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Warhammer Online: Exclusive Interview with Producer, Josh Drescher

Updated Thu, Sep 17, 2009 by Dalmarus


One year ago today, Warhammer Online went live and the world of PvP hasn't been the same since. Mythic had been the granddaddy of Realm versus Realm combat for years, but even they had a few missteps along the way with Warhammer's release. Ten Ton Hammer recently had the chance to sit down with Producer, Josh Drescher, and what an interesting interview it was. In a unique twist in the interview world, Josh stepped up to the plate and didn't beat around the bush with any answer.

Whether you're a current player, one that has been gone from the game for a time, or someone that is hoping to hop into the frenetic, fast-paced, and brutal in-your-face combat that Warhammer revels in, you owe it to yourself to read this refreshingly straightforward, push-off-no-blame interview.



Ten Ton Hammer:
Players finished up the Wild Hunt this weekend. What kind of turnout did you have for the event? Was it something that was mainly for the gamers already playing or did you have a lot of players re-subscribing to take part in the Wild Hunt?

Josh Drescher:
Philosophically, the live events are intended to cover what you just implied. They're intended to be something new and exciting for existing players. They're intended to be something attractive for people that maybe played in the past that are teetering about whether or not they want to re-subscribe.

Then also, it gives us something to talk about publicly for potential new players. Through the trial, we do have new people coming in every day. So you've got thousands of people coming in every day and trying the game and the live events give us a way to introduce them to special events, trying to give them something that makes them feel attached to the world quickly and so forth.

I would say that primarily, the people that enjoy them are long-term players mainly because the live events kind of represent a history of your character. The items and titles and experiences that you've had there that are sort of unique are things that you can point to with new or returning players and say, "Hey. You weren't here for it, but I got this particular title or this particular time, this particular weapon, or this particular piece of armor from this particular event. Here's what happened," so and so forth.

We're looking forward to some of the events from last year coming back over the course of the next year like the ones that are more directly affiliated with specific holidays. So you'll see Night of Murder, Witching Night, things like that come back annually as we continue to work on the ongoing process that is Warhammer live. The live events are a great way for us to stay connected with our existing players, to constantly add new content to the game and so forth.

The Wild Hunt was near and dear to my heart. It draws from Warhammer iconography, some of the Warhammer mythology, the white stag, etc. But it also gave me an opportunity when doing interviews to talk about Ted Nugent. That was very important to me.

<Laughter>

It's kind of like Ted Nugent meets Warhammer. You wander out into the forest, you've got all your weapons, and the red mist sort of descends over your eyes, and you go flying out into the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, you find that you're in a new area because there was a unique dungeon available only during the Wild Hunt.

You're in that area, you're killing lots of stuff, hunting things down, and you wake up a few days later. You're covered in boar and you've got all the things you just earned so you take all these trophies back and show them to your friends so you try to take them back to this mystical hunting ground but it's disappeared. Everyone kind of looks at you and goes, "I don't know, Nuge. This might be another one of those 'madness of the hunt' episodes.

Ten Ton Hammer:
Did you do anything different when developing the Wild Hunt, or was it similar to the other events we've experienced in the past?

Josh:
This was a pretty unique event because we had access to a limited-time dungeon. We've done specific scenarios that were available during individual live events, but this was really the first time we offered a large-scale piece of PvE dungeon content for players. We were pretty excited about that. It was kind of an extension of some of the content sensibilities that we had from Land of the Dead.

We tried to introduce kind of more like a platform style of gaming to try and break away from that traditional MMO feel that while yes, I am in the world and it does have geometry and so forth, it always feels like the content is always taking place on one continuous flat surface. Amplifying the feel a little bit more, like a blade that's swinging back and forth in front of me in the Land of the Dead in some of the dungeon areas that I need to be careful around as I'm moving through that or like tricks and traps. Players responded really positively to that because it's coherent and it makes sense with the way that they play other types of games. I think as MMO's become more mainstream you're going to have a lot more of that quality of implementation being expected especially with PvE content.

So, yeah. Time limited dungeon, something that we've done for the first time, keeping that sort of platform game style that we first introduced with Land of the Dead. It's part of the never-ending process of expanding the Warhammer Online experience.

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