Two conflicting positions: I have very high hopes for Warhammer Online, and believe it will be a great MMO with fresh ideas, and a unique way of dealing with global conflict. Also: I really worry about Warhammer Online, concerned that by the time it comes out it will have devolved into a very generic WoW clone.
The very first time I saw WAR, back in February 2006, it was more conceptual than physical. They had built a bit of the beginning ground for the Dwarves and Greenskins, and that was just about it. But they had some really exciting ideas. The world of the Games Workshop monolith was going to take some really original approaches to the genre, and the most immediately exciting was the abandoning of levels. Instead they had this fantastic structure in mind that let you micro-manage your character’s skills, picking three at a time and then letting the XP you accrue fill each until it’s complete. This was then broken down into five distinct stages, and, well, it doesn’t exist so it’s not worth explaining. But they were excited about it, and so was I. It’s very telling that the MMO genre seems to have the power to force developers to lose anything that strays too far from the familiar. You’ve got to get a player-base, and if you want them, you’ve got to make it familiar enough. Which means, of course, you’ve got to make it feel like World of Warcraft. Sigh.
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