Eurogamer speaks to WAR devs

Paul Barnett and Jeff Hickman, along with ‘an entire pack of Warhammer Online bigwigs’ spoke to Eurogamer yesterday in a live chat, where they gave snippets of information about the game events, the Land of the Dead, the new classes, and future plans for the game. I’ve copied and pasted some of the bits I found most interesting, but good ol’ Eurogamer has put the entire transcript up, so you can go read it in its entirety.

Tomb Kings or The Land of the Dead is a massive zone which is broken up into two parts – The Necropolis and the Tomb of the Vulture Lord.

It is RvR-gated. In other words, each realm must fight for ownership and the dungeon is expected to change hands nightly…

It is full of new and interesting PQs, new lairs, refreshing game mechanics, new rewards and loot and generally awesome new stuff.

Many of the great things from Darkness Falls will be built upon. Tokens, other loot methods, wide level range, and the thrill of your enemy always breathing down your back.

It is accessible from around levels 25 and up. The Tomb of the Vulture Lord is actually a super high level area designed to supplement our end game content after Lost Vale.

So we are working on multiple events as part of the Call to Arms campaign, two of which specifically revolve around eluding to or gaining access to The Land of the Dead.

What you are specifically referring to is our race for access, the main plotline behind the Rise of the Tomb Kings (Live event #3). This event represents a race to first access (limited time exclusive access) to the dungeon. This will be an Order vs. Destruction race for superiority.

CC is definitely something we talk about almost on a daily basis. We will continue to talk and then tweak the abilities to get as close to perfect as we ever can.

MJ Followup Interview with Eurogamer

Following Paul Barnett’s comments to Eurogamer earlier this week, Mark Jacob called them for a quick ‘damage control’ interview where he explains that EA is really really good at distributing games and it’s not true at all that they don’t know anything about MMOs. The EA Online Store hasn’t been doing an especially good job on distribution but we’re not inclined to argue the point since our CEs arrived in the post today.

He also discusses the launch, how Mythic expect realm populations to pan out and what sort of plans they have up their sleeves if adjustments need to be made (he mentions the idea of a renown bonus for the weaker side).

He also notes that in the first 24 hours of headstart launch, they received 0.5 pieces of feedback per server. A cynic might wonder if that meant that the feedback system wasn’t working, but actually I know it was because I reported a minor graphics bug and got an email acknowledgement.

He also predicts that it’ll be a few weeks before any capital cities get attacked. It’s a good interview, go follow the link.

Massively interview with Mark Jacobs

Not to be out-done, Massively also have an interview posted today. This one is with Mark Jacobs (Mythic VP and Lead Designer of WAR), and he talks about launch, his hopes for WAR, how DaoC influenced the RvR design in the new game, and his blog.

Eurogamer Interview: Paul’s thoughts on everything

Eurogamer.net have posted up an awesome interview with Paul Barnett (Creative Director at Mythic) that they did at Games Day. (We were outside the room taking pictures of Ardua caressing a plastic Chosen.)

On how many players he (personally) predicts:

I don’t know what the business people have – they have all sorts of crazy numbers, and things to do with shareholders, and things that would probably get me fired. But we’re having a staff pool. I put down my bet: a million within the year, and then three million.

On expansions and updates:

GOA and Mythic have got a great track record of doing loads of content for free throughout the life of the product, followed by expansions every year or year and a half. WAR definitely is going to follow the same route. We already have a live team, a core team and an expansion team in the studio right now who’ve been working on all the different elements.

On Public Quests:

They pass my genius test. If you see something, and the first time you see it you end up slapping your forehead and going yeah of course, it’s obvious, whatever it was is probably genius.

On GOA:

GOA did it with Dark Age of Camelot and they’ve done it really well. They’ve done it in a very European way, but they’ve done it very well, and it’s more of the same.

On EA in Europe:

They know nothing about launching MMOs in Europe, unless it’s spending lots of money closing them down I suppose.

On why to play WAR instead of WoW:

It’s funnier than WOW. It’s easier to play, but all the dragons are still left to slay: in WOW, there really isn’t that much to do, not any more. You can wait for two years and get another ten levels, but you’ve probably seen it and done it.

Why not to play WAR:

If you really, really don’t like MMOs, you don’t like the subscription model, then I’d say stay away, mate. Don’t be a hater.

See, this is why they are professional journalists and I’m not. I just asked about the trousers 🙂

Sir Links-a-lot

Leipzig Links

The Games Convention blog gets to GOA. It’s in German, I haven’t asked my husband to translate yet.. but I currently am in love with the line:

Wir haben es getan. “WAAAAAAAAGH!!!!” Es soll dann auch T-Shirts geben. Jippie!.

