Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Byte: The calm before the storm

In an hour or two, Videogamer are going to be posting an extended version of my Warhammer Online polemic as a "second opinion" comment piece, since I'm one of the few critics actually willing to call the game out so emphatically for having terrible PvE content (and a few other things besides). If, by chance, you've followed the link from the article to here, before you start with the flames (and be nice - abusive comments will not be moderated kindly) I'd like to state at this point that I knew WAR was PvP/RvR biased before I bought the game. And I'd like to stress that as well. This wasn't a freebie, I paid good money to play the game, so I'm entitled to my opinion. The fact that I knew WAR was heavily balanced towards player-versus-player does nothing to change the fact that the PvE sucks. Anyone who thinks differently is either a) deluded or b) Korean. The PvE in WAR is RUBBISH, bordering on atrocious. WoW's PvE content doesn't just grind it to dust underneath its boot, it sweeps it up into a little box afterward and throws it into the fire.

If you love WAR with all your little black heart, I'm happy for you, really. It's just not the type of MMORPG I like to play, and I think it's the duty of any journalist to put information out there that might stop people who've only read the "WAR makes WoW look shit" stuff from getting the wrong impression about the game and wasting their money. I will be the first to say that WAR does PvP better than WoW. But not all WoW players like to PvP. I know I don't, and out of WoW's 10+ millions of subscribers, I bet a fair percentage of those don't bother with PvP either. So if they were going to buy WAR without knowing that the PvE is not even close to that which you find in WoW in terms of coherence or quality, that's a lot of money being thrown down the toilet that could have better been spent on other games they would enjoy.

Also note that I'm not saying that all the reviews are wrong and only my opinion is right. My opinion of the game is formed based on my innate preference for what I look for in an MMORPG. It's simply that what I looked for did not match what other reviewers were looking for, hence we've drawn different conclusions. I bought the game full well knowing that I probably wasn't going to like it. But I bought it anyway because I was willing to be proved wrong, and also because it's rather unfair to criticise something without actually having experienced it for yourself (a lesson half the internet needs to learn, I think). I just didn't expect the PvP bias to be so pronounced, nor the PvE and game world itself to be so lacklustre. And call me crazy, but I think people need to be told this, because firstly, it's the truth, and secondly, because if people are only seeing the press that says WAR is the only genuine competitor to WoW, they're going to buy it and find out that on at least one very large level, it's not. This can undermine trust in the whole system of games journalism - and even if I don't depend on it for a penny of my income, I don't want that.

I'm going to clad myself in ceramic tiles now and wait for the flames (or crushing indifference) of the internet to descend.
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