Why WoW players should switch to WAR

It's time to leave the sunny plains of Azeroth for the bloody fields in Warhammer Online

We're used to seeing towns littered with useless NPCs. They're not there to give you quests, sell items, or repair your equipment. In a lot of cases, they don't even have a line of canned dialogue to spout. Instead, they're just standing around to help create the illusion that there are more than five people living there.

In WAR this is the exception, not the rule. When you enter a new town or hub, you'll be sure to find a few NPCs staring blankly into the distance. But you'll also notice large forces of friendly NPCs just outside the town, holding off hordes of enemies. Expect to see other players in the thick of battle, helping to hold the line against incoming forces. These are Public Quests. Think of them as bite-sized mini-raids that you're free to join or leave at any time.

Above: Did we mention that Dwarves can build turrets? Finally, an MMO version of our favorite Team Fortress 2 class

Public Quests don't just add a sense of urgency to WAR's brutal atmosphere. They fix it so that players naturally gravitate towards each other. Most Public Quests are placed near hubs, which ensures that there'll be lots of passersby to join the fray and help out.

Also, because the objectives for Public Quests are fairly simple and often require that you kill large numbers of progressively stronger foes, everyone knows what they're doing and in-depth strategizing isn't really necessary (WAR seems to save most of that stuff for its Group Quests). This means more killing, faster rewards, and none of the hassle of waiting for replies to your looking-for-group requests in public chat.

Above: Even in starting areas, NPCs are always on the move

Each zone in WAR contains a Keep that's up for grabs in special zones reserved for PvP combat. Members from the Order and Chaos factions are constantly fighting over control of these keeps. Killing other players and capturing keeps yields all kinds of benefits to your side from extra cash when selling items to merchants to special vendors with powerful items.

Above: Siege weapons can deal massive damage to enemies in your line of fire

Because of the Open Group system, joining a large group of players for non-instanced PvP raids isn't exclusively for organized guilds. Like Public Quests, the PvP combat in WAR is easy to get into and will turn the most stalwart PvE care bears into bloodthirsty PvP fanatics.

But the best part about these zones so far are the siege weapons. Are you trying to defend your keep from the enemy? Climb up to the ramparts and poor some molten iron over their heads. Is your group having trouble breaking past the enemies' defensive line? Man a cannon and clear a path so your war band can advance.

Most WoW players have thottbot.com open in a browser while they're playing. Online databases like thottbott.com and allakhazam.com are great because you can quickly find key locations and details on quests if you're ever stuck in the game. The only problem is that every second you spend alt-tabbing to your browser is a waste of precious time that could've spent playing the actual game and killing stuff.

WAR's Tome of Knowledge eliminates much of the need for sites like these. It holds detailed information about all the quests you're working on so you'll never have to turn to an online database if you forgot where you should be heading to complete it.

Above: The Tome of Knowledge is a great distraction. Expect to spend many hours flipping through its pages over the course of your career

But the Tome is so much more than an improved quest log. Just about everything you do unlocks a new page in the book. Kill an enemy for the first time and it'll add an entry to the Tome's Bestiary with an illustration and a description of the mob. Complete enough quests and you'll unlock new entries in your Achievements section with fresh titles to add below your name for all to see. Talking to important NPCs will open up entries in the Noteworthy Persons section with additional background lore. Filled with pictures, maps, details on items, and all sorts of other goodies, the Tome of Knowledge is like a personal scribe that takes note of every accomplishment you've achieved while playing. It even gains XP and levels up as you add additional pages!

Your Tome of Knowledge isn't the only unusual thing that levels up in WAR. Your guild levels up too! As your members grow more powerful so does your guild. Some of the rewards are superficial. For example, the highest ranking guilds will get to see groups of NPC guards bearing their guild’s banner at your capital city.

You’ll also unlock useful features as your rank swells like a calendar to plan group events and access to special merchants with powerful gear for sale.

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