(Note to all GOA/Mythic types going to Games Day – we love T-shirts – arbitrary ;p)

Here’s a cool video from Leipzig about living cities, showing a Bright WIzard running around Altdorf. Oh, and Josh Drescher gives a commentary!

If you’re going to dress up, pick a cool class to dress up as. Here’s a good example from Leipzig.

What’s the future for Warhammer Online after September 2008? Paul speaks at Leipzig and says there’s a 3-year plan currently in place.

Sterntaler (one of the german CMs) posts some video of the GOA/Warhammer stand in Liepzig. (He mentions T-Shirts and free stuff prominently, which I know Arbitrary will find intriguing!)

Sausage and Sauerkraut – lunch is good at the Games Convention it seems. Lunch is important. More photos from Leipzig can be seen here (incl. Age of Conan booth babes – because I’m good to you – arbitrary).

Player vs Developer compares the WAR trailer to the WoW one, both released at Liepzig. Rock, Paper, Shotgun also mentions them in the same breath, but gets to use the word ‘phwoarhammer’ – we’re depressed we didn’t think to use that one, so credit where it’s due. Is it just us though, or was that a handful of Order chars taking on an entire Destruction army. Nerf!!

And, of course, Warhammer Online wins Best Online Game of the show.

General Links

Neurotic women are more likely to blog. No comment. Actually, that reminds me, there’s a new livejournal community for WAR-ladies.

Gnomeo and Juliet. No comment. Actually, sounds awesome ;p

Ablegamer takes a look at Warhammer Online from a different perspective – what does it have to cater for the disabled player.

This is my current favourite review of Warhammer Online – it covers a lot of ground, while not being too in-depth, and it sounds like a group of friends honestly discussing the game. This I like.

We loved the gamespy pre-NDA impressions of WAR, here’s their actual beta review.

MMORPG.com has an interview from GenCon Indy with Robert Mull, Community Relations Director for Mythic. There’s a short intro here, and then a longer video.

Useful tools for Warhammer Online. WarDb (basically Thottbot for Warhammer Online) if you want all the info/spoilers broken down, and the combat parser (though if I am going to use that kind of thing I’d rather have one on my desktop than have to go through a website).

This is Massively’s collection of videos showing the /special emotes for each race. They’re what WAR has instead of /dance to give you something amusing to do while you’re waiting for people to run back from the graveyard.

Olympic Link: Matt Slater (a BBC commentator) claims that Beach Volleyball is a great sport in its own right, and he doesn’t just watch it for the girls in bikinis — he may be the only one 😛

Ok, this may be down right now but it’s supposed to be back online today so I’ll link it anyway. Tiny Adventures is a D&D Facebook app – it lets you create a char, equip them and set them off on an adventure. Sounds fun to me!

Addendum

I brave my horrible train wi-fi to bring you a quick addendum to the links we posted this morning.

First of all, Tobold’s put up an interview he did with Paul Barnett via email. It’s a great read and highly recommended.

Secondly, the Warhammer Herald has some news about the trip to Comic-con in San Diego (starts tomorrow), also James Nichols is testing twittering while on the road with WAR. I love twitter, so if you have a twitter account consider following James’ posts here and encouraging him to continue with the venture.

EU Guild Beta begins & E3 trailer

Just in case you haven’t read this elsewhere, the EU guild beta has begun, with the mass of invitations being sent out last night and today.

(plus another friend of mine got a beta invite, so I’m wallowing!)

Also, go see the E3 trailer here. Very pretty! And check out Mark Jacob’s video interview with Gamespot. Featuring footage from the current guild beta phase.

Interview with.. err.. us (and quick update on FAQ)

Warhammer Alliance have us featured under their community spotlight at the moment and you can go read the interview here.

And in other quick news, the Warhammer Herald has now posted the FAQ on capital cities in the light of recent announcements.

Interview with MBJ – and FAQ on the Mythic site

Mythic have an FAQ about the new changes up on the main site.

Tentonhammer also has a two part interview with Mark Jacobs, here’s a link to the first part on the effects of going live with two capital cities.

Here he’s discussing the advantages of focussing RvR on one city per side. And perhaps letting slip that there will be more RvR focussed servers and more PvE (or at least less PvP) ones.

So if we had a server, which had a higher number of people who really don’t like RvR, and just want to play for the PvE. Maybe they occasionally RvR, with three cities, with a more distracted player base, I think the city sieges would be happening less often than we had hoped. Now, even on those servers where you don’t have as much of an RvR base, you will still be able to work together to take one city. I honestly do believe this is the right decision, even if we had three more years to work on it.

