img class=”resize” style=”float: right;” src=”http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/TheReturn.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”242″ /A few months ago, we were witness to something pretty common in most new MMOs: the false apocalypse. This happens when a game launches to increased hype, lots of players flood in and get excited, then there’s a public falling out of a chunk of them as they don’t find the game to meet their standards. I call it just a shakedown of the population, but to a person who’s never gone through a MMO launch before, it’s pretty easy to get the impression that everyone’s leaving, the game sucks, get out while you can, etc. This wasn’t helped by Wrath of the Lich King’s strong launch, once again injecting the WoW needle into the veins of ex-players.br /br /So now that things have settled down somewhat, we’re starting to discover three facts: one, that a lot of people are still playing WAR, and playing it strong; two, that major issues are being or have been ironed out and lots of new content added; and three, that WAR is actually increasing in acclaim instead of decreasing.br /br /If you’re a player who left Warhammer early on, or if you’ve been on the fence about jumping into the WAR pool, here’s 10 reasons why now would be a great time to do so:br /br /strong1. The Post-Holiday Period Means More Players Than Ever./strongbr /br /Undoubtedly, WAR took a subscriber hit when WotLK came out, but all MMOs stand to benefit from the holiday shopping period, where boys and girls and men and women and Syps unwrapped shiny new copies of video games. Although we can’t attest to how many new people have been injected into WAR over the past week or so, I’d wager it’s substantial. Plus, there’s the new Recruit A Friend program to help draw in fresh faces as well.br /br /strong2. Those Issues You Quit Over? Chances Are, They’re Gone./strongbr /br /People love drama and love quitting over drama, and nothing produces drama more than a bug or borked feature that raises the ire in geeks’ hearts. Yet giving credit where credit is due, Mythic’s been working overtime to fix a lot of reasons that were stated for people abandoning WAR. Queues have been demolished, chat hyperlinking added, armor sets adjusted, regional-wide chat patched in, server transfers have allowed populations to converge in favorable numbers, framerates and performance has gone up, tanks have been added, the mailbox fixed (well, mostly fixed), main assist and target-of-target options, scenarios decreased in importance, and open RvR given true incentives. I’m not saying these address all of the issues out there, but people quit for petty reasons sometimes, and the Warhammer Online we play today is vastly improved over the Warhammer Online of September 2008.br /br /strong3. New Content Galorebr /br //strongEveryone loves new content, but nobody really expects much in the way of it in the first half-year or so after launch. Not so in WAR, where Mythic’s been pumping out new content left and right, often so fast that you barely have enough time to register a new patch’s content before another patch is announced. Since launch, we’ve seen two careers added back into the game, a new temporary scenario opened up, the oRvR influence system, the player statue system, T1 easy PQs, the Realm War page added to the website, and, oh yeah, a little something called…br /br /strong4. Live Eventsbr /br //strongWhile a bit of a mixed bag in execution, the near-monthly addition of Live Events has gone a long way in making WAR a dynamic world to play in, with limitless possibilities for the future. We’ve seen three so far — Witching Night, Heavy Metal and Keg End — with more on the way. These time-limited events helped to give players PvP and PvE direction, sometimes with pretty interesting rewards.br /br /strong5. WAR’s Garnered Lots of Awardsbr /br //strongPart of the problem with WAR’s public fish-slapping by players and bloggers was that, as Mythic predicted, expectations were so unreasonably high and everyone kept comparing WAR to WoW. Yet unlike titles that were released half-baked and abandoned by everyone but the most hardcore, WAR’s doing pretty darn well for itself — and the media seems to think so as well. A few months after its release, WAR is holding its own and even dominating the award scene as the press is giving props to this game’s effort, execution and direction. a href=”http://www.warhammeralliance.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222813″ class=”content”strongCheck out this thread/strong/a on WHA’s forums for a good starter list of awards!br /br /strong6. City Sieges Have Begunbr /br //strongT4 PvP will make or break this game — that was the final proclamation of many, which hold Mythic to it to this day. After an early aborted (and exploited) attempt at city sieges, it’s been a bit of a slog for players to figure out how to lock down enough zones to capture fortresses and make inroads into city sieges, the crown jewel of RvR. Mythic’s gone and made zone control easier to manage and understand (although it still needs more work), and I’ve been reading more and more reports of capital city sieges as of late. It’s only a matter of time before one gets sacked — and I’ll be willing to bet that’ll be all over the news.br /br /strong7. XP Bumpbr /br //strongA week or so ago, Mark Jacobs announced Mythic’s holiday gift to the players: a bump in XP earned in tiers 2-4, to last “a few weeks”. This has been widely welcomed, as players push their characters up faster than ever before. While it might be a time-limited event, our greatest hope is that Mythic makes this bump a permanent thing.br /br /strong8. Careers Have Been Beefed Upbr /br //strongAlthough careers haven’t been immune from nerfs or “downward tweaking”, on the whole most careers received a serious increase in damage, balance and utility with the 1.05/1.06 “combat and careers” patch. It’s not a perfect fix — MMOs are forever balancing and adjusting classes — but the class that frustrated you months ago might just surprise you today with its usefulness.br /br /strong9. Mythic’s Moving Fast, Smart and Hungrybr /br //strongNo matter whether you’re a current, ex- or non-WAR player, it’s almost impossible to deny that Mythic’s charging forward at full steam. Devs have been pretty good at staying in contact with the community, patches have been coming at an impressive rate, and while Mythic’s eager to get new content and features out the door, they’ve also made a public commitment to doing things right instead of sloppy. Probably the biggest indicator of Mythic’s dedication to improving the game instead of resting on their laurels is that they’ve eaten crow on past decisions — such as merging servers or the rumored upcoming official forums — in the name of serving their customer base and meeting their needs. Nowhere else is a MMO company so open with its players and so personable with them as with Mythic, and if you’ve followed other MMOs, you know what I mean.br /br /strong10. The Near — and Far — Future Looks Promisingbr /br //strongIt’s easy to promise the sky when it comes to the future, but as we’ve gotten a few months under out belts, we’re able to recognize that Mythic can make good on what it says. WAR isn’t just in maintain mode, it’s looking to grow in many ways, including these possible additions:br /br /ulliThe final two careers (dwarf and greenskin melee dps) being added in the next few months/liliA “big surprise” for Spring 2009, as said by Mark Jacobs in the PC Gamer Warhammer issue/liliMore Live Events, possibly monthly/liliOfficial forums/liliThe RvR “Fame” system/liliKeep Quests, “Daily Event Quests”, Chained RvR Missions and other oRvR-oriented Events/liliBetter rewards for Guilds who own Keeps as well as the addition of a system of Keep upgrades./liliWarhammer Online’s Russia release/liliAnd news about WAR’s first expansion!/li/ulI’m not here to be a Warhammer apologist, but just a fan who wants to point out why WAR deserves a second, hard look by folks who’ve left for other lands. You may want to wait a little while longer to see how things shake out, but personally, I think there’s no better time to get in the game.
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10 Reasons Why You Should Give WAR A Second Chance