Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
Warhammer: Age of Reckoning was the first successful MMORPG created for the series, with previous attempts having been cancelled. Set in a medieval setting, the forces of Order, formed humans high elves, and dwarves, face off against the forces in Destruction in a never ending fight for survival. From the beginning, one of the goals of the team was to try and surpass some of the success which World of Warcraft had been able to maintain since it's debut several years ago, after it made it's own successful shift over from it's previous set of RPG-Strategy hybrids, a similar genre to what the Warhammer franchise has been involved with for several years.
The story of this conflict between the two sides begin with the existence of a Chaos plague. The plague begins at the edge of the human empire, and even though those in the empire work their hardest to fight off the plague, success is out of their reach. Unfortunately for the Empire, those who have contracted the disease shortly turn into mutants who violentally attack those around them, spreading Chaos throughout the empire.
Under the rising threat of this plague, the empire begins to unravel as the threat from within continues to grow, slowly tearing apart the empire apart at the seams.
And so our story begins...
 Integration into the Warhammer Universe
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is set in what is considered the "modern era". According to the official Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning website, "This is the world in which Karl Franz is the Emperor in Altdorf, Finubar sits upon the Phoenix Throne, and the High King of the Dwarfs is Thorgrim Grudgebearer."
 Production News
Warhammer news came from the developers, Mythic Entertainment, through a number of avenues. Frequent updates were provided during the course of the game's production.
 Developer Diaries
During production of the game, frequent updates to character designs and storylines, as well as other aspects to the game, were announced via the developer diaries. The developer diaries ran for many months during the project and remains one of the central news outlets for the game's ongoing development.
In addition to those diaries, there was also the BETA diaries, which was regularly updated during the development of the game. To this date, the podcasts continue to be updated about information during the development.
 Warhammer Herald
The Warhammer Herald is the center for news coming out of the Warhammer Online universe. Anything ranging from patch notes and updates through events could be found there, as well as all incoming news about the game.
 RSS Feed
A series of RSS feeds for both those interested in Warhammmer Online: WAR, or those who are currently playing it, may be found here to assist those who want to keep involved in updates. Alternatively, GameGrep, a subsite of Neoseeker, also consistently brings a the breadth of Warhammer gaming news to the public!
The races of Warhammer Online may be split into two defined sides, those of Order, and those of Chaos, the two sides at constant war with a racial enemy on the other side. Classes of characters were further broken down for each race.
 Racial Enemies
Each of the races in the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning universe has a specific racial enemy. Those who are human have a racial enemy in the form of Chaos. The High Elves have a racial enemy in the form of the Dark Elves. The Greenskins and the Dwarves are also mutual racial enemies. While each of these races will fight on the side of Destruction or Order with their allies against their enemies, there are specific races for reach which each side has specific racial dispositions towards.
These racial wars are built on in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, as each realm shows how the battle between those races against their racial enemies fares on individual servers. Information on how the battle proceeds may be found here.
As much as different races have enemies, they also have allies. Players who choose any of the three races on the same side on the same serve may play together, and support each other's endeavours. Since no race is restricted to their own home, each player is allowed to be with his allies or assisting them as they see fit.
Gameplay in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was an MMORPG based system, allowing for both Player versus player and player versus environment gameplay. However, realm versus realm is very central to the game, as different factions continue to fight until one side or the other claims the capital of the other side. Real versus realm can begin as soon as someone enters the game. Players chose to play as a member of one of six races, with numerable general and specific classes available for use in each of these sections. Many of the staples of MMORPGs, such as dungeons, guilds and quests are available and built upon with new features in Warhammer Online.
The maximum level which can be achieved in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is level 40, although there are varying items and quests which continue well on beyond reaching that level, increasing abilities of player characters beyond what levels alone will achieve. While this amount of levels is considered lower than some other games out there, the developers of WAR feel that it will not impact on the length of the game, given the content found within thereof.
Combat within Warhammer Online: Age of Recknoning is not turnbased.
 Tomb of Knowledge
The Tomb of Knowledge was a new feature not seen in mainstream MMORPGs before. Some believe that this tool was emulated into new features which Blizzard incorporated into their hit MMORPG, World of Warcraft, the most popular current MMORPG. The Tomb of Knowledge provided a way for you to keep track of ongoing quests and knowledge which are attained as you continue on your way through the storyline and the quests in the game. This central knowledge base also provided a depth of information not often seen in modern gaming, such as myths, stories and lore gathered during the game which can be read at your leisure. While not necessary for the completion of the game, the stories and myths provided within do build upon the lore of the Warhammer universe, and do provide new insight into the past of the kingdoms which players are fighting for.
While this is a big step forward for game knowledge in a universe which has survived and prospered for roughly 25 years, the developers have stated that previous knowledge of the lore is not necessary to get involved in any aspect of the story, including the Tomb of Knowledge.
