E3 2008: Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Updated Impressions - High Elves, White Lions, and Beta Updates

We take an updated look at this long-awaited massively multiplayer game at the E3 2008 event.

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E3 2008 is underway, and we took the opportunity to sit in on a demonstration of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the upcoming massively multiplayer game from newly rechristened developer Mythic Entertainment (formerly known as EA Mythic, formerly known as...Mythic Entertainment). All six of the game's races are implemented and under heavy testing from the game's loyal fan community, including the high elf and dark elf races.

We had a chance to sit in on an in-depth demonstration of the high elf White Lion character class, whose primary role is to deal as much damage in possible in battle while more-heavily armored allies receive the brunt of any incoming attacks. Interestingly, the class uses a "pet"--an actual white lion that grows as your character gains levels, from a young lion to a larger one with a massive white mane, to a huge lion outfitted with war armor. Interestingly, White Lion characters will have various "training" abilities for their feline companions, which are essentially fighting stances that can be toggled on and off. These stances will let the White Lion character alternate between being a more aggressive fighter with additional defensive bonuses who attacks from the front while the pet attacks from the side, and using training stances that command the pets to take charge of offense and their enemies' attention while the pet's master attacks from the side.

We also took a brief tour of a few different zones, including Altdorf, the capital city for the side of Order (Empire humans, dwarves, and high elves). This huge city is approximately a quarter of the size of the game's massive travel zones and apparently has a star-based rating (four stars, five stars, and so on) that can increase as allied players contribute to its upkeep by completing various tasks and quests. Higher-ranked capital cities actually offer more quests and unlock new areas to explore, including dungeons beneath the city that you can explore, along with the merchants and other social options that you'd expect from a hub area in a massively multiplayer game.

However, capital cities will also act as priority targets for large-scale invasions. Warhammer Online has been built from the ground up with competitive play in mind, specifically realm-versus-realm battles that pit groups of players on allied factions against one another. Sacking the capital city of the enemy is one of the greatest accomplishments that can be done in the game, given that it unlocks numerous rewards along with some pretty extensive bragging rights. For instance, the city of Altdorf is home to various institutions, such as the College of Bright Wizards and the Temple of Sigmar, in which friendly characters may receive quests and training, but they also represent powerful challenges for the armies of destruction (orcs, goblins, Chaos soldiers, and dark elves).

Interestingly, the game is also turning a developmental corner. It's now going into guild-based beta, which will let players form long-standing guild associations with other players. Guilds will not only be able to chat with each other while playing, but they'll also have additional bonuses, such as the ability to commission a guild banner, which can even be carried into battle by a designated standard-bearer. The banner will radiate combat bonuses to any friendly units nearby and may be planted in the ground in the case of a defensive mission. The studio also unveiled the game's massive quantity of art assets, which include some 400 different sets of armor, plus the ability to dye your armor different colors. Mythic president Mark Jacobs imagines that ambitious guilds will likely designate specific colors to their armor to distinguish themselves. This is just another facet of the game's innovative approaches to encouraging players to socialize within the gameworld. In addition, the game will also offer "public quests," which we've covered previously; these are quests that can be performed by any friendly players in the area. The game will further feature "open groups," a grouping system that will let you scan for any open adventuring parties and join them instantly, at which point you'll share experience and loot with your group members as you would in any other group. (And discerning players can designate their groups as "closed" and solicit individual members the old-fashioned way, if they care to.)

Warhammer Online now looks much more fleshed out and will offer plenty of huge, wide-open areas to explore and conquer. Content has been built for all six playable races, character classes have been implemented, and the open beta is just a few months away. We're looking forward to the game's unique combination of lore-based questing and hardcore head-to-head competition. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is scheduled to launch later this year.

Discussion

44 comments
HatchetKill
HatchetKill

Very long await this one to cometh, Hehehe

TENTHROW2
TENTHROW2

Interestingly enough, this article uses the word Interestingly an Interestingly amount of times.

