Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Full Scale War

Most of the Reviews of Warhammer Age of Reckoning (or WaR as it shall forever be known thanks to some clever marketer with a gift for acronyms) have focused on its public quest system & the RvR.
But to me the game differentiates itself most starkly from its peers is the way its environments start big & get bigger. From the very 1st step your character takes its clear that you are contributing & actively taking part in something larger than yourself.
In the Dark Elf starting area the 1st thing you are greeted by is the looming bulk of one of the Black Ark's ( a city sized ship)

From The Architecture of WaR

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As the into music fades the sights & sounds of conflict surround you. The attitude of not treating its players as helpless children in need of a glorified creche as a starting area is something which should be praised, it permeates every aspect of the starting zones everything from the quests, the music, and both the regularity and speed at which new skills are earned. The game doesn’t hold back on the good stuff unlike many other mmo’s only a few minutes of starting the game you can use a siege weapon(to take pot shots at invading elf's) something which has taken WoW 80 levels.
The early Dark elf levels mainly consist of the former glories of the High Elf empire which have fallen into disuse or have been destroyed by their centuries old civil war so the 1st real 'ZOMG ITS GAWD DARN MUTHER FRIKKIN UGE!' moment has to wait a few more levels until the Griffon & Unicorn Gates of Ellyrion comes into sight.

From The Architecture of WaR

The entire Elven campaign is littered with similarly immense structures ‘you can never have enough spires’ and ‘make it taller’ seem to have been the order of the day when the high elf planning committee met with. The city of Tor Elyr, is the epitome of this philosophy.
From The Architecture of WaR

I reckon this city is perhaps the roughly same size as the entirety of Silvermoon in WoW, and although the two share some architectural styling (note to WoW fanbois: the classic GW high elf look has been around since 1992) Tor Elyr somehow feels the more ‘solid’ of the two. I’m at a loss to explain quite how it does this, as its is basically a quest area where your main interaction with the NPC’s if through the sharp end of a sword & the buildings are almost all non accessible. Perhaps indeed it is because it is the kind of area where interaction is not expected that this feels correct (of course all high elf doors are going to be locked to a dark elf).
For me a true test of a games immersion is whether or not it triggers my vertigo, Half life 2 did this with the railway bridge section & again at the citadel, but never in my time playing wow did any of various structures I scaled (or flew to the top of) did that feeling reemerge, so although i'm not sure sure I exactly was thrilled to find that the White Tower of Hoeth brought the same reaction to me, its still noteworthy it did produce a reaction.

From The Architecture of WaR

I can only find myself looking forward to seeing what the higher lvls of the game offer up.

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