Warhammer: Age of Reckoning - any news?

I think LOTRO launched at the right time. Exactly when WoW’s expansion novelty started to dwindle.

When would you launch? A month before so that WoW comes out and wipes you off the charts? You have to launch later, maybe much later.

The perfect time was October of the last year. Sure, that’s exactly when Tabula Rasa launched. And it wasn’t an amazing performance.

A good launch will maximize or minimize your initial growth, but I don’t think it will affect in a significant way the overall popularity. A game must be good and offer something distinctive. LOTRO was passable and had nothing distinctive. It had exactly what it deserved. Same for TR, same for EQ2, same for DAoC. The same will be for Warhammer.

Either they got legs, or not. Blaming the launch date is only a way to hide behind a finger.

I don’t remember if I posted about this, but a few months ago I met one of the WAR devs completely randomly in a bar. Was waiting for friends, struck up a conversation with a nearby couple, and discovered the guy was working on my #1 anticipated game. That was kind of unexpected. He was very enthusiastic and told me several interesting things.

  1. He talked about “Sherlock Holmes” quests, where it’s a series of clues to point you toward the next step, rather than a quest giver telling you “go here, do x.” I’m sure this will be ruined by something akin to thottbot, but incorporating puzzles is an interesting idea.

  2. Described gear sets that let you beef up against your nemesis class. Items that paper can equip to even the chances against scissors, with the caveat that rock is no longer an auto-win.

  3. Talked about having severe problems with the Chaos mage class (can’t remember the name, but the disc riders) and that it was being scrapped and rebuilt. I haven’t heard anything official about that, but I notice that the discs have been removed from the concept art.

  4. Mentioned that the team PvPs every afternoon, and that as of our conversation Order was owning Destruction hardcore all the time.

  5. In response to a totally dorky question of, “So what’s Paul Barnett really like?” said that Paul is a great guy and fun to work with, but that he’s the kind of person who’ll make you a personal promise regarding some aspect of the job and not remember it at all later.

Specialization Vs versatility doesn’t usually lead to very fun gameplay.

And storing several sets of gear and equipping them can be undesirable. If they facilitate that then it may not be as bad, but I’m wary of it, too.

I think you’re underestimating the appeal of PvP and the fact that DAoC PvP, even on the far cruder base MMO they had, was loads better than WoW PvP. If even 10% of the WoW population base PvP’s that’s a potential pool of over 1 million that DAoC’s RvR model simply outperforms. I can only imagine that the WAR model will successfully iterate on that. Then there’s the entirety of the “standard” MMO audience to choose from. Add in a couple of the innovative sounding ideas from WAR that WoW doesn’t have and you have a very solid competitor gamewise.

The real issue is whether or not they can afford to put in enough content and get the polish up to competitive levels. They certainly have the money to do it. And if DAoC is any indication, some of the latter changes there (i.e. levelling primarily through PvP) will be a pretty big draw to a subset of the WoW crowd.

The downside to the WoW PvP crowd is that they have grown up on sterile, safe, instanced PvP. World PvP never took off in WoW, largely because Blizzard failed to nurture it and support it. My favorite PvP in WoW was the territorial dispute for Hillsbrad, before BG’s ever came on to the scene. The back and forth struggle would go on for a solid couple of hours, but peter out because there wasn’t any incentive to continue.

I’m not sure how many of the casual and hardcore instance PvP runners would enjoy the less-instant gratification of world PvP.

I like him a lot, and not just because he digs RPS. I spent three hours interviewing (and drinking) with Barnett recently. I really must transcribe it.


World PvP is much more gratifying than instanced. Both long term and short term as you see directly the efforts of your actions, while in an instance the gratification is only about the points you gain.

So in world PvP there’s both the self reward, in gaining points, and global one, as you defend or conquer territory directly. So with a consequence of what you did.

The problem is that Mythic changed those parts of DAoC exactly to move toward sport-PvP based on instanced and equal numbers, and away from world PvP.



We went and playtested last week and have been running various features over the past two days. More coming next week.

Not true at all for me. It’s hugely satisfying to win a closely fought BG. And that ‘closely fought’ bit is the hardest thing to get in world pvp, unless you’ve designed the whole world around it a la Eve (and WAR, I guess). Which is Blizzards dilemma, in a nutshell.

