Posts Tagged ‘expansion’

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Da Newz – June 26

June 26, 2008

Story of the Week: Richard Bartle’s WAR=WoW Remark

  • The rule of the blogosphere is that if there isn’t enough real news going on, we’ll make it up ourselves. Richard Bartle, crown prince of MUDs, was quoted in an interview effectively saying that Warhammer and Warcraft were the same game. This ignited a firestorm of nerdrage, dozens of posts, and (surprisingly) dozens of replies from Bartle himself.

Beta Ticker:

  • 743,603
  • +14,757 from last week

Quotes of the Week:

  • “I’ve already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft.” ~ Richard Bartle
  • “It’s fantasy with all the crap bits taken out.” ~ Paul Barnett
  • “If a developer’s confidence equated directly to the excellence of a video game, then Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning would easily be one of the best MMOs ever made.” ~ IGN
  • “[Age of Conan's launch] showed us that it’s very important that you be as polished and complete when you launch your game.” ~ Jeff Hickman

New Blogs & Sites:

From EA Mythic:

Articles & Features:

Videos & Podcasts:

Fun & Games:

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World of Warhammer – No, Really, It’s An Actual Book

June 25, 2008

Because it was cited as one of the artistic and inspirational sources behind the current incarnation of Warhammer Online, I ordered an out-of-print copy of “World of Warhammer: The Official Illustrated Guide to the Fantasy World” a few weeks ago. It came in the mail and I triumphantly waved it at my wife, who has long since stopped calling the special doctor every time I showed a quirk of dementia. “A-HA!” I said. “IT’S HERE! SIGMAR BE PRAISED!”

Then I had to put the book down and take my quiet time pills.

One of the challenges of trying to indoctrinate yourself into the Warhammer Fantasy world is that there really is no one main source for everything Warhammer. Sure, there’s the Games Workshop website, the fantasy RPG guide, the tabletop guides, but since this fantasy world is a bit more fluid and changing than others, it’s hard to peg down exactly who does what where and why and to what extent. I think this 1998 book might be the best overview of the Warhammer fantasy world you could hope to find, and yet it still left me unsatisfied.

I think it’s partially because I got it for the art, which is decent yet a little too… cartoony… for my tastes. And also because it was less on technical specs (“classes” and such) and more on general overviews of each race.

Since we’ve heard a lot about the six/seven races being implemented into WAR — the Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins), Dark Elves, Chaos, Empire, High Elves and Dwarfs — what interested me most was to take a peek at the OTHER Warhammer fantasy races… which we might very well see come expansion time.

Lizardmen: Children of the Old Ones

  • This race is composed of a variety of humanish reptiles who live in the jungle of Lustria (the Warhammer equivalent of South America).
  • Three main sub-species of Lizardmen: Slann (fat toad/frog creature), Saurus (crocodile creature) and Skinks (giant newts/chameleon).
  • Possible classes: Mage-Priest, Totem Warrior, Scouts, Skirmishers, Dino-Riders
  • Lizardmen ride Cold Ones (mini-dinos), the same mounts as the Dark Elves use
  • Destruction or Order? Possibly Destruction, but since their enemies include Dark Elves and the Undead, Order might well be in the cards too.

Wood Elves: Defenders of the Forest

  • Occupy Athel Loren, much more beatnik and nature-loving than the High or Dark Elves.
  • More like the elves of Tolkien than the other elven races.
  • Possible classes: Dryad, Treemen, Tree Kin, Bowman, Spellsinger, Waywatcher (elite ranger), Glade Guard, Wardancer.
  • Destruction or Order? They hate dwarfs, so Destruction. They are friends with Bretonnia, so Order.

Bretonnia: Land of Chivalry

  • The “other” Warhammer human race, Bretonnia is more modeled after Britain/King Arthur than the Empire’s Germanic slant. Bretonnia is more rustic and more medieval than the steampunky Empire.
  • Possible classes: Knights, Knight Errant, Grail Knight, Archer, Grail Pilgrim, Damsel, Prophetess, Wizard
  • Destruction or Order? Can’t see them being Destruction, but will be weird to have two human races on the Order side.

Skaven: Children of the Horned Rat

  • Hordes of rat-men born out of Chaos who mostly live underground.
  • They have a capital — Skavenblight — that they nearly destroyed with magic.
  • Possible classes: Head-Taker, Grey Seers, Clan Rat, Stormvermin, Plague Monks
  • Destruction or Order? Most definitely Destruction.

