by Garrett Fuller,
Industry Relations Specialist
In general, since their massive unveiling at the Leipzig Games
Convention last summer, EA Mythic’s style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
team has kept a fairly low profile. Relatively few interviews have been
fielded and the developers have generally been in a “black
out” mode. The monthly newsletter still hits inboxes
regularly, but little additional info has hit the 'Net. Thankfully, the
Ten Ton Hammer team recently had the opportunity to catch up with the style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer: Age of Reckoning
crew at a EA Mythic event held in the great city of New York. WAR team
members Josh Drescher (associate producer) and Lance Robertson
(producer) answered the bulk of questions regarding WAR’s
beta success, newly implemented open world RvR system, and some great
information about loot. Both Drescher and Robertson left nothing out
and talked straight about the ideas and concepts that are fueling the
mechanics of the game.
title="WAR NY Event Screen - 01"> src="/image/view/25901/preview"
style="font-style: italic;">Rather than stay
with only instanced PvP scenarios, EA Mythic also integrated open RvR
into the game as well.
The fist question proposed to the two men was the reasoning behind
bringing back the keep sieges and open world zones that initially
became popular in EA Mythic’s Dark Age of Camelot. Josh was
quick to say that initially the WAR team thought the MMOG market
demanded instanced scenarios for PvP encounters. After the fan reaction
to RvR in the Beta they realized that players were hoping to get back
to that open world experience.
With EA’s blessing, WAR was able to make the changes based on
overwhelming player feedback. In a matter of weeks the team has been
able to set up keeps and siege encounters for players to fight over.
Some may view this as a throw back to the gameplay found in style="font-style: italic;">Dark Age of Camelot,
but let’s face it, if you played DAoC; you know that the RvR
system in the game worked very well. Players could go out alone, in a
group, or in a huge raid and still have a fun experience. Instances
will still be a part of WAR, but the team is working hard on making the
open zone RvR areas great places to duke it out with your enemies.
Along that line of questioning, Drescher was able to tell us about the
way the siege weapons will work. According to Drescher, they must be
player run and will have some targeting options. When taking over a
canon or bolt thrower you will have the screen change to a first person
viewpoint and players will be able to target the keep itself or players
on the wall. The look of the keeps will change depending on who
For example, we got to see some great renderings of a Chaos keep that
was taken over by the Empire. Tzeentch would have been pleased to see
the bodies hanging from the stakes in front of the door. When asked
about why the change was made to go back to the keep and open world
system Josh explained that it simply worked very well. Josh said that
players enjoyed it, and so EA said, put round wheels back on the cart,
take the square ones off, and get the cart rolling again.
One of the great stories that Josh and Lance shared was about how
certain classes in WAR came to exist. For those of you that
aren’t familiar with the Games Workshop figures, there are no
Zealots or Disciples of Khaine on the battlefields in the table top
game. However, in working closely with Games Workshop the team was able
to create these classes and allow them to work well within the MMO game
space. It was reassuring to hear that a meeting was held a while back
with Alan Merrett (GW’s Intellectual Property Manager), and
the two teams talked about how to make these classes work within the
lore of the game. Fans of Warhammer should know that these classes were
not just made up on the fly; real thought went into their creation from
both EA Mythic and Games Workshop.
title="WAR NY Event Screen - 02"> src="/image/view/25900/preview"
style="font-style: italic;">EA Mythic has
strived to stay as close to the lore of Warhammer as possible..
Next we got a chance to see some of the capital cities for both the
Empire and Chaos. The Empire has Altdorf, the classic medieval setting
with towers and thin streets filled with armed guards. On the Chaos
side of the coin, they have the Inevitable City, which offers a glimpse
into the madness of Chaos. Seeing the Tzeentch demons, both Horrors and
Flamers, running around the city was a thrill as well as the all-seeing
Eyes of Tzeentch looking around from atop every tower. The artwork and
graphics really are being taken to the next level with Warhammer
Online, and fans will not be disappointed with the hard work the
artists are putting in.
In Altdorf we were lucky enough to meet the famous fearless duo, href="http://www.amazon.com/Gotrek-Felix-First-Omnibus-Warhammer/dp/1844163741">Gotrek
and Felix. The characters had arrived in the game, and if
anyone was wondering if players would get the chance to do battle with
them, try to capture the city and find out.
During our conversation, we did talk a bit about city sieges as the
ultimate end game battle between factions. Josh described the
experience as teams playing through a whole season hoping to get to the
glory of the Super Bowl. When asked about the loot you may get from a
city siege, Josh explained that it is not just about the Lombardi
Trophy, it is about the end game itself. He did explain though that
some of the best loot in the game will come from city sieges.
Don’t worry though, both Josh and Lance explained that while
loot is an important factor in the game, the real focus is the
experience. This was the first we had heard though that players who can
take down a capital city’s king will be eligible for some
serious hardware for their characters. I can almost see the guilds
charging the waiting kings now.
Continuing with city sieges, the team explained that the experience
will offer a mix of open RvR, PvE and other elements of MMO game play.
According to the pair, there is a lot that goes into the capture of a
city. The more you hold onto and are able to protect your city, the
more things will happen. You might see a parade in the streets, or meet
some of your favorite Warhammer
characters while walking around. However, when the attack comes,
players on both sides of the battle will have their work cut out for
them. It is great to see a company really thinking about their end game
experience long before the game is ready to launch. style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer is making
a point to keep the end game as important as the journey to get there.
title="A tree in the marsh"> src="/image/view/11564/preview"
style="font-style: italic;">Classes in WAR may
be dropped if it doesn't fit or work in the overall scheme of the game..
Finally, Josh and Lance were both happy to discuss some of the comments
made by Mark Jacobs about the game shipping without certain classes
included. Both EA and Mythic agreed that a working game is the most
important thing for fans. If something does not fit it would have to be
taken out to make the game as smooth as possible for players. This
philosophy also includes classes. EA does not want to ship titles that
are unfinished, and WAR will be no exception. Honestly, as a player, as
much as I am looking forward to Warhammer
coming out, I certainly do not want to play a game that is broken or
unfinished. As MMOG players, we have all seen too many games launched
that were not ready. It is great to see EA stick to their guns in
making a strong game rather than a quick launch.
Thanks again to EA and the WAR team for answering some tough questions
and giving a great demonstration. Watching players engage in combat on
the battlegrounds in beta while doing the interview was a great preview
of what is to come with Warhammer
Online. With open world RvR, public quests, the Tome of
Knowledge, and a fantastic storyline to back it up WAR continues to be
a game that has the potential to offer players a solid experience come
open RvR into the game was a good choice? Do you look forward to
meeting Gotrek and Felix in the game? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=208966#post208966">Let
us know on the forums!
Make sure you check out Ten
Ton Hammer's Warhammer Online community site!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Game Page.