Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Lots of Waaagh!, not much peace

Glory in Death
While there are 40 ranks of experience, which are gained through questing and killing, renown has 80 ranks gained exclusively by fighting your fellow players. This may sound like a powergamer concept, but it's one that works for more casual players too.

You gain real tactical advantages through taking and defending areas within a map. At the high end you'll improve your army's living capital city, while at the low end you'll receive immediate rewards - big experience, renown and loot are your prizes for defending keeps and key areas. So being selfish means that you'll leave yourself unprotected.

RvR and PvE areas flow together naturally, but you're warned very clearly both where they are and when you're about to be flagged for combat. Don't worry about ganking - a higher level trying to smack up defenceless newbies will find themselves turned into a chicken and stomped into pate.

With each renown level, you're able to spend points on permanent statistical upgrades or tactics, as well as earn RvR-specific armour sets. There are also specific PvE sets, along with a bounty hunter set that can only be collected through completing quests that combine both PvE and PvP objectives, such as killing a few of the opposing side, then having to head into dangerous territory to kill a monster.

This kind of accessible, realm-driven combat is an example of EA Mythic's main goal for AOR - NPC and player combat that flows together naturally, culminating in a siege of the main cities.

This will be, the developers tout, a huge, 100-200 person battle against players and NPCs, that finishes with a final scrap against either one of the leaders, such as Tchar'Zanek or Emperor Karl Franz. You'll be able to burn the town to the ground, while murdering the populace and looting for a day, real time, as well as exploring the city's unlocked dungeons, special vendors, and capturing the defeated leaders and placing them in stocks in your capital.

AOR stands to be the first truly war-based MMO. While I have hated PvP in its past forms for being a selfish, meaningless game of barrel-shooting, AOR's RvR gives it substance and a point. In the past MMOs have stressfully forced combat against players away from the main game, but EA Mythic have, successfully I might add, made it not only useful, but enjoyable and accessible to the masses.

So, if you've been reticent about PvP combat, or ignoring Warhammer Online because of it, it's about time you stop doing so and start getting yourself ready - AOR is coming, and it's going to change absolutely everything.

Courtesy of CVG.

May 14, 2008