I think there are lots of people who like instanced PVP just fine. For instance, anybody who likes Battlefield, Counterstrike, etc.

That’s true, and that’s my problem–I play shooters for shooter style PvP and MMOs for a different style of PvP. I don’t want that chocolate in this peanut butter, as it were. For me, only world PvP or something equivalent–large areas of RvR areas, for instance–are good. BGs are like sporting arenas, and while the fighting can be even, it’s not satisfying. I’d rather gank and be ganked.

I’m not denying that gratification, but I don’t think it’s exclusive to instanced PvP.

The difference lies in a time limit or score-based match, leading to have the PvP “chunked” in smaller pieces.

This is entirely possible in open PvP, as long you’ve scripted the “flow” of the match toward smaller, progressive goals that move the overall battle onward.

In the same way you complete Arathi Basin in WoW, you can fight and conquer a keep on open PvP (and get also rewarded in “chucks”, with dynamic objectives set by the system or a squad leader).

The problem is not in a special quality of instanced PvP (that is solely about balance), but in the fact that the polish and scripting that went into WoW’s instanced PvP, NEVER went in any form of open PvP. Open PvP till today was just an open zone and people going to fight. No objectives, no scripting, no planned flow, no progression.

Add a directed “flow”, with different objectives to achieve at certain times, and you can reply those qualities without the need to instance.

I also think that THAT kind of gameplay can be better accomplished with games dedicated to it. From Quake Wars to Unreal 3, FPS are already moving toward warfare games and progressing objectives. And they are, imho, more gratifying in that aspect than playing WoW.

I believe that when you make a MMO, then you ought to take advantage of those qualities that are proper of a MMO: the persistence.

Instead, if you aren’t making a MMO, you can focus on different aspects.

People largely prefer WoW’s PvP, at this point, simply because there’s a lack of solid alternatives. No one till now offered open PvP that has the equal polish and care that was put in the WoW instanced form of PvP.

It’s like if you are comparing a full realized and completed game, with the skeleton of one. Of course the first looks better at this point.

Mythic, in DAoC, also had “instanced” PvP in the form of battlegrounds. Why no one talks about them? Because they sucked compared to WoW’s instance.

What made WoW’s PvP good wasn’t the inastancing. It was instead all the work that went into scripting and that shaped the PvP in different form (CTF, Arathi, Alterac, all playing differently).

So it was not about the “envelope” (instance or not), but about what they put INTO the envelope.

I’m pretty sure that if you take the open PvP envelope and then put something interesting, well scripted and fun into it, then add rewards. People will be happy aplenty.

Actually, Thidranki was awesome, but it was also persistent.

Can we agree that what makes WoW unique and popular is the content of the instances that goes in the form of varied gameplay?

Because that’s all I’m saying. And I’m saying that once you agree with that, the step to bring that kind of flow and scripting to open PvP is not that far, and it would deliver an even more powerful form of entertainment.



DAOC’s battlegrounds were training for the “real” RvR, in that they gradually introduced you to the idea of keep capture, sieging, and general combat in the frontier regions. They sucked when there was no population in them, which was pretty much true on many servers for all BGs other than Thidranki (20-24 IIRC). And Thid was popular because people /leveled a 20 just for Thid.

In concept, though, and especially after the exp boost to PvP kills, the BGs were a good idea. The areas were bigger than WoW’s BGs, they weren’t as openly “gamey,” in that while there was a keep to capture there were no flags or other sport-like features, and they essentially required somewhat effective grouping to be productive.

WoW’s BGs are very nicely constructed capture the flag style playgrounds, with carefully positioned chokepoints and the like, and a lot of folks love it. They are an entirely different beast from world PvP though, while DAOC’s BGs were miniaturized versions of high-end RvR. That to me makes a big difference.

DAOC battlegrounds weren’t instanced. I think you’re confusing zones with instanced. There weren’t multiple Thids depending on how many people wanted to go there and it wasn’t limited to so many people. Nor did it reset after a certain time. It was simply a persistant zone that only allowed people of a certain level to go there.

By your definition of ‘instanced’ every zone in every game is an instance since you have to load to get there.