In a week full of surprise announcements, few have had MMO gamers more excited than the unexpected rebirth of the Warhammer 40k MMO. While the game wasn’t officially being shown at E3, Miguel Caron, Head of the Online Studio at Behaviour Interactive was awesome enough to sit down with Ten Ton Hammer to discuss the design concepts behind the game, expected to launch sometime in 2015.
Our discussion touched on a typical day in the life of a 40k player, the player run chain of command, playable races, and plenty of other interesting tidbits. As I listened to Miguel’s impassioned descriptions of the game, it became readily apparent that he’s just as excited about making the game as fans of the 40k universe are to play it.
Space Marines like to come in large numbers.
From a stormbird’s eye view, Warhammer 40k will be somewhat of a sandbox game along the lines of EVE Online, only given a bit more structure in terms of how large-scale conflicts play out. The scale of these conflicts is said to be absolutely massive, or about double that of any other multiplayer game currently on the market.
As Miguel explained, “In terms of technology, we’re currently aiming to double the amount of players on the same battlefield over the biggest game right now. I want to give the visceral feeling of what it is to be part of the war. And it’s not an easy war, but a very dirty war.”
Another thing Miguel was quick to point out is that gamers do tend to like having some form of win condition involved, no matter the type of game they happen to be playing. As such, conflicts in the Warhammer 40k MMO will last anywhere from two weeks up to a few months in duration.
“One of the things I hate in massive warfare games is that there is no winner; they never finish. So what we’re aiming for is campaigns that run from two weeks to three months. The reason why I’m saying from two weeks to three months is because I don’t know who’s going to win, and how fast they’re going to win.
There are four different races that you’ll be able to play. The first will be the Dark Angels from the Space Marines, the Iron Warriors for Chaos, and then the Eldar and the Orks. Then I control the Tyranid Â they can’t really be controlled by players because it’s a hive mind.
For example, if I see a huge population of Space Marines playing in the US for a new campaign and they outnumber everyone else to the point they’re about to wipe out the entire planet within days, suddenly the Tyranid would be a lot more interested in them. We’re not going to try and counter that kind of imbalance too much, but enough to help campaigns last for those two weeks.”
A Day in the Life
A typical day in the life of your character might play out something like this. You log on and create your character. From there you load into the game, and will spawn on your ship, which serves both as a form of player housing and flying trophy case all in one. If you decide to permanently join a squad with other players, the group of you will even be able to combine your ships into one massive vessel. If that happens, you’ll each retain your own individual compartments, but will effectively have a guild hall for your squad, making it easier to connect and dive into the action together.
In the GRIM DARKNESS of the future, there is additional grim darkness.
With that squad, you might get voted by your friends to become squad leader. As such, you’ll have the ability to issue objectives for the rest of your squad, in effect creating content for them.
In terms of the overarching chain of command and how it fits into the game, Miguel explained, “When you start the game, the objectives that you have are not given by us, they’re given by other players. We have three ranks of hierarchy: squad leaders, chapter leaders, and then the war council for the whole race. There will be requirements you’ll need to meet to become a squad leader and above, but the players will vote for you to become one of them.
We have a whole system where players can nominate their friends as their squad leader. And then all the squad leaders will nominate someone to be chapter leader. Finally, all the chapter leaders will nominate and vote on who they want to be part of the war council for the whole race.
So when you start as a new player, the objectives that you’ll have will be coming from that war council, chapter leaders, and squad. If you decide to follow these objectives, you’ll gain an XP bonus. So you don’t have to do those objectives, only if you want to get the bonus XP. But the purpose of the game is to make sure your race wins; you’re there playing to win the war. But what this system does is it allows players to invent gameplay for their race.”
Welcome to the Machine
The game will be free-to-play, but if there were any two things that Miguel stressed above all others, it would be his insistence that the 40k MMO be the most immersive game it possibly can be, and that he does not want the game to have any pay to win elements.
An example of items players might be able to purchase that would help fulfill both of those needs would be additional, unique executions for each faction. When you fall on the battlefield, your squad or other members of your faction have the opportunity to revive you rather than immediately forcing you to respawn at another location. However, an enemy still has the opportunity to ‘execute’ you, Think of this almost like finishing downed players in Guild Wars 2 PvP.
Eldar vs. Tyranids will be happening. The above screen is from Dawn of War II.
In the Warhammer 40k MMO, you’ll be able to do some standard executions, or there could be more interesting or elaborate executions you can purchase. These will be faction-specific, so imagine seeing an Ork Boy run up to a defeated Space Marine and dancing around a bit before sitting down on and squashing his head.
In terms of server structure, the game is going to be one massive game world. Different instances of specific areas might spawn, but Miguel is conscious of the need to keep players connected with this type of setup. The idea here is that you should be able to click on your friend or squad member’s name and it will instantly summon them to the same version of the world that you’re in.
Before we wrap things up (don’t worry, we have loads more info on the 40k MMO to follow soon!), another of the comments made by Miguel about what sets this game apart from other MMOs out there certainly struck a chord with me.
“The game has very simple gameplay, yet is also very, very deep. The premise is that there is only war; it’s total warfare. Now, there’s a lot of depth to it, but I’m not going to hold your hand and tell you a story. I’m not going to have you playing a Space Marine mining ore or things like that, because they don’t do that. You’re not going to care about delivering some package to Ms. Smith. This is a game about total warfare. It’s impossible to please everybody, but I can guarantee I will please the core fans amassed around the 40k universe.”
From what we’ve heard about the game so far, it’s definitely piqued our interest to say the least. Stay tuned for more details and info on the Warhammer 40k MMO from our discussions with Miguel Caron. In the meantime, be sure to let us know your thoughts about the announcement and info revealed about the game so far!