warhammer novel released online

Richard Prince has written Shadowspear Legacy, a Warhammer Online novel, and plans to publish a chapter per month in the run-up to the game’s release. While this isn’t a sanctioned Games Workshop piece of writing, it’s very nicely done and gives some access to a wider background piece available free and online.

things I didn’t know: 1

I was trawling the news sites for any info about WAR (something I do so much more regularly now) and I came across this little interview with the games developers. Most of it is stuff I already knew about the game, and it’s a decent little read.. but then I came across this snippet:

There seems to be a real depth of narrative in Age Of Reckoning that’s perhaps missing from most online games.

It’s a hard role in an MMOG. You constantly fight against the need for narrative, and the push against it by players or designers who don’t think that it’s important. You have to balance out the impact on the game. So what we’ve done is tied it in to the Tome of Knowledge. So we have this great narrative. There’s, I believe, a prologue and 22 chapters for every race. As you move through the game, physically, you’ll get a ‘Tome Unlock’. Boom – you’ve entered chapter three. You open up your Tome and sure enough, there’s all the information about chapter three. All the information about public quests there, about the rewards you can gain in that chapter by gaining influence, and two or three pages of the story behind that chapter, which is cool because it tells the story about the things that are happening around you. You read the story, and then you go do the quests, and it all ties together.

So, you don’t have to read the story. But if you open up the Tome and read a couple of pages each chapter, it really makes it very fulfilling. It ties together so well. We try to keep quest text fairly short, and try to tie it in to the narrative of each chapter, and then if we have a lot of lengthy text we put that in the Tome. We start to tell this story that Warhammer players have previously had to imagine.”

Is it bad I didn’t know about this role of the Tome of Knowledge?

I already thought the Tome was a good idea, but now it’s become central to why I think WAR will hook me right from the start. I love narrative in games, it’s what can set apart a good game from a phenomenal game – and if they can really crack getting a good narrative into an MMORPG, and a narrative I can go and read at a later date when I’m not rushing to find where I’m supposed to be.. then I’ll be in love with it. Hope it turns out exactly as they have described it though, or I’ll be sad 🙂

NB: for other fans of the Tome of Knowledge, Massively have just posted a short interview with some more links and info about it.

Is PvP really just for the hardcore?!

Earnest Cavelli writes an opinion piece in Wired’s blog where he rants about how MMORPGs have run out of ideas and are only including more PvP to keep the vocal hardcore fan happy.

What utter toss.

He loses me right at the beginning with the comment: Even long-standing, well-respected games such as space opera MMO EVE Online have shown a renewed interest in the phenomenon. EVE, in case anyone doesn’t know, is and has always been one of the most cut-throat PvP games on the market. The no holds barred nature of 0.0 space AND the ability to opt out from gaming there if you don’t want to PvP is one of the game’s biggest draws. So no surprise really if they’ve decided to focus on PvP for their next expansion.

You only have to look at the popularity of PvP servers in WoW to see that a large proportion of players not only enjoy occasional PvP but like it so much that any associated issues (like being ganked by high levels) don’t put them off.

As a form of endgame, it’s also relatively cheap compared to creating and stocking new dungeons or areas to explore. Players can literally entertain themselves.

I don’t understand why Cavelli thinks that adding better PvP will result in games that only appeal to a tiny minority. The examples he gives of earlier, smaller games LACKED PvP or implemented it very badly (Ultima Online was notorious for this, back in the day). So of course a lot of people who tried it then hated it. But then again, I also don’t understand why he thinks that MMORPGs evolved from online shooters (clue-by-4: They didn’t, they evolved from MUDs.)

PvP, when it’s done well, is terrifically attractive to players in a MMORPG environment. Forming up into a fighting army with a load of friends and heading off to attack an enemy base or just throw yourselves at another zerg is good fun. Fighting other players will always have an edge to it that fighting monsters never can. Especially if you see names you recognise and can rib them about it afterwards in the game or on forums or IRC.

