For some time now, I’ve been planning to write a post on this topic. This discussion thread on mmorpg.com nudged me into finally doing it.
I’ve been a gamer since the earliest days of anything that can properly be called “gaming.” My first video game was Pong. My first computer was a TRS-80. My first role-playing game was “blue book” D&D. My first anime was Macross. I’m the original paleogamer.
I played all the great Games Workshop games; Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40,000, Space Hulk, Blood Bowl, and Talisman. Chaos Marauders is one of the greatest games of all time, and I still play it.
I’ve also followed the efforts of the Blizzard folks, who have yet to release a bad game. Lost Vikings 1 & 2, Warcraft 1-3, StarCraft, Diablo 1&2, and World of Warcraft. Hell, I even played StarCraft: Ghost at Blizzcon.
That said, I can assure all you young Padawan gamer n00bs that Warcraft is a direct and obvious rip-off of Warhammer. I have been informed by a reliable source that in the beginning, this was intentional — Blizzard and Games Workshop had an abortive relationship. But much if not most of the look, feel, and characterization of the Warcraft universe was at least inspired by the Warhammer universe.
Am I criticizing Blizzard in saying this? Nah. It’s really not a big deal. It’s all just a rip-off of Tolkien anyway. And Blizzard has certainly developed the Warcraft franchise into its own original, massive creative endeavor. The two legendaria have evolved in different directions; the Warcraft universe features serious storylines intermixed with light comedy and anachronisms, while Warhammer is noted for dark comedy in a grim and gritty world. At this point, saying that Azeroth is a ripoff of the World of Warhammer is just sniping.
What’s annoying is when uneducated howards, munchkins, n00bs and trolls complain that Warhammer Online rips off World of Warcraft. You know, because WoW was published first. Let’s ignore the fact that each game is part of a legacy of games.
They also complain that WOAR’s control scheme mimicks the WoW interface. No god, I should hope so! WoW has the best interface of any MMO I’ve played to date. Please, MMO publishers, steal WoW’s interface. I’m begging you.
In conclusion, WoW is a great game, indeed my favorite game of the moment. But it’s a rip-off of Warhammer. And I am very much looking forward to Warhammer Online.