Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

Personality too is important. Whereas “proper” role-playing in a lot of other MMOs seems to be the preserve of tedious escapists who think role-playing equates to talking a bit medieval and saying you really, really hate the other guys, playing in character in WO could turn out to be half the fun. Take the hooligan orcs. A far cry from the misunderstood Shamans of WoW or the monstrous puppets of Sauron in LOTRO, the orcs love war, almost for war’s sake. They love humiliating the dwarves, defiling their buildings and cutting off their cherished beards for trophies.

More to the point, the way the different classes benefit from certain combat styles will force players into a kind of role-playing. Dwarves are better at holding a location, with sniping engineers drawing in the enemy, and Runepriests buffing the Hammerers to cause maximum damage. Meanwhile, goblin Shamans draw power from conflict around them, so will be forced to get close to the action.

The characters have to be strong, of course, because that’s the source of Warhammer’s infamous humor. The six main playable races each play their roles, like one of the darker episodes of Friends. The abilities of Black Orcs, for instance, reflect their unsophisticated methodology. Well, that’s if the “Right in the nuts!” attack is anything to go by. Idiotic NPC goblins, on the other hand, will be baffled by dwarven engineering skills, to the point of putting their heads inside them to try and figure it out.

Some of it rings depressingly true, too - take the supposedly good-guy Empire Witch Hunter class. Dedicated to the cleansing of heretics, they’ll happily expand heresy to include anyone who needs killing. War is hell-arious.

Warhammer’s attitude is summed up perfectly by associate producer Josh Drescher, and the way he recently phrased WoW quests. He thinks the “kill ten squirrels and collect some magic daisies” brigade are missing out on proper war. But how to turn such a player into a bloodthirsty RvR fanatic? Mythic knows it’s a conversion process for some, so they’re going to coax you into the battlezones. At first with a mission to find someone. Then maybe you’ll have to help out a little bit. Then kill a specific person, then… Well, by then Mythic reckons you’ll be hooked, so it’s more likely you’ll need coaxing out.


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