With my new view of hobby elements and how much of that salt I needed for my MMO diet, I had to take a look at Warhammer Online. I have to hand it to the guys and gals at Mythic Entertainment because the hobby elements in Warhammer Online were very different from the elements I was used to in other MMOs. It was another type of hobby element that eventually turned me away: players as content.
That’s right. I am taking an indefinite break from Warhammer Online. I was signing on less and less, and when I did sign on I was never getting that momentum to keep going. Others got to write their goodbye posts, and I am too, while trying to incorporate it in to the hobby elements series of posts.
As far as hobby elements goes, Warhammer Online was fairly light. Leveling is at a greater speed than most. Good items are easily obtained. The death penalty is light and easily removed. Grouping is possibly the easiest of any MMO. Yet, the problem I had was that Mythic removed so much of the hobby elements only to add in a different one. The MMO required other players to work as intended.
I first noticed this when I was starting to lag behind in the great forward push to max level. The public quests that I was happily moving through were starting to get empty. Unless the public quest was next to the respawn point, the players were not participating. Eventually, as I started on Tier 3 content, players at public quests were not there except on the busiest nights of the week. The same thing happened with RvR. It was taking more and more time to find some active PvP, and the game was not meant to be a PvE game.
The fun I did have was excellent. I really liked the class design. I generally liked the balance. I loved public quests, and I think that public quests are Warhammer Online’s best contribution to the slow progression of MMOs. And, RvR when it expanded beyond undefended keep sacking was truly the crown jewel of the game.
All in all, though, I believe Mythic created a niche MMO. The players who stick to the game through a whole year must be dedicated. It was pretty hard for me to play Warhammer Online casually because the player density was just not there.
I think it is really hard to make a PvP-oriented MMO worthy of a subscription. I think that most players need to find the subscription MMOs they play are worthy of being a hobby. Warhammer Online contained a massive pushmi-pullyu in requiring dedication enough to pay monthly and enough players to fill the content. It’s nearly the equivalent of an MMO prisoner’s dilemma: if everybody pays and stays the game is more fun (like it was in beta and the first month of live), but if people start leaving and taking their subscription money elsewhere those that stay have less content.
In the end I think that Warhammer Online will be successful enough to retain a strong, hostile niche of players.
it’s judgment that defeats us