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When Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning first launched, it was the big contender to take Blizzards prized MMORPG World of Warcraft down from its throne as the world’s (Or atleast the western world’s) most popular MMO. Despite its excellent setting, PVP focus and cool mechanics like public questing, Warhammer Online failed to challenge Blizzard's massive online game. Since then, Warhammer Online has been on a steady decline as the playerbase continued to dwindle, both due to the lack of new content and the lack of a community around the game. In a push to renew the popularity of the game, EA and Bioware Mythic are revamping the game and changing it from a subscription based massively multiplayer online role playing game to a free to play battleground game somewhere between Bloodlines Champions and World of Warcraft’s Battlegrounds.
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is an free to play online PVP arena combat game. While the original Warhammer Online was deeply rooted and linked into the expansive lore of the Games Workshop property, Wrath of Heroes looks to be ditching that angle of the game entirely and keeps the focus firmly on the game's combat.
While Warhammer Online always had a distinct PVP focus, it’s even more focused on PVP now with the entire game being fought in online battlegrounds. Each battlefield has a number of objectives and players will join one of three teams and choose one of the games many Heroes to play as. Each team has to capture and hold objectives as well as score kills in order to bring their team victory and while the action in the game looks to be a little chaotic, it seems quite appropriate for a property like the Warhammer universe.
The Heroes are very distinct and all fill different combat roles and playstyles. They vary hugely, but fill a lot of the popular Warhammer roles. Players will be able to choose from Dwarf Slayers to Skaven Assassins and have to work together to take on enemy teams.
Another very distinct difference that the game has over the original Warhammer Online is that the game is no longer split into the differing factions. There is now simply Team One, Team Two and Team Three, with each team having access to all playable Heroes.
The scale of Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes also looks to be sadly smaller than its predecessor. Battles in Age of Reckoning were designed to feature dozens of hundreds of players on each side so it’s a shame that while Wrath of Heroes is looking to capture the feel of the Warhammer world, it certainly won’t with a hard cap of 18 players in any given battle.
There’s no word yet on how micro transactions will work, but presumably they will act similiarly to how they do in League of Legends or Battlefield Heroes, letting players spend money to customize their Heroes.
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is currently in beta and is expected to be released later this year on PC for free.