At a recent EA press event, we took the opportunity to squeeze a few new details out of developer Mythic Entertainment on its upcoming massively multiplayer game, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The game is currently in a beta-test state with thousands of loyal testers from the fan community pounding away at it nightly and with more beta testers to come thanks to the preorder offer that EA Games has attached to the collectors' edition, which will let early adopters into the beta in advance of the launch (and will also nab them exclusive character customization options, quests, and items).
In advance of our coverage of the beta, we got a few new details on some of the game's features, such as its fully customizable interface, which lets you click, drag, and resize every single interface window in the game, from maps to chat logs to everything else. Apparently, certain parts of the interface, such as the overland map, have been programmed in the LUA language, and Mythic will encourage you to create customized art for those interface elements.
We also had a chance to take a peek at some of the lair areas that will be hidden throughout the game. These will be out-of-the-way areas where exceptionally powerful and rare foes hide out of plain sight and guard exceptionally powerful loot. We had a chance to see two such lairs; the first was hidden on the border of a competitive realm-versus-realm zone (where players from different factions can freely clash with each other) and was locked away behind a stone gate, outside of which were various shaped stones embedded into the earth just in front of the entrance. The door itself will be locked, and the flat, ground-level stones arranged in a ring around the entrance apparently represent a puzzle that you will need to solve to open the gate. Another lair was hidden in a remote corner of a misty river basin that seemed mostly deserted and was separated by a small set of foothills. However, persistent players who explore every inch of the area may discover the means to climb up the first set of foothills to discover that a set of fallen logs lead the way to a row of shattered tree stumps that can be crossed with well-placed jumps that lead to a final hidden path to the lair of a mighty and ancient foe who summons backup to defend its treasure. Yes, Warhammer Online will have a jumping puzzle.
However, none of the game's lairs will have any kind of duplicate content or puzzles, so there will be no one-size-fits-all solution to unlock all of them. Though Mythic was gracious enough to show the entrances to two of these lairs, the studio was understandably reluctant to comment about the number and location of them in the game. There will, however, be "more than 20" lairs hidden throughout the world, and in addition to offering the opportunity to fight a unique enemy and win an exceptionally powerful weapon or item, finding lair locations will unlock sections of your "tome of knowledge," Warhammer Online's in-game journal. Players who enjoy exploring will definitely be rewarded for their troubles when they discover lairs, but the hidden enemies that lurk within will generally be exceptionally strong, and a stout group of adventurers will usually be required to conquer them.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is currently in a beta-testing state and is scheduled for release worldwide in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on September 18.