Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
19th Jul 2006 | 13:25
We're rather excited about Mythic's MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning here in the office. Partly because it's Warhammer, partly because it's infused with some great humour, but mainly because, well, it's looking bloody great. So we were giddy as a kid at Christmas when we were recently handed the opportunity to sit down with the game's executive producer Jeff Hickman and vice president of marketing and business development Eugene Evans to uncover more juicy morsels of info on this epic massively multiplayer online RPG...
What's going to distinguish this from other MMOGs?
Eugene Evans: Age Of Reckoning is all about the PvP. Dark Age Of Camelot was the leader when it came to implementing PvP play. After most people have completed other MMOGs like World Of Warcraft, they stop playing. But with Camelot, after you'd finished playing the quests, you'd still keep playing, as there were always new players to compete with. We're going to be expanding on that idea in Age of Reckoning.
What new features will we see that weren't in Dark Age of Camelot?
Eugene Evans: The way that the PvP and RvR [Realm versus Realm] battles are integrated. On the same zone map you'll have both forms of battle taking place. That's going to be a real innovation from Camelot. The career advancement system and UI will also be far more accessible. Camelot was all about keyboard controls and slash commands, and while you'll still be able to play Age of Reckoning this way, the user interface has been improved so much that it's now far more accessible than Camelot's.
Can you tell us about the game's background and plot?
Jeff Hickman: War is everywhere. You find yourself in a massive conflict that's taking place. It's a battle for territory and control between different races. We've taken six races, Green Skins (Orcs and Goblins), Humans, Dwarves, Chaos, High Elves and Dark Elves, and put them into their homelands from the Warhammer universe. These races are paired against each other in two realms. Residing in the Realm of Order are the Humans, Dwarves and Elves. Residing in the Realm of Destruction are the Green Skins, Chaos and the High Elves. They're pitted against each other in racial pairs, so the Green Skins' natural enemy are the Dwarves. The zones that they start out in are right next to each other so that they're interacting - hopefully in conflict - with each other straight away.
How are you handling PvP and RvR combat?
Eugene Evans: When taking part in PvP and RvR in Dark Age Of Camelot, you almost always needed to be in a group - then you'd need to find another group to take on - before you could fight. In Age of Reckoning, if you go into a certain type of RvR battle and if your group isn't up to the complete points requirement of the group you're going to attack, we'll give you NPCs to help match your team with the opposing side. This way you'll always be able to find an RvR battle that you can participate in.
Can you give us any more details about how RvR will work?
Jeff Hickman: RvR is a tiered system. The first layer is Open Field Combat, where a certain portion of each zone is reserved for open combat. If you win you gain some points. The second layer is called Battlefields, which are just focal points for conflict. There may be a farmhouse on a hill and if you run over to it and raise your realm's flag over it, then you'll capture it. You get a reward for doing that, but then the enemy will want to take it back, which will cause further conflict.
The third tier is Scenarios, which is the most important piece of RvR. It's battle point-based, evenly matched, arena combat. Imagine you're running towards a large area like a giant gate in a Dwarven wall. As you get close to it you'll get torn out of the world and placed in a lobby where you can see all of your friends who are there with you. You'll be able to see a set of objectives, such as capturing the gate. After that you're given a time limit to complete that objective. If you're on your own you'll get matched up with a group, if you're with a group you'll probably get matched up with a couple of other groups before being spat out on opposite ends of the battlefield to fight over the objective. Whoever wins gets the rewards.
How does the game's Campaign System work?
Jeff Hickman: Every race has a capital city. There are three zones between each capital city. The idea is to rampage over these three zones in order to get to your enemy's capital city. In order to do that you skirmish and go to Battlefields and Scenarios in each zone. Whoever wins the most wins the zone. You have to capture all of the zones before you can attack your enemy's capital city. If you manage to capture the capital city, the gates will open and you can run in and loot and pillage the city.
So how will looting work?
Jeff Hickman: We have two different looting mechanisms. World Loot allows anyone who participated in the city capture to share in the spoils. Then we have Living City Encounters, which may task you with fighting the Duke or the King of the city. If you win they'll drop some of the best loot in the game. If you capture the King, you can take him back to your own capital city and put him in stockades by the front gates until the enemy comes to rescue him.
What different types of combat tactics will we be able to employ?
Jeff Hickman: Combat tactics are actually a character enhancement. Once you've chosen what you want to do, you can't change your tactics for thirty minutes or so. If you then decide that you're not fighting the way you want to fight, you can then change your tactics. This gives a bit of character differentiation and allows you to do different things with your character.
We also have a system called Morale. We have a meter that goes up the better you do in combat. As you fight, your Morale goes up. There are five levels of Morale abilities and each level is more and more powerful. You earn Morale abilities through the Career System, just like anything else. It's also a group-based system. When you're in a group you earn triple Morale points during combat. If you want to reach the higher Morale levels, then you're going to need to work in a group, as these are the most powerful abilities in the game. We really want you to work for those. As soon as you stop fighting, your Morale starts to drop again.
Are Morale Abilities class or race specific? Can you give us a few examples?
Jeff Hickman: Some of them are race specific, but most of them are class specific. A fighter will have abilities to help him do the job he's meant to do. So if he's a defensive fighter, his morale abilities will be based on increasing his and his group's defensive abilities like armour, or if you're a healer your healing abilities will rise.
Can you give us some details about how Public Quests will work?
Eugene Evans: Let's say a giant has been annoyed by twenty Squigs. You can go in and kill one of those Squigs and contribute to the quest to kill them all off. Any other player can do the same thing. When that quest is completed you'll get an allocation of that quest's reward. If you've killed one Squig you'll get one twentieth of the reward. If you kill ten, you'll get fifty percent of the reward. It's not about a group going in and completing the quest, because we want these quests to be very accessible, so that you can just walk up to one and take part in it. Public Quests will be scattered throughout the world.
Will players be able to use any siege weapons when attacking enemy strongholds?
Jeff Hickman: Within scenarios there are tools provided for you. In RvR you might need to grab one of the giant rams or catapults being constructed throughout the world and use them to help break down the walls of an enemy fortress.