Will Heavy Metal Stem The Tide?

November 16, 2008

It’s the least surprising revelation in the world that World of Warcraft’s latest expansion has sucked many players back in, in many cases taking them away from the folds of another MMORPG. Whether this is temporary, or whether players figure they can balance more than one MMO, is up for speculation. But many WAR players, who feel as though their game of choice is under siege from defections, mixed reviews and forum criticisms, are probably putting a lot of hope in Heavy Metal and the related 1.1 content patch.

Nobody can deny that Mythic’s been working overtime in getting us some much-needed hotfixes and content improvement since the game’s launch. The game is riding out its post-beta shakedown cruise through choppy waters, but for all of the negativity, even the game’s harshest critics have to concede that they’ve made some serious headway and shown a desire to act quickly but not rashly. The game as it is today is definitely removed from the Warhammer Online of September 18th — regional chat channels, a much-improved mail system, class balances, improved loot, more of an emphasis on open RvR, more choices in general, and the introduction of live events. Yet we’ve still got a ways to go before this ship breaks out into the calm waters of smooth sailing, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether Mythic will make it there before gamers’ impressions are set in stone.

No matter how much Anarchy Online improved, even to this day you will find people who judge it solely on its botched launch and the hell-ridden months that followed. EverQuest 2 likewise had less-than-desirable initial reports that created a stigma that persists even though current EQ2 players rave about how rich and well-featured the game’s become. MMO players aren’t big on second chances, no matter how much a game’s improved — just ask the dwindling population of Tabula Rasa or Vanguard. What sucks players back in aren’t reports of “wow, this game is a LOT better than it used to be!” but fond memories coupled with hefty content additions that are well-publicized.

Enter Heavy Metal — Mythic’s counter-offensive to Wrath of the Lich King, Mines of Moria and its own critical playerbase. This isn’t just an attempt to add back in a couple tank classes to balance things out somewhat, but a huge opportunity for game PR right as the holiday season hits (and people hopefully pick up a copy of WAR for friends and family at Christmas). It’s a chance for Mythic to point at themselves and say, “Hey, we started good, with faults, but look how much we’ve been able to improve in only three short months!” There’s no doubt that the highs of expansion fervor will eventually result in the lows of expansion fatigue, and with Heavy Metal and 1.1 lodged into gamers’ recent memories, they’ll have a place to flow back into.

Yet for many, this all is moot — you’re playing what you’re playing, and a content patch won’t change that. I sincerely hope that the community embraces the Heavy Metal live event and finds 1.1’s features to their liking, and I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot more about 1.2 and 1.3 in the coming weeks and months. Players need to feel as if their MMO has a bright future ahead, not just a past, and if they have reason to believe so, there will be reason to plant deep roots and stay the course.

Thus ends my sailing metaphor.



  1. Interestingly, I just canceled, in part due to how they’ve handled the “Heavy Metal” thing.

    Here’s content that was removed prior to launch, that’s finally been implemented – and they’ve decided to gate it behind a grind. I actually really wanted to play the dark elf tanker, but I can’t bring myself to grind – on another character – for the chance to play it “early” (in Mythic-speak, I guess “2 months late” is the new “early”).

    I think WAR’s got potential, but I feel like it’s not “there” yet, and the Heavy Metal gimmick isn’t doing anything to change my mind. I might resub some time after the new classes are generally available, but it’s hard to say when that’s going to be – there’s just too much else to play right now (and I don’t just mean WoW, either).

  2. I’m not going to play either of the new classes because I already play the best tank class in the game so, Heavy Metal has nothing of interest for me. My question is: what they going to do about the boring PvE to combat WotLK and LotRO superior PvE. If Mythic had a plate for Thanksgiving it would be full of suggestions because the players want WAR to be the best. I’m cheering them on really hard. Come on Heavy Metal come on, do something spectacular. Shock and awe us! Add an epic PvE battle in with the RvR. Come on!

  3. I know what you mean. There has all ready been several people leaving the game because of bugs and CTDs. I love this game but, even I still get CTD every once in a while. I don’t know why but, Tier 2 Chaos is a crash heavy zone for me. I always sigh and know that there is going to be many crashes ahead of me when I enter in that zone to help some one.

    I don’t understand why they have to make in an “event”. Why not just release it? If we (I know am) are just biding our time until the release of the new tank classes why not just give them to us and not string us along for 2 weeks. As you said a lot of players are banking on this. 1.1 can wait but, we should not have to earn what was supposed to be in the game in the first place.

  4. I’m confused about timeing. Heavy Metal was originally supposed to start tomorrow (Monday, November 17), but we haven’t even gotten 1.05 yet. Everyone seems convinced that 1.05 comes on Tuesday, and yet I’ve seen no official announcement of that.