It’s not just the hardcore who PvP. Most players will try it out. And there is definitely scope for improvements in MMORPG PvP and I’m excited to see developers recognise this and try to address it.

from the web

The Greenskin has posted a great overview of RvR if you’re not sure how it compares to PvP and PvE. Also the final list of dwarf vs greenskin questions have been selected, and they’re a great bunch, so we eagerly await a response to them.

A new fansite, Waaaghead has launched – looks good so far!

TenTonHammer has posted an amusing look at things not to do in the first week of launch.

More about the tabletop game than the MMORPG, I just couldn’t resist sharing the terrifying vision of Hello Kitty meeting Warhammer… if I have to sleep tonight after this, so do you all!

The guys and gals at Massively are off to talk to Mythic and are looking for suggestions to questions to ask

And on the EU Warhammer site some new beta journals and fan stories, including this dwarf-told tale, courtesy of Jamesburgess, of The Sacking of Karak Draz.

GOA have also provided us with a much needed Orcaniser which translates from english, german, french, spanish, and italian into orcish. Much better plan for a pan european language than esperanto ever was!

/slashrandom and Tobold are both finding that the beta NDA is cramping their blogging style. I guess that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about here … yet (she says, with pathetically not-yet-given-up hope.)

crafting interview

Mark Jacobs gives Gamespy an overview of crafting. Highlights include discussion of grinding crafts, goldfarmers, philosophy behind crafting in WAR and more cool stuff about the Tome of Knowledge (at the end, but it’s beginning to fascinate me – we can read each others? Neat!)

May Newsletter : white lion, crafting, spiky stuff and more

The May Newsletter turned up in my mail (and in everyone else’s I guess) this morning, and although it’s not officially linked yet, the WHA chaps have done some delving around.

White Lion

Overview: Dragonwake – another high elf zone. no pictures of dragons, sadly

Scenarios 101, part 5 – couple of dwarf v greenskin scenarios/battlegrounds. The level range in both is given as 23-40 (23 seems arbitrary to me but what do I know?) and they both are 12 v 12.

Mark Jacobs video blogs about crafting

Now this is the fun stuff for me. He goes through all the crafting skills, and explains where they see them at the moment. The word fun gets mentioned a lot, and so does recipe-less crafting, and not needing to grind useless items to level crafting.

Basics are:

4 gathering skills (magical salvage, butchery, scavenging, cultivation), 2 crafting skills (apothecary, talisman making). Everyone gets to pick one gathering and one craft skill. Because there are no recipes involved, you get to experiment. When you make a potion or a talisman, your vessel has 4 slots for ingredients. You can get super lucky and have something very exciting happen. Or you can be unlucky and the item won’t work — but if that happens, you don’t lose the ingredients.

Cultivation sounds by far the most involved of the gathering skills. You need to aquire seeds/spores, then there’s a 3 stage growing process where you add various things. The other gathering skills sound more straightforwards and I’m assuming you’ll want access to all of them through friends or guildies or maybe an auction house, to do any of the crafting.

It is a bit odd that I may end up with a dwarf engineer who can’t make … engineering stuff. Magical talismans doesn’t really sound right. But I love the general idea of experimenting.

witch elf

Career Update: Witch Elf

More information about their skills and masteries. Note the spiky thigh-highs with stilettos. She doesn’t seem to have a matching bra though, boo to that.

Concept Art for Dark Elf and Dwarf Mounts

The elves get giant two legged lizards, dwarfs get personal gyrocopters which look fun in the pictures. There is a note in the concept art about being able to display guild emblems on the mount which I like quite a lot.

dwarf with wings

Paul’s Video Blog

Rather dull grab bag about the chaos city

And some awesome fan art! There is some fan fic also which I’ll read later 😛

White Lion confirmed

Garthlik on the Warhammer Alliance forums posted confirmation that the last High Elf class is the White Lion (as pretty much known throughout the community anyway).

