Saturday, 21 August 2010

Warhammer 40K Online: design strategy

The Orks have begun trundling the titanium-armoured hype wagon down the hill and the community is pessimistic.

Lum is disgusted. Syncaine agrees. Warhammer 40K decided they were walking a legal tightrope and re-branded just in case Games Workshop decided to cease and desist order them. Kotaku are impressed by the hype video. Personally I thought it looked astonishingly like sci fi WoW, you could even recognise the WoW Troll and Forsaken models as well as the WoW helicopter. I also suspect it's time new MMOs stopped using the phrase "Next Generation MMO", it's become industry code now for WoW-clone. There's another video out too. In it you see heroic sci fi people killing Patchwerk and the deployment of WoW-style Harleys. In an attempt to pop one of Lum's blood vessels they boast that you'll be able to play space marines - you won't. Guess the guys making the hype don't talk a great deal to the guys making the game.

The basic problem is that while any sensible gamer would start from the premise that Warhammer Online sucked donkey balls and work towards not re-making that, these guys seem to consider themselves the inheritors of the great online Warhammer tradition of cloning WoW badly.

Maybe it was an interview question: “in your opinion is Warhammer Online the finest MMO ever made?” and if you laughed you didn’t get hired.


  1. Yeah.... I'm a lot less excited now than I was before yesterday. :(

  2. While I think it's still way too early, but no matter I am still waiting with anticipation.

  3. Well, I hope it's good. I guess even a WoW-clone could be quite fun with the 40K IP. It's an awesome IP.

  4. Honestly, WAR with PVE that didn't completely suck would have held my interest for a good long while. That was where the game really fell down for me, it was completely sub-par any time you weren't in a PvP battle of some sort. I presume the end game also sucked, but I never made it that far.

    I don't really think that it's fair to criticize games based on the Warhammer IP for haveing a WoWish art direction. Games Workshop invented that art style, and Blizzard ripped it off. Anything that is true to the IP is going to resemble WoW. And like it or hate it, the art style is one of the most distinctive features of the WH minatures game.

    The other really distincive feature, of course, is that there are a ton of different factions that all play somehwat differently. Mythic screwed the pooch really hard by trying to boil that depth down to two factions.

    All that said, I haven't the foggiest idea whether WH 40K will suck or not. WAR, in space, with three or more factions, PvE that doesn't bite monkey 'nads, and a functional endgame would actually be pretty fun imo.