Jin_Kazawa
Jin_Kazawa

I'm so tired of empty promises and hyped games. Warhammer is one of those. No further comment.

cru3
cru3

People complaining about the cut content would have been the first to complain if it wasn't cut, and they were not fun to play at launch, guaranteed. You just can't please some people.

big_lou1981
big_lou1981

I love people that think WoW invented everything lol! Considering WoW ripped everything off other MMOs. Just because WoW is large in population, when anything comes out that has something WoW has people go hmmmm WoW WoW. I'm a fan of WoW but it's getting boring now, i'm hoping WAR will have something more to offer :D

Macgyver40
Macgyver40

It is amazing that this will have 400 armor sets

Impactor1978
Impactor1978

@ Yifes: Actually, you will find that Ultima Online was dying armour sets back in 1996, long before WoW was even a concept at blizzard. UO has never been matched for complexity or depth but then MMO's are not designed for the hardcore RPG player anymore...

yifes
yifes

400 armor sets are only the unique armor similar to the tiered sets in WOW. There will be lots of individual pieces and randomly generated unique loot. The dyes are a way you can color and customize the armor that you're wearing so that not everyone with the same armor set will look the same *wow* cough * wow*

icym
icym

I've been resisting WoW for years, Age of Conan for months.. I may finally break for Warhammer Online. Why? Why?

Arloch
Arloch

This game is looking good, even though they have made some cuts. They're sensible people who have decided to sacrifice quantity in favour of quality, and I can understand that. Those of you who are QQing about the loss of classes and cities must remember that they have promised free expansion of content in future. One thing I am worried about though is the armor system as they talk about dyes and armor sets - does this mean we're looking at another system like the flawed Guild Wars system? I hope not. It should be more like the conventional system that we all love (WoW for example, not that I'm saying I love WoW, lol). Does anyone know how it's actually going to work?

vorquin
vorquin

The interviews linked at warhammeronline.com discuss the class and city cuts in depth. As far as people whining about cut classes - guess what, they were cut for a reason. Feedback and statistics showed that the classes were NOT FUN, broken, uninteresting, and simply not being played. Although some of them probably had a lot of work put in them, I'd rather they halt that development and focus on making whats left really great. Some of the melee capabilities of the Choppa were integrated into the Black Orc, for instance. Although I would have liked a Choppa, I think I'd be happy if each of the melee characters was unique. My guess? Ironbreaker too similar to Dwarf tank; choppa too similar to that tank. And the other 2 tank classes simply were not working out. I'm not a fan-boy (never played a mythic game) and not a Warhammer playing (aside from some 40k pc games). But I am a fan of the choices that are being made. In the end, 24 classes is a LOT for any development team. 20 is slightly more manageable. And what GoGoMobaHog poitned out is all true (regarding capital cities). I was upset at first, but I think the choices were justified and will work out better in the long run. As the devs said, the loss of those classes also opens up the opportunity to put in some other class(es) that were maybe overlooked before, too.

GoGoMobaHog
GoGoMobaHog

To anyone who complains about the cut of the cities, Mythic already announced they would be added at a later date in a free patch once the content was completed. They cut the cities so they could focus fire develop the Empire and Chaos cities, considering even if they had released all of them, those two would have ended up as most used. Cutting them also allowed them to develop the "living city system", where the city grows or weakens depending on quests the players complete and the current status of RVR. As for the classes, not sure but most likely they will be added at a later date too. They wern't shunned from the game, just cut until after release, when Mythic has time to fix what they dislike about them.

sped_ed
sped_ed

I'm glad they didn't base the game based on the FRPG rules, because it would have made for a dull mmo. Saying that Mythic is lazy for not doing so is just absurd. I'm a huge warhammer fan and I'm totally looking forward to this game. If GW wanted a game based on their FRPG rules that's what we'd be getting.

september_basic
september_basic

I do believe the simple truth of this is that Mythic is lazy. The original idea was to make an MMORPG using Warhammer FRPG rules. This idea fell to pieces. Alot of people were looking forward to building their characters from the ground up, functioning both as supporters of a late medieval city and as adventurers. The combination of sim-style gameplay and adventuring gameplay needn't be a grind experience but could in fact be made fun and fascinating. The wargame element could have ranged from being a simple soldier to being a field marshal with captains of units inbetween. I do not agree with the direction this game has taken. It rankles that Warhammer fans have nothing to look forward to in this game.

Antinate
Antinate

Or it's an indicative that they actually care about the end result of their classes and won't hesitate to pull them if they're not fun. Simple.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

I'm hoping Mythic changes its mind about the class cuts and puts them all back in. Especially the Choppa. I don't want to play a melee DPS class that can count to two! Seriously, removing all those Melee classes (especially the Tanks) was a huge mistake, and one I hope they correct before launch. It's one thing to announce that they're cutting cities. Those aren't a big deal and can be easily added in later. But classes? Especially the cool classes that people want to play (and solo) the most, and 3 of which were announced way near the beginning of the game? That's just indicative of a massive failure to deliver what's promised.

