun MMO with some really cracking, chaotic PvP fights going on.

  13. Pippy says:

    Then this is the end of the world…

    …of Warhammer.Online.

  14. Napoleon15 says:

    I played it for a bit at release and had some fun, but I never really stuck with it. I do remember it having this nice, gritty atmosphere, though, and some of the public quests were pretty fun. What I really miss though is DAoC before the expansion packs started messing things up a bit. I tried to play WAR as a bit of a stand in for that, but obviously, it’s not the same.

  15. Mr.Snowy says:

    I played it, and there were elements that I enjoyed, but it was so cut back from the original vision of the game that it always felt like a compromise. There was always a feeling that the devs had started out creating something quite visionary, but along the way someone had come along and said “No, make another WoW”.

    The main thing they got right was the feel of battles – fighting as my Black Orc toon, bellowing with rage, shield-slamming and battering my enemies was very cool. Having ‘solid’ character models that other players/mobs could not run through made for interesting combat dynamics, especially in PVP, but was suspected to be the cause of the killer lag that was often experienced in such battles.

    What they got wrong in my view was the map. Rather than being a single large map based upon the world of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which would have been both expansive and with pre-written lore, the game was made up of small chunks of map with no feeling of contiguousness, you had Elfy map, Orcy map, Dwarfy map, Chaosy map, but it felt more akin to a deathmatch game than a world to occupy.

    Also realm versus realm was flawed – one side would usually outnumber the other to such a degree that the battles were one-sided, and if that happened with the ability to teleport about, the losing side would tend to all ping to another RvR map – I never experienced the kind of excitement that DAOC RvR used to create so commonly.

    Shame that it is going, as there were some nice bits to it, but as a whole package it fell shy of WoW and so lost most of its’ subs in short order.

    Note, the above is all based on play in the early days – never saw how (if) it evolved.

  16. GeminiathXL says:

    R.I.P.

    I had fun at launch and a few months afterwards.

  17. Etherealsteel says:

    Yes I did play it for a few months as a break from WoW wanting to try something different. The problem it had was that eventually you just grind levels by killing elite Rats or participate in PvP. You could do quests, but it was slower and less fun to do. Getting a group to do a dungeon in your lvl range was near impossible. I did like a lot about Warhammer, but as stated it was a grind fest.

  18. Grygus says:

    Rats. I was hoping they’d open up the game past Tier 1 with some kind of free-to-play scheme; I like the game and wanted to play it, but not enough to subscribe. Sorry to see it go. Thanks for Public Quests, Warhammer Online.

  19. Jody Macgregor says:

    I tried out WAR two years ago and it had a fair bit of a ghost-town vibe even then. It was an interesting experience though, and I wrote a piece about it mostly so I could use the headline, “What if there was a WAR, and nobody came?”

    You can read it here: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/about-town/blogs/3screens/what-if-there-was-a-war-and-nobody-came-20111027-1mlts.html

  20. VileThings says:

    I played it for a while and I just love RvR. It could be boring at times, but when two forces were evenly matched it became such great fun. One of my best gaming memories is with the game.
    We were defending a keep, first from the walls and when they fell we rushed to the ramp. Melees arrayed in a line to stop the enemy from rushing through (you couldn’t pass through other players in PvP/RvR areas), casters providing much needed support. Great times. We spent hours in there for practically no gain in terms of gaming progression, but we still had a great time. I still have a screenshot of it: http://i.imgur.com/HgxM8Cp.jpg

  21. iridescence says:

    Kind of sad, even though these WoW clones mostly sucked (except Rift and pre-F2P LOTRO) at least they tried to make something big and ambitious. What new MMOs do we have coming now? A bunch of F2P crap, a Final Fantasy remake, two so generic that I literally can’t remember anything about them (Firefall/WildStar), An Elder Scrolls game that seems to suck out everything that’s fun about SP Elder Scrolls games.

    All MMOs that sound interesting to me are a couple of years or more away it seems (Pathfinder,Online, Everquest Next, Archeage, World of Darkness). Hope some of them at least succeed. The genre desperately needs a renaissance.

  22. Rollin says:

    If a tree falls in a forest (of identical clone MMOs), and nobody notices, does it make a sound?

    The players can always just jump onto virtually any other MMO and have the same experience. There’s zero difference between them.

  23. ChampionHyena says:

    Augh. I played a LOT of WAR. In the end, it was too samey to really hold my attention (and my subscription), but the honeymoon period with this was one of the best I’ve ever had in MMOs. The ludicrous open PvP and the way it spilled into quest areas. The atmosphere. Being able to play an Orc! A PROPER orc!

    I have such good memories and a giant pile of screenshots, but WAR kinda died for me already a long time ago. Nowadays I get my RvR jollies in Guild Wars 2 (among pretty much every MMOish fix), but since I missed DAoC, WAR was my first exposure to it.

  24. Oasx says:

    WAR was not a WOW clone, anymore than WOW was an Everquest clone, WAR was better than WOW in every way, yet one still had a gazillion subscribers and one is closing down, i will never understand why so few players ever tried anything new.

    I have never been a huge MMO fan, i played WAR for a while but then stopped. I think one thing that really hurt them was the fact that while all the other MMO’s were going free to play, WAR still had a subscription after level 20, since a large part of the game was RvR, it was especially hurt when the player base started to drop.

