This is the perfect moment in time for the Warhammer 40k MMORPG. Right now, exactly as we stand, with all the information we know, the game is perfect. It exists in some kind of temporal quantum flux (thanks Star Trek encyclopedia), a state of neither non-existence nor completion. We know just enough about the game to make us want it but haven’t seen enough about it for it to disappoint us. We can soak up all of the screenshots and tidbits of information and create in our minds the perfect MMO, flawless and beautiful.
Archive for the ‘Warhammer 40K’ Category
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.
Me like. Yeah, I know, it’s only a trailer but still, me like.
There really isn’t much to be known about the upcoming Warhammer 40K MMORPG or even if it will ever materialise (let’s face it, it’s not uncommon for MMOs to die before even hitting the shelves). Still, after the disappointing Warhammer Online MMO from 2008, I’m hoping for a better implementation of such an exciting IP.
Although I never played the original table top game, I did use to paint the miniatures when I was a kid (my secret shame revealed to the world) and always enjoyed the style of WAR 40K. It’s over the top sci-fi theme and darkness was always very original and appealed to the geek in me (as most geeky things do). It’s still early days but here are some of the things I’d like to see in the Warhammer 40K MMORPG:
Ditch the Holy Trinity
The Tank/Healer/DPS combo is just so passé now. I know it’s a hard thing to escape but I’d like to see some MMORPGs try a different model. Perhaps it involves restricting healing to downtime only and giving all classes equal ability to take and give out damage. Wild fantasies of thought, I concede, but one can dream.
Diverse racial areas
Although Warhammer Online offered some nice and different starting areas, I was a little disappointed when they canned the racial cities and went live with only two, one for each side. Maybe it’s just nostalgia from the original Everquest but I always loved the variety of cities that the game offered and I feel that it gives the player not only a strong connection to the identity of their character’s race but also makes the whole world feel more alive and vibrant.
Assuming WAR 40K is going down the themepark class route, I’d like to see some original and interesting classes come our way. I’m just plain tired of seeing remixes of Warriors, Rogues and Mages all of the time.
An immersive world
Tying in with my point about racial cities, one of the mistakes a lot of MMORPGs make (at least in my opinion) is their dramatic separation of content (i.e. you can’t run from A to B, instead you teleport between zones or queue up for action areas) which in turn kills immersion. I don’t want to play a glorified arcade game based around an online chat room, I want to escape into a character who inhabits a growing, bustling and living online world. Easy to say, hard to accomplish, I know.
Fast paced combat
If any setting is going to be suitable for fast paced combat, it will be a sci-fi one and especially Warhammer 40K. Laser guns, Terminators, vehicles, giant robots and rabid aliens, I can’t think of a MMO that would suit a depature from the traditional hotbar, click 1-2-3 action keys more than this IP. I’m not talking about FPS or twitch-based mechanics suitable to only hardcore gamers with lighting fast reflexes, just give us something a little less mundane that the usual fair.
IGN PC had an article today with a quote from THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell in which he states that the forthcoming Warhammer 40K MMORPG won’t be competing with World of Warcraft.
Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder? Isn’t that a little like saying Burger King doesn’t compete with KFC or the Xbox 360 doesn’t compete with the PS3? Of course Warhamer 40K will be competing with WoW! Just because it has guns instead of bows doesn’t mean it suddenly appeals to a whole new set of gamer or will suddenly cause 10 million dormant MMORPG players to crawl out of the woodworks and subscribe to it.
Yes, I duly take the point that the MMO market is expanding and that there are players who are diehard WAR 40K fans and those who love WoW and will never leave it but to assume that a MMORPG can be as equally successful as World of Warcraft without eating into its playerbase seems incredibly naive. Equally so, it seems very foolish to think that the majority of players would be willing to subscribe to multiple MMOs at once. It’s been my experience as a longtime MMORPG gamer (if that counts for anything) that, apart from a short period of ‘tourism’, players tend to focus on one game at a time and don’t the time nor money to play several at once.
The whole idea of being able to accrue millions of subscribers without competing against WoW seems spectacularly optimistic at best and utterly clueless at worst. This foggy thought resulting in a lack of realism also seems like a convenient excuse for not actually having to try hard enough with development. It’s easy to excuse lack of polish and gameplay if there’s no need to compete against World of Warcraft and it seems to be like a failing attitude right from the start.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with MMORPGs having a modest subscriber base but if a development company is truly beholden to the idea of creating the same success as World of Wacraft then they have to be realistic about what it means. If a MMO is going to achieve 11 million plus subscribers then it means taken on Blizzard at their own game (pardon the pun), directly competing against them, and producing a product that is more fun, more highly polished, and better in every single way. Only then will a game have the chance of succeeding in the same capacity.