Though analogy is often misleading, it is the least misleading thing we have.

Oh dear lord here comes an analogy, and I of all people should know that it will only end in tears. Although sometimes I’ve been known to write half decent analogies, so I’m going to do it anyway.

So MMOs are theme parks, you pay your entrance fee (read subscription) and you get to go on the rides. Now, many people in Blogland have been focusing on the rides that Warhammer Online has and have rightly stated that, underneath the themes and imagineering they are in the main quite similar to World of Warcraft’s rides and thus perhaps a bit long in the tooth.

However, in World of Warcraft’s theme park, in addition to your entrance fee, many of the rides have queues. They have queues that stretch all the way around the park. Five times. Many of the areas of World of Warcraft’s game-play require huge investments of time in order for a person to be able to make it anywhere. There are many obstacles thrown in the way to perpetuate these ‘queues’, reputation grinds, keying, gear disparity, even just organising raid group composition in order to have the perfect balance in order to beat an encounter.

What Warhammer does differently, and which people touch upon but perhaps have not tied-up into a rather crufty metaphor, is that it is a theme park without queues. Everything about the game is about people being able to get onto the rides as quickly as possible, to be able to decide they want to hit the PvP ride and be strapped in and away enjoying the mad roller coaster of getting ganked and ganking in kind, before they can say “OMGWTF Bright Wizards are so overpowered!!!1” . They’re able to jump straight back on to the PvP ride if they want, but if they fancy trying the micro-raid ride, then all they have to do is go find the nearest public quest and they’re off, no queue, not even a barrier saying “you must be this high” (a level) to ride.

And that, I think, is what sets Warhammer apart from the older generation of MMOs, and what I think has a large section of the MMO community slowly burbling away with an undercurrent of barely restrained child-like delight.

Anyway, that’s my analogy. Probably needs more otters and carpets.