Pictures by: Tallika and Heerobya
While most of the attention this last weekend was on the always popular geekfest known as ComicCon in San Diego a lower key but no less important event took place in Chicago. Bringing together fans of Warhammer tabletop Games Day Chicago 2008 was full of miniatures, tournaments but more importantly Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Ten Ton Hammer brings you the story of one persons pilgrimage to the WAR mecca and what glories they beheld.
I arrived at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center early Saturday morning for Games Day Chicago 2008. I stepped into the lobby equipped only with a sun-burnt left arm (thanks to the sloth-like pace of I-90 and the scientific fact that the sun is apparently twice as hot over Chicago) and a heart full of the optimism usually reserved for wide-eyed children and cartoon forest creatures. A pall of despair and trepidation underscored this feeling however. Being a rabid fan of the Warhammer world for over a decade (my first tattoo was that of the Skaven god The Great Horned Rat), I've been following the development of the game (twice now) since inception (and re-inception), and (without confirming or denying the following) I may have possibly constructed a shrine to the Chaos gods in my living room, offering human sacrifices in return for beta acceptance (the gods have yet to reciprocate). If anything had the perfect setup to completely destroy my will to continue living, it could be this. Would Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning be my Senior Prom all over again? This was the question weighing on my soul those long hours in the lobby of the convention center as I awaited the opening of Games Day.
WAR is Here!
Shortly before the time Games Day was slated to begin I met up with fellow Ten Ton Hammer community member Heerobya, and we stood around basking in the beautiful contrast between the horde of Games Day attendees (with their constant bestial chant of WAAAGH!) and the confused looks of the people lined up for the Fashion, Jewelry, & Accessories convention on the other side of the lobby. In a perfect world perhaps the two convention crowds could have merged and we all could have coexisted peacefully together in a frolicking environment of Orcs and charm bracelets, but the world is not perfect, and so (for now) I suppose it is alright for some people to drown their sorrows in wholesale necklaces all because they haven't learned to find the simple joy of bifurcating one's foe with a battle-axe and sucking the marrow from their cracked bones. Needless to say, all such musings on peaceful relations with the jewelery people were put aside at promptly ten o' clock as the doors to the event were opened.
Having read the Games Day experiences of other people it came as no surprise when the line to test the game as a character from the Destruction faction filled up much faster than the line for Order. However, this wasn't the case all day, and the opposing lines waxed and waned: sometimes the majestic and glorious line of Destruction was the majority and other times the weak snotling-fodder followers of Order claimed the biggest line (as an unbiased journalist, I cannot state which side I personally favor). This points to what I hope will be a good chance at balanced populations on servers. I chose to stand in line for Destruction (quite randomly to stress my lack of bias).
Games Day 2008!
I was finally within reach of WAR, and I'm not ashamed to admit it took most of my indomitable will to stand calmly and refrain from Japanese schoolgirl-esque giggles that would betray me as a gibbering fanboi. As the first fifteen minute round of RvR play-testing was winding down, a Mythic employee asked for volunteers for the PvE computers set up at the end. With the speed and grace of a tiger I raised my hand and uttered an incoherent animalistic noise. I was told to come to the front of the line and wait. My memory here is a bit hazy, but I believe a gentle heavenly light formed a spotlight around me and from somewhere far away the greatest hits of Journey began to play softly.
My first delving into Warhammer Online was in some ways not unlike my first (and last) fore into the night-club scene. I was an awkward and somewhat stupid creature surrounded by things that would attack me if I attempted interaction. Yes, I was a Black Orc somewhere in the Greenskin starting area (the same PvE characters were used throughout the day, with one person picking up where the last left off).
Immediately I noticed the well-known Public Quest of the giant being harassed by squigs in the foreground. Being an Orc with a heart of gold (and holding a cleaver of rusty metal) I leapt to the giant's side and began dispatching squigs with the unpleasant side of my choppa. Hungry to see new sights, however, I quickly moved on to exploring the rest of my surroundings. I was near a small outpost and to my left (following a path of dead Orcs) a large keep rose in the distance. It was about this time I glanced over at the computer to my right where someone was play-testing a Bright Wizard in PvE. With a bit of jealousy I noticed he was looking down the barrel of a cannon, aiming it off into the distance. Not to be outdone by someone playing Order I quickly searched the outpost and found a catapult and prepared to smugly mumble to myself about distances, arcs, and trajectory formulas. Upon using the catapult however I was launched through the air towards the keep in the distance. I landed on the roof, and noticed, with joy, the amount of Dwarfs patrolling about ready to serve as axe-sheaths. I spent the rest of my fifteen minutes making Dwarven widows and orphans (which is time well spent, bloody long-beards).
All in all it was a great first experience. I left the UI at default as it was clean and easily read as-is (and it's difficult to kill a Dwarf by resizing your chat channel). All the basic utilities were well in order (with the proper usual things such as tab-targeting) and the con-system was effectively simple: your target's level and labels such as easy appearing near their nameplate.
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.