 Looting System
When fighting other players in combat, the victor will be able to claim the loot of the win. This loot will not be drawn from the items of the loser, but rather, will be generated upon their death. No loot is given in particular during Realm wins, when one realm defeats the other, although there are many positive side effects to one side successfully winning a campaign, such as gold or armour from fighting enemies. Realm wars also offer positives in the way of being rewarded with "Renown".
The Renown system was designed to allow for reputation bonuses when fighting against the enemy realm. Doing so will gain you levels in a seperate ranking system which is capped at your character level. This system also dictates what awards a player will get while leveling up through these ranks. Renown can be gained through most actions considered positive in the fight against enemies realms, ranging from defeating enemy players to to zone control.
Successfully defending aspects of your realm will also gained you points in this system, and help you level up further, meaning that not only offense, but defense is also supported by this system.
Realm versus realm can begin immediately upon beginning the game, although without leveling up the bonuses gained through the Renown system will not be as rich for those who are at a higher level.
Morale is a combat based system which charges up the more you fight. As you fight more, the morale may be used for increasingly stronger "charge up" abilities which can sway the direction of combat, depending on the abilities which you have provided your character.
 Action Points
Action Points are much like morale, but are a set resource which will slowly rebuild in amount on their own. These points can be used to use special, powerful abilities of your character in battle, but one must be warned that they build up slowly and it will take some time for your character to recover them. If you are overly trifty with them, you will never make proper use of them, but if you use them too often you might find yourself in a tight corner with no way for you to use these abilities to help you.
Luckily for those prestidgous users, while they do take time to reenter your Action points pool, the regeneration of these points is rather expedient, allowing not too long a wait time between battles before you are fully charged again, if you even need the entire pool in any given battle.
Much like "script" systems common in many RPGs and MMORPGs, or the Gambit system in Final Fantasy XII, the Tactics section allows you to set up your character to act in a certain fashion by default. Through this sort of menu, you may set your character to react a certain way given a set of circumstances, and without you specifically ordering it, but default, the character will try and do it. Your own commands will override tactics.
 Media Reviews and Reception
Even though the game initially began with a very positive amount of growth, not too far after that, the amount of registrations began to plateau. In recent months, such projects as the Re-Enlistment Campaign, which are inviting previous players to rejoin the game, after a large amount of additions were developed for the game.
 Gamer Scores
As gamers around the world turned out to buy the game, overall, the game recieved fairly positive reviews from users. However, dreams of this game surpassing World of Warcraft look to be very far from fruition. Scores from gamers on sites such as IGN and Gamespot have had consistently lower user scores then what the game recieved from game reviewers.
 Media Scores
Media response was very positive for the game, many of the scores being fairly close to perfect, or at least rating the game as one of the best released in that year. Most game reviewer's espoused the game's excellent versatility when it came to what you could do inside the game.
IGN was one of the more positive reviewers of the game, providing the game a 90% score, very high for any game.
Visually, the game doesn't push the graphical boundaries of PCs, but then it doesn't have to. A good art direction can substitute for razzle-dazzle, and the world of Warhammer Online is a diverse one. From the massive stone valleys of the Empire capital Altdorf to the mountain home of the dwarves, the grassy plains of the elves, there's a lot to see. Monsters are appropriately fearsome, from the hydras to the ugly and brutish trolls. Warhammer Online has a bright color palette, one that feels a bit out of place if you come to think of Warhammer Fantasy as a grim, muddy kind of world, but that's a minor quibble. The audio is adequate, but it doesn't really leave any kind of mark. It's hard to recall even a single melody from the game, and for the most part the audio concentrates on the atmosphere, from the rustle of leaves in the wind to the clop of horses' hooves on stone.
Eurogamer's three page review ended up with a respectable score of 8/10, still slating it as a very good game on the market.
Mythic has dutifully done everything it needs to to compete with Blizzard's jack of all trades and master of most. Crafting is weak, and dungeons - the small, instanced experiences that really cement the group dynamics in an MMO - are frustratingly rare, but aside from that WAR does it all, and does it well. That said, you can very easily tell which parts of this grand enterprise Mythic's heart was in, and those parts - RVR and Public Quests - are completely thrilling, and surprisingly accessible.
But they're also fragile. They're at the whim of an unpredictable player base and a hundred other factors besides. They're utterly dependent on en even balance between the two realms on each server - and at beta stage, there's a worrying bias towards Destruction on all servers. That means that, until it's been out in the wild a while, this extremely well-made and highly enjoyable MMO remains unproven. And it remains - until our first re-review, at least - one step short of true greatness.
Gamespy gave the best score possible to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, giving the game an Outstanding rating, which is 5 stars out of 5. While disappointed at the lack of voice chat, balancing issues and some technical problems, the positives such as public quest systems and community aspects helped land the game amongst the best of the best.
