Warhammer Online September Newsletter is here!

Finally! Some tiny little glimmer of hope! The information blackout is somewhat over and we have something to drool over again. The Septemper Newsletter comes to us with a GrabBag, Blighted Isle Zone Overview, and The Witch Elf career and concept art. Also who can forget the Podcast on: The Combat system!Starting things off the GrabBag this month was somewhat of a let down. I was really hoping we would see new information. All the questions and answers in this grab bag have been answered before in other interviews and even GrabBags. Regardless, it’s still information straight from the devs. Here’s the two question I felt were the best:

Q: Are there any other factors besides time that influence morale, such as home field advantage increasing morale or being outnumbered decreasing morale?

A: At the simplest level, morale only builds when you are actively participating in a fight – either by dealing damage or by healing a target that is dealing damage. Beyond that, there are many factors that can impact morale – your own tactics and the tactics from your group members, proximity to allied players of certain careers, group buffs, debuffs from enemies, etc.

Q) Are the tactics you choose permanent or can they be changed later on?

A) Absolutely not permanent – Players earn tactics from standard advancement as well as progressing in RvR and via the Tome of Knowledge. As they move through their career, they’ll earn FAR more tactics than can ever be slotted at once (the same holds true for morale abilities). Players can slot and re-slot tactics as they see fit. The only limitation is that tactics CANNOT be changed out while you’re in combat. Players will also be able to prepare numerous “load outs” for their tactics that they can toggle between easily, rather than having to adjust specific tactics over and over. Make sure to check out this month’s podcast for more details!

Now the Witch Elf looks really cool! From the description under “Playing as a Witch Elf” it really sounds as though this is an assassin class without the stealth. “A Witch Elf can be an unstoppable force of death and destruction under the proper circumstances. By picking their targets carefully, the Witch Elf can win a fight in a short amount of time. A Witch Elf prefers to rapidly close with lightly armored targets, where their wicked poisons can find exposed flesh. Using a combination of rapid attacks, the Witch Elf works herself up into a Frenzy to execute powerful attacks that will stop most opponents dead in their tracks. When facing a heavily armored foe, the Witch Elf relies on her agility to survive long enough to pick apart her opponent’s defenses and opening him up to a savage death blow.” To me playing a chick doesn’t sound appealing at all so I will definitely be looking more towards my Greenskins. However, this class definitely looks like it will bring some hurt to smaller RVR battles.

One of WAR’s greatest appeals to me has always been their awesome world rich in history and detail. The Blighted Isles are definitely no exception. In this overview a great deal of information can be gained by reading the back-story.

Long ago, during the catastrophic civil war known as the Sundering, terrible magical energies were unleashed upon the northern kingdoms of Ulthuan. The land was riven by cataclysmic earthquakes and swallowed by the raging waters of the ocean. All that now remains of these once-proud provinces are a number of broken, twisted islands. The most important of these is the Blighted Isle, and at the dawn of the Age of Reckoning it is here that the Dark Elves’ invasion of Ulthuan begins.

So there we have it. Another month, another Newsletter, and the wait begins again. Still no beta invite this month but at the rate things are going those who receive these newsletter invitations won’t be in before Open Beta! Apparently many people are very disgruntled that their Gamesday invites and newsletter invites have been completely ignored. As more information becomes available I’ll do my best to keep you all informed!


Squig Herder and Choppa Footage + an interview with Paul Barnett

At Gamesday UK the Eva Vix guild got their hands on a Squig Herder, an Orc Choppa, and a Paul Barnett!  I want to first start with the gameplay footage and lump it all into one or two nice paragraphs.  The Squig Herder is basically an archer with a man eating Squig for a pet.  In the movie the Squid Herder played what appeared to be a very stable and safe DPS role from a distance.  The animations and abilities looked really cool and there was plenty of evidence that Squig Herders will have AoE abilities.  During the fight I saw only one Squig in all that chaos so that was a tad disappointing.  After about 2-3 minutes it became very apparent that playing a Squig Herder could get boring fast if all you can do is sit back and shoot arrows – thank goodness for the Squigs!  From what we’re told these Squigs come in all sorts of forms and get battle armor and all sorts of goodies.

The Orc Choppa played waaay different than the Squig Herder.  Right from the start the Choppa rushed in and began beating on the soft targets.  I was shocked to see the enormous amount of damage he was putting out!  During the fight he took out 3 or 4 different Order players and only received a few heals.  There was talk about a week ago that playing a Choppa would be boring since all you do is swing your weapons and smash stuff… fine by me!  Watching that video has made me question my choice of a Shaman.  The Choppa seems to be this massive blender just mincing anything in his path.  Me want play Orc Choppa!! WAAAGH!

