The Twitch Comes Back To The MMO

Warhammer 40K: Dark Millenium

Shoulder pads FTW

We kinda guessed it when we saw the first trailers but now more rumours are springing up suggesting that the Warhammer 40K MMO is going to be a twitch based shooter just like the beloved, and now quite thoroughly dead and dusted, Tabula Rasa. Some of you kids probably don’t even remember that game (I heard the Interwebs like totally destroys attention spans) which is fair enough cause it was kinda forgettable anyway. OK, I suppose that’s a little harsh considering it was the brainchild of the guy who’s other brainchild was the grandfather of the whole MMO industry and it did try to do something new and break away from the traditional MMORPG formula even though that still wasn’t enough to save it from low subscription doom. I guess the world just wasn’t ready for MMOFPS hybrids back in 2007.

I played TR not long after it first came out and enjoyed it quite a lot. For about a month. It wasn’t the twitch based gameplay that put me off though, rather the sheer lack of content. It had a lot of really interesting concepts (loved the cloning idea) and the fast paced action was a heck of a lot of more exciting than the ol’ tank and spank mechanics of other MMOs but it fell down hard on some pretty basic areas. Only one race to choose from? Repetitive, unimaginative player areas and virtual world? Boring, grindy quests? C’mon, Mr Garriott, you could’ve done better than that.

Still, I firmly believe that Tabula Rasa had a lot of potential and that’s exactly why I’m actually quite excited about Warhammer 40K. If a developer can release a game that’s a full, proper MMO bursting at the seams with content and immersion and then squeeze in some exciting combat mechanics then I’ll be a happy bunny indeed. The trick is definitely making it a MMORPG first and foremost and not a FPS or shooter with some online roleplaying mechanics stuck onto it like some poor afterthought.

I think gamers are more ready for twitch combat in their MMOs now too. The last few years may may not have seen any shift in position for the world’s most popular MMORPG but it has seen an industry wide change in what people want. PvP is huge as is quick, instant gameplay and quick fire combat. Blizzard seems to be recognising this and that’s why they’re making some massive shifts in direction with Cataclysm and focusing more on keeping the PvP competitive and player’s fingers busy. MMOs are getting more twitchy all the time (we’ve come a long ways from the “turn on Auto Attack and then go make a cuppa” days of Everquest) and if Tabula Rasa was released today then it might have been a completely different story.

So all of this seems to bode well for Warhammer 40K and I’m looking forward to trying it out. A strong IP license combined with some good hype and, most importantly of all, solid and deep core gameplay could be a winning combination for Vigil Games. Let’s just hope they don’t forget the latter. It’s honestly surprising how many games companies do.


P.S. I didn’t mention Global Agenda because I haven’t played it. Should I give it a go? The big thing that put me off was it’s sole distribution through Steam. I hate being told where I need to download from.

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Related Posts

  1. Warhammer 40K Trailer Impressions
  2. Tabula Rasa 2 (aka Defiance)
  3. Fantasy VS Sci-Fi MMORPGs
  4. Warhammer 40K MMORPG
  5. The MMOFPS – Doomed To Fail?


  1. Hel says:


    Guess I & other Australians won’t be playing it then. The lag we get makes those sort of mmos unplayable. The latest one like that wasn’t even released here :\

  2. Drannos says:

    I hope you’re right about WH40K, and I agree completely. Give me a Thunderhawk full of content (story AND gear), some character progression, and action-oriented FPS/TPS-style gameplay and I will be a happy customer for a long, long time. Set it in the 40K universe, and I’m looking for the lifetime subscriber option.

    I have some reservations, especially after the Eurogamer interview with Danny Bilson (no Space Marines as playable choices from the start? Are they INSANE??? Maybe he misspoke?), but I’m still very keen on the game and following it closely. I still have high hopes.

    If you’re really looking for content, Global Agenda is probably not something you should bother checking out.

    The Third Person Shooter gameplay is good, coop PvE and PvP missions are good, and they did add in an open PvE area for more traditional MMO fare, but it’s obviously their first attempt, and it’s not exactly what I’d call compelling. It’s a good game; not great, though it definitely could be if it has the chance to grow.

    Still, the game is fun, if a bit empty (both in terms of things to do, and people to do it with). For $30, it’s probably worth it in the long run. I have fun logging in for an hour or two here and there, but it’s definitely not my mainstay.

    • Gordon says:

      I would love to see a proper MMORPG with more interactive, fast paced combat. IMO the big problem is that developers forget the content and depth part of these games and focuses too much on the combat. I think that’s why Tabula Rasa failed so miserably.

  3. RanknVile says:

    Actual quotes

    “very friendly to the WoW player”

    “if you’ve played WOW you’ll be able to pick up and play this instantly”

    And many more like that if you wish to read more…

    I have lost all hope.

  4. Scott says:

    Yeah I was going to say, the interview a couple days ago the dev specifically said the game would be familiar to WoW.

    By the way, Tabula Rasa was not a “twitch” game. It *did* have (optionally, mind you) the manual “aim the cursor with your mouse” method if you wanted to use that and *feel* like it was twitch, but it wasn’t and the devs (who included a much larger team than RG himself) repeatedly said so. Accuracy of my aim had no effect. If I saw a shot incoming, side-stepping would not dodge it (that works in the fully-instanced DDO however) because the combat was 100% RPG. In fact the Tab key worked for targeting just like every other MMO. TR was no more “twitch” than the people who manually click mobs out of a group with their mouse in WoW.

    I haven’t bothered reading up on Global Agenda because I just recently got into it but since it’s instanced with smallish groups it wouldn’t surprise me if it is a twitch game. Certainly plays like one. Oh and Steam is NOT the only way to get the game. HiRez sells the game themselves on their site (currently running a 25% off sale), it’s available on D2D, Amazon and others. I did get the free demo on Steam (HiRez *might* have it themselves too; at least they have a form to fill out to get the demo) which lets you play up to level 15; think I’m only maybe level 3 or 4 right now so it should give a decent feel for the full game.

    • Gordon says:

      Ah I knew TR had “relaxed” targetting but I thought the player had to at least point their guns in the general direction of the enemy. I could’ve sworn moving helped too… I guess it just shows how much they managed to convince me it was a real shooter! That’s not a bad thing either because I had fun playing it.

      GA is on D2D? Cool, will check it out. Thanks!

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