June 26, 2008

Bartle Is Right

The Internet at large is going blah, blah, blah as of late due to a wonderful quote from a man that a lot of MMO veterans have long argued is our "intellectual elite". That man is none other than Dr. Bartle, and here is the bomb he tossed:
Massively: "Are you planning on playing games like Age of Conan and Warhammer when they come out?"
Bartle: "I’ve already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft."
I've railed against the WoW vs WAR comparisons before and completely blistered idiots trying to compare the two based on visuals, but Bartle's comment is not comparing the two. I think Dr. Bartle is 100% correct in what he said. He HAS played WAR already and it WAS called World of Warcraft.

Now, why would I go and say this after arguing until blue in the face that WAR is not WoW? Because of something I've said a hundred times before: players looking for the WoW experience will find it in WAR. All that is WoW can be found in WAR. The defining difference is that there will be a hell of a lot more to WAR than there is currently or will ever be to WoW.

That is not a slight against WoW, it is a statement of fact that Blizzard is the kind of developer that sticks strictly to what they can do right. PvE and all this dabbling in e-sports is right up Blizzard's ally and that is what WoW will always be. The question for WoW has been whether e-sport and PvE can coexist in the same game.

So, Bartle is right. He has played WAR already, because he is an Achiever by his own test. He has three level 70 characters in WoW. I have no doubt he could do the same when WAR launches, but I do not see Bartle ever hitting Realm Rank 80 (the true "end" level in WAR). Just as I doubt Bartle would ever achieve a 2000+ personal Arena rating on his level 70 WoW characters.

Even if Bartle talks better with a backspace key, I doubt he would remove his quote. For him, the experience to be gained in WAR for HIM is the exact same experience he got out of WoW.

To me that is more evidence that WAR is going to be a great game. The complete WoW experience is there, and everyone looking for it will find it. Funny thing is, a lot of these same people will also find out that WAR is fleshed out, full-featured, and actually encourages players to socialize at every turn.

And Cuppy, Bartle's statement was foolish, because as the industry veteran he is, he knew damn well how it would be taken and I think to a certain degree he wanted it to be taken that way. Foolish, his statement was, but wrong it was not. He has already stated he would shut down WoW, so it is of no surprise that a game that will deliver the same quality experience of WoW would be on his hit list as well. Smart people do say stupid things.