Warhammer Online (WAR) has become the latest obsession, and for good reasons. It truly feels like an innovate game with its PQs (Public Quests where the group is defined as "everyone in the same area") and the ability to progress your character through Realm vs Realm (RvR) combat at any level.
However, the game has no charm, no soul, no heart. The design is not flawless, but for a newly released game it feels well made. It's polished, thought through and in many cases seamless in its character progression as you can advance in so many ways. But, there is something missing: people.
Everywhere I go its quiet. No banter, no questions, no interaction. There are general channels present, but for some reason they are not used. Having tried several servers and starting zones, I have yet to find a place where the public chat is active. Even though the infamous "Barrens Chat" makes you wonder if evolution left someone behind, it was still an important part of the world. The sense of beeing in a MMORPG (weighting the Massive Multiplayer part) came from the scrolling of banter throughout zones: from a helpful tips to meaningless epeen declamtions.
So why dont people talk in WAR?
Perhaps its due to the games good design of open parties (you click a button and automatically join an open party in the area) or the ability to sign up to scenarios from anywhere in the world (no need to lounge around in a keep or barracks while waiting for scenarios). Maybe its the fact that all questpoints are marked on your map, or that you cant link items in chats? In many ways the need for communication with fellow players are gone. Still, players have not been known to always do what was intented. Perhaps we are just shy in the beginning. Or perhaps WAR is just so serious business that we dont have time to fool around.