  5. I heard somewhere it got bumped to the 18th.

  6. On Volkmar, Tier 4 RvR has been more active than ever. WoW probably took back players who didn’t play WAR very much.

  7. I am looking forward to Heavy Metal and think it’s a step in the right direction. Like a lot of players, I’m feeling like something is missing in WAR right now and that thing is addictiveness. WAR is no where near as addictive as WoW was for me. I think Mythic in their attempt to be the “greatest hits” of MMO’s and throw away all the bad stuff has ended up with a game that is in no way addictive. I remember very clearly Paul Barnett saying he wanted to create a game that was a “total hobby experience” and I’m REALLY not getting that feeling right now. The one lesson they should have taken from WoW was how to make an addictive game and they haven’t come close.

    Heavy Metal for me is a way to give me something to do every day other than quest to lvl 40. Right now I only have 1 daily task and that is to quest to gain experience. Having something else to do would go a long way towards making me want to play the game.

  8. I think that’s really the problematic thing with WAR, its not addictive, at all.

    With wow, I was always looking at Thottbot, looking for new loot to make my char better. Looking on forums for theorycrafting on talents.

    Now with WAR, the loot is always meh or only a small increment to what you really have. And god, the sets, dont start me on that.

    And the masteries are so straightforward, not much to theorycraft on that.

    I DO love WAR, but I love it has a game, not has a MMO. Scenarios and RvR are more deathmatches to me.

    Anyway, I’ll keep my account for some months, beacause each time I play, its such a blast.

  9. I will have to disagree with most people’s viewpoints on the big bad Lich King expansion. I have a few friends who are still WoW addicts and all but 2 or 3 of them have berated Blizzard for WotLK. Too little content and still a huge number of issues are what I’ve heard in personal discussions.

    I would say that Heavy Metal will definitely help at least with interest levels in WAR. And I have to agree that those who were more casual players are the ones who went back to WoW if only for a short bit.

  10. RvR is fun but I wonder where the long term incentive is? After a couple months of taking keeps and battle objectives where is the continued draw?

    I think Warhammer needs a clearer ‘global’ overview of the status of the zones (campaign status is a footnote on the main map. We need other incentives to take keeps. Or defend them.

  11. My brother bought Warhammer Online about two weeks ago because he saw me playing and he liked it a lot. He seemed to enjoy the game as much as I do, but just yesterday he told me he had bought the Lich King and I made the obvious question “Why?”. He said that he wanted to try the new game, new areas and whatnot.

    So he re-installed WoW, he installs the expansion and he calls me over to check out the new spells and areas. I looked at him and asked “And what is the difference between this and the old game?”; he surprisingly looked at me and didn’t say a single word, obviously knowing that it is the same game, just playing on an artic-looking area.

    I’m sure that many people will come back to War, my brother being one of the first ones; the only thing that bugs me is the fact that he wasted 50 bucks just to see frozen seals and a new “Hair-style” for his Pally.

  12. I really don’t see how the Heavy Metal event is going to draw players in. I think it might keep players around maybe.

    I’m really looking forward to the content patch that adds in the two new classes more than the event itself.

  13. I’ll do my best to finish the daily’s for Heavy Metal. Won’t be too upset if I don’t finish them, I’ll have a one either way eventually.

    I’m hoping WAR is around for the long haul. I’m glad Mythic reduced the launch content. Allowed them to focus on more important issues.

    It’s a free content update. No new client purchase required. Good plan. I’ll buy a new client when they have something smoother.

  14. I’ve played wow for about a year and a half, your right it is extremely addictive but it does get boring and the fact that the burning crusade exitement was almost over i tried AoC, it sucked.

    Then atlast War came out! i played for a while and when i reached lvl 20 i realised im doing the same thing over and over do a few quests get my infuluance bar to full defend keep constantly!

    The point im trying to get accross is mmorpg players are alway’s looking for somthing new and more exciting than before, wow has more lvl’s new area’s in the new expansion where as war’s febale atempt to add 2 character’s in, and from what i’ve read off the test servers aren’t that good anyway, we need more! than that and at the moment wow is giving us that.

    i’m now seriously considering going back to wow because war is now practicaly deserted and i will think it will be like this untill war gives us somthing abit more attractive than 2 new class’s that should of been in the game anyway.

    overall i love warhammer, yes it may get a bit boring at times, but it present’s it self so well and if you allow yourself to get drawn into it then you will have alot of fun.

    but at this moment in time im not having alot of fun because i’ve bin wondering around for 1h 45mins just to get into a SC!!!!

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