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 ..

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Comparisons…

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.

Golden Joysticks 2008

WAR may not have been released yet, but is that a reason NOT to vote for it as ‘One to Watch’ in the Golden Joysticks?

The 26th Annual Golden Joysticks will be announced at the London Games Festival later in the year and voting has just opened here. A shortlist will be produced sometime in June and then the fun really starts – but to get all the games you love on that shortlist, head over and vote.

iWAR?

Macworld has reported that key game development software EMotion FX has now been brought out for the Mac.

Used in the development of both Vanguard and Warhammer Online, this news might indicate a stronger chance of a Mac version of the games being produced by studios – something that’d no doubt make a lot of Mac owners happy!

Previously, dedicated Mac releases for MMORPGs have been few and far between, with World of Warcraft a notable exception. But Apple’s market share is growing, and the demand for Mac releases is too. While not a make or break issue, offering a game in as many versions as possible should definitely maximise the audience.

What does Europe have against edible halflings?

I was just trawling for some news and discovered this Allakhazam interview with Associate Producer Josh Drescher, where this snippet originates;

Allakhazam: As a final question, name the one thing you wished you could have designed and implemented in WAR but were not able to, and what are the chances it may appear in future expansions?

Josh: Edible Halflings. We were concerned it would hurt our rating in Europe…”

Hrrm, just a joke? He does go on to use the phrase ‘in all seriousness’ ;p

The interview doesn’t have any major revelations, but it’s still quite interesting about the game’s philosophy and worth a look in.

Dwarf Lore (some links)

A Dwarf army is like a well-crafted mail shirt; each warrior is an iron-hard link, knitted together by duty, honour and loyalty. And, like a mail shirt, never a blow shall pass them as long as all the links remain strong.” – Dwarf Saying

They’re small! They’re round! They bounce along the ground! – Idris

We love dwarfs here and Games Workshop have given us 20+ years worth of background on our favourite Warhammer race. They’re long lived, honourable folk of the mountains who love gold, beer, and a good fight. Steadfast allies and implacable foes who never EVER forget a grudge (and boy do they have a lot of grudges), you do not want to get on their bad side.

So we’ll be writing some more about the short beardy guys and gals when we get a chance, but first let’s see what the best of the web has to offer.

Warhammer: Dwarfs from Games Workshop Online

Dwarfs from the Warhammer Online homepage

A basic roleplayer’s guide to the relentless dwarfs from the Warhammer Online Vault

The Big Thread of Dwarfen Lore from Warhammer Alliance forums (lots of nerdrage in this thread for added drama)

Dwarfs from the HammerWiki