Before continuing I should make this distinction. This is Wrath of Heroes which is a MOBA (multi online battle arena) game produced by Bioware-Mythic to give an MMO PvP environment without having to do any real leveling. Warhammer Online Age of Reckoning is an MMO that EA-Mythic dropped support for.
History of Mythic Studios
In 2001 Mythic appeared on the MMO scene producing a title called “Dark Age of Camelot.” By today’s standards the graphics were pretty terrible, but back then they were a huge change. Everquest was the ‘standard’ in MMOs.
Everquest proved that MMOs were not only profitable, but popular. Everquest had constant full servers and did not need a lot of content development. Players were fine just doing their own thing.
Dark Age of Camelot was to be the Everquest Killer. However Funcom was also making an Everquest killer called Anarchy Online.
The two debuted in 2001 and had a very split audience. Dark Age of Camelot was considered a great success with a little under 300,000 subscribers.
In 2004 World of Warcraft is released and finally an Everquest killer is found.
Mythic at this time could not compete with Blizzard, a subsidiary of Vivendi games, as an independent studio. So the decision was made to sell the studio to Electronic Arts. It was decided that they would have to make a new game, a WoW killer.
In 2006 Warhammer Online debuted at E3. It debuted around the same time as Aion (NCSoft) and Age of Conan (Funcom). It was the season of MMOs. Today very few MMOs are debuting at big gaming conventions. Last year the only MMO to be released was Rift. Just a sign of the times.
Warhammer was in competition with its arch enemy again, Funcom. Funcom released a massive flop. Warhammer Online came a year later… and was a massive flop.
Warhammer Online and Age of Conan both sent a message to the industry, stop making MMOs. Unfortunately MMOs were no longer a cash cow. Over the years fewer and fewer MMOs have been coming out and the production of new ones was getting cancelled. Moreover the trend in MMOs has shifted to social free games with microtransactions.
In this spirit Mythic began work on two projects, Star Wars: The Old Republic (with Bioware-Austin) and Wrath of Heroes.
SWTOR was to be an MMO that played largely like a co-op single player game. The goal here was to appeal to casuals, give them tones of single player content you might find in any other Bioware game and charge a subscription. This ended up being the most successful day-1 MMO launch with over 2M sales.
The second project Wrath of Heroes was an attempt to resurrect Warhammer Online by emphasizing the main point of the game…. PvP.
Wrath of Heroes is a multi-online battle arena. The game emphasizes on PvP combat from Warhammer Online with pre-made characters.
Unlike most MOBAs this game is 6v6v6… yes three sides. The idea here is that one team will not able to just all out crush another team and will be forced to use tactics to deal with that third wheel.
The game offers three different play modes, Destruction, Capture and Hold, and Collection.
In Destruction the goal is simple, you kill other enemies. First person to a set number of points wins.
In Capture and Hold you capture points by sitting on them. After this your kill points are multiplied by the number of points you hold. So if I hold two points each kill will be worth 8 (2x2x2). There are four points on the map, one near each team’s spawn point and one in the middle in an enclosed building.
Collection is similar in that how much your kills are worth is multiplied by how many coins you have collected. Each team gets one coin to start. After this each team will try and collect all of the coins. There is one other coin in the middle.
The game comes with pre-made characters. Each one has a type and gains five abilities. One ability is an autoattack. After that the attacks vary from controlling, debuffing, healing, tanking and heavy damage. All of the characters are intended to represent archetypes in MMOs.
Much like League of Legends you will get two free characters to play. After you accumulate so much “Gold” from playing matches you can buy a new character. You get a random amount from each game but averages around 100gold per game and 300-400 gold per win. So you will need to play about 400-500 games to purchase new characters.
Alternatively a person can buy a new character for about $30 per character. There are also a few characters who are only available purely based on cash.
Also purchasable are new skins.
Each character has a leveling bar. This means that you will need to play them to get added benefits from the talent tree. From the talent tree you can slot in three abilities or bonuses. These have only a moderate effect on the game. The main effect are Perks which are unlocked quite late into leveling.
A perk is activated after getting a large number of kills in a row. As an example your team might gain 10 seconds of all dodge if you can get 10 kills in a row. These perks can play a huge role in winning battles.
This means you will need to have a strong mixture of players that work well together.
- Team Play
- Neat Unlocks
- No Clutch Moves
- Graphically Weak
This feels like it was a game designed for people who played Warhammer Online instead of for a new community of gamers. There is not a lot here to attract the vast majority of people to this game other than its familiar format. In the end the game is average. If I had to choose between League of Legends and this game, I’d go with League of Legends.
It unfortunately does not give the end game MMO experience it promises.