Oli Welsh reports:
''There's nothing quite like an MMO launch. These games are laden with so much detail, have been in development for so long, have so much blood, sweat and tear-soaked money stacked up behind them, that the run-up to launch takes on a momentous significance. While it's true that all MMOs - subscribers willing - have long developmental journeys ahead of them, that only seems to add more weight to the occasion. If an ordinary game launch is a sprinter leaping out of the blocks, an MMO's introduction to the world is more like an ocean liner easing out the shipyard for the first time, while a crowd of thousands waves little handkerchiefs in black-and-white.
That time is now upon Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Its 18th September release date was announced this week, and the open beta testing phase is due to start very soon, along with the lifting of the non-disclosure agreement that will see torrents of information and hype gush out of every fan-site and forum. Eurogamer MMO has been playing the closed beta ever since we came away impressed from a brief hands-on at E3, and we've wriggled our way out from under NDA to bring you our first impressions.''