Warhammer fans want every class and faction from Day 1, but they also want them to be accurate and polished like the product they know and love.
Game developers working on a storied IP know they have a tough task in
pleasing the fans. If you don't believe me, check out Chris Klug's
Comic Con blog about facing 5,000 Stargate fans or read Jack
Emmert's words about the importance of staying true to the Star Trek IP. While
I argue vehemently that fans of an IP should be catered to for an
automatic install base, EA Mythic has better vision than I do and knows
that it can't please the true fans completely no matter what it does.
The very act of taking an existing IP into the MMOG framework changes
some fundamentals that will scare off some fans.
In the case of WAR, you can bet the developers knew that
launching with only two factions would anger the fans who love the
lore. But they also knew that releasing a poorly balanced PvP system or
incomplete classes would anger the Warhammer fans even more. Meanwhile,
launching with just two factions wouldn't really phase the gamers who
don't know the lore, but launching with improper PvP balance or broken
classes would scare off the other gamers who try it. If they
launched with only two factions, they could upset just one portion of
the audience instead of the whole audience.
Red Team, Blue Team; Forget Green Team
Ton Hammer's RadarX has been pretty open about his approval of the way
EA Mythic handled scaling back the factions for the launch of WAR.
Sure, he'd prefer they all be in there at launch, but he has a theory
that it all comes down to two factions in the end anyway.
that I opened with the assertion that gamers are smarter today than
they were 10 years ago. They are more conscious of game design elements
and mechanics. All of us have been conditioned to approach combat by
trimming the odds to favor us. We all attack the same enemy--usually
the weakest one--in PvE until it is dead and then focus on the next
one. Doing so reduces the total damage we sustain and makes kills go
Already dead: the Yellow faction was ganged up on before this photo.
If a game has three factions (Red, Blue, and Green), two of the sides will inevitably team up to eliminate or debilitate the third.
If the game adds Yellow to the mix, too, the strategy doesn't really
change but the game now has the added challenge of keeping forces from
being divided too thinly.
Think of a standard capture the flag
scenario with two flags to control. Two factions can form strategies
about how to defend or take each flag and get started. If three
factions enter the battle, the stronger two will simultaneously attack the weakest one to remove the nuisance from the battle field before returning to the position of two factions. If the
game also has a Yellow faction, the flags may change hands over and
over as none of the teams can get a solid line to hold against multiple
enemies or the two strongest factions will systematically wear down the
two weakest until they are back to a two-faction battle again.
RadarX says it always comes down to Red Team vs. Blue Team. The guy has a point.
hope readers don't leave with the opinion that I think WAR should never
incorporate all of the factions in Warhammer lore. In fact, I'll say
right now that EA Mythic needs to continue to polish the game while
doing that within the first year or the game will suffer greatly. I'm
just saying that EA Mythic made the right decision for launch. They
didn't have time to properly balance other factions prior to release,
and they knew they were going to displease Warhammer fans either way.
Now they have time to do things the right way and possibly solve the
Red Team, Blue Team problem before it ever affects WAR. I Told You So.
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