The Twitch Comes Back To The MMO
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.