Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Preview
Highlights from the upcoming Land of the Dead content.
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The rollout for the ongoing Call to Arms expansion for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, which has already included the debut of two new working classes, continues with the June release of the Land of the Dead--a new dungeon zone that's designed to play off of not only Warhammer's unique attributes, but also its new approach to dungeon and boss design. Before jumping into the juicy parts from this new dungeon, here are a few of the basic facts: To gain entrance to the Egyptian-themed Land of the Dead, you need to be at least level 25--if your character falls below level 36, the game automatically bolsters him or her to that level. Additionally, some of the public quests in the area are designed so that the first portion can be done solo but others require one or two members and then eventually a party of six to be completed. With all of that in mind, let's take a look at what else awaits in the Land of the Dead.
Focus on Realm-Versus-Realm Combat
The Land of the Dead is designed in such a way that members of Order and members of Destruction are constantly battling for control of the area. In fact, their camps are situated at opposite ends of the map (north and south), separated only by an impenetrable river, which means that both groups have to make their way to the temple to engage in combat. Interestingly, when control of the zone changes (from Order to Destruction or vice versa), players--even those engaged in instances--will be prompted with a new quest objective that requires you to defend (if you're currently in an instance) or attack, if you feel compelled to rid the area of players from the opposing faction. All of this is designed to happen with some regularity to keep the action within the dungeon varied and interesting.
PQs, PQs, and more PQs
The sheer variety of public quests in the Land of the Dead is staggering, and most of that variety stems from a desire at Mythic Entertainment--the developer behind Warhammer Online--to push massively multiplayer online role-playing games beyond the typical stand-there-and-fight-this-thing attitude that has been such a huge part of the genre since its inception. A brief glimpse of this occurs in one of the earlier player quests where you get scooped up by a vulture and then planted into its nest on top of a series of cliffs. Not only do you have to make your way safely down, jumping from ledge to ledge, but you also have to defeat the enemies that reside in each nest.
Other PQs require equal displays of agility. One such event pits you and members of your party against the Obelisk of Judgment, which happens to randomly "judge" your character with a bolt of lightening from its peak. Naturally, this judgment results in either a positive buff to your stats or the exact opposite, so since you don't know the outcome of the Obelisk's decision, you're better off trying to avoid its powers until it comes time to destroy the whole thing. Similarly, a PQ inside the temple itself, appropriately equipped with booby traps, has your party dipping and dodging through a series of fast-moving pendulums. Only three members of a six-member party need to make their way across to turn them off (in case other party members have trouble making it), but what makes this trap especially cool is that once you're across, you can wait for players from the opposing realm to unsuspectingly walk through the room before turning the trap back on and condemning them to death.
There are plenty of other PQs that play off the theme of the Egyptian dungeon, and eight of them have a suitably menacing boss waiting at the end. While we don't want to spoil anything, we do want to point out one boss in particular--one that awaits your own party, and others, outside of the temple when you've completed the trials inside.. If anything in Warhammer Online draws influences from consoles, it's this guy--he's like the amalgamation of several bosses from prominent console games in terms of how he attacks and how you're able to attack him, so the strategy for defeating him is intuitive if you know your console bosses.
A Throwback to Dark Age of Camelot
If you've played Mythic's previous MMORPG, Dark Age of Camelot, then the setup for the Land of the Dead might seem immediately familiar. In fact, Mythic considers the Land of the Dead to be the spiritual successor to the Darkness Falls dungeon from Dark Age because the main idea is to have a single dungeon where both factions are competing toward the same objective at the same time. Darkness Falls was one of Camelot's most popular dungeons, and Mythic is hoping that the Land of the Dead receives a similar reception. But what might make it especially popular for some is the addition of an entirely new armor set called Tyrant, which looks distinctive since it matches with the overall theme of this new content.