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I am searching for a game that can compete with World of Warcraft, one of the best games I have ever played; a game to either replace it or become my secondary MMORPG. This will be a difficult task considering WoW is such a behemoth of the online role-playing genre, and because it is just too damn good. Having nearly 8 million subscribers, it will be hard finding another game with fast paced player vs. player (PvP) gaming, as well as fun, online co-op gameplay. I mean, it has everything I want in an RPG set in a fantasy universe, a choice of 13 unique races and 11 different classes, a storyline that takes places in the immersive Warcraft Universe, taking characters, events and locations from previous games and incorporating them into a new story, making the plot even more griping and awesome, epic quests and battles, and fun, balanced and challenging but fair game mechanics. You can ride a dragon, for god’s sake.
Weighing in at over seven million subscribers…
The reigning MMORPG Champion, World of Warcraft was released in November of 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, four years after the successful strategy hit Warcraft III The Frozen Throne, and it is the fourth title in the Warcraft Game series (not including expansions), beginning with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 1994. World of Warcraft is the first Role-Playing Game in the series, but not Blizzard’s first foray into the genre. Their first major RPG was Diablo in 1996, which led to the critically acclaimed Diablo II released in 2000. Much of the game mechanics used in World of Warcraft came from mechanics found in the Diablo series, such as the talent tree, armor/item level, etc. But Blizzard made World of Warcraft more of an open-world RPG, with online players in one continuous world rather than a player jumping over to another players game, influencing and changing the way Role-Playing Games are made today.
Maybe for a future installment?
With WoW’s success, spawned other games similar to this Fantasy RPG, and since I am such a big fan of fantasy, a lot of these games have caught my attention recently. Games such as Allods, Age of Conan, Dungeons and Dragons Online, The Lord of the Rings Online, Tera, Star Wars: The Old Republic (and yes Star Wars is considered Science Fantasy as opposed to Science Fiction) and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. I have decided to go through these one by one and determine which is a good secondary MMORPG for me, or maybe even replacement. This month I chose Warhammer Age of Reckoning since, out of my options, it is the most similar and, therefore, comfortable.
Considering that both games are on a Monthly Fee model, Warhammer Age of Reckoning would not be the ideal second MMORPG. I dont really want to pay $15 a month for a game I really enjoy (World of Warcraft) and then another $15 for a second game that serves as secondary (Warhammer Age of Reckoning). The ideal second RPG would be on a Free-to-Play model such as Lord of the Rings Online or Dungeons and Dragons Online. For this comparison I created a Orc Warrior specializing in Arms for my World of Warcraft account, and both a Shaman and Chosen for my Warhammer Online Account.
Not a high point for the game.
I first came into Age of Reckoning excited. “Finally Ive found a game similar enough to World of Warcraft but different at the same time” I said to myself. But this changed quickly as the differences they went for were poor choices. Character creation is where I ran into my first problem. Instead of having generic classes such as Warrior or Mage belonging to certain Races (for example, in WOW only a Night Elf, Tauren, Troll or Worgen can be a druid), WAR uses a Race-specific class system. In other words, each Race has its own Class, and no Race can share a Class. This sounds fun, but can be really frustrating in the sense that there are six Races (Empire, Dwarf, High-Elves, Dark-Elves, Greenskins, and Chaos) and each Race has four different Classes (One Tank, one Healer, one for melee damage and one for ranged damage), so that makes twenty-four different classes. This makes things very difficult for a dungeon master or group leader. As a leader, going through a dungeon/raid, you need to know what skills, spells and abilities each player can perform, even if it’s just the basic abilities. It is a
tad no wait, extremely difficult for someone to learn how to support the twelve different Classes on your team and defend against the twelve Classes on the other team.
In Warhammer’s defense, no Kung Fu Panda-inspired expansion packs…yet.
The abilities of the Classes in World of Warcraft are much easier to learn and recognize. Also, enemy NPCs are more challenging and even more fun to face because their abilities come from the classes that you can play and other classes in WoW only belong to NPCs. The NPCs in WAR don’t have many abilities and if they are hard to kill, it’s usually due to their extremely high health.
One way that WAR is slightly defeating WoW is in their early “Rift-style” open quest. In each area there is quest line that is reset every 30 minutes or so, and must be completed by multiple players because sometimes they are just to damn hard. This is similar to WoW’s daily quest but is more cooperative. At the same time, WAR has less subscribers than WoW, making finding players for groups hard. This open quest is their Catch-22.
The average party size, when you need one.
There are other negatives to the game as well, such as poor quality graphics, PvP/Raid grouping hard to find, get into, etc. Overall, I found myself not liking this game, or at least not as much. I didn’t find the story as gripping as lets say the Arthas quest line in the Warcraft games. This is the game for you if you love the Warhammer Fantasy Universe, because the story is definitely loyal to the Universe, but if you are into the Dungeons and Dragons-style of RPGs I wouldn’t suggest this game. Warhammer Online also made a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), but it was quickly canceled. I think I would have preferred this version over the RPG, just because I find race specific classes work better in a MOBA and don’t work well with the modern mechanics found in an MMORPG.
WoW, one. All other MMORPGs, zero.
If you have a suggestion for the next game I should check out, let me know! Leave a comment below!
For those of you who don’t know me my name is Matt. Besides contributing to Stay-at-Home Gaming, I also run my own blog at http://projectnerdcave.wordpress.com/ I haven’t posted in a while due to factors such as work/family, but I plan on posting my first game review tomorrow. Besides “wasting” my time playing World of Warcraft, I also have recently decided to “waste” my time on building a proper Nerd Cave. What is a Nerd Cave, you ask? A nerd cave is where all us nerds can go, relax, and get our nerd on by playing video games, watching movies. and listening to music. I seek to create the ultimate Nerd Cave containing almost every video game console from Atari 2600 to PS4/Xbox One, hundreds of movies, thousands of cds and vinyls, and did I mention there will be two TVs? (The older systems look best on a CRT TV.) I also have a Tumblr at http://projectnerdcave.tumblr.com/ This is where I plan on giving details of what I am putting into my Nerd Cave, and tomorrow I plan on posting a video on Youtube. The link for this video will be posted on my WordPress blog soon. Until next time, keep gaming!