There are individual elements of Warhammer Online that merit praise, but the game's greatest achievement is actually the integration of its PvP, RvR and PvE experiences into a consistent whole. The "meta-game" of Warhammer Online is the constant state of war between Order (Dwarfs, High Elves, Empire humans) and Destruction (Greenskins, Dark Elves, Chaos humans) to dominate enough of the game's landscape to open the enemy's capital city to looting and pillaging. Everything in the game from basic quests against NPC mobs to instanced PvP battles called "scenarios" to open-world RvR struggles over fortresses in the middle of the landscape all contribute in various ways to that struggle. Even better, players are involved in it from the first moment their level one character appears in the world until their level 40 character goes on their first city raid. Mythic has essentially dropped the early-game "leveling process" in favor of an MMO that's pretty much all "endgame."
In Warhammer Online this sense that "war is everywhere" comes through in myriad ways. The graphics do a great job bringing the world of Warhammer to life in ways both gross and subtle. The game's opening zones, for example, are filled with atmospheric details that throw you into the Warhammer mindset immediately. The Empire opening area takes place during a full-fledged Chaos assault on a small town filled with explosions and cannon fire. As the player works his or her way through the world, there's always something beyond just NPC mobs to indicate the war, whether it be as big as a burning windmill or the old bone fragments that litter the ground.
Game's Radar tossed up a four page review, giving a 9/10, citing excellent gameplay and sounds for the score but saying that the game fell short of being the revolutionary MMO they were looking for, with too many grind aspects and handholding aspects apparent during gameplay.
Similarly, despite their geographic separation, the PvP and the PvE are very much thematically intertwined – you’re always fighting against the opposing faction, whether it’s an NPC, a player or a mixed army of both. Maybe it reduces the variety a little, but it definitely strengthens the sense of purpose, and when you do take those first steps into RvR they feel natural and in keeping with the monster-bashing. Aside from that calamitous beta launch and the occasional minor bug, what WAR also is, or at least seems likely to be from where we’re standing, is the most polished, complete MMO launch in history. With proper PvP and PvE there from the off, a vast choice of classes and a hatful of new ideas, it makes the likes of LotRO and Conan seem like footnotes, and even WoW’s initial launch seems pedestrian by comparison.
Its similarities to and improvements on WoW – most especially in PvP – make it the natural next home for anyone either dispossessed by Blizzard’s effort or who has held out from all MMOs in the hope of something a bit meatier. Playing Warhammer Online, it’s easy to forget that this game stems from a hobby so often accused of nerdiness. It shares design values, fiction and certain concepts with the Warhammer tabletop game, but really it’s only the name that binds them. Conan was supposed to be the so-macho MMO, but against this it seems a bit Sealed Knot. WAR is war. The associated intensity of this means it probably won’t pick up anything like the audience WoW has, but it will get a large one. And a very, very satisfied one at that.
8.5 out of 10 was the score which was given by Gamespot. Although they loved the gameplay, they found crafting to be unbalanced, had a fragmented player base and the PvP aspect was too detrimental to those looking to solo.
But you came for war, and whether you want to get in the thick of the action or support your groupmates, you'll find that the Warhammer universe is a natural host for your bloodthirst. First, you choose a faction: Order or Destruction (guess which is good and which is evil). From there, choose an army (Dark Elves, Empire, and so on) and a career. Both sides offer the usual suspects, such as healers and tanks, but there are some nice additions for each class. Engineers can summon a turret to aid them from a distance; Disciples of Khaine siphon health from enemies to heal allies; and sorcerers are capable of dealing heavy damage--at the risk of killing themselves. Physical customization isn't particularly deep, but various tattoos and other options help distinguish you from the hordes, even if the simple options and visual similarities of various armor sets can sometimes make all players of a particular profession look eerily alike.
Warhammer Online makes a superb first impression. From the moment you begin, a starting quest encourages you to participate in one of the game's keystone PVP scenarios. You can join a queue for a level-appropriate scenario from almost anywhere, and once enough players have signed up, you're whisked away to the battlefield. Most of these matches are variants on Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and so on--but with enough twists to make them feel clever. For example, in the Stonetroll Crossing scenario, teams attempt to capture an item called a troll pacifier from the tall plateau at the center of the map and deliver it to three locations to appease the cranky trolls. In others, you may capture control points or take and hold a central platform--usual stuff to be sure, but with small twists that make each one feel unique. Regardless of which maps you play, most scenarios are chaotic in a good way. You'll always be on the go, from chasing a flag on the move to charging for the opposing healer, and the flurry of colorful spell effects and the din of clanging metal enhance the excitement.
 System Requirements
|OS: Windows XP/Vista||OS: Windows XP/Vista|
|Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent||Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent|
|Memory: 1 GB (Windows XP) or 2 GB (Windows Vista) RAM||Memory: 1 GB (Windows XP) or 2 GB (Windows Vista) RAM|
|Graphics: 128 MB RAM with Pixel Shader 2.0 (ATI 9500 or above/for Windows XP only: nVidia FX 5900 or above)||Graphics: 128 MB RAM with Pixel Shader 2.0 (ATI 9500 or above/for Windows XP only: nVidia FX 5900 or above)|
|Hard Drive: 15 GB of Hard Drive space||Hard Drive: 15 GB of Hard Drive space|
|Other Requirements: Intel(R) Extreme Graphics GMA X4500|