Warhammer – Or Warscammer ?

Yayyy, my copy of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector’s Edition arrived yesterday 🙂

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition titlebox

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition titlebox

The box oozes quality. Opening it revealed two heavy tomes, one a commissioned graphic novel, the other a high quality 224 page art book on the game. Along with these where the obligatory token mouse mat (cheap) and a metal miniature for the tabletop RPG fans.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector's Edition contents

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition: Artbook

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition: Artbook

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition: Graphic novell

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition: Graphic novel

I was extremely impressed.

Then I shut down WoW and started to installed it.

See, that there should have been a warning light. When the opening message on a release version features an Orc telling you the Beta server is now closed…

Half an hour later I was checking to see if the install had hung. An hour later the bar began to move. A whooping 2 hours and 7 minutes later (on a fast machine) the install finally ended.

Then went to get a 900Mb patch!

Don’t even talk to me about the registration process and the hassles I had getting it to acknowledge the serial number.

There’s also something seriously bugged about the patcher / loader for the game too.

This toss-tails over to become:

So, finally, three and a half HOURS later I can play the game. At last…

What the… please re-install???

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_34.dll was not found. Re-installing may fix this problem

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_34.dll was not found. Re-installing may fix this problem

So, I’ve paid all this money and set the 30 day timer on the game counting down – and I can’t even play it it’s so buggy. Naturally I went online to WoW and asked about – paints an ugly picture.

I am 100% positive that the clowns in charge of this got wind of the release date for Warcraft’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion (out 13.11.08) and panicked.

“Yes, yes, we KNOW it’s not ready, but we HAVE to get it out the door NOW. Once Wrath ships we are screwed. We need to hook player now…”

Family site so I’ll not say what I’m thinking, but I am utterly, utterly disgusted. I’ll comment on the actual game when – if – I get it going, but if you want my advice – don’t even think of installing this game for a month or three, because it is just not ready to ship, in my opinion.

I really wanted this to be GREAT as I’ve been a fan of Warhammer for many years and, going back to the early 80’s, even knew Game Workshop’s Ian Livingstone well enough to chat to in a bar.

To be continued…

(Minutes later)

The file itself is a give-away “d3dx9_34.dll” – DirectX

Thought about that last night but I was too miffed to sort it. Despite having an up to date DirectX install, I had to install the copy that come with the game to get it working.

Now to see what the game itself is like.

Creating a character: OK, that’s nice. Like the music too

Choosing a realm: The sort on server type doesn’t work (meh 🙁 ) and I’m not sure I like scrolling through all the server listings to find English.  Sloppy.

Sort, what sort? That's not piggin' sorted!

Sort, what sort? That's not piggin' sorted!

That you can choose the language (like WoW) should be a given mind.

World Population: Ah, the joy of logging onto a MMO and not getting hammered with spam from gold sellers. Of course, as far as I could tell, there were only two people on the server and I was one of them. Early days yet, I guess. Personally I suspect a lot of early adopters got a few hours into the ridiculously long install, thought, “Sod that” and cancelled.

Playing: It’s OK, but seems crude. You see the awe-inspiring intro’s and expect something drool-worthy. The reality seems to be some buggy graphic glitches and low quality shading and filtering. The whole thing has an unfinished feel to it. Played it for half an hour, got bored, went back to Warcraft, disillusioned. I will play the game more, obviously, but first impressions count and Mythic are out of their mind to release this unfinished product.

When I tried to play the second day – after waiting for more patches – then waiting for an irritatingly long load time – I thought it had lost my character, then I decided it has just hung. Finally (when it eventually  loaded) I realised the truth: The team that designed and signed off the character user interface need to be tarred and feathered and chased out of the games industry with a ruddy big warhammer. *SPLOTTT*

Bugs and omissions: As I said, I’d only play for 30 minutes or so before the bugs started coming out of the woodwork:

  • A graphics glitch when going up stairs that should never have left early beta.
  • Creative Labs EAX doesn’t even work, not for me at any rate
  • Even obvious things like testing the menu at the difference resolution options is flawed. That is disgusting. No way should something so basic have made it to a release version.
Can't enable EAX in user settings

Can't enable EAX in user settings

Another bug: Cant scroll to the bottom of the user settings

Another bug: Can't scroll to the bottom of the user settings

Final view: If you are a die-hard Warhammer fan, give it a few months to get fixed and then look gain. If you are used to the smooth quality of games like Warcraft and GuildWars, forget it. You will hate it. I have been looking forward to this coming out for a few years, ticking the days off on my calendar as the release date got ever closer. I played tabletop Warhammer when it came out over twenty years ago… This isn’t Warhammer, this is just another attempt at D&D with Orcs, Elves and Humans.

