Da Newz – Elves, Official Forums & Preorder BoxMarch 20, 2008
WAR news had gone through a bit of a dry spell lately, and as I started compiling what news I could find over the past week, I thought I would have to stoop to talking about that crazy Swedish fella who put tentacles on his arms and ran through a Des Moines Wal-Mart pretending to be a Chaos Marauder until the store cops tazed him. Bro. (Note: this didn’t happen.) But come yesterday, and it seemed as though Mythic knew I was starting this blog and wanted to give me a challenge: a huge flood of spankin’ new information jettisoned across the internet. So let us follow the bloody brick road!
IGN and GameSpy (which are, let’s face it, the same site nowadays), each got an exclusive scoop on WAR’s elvish races: GameSpy got the Dark Elves, while IGN covered the High Falootin’ Elves.
GameSpy’s article talks about the black humor of the nasty Dark Elves and gives us an easy-to-understand Cliff’s Notes summary of the DE backstory (because not all of us have the patience to sift through 5,000 word articles with names longer than my forearm). They comment on how the Dark and High Elves’ starting zones are practically on top of each other, versus the other racial parings’ starting zones. Other fun facts include the option to play a male Sorceress, an NPC who only activated his quest giving after you had killed a certain number of High Elves, the ability to release some large reptiles to devour nearby protesters, and a large dragon who is the focal point of the first public quest. Apparently, the public quests got people grouping and naturally assuming their class roles early in the game, which is a mighty good thing.
GameSpy followed that up with an article entitled “The Littlest Things”, discussing the small, sometimes overlooked elements that make MMOs so much fun. First up was the “Vegas Loot System”, in which players effectively operate a slot machine to be rewarded with random loot after a public quest (which you can choose from, and that choice includes just straight-up cash). Next there is the guild tools that WAR is implementing, which features an in-game guild calendar, expanded room for guild notes, a guild news tab, and guild-specific rewards. Finally, neat little additions like the “plungers of the world” and NPCs that only appear based on the time of day round out the fun of the game.
GameSpy also wrote up “Career Opportunities”, discussing the roles and immense balancing challenge that Mythic deals with when it comes to the 24 classes. Of note in this article is that the WAR dev team “wanted to create a class system so deep that players could (if they wanted to) customize their skill and ability loadout for each and every battle.” Skills, abilities, chains, Mastery paths and combat options are discussed. Mythic claims that 75% of a character’s skills are available to them by level 20 (out of a 40-level cap).
This all is apparently a big publicity push for WAR, and GameSpy promises a few more articles in the near future: info on the collector’s edition, high level RvR, and city sieges! WAAARGH! will be sure to cover those soon.
IGN’s article is about a “poncy” (I gotta use that term more often) High Elf Swordsman. Time is spent discussing the aspects of that tanking class, and then on to the starting zone for the HE race. They commented on the fact that both the minimap and the larger map have markers that show you where quest objectives are and popup comments on the quest when you mouseover them (but they also mention that exploration off the beaten track of quests reward you in surprising ways, such as a discovery of plungers, high level critters or explosives that blow you back where you should be). Loot is discussed, particularly when it comes to public quests, in which it seems as though the more you participate, the better your odds of getting something good (and you’ll be able to choose loot relevant to your class). IGN observes the natural progression of quests and story advancement that comes as you proceed through the areas. The Tome of Knowledge gets some article space, with mentions of certain rewards (and how there are Tome unlocks based on how many Tome unlocks you’ve already gotten!). Finally, they talk about the Mastery paths (think sub-classes or talent trees in WoW) that will help to specialize your class build. Abilities will be automatically leveled up as you progress — no need to buy new ranks of skills here!
Of particular note is that IGN observed that WAR is “nearly feature complete and highly polished”, both of which bode well for the game and an on-track release.
Both sites have new Dev interviews, which you can watch here (for IGN’s) and here (for GameSpy’s). This news post is taking me a while to write up, so I’m going to view and comment on those interviews tomorrow. Sound good?
As with all anticipated MMO releases, WAR fans have been dying to know about both preorders and the Collector’s Edition. While there is some older conjecture about a WAR CE box, new scans of the preorder box have surfaced on a site that challenges my monolinguistic nature — but happily Keen was there to translate. It looks as though preorders will be guaranteed a place in the open beta (remember, Mythic’s idea of an “open beta” isn’t “open to all” but just select invites), two bonus items and a jump start on getting into the game before the official release. This last part is what appeals to me the most — beating the crowds into the game gives you a chance to enjoy WAR without five million screaming level one players trying to find Mankirk’s wife. Mark Jacobs isn’t happy about the leak, but confirms that they will be opening up on the preorder and CE box info next week. He does mention that “any in-game items that are in the final CE will not convey an advantage in RvR. There will be no special weapons, armors, etc. that would give someone who bought the CE an advantage in combat against someone who didn’t buy the CE.”
Gameplanet scored an interview with senior producer Jeff Hickman, in which he touched on public quests, the Tome of Knowledge, “living cities” (capital cities that change and grow depending on how and what your race is doing), realm vs. realm combat, and the grand city sieges.
GameStop recently listed a release date of September 2 for WAR, but later pulled it. Mark Jacobs confirmed that they have no firm release date yet, but Sept. 2 will NOT be it. Fans resume biting their nails and hoping that the “stuck in mud” Q2 release date will hold true.
Are you still wondering why EA Mythic hasn’t created an official WAR forum, even after seeing the scary quagmire that the WoW forums turned into (and caused at least one or two community mods to go crazy and quit)? Mark Jacobs made a few chatty appearances on the Warhammer Alliance Forums to explain at length: here and here are the most informative posts. Both Keen and Massively commented on the subject, so I’ll let it go with this: I totally agree with Mark. Waste of time and resources on Mythic’s part.
Missy Hatch piped up on the Warhammer Herald with a pair of lore-bound articles sure to please the info-starved WAR fan. Some points of interest:
- February’s beta focused on Empire vs. Chaos, along with open world RvR, evolved career mechanics, career masteries, keep warfare, and other PvP goodies.
- A pretty good rundown of the Empire and Chaos classes.
- Masteries for the Witch Hunter and Marauder will be released with this month’s newsletter.
- If I don’t play a Witch Hunter, with muttonchops and a pistol and a sword, you may legally disown me.
- Late December through January hosted a Dark Elf sneak peak, with three of the four classes.
Only-WAR.com did a great reposting of Total PC Gaming’s Issue 4 article, “Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning – When Two Tribes Go To War”. The article does a pretty good job bringing non-in-the-know people up to speed on what Warhammer is, the history behind the development of WAR, an overview of the main features and races of the game, and comments from some of the devs. Nothing too new, but Total PC Gaming concludes that WAR is “shaping up into a classic fantasy MMO with an open-ended storyline. It could attract World of Warcraft players and other fantasy gamers – but, on the other hand, the strength of the Warhammer franchise could be its undoing for more casual players.”
Finally, various WAR news bits:
- EA Mythic released the fourth part of the making of their cinematic trailer for you to watch (the making of, not the trailer).
- Warhammer Vault posted a really nice Dwarf wallpaper for you to enjoy.
- Warhamma, the highly entertaining WAR podcast, just released show #12.
- Keen is publicizing an upcoming WAR-themed webcomic on their site: Goblannoyed!
- The Greenskin does an excellent WAR forum watch.
- Mark Jacob’s contributes his WAR April Fools ideas on the WHA forums.