Paul Barnett sure knows how to give an interview, doesn’t he?  Not much new in the interview since many of the questions were “What do you like best about this or that”.  There are however a few really cool things answered such as ‘Are Mounts in the game?’ Yes.  ‘Will there be durability loss and need to repair like WoW?’ No.  ‘Will Squig Herders get more than 1 Squig?’ (I answered that above) ‘Multiple types of Squigs, 1 at a time.’.   And unfortunately the last question is one that bugs me and always has bugged me.  Cross server queuing is starting to look like the only solution to Mythic’s approach of getting you into a fair battle as fast as possible.  I can understand their reasoning and I can understand how it is important that people not wait around for these battle ground instanced type fights, but cross server queuing wrecks the idea of becoming close within your community and knowing your enemy.  I have yet to see a good implementation.

It’s great to see more Warhammer Online information slowly trickling out.  Lately Mythic has been quiet and I’m glad the community is keeping things alive.


Warhammer Interview on PvP, Public Quests, Tactics and more.

Over at WarCry Matt Lowery posted the 7th part of his interview with the Warhammer Online Development Team.

WarCry: Can you tell us a bit about how you can tell enemy players level compared to yours? Do you see their actual levels or are their names color coded?

WAR Community Team: Enemy players are flagged the same as enemy NPCs in relation to the power difference between them and you. Their names are color coded ranging from Grey to Purple based on the level difference.

WarCry: With collision detection in the game, how do other players affect line of sight, if at all? Can I still shoot at a player I have targeted if they are standing behind someone else? Also how does Line of Sight work? If I start to cast a spell at someone, and they move behind a large rock, will my spell still go off and hit?

WAR Community Team: Line of sight is most definitely affected by other players; if you can’t see them, you can’t cast at them. Line of sight is determined when the spell goes off, so if they’re not still in your line of site at the end of the casting timer, you won’t be able to cast on them.

WarCry: Public quests are designed for many people in the same area to participate in. Are these encounters dynamic? For example, if I am in an area with only 2 other players, will the game scale the public quest for how many are present? If not, how do you plan on adjusting these as players level are there are fewer lower level players in areas?

WAR Community Team: Public Quests are not dynamic; they’re designed for a certain range of players, both in number and in level. As for adjusting them based on population, that’s something we’ll have to look at down the road when we get to that point in the game’s life.

WarCry: Are all tactics available at the start of the game? While you might only have 1 available slot, can you choose any tactic for that slot, or do more unlock as you level? What about Morale abilities?

WAR Community Team: Tactics are arranged in groups based on level; so at level one, you’ll see all of the Tier One (level 1-9) tactics and can choose from any of them. Once you level to 10, additional ones will be unlocked for you to choose from.

WarCry: We know there are many different slots to equip armor and such, how many of these are visible on the character? IE, we know different armors have different looks, if I put on a pair of gloves, are those visible? Or a helm?

WAR Community Team: Yes, all of the major armor slots are visible on the character: torso, pants, gloves, cloak, helm, even the belt! 

I like how this interview asked really good questions.  The one that stood out to me the most was the collision detection and line of site.  It’s going to be very interesting to see just how difficult it will be to land a spell on an enemy when you have not only your team blocking you but the enemy team as well.  This could make for an interesting task if as a healer I have to make sure Orc1 isn’t blocking Orc2 who needs the heals.  I definitely think it’s worth asking how healing will be affected and whether or not your team blocks your spells.

Having the enemies presented in the “color con” system seems like a great idea to me.  It will establish just how much of a threat they are to you.  If red in Warhammer is a difficult fight, then you know if an enemy cons red he won’t be easy.  Good choice!

Also, looking at the last question it seems that cloaks will in fact be in the game.  I’ve never seen it clarified one way or another and now it seems that we know Warhammer will have cloaks.


Life After Warcraft? An Article over on Yahoo!

This evening I was browsing Yahoo! and saw an article on the front page featured section boldly declaring “The Next World of Warcraft – 10 games that could conquer the universe.” My curiosity got the better of me, as I usually never give what Yahoo! has to say on gaming the time of day. Which 10 games would Yahoo! pick that might overtake World of Warcraft? Most of us can recite this list with our eyes closed while half asleep because are there honestly 10 games out there with enough publicity to even come close? Here’s the list from Yahoo!: Age of Conan, Gods and Heroes, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tabula Rasa, Warhammer Online, Huxley, Sun, Star Trek Online, and some Unnamed Bioware project.

Let’s be realistic here. NONE of these games will be the next World of Warcraft and NONE of them will dethrone the behemoth. It just simply will not happen this generation. Maybe in 3-4 years we’ll see something that might come close and it will probably be from Blizzard again! So which of these games will come close? I would really like to give me thoughts on each of these games very, very briefly, and state whether or not I think it will come close to being the next WoW or even a big success.

