Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (officially abbreviated as WAR) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy setting. It was developed by Mythic Entertainment and simultaneously released in North and South Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand on September 18, 2008. The game revolves around the continual worldwide conflict that the Warhammer Fantasy setting is known for, and the game is geared toward ongoing, constant war laced with dark humor.
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Warhammer Online Gameplay
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is a Realm versus Realm (RvR) game comprised of two separate factions: Order and Destruction. Each faction contains three separate armies, each of which is further broken down into three or four career choices. A number of careers will be gender specific i.e. only playable as a male or female character.
Armies of Order
||Though the Dwarfs once had a great empire when humans were still primitive and uncivilized, their heyday has long since passed. They are beset on all sides by the forces of destruction: primarily the insidious Skaven rat-men and the vast populations of Orcs and Goblins. The Dwarfs are a hardy, stubborn and industrious folk - considered to be amongst the greatest craftsmen of the Old World, the Dwarfs create war machines and artifacts of unsurpassed complexity, power and majesty. Dwarfs live longer than humans (several hundred years on average) and make their homes, for the most part, in great mountain fortresses called holds, many of which are constantly being assaulted by the forces of destruction. The Dwarfs hold strongly to traditions, notably their respect for long-held grudges, they along with the Empire have embraced black powder weaponry such as cannons and explosives. The current dwarf High King is Thorgrim Grudgebearer, who rules from the dwarven capital of Karaz-a-Karak, known as Everpeak to men. In WAR, the Dwarfs are paired against their long-time racial enemies the Orcs and Goblins, known collectively as the Greenskins.
||The army of the Dwarfs in WAR is known as the Oathbearers, named because of their oath of allegiance to the High King. Their duty was to find necessary materials in the most dangerous places in the world, requiring exceptional Dwarfs to undertake such a task.
||The Empire is the largest human civilization in the Old World. Founded by the first emperor, Sigmar, who is now the Empire's patron deity (though other deities are worshipped), the Empire has stood for over two thousand years. Though it has gone through periods of dismemberment, it was recently unified by the Emperor Magnus the Pious. The current Emperor is Karl Franz who resides in the Empire's capital, Altdorf. Although not as skilled in craftsmanship as the Dwarfs or in magic as the Elves, the Empire is not held back by tradition to the extent of the Dwarfs or Elves and has yet to fully succumb to any threat, external or internal. The Empire's civilization is somewhat modelled on Germany as it was during the age of reason with heavy medieval and theocratic or religious conservative influences. At the start of WAR, the Empire faces off against the destructive forces of Chaos which have already overrun the Russian-like Kislev and are encroaching from the north.
||The Order of the Griffon is the Empire army involved in WAR, formed by Emperor Karl Franz with the blessing of the Church of Sigmar, the Colleges of Magic and the Reiksguard. The Order is primarily made up of warriors, priests of Sigmar and wizards charged with defending the realm, and are answerable only to the Emperor himself.
||Skilled in the arts of magic and one of the oldest civilized cultures in the Warhammer world, the ancient and dying Elven race has taken up arms against the forces of destruction by coming to the Empire's aid. The High Elves live on a large island continent called Ulthuan and are makers of fine art, music, and weapons of war unsurpassed by the other races, with the exception of the Dwarfs. Elves live for thousands of years and are usually extremely proficient at their given role. They are grudgingly fighting alongside the Dwarfs, as the two races put aside their long-standing animosity to combat the greater threat. Many thousands of years ago, Malekith, the son of the High Elves' first Phoenix King Aenarion, was denied the throne. This led to a cataclysmic civil war the elves call the Sundering which destroyed the landmass of much of Ulthuan. Following the Sundering, Malekith and his supporters exiled themselves from Ulthuan and became the Dark Elves. The current Phoenix King is Finubar the Seafarer who resides in the High Elf Capital, Lothern. In WAR, The High Elves are pitted against their dark kin, the Dark Elves.
||In WAR, high elf characters are part of an army known as the Shining Guard, under the command of the legendary warrior Prince Tyrion. They were tasked with defending Ulthuan while the Phoenix King and his army fights alongside the Empire.
Armies of Destruction
|Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins)
||The Greenskins are a collection of Orcs and Goblins, making them unique within WAR as they consist of two races. However, with only three career options available to the Greenskins factions they are the same as other races in terms of career options. Orcs are a large warlike humanoid species, born for battle, fighting, and the occasional brawl. They live in tribal systems with the strongest Orc leading the tribe. Goblins are considerably smaller than Orcs, and are often bullied by their larger, more intimidating cousins. This has caused the Goblins to evolve into sneaky, insidious, and more intelligent creatures in order to defend themselves from their larger kin. Occasionally, a particularly powerful Greenskin leader will gather many tribes together and form what is known as a "WAAAGH!!!": a nearly unstoppable band of marauding greenskins. With the outset of WAR a new "WAAAGH!!!" is forming and once again the Orcs seek to eradicate their ancestral enemies, the Dwarfs. All Greenskins appear to be male, although they are considered to be a genderless race. Therefore, there are no gender options available to players who create a Greenskin character in WAR.
