Warhammer Online in 2021

After actually first forgetting to add Return of Reckoning (the private server that still lets us play Warhammer Online today) to the list of MMOs I’ve been playing in 2020 I realized I hadn’t played the game in quite some time and went to check it out again. I have been playing it in 2020, so it deserves to be on my list of MMOs I played and enjoyed. I left because my runepriest had made it to Tier 2 and that’s where major changes from the live game come in. I was too intimidated and confused and decided to read through the game’s forums to see what exactly has changed and how to continue playing my character later… later never came… until that blog post made me remember the game again.

Now I am marginally wiser than before. I already knew that Tier 2 to Tier 4 were combined and characters leaving Tier 1 (starting with level 16) get bolstered to level 40. But if all the previous T2 to T4 zones are for everybody now, where and how do I get gear? Now I know that I should always make sure my gear is up to date, so the bolstering works well and that there are renown vendors that sell green items. I also read about fort mechanics which were changed from the live game… and I think I will stick with instanced scenarios for a while. I haven’t found a fitting guild yet for any of my characters and running solo through open RvR isn’t always a good idea. Thankfully, these scenarios are usually rather fast which works well with my hand issues as it doesn’t put too much strain on it and I can just play short sessions with breaks in between.

MassivelyOP is also running a poll on what’s the best classic MMO still running where curiously enough, Return of Reckoning is currently leading. They did link to the poll on the main website, but I still find it fascinating that the small but apparently very active and passionate community is voting for their game! Lord of the Rings Online follows which came a bit as a surprise to me. Maybe, despite all their issues last year, they still gained so many new or returning players because of the content they gave away for cheap last year. In the 2019 poll, City of Heroes was the clear winner. RuneScape was no. 2 and WoW Classic was no 3. Lord of the Rings Online had gotten only about 5 % of the votes – whereas this year, Lord of the Rings Online is following WAR closely. Star Wars Galaxies is no. 3.

And I think it’s quite curious that both Star Wars Galaxies and Warhammer Online are private servers that got started after the official games were canned. I just can’t believe that they hadn’t been profitable anymore… well, come to think of it, WAR probably wasn’t because it didn’t run well at all on the PCs we had back then and was overall a buggy mess. I still loved the game and felt that it had great potential, but it always needed a lot of work. Work that a volunteer team is now putting into the game. But with SWG, that’s another story. I never played it, but wasn’t it closed because Star Wars: The Old Republic came out? Or was it just one of these random coincidences that happen: SWG not being profitable anymore at the same time that a new Star Wars MMO launched?

Return of Reckoning is the only game I am playing on a private server. Other games I only “checked out” on private servers to see what they’re all about, but I never seriously played them for longer than a couple of hours before uninstalling the games again. If WAR did get an official reboot, I’d definitely be in as well, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. While Return of Reckoning has a very active community and I don’t see the same names over and over again, I am not sure anybody wants to take the risk of making a new RVR MMO. Because after all, the community is a small one.

But the private server runs surprisingly well and nobody has been added to my ignore list so far. Of course, there are the usual “wtf, nobody heals!” etc., but these are in the minority and quite often, there are rather messages like “thank you for the heals”. So basically, business as usual in Warhammer Online (including people not recognizing that us healers can’t heal if we get targeted and killed first…). I am toying with the idea of simply playing all the healers the game has (3 on Order and 3 on Destruction) plus my dwarf engineer because I love her. My favourite site is actually Destruction, because I love the shaman so much. But more often than not, Order is in the minority and I just don’t like adding to the already superior faction. So, I will focus on my Order healers (plus the engineer) and play my Destruction healers every now and then.


  1. As I understand it, what happened with Star Wars Galaxies was that it was very profitable at the time it closed down. Despite all the hatred for the NGE, subscriber numbers actually increased and if I recall correctly it had around 300k players at the time. That, however, was far, far less than LucasArts believed a game based on the Star Wars I.P. should have and from their point of view the game had always been something of a failure. They saw SW:toR as the future and didn’t want to see any competition from within so they prevailed on SOE to pull the plug. SOE and John Smedley, presumably bound by various secrecy agreements, then took the can for the decision, as they had for the NGE itself, which I believe was also instigated by LucasArts in an attempt to give the game a broader appeal and get those sub numbers up.

    There is a lot of mystery and misinformation on all of this, though, so the full story has never really been revealed, butI think you can safely take it that the reason SWG closed wasn’t because it didn’t make money. Which is interesting because, of course, City of Heroes was also decently profitable when NCSoft closed it down. Soemtimes it’s not whether you make money but whether you could be making more money doing something else with the resources you have.

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    1. Thank you for the insight! :) I only played the trial… if I remember correctly. I actually liked the game, but back then couldn’t afford to keep the monthly sub. At least, I think that’s why I only tried it out shortly and then stopped again.

      It’s too bad that this is the way it is. Corporations want to make as much money as possible, so games that are dear to a smaller fanbase get closed.


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