Chaos Dwarfs: The Sons of Darkness

  • Like Dwarfs, just angrier and darker. They’re not very popular with the Warhammer crowd, and has thus been in decline lately.
  • Possible classes: Sorcerer-Priest, Sorcerer Engineers, Dawi-zharr, Hobgoblin, Sneaky Git
  • Destruction or Order? Destruction, although their creation of the Black Orcs — who turned on them — casts this into doubt.

Undead: Bane of Life

  • The Undead have two major factions: The Tomb Kings and the Vampire Counts
  • This faction covers pretty much all the horror staples — werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies, skeletons, wraiths
  • Possible classes: Necromancer, Skeleton Warrior, Greater Undead, Banshee, pretty much any of the horror “creatures”
  • Destruction or Order: Um… let me think… Destruction.

Other Races:

  • Dogs of War – Mercenary groups
  • Kislev – Nordic-themed, don’t have a big tabletop presence
  • Ogre Kingdoms – might be another fun race to go alongside of the Greenskins

So what looks likely for the first expansion? Unless Mythic eschews adding new playable races in favor of increasing the level cap and/or providing new areas of conquest, I think that a new racial pairing is likely in the works. Skaven are highly popular, but problematic to include (and will already be present in the game as NPCs). Chaos Dwarfs are so low on the radar as to be non-existent. Wood Elves are solid, but would represent a third elf race in a game already 1/3rd elven. Bretonnia is a bit medievalish and bland, and they’d be competing with the Empire for the human mindshare.

My thinking is Lizardmen (Order) vs. Undead (Destruction). The Lizardmen would give the Order side a crazy looking race — and “good” guys rarely get the weird looking races in these games. The Undead might be overwhelmingly attractive to many players in love with horror monsters. And emo kids wanting to be a vampire with mad leveling skillz.

But really, who knows? It’s all a shot in the dark, and since we’re a looooong ways away from any solid expansion info, we’ll just sit here with flights of fancy.

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Random Thoughts Monday

June 16, 2008

It’s a bad omen for the week when your key gets stuck in the front door of your work and you have to call a locksmith to get it out. Or is it?

With 12 careers per army/faction, will 10 character slots per server be enough? Why not 12? Whyyyyyy?

How is Mythic encouraging races to cross over into other race/tier zones in order to promote conflict? For example, how are they encouraging dwarfs to go over to the empire newbie zones, how are they getting dwarfs to cross over into the greenskins’ areas, etc.?

I’m mulling over attending August’s Gen Con in Indy this year. Two birds, one trip: my family lives in Indy, and I’d get to see Warhammer (if I’m not already in beta at that point). Maybe I’d buy a fancy hat with a feather and put a big “PRESS” card on the side. Maybe we could start a new office pool to see how many WAR devs I can hug.

I’m kind of blown away that Mythic is already working (at least in the planning stages) of WAR’s first expansion pack. I don’t know how most pre-launch MMOs function, but this shows a lot of confidence on the part of Mythic and EA.

Since only about 16 of the classes were available for play at Games Day, what’s going on with the other 8? Retooling? And why the big hush-hush over the Black Guard.

Snafzg made an excellent point in the podcast — Mythic really does need to be promoting a lot more of the Order side of things and working hard on giving them as cool of a feel as the Destruction races.

It is very, very possible that today might see WAAAAGH!’s biggest day yet, in terms of visitors to the blog. It’s not so much ego (if you can believe that) as it is that I’m a total stat monkey. I love stats and charts and crap like that. Update: Yahoo! WAAAGH! looks to be topping 5,000 visitors for today, which is a number I would have seriously laughed at if you told me it would happen back in March (ah, for those 23-people-per-day views). Thanks for visiting and supporting this silly blog.

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50 Tidbits From Games Day 2008

June 15, 2008

This past Saturday, Baltimore hosted Games Day 2008, an event at which EA Mythic attended to further spread the word of Warhammer. Here are the 50 most interesting tidbits I gathered from the show (much thanks to Book of Grudges for prompting me to do this):

