Believe it or not, the people making EA Mythic's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning are real people too! They work in a real office, with real computers, and you get the idea. What are they like and how are they different from you and me? Ahmad Zabarah, Strike Team Leader (which is one of the coolest titles ever) shares a little bit more about himself, his hobbies, and what he things Warhammer Online will do for the industry.
1. What is it you do on a daily basis?
I am the driving force behind all the Elf content in our game. The island of Ulthuan is my playground and this is where players will achieve glorious deeds, or commit nefarious atrocities all in the name of Isha or Khaine. I oversee the day-to-day tasks of the Elf content team. I create the schedules, manage the people, test the content, and do my absolute best to make sure the Elf content is as fun and enjoyable as possible.
2. How long have you been with Mythic? Have you worked anywhere else? What other jobs have you held in the industry?
My first foray in the world of Warhammer started in 2002, when I started working in the Games Workshop retail store in Potomac Mills, Virginia. I was hired by Mythic as a Customer Service Representative in 2003 to help support Dark Age of Camelot. In 2005 I moved up to assist with the development of WAR, and here I am now.
3. What was your "welcome to the game industry" moment when it hit you that you were really making games for a living?
The biggest moment for me was when the Elf pairing was opened for beta testing for the first time. I jumped onto the beta server, grouped up with a bunch of random people, and preceded to complete quests and public quests. Actually playing content and killing monsters that I had personally placed and created was one of the greatest moments I have ever had.
4. What excites you about the Warhammer property? What makes it perfect for an MMO? What cool things in the Warhammer universe do you hope to bring to life?
The world of Warhammer is one of the most in-depth and detailed worlds out there with a history spanning many years. The different races, the nations, everything are so vividly distinct. No one is perfect; every character no matter how noble has its faults. All of these come together to create the perfect setting for an MMO, and it is my desire, and goal to make these all come to life.
5. Do you collect Warhammer figures? What army do you play?
Since I started working at Game Workshop, I have been a fan of the High Elf army. I started my army at the beginning of the 5th edition, and have since evolved and adapted it to the changes that have been made to the army. My fully painted High Elf army has seen numerous rogue trader tournaments, along with grand tournaments. They have come out victorious, and unfortunately have suffered a few humiliating defeats. I love the finesse required to play and win with the High Elves, and that is what keeps me with them. I at one point collected Lizardmen, and I currently also collecting Beastmen, however no other army has brought me as much joy as my High Elves.
6. What are your hopes/goals for the game?
I want players to play our game and come out saying "Wow, I want to do that again". My goal is to help make a game that is fun for our players, and keeps them coming back for more!
7. What is the biggest problem with current MMO's you hope to fix with WAR?
I feel too many MMO's these days do not do a good job of bringing the world to life. You enter a town, and everyone is just standing there! I hope to change this. You should enter a town, and see NPCs walking around, repairing artillery, reporting to their offices, or sitting down taking a break. Refugees from the war might be running by you, seeking the safety of the guards. This is what I hope to change with MMO's.
8. What are your favorite video/computer games of all time? What games are you playing right now? What game should the reader be playing if he's not?
I absolutely love RPG's. RPGs of any type. Along with strategy games. My top 3 games would have to be: Baldurs Gate series, Total War series (Yes all of them), Final Fantasy 7.
As for MMO's, I have played a ton. In order they are: Ultima Online, Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Beta. I'm currently playing GTAIV, Medieval 2: Total War, and I'm on my 3rd play through of Mass Effect.
9. What music are you listening to right now?
I am listening to Juno Reactor on my Pandora Radio station. I'm a fan of many types of music, primarily Techno, Trance, Rock, Pop, and Celtic.
10. Anything else you want to add?
I'd like to send a personal thanks to Kent Baker, who first got me into Warhammer, and helped me to become the High Elf player I am now. Also, I would like to give a shout-out to the Ironfist League of Northern VA, who helped support my gaming urge through a number of years.
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