||The Greenskins are part of the Bloody Sun Boyz, led by the Black Orc Grumlok and his Goblin Shaman Gazbag. Their war with their old enemies, the Dwarfs, was manipulated by the Witch King Malekith. His intention was to start a war between the Greenskins and Dwarfs so that the Dwarfs could not come to the aid of the Empire, who would be forced to call upon the armies of the Phoenix King for aid - thus leaving Ulthuan ripe for the taking.
||The forces of Chaos are bent on corrupting and destroying everything in their path. In the Warhammer Universe, the followers of Chaos may worship one of the four major gods: Tzeentch (change, manipulation and hope), Khorne (conflict and fury), Nurgle (decay, disease and despair), and Slaanesh (excess, pleasure and general hedonism). These gods are often at odds with one another and rarely work together, although some follow Chaos as a whole and are commonly referred to as Chaos Undivided. The Human followers of Chaos generally live in the Chaos Wastes in the far northern part of the world where the energies of raw magic and chaos are strong and cause both its inhabitants and terrain to warp and mutate. These humans live in a warlike semi-tribal society, and when the time comes for war they are sometimes followed by hideous daemons from the realm of chaos. In WAR, the forces of Chaos are pitted against the Empire.
||All Chaos players will be affiliated to Tzeentch, as that is the patron deity of the Chaos force in WAR - the Raven Host. These are Tzeentch's most devoted servants, and its leader Tchar'zanek is one of the Lord of Magic's Chosen. Mainly these humans come from Norsca.
||Once High Elves, the spiteful Dark Elves have a bitter feud with their ancient counterparts. Their king, the "Witch King" Malekith, has his sights set on the throne of the Phoenix King, which he believes is rightly his. Instead of worshipping all the Elven Gods, the Dark Elves worship only Khaine, the Elven God of war, even going so far as human (and other) sacrifice while their fleets travel the world enslaving "lesser" races. The Dark Elves dwell in Naggaroth, a cold and desolate land to the north west of Ulthuan which they were exiled to after the Sundering, though WAR players will not be able to visit this area. While the armies of the High Elves are away to fight the forces of Chaos, the Dark Elves have taken this opportunity to attack Ulthuan, the home of the High Elves. Malekith also has empowered the leaders of the Greenskins, the Goblin Shaman Gahzbag and the Black Orc Warboss Grumlok, bestowing them with magical amulets of great dark power that helped the Greenskins to raise a WAAAGH! and conquer the original Dwarf capital of Karak Eight-Peaks. In WAR, the Dark Elves are racially paired against the High Elves.
Each of the twenty-two careers in Warhamer Online conform to an archetype role, though not as strictly as in many other games. For example, the Warrior Priest is an archetypal support or healer career, though he also has many melee DPS elements, meaning players of this career will have to enter combat and fight to be able to heal their allies effectively. In this way, the careers are given variety and avoid being simple reiterations of common fantasy archetypes.
There are specialization within careers, based on career mastery lines in which Mastery Points can be spent. This allows for more variation between characters of the same career.
Most careers have the option to play as either a male or female character. However, some careers such as the Witch Elf are only able to be played as one gender (female, in this case). By contrast, the Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins) are genderless, though masculine in appearance.
On July 11, 2008, Mythic cut four careers from WAR: the Dwarf Hammerer, the Greenskin Choppa, the Empire's Knight of the Blazing Sun, and the Dark Elf Black Guard. They said this was because they wanted to focus on the classes that they thought were the best realized, and cut the careers that were "good", rather than "great".
On October 17, 2008, in Mark Jacobs State of the Game address, it was announced that former cut classes Black Guard and Knight of the Blazing Sun would be introduced to the live game some time in December.
The Careers in WAR are broken down into the following archetypes:
The tank is a heavily armored character whose primary purpose is to absorb large amounts of damage, protecting their allies and handling multiple enemies at once (crowd control). Careers of the tank archetype have the option to wield a one-handed weapon and a shield for greater damage mitigation, or a two-handed great weapon for more damage.
An archetype with less protection or staying power than a tank, the melee DPS careers are able to deal out far greater damage in a shorter period of time. Lacking in ranged-damage capabilities, melee DPS careers are moderately armored and in possession of abilities which root, slow or otherwise incapacitate their intended target.
An archetype that deals high levels of damage from a distance, and often have area of effect spells to damage multiple enemies at once. The ranged DPS careers are generally lightly armored and possess some abilities that root or slow on-coming opponents, in addition to knock-back abilities. This includes both spell casters as well as classes that can use ranged weapons, such as bows or guns.
