MMO Coverage


Skaven Exclusives! A WAR Q&A with Carrie Gouskos

Posted Wed, Oct 06, 2010 by jeffprime

In the latest Ten Ton Hammer Live! Podcast, Warhammer Online Producer Carrie Gouskos provided exclusive, never-before-revealed information about the hideous Skaven! Under the influence of warpstone, she revealed details about the various type of Skaven that you can use, plus details on the huge Skaven dungeon! Yes! You will go into the festering tunnels of the hideous rat-men to fight them on their own turf. If that wasn’t enough exclusive information, I can only say Throt the Unclean! Now wipe the crazy foam from your mouths and read on about the Skaven. Oh yeah, there’s also some information on changes to the RvR mechanics, the decision to stay subscription based, and other non-Skaven things.

Ten Ton Hammer: Tell us a little bit about this RvR pack.

Carrie Gouskos: The RvR pack is the first paid content pack since we launched two years ago. Last year, we released Land of the Dead, which was an entirely free expansion pack. This time, we’re offering this RvR pack, and it is going to cost a little bit of money. What it contains is a complete change to the way in which the end-game open RvR is played. It is a culmination of a lot of work that we’ve done this year trying to bring out the full potential of the open RvR experience. It includes Skaven and everything Skaven-themed. Skaven are these super-cool rat-men army in Warhammer. I think that it is the most popular army in the tabletop game and they are super cool and we’re playing around with them. They have a lot of fun things that they do and a lot of fun attributes, so we’re trying to incorporate them in a lot of different ways. It includes an extension of the renown rank system, which is our equivalent of leveling. We’re not about making people grind through PvE levels. The point is that you get to 40, which is our max rank, and then we want you to work on your renown rank, and that is what makes you powerful in RvR.

In addition to all that, the Skaven classes are going to be playable. There’s a different kind of mechanic. They’re not going to be a whole new career that you’re going to start from scratch. There’s a lot of stuff going on. We’re really excited about it. Everything is kind of focusing on the RvR aspect of the game. As I mentioned last time, it’s what our focus has been all year.

warhammer online
Skaven Bell

Ten Ton Hammer: Is this RvR pack part of patch 1.4 or is it something entirely different?

Carrie Gouskos: The RvR pack is going to be timed with patch 1.4. We kind of call them both interchangeably, mostly because we haven’t given a name for the RvR pack yet, so that’s why we’ve sometimes called the RvR pack 1.4. One of the distinctions is what is available for free, so we realize that some of our players probably won’t purchase it and so we want them to have things as well. Obviously, we then split it up to things that are part of the pack and things that are not.

Ten Ton Hammer: So if players choose not to buy the RvR pack, what do they have to look forward to?

Carrie Gouskos: For us, one of the key factors is that we don’t want to charge people for anything that is population gating. So, we’re obviously going to save a lot of the cool stuff for people who buy it, but places like areas and mechanics that require population are not going to be restricted to only those people who purchased it. We don’t want to take our population, which is a bunch of people standing around, playing, killing, and having fun together, and then splitting them into two sections, one for the people who paid for it and another for those who didn’t. If we did that, even people who paid for it would say that this was worse because now my friend can’t play with me. The goal is to make available to everybody everything that is population based and then offer some really cool stuff that represents progression in the game to those who want to pay for it.

Ten Ton Hammer: How does the purchasing of the pack work? Is it one giant content pack or are there different bits of it?

Carrie Gouskos: We talked about it as not one giant thing, but as several sections. People are able to buy it in sections if they choose not to buy all of it at once. There are themed divisions. We call those themes progression, power, and personality. Each of those three themed packs is a single piece, so a person who likes power and doesn’t care about personality, then they don’t have to buy that personality theme. We’re still working out when and how much for the pack.

warhammer online
Dark Elves

Ten Ton Hammer: To put it in a Rock Band type of analogy, is it like you can buy a few songs or you could purchase an entire album?

Carrie Gouskos: It’s kind of like that. It’s hard to make that comparison because it’s DLC. I think of us as being between DLC and expansion pack. We’re in the middle there because it’s not one or the other. Hopefully, it’s the best of both. In theory, you’re correct. You can buy them individually, but in practice, you’re better off buying the whole thing at once.

Ten Ton Hammer: With this type of system, do you think that we’re going to get more packs like this here on out or are we still doing full-blown old-fashioned expansion packs down the line?

Carrie Gouskos: That’s a good question. It depends upon the players and how they respond to this. This is sort of a departure from tradition that we’re trying out. The goal of doing it this way was to iterate more quickly and offer more content more frequently. If players respond well to that, then we’ll certainly continue along that line. If they don’t, then we’ll explore other options. I’ve said recently that full blown expansions are off the table because you see the MMOG market changing with a lot of games going free-to-play and things like that. I think that people are getting more and more comfortable with different kinds of monetization model.

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