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PC Game Review

Warhammer Online
Age of Reckoning


Format: PC
EA Games / Games Workshop
RRP: £34.99
5 030930 068288
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 18 September 2008

It is a desperate time for the Emperor. A terrible Chaos Plague defiles his lands, ravaging the populace and weakening his armies. Meanwhile, the Dwarf holds in the nearby World's Edge Mountains have come under siege by a massive greenskin horde. Honour-bound by an ancient oath, the ruler of the greatest nation of men in the Old World has dispatched several regiments to assist the embattled Dwarfs, further depleting the Empire's already thin defences. In this dark hour, a new threat appears...

Under a sky darkened by a crimson eclipse, a great warhost erupts from the wastelands of the north. Bearing the banner of Tzeentch, Changer of the Ways, the army of Chaos marches south for the borders of the Empire, crushing everything in its path. With the Dwarfs fighting desperately to slow the ferocious greenskin "Waaagh!", the Emperor realises that his only hope of defeating the encroaching legions of Chaos lies with the High Elves of Ulthuan.

Upon receiving the Emperor's dire plea for help, Finubar, Phoenix King of the High Elves, sets sail at the head of a mighty fleet of warships laden with battalions of High Elf warriors.

Experience the glory of realm vs. realm. Declare your allegiance and join thousands of mighty heroes on the battlefields of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR). Invade enemy lands, besiege imposing fortresses, and sack sprawling capital cities as you carry your guild banner for the glory of your realm. Wield fiery magic and deadly weapons, battle monstrous creatures, and join your brothers-in-arms in epic public quests. Adventure and battle as one of six races to unlock the secrets of the Tome of Knowledge. Sharpen your blades and unleash your inner mutation. The age of reckoning has begun and war Is everywhere.

This game is only playable online. The first 30 days after account creation are free and then you are billed on a monthly subscription basis. For those not familiar with online subscription based games, you might be scratching your head asking why on earth you should splash out the normal cost of a game and then spend a small fortune keeping your account live online. With the cheapest way of resubscribing being to pay in advance for six months (at a cost of £46.14) that makes a year's subscription £92.28.

So, you'd be forgiven for expecting a serious game for your cash. And, thankfully, WAR delivers the goods.

This massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is, not surprisingly, one that novices should not try and tackle head on - you'll be out of your depth immediately. And while you may be able to grasp the basics, more or less, you'll need to be a seasoned gamer to really get the best out of this.

In this mighty war there are two sides: Order and Destruction. Making up Order are the Dwarves, Empire (humans) and High Elves; and for Destruction there's the Greenskins (Goblins and Orcs), Chaos and Dark Elves. Because the career structure in this game is mainly split down the divides of race, you're best of deciding what career path you want to follow, rather than choosing a race and then looking for a career within those boundaries.

The careers are broken down into the following archetypes: Tank (a heavily armoured character who's primary purpose is to cause large amounts of damage to the enemy); Melee DPS (these have more protection and staying power than a tank, but are capable of causing greater damage in a shorter amount of time); Ranged DPS (deal high levels of damage from a distance, with some having the ability to wield spells to damage multiple enemies at once); and Healer (who can heal allies as well as deal damage to enemies). Once you reach level 11 your character will start amassing mastery points which will help you specialise your career - opening up new abilities and special powers.

There are a ton of different missions to sink your teeth into. You can opt for the standard quests that anyone who loves MMORPGs will be familiar with - but then these are nothing new. Where WAR shines through is in the impressive Realm vs. Realm and Public Quests sections.

The Realm vs. Realm battles are impressive allowing you 15 mins of hacking and slashing of the enemy in a massive online battle. Even when your character is at a lowish level you can still help your side in the war by killing as many of the other side as possible. Once you are killed you respawn allowing you to continue the mayhem. And, at the end of the battle, you'll be rewarded depending on what you've achieved for your team.

The Public Quests are also engaging. Here you join with other online players to participate in quests made up of a number of stages. Once completed you'll get a share of the spoils - usually dependant on how instrumental you've been in helping complete the tasks.

Fans of MMORPGs are strongly advised to give WAR a shot. It offers a lot more than the usual skilling up and same old quests from other games in the genre. And, as time goes by, and the community grows, this will be one to watch closely.


Nick Smithson

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