What I Love About WAR – Part 2

I titled the last “What I love about WAR” post with part 1 for a reason. The reason: there will be several parts (supplies!). However, no one knows exactly how many parts there will be, because this particular blogger is prone to sloth, laziness and occasional weltschmerz. If you are reading this post, consider yourself lucky.

Tank Viability

I’ve only seen a few MMOs that really give a S&B tank a role in PvP and WAR is one of them. Granted, the concept of S&B over damage tanks wasn’t taken quite as far as some would like, but the adaptation of traditional tank abilities into PvP was something that I would love to see more games do. Taunt increasing the tank’s damage against that target unless hit three times was a good start, but it only really benefited dps tanks. Something like taunt forcing a retarget on the tank or increasing all damage taken by the target would probably be more in line with the role of the class.

Guard is an ability that completely changes the face of the battlefield. It gives the tank the traditionally defined role in PvP, which is to soak up damage and direct the battle. And soak up damage they do.

There’s a few other abilities that, perhaps weren’t implemented correctly, but look amazing for tanking in PvP as a concept. AoE taunt that decreases damage dealt by 30% had the flaw of being removed once the tank is hit three times, but even so it severely affected large scale fights. Similarly, tanking specific morale abilities (Distracting Bellow, Immaculate Defense) were absolutely game changing and a must to have when engaging large groups of enemies.

I would like to see S&B tanks have more tanking utility over damage tanks in WAR, but that was beginning to change around the time I left. I am not sure of the balance between the two these days.

Public Quests

Now, you might argue that the PQ system was implemented wrongly, that it was flawed and that it didn’t accomplish what Mythic set out to do. But there is no doubt about the fact that this was the first game-wide implementation of this concept we saw in MMOs. And as you might be aware, the first time any conceptual idea is put into practice is the first time you can see the flaws you failed to see on the drawing board.

As such, I’d say that the implementation of Public Quests in WAR was a successful one. The fact that it wasn’t one of the defining features of the game, unlike the advertisements suggested, can probably be attributed to the fact that this particular MMO’s focus was PvP and not PvE.

If you’d set out to evaluate the implementation of PQs into WAR as a genre defining feature, you’d surely conclude that it had far more influence than initially expected. For one, there was a whole MMO built around that idea, namely Rift. Then there’s the biggest MMO developer currently in existence figuring out ways to subtly implement this very idea (although rethought to fit the universe) into their game.

I’d say that Mythic hit the nail on the head with this one. Not to mention the fact that I enjoyed public quests. At least in the beginning, they truly were WAR’s defining feature. Until we discovered RvR, that is.


The appearance system, although implemented quite late (at least considering Mythic were familiar with it from DAoC), is something I miss in many games. The idea of retaining your favourite look, no matter what items you are actually using is something that should appeal to the core idea of MMO games in general. And yet, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of games that are actually using such a system. WAR, LOTRO, Rift. Can you name any more?

I loved hunting pieces for my character’s appearance (together with hunting for unlocks and titles) and I know for a fact that it was a thing of interest for most of my guild members. Together with dying armor, armor appearance lends to customizing your avatar which is traditionally the essence of any game that’s leaning on RPG ideas.

More of this please. And not in the form of “free to play” cosmetic additions, but rather as a part of the game that’s consciously developed to cater to a specific kind of player. Not many MMOs try to fill this playstyle niche, similar to how very few games cater to the roleplaying crowd.


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