Mr_Meteos
Mr_Meteos

@helbrecht2 you made a valid point and then you ruined it by calling melkathi a WoW fanboy. He said he was a warhammer fan for 20 years and from the looks of it he's getting the game anyways. He never once mentioned WoW. (and yes it's possible to be a warhammer fan for 20 years, it's not just an MMO)

big_lou1981
big_lou1981

Hi I have been a WoW player since launch. I think EA Mythic are doing a great job. They have had to make some big decisions with the cities and class removal, but i tell ya that says something doesn't it.........they want to release a really good game! Can't wait till this comes out pre-ordered my copy already! RvR all the way. Hands down to them for telling us now about the changes, rather than later like some devs would of done. Keep up the great work EA Mythic

Antinate
Antinate

Anybody who judges the retail release of a game by its beta is stupid.

fishytoothy
fishytoothy

The author used the word "interestingly" three times... It is up for the reader to decide what is interesting. Makes me want to pull out my hair.

grambyte
grambyte

This game might just get somewhere with me. Then again, I've said that about more games I now don't even know the name of anymore.

zunit88
zunit88

This looks awsome....cant wait !!!

efrench9
efrench9

I was in this Beta until AoC launched and then realized this game is doomed compared.

matte989
matte989

I really hope the Gamespot review for Warhammer isn't out super fast. I've been coming here for a long time and I feel like AOC was a real waste of money :( Please take your time with the Warhammer review guys.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

This game needs to be infinitely awesome to be able to hook me onto the MMO-wagon.

Khalathwyr
Khalathwyr

@Oz_Pvt_Parts I don't know if it will be decent, as you never know about MMOs until they go live, but there is in fact a 40K MMO being worked on and that will probably launch in 2011/2012. Vigil Games is working on it. http://www.vigilgames.com/

helbrecht2
helbrecht2

melkathi, look. the fact that they cut four classes and four capital cities is nothing compared to the amount of content that they left. i repeat, the amount of content that they didnt cut is massive compared to what they did. the classes and cities they got rid of werent implemented too well, and they decided that they would rather have a great game with slightly less content than a decent game with slightly more content. so stop being such a WoW fanboy.

Oz_Pvt_Parts
Oz_Pvt_Parts

I wonder if there will ever be a decent 40k game like this (excluding DoW)...

melkathi
melkathi

Just a pitty the article doesn't mention anything about last weeks major disapointments. It all sounds so nice the way its written above, but the loss of 4 capital cities that had been prommised to be just as massive as the Empire and Chaos one just prevents me from being impressed by the size of the cities that made it in. Of course it's a MMO release and they are never perfect, but the way Mythic had and has been marketing WAR really does bother me when seeing the cut backs. Still I have been a warhammer fan for 20 years, so I really really hope we wont have any more bad news and the things that were left out make it in the game really soon after launch.

Djin
Djin

I can remember ALPHA testing Ultima Online back in 1995. I've been playing MMORPGs for a very long while. Now they are nothing but the same tried and tested of EQ and UO... this genre has turned into nothing but a cash cow and the public is sucking from both nips. If the public (That's us) actually STOPS buying beta games then maybe the publishers and programmers might actually take a bit longer and make a good game. Good example; Age of Conan... amazing idea... towards the end it was rushed and it's nothing really different then the 250 other MMORPGs that came before it. Before World of Warcraft FORCED the world into thinking RAIDING was the only thing, MMORPGs use to be... well, MASSIVE. Now it's all about PHAT L00T and gear...

hepburn22
hepburn22

Shame the latest video shows artwork of cities that have taken out of the game and classes that have been taken out of the game :-(

YourOldFriend
YourOldFriend

I'm SOOOOOOOO psyched! This is shaping up to be everything WoW SHOULD have been.

jwb0711
jwb0711

WAAAAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!! There i did it. Sorry i had to. Im pumped for this game.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Looks awesome but i'm not so much of an MMO myself either..

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

I'm not much of a MMO guy, but for those that do play MMO's, I hope the game turns out well.

1005
1005

Hoping this will be the big contender against WoW as AoC seems to have failed to make much of an effect against WoW.

Neosword
Neosword

Actually thinking this might tear me away from WoW, can't wait.