I noticed that I emphasized a bit too much on the flaws that Warhammer Online has in my opinion. Today I want to mention some positive things ;)
There are so many things..I just pick two.
The art team did a really good work. The Warhammer world is a dark, grim place and this is exactly how the world in Warhammer Online feels. There are some oohh‘s and aahh-scenes ;)
Some examples for this: The moons (in german they are called Mannsleib (the white one) and Morrsleib (the smaller, green one. No idea how they are called in english) .. Nothing too obvious, but it’s fun to see them on the sky. It can be such small things that can make me go ooh. It just adds so much atmosphere to the game. No big AA or AF-thing needed for me ;)
I also like the general themes of the pairings. In some extent I played every T1 starting area and it always felt right. “Yes..that is Chaos/Empire/High-Elf/..”. It’s cartooney but not too colorful, though I’m not sure if a hanged person is the right thing for a T-rating.
Another one where i went ohh and ahh.. The tower of the vampire Neborhest in the marshes of madness. I arrived, saw the zombies out there and thought “oh well..another one of this PQ’s”. I slew some zombies and went into the tower, because some quest guided me there and wanted me to kill some ghost. As i came into the tower, to be more precise as i reached the stairway there began a phase of “oh..that’s creepy. ohh.. where does this lead to.:etc..” started. ;) I especially liked the spider webs.. Great work and thumbs up for the art team. Really nice atmosphere.
This tower leads me to the second point that i really like about Warhammer Online. It’s the possibility to go out there and explore. The quests lead you in a relatively straight way (at least through T1 and T2) through the content. I’m not really the explorer kind of player, but sometimes this fever catches me ;)
The marshes of madness seemed at first somewhat boring to me. But then I just ran around and experienced several times that “oh..what is that over there?” .. just shortly followed by “will it hurt me?” ;) I like it when I’m not being forced to explore, but supported when I do it. I also like it that exploring can be really dangerous. This emphazises that the world is a really dangerous place and by doing so creates the real Warhammer feeling for me. (Especially as I’m currently reading the Felix&Gotrek stories)
Just again two examples for this dangerous place. Again that tower .. I really like the place if you shouldn’t get it by now ;) Getting to the quest objective where i summoned the ghost i saw two passages and before i finished my quest I wanted to check them out.. big mistake ;) I encountered two champion-mobs and was dead in a second. Ok.. I ran back, slew through the respawned mobs ..finished the quest and went “ok..that room is bad, but there was still the stairway I did not explore completely“. After slaying some ghost I reached a room full of other ghosts. Tried to fight my way through, but that didn’t work out. After I got healed at the healer in the quest hub I decided that it was a good time to go to bed. ;)
The second one wasn’t such a epic event, but still fun. It’s in the crypt in Nordland. The quest leads you one way, you think “what happens when I go the passage over there?” You find a coffin ..It’s obvious that there will be a ghost in it. There are ghosts all around you, but you open it anyways. ;) You get to a champion mob and can escape only with a little bit of luck and leading to a chuckle. Did I get XP or items for it? I have absolutely no idea. I didn’t care because I really had a great time doing this. This is what a game is all about, having fun.
So I had a really fun and a great time just by exploring. This is something I’ve missed in WoW really bad. This is also where i think that WAR is heavily underrated. The solo questing is..mediocre and dungeons no focus of the game (and I haven’t experienced enough of them to rate them). Does this mean that the PvE is also mediocre? Imo no, because this exploration stuff, this unconnecting from the “get to point A and do something B“, is a really nice twist to the known PvE stuff in graphical MMOs (you are uncertain/excited what a lever will do. This is substantial difference to “pull the lever and a ghost appears because the quest says so“). Why do I emphasize graphical? Well, I played in MUDs and those are the parents for all the games like EQ, WoW, WAR, etc.. The thing that keeps a MUD interesting is the stuff people can explore. No fancy graphics, just good stories and exploration. MMOs up to now took only the old grind-like structures from MUDs, but not the exploration stuff. WAR changed it and you are now more free to travel around as you can expect to find some stuff out there. This is a tough thing to accomplish as it really needs a good amount of work to get the fitting atmosphere and story for it (and you might not get good responses to it, because people don’t find it at all. In that work-to-result ratio this is not really good compared to a “go to A and do B” which could be a reason why it is not done by others). Hopefully more people realize that WAR has a really decent amount of solo PvE stuff to offer, other than the known-from-some-other-game solo quests. It’s Player versus Environment not Player versus Foozle.