He adds, on the timescales:

Let’s say no one cared when this game came out. I don’t know if I would have changed this decision. I cannot say that about the classes, but I can say it about this. Even if we had an unlimited amount of time, I think having the player base focused on one city at a time for capture is a really, really good thing.

Sounds to me from this as though the class cutting was based on looming deadlines. We’ll see what tomorrow’s interview segment about classes brings!

(I do believe that I am getting quite hyped out with all these interview and comments spread across loads of different sites.)

A tactical interlude

mmorpg.com has posted up the second part of their interview with Adam Gershowitz (Combat and Careers Strike Team Lead) on the careers system in Warhammer. In PvP, the classes have a rock, paper, scissors set of strengths and vulnerabilities vs other classes that Adam explains like this:

Tanks (Black Orc, Chosen, Blackguard, Ironbreaker, Knight, Sword master)

  • Strong Vs Melee DPS
  • Even Vs Tanks / Melee Healers
  • Weak Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers

Melee DPS (Choppa, Marauder, Witch Elf, Witch Hunter, White Lion, Hammerer)

  • Strong Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Even Vs Melee DPS
  • Weak Vs Tanks / Melee healers

Ranged DPS (Shadow Warrior, Bright Wizard, Engineer, Sorceress, Magus, Squig Herder)

  • Strong Vs Tanks
  • Even Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Weak Vs Melee DPS

Melee Healers (Warrior Priest & Disciple)

  • Strong Vs Melee DPS
  • Even Vs Tanks & Melee Healers
  • Weak Vs Ranged DPS

Ranged Healers (Archmage, Rune Priest, Shaman, Zealot)

  • Strong Vs Tanks
  • Even Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Weak Vs Melee DPS

So this gives us a rough idea of what the different classes might be doing in PvP. The general rule is that you try to target the classes who are weak to you, whilst avoiding the ones who are strongest against you. At the same time, there will be some overall tactic that probably depends on the situation or scenario. If the tactics involve focus fire, then the dps classes will be directed by the group or raid leader to take down specific targets. Maybe this will be killing the healers first, or whichever class is most dangerous to leave standing.

But tanks being strong vs melee dps implies that they have a way to break up the ‘assist train’. (Focus fire is called the assist train for historical reasons, because the traditional method was to have one leader as a ‘main assist’ and all the dps copy his or her targetting strategy by typing /assist <name of leader>). Adam throws some more light on this:

Traditionally taunt is used on silly STUPID AI in PvE, but you really have to twist our arm to make an ability only usable in one half of the game. As such Taunt not only snaps a monster’s Aggro onto you, but it also interrupts any currently casting spells, and gives you 20% more damage against that target until they hit you 3 times.

Spell interrupt is very powerful, but not so much against melee dps. Until you remember that this includes the melee healers. So tanks in PvP will be able to taunt to break up the assist train by weakening melee dps and interrupting heals. There have been previous comments that tanks in Warhammer will be getting some crowd control abilities which should also help. They’re starting to sound pretty darned good.

Warning, this is where it gets hypothetical. I can imagine open field scenarios where melee groups consisting of tanks, melee healers, and melee dps try to maneuver round each other to get to the other team’s ranged dps and healers. But if ranged are strong against those classes, won’t they just be nuking the bajeezus out of the melee while melee are tangling with each other? That’s still a concern of mine and I’ll be interested to see what the beta testers have to say about this when the NDA goes down (which probably won’t be any time soon).

Having said that, I’m also intrigued at ranged groups with (say, for Order) an engineer to put down turrets and barbed wire and a keg, and healers trying to kite the opposite faction through it.

I do wonder if part of the reason that the melee dps classes are still being tweaked is to do with these kind of balance issues. Melee needs to be able to get to ranged. But not without a fight.

Balance of Numbers

It’s interesting also to compare this with the Warhammer Alliance class survey results (analysis here). The survey showed tanks and ranged healers being by far the most popular Destruction classes, with melee and ranged dps scoring high for Order (or else Order players just like classes beginning with W, they’d probably play Witch-Elves if they converted faction).

If this follows through to the live game, which it won’t but bear with me for the sake of argument, then Destruction might have a lot more control of the battlefields with Order being encouraged to flank the melee opposition The lack of dps on the Destruction side would draw battles out longer, but their tanks and shamans would have to play very smart to keep all those White Lions and Witch Hunters and Warrior Priests (see what I mean about W?) from destroying their support. I wonder what the cooldown is on taunt and how many people can be taunted at once …