After Strong Reviews and Thousands of Players, Where Did Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Stumble And Fall?

Warhammer Online, Mythic, MMO, RPG, Fantasy
The unique, dark and beautiful world Warhammer brought with made one of the most enjoyable to adventure through

Ready to Jump from Azeroth to Reckoning

When 2008 rolled around, I was getting impatient. Really, REALLY impatient.

Having been an active subscriber of World of Warcraft since it’s early days, when Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) was announced in 2006, it had my full attention. Having loved what I had experienced during my time in Azeroth, I was ready for something new and fresh. My friends and I eagerly spent our days planning who would heal as our groups Warrior Priest while I decided to take up the mantle of our flame spewing Bright Wizard. With so much hype building up to the game’s release, we weren’t the only ones ready to begin our new adventure. Often mentioned as the first true MMO to “de-throne WoW”, Warhammer had a lot to live up to. Receiving high critically acclaimed reviews and awards along with reaching the 800K subscriber mark  by the end of its first month, WAR was off to a roaring start.

Warhammer Online’s announcement and launch cinematics showed its classes in all their destructive glory and the massive, PvP based battles like pieces of art work.

Adding to What Was Already Proving to Work

It’s no secret that WoW had already established itself as the dominant game in the MMO market. While there were obvious features Warhammer would need to carry over from its biggest competitor, the new experience it was bringing to the table is what helped it land on solid ground upon release. Things such a two warring factions, multiple races, questing, PvE progression and crafting were all similar to what had been seen before. However, what Warhammer attempted to focus on to set it apart from all others were it’s open-group focused public quests and massive scale Realm vs. Realm, PvP gameplay.

With intense keep sieges that required attacking parties to fight their way into a structure while its defenders fought back from the inside to keep the attackers at bay –these battles gave players a feeling unlike before in an MMO environment. Along with open world objective capturing partnering with the sheer number of players in one single space, it was a sight to behold.

Some classes, such as the White Lion, had a new and unique take on what most MMORPG players had found in other games at the time. Like all the other classes, the look at feel of each one made it stand out and feel new and fresh.

Missed Opportunities Before the Fall

While WAR had solidified its player base quickly, the hype on top of coming into its own turned into it’s ultimate downfall.

PvE often felt shorthanded while overall development was lack luster to say the least. While initially a few new areas and classes showed promise, the looming comparison of WoW overshadowed Warhammer and quickly pulled some of it’s old players back with expansions and updates on its own.

While it was in development, the free-to-play model never reached the live servers and it may have been the saving grace the game needed to turn back to where it had originated and the early success it had.

Thankfully, there are a few private servers up and running, but the quick decline the game faced, stunted growth and sudden closure, its hard to not think of WAR as something that could have been truly amazing but ultimately never given a chance because of the handling from publisher EA.

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Beard-clad, pirate-at-heart storyteller from the Pacific Northwest.
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Planet Coaster, Astroneer, SMITE, World of Warcraft (Private Server)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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