Let’s start this post with one quick reassurance to all my fans who are aghast at today’s content: Dueg is not leaving WoW to play another game. I love WoW, I love raiding, I love being a healer, all that crap. But lately all I do is raid, I’m not sure what it is, but when I don’t have a 25 or 10 day scheduled, then I’m usually off doing other things such as painting my 40k minis (Black Templars/Inquisition FTW) or reading. So I decided, hell, they just started giving out 10 man free trials, I’ll try Warhammer Online, I’ve heard good things, and I’ll even make up a post about it! So my wandering eye is your benefit as I make a comparison post regarding these two games.
Let me start by saying that I made a Witch Hunter character for several reasons. A) I didn’t want to be a healer because I wanted to observe the game and you can’t do that so well when you’re focused on people’s life bars. B) I like the idea behind the Witch Hunters as a devoted servant of the Human race, seeking out heretics and enemies within it’s ranks. The closest WoW equivalent would be a rogue, and there are similarities, such as building combo points and finishing moves, but other distinct differences as well. And C), because it let me have a totally bitching mustache AND mutton chops.
Now, before I get into game specifics, let’s have a bit of an overview. WoW tries to be everywhere with their game and it’s fueled by content. They have PvP and PvE and try very hard to accommodate both types of players as much as humanly possible, which is why Blizzard has such broad appeal. Warhammer Online is really more of a PvP (or RVR, as in Realm v Realm) game which actively encourages both Battleground and Public Realm battles with various strategic points for capture. There is also PvE content with an interesting concept for public quests and some instances, but there’s much less of an emphasis on that. I’m unsure if lower levels have access to the instances, but I was unable to find one. As I said, that’s a broad generalization, let’s take a closer look.
PvP – This is Warhammer’s claim to fame and honestly, their system feels more like they get it right than Blizzard’s. Now, I’m not a big PvP fan in WoW, I’ve run all the BG’s just to see them, but I don’t really enjoy PvP. My main problem is that the only type of rewards you get from PvP is PvP. Blizzard has homogenized it way too much, which I don’t really understand. If someone spends hours and hours PvPing, how is that different from spending hours and hours raiding? Why can’t the gear be the same for both? Warhammer Online, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have this problem.
There’s no specialty stat for PvP, your stats mean the same in both worlds. There is a ward system that’s necessary for PvE end game and useless for PvP, but you get that stat as a side effect from wearing both your PvP and PvE reward sets, so it doesn’t affect your play style too much. The battlegrounds and realm battle systems are both interesting and encourage players to participate for rewards. The best part though? You get experience for killing other players, and you can loot them (not from their inventory or gear) for profit. This kind of system is something I could possibly get behind.
PvE – Here is where I have to give it to Blizzard. WoW is a deeply rich, superior PvE system that is known for the fact that it constantly releases new content that regularly tops the old. But I can’t really make a good comparison of it to Warhammer Online because I only had the trial account, making it to level 10 and no further. However, one incredibly interesting aspect that is different from WoW is the Public Quest system.
Basically, in this system, once you enter an area you begin the quest. Something will pop up, telling you the goals and you can either participate in the event as a group or singly. There will usually be about three stages where the goals change and new mobs spawn. Once the final boss has been defeated, a small window pops up and calculates on who contributed the most to the event and then rolls, giving the top people bonuses to the roll. The top three people each get to loot a bag that rewards a choice of nice items based on where were you were in the roll and everyone else just gets coin. Everything else is just your basic PvE content, quests and whatnot.
Social – This seemed about the same, unsurprisingly. The chat was generally quiet or filled with people talking about their computers or their daily lives. It was your standard general chat nonsense except that there were at least a couple of conversations about how this was different from WoW. Almost everyone it seemed was a WoW defectee. One thing that annoyed me, however, was the fact that no one asked you before inviting you into the group. I don’t know if that’s standard practice in Warhammer, but simply on principle, I declined every invitation I got because I never once got a whisper first.
Trade Skills – I took the trade skill of talisman making which is similar to jewel crafting from WoW except for the components parts. The way it worked is that you have to get a container to create the talisman in, which will be consumed with each creation. You then have to place a fragment, which you can get from humanoid corpses through a secondary profession called Scavenging. Scavenging will allow you to get a fragment, curio or very rarely a gold essence from already looted humanoid corpses. You must have a fragment for every combine and you can also add curios, gold essences or magic essences, resulting in more powerful talismans.
Here’s the catch: As I’ve said, Scavenging will yield a fragment, curio or gold essences, but will not yield magic essences. Magic essences can only be obtained through another profession called Salvaging, that is basically a disenchant system. That’s a very broad comparison, btw. The most powerful talismans need magic essences, but it’s quicker to level the profession using Scavenging since that’s where fragments come from. There are also three different rarities that all produce better results, with the rarest being the most powerful.
Character Customization – This is another spot where Warhammer has an edge over WoW. You get four trophy slots where you can place an item that’s purely decorative, but you start with three locked. They unlock every ten levels after that. You can also dye your gear with a majority of colors. There’s a fair amount of choices and ways to customize your character at creation with extra choices such as scars, facial hair, jewelry and other things to go along with standard face and skin tone options. It’s not too difficult to get your character to look the way you want it to.
Would I buy a month? If I weren’t playing WoW, yes, I’d prolly get a month in order to try to see what it was like at higher levels. But honestly, I’m not looking for a second MMO right now and I want to down Yogg-Sarron and get better gear and eventually slap Arthas around as well. This was a fun distraction, but that’s all it was and I knew from the start that it would be fleeting. It’s fun and interesting, but in the end, it’s not what I’m looking for in a game. But I think we all know where I can find that.