Wiki Mania!September 12, 2008
A long time ago, in the wilds of May 2008, I asked a simple question: do we really need so many Warhammer Wikis on the internet, and which one will become the accepted standard? I left the question unanswered, mostly because at the time the beta information was tip-top secret and any wikis out there had very little room to grow.
Flash-forward to now: September 2008, mere days before Warhammer Online’s grand launch. Some players will enter the game either deliberately or unknowingly ignoring the stockpiled information in the various WAR wikis, but others will look to arm themselves with information — which G.I. Joe assures us will win 50% of our RvR battles. How have the wikis developed, which offer more to the average player looking for everything WAR-related, and how do I rate them? Let’s take a look.
HammerWiki – Possibly the oldest Warhammer Online wiki out there, HammerWiki’s staff of six oversees 1,676 articles (as of this writing), along with 9 “featured articles” on the front page. The sidebar menu, with drop-down (or drop-sideways) options, works very smoothly. Less praise is reserved for the wiki pages themselves — the formatting often seems “off”, particularly when graphics are involved, and many of the pages are still pretty bare-bones in terms of information and scope. For example, career pages still seem cut ‘n pasted from the official Warhammer description, suggesting that not a lot of editing has happened since the NDA drop. A good resource with potential to be a lot better — if the community gets behind the wiki and expands it. Rating: B
Warhammered Wiki – The dark theme and utilitarian front page should be an indication that this is very much a wiki in its infancy stages. Don’t expect a great amount of articles, or anything above commonly-known information. I’m not sure how much this wiki is being worked on, but it definitely has a ways to go. Rating: D
The War Wiki – The War Wiki and the WARpedia (see below) both share the look and structure of the much-admired WoW Wiki — and that is not a bad thing, in my view. The front page of the War Wiki is a straight-forward table of contents, along with a counter that’s tracking the (currently) 886 articles it contains. The upshot of this wiki is its ease of use (great cross-indexing) and clean look; the downside is that most of the article pages I checked out are minimal at best (lots of cut ‘n pasting), or “placeholders” at worst. It does give the feel that it’s being actively worked on, so there’s that “potential” again. Rating: C+
ConflictWiki – Disclaimer: you have to register an account with Warhammer Conflict to view this wiki (I’m really not a big fan of sites that require me to register an account, mostly because I end up with dozens of easily forgettable user names and passwords). ConflictWiki is very much a pet project of the Conflict community, sporting 343 articles over a wide range of topics. This isn’t a wiki for those looking for usable game information, so much as a wiki dedicated to the lore and backstory behind the game. Rating: C
WARpedia – Like the War Wiki, WARpedia shares the same format — I personally think they’re twins. There’s a bit more on the front page, including a featured article and the video of the trailer (nice touch). 732 articles do a nice job of covering the game and its mechanics, but, once again, there’s a lot of room for improvement. It needs more cross-indexing, fleshing out of the articles, and a bit more of a professional/formal tone and less of an informal/chatty tone. Rating: B-
Allakhazam’s Warhammer Online Wiki – I’ve never been a huge fan of Allakhazam’s sprawling game presence, which is often clunky and annoying to access. I find the same in their wiki, which is missing huge chunks of info when you click on certain links. Pass. Rating: D-
Warhammer Geek Wiki – The brainchild of the Warhammer Geek boys, this wiki is coming along (856 articles) and is laid out with the gamer in mind. Design is one thing, but content is another, and the Geek Wiki appears to share the same lack of serious, in-depth info that I’ve noticed in the other wikis. Lots of placeholder pages. Rating: C
Ten Ton Hammer’s Warhammer Wiki – This is actually just part of the overall Ten Ton Hammer Wiki, and looks like something straight out of 1996, to be honest. With all its resources, TTH should either put up or shut up with a WAR wiki. Rating: F
WARDB – This isn’t technically a wiki, falling more into a straight-out server-side database, but it contains a lot of info and data compiled from the userbase over the past couple years. The product of the Warhammer Alliance staff and community, as well as Curse.com, the WARDB is great if you want straight-up numbers, locations or lists of items, NPCs, spells, quests and so on. In this way, it’s a lot more similar to WoW’s Thottbot or WoWhead. You won’t be finding detailed writeups on how the game works, what the classes are like or anything like that — this is strictly a reference guide, falling outside of the wiki-universe. I won’t rate it because of this, but it definitely has its place as a resource tool for the WAR gamer.
So what have we learned? As of right now, I’m comfortable saying that we’ve yet to see “the” definitive Warhammer Online wiki — HammerWiki comes closest, but even that needs a lot of work. I didn’t write this article out of a desire to put down the efforts of any of these wikis or their staff — there’s obviously a lot of passion here — but I am surprised that there’s yet to be a frontrunner in this area. It does validate my theory that the community would best be served by people banding together to put their efforts behind one GREAT wiki instead of numerous so-so wikis, but I’m willing to give it another six months to see how these current wikis grow or die after the game is launched and the information pours in.
(Are there any Warhammer Online wiki’s I’ve missed? Please, let me know!)