Veteran gamers and beginners alike have been eagerly awaiting the release of Warhammer Online, the fantasy Massively Multi Player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). One of the newest online games on the market, Warhammer Online is based on the Games-Workshop table top game, Warhammer fantasy. Unfortunately, many people do not know this and assume that Warhammer Online is a copy of the popular World of Warcraft/Warcraft. This is certainly not the case, as a look at the history behind these games and their companies will show. The classic Pkv games remain unedited and uncopied though, because of their novel concept.
Warhammer has been around since the 1980s, in the form of a table top miniature game under the same name. Warhammer is produced by the United Kingdom company Games-Workshop and has two versions: one set in a dark fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien-esque universe and the other known as Warhammer 40k, set in a sci-fi style setting. Both miniature games are relatively popular (for a miniature table top game) and have many hardcore fans.
I use the term “hardcore” to describe these people, because the game involves buying armies of miniature figures, painting them, and then using them in each player’s army. The cost of these figures (slightly smaller than a plastic army man toy) ranges from $2 (for a basic soldier) to $30 (generals and large tanks or dragons). It’s certainly not a cheap hobby, but it can be a very fun one, allowing players to field their own custom designed fantasy or sci-fi armies, and lead them in battle against fellow enthusiasts. Some of these people will certainly play Warhammer Online, but its likely the majority of the players will be of the non-table top gaming variety.
The fantasy miniature game has orks, goblins, dwarves, tree spirits, trolls, elves and more, and has an “evil” army array and a “good” army array. From this background (Warhammer Fantasy has loads of accumulated fiction and background “fluff”) comes the setting of the game Warhammer Online. Many people may see Warhammer Online as just another copy of WoW because of the similar fantasy setting with the orks and trolls fighting the humans and elves. This is certainly not the case, because Warhammer’s background information and “world” was developed years before Blizzard, the company producing World of of Warcraft, even existed. Blizzard also has a game called “Starcraft”, which has space marines fighting bug-like zerg and the mysterious protoss aliens. Games-Workshop also has a sci-fi game tabletop game, as previously mentioned (Warhammer 40,000), and it has space marines fighting many enemies, including a bug-like race called the tyrannids. Guess which came out first? If you went with the Warhammer series, you are right.
Before players jump to conclusions about the background and setting of the new Warhammer Online game, it is important to do a little investigation regarding exactly which game came out with their ideas first. Of course, many of the game features in Warhammer Online really do resemble those in World of Warcraft (interface, combat system, etc). However, the overall art, background story, and setting are not a “copy” of the popular Warcraft series by Blizzard.