Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning – a classic war-hungry PvP

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is a massively multiplayer, role-playing fantasy video game developed by Mythic Entertainment and released by Electronic Arts in 2008. The game uses the Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy conflictual world as a starting point for the gameplay that centers around the war between the Empire and Chaos entities.

Published 12 years ago, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning sold over million copies, becoming the 11th best PC game and the 13th most discussed PC game of 2008. As the license contract with Games Workshop came to an end, Age of Reckoning stops being active in 2013. However, to this day, fans run a private server named the Return of Reckoning.

War is at the focal point of the game. It focuses on RvR combat that we first saw in Dark Age of Camelot, and it revolves around the war between races. The battle consists of pairing the opponents, allowing the player to choose their race, and whether they’ll play as the Realm of Order or the Realm of Destruction.

Going further, by opting for the first one, you can choose humans representing the Empire or their allies: dwarfs and high elves. On the other side, you may select the barbarian side of humans representing the Chaos or their forces: greenskins and dark elves.

Even though the Age of Reckoning allows only two opposite entities to engage in a battle (e.g., dwarfs against greenskins), there was an option of traveling and helping other ally forces. Realm versus Realm combat includes Skirmishes, Scenarios, Battlefields, and Campaigns. Each of them had a different nature of battle and objectives. Face-offs are mostly PvP, but there is also a limited number of NPCs available.

The game uses Victory points to track and reward players’ progress in obtaining control over the given zone. After accumulating enough VPs for your Realm, the territory would fall into your hands and move you closer to the enemy.

Indeed, the system allowed a thrilling back-and-forth power struggle between the pairings, each striving to become the majority. Once they became the principal entity in a particular zone, they had enough dominance to devastate the opponent’s capital city.

Overall, Age of Reckoning faced backlash due to having a sense of incompleteness. The EA faced accusations of rushing out the release and killing the actual game’s potential because entire zones lacked mobs, NPCs, and quests. Despite that, it received overly favorable critics, and it became one of the favorite PvP addictions back in time. But what exactly made the game good or bad?

Brace yourselves. We are going down the memory lane of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

Perpetual war with an engaging PvP experience

Everything in Warhammer Online felt right: there was an eminent focus on PvP, and it was noticeable that the game was built with this intention. It provides an immersive combat system in a realm where it’s all about the war. On the other side, PvE wasn’t nearly that engaging, and it was one of the most prominent critics the game faced.

Solo adventures didn’t feel overly exciting or edge-of-the-seat. The system followed the typical structure of winning ranks and reaching top levels, but there were no surprises nor innovative elements. The public quests were, perhaps, the principal aspect generating adrenaline rush. But they required having a sufficient number of players in proximity to unfold.

Instead, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is about the allies and opponents participating in a war and contributing to it with a mutual effort. As a result, sharing the experience with friends and taking off on an adventure of destroying the enemy together was the highlight. The devs wanted you to band up with others to bring your side the highest number of points and establish dominance.

Player versus environment mode lacks the exhilarating climax that slaying a human-played monster has. Yet, with its stellar PvP system, the game compensates for being a, pretty much, let-down concerning the solo journey. What made Warhammer Online gratifying was the joy and passion of teamwork. There was hardly anything that could stop two warbands on a mission to control the territory. It was intense, meaningful, and powerful.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is generous with rewards, regardless of the mode. The game encouraged players to be blood-thirsty and to kill as many monsters as possible at any time because it would result in awards. Moreover, eliminating other players brought points, and there was a possibility of using them for buying gear and earning skills. But, the best way to earn points was through the Tome of Knowledge.

By accessing this comprehensive encyclopedia, you’d get access to one of the most valuable elements in the game: information. It would allow insights into practical knowledge, such as bestiary or quest specifics. Thus, progressing and slaying more enemies would unlock new in-game info. Some of the available titles players could earn were hilarious, such as Ow, My Eye.

The game made it smoother to navigate its world with the guidance of the Tome. It made conquesting the areas and exploring more engaging, but the quests themselves weren’t overly unique. Another issue that plagued the Age of Reckoning is that the graphics weren’t the most modern in 2008. For instance, the Lord of the Rings Online looked much better even though it was released only one year before.

That isn’t to say that Age of Reckoning wasn’t satisfying. But it certainly wasn’t the most innovative nor visually astonishing MMO at the time.

Memorable but not unforgettable

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was satisfying in every aspect. The graphics were enjoyable, there were no massive glitches nor crashes, and the gameplay in PvP mode was immersive. But the game didn’t go beyond being engaging. It suffered from choppy animations, mediocre audio, and textures.

The game was able to pull you in and inspire you to enjoy the thrills of perpetual war. But over a decade later, it doesn’t cause an overwhelming sense of nostalgia that makes it feel unforgettable.

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