Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Things

Continuing in the footsteps of of Bootae and Gaarawarr (and not Martha Stewart, who runs a column every month with the same name), I too will attempt to list my 5 favourite things about Warhammer, with perhaps if I'm lucky, a spin on why my whole family enjoys it.

1. The artwork
I am continually astounded by the artwork in this game. Each of the pairings have their own perfectly realized settings,architechture, monsters and quests, and even style of quests. I love the quirky, sometimes silly greenskin content as well as the blustering dwarves and their scottish accents and constant invitions to have a drink. All the chaos-imbued lands make me actually shudder, especially when I come across a bloody great eye embedded in stone or a series of those creepy floating stones or even just the unnaturally glowing runes carved into trees. The struggling human side makes me sad, or mad, or something that gives my KOTBS a purpose. Elven lands and their darker side are just that -- pretty, nature-y places with unthinkably beautiful architecture, and the despoiling of the same.

But the best part of the art is the attention given to staying true to the Games Workshop original art, by which I mean the avatars and monsters in the game. Hubby and I long ago used to paint Warhammer miniatures (and even played the tabletop game once or twice). Now our armies happen to be ones not really currently in the game (mine are wood elves and his are undead -- so I'm guessing we'll see more of his guys soonish with the whole Land of the Dead, and I'm keepin my fingers crossed for a new player race of Wood Elves somewhere down the line). Interestingly enough, all that long time ago (like almost 10 years ago), we have painted miniatures that we have actually seen in the game.
For example:

This guy vs this guy:

or this cool scorpion and its counterpart:

some of hubby's skeletons and a few in WAR clamouring for my attention:

and some of our most recently painted Skaven and an in-game version.

So whenever we come across monsters that are really cool, I really, really -- ok, even another really -- want to paint them. (I have a list *, and it keeps on growing.) Even though I don't play a chosen, I want to paint one. I found a miniature that comes closest to my shadow warrior and I want to paint it up in the colours my shadow warrior has. We are lucky to have a Games Workshop close at hand (in the mall we frequent) and I carefully survey each blister pack looking to add to my "to paint" list, or to my mental inventory of ones we will buy should we ever have time to paint again. We've even got the kids painting, or at least started (with the two free Space Marines they got last time we stopped in to have a look-see).

2. The ease of playing
Now this is mostly from the point of view of a parent watching/helping a youngster play the game, but own point of view (which I'll get to later) is not really much different. I like that the girls can easily find quest givers, and a
re starting to get the hang of looking for the red outlines on their map and mousing over to see what they need to accomplish there. I like that that the Tome (oh I love the Tome!) keeps track of all the quests for you so you can go back and read the text if you need to because you missed something in the steps of the quest, or by blithely accepting quests without reading the quests. I'm mostly talking about my youngest here, but I do it myself lots of the time.

I know that some people think that dumbing the game down detracts from the game experience, and while I agree to some extent (I, for instance, loved talking to each and every person in Norrath --EQ1 days -- trying to see if they had something for me to do or if they were the person I was supposed to find), I find that these days, with my limited play time, I like that I can quickly knock off quests without all that depth. Also, when we go for days (sometimes even a week or two) without logging on, I love that
my map and my quest log are still showing what I was working on last and what I still have to do, so it doesn't take a lot of time to get back into the game.

3. The depth to the world
Ok, so having read #2, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I also love the depth of the world. The rivalries between the sides of the pairings; the insight gained when you actually read the unlock you just got; the hidden quests that add an
other dimension. I really do love these, especially when I have time to just explore the world and go my own pace. It doesn't happen often, mind you, but I love that when it does happen that I have time, I can dive more deeply into the world and come up with meaning for what I'm doing.

4. Chickens

I think this
is sooooooo hilarious. The first time it happened to hubby, we had no idea what was going on. Literally, we stood around wondering what kind of spell could do that to somebody. It took a while, but when we did manage to figure out that he had levelled to 12 and realized the built in mechanic, we laughed long and hard. I haven't had loads of time to run around and do the lower tier scouting quests as a chicken, but I thoroughly enjoyed the one time I did do a chicken run. I loved Garawarr's epic post of his day of running all the Empire PQs along with the descriptions of various people turning into chickens along the way. I even -- get this -- love the sound you make as you run/fly around. Go try jumping as a chicken. Very amusing :)

5. Titles
The first game in which we actively tried to acquire titles was LOTRO, and they have quite a few nice ones. I remember being especially proud of getting my Sherrif title on my hobbit, though I was a bit upset about the spelling, being a Tolkien purist. Warhammer though, upped the ante on the sheer overwhelming number of titles that you can acquire in the game. And while some of them are a bit boring, most are very nice, and a good number are fairly easy to get, especially if you have a cheat sheet. Liena has my favourite so far (for her character) -- which is Heritor of War. It was an easy unlock (and stumbled upon by accident, mind you), but what I like about this title -- it suits my idea of her character, and it's fairly unique.

In fact, with the sheer volume of titles so far, more people have unique monikers than I've ever seen in other games. A chosen title can give you a bit of an inkling about the character or even the player's personality. I sometimes change them around to suit my mood as well. For instance, for St. Patrick's Day, I dyed all my characters' armour green (dye is my #6 fav -- both the ease and the fact that the colours are named after actual GW paints) and gave them all the title "The Green", just for the day.

The first title my girls go for as soon as they can is "Skeleton Hunter" (another easy, but usually bypassed one), though they really love to see that they get new titles when they're doing stuff. In fact, one of my oldest's favourite things about her foray into scenarios was the lightning fast updates of titles she got as she got killed repeatedly in the first few minutes.

Sooooooooooo... Those are just my 5 favourite things about Warhammer Online, and I could probably go on with more. I'm sure others have their own favourites too. It just goes to show that it's not all grumpy nay-sayers out there. They're just usually the most vocal.

* For those who are keeping tabs, here's the list (so far) of the mobs I want to paint/try to find so that I can paint them:
  • All the trolls -- I love the trolls
  • Flamers/horrors
  • A chosen, mounted A shadow warrior
  • A Knight of the Blazing Sun (note that we have about a dozen mounted Bretonnia knights, but none of them look like my KOTBS)
  • A Dwarven Runepriest (see how I spelled it all together Dont?) -- for my hubby
  • Squigs! (I have a herder)
  • Night gobbos -- I love these guys
  • That humongous guy in the arena in IC, with the skulls all over and that enormous chain
  • A lobber
Yikes, I could keep going on forever, this is the first time I've tried to write down the list that's in my head. I'll stop here though -- you get the idea.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I agree with #4, questing as a chicken in WAR is almost as good as questing as a chicken in LOTRO. In fact, I think this is a new metric by which I will measure all MMOs in the future!