In WAR, I'm less experienced but I've made enough alts and done enough Tier 1 in destruction side that I have a pretty good feel for what's on offer. So I'd like to present the following comparison for the amusement of you, my gentle reader:
|Zone design||Interesting, dramatic zones that express the race's aesthetic and the conflict at play.||Stylish, safe zones.|
|Winner: WAR The WAR starter zones are more varied and better represent the standing conflict. The detail of the landscapes and style of the art direction really draw you into the world. Some of the 8-15 WoW zones really shine, particularly Westfall and the Ghostlands, others are a bit monotone.|
|Engagement||Good movement through a variety of war camps with early quests to explore the other pairings helps draw you into the range of available actions, and the tome unlocks further reinforce the narrative and experience. Quests are a mixed bag, but are seldom narratively powerful.||Great quest flow pushes you into your race's story arc and keep you moving in a basically linear course. Zone transfering is available but can be cumbersome.|
|Winner: WoW in a nailbiter. Great quest pathing and simple options help to push you into your character. Some of the gain here though comes at the cost of range and option.|
|Itemization||You can actually acquire gear for all your slots in Tier One, and with dyes and influence rewards, there's pretty quick gear replacement. Often times the gear you're replacing will look the same, however. Some very nice looks, that really suggest the class's style come by midway through the tier.||Well, there's lots of options, if you can find them. But you'll be forced into stat-based choices with no customization available. Many slots will remain unfilled until near the end of this stage or throughout. Much of the gear is unappealing and/or dorky.|
|Winner: WAR Dyeing can get expensive but can yield remarkable effect. gear choices may be fewer but what you get is better looking by far.|
|Crafting||Early and easy access to crafting, at no cost, and easy and quick to level the early parts. Relatively low gathering requirements for what you produce. The downside is that you often can't go too far in your craft without auction house luck or an alt.||Many more choices, recipes, drops. Gathering is less interesting in yield and more often a seperate task. Harder but with more choices.|
|Winner: WoW WAR crafting is getting an overhaul that will offset this somewhat and the difference here is by design. Crafting is less robust, but less demanding in WAR.|
|Group PVE Content:||PQs for days. No dungeons to speak of, but so many PQs -- offering varied experiences, a feeling of earning your drops and influence rewards to supplement the experience.||A handful of dungeon opportunities (Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, and SFK right at the upper limit of these levels (all marked at 16/17+) and ragefire chasm means you have a few good dungeon runs opportunites, right at the end of these levels. Most of the time your group content will come from quests against elite mobs. These can be fun but offer meager rewards. Once you get to the dungeons you are in for a treat, particularly from deadmines and wailing caverns.|
|Winner: WAR Deadmines is better than any of the T1 PQs by a longshot but its right at the edge of WoW's Tier One. Most of the time you are killing hogger and undead miners. Not that great.|
|PvP||objective based outdoor RvR yielding easy-to-earn rewards, with separate reward grinds for each pairing, three lively scenarios to join from anywhere in the world, and a renown levelling system encourages, nay demands that you PvP. You will and you will enjoy it. Oh and there's renown gear too.||Ha ha ha. No. I guess you could do battlegrounds at 11-15, but it will really suck. You will be mercilessly ganked by level 19 twinks in rare gear with level 60 enchants. It will be soul sapping. Eventually you might earn some decent gear, but you can't wear it until level 18+. There's some world PvP on open servers, if you leave the protected zones, or seek it out, but it will be horrible as well. Level 80s will loiter around to corpse camp you (yes it happens).|
|Winner: WAR No, it's not really even close.|
So the take away from this is don't worry about the buzz, don't worry about the company. Don't buy into the hype that there's no PvE, that half-empty zones are a death knell for WAR. There is PVE, the early zones and experience is still fun. Enjoy the game. Make up alts and replay tier one if the later game is that bad. Tier One WAR trounces level 1-15 WoW. It's not even close, and unlike WoW, the early parts of WAR are still getting better.
Maybe there are other, better tier ones out there in the MMO world, but too often people say WAR isn't doing well enough, so it sucks. This is a major logical fallacy. The game I'm playing is a lot of fun. More fun than WoW, the gold standard for MMO success. So don't piss on Mythic for not conquering the world. They made a good game, and are making it better. It's up to players who enjoy the game to spread the word, to recruit and to support it.