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WAR Sports • Page 2

The ecstasy and agony of Warhammer Online Scenarios.

This focus on player skill as much as on character skills has inevitably led to some elitism. There's often someone barking orders or criticising failure, while Guild members will bitterly relate community tales of hopeless groups they ended up in to the rest of their WAR community. WAR's a very young game, but it only took days for the first accusations of "noob" to appear.

The Scenarios (and in fact, the game as a whole) are built in such a way that reckless pile-ons aren't entirely unsuccessful, in the same way that button-mashing pays off to a point in Tekken, but there is this lurking sense that at the high levels they'll revolve around very complex and very careful strategies. There's an element of American football's plays to it: who goes where, the best route to take, prediction of which points the enemy will charge first.

Scenarios are all built around the same rules and skills as WAR's PVE, and, refreshingly, each player-kill earns standard experience points as well as the PVP-specific Renown points, but in many ways they're entirely different games. The American football analogy applies again: what looks to a casual observer like an almighty scrum of brawling titans is (if you are in a decent party, or better yet playing with trusted guild-buddies) underlaid with careful tactics.

While it remains to be seen if WAR's somewhat rudimentary PVE (outside of the excellent public quests) remains much of a draw once its early months are over, it's very clear Scenarios aren't going anywhere. The overarching Realm-versus-Realm metagame promises to move into something similar to Planetside, a slow shift of territory ownership, but at the moment it's tricky to find a guaranteed fight out in the open world, and certainly not a balanced one.

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Capture the flag becomes 'troll pacification' in the Tier 2 Chaos/Empire scenario.

Scenarios offer definite action in large groups, something that can be time-consuming and awkward to bring about in other recent MMOs. Still, they're not as instant as anyone would like - WAR is somewhat defined by its queues at the moment, both to access your server in the first place, and to join Scenarios. An imbalance in the number of players wanting to join one can lead to huge, miserable waits - and the players' general favouring of the arguably more characterful, cooler Destruction races over the Tolkien-straight Order factions means this is happening far too often.

It may sort itself out as the initial frenzy around the game settles down and, hopefully, the sides even out. Or perhaps Mythic can come up with an ingenious way of alleviating the hanging around. Better yet, get out an expansion pack featuring an incredibly awesome new Order race as soon as possible. Lizardmen, anyone?

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