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First Impressions of Warhammer Online – Part 3: Graphics and Art

by: J. F. Amprimoz ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

With over 20 years of art from the table-top game to inspire them, Mythic had a lot to work with, but they also had very high standards to meet.

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    How Does it Look?

    In a word: good. Not stellar, but enough to provide a positive gaming experience. Some are saying a little better than WoW, but no one is seeing it as comparable to the eye candy LOTRO puts on screen.

    Where WAR stands up particularly well is combat effects. They look good and are extremely varied. Their looking good helps draw you in, but they are actually useful as well. As time goes on you can figure out what is happening to yourself, allies and enemies based on what your character animation is doing and the graphic effects on the battle field. To reiterate: you can determine what your buddy is getting hit by without having to target her and squint at the icons under her name – you just see them getting hit with it and recognize it. You can do this over time with other MMOs, if you are very attentive, but WAR makes it attractive and easy. Not having to take your eyes off the fighting to look at icons is a huge boost in both playability and immersion, which is enough to take the rating from 3 to 4.

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    But Does it Look Cool?

    Here, Mythic did a great job. The gorgeous little hand painted figures and ingeniously crafted scenery from the table top have come to life in grand scale. The graphics aren’t spectacular, but your character still looks the part. Players, NPC’s, and their gear, have a great look to them.

    The terrain is also not necessarily gorgeous from a graphic perspective but succeeds in terms of expression. The first few Elf areas are literally torn asunder, with the ground jutting up and broken in massive slabs, leaving ruined buildings and sculpture in their wake, driving home the civil war nature of the High and Dark Elf conflict. The mines and sculptures of the dwarfs are spectacular in appearance and scale. There are some real wowie moments when you turn and see the dwarf version of Mt. Rushmore; let me tell you, dwarfs love carving huge faces into cliffs. The capital of the Order side, Altdorf, is where the Empire artwork gets to shine. The surreal grandeur of some areas is the most eye-catching, but the details of the narrow alleyways are just as important to the overall effect. If you think of a late medieval, large, eastern European city, as it would have evolved in a fantasy milieu, you get Altdorf.

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    Eyes Are Happy

    Though the graphics are not comparable to the best available to MMO players, they get the job done. The look of the a game is not just particle effects and super detailed textures though. Where the game succeeds is in interpreting their table-top pedigree and creating a world that conveys the scope of the conflict at hand.

    The next article discusses how the game’s Audio contributes to Atmosphere.