First details about Warhammer emerge

An article/preview from PC Gamer about Mythic’s online version of WARhammer leaked on the internet with some rough but already eloquent details about the game and its PvP structure.

The biggest surprise is the first few screenshots that are made available. If you were expecting a game with a harsher, gritty look, taking out the darker side of the setting… well, you’ll be deluded. They are going with even more caricatural, cartoonish, oddly colored and odd looking version of WoW.

Believe it or not, I’m not joking.

Not only they are copying the look of WoW characters, but they are also copying how the environments look and the pastel-colored textures of the buildings. Look at the background of the big image with the dwarf on the middle-right. Tell me if that texture doesn’t seem ripped off straight from WoW.

Even the style of the armors and weapons is cartoonish and clearly inspired to WoW.

Why Mythic? Why deluding with one aspect of the game that just everyone expected going in a completely different direction? DAoC has already a much more realistic look and the artists have proved to have a huge talent. You should have just moved further in that direction and create a more gloomy, realistic setting. Something that could have enhanced the feeling of violent battles and going in a diametrically opposite direction from WoW.

Instead they decided to go fight WoW in its own house. Copying its style even if Mythic’s artists obviously cannot handle it as well. Fighting fire with fire. How utterly stupid…

What can be said for those screenshots can be said for the first “design” details.

“PvP will be broken into four types: Skirmishes, Battlefields, Sceanarios, and Campaigns. Skirmishes are… two or more enemies clashing in unstructured combat. Battlefields… fighting for in-game resources, such as lumber mills and temples. Scenarios are similar to Battlefields, except these large-scale battles will be instanced and evenly matched by the server (adding bots to balance the sides).. and factor the most into which side takes a zone. Campaigns will be the PvP end-games – a final, humiliating invasion of the losing race’s capital city.
Once [the capital is taken, yay for wanton slaughter of NPCs]… the server’s metagame will spawn in AI reinforcements, drive out the invasion force, and then reset the server…. You get to keep [all your phat lewts]… At launch, there will be approximately 33 zones and 1800 quests…

“The four elements of RvR noted in the article are actually designed to be much more integrated than the author of the article lets on – Battlefields and Skirmish play take place in a shared RvR space, and Scenarios are adjacent to those areas as well. Dominance in these aspects of play combines to drive the greater Campaign, which moves the fighting through the world to keep things interesting, and can culminate – if the attacking force is skilled and persistent – in the sacking of an enemy city.

“…we aim to create a coherent RvR experience where players can participate when and how they care to, and where everyone contributes to the greater war. Certainly not every aspect of RvR will be for every player, but whatever aspect is for you will matter, and so you can play the way or ways you want to, whatever they may be, and still be an important part of the war.”

Yes, it sounds like WoW.

It’s already possible to have a rather precise idea of how the PvP will be handled. There are shared RvR zones with resource nodes and nearby portals to instanced BGs. Plus a single instance of Alterac Valley/Capital City Raid on each server to replace DAoC’s relic raids.

The difference from WoW is that these battlegrounds/zones seem more connected one to the other and the PvP space slightly more persistent. Similar changes in WoW would be wonderful and actually what I expected from that game. But for Warhammer? There were so many possibilities to explore, why chasing WoW’s tail even here?

The model seems clean and building on the solid premises of DAoC, but why not fully utilizing the potential of a completely different project to disclose that potential that DAoC only hinted? Why the decision to go with just a bland remix of the same elements?

Some of the most important details aren’t revealed, for example how these zones are interconnected, how the guilds will impact the game, the amount of player-controlled spaces and, hopefully, structures and so on.

For the rest it is just “more of the same”, with a different name to dissimulate the “already seen” feel:

“…”Death” isn’t permanent in Warhammer Online[sic, and they really do know it is WAR, he just calls it that 4-ez, as they say], but each death-ish mishap will bring you closer to the brink of insanity. Die too often and the accumulated insanity points will befin to drain away the amount of experience you gain…”

Which would translate as “exp debt” if we wish to call things with their proper name.

“You’ll also get to choose from two different archetypes: the Warrior and the Adept. Warriors, not suprisingly, rely heavily on brute force. Adepts are better at skilled professions. Each puts you on a unique career path in which you’ll be able to make selections that further detail your profession (A Human Warrior, for example, may rise through the ranks of being a soldier, a rifleman, mercenary, knight, and ranger – sometimes mixing and matching facets of each if desired).”

The archetype/profession system seems the same used in Imperator, which borrowed it from EQ2, which borrowed it from a bunch of other games.

While the NPC starting guilds exist already in DAoC, same for the emphasis on early-level RvR.

There are only two little points that are interesting, if what they hint is correct (but I doubt it):

PvE goes towards RvR..

Eschewing character levels altogether, Warhammer Online [sic] will be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get world.

That this game will be completely without levels and based on a skill system, I’ll believe only when I’ll see it with my eyes, and for now I remain highly doubtful.

PvE flowing into RvR is instead a critical problem. I was going to write about this for DAoC but it’s a valid concept in general. The PvP absolutely needs a PvE side to be strong, these two parts shouldn’t be kept separated as two absolutely independent elements. One should flow in the other, create a “gate” on the other side.

This is probably the most important aspect for a PvP game, right now, as it is for a “sandbox” game. The need to have PvE content as a “direction” to structure the gameplay and the game world. Slapping the players in PvP just doesn’t work and is a short-legged solution.

Between the other things you can also enjoy Sanya hopping around the new community to try convince everyone about how Mythic will take into consideration the community, this time.

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