Age of Conan – It will be a success. The PvP and the gameplay will be interesting enough to draw a great crowd. The next WoW? No chance. It will see moderate boosts to it’s draw through a console release and this could be a great saving grace for AoC. MMO’s could be well received in today’s market.

Gods and Heroes – I think it will see a small launch and sustain a small population. It will be far from a failure but will never surpass WoW or some of the other blockbuster titles coming in 2008.

Pirates of the Burning Sea – This one is probably on the top of my “I sure hope it does well” list. PotBS is really unique and it’s aspiring to be the next total experience for soloer’s, socializer’s, and those looking for something completely different than the normal MMO experience. Being completely honest it will not see the success of WoW or maybe some of the other major MMO’s coming out but it will do very well. I am watching this one with much anticipation and I wish the best to FLS.

Pirates of the Caribbean – I don’t know where to begin. It’s just not going to happen. It’s aimed at a much smaller audience and it doesn’t have the appeal that any of the others on this list currently have. I don’t see it doing too well.

Tabula Rasa – I think this will see numbers somewhere between Gods and Heroes and Age of Conan. It’s another one of those MMOs trying to move in a direction different than the normal hack and slash. Some great ideas and hopefully after I’m done playing this trial off File Planet I’ll be able to give more input on it. It won’t see WoW success but it won’t be a failure either.

Huxley and SUN – I lumped these two together because I don’t have the knowledge to comment on them properly. They are both Korean MMO’s and SUN is even already available in Korea. SUN is free to play, sustaining itself through in-game item sales. That’s something to think about.

Unnamed Bioware Project and Star Trek Online – Can’t even comment. Bioware has great ‘potential’ and the Star Trek license has “awesome MMO” written all over it.

Warhammer Online – Last but not at all least. Warhammer Online has the greatest chance of dethroning WoW and honestly will see the greatest success out of all the games listed here. With the backing of an entire DAOC community, Mythic at the wheel, EA’s marketing resources, the Warhammer IP, and from everything we have seen so far a “Blockbuster” in the making, Warhammer Online could very well be the next BIG MMO out there. I anticipate that Warhammer Online will have an enormous launch with an even bigger following in latter months. It will most likely outlast all of the other MMOs on this list as well.

Those are my predictions. None of these games will flop but none of them will dethrone WoW. Is that necessarily a bad thing? I think it’s fine that WoW enjoys the numbers and success. Right now we’re looking for something new to launch us into the next generation of MMO gaming. I would be looking towards the generation after the one listed above as possibly being the “WoW Killer”.


PotBS info off the port bow!

Browsing message boards like I normally do on a slow weekday afternoon I came across a post from Rick Saada.  In this topic posters were discussing the possibility that this is the last chance for the social soloer’s to have “their game” in this generation of MMOs.  Here’s what Rick had to say:

We’re trying reasonably hard to accomodate both styles of play. Most of the missions can be done either solo or in a group, and to some extent the enemies you face will scale with the force you bring in to the mission. City of Heroes does a pretty good job with this, and we’re following their model in that we’ll increase the number and difficulty of the enemies if you come in with a fleet. We also allow you to say “I want more challenge in my missions” and it will scale up the solo difficulty as well.

That said, we’re also putting in a “role playing story arc” which is pretty much your character’s path to follow solo. You can bring in friends, but it’s not required. It’s an ongoing mission sequence that runs the gamut from level 1 to 50, with recurring NPC’s that can become romantic interests, career rivals, mentors, etc. It’s sort of like a single player RPG played out in the midst of the MMO.

For the group lovers, the overall port conquest game will work best with groups. While you can contribute to throwing a port into contention as a solo player, taking on the NPC shipping around a port will often involve engaging multiple ships at once. Depending on what you’re sailing this could be hard to do alone.

If you are grouped with friends, there are certainly roles to be played by the smaller ships. “Level” isn’t present anywhere in the combat equations, but the ships you can sail are gated by level. The navy doesn’t give out 104 gun ships of the line to 1st level players! On the other hand, the smaller ships are more nimble, and can often chase down injured targets, pick at them from a safe location (say off the bow or stern) and the lumbering hulks may not be able to turn quickly enough to devastate them with a broadside.

So we’re trying to have something for everyone. I, for one, also like to play solo, and have been having a lot of fun doing it in the beta.

Rick Saada – FLS Dev

Perhaps the soloers will have their paradise.  It seems that PotBS is going to great lengths to ensure a very stable and balanced experience for all.  I like the fact that in combat none of the equations factor level.  Simply your type of ship, your ship’s outfitting, and skill at sailing will decide the victor.  That sounds good to me!