September 18, 2009

Hickman Explains WAR's Mistakes

In a lengthy article over at Gamasutra, Jeff Hickman explains what he feels are the three downfalls of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
Warhammer's Three Major Mistakes

Despite having a successful MMO in the form of Dark Age of Camelot, Hickman says there were "mistakes we made with Warhammer that we should not have made." He described them as "three things have haunted us for a year with Warhammer," and later acknowledged a lot of effort has been put into dealing with them in patches -- sometimes subtly, as they're fundamental and systemic.
It breaks down to:

1. The game was too easy early on.
2. Since the game was easy, people didn't need to work together and therefore didn't socialize or build communities.
3. The economy of the game was way off.

I will agree with 1 and 3, but I wouldn't lay too much of the game's downfall on those two alone. I think 2 was caused more by how horribly inconsistent the game was instead of the game being too easy. 2 is the symptom, not the cause.

WAR had pockets of greatness, and the article addresses some of the GOOD things about WAR, but overall, those pockets of greatness were not connected in any sensible way. That is why socialization never took off in the game. Nothing ever felt like it was meant to work together. WAR, for the most part, was a series of different games patched together.

I'm done wasting my energy on WAR. The game, at level 40, was laughably bad before I quit. I may return in the future to see what they've done and I'm glad their admitting in public that mistakes were made. I'm very glad they didn't try to blame Wrath of the Lich King again.