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I play lots of Warhammer games, and GW-themed video games are no exception. I loved both Space Marine and Dawn of War, and (although I will lose all credibility for saying so,) I even rather liked the PvP in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. (I actually really liked the environments on the Order side in Warhammer Online because they showed a fantastic progression from the inner cities which hadn’t yet been touched by the battles to the utterly destroyed places on the front lines, but that’s a subject for a different post.) Not surprisingly, I was looking forward to Bioware’s Wrath of Heroes. A bit.
I say ‘a bit’ because I wasn’t sure how they’d keep a complex and robust character progression without having an MMO to teach you how to play those skills. Let’s face it, though–Warhammer Online had weak PvE at best, and repetitive and frustrating PvE at worst. And I particularly like Warhammer Online’s PvP because it allowed so many different types of play; warfronts, castle raids, and landscape defense, all of which ideally require a high degree of teamwork and organization. Teams did well at PvP in Warhammer Online when someone willingly organized the group, planned its tactics, and called what should be done. If nobody could or would lead, you lost. How would Bioware implement these aspects of PvP into its new game, which would throw random teams in together in a PvP setting divorced from an outside world?
I was somewhat hopeful because Bioware acquired the franchise. They always put out competent, playable games, at the very least.
Again, let me say that I really, really wanted to like WoH. I want a new Warhammer game badly, and I miss the PvP from Warhammer Online. But this thing sucks. A lot.
Now, I have to fully disclose my PvP-playing habits. I usually hate a PvP game the first fifteen or twenty times I play it. Although I truly enjoy PvP, I’m not automatically good at it; I get easily frustrated. I blame the interface. I pout. I claim that the reason I was second to last on the leaderboards is because the cat was underneath my desk or the fish was too swishy in his tank. But I also know myself. After a handful of games, I generally have an idea of which classes I should play, how the game itself works, and which strategies will work for which boards. But I’ve played this game my requisite twenty times, and despite my burning desire to love anything Warhammer-themed, I don’t like it any better than the first time I loaded it up.
I could go into the mechanical problems with this game at length. I could bitch about the fact that the playable character classes seem rather expensive, and although you can play a handful of “starter” classes, you can’t upgrade a character until you buy it, leaving you unable to find out how a class really plays when it’s not in its sucktastic first level. Still, it’s beta, so maybe some of these issues will get sorted out as testers give them feedback. But what’s saddest to me about this game is that Bioware has completely eradicated all of the Warhammeryness. There’s just…nothing here. The environments aren’t grim or gritty, the characters look even more ridiculously high-fantasy than they did in Warhammer Online because there are fifty of exactly the same character model out on the field, and there’s little to no lore referenced in the game itself via, say, splashscreen text or environmental cues. It’s just a second-rate attempt to cross an MMO PvP game with League of Legends that happens to have used the Warhammer IP because Mythic had already programmed the skins.
Yuck, yuck, yuck. Go buy some other crappy franchise for your weird computer gaming science fair project. I’m sure there’s some generic fantasy setting sitting around gathering dust on a shelf at WotC that you could screw up instead.
I’m glad to see that at least one other person agrees that the WTFiness of this game is very, very high. If you check out comments on most game sites, you’ll see that many players can’t quite understand the intended play style, either, so I guess I’m not alone.