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Warhammer 40.000

Bright days ahead for Warhammer fans. This year might see the release of Warhemmer Online: Age of Reckoning. And additionally a Warhammer 40k MMO has been announced, although no details are out yet.

Author: Tasilla

Of Men and Space Marines

Posted by Tasilla Wednesday April 2 2008 at 4:27AM
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Welcome back. Today I want to further address the topic of playable races/characters. I will also say something about the comments I received for my first post.

Let's start with a statement: There will be Space Marines. There should be no arguing about that if one takes into account the current marketing strategy of Games Workshop (GW). Space Marines are at the center of GW marketing and I dare to say that they are probably the most popular army list currently available. That being said, Space Marines will have to be playable in order for an W40K MMO to be successful.

Although Space Marines are that successful, there are other races in W40K (as pointed out in the introduction) that certainly have a dedicated fan base which (and that is important) spends A LOT of money for their hobby. While I admit that not all of the table top (TT) players will play a MMO, at least some of them will. So it would be a mistake to exclude all of the other races. As playable races some might have to be excluded. For example the Imperial Guard.

It was already stated, that Space Marines have to be in the MMO as playable race. This automatically excludes the Imperial Guard as playable 'race'. Why is that so? Well, obviously: balance. Let's imagine a lonely Imperial Guardsman facing a single Space Marine. Most likely the Space Marine will beat the hell out of the guardsman in ranged combat and melee alike. Some might ask why this would exclude the Imperial Guard as they would fight together with the Space Marines (at leats most of the time). Well, for balancing it will be necessary to choose playable characters from other recaes that are about equal to the Space Marines. That would lead to the situation that the Imperial Guard would most likely lose a battle if numbers are not in their favour. For a MMO this is a rather bad idea. The same is the fact for nearly every other thing one might imagine as playable for the Empire.

At first glance, the Adepta Sororitas might be an exception. But I say: they are no alternative for the Space Marines. While the standard Sister of Battle might hold herself against the standard Marine, there is a balancing issue on the broader picture: weapon diversity. Space Marines are able to field almost any weapon type with their infantry (except autocannons, iirc). The Sisters of Battle are rather fond of flames and bolts. If I'm not mistaken, they can only field bolters, heavy bolters, (heavy) flamers and (multi) meltas. So they lack missile launchers, lascannons und plasma weapons which are effective weapons against vehicles and heavily armored infantry. The meltas are effective against these too, but they only offer short range. This I judge as a serious disadvantage in comparison to the Space Marines.

MChavez suggested that the inclusion of hive world gangs would serve the game well. According to above mentioned, I don't think these will be included because of balancing. An avergae gang member on a hive world will most likely not stand a chance against a Space Marine or anything roughly equal to them.

BlindShooter mentions that there are multiple possible scenarios. I admit this is true and that I will have no influence whatsoever on which scenario will be selected. Nevertheless I will later on write about the different possible scenarios and the consequences of choosing each of them. So stay tuned ^^.

Concluding this second entry, I will shortly summarize the essentials:

  • there will be Space Marines and they will be playable
  • most likely no other factions/armies from the Empire will be playable


Kuji-Kiri writes:

No Inquisition? No Mechanicum? So...what, do you plan to have a progression within space marine ranks to eventually choose a specialized role that focuses on melee or ranged or psyker powers (Librarian I suppose)?

Wed Apr 02 2008 6:29AM Report
Shadowdawnz writes:

Not sure if this was asked, but do space marines, table top, do solo play? If not then why would they make an MMo where space marines, whom are usually squad based be a playable class. Matter fact, any race and class. I thought the 40K universe was military stuff, so no rogue business. Unless GW figure out away to get players to fight together all the time in squads..

Just thinking out loud based on this post.

Wed Apr 02 2008 1:52PM Report
korvass writes:

I can't see them really doing Space Marines, unless we're looking at a Planetside-style MMO, and even then they'd be downgraded or excluded.

Space Marines are the Jedi of the 40K universe. They are by definition, all but impossible to balance next to more ordinary and mundane characters. They are super-human, genetically, and cybernetically enhanced. No other race's standard soldier comes anywhere close, except Chaos Space Marines.