  1. Attendees were given closed beta codes and a code for an in-game item on release.
  2. The White Lion will be playable in beta after two more rounds.
  3. Blood red dye is only available to players with high renown rankings.
  4. Black Guards were given little to no new info and were not playable.
  5. Iron Breaker and Engineer classes were playable, following their revamps.
  6. Banner scraps can be turned in for rewards.
  7. Each server will give you 10 character slots, all from the same faction (Order or Destruction).
  8. Currently, squigs and lions are not nameable, but Mythic wants them to be.
  9. The top 10 renown PvP guilds get their heraldry displayed in or near the guild taverns.
  10. Marauders have debuffs they can throw on casters or melee that, when their skills are used, causes them to take damage.
  11. The “Flee!” ability gives you a huge 10 seconds speed burst, at the cost of all your action points.
  12. The Marauder’s tentacles are called “Wave of Mutilation”, a debuff which causes the enemy to attack slower (and in PvE, acts as a de-taunt).
  13. The full lighting system was not implemented in the version shown at the convention.
  14. Collision detection was working great.
  15. The transportation system is still under consideration — a portal-type system vs. a flying mount system.
  16. Mythic rep on system requirements: “Any PC within the past 3 years will more than likely run WAR without issues.”
  17. No final word on stealth — the issue was deflected in the Q&A section.
  18. The game will try to persuade players to join a realm/faction that needs a population bump (no specifics given, however, perhaps bonuses).
  19. Servers will have population caps on each side to keep them balanced between Order and Destruction. Most MMOs have server population caps; WAR will have realm caps (i.e. two separate caps per server).
  20. You can have up to 4 action bars (perhaps more, but at least 4).
  21. There’s a queue button on your UI that lets you cycle through available scenarios to play.
  22. There will be balance measures in RvR that if one side is getting dominated by the other side, the owned side will get help of some kind.
  23. Loot will be awarded on an “aggro” or “hate” basis — basically, if you’re doing the job of your class well (dps, tanking, healing), you’ll be awarded the loot you deserve.
  24. Lairs are sprinkled throughout each zone, will not be announced where they are, and are in the tier 4 zones.
  25. The account management page will be updated to allow pre-launch codes (for in-game items) after open beta starts but before head launch program does.
  26. Skavens are NPC-only (duh).
  27. The backpack looks to host 40 item slots, plus another tab for quest items.
  28. They have plans to have at least some of a player’s Tome of Knowledge available on the web (for out-of-game viewing).
  29. No weapon dyes currently planned.
  30. No non-combat pets at launch (NOOOO!) — they seem pretty discouraging of this feature.
  31. No specific guild housing features are in development, but it’s a possibility.
  32. No guild/faction-controlled dungeons (similar to capturable keeps) at launch. They are in deep discussion about it, however.
  33. Mythic is already planning the first two years of release, the first two big content patches, and is currently in pre-production into the first expansion pack (!).
  34. Open beta will offer players a lot of “free reign” but may not open up the entire game to play.
  35. It’s a huge game world that takes a “really long time” to run from one end to another.
  36. Other successful MMOs in the past 4-5 years has severely helped the entire industry, including WAR.
  37. They’re looking to compete with other MMOs by setting themselves apart with features — RvR, PQs, Tome of Knowledge — that no other MMO has.
  38. They’re still testing and trying to figure out what the population cap per server will be for the sake of the best and most fun RvR.
  39. Level 40 isn’t the actual end game — there are still 80 renown ranks, armor sets (“around 20″), Tome of Knowledge unlocks, claim keeps, unlock content in the capital cities, and so on to explore and achieve.
  40. Your first armor set is available to gain around level 5-6.
  41. Guild leveling “is pretty hard”.
  42. Lots of visual customization — character creation, armor sets, dye, titles, trophies.
  43. Again, character aging/growing effects will not be at launch, but they’re still looking into it.
  44. A Station Pass option for all of EA’s MMORPGs, a la SOE? “Under discussion.”
  45. A Magus is always on a disc, but when other players get their mounts, the Magus’ get a visually different, faster disc.
  46. The Inevitable City has wings devoted to various gods.
  47. Since Warhammer is such a large IP, they really can’t put it all in right away.
  48. Some of the best armor sets in the game are achieved through RvR renown.
  49. Healers are some of “the most powerful characters” due to their ability to fill multiple roles.
  50. No RvR dungeon at launch (a la DAoC), but they’re talking about it a lot.
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Da Newz – May 22

May 22, 2008

Beta Ticker: 700,255 (+7,549 from last week)

Quote of the Week: “We’re not nervous about its quality, we’re nervous about sending it out on the world. It’s like sending your kid to school for the first time.” ~ Josh Drescher

Story of the Week: Oceanic Servers. The Warhammer Herald put up an Oceanic Server News and FAQ for those of you in that region, and EA confirms that Australia, New Zealand and Oceanic copies will be shipped and go live the same time as everyone else (fall 2008). Wash that down with a swig of a GameSpot AU or IGN follow-up interview!

In other news:

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