The healer archetype can buff and heal allies as well as debuff and deal damage to enemies. Healers are most effective when combining all of their abilities, rather than focusing on just one specific role.
||All Dark Elf players in WAR are members of House Uthorin, one of the noble families of Naggaroth. Their leader, Lord Uthorin, is a master of intrigue and has his sights set on Malekith's throne. But the Witch King has plans of his own.[
Specific game features
In Warhammer Online character customization is available in many forms. The initial character creation process allows players to select the race, career and basic look of their character, including facial features and accessories. Dye is available at NPC vendors for recoloring armor and accessories. Players are able to decorate themselves with trophies, such as the heads of fallen enemies, which are equipped and displayed at various points on the character model. Other forms of customization include Tactics (customizable sets of bonuses that players can adjust while out of combat), as well as Morale Abilities (increasingly powerful abilities that become available as morale is generated during the course of battle). Customizable armor and visual guild heraldry also aid in allowing a player to make their character visually unique.
In addition to visual character customization, Warhammer features an achievement system, similar to that of Steam. As achievements are unlocked, players may apply custom titles that appear beneath their names.
Warhammer Online features collision detection, a feature that is designed to prevent players from moving through other player characters. The collision detection feature works on both enemy units and friendly ones, but only when flagged for RvR combat. This feature enhances the role played by heavily armored characters known as "tanks", as it helps them become far more efficient at holding choke points and protecting weaker players in their group such as healers and casters.
Realm vs. Realm
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning features Mythic's Realm versus Realm (RvR) combat system, originally developed in Dark Age of Camelot. This takes place within three different racial pairings: Dwarfs vs. Greenskins, Empire vs. Chaos, and High Elves vs. Dark Elves. Although there are only two races per pairing, players may travel to either of the other two pairings to help fight with their friends and allies. There are four types of RvR combat: Skirmishes (random world encounters), Battlefields (objective-driven battles in RvR-specific areas), Scenarios (instanced, point-based battles against the opposing faction), and Campaigns (invading enemy lands and capital cities). RvR contribution includes both Player vs. Player (PvP) combat and (to a lesser extent) Player vs. Environment (PvE) quests so that you can assist your realm in their victory, regardless of preferred play-style.
All activities in WAR contribute to the campaign, as it is the primary focus of the game. Each of the aforementioned activities generate Victory Points (VP) which measure a realm's progress in capturing a zone. When one realm reaches a designated amount of Victory Points in a particular zone, that zone falls under their control and the war pushes deeper into enemy territory. This back and forth struggle for zone control continues until one side holds two racial pairings, and the attacking side may sack, loot, and pillage the enemy's capital city. The capture of a capital city is the pinnacle objective of the campaign. Once a capital city is taken, the attackers are given a period time to loot the city. When this period expires, the defeated players receive increasing support from NPC guards until they are able to force the attackers out of their city and close the gates. At this point the campaign then begins anew, restarting the cycle.
Keeps and Keep Sieges were introduced into WAR’s Realm vs Realm combat system during the Closed Beta phase of testing. Keeps can be captured for Victory Points towards your realm and can be claimed by the capturing guild. NPC guards are stationed at all keeps (claimed or unclaimed) to ensure that a certain level of difficulty is maintained and that, at minimum, six to twelve players are required for capture. Should players decide to defend it, the difficulty in capturing the keep will increase greatly. Keeps are decorated according to the aesthetics of the race that currently controls it; however, the basic layout will stay the same. If a keep has been claimed by a guild, it will display the heraldry of that guild. Siege warfare includes four types of siege weapons: rams for destroying keep doors, ballistae for targeting enemy players or destroying enemy siege emplacements, cannons, catapults, and trebuchets for AoE splash damage, and boiling oil to use from keep walls. Emplacements located around the keeps, known as siege pads, are used to determine where siege weapons can be constructed. The pads themselves can be destroyed by players of the defending realm, inhibiting the siege process.
Mythic also prevents the ganking of new players by more experienced players. For example, in Scenarios, low-level players may be boosted to an average level of play to ensure a more level playing field. Also, if a higher-ranked player deliberately begins attacking a player with a significantly lower rank, they will be penalised by being temporarily transformed into a chicken. The lower-level player can then move on in safety, or dispatch the chicken with one blow. No such penalty applies if the lower level player opens combat or is part of a large party, to avoid the reverse happening to high-level players.
Tome of Knowledge
WAR features a "Tome of Knowledge" (ToK) that is an extension upon similar mechanisms in many other MMOs. The ToK is a multi-purpose reference tool that is designed to provide the player with a great deal of information about the game world. It is also meant to serve as a reduction in the need for players to feel like they have to rely upon third-party sources of information pertaining to the game.
The Tome of Knowledge keeps track of all information pertaining to an individual character and their progress through the game. This progress unlocks lore-related information about quests, the gameworld itself, NPCs, and defeated mobs. For example, upon first encountering a mob within the game, a basic entry is added for that creature in the Bestiary chapter of the ToK. However, with increasing contact, kills, and associated activities involving any specific creature, the information available about those encounters will be added to the Tome of Knowledge. Likewise, the ToK keeps track of the story and progression of the character through the gameworld as they complete quests, explore the map, and otherwise accomplish activities within the game.