The accompanying article at Gamespot was apparently posted and then taken down, it’s believed that it’ll go live once this month’s newsletter has been mailed out.

Checking out Altdorf

I am really hyped by the latest set of Altdorf screenshots. The more I see of the visual design of the game, the more I like it.

The engine does look similar to an upgraded DaoC one, which I think is what they based the code on. That isn’t a bad thing, it looked good for its time and the Altdorf architecture looks great in the screenies. I’m trying not to be reminded of Camelot (or Stratholme, for the pics where the place is in flames) but there’s definitely a strong consistent visual feel to the location that fits right in with warhammer.

The other thing I am really liking is that each class and race has a strong visual style. This is absolutely key to warhammer as a game and setting, all the armies are immediately identifiable. Even from the screenshots, you can pick out the warrior priests, bright wizards, tart^D^D^D^Dwitch elves and so on very quickly.

I’m guessing and hoping that this will prove true in play also. Right now, it’s quite likely that the beta testers get given some gear and told to go fight so their visuals may be very fixed. But I like that in PvP you can run into a group from the opposite faction and take some quick on-the-fly guesses at to who and what you are fighting.

I do wonder if you’ll be able to ‘fly false colours’ though. In DaoC, I remember paladin friends who loved dressing up as casters to surprise any lazy stealthers …. or maybe they just liked the dresses. Never can tell with paladins ..


It’s no secret that we get very protective about the MMORPGs we play. That’s partially a good thing, and displays the power of immersive gaming. But it also leads to the bitching and one upmanship that means we *must* pick a side when it comes to the war of the MMORPGs.

Am I really threatened that someone enjoys Age of Conan, when I have no intention of playing it? I might miss them, and I do, but I have other ways of staying in touch and I know we’ll play together again. Does it really matter if someone splits their time between World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, or if they just dabble in LotRO while spending most of their time in EVE. As consumers, can’t we play any we enjoy without worrying about which is the “best”?

Also, there’s no actual need to bitch at people who don’t enjoy the same aspects of gaming as we do, the beauty of the MMO, to me, is to mix with people who can show me the positive sides of things I haven’t enjoyed before, and to do the same for them… but also to find like-minded people who share some of my basic gaming pleasures and to socialise with them while enjoying the game.

While comparisons can be a really healthy and interesting pastime they can also be a little troubling and I don’t think it’d hurt anyone to remember that there’s a chance a forceful defense can also sometimes feel a bit like an attack.

It seems quite a few people are blogging about comparisons recently. Keen and Graev have a couple of relevant posts, one asks if we’re more excited about WAR having played AoC, the other is about designing an ideal MMO. Syp, over at the Waaagh! blog also ponder the comparison curse, sparked by a post from Tobold on his MMO blog. We’ll no doubt see a lot more comparing and the recent spate is undoubtably because of Conan’s release, but I hope people don’t take it too personally as I’m trying not to, myself.

Dwarf Lore: Female Dwarfs in the front line?

Dwarfs are a patriarchal race, they are also an old race and a race that is dying out. Female dwarfs are rare, maybe one or two female births out of every ten. They do live longer than male dwarfs and are every bit as strong willed, but they are also are highly prized and tend to be closely guarded at home. Although they are trained to fight, they would not normally be found in the front line.

So how does this fit in with having them available as PCs in WAR?

Well … you have to bend the lore a bit to do it. But even in lore, there are Priestesses of Valaya so it’s easy to justify some healers, and engineers are eccentric enough that maybe a strong-willed lady dwarf could elbow her way in among the lads. As for ironbreakers and hammerers — unlikely but it’s just so damn cool that who cares?

Also, players usually prefer the prettier races so there’s a good chance that the actual online ratio of male dwarfs: female will probably be higher than 10:1 anyhow.

Mythic have put up screenshots with a female dwarf engineer so it looks right now as if female dwarfs are go. Hang onto your beards, boys, we’re gonna show you how a real dwarf goes to war! And if you thought you men knew how to hold a grudge, you ain’t seen nothing yet.