    Also the game had some problems, the biggest of which is that right from the start there was no incentive to protect the keeps, and so both sides would just take a keep, and then leave, there were almost never any real confrontations, except against enemy NPC’s.

    I also don’t think they ever fixed that fact that the level cap was 40, so when you hit level 31 you were not allowed in your current tier of RvR any more, but the level 40 player didn’t want you on their team, so you had to grind 9 levels in tiny PvE areas.

    • Mr.Snowy says:

      It was about the investment in time, and the stability of the game, not one being good and one bad.

      WoW has (in my view) won countless subscriber battles against other MMO’s because it is slick, polished, and most if not all players had already made a huge time investment in their toons.

      This has put it in an unassailable position for years.

      WAR *was* a clone though. The initial development plans were hugely ambitious (in fact many of them are being touted for Everquest Next, going into production 8 years later) but what was actually delivered was a pale shadow, a Tank/Healer/DPS by the numbers quest and grind rats clone of all MMO’s that had gone before.

    • airmikee99 says:

      “i played WAR for a while but then stopped.”

      That is why WAR failed. If people had kept playing and paying, it wouldn’t be shutting down.
      That is why WoW thrives, because people keep playing and paying.
      It can’t be that hard to understand.

  25. Hardmood says:

    tbh this game was, in a certain state, pretty much fun to play´, but horribly executed patches and of course greed killed it. had a good portion of humour i liked, but it was not enough for me (us tbh^^) to keep paying for it. and payin for ea? no way no more…

    sad story, hope the license will live one day^^.

  26. aircool says:

    Squig Herder was spot on, and much fun.

  27. Tayh says:

    Aw man. Warhammer Online had the best pvp I’ve ever played.
    I think I’m going to miss my Black Guard the most. Aoe+magic tank ftw!
    Had so much fun in tier 2 and 3. Especially after my BG got a knockback of her own. Good times~!

  28. Panda Powered says:

    I guess it will forever haunt my steam library being even more useless than before (a friend gifted it but I couldn’t be bothered to sub past the 30 days).

  29. jonahcutter says:

    WAR really nailed the look and atmosphere of the universe. And when the pvp shined, it was very very bright. Battles over keeps could be amazing, extended affairs. But the amazing wasn’t anywhere near consistent. All too often it degenerated into mechanically beating on empty keep doors. And they never really sorted out the large fortresses and eventually just scrapped them completely. For the second half of the game they sat empty and always depressing looking.

    Some other things that WAR did right were the public quests and the Tomb of Knowledge. You see public quests often now, but I think the first time they showed up was in WAR. And it was a great, refreshing innovation.

    The Tomb of Knowledge was this wonderful “book” built into the game. It contained all the things you encountered throughout the game. It tied into quests and monsters, and many many hidden unlocks. You could see it started out to be incredibly intricate, as some of the hidden/found quest chains were fairly elaborate.

    The asymmetric, race-based classes were cool, but of course never well balanced. The complaining about class balance was some of the bitterest I’ve seen.

    WAR bled the more-casual, and the non-pvp-focused customers, from the get go. It was always a bit rough compared to buttery smooth WoW. It lacked the tiny little bells-and-whistles like a /dance command or silly toy-type items. The auction house and mail systems were a mess at launch, and ended up taking way too long to make right. Even the little emergent things like environmental platforming you couldn’t do as much of as in WoW. The movement through the world itself always felt just the slightest bit sticky, as you’d regularly hang on corners of objects you couldn’t see.

    WAR also suffered from being the first big name MMO to release after WoW exploded. WoW was into its first xpac at that point and going full throttle. That’s a tough horse to run against.

  30. geldonyetich says:

    Of all the bloody heads on pikes sitting out on World of Warcraft’s lawn, Warhammer Online was certainly one of the better wrought. Pity there doesn’t seem to be enough audience for it amidst the clones.

  31. Dreadcall says:

    “You’ve been a great community and I’ve really loved spending the last 3 years moderating your posts. Thank you all for remaining loyal customers for far, far longer than any of you should have. I will truly miss what we had.

    I wanted to say some hurtful things about WAR’s management right here. The fact is, though, they’ve never so much as laid a finger on the forums and certainly have only lied to me. Hey, they lied to all of us. My only request is that they not be set in an undeserved positive light by the gaming media over the coming days.

    Note that Carrie may have posted a goodbye sticky on the forums, but I had her removed from the mod list months ago. She isn’t part of the WAR project and should not be pretending that she is.

    I’ll see you all in-game over the final few months, I just wanted to make a point of what happens when you cross your lead moderator with no backup plans. “

  32. Yglorba says:

    Oh, man, that’s a real loss. If only someone were to make a MMoRPG using a Warhammer-inspired IP so we could have an online game where we can play as orcs and humans fighting each other. This leaves a real hole in the market that I hope someone eventually steps in to fill.

  33. Yazid says:

    And here’s me hoping for a F2P.

    Most fun i’ve had on an mmo besides Eve Online and i’ve played plenty of them.

    I’m sad to see it go, RIP war, thank you!

  34. particle says:

    Bummer I really liked leveling through PvP in this game. It was the first MMORPG that I could effectively level while PvPing. I really liked the art too, unlike all these disney looking MMOs that people hail as amazing. Oh well.

  35. racccoon says:

    Its was great to play during beta but lost its appeal come subscription, people did hope it went down another road as it was a good fun game to play.

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