In general, the most recent announcement the Warhammer crew has made was
concerning the recently announced Elven races and classes. To me, both
of the races and their models look terrific and I feel like EA Mythic
is doing a terrific job at rolling out content when their fanbase needs
it. However, I wanted to ask Mark what his thoughts were about the
response to the Elves and whether he thought that people liked it or

“There will always be people who dislike certain things that
you do,” Mark said. “There’s an old
saying in MMOGs, ‘Even if you wanted to make an MMOG for
free, there will still be people who aren’t happy.’
You can never make everyone happy. Does everyone love our new Elves?
Absolutely not. Does the vast majority of people love what
we’re doing? Oh yeah.”

“Just as we talked about earlier, you can only play female
Witch Elves,” he continued. “We already had a harsh
reaction from that. And I’ve told people this on forums
before, that the moment you start following this game, we’re
going to piss you off. And that’s because we’re
working with IP. It’s bad enough when you’re
creating you own intellectual property, but when you’re
working with an established world, there’s zero chance that
you can make every fan of that IP happy. You probably won’t
even make 90% happy. It’s the same issue when somebody takes
a novel and converts it to film; you get people with established
visions in there head and they’re disappointed when they see
it done differently. It’s just the cost of doing

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There are fans of the
Warhammer IP that will never be satisfied with what EA Mythic brings to
their computers.

However, there are also individuals out there like me that never
followed the original IP but are extremely interested in the outcome of
the online version of the table top game. One of ideas that originally
drew me to WAR was the simple fact that every combatant in Warhammer
Online can wield a melee weapon and deal gobs of damage to their
enemies. From a developer's standpoint, adding that feature must have
been a huge effort because nothing like that had ever been done before.
I asked Mark how different the experience had been to add this "good at
melee" component to each character.

“The whole point with Warhammer Online was that it is all
about WAR,” Mark said. “It’s all about
battle. Are we turning the industry on its head with this game? No. Are
we changing things and doing some things differently? Absolutely! All
you gotta do is look at what we’re doing, and
you’ll see that most games don’t do it our

That whole process couldn't have been a walk in the park though,
because the balancing of many of the classes in other MMOGs is reliant
upon certain entities being bad at melee. Was it as difficult as I
thought it would be?

“Sure,” Mark answered. “The toughest
aspect of any MMOG is balance. Art, content, all that is much more
compartmentalized than balance. It’s much easier in many
ways. Balance is such a pain, such a delicate issue, and is so often so
messed up. It’s something you have to fight with

“One of the cool parts of MMOGs is that you often have 50,
100, 300 people fighting each other with spells going off and other
NPCs getting in the action,” he continued. “Do you
know what the bad parts of MMOGs are? That you can have hundreds of
people fighting each other at once! It changes everything.
I’ve never met a designer that had a game that was the same
six months after launch. Nobody’s that smart. It’s
not going to happen. These games have such a huge amount of intricacies
that are interacting with each other that it’s practically
impossible to get perfect the first time.”

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Every class in WAR
will have a melee combat component.

“As time goes by players are going to think of strategies and
ways of defeating enemies that you wouldn’t have thought
about,” Mark added. “One of my favorite examples
was in Camelot. We built this great world and we go out in the Frontier
and let players know that they can’t go back into other
players home towns because in home towns, you’re safe. So
what did some people do? They walked around every single point in the
world looking for holes. Who could’ve imagined that in 1999
you’ll have people who have nothing better to do than walk
around and look for a hole in the world? You can’t even see
it! You have to physically walk around every single point.

“And guess what, some people found it!” he
continued. “We’re like, ‘How in the hell
did he get there?’ We thought somebody had hacked a developer
account, yet it was just a simple method of finding a hole.”

At that point, I was absolutely certain that throwing a player versus
player element would make the whole thing even more excruciatingly
challenging. So, I interjected that thought to Mark and said, "Does PvP
make it worse?"

“It’s worse,” Mark said.
“That’s why with Imperator we were going down the
PvE route. If people aren’t quite balanced in a PvE game, we
raise someone up so they’re an equivalent power base. But in
a PvP game, it gets much more personal. If someone is killing someone
else then we raise the power level of another character,
they’ll want to come to our house and chew us out. You have
to be even more balanced. Then if you do the raising up thing, then
everyone’s gotta be raised up. Unfortunately, once you lower
someone down, everybody will cry, ‘Nerf!’ and
people start complaining.”

When we reached this point, Mark and I both looked at our watches and
realized how long we had been talking. We both decided to wrap up the
conversation and Mark wanted to say a few final comments to the Ten Ton
Hammer fans.

“I’m thrilled with the awards,” Mark
said. “Keep following the game and we’ll try not to
disappoint you!” 

Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial source of Warhammer Online href="">news and

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'07 coverage!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016