PC Gamer UK has posted an extensive review of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, giving it an enthusiastic 9/10.
Its Realm vs Realm aspect is a river that runs deep, not a superficial trickle of extra features. It isn't MMO v2 by a long shot, but it is a response to rather than simply an imitation of WoW. As well as incorporating Mythic's own
RvR concepts from Dark Age of Camelot into a current-gen game, it's identified much of what has and hasn't proved successful in the last three years of MMOs. As a result, compared to all the other post-WoW MMOs, WAR is both dramatically more ambitious and an odd admission of failure on the entire genre's part. Where others have tried to set themselves up as huge worlds full of discovery and mystery, a place for adventurers, this is perhaps more cynical.
Most people don't want that, as evidenced by the likes of Thottbot.com. It was never hard to work out where to go and what to do for an MMO quest, and even if it was, you could always ask other players the risk of someone calling you a noob aside but the last few years have proven that a lot of people don't want journeys of discovery. They want constant achievement and progression, and they don't want to get lost or confused in the process. If WAR were a buffet, it would have a neat little label in front of each plate stating exactly what's in it, how many times you should chew it, and directions to the next plate.
It's not that the game is easy or moronic, but rather that a philosophy of no time-wasting underpins it. Everything is clearly marked on the map, tracked on the HUD and written up at length in the Tome of Knowledge. Throughout the game, giant messages spam your screen, forever keeping you aware of exactly what's going on. The more organic carnage of RvR scuffles aren't quite as prescribed, but even so to achieve the larger goals you need to grab precise locations and monitor a tidy little list of exactly how many NPC guards are left to kill. Even the siege machinery is limited to a fixed number of '˜siege pads' this is no organic war, but more a sport with specific rules and specific goals. There are two good reasons for that: balance and focus. It might be artificial, but it keeps things fair and thrilling.