When it was released, the now infamous Counter-Strike wasn’t just a revolution in the team multiplayer shooter scene, but became a lifestyle to some who practically lived to play CS. The stir of the game lives on (for more than 9 years now) and still makes it one of the most popular online titles. Yet the Counter-Strike momentum slowly went down due to similar games, considered to be more “hardcore”, like America’s Army or the Battlefield series. The latter popularized the use of classes, deriving advantage from its yearly “updates”, since 2002, ranging from WW2 to the somber future in 2142.
War Rock is a newbie-oriented online tactical FPS, a mixture of the two styles mentioned earlier. Unlike Battlefield though, War Rock is “Free2Play”; in other words, the game is available for download for free, but if you want more features (like other weapons or money) you will have to pay a certain fee.
Before you start the game, it is necessary to create your own account on the official site, with which you will log on from the game’s menu (just like in America’s Army). The entire experience, as well as in-game money (dinars) will be stored to your account, because after every round you will gain or lose experience and dinars according to your performance. The experience you gain will allow you to progress to the next level (with a maximum of 100), unlocking different weapons and abilities. Also, a certain player level will be required in order to play on some servers.
Although War Rock is Free2Play, K2 Networks included some “premium” packages. The first one is Bronze (5.95$), followed by Silver (9.95$) and finally – the most expensive – Gold (14.95$). Each consists of a month of priority access when logging onto servers (no more “room full” messages!), the ability to protect your own servers with a password, a few extra maps, a fifth slot for weapons, experience bonuses, lower prices in the marketplace and dinars with which you can rent weapons for a certain amount of time.
This system leads to a paradox. Even if it might seem a good choice for this kind of game at first sight, at a closer look we see that new players will get shot down easily by veterans and owners of premium accounts. And this is because they become easy targets for players which have access to superior weapons and a higher experience level.
This happens in all the games of the genre (how many times have you encountered cases like this in Counter-Strike or Battlefield?), but this is different, because practically some players pay to have access to some very powerful weapons, while others just use the initial resources that the game offers. The comparison may seem a bit over the top, but these players actually “pay” for their cheats, while the rest are forced to abandon the game or pay as well in order to have access to more weapons or experience.
Speaking of “cheats”, they’re also present in this title, due to numerous bugs; even though the game uses Punkbuster, some players found various methods to trick it, which is not a good omen for its future.