Blizzard set the bar with World of Warcraft – I think Mythic aimed for the cat flap… From the hassles I had even installing it, to the let down of the graphics, to the glaring bugs, everything screams that it was rushed out the door in a panic. At this point I’m not even sure I want to renew my subscription after 30 days. And if I don’t the odds are this game is an epic failure, I can see a lot of people stomping back to the store and asking for a refund and most early adopters won’t even think about renewing their subscriptions. The attrition rate for this will be huge.

My tuppence worth: Most players will see this for what it is: unfinished. Fans and customers got shafted.

  • 9/10 for the Collectors Edition (lost a point for the pathetic mouse pad)
  • 2/10 for effort
  • 0/10 for knowingly releasing an unfinished beta. Epic fail!

5 thoughts on “Warhammer – Or Warscammer ?

  1. After reading the whole “review” I can surely say that you are what they call a WoW fanboy.
    I have been playing WoW since its release and I can asure you that your beloved Wows release was many times worse that Wars.
    But after heavy patching wow became a decend game that I was playing for 3,5 years until War came out. Sure War has bugs, they are releasing smallfixes everyday to fix bugs but NOthing major and gamebreaking, nothing that can stop the fun.

    Sure, if you prefer polished pve games War is not for you. WOTLK will add many intances and lots of pieces of gear to upgrade yours and keep you playing for the next 6 months.
    But if you like PvP and you can endure some minor bugs you will love War and its real time sieges and the fact that everything you do can change the course and the outcome of war by capturing areas and moving towards your enemies capital city.

    ps. I remember playing my paladin in wow and having to relog every 20 minutes or so because the stupid seal of command was buggy and could not be used. And they fixed that in 1.9 many months later so dont tell me that wow was flawless. Even now it is not!

  2. Pttt, WoW fanboy indeed! I do like Warcraft, obviously, and Guildwars, and others, but at the end of the day, with nearing 12 million players it is the benchmark to aim for. And I know Warcraft has several flaws and a gold spam problem that is practically a pandemic, and took three years to reach this stage were it is smooth. BUT, as my screens show, there are several errors even before entering the game that should never, ever have left beta.

    My point is and remains not that it will, in time, become hugely popular – especially with pvp’ers – but that it was released before it was ready in reply to market pressures. It is also from the point of view of a tabletop Warhammer player hoping that the wealth of careers and skills would cross over. In fact the innovative approach to professions was so be a selling point in itself. In actuality it is a footnote in the back of the manual. Like it or not, Warhammer on tabletop is a rich roleplay game with a bent towards group encounters. This MMO is a pale reflection aimed towards massive pvp battles.

    And on the subject of graphics, while I prefer the more realistic warts and all of this Warhammer, they are muted, wishy-washy compared to other MMO’s. The intro is ultra vibrant, exciting, rivetingly clear, but the actual game is, in my opinion low resolution. I expected much better and overall remain disillusioned. (The voices and speech however are excellent). My friends who live for pvp like it, but even they aren’t wholly enthusiastic at this stage. That I will return to it is a given, but it will be several months down the line before I am willing to consider a monthly subscription for this. You obviously have no idea how bad it is for even the game loader to be flawed on release.

  3. Hi there great review, I am having the same dll error message after downloading and installing thorugh ea downloader, where did you get the updated file and did you have to put it in a specific place.

    Thanks

  4. Just put in the install disk and click on the DirectX, to the centre right of the circle on the menu. Only takes a few seconds to apply. Then you can play fine 🙂

  5. sorry about your problems.
    i got my collectors edition pack a few days ago and everything werked perfectly. took me about 40 minutes to install and patch.

    Hmmm … Still (myguidereviews.com/warhammer-guide-reviews/ )

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