Look at the chaos adding Jedi to SWG caused. First they were too powerful, so the devs toned them down. Then they were too weak, and the Jedi crowd went up in arms.

In a table-top game, such as 40K the balance is achieved through a points system. There are simply less Space Marines for the allowed army list points, compared to another army. Because of their comparative strength compared to other base troopers.

But how could this balance be achieved in an MMO setting? I don't see how it can. SWG (for example) is based around the time period involving the original trilogy, so the balance is that there are few to zero Jedi still around. But what do you see? Armies of them everywhere. The same would hold true for a 40K MMO.

Rather, I think the developer would go the way of the recent table-top RPG, basing quests and conflict around a specific star system, where Inquisitors, Guardsman and the more mundane of the Imperium's forces would unite and/or fight against orks and other aliens whilst achieving their goals.

Wed Apr 02 2008 2:47PM Report
korvass writes:

Just to add a little more, people would invariably create Space Marines, because of the unbalanced power they have. Much like the superhero genre; whilst you can choose to be the reporter, the soldier guy, the spy, etc etc; the majority make superhero characters because of their vastly superior power.

Space Marines are the superheroes of the Imperium. Stronger, faster, better trained, better disciplined (supplemented with enhancing drugs and stimuli), better armed and equipped...

Your summary is interesting, but I don't think it holds up. If you get to choose one playable character/race from each faction, what would be the choices?

Space Marines are simply superior to any other standard trooper. Would everyone else have to play Howling Banshees, Ork Meganobz, Tyranid Warriors, Tau Battlesuits? That doesn't sound very appealing.

I think the Planetside MMOFPS format could work for 40K. That way, each faction could have several character choices, vehicles, etc, but still then you'd have to have some sort of cap for the Marine boys. Something like multiple battlefields, and a points system of allocation. Players turn up in their faction's base, can see how much allocation points are left, and select a character and/or support equipment based on the training they've unlocked.
Naturally, Marines would have an overall lower amount of points for requisitioning, meaning that much sooner than other races, players would have to simply realise that they can't play a Marine for this battle and would have to go play something else, such as another faction.

I'll leave it there, but I've already half-fleshed out the entire concept in my head :)   

Wed Apr 02 2008 2:57PM Report
NeeAnderTall writes:

I like Warhammer 40K but never played the table top game as I had already invested in other miniature games. I do however have all the Dawn of War installments. I had conceived of a Warhammer 40K MMO of my own more closely resembling a 1st person shooter version of Dawn of War. You can select one of 4 basic classes of each faction. They are the Builder class, Soldier Class, Driver Class, and Pilot class. During the week the servers would host border-world clashes. During the week-end the servers would host pivotal world clashes in epic scale where the elite weapons of mass destruction could be unleashed like the vaunted Titans. Each battlefield starts out with a small squad of builders and soldiers setting up their bases. Until certain buildings are finished their construction, certain classes of Soldiers and weapons can be unlocked. The maps are large enough that it takes a significant amount of time for raiding partys to find and arrive at their opposing foe's base to begin their open warfare. The combined efforts of the Soldiers and Builders amass their requisition points for research for advanced technology. With each successful milestone made Soldiers can upgrade themselves or those players observing the battle can then spawn into the battlefield with their character to join in the fun. Eventually, more advanced stages of combat the driver and pilot class'ed characters can spawn into the game and lend a hand. The map isn't won until complete annihilation of the enemy is survivors or their buildings. As in Dawn of War, some buildings can be manned by players to help defend them via gun turrets. I see no real issue here, this is a Planetside version of Dawn of War. With each victory your character can be awarded more "starting requisition points" with each battle they participate in until those points are all spent (or reset) during the Weekend's Epic battles. Rewards for those who participate would be increased rank, that unlocks interface features as in Planetside, and grant access to more powerful weapons. I can see the Imperial Guard playing right alongside the Space Marines in this type of scenario, only because the Space Marines come in later than the Imperial Guard during the battle. Each Unit must have a specialist role that is important to the final outcome of each battle. There must be builders to construct the base buildings that unlock access to better weapons and equipment. Soldiers to fight and drivers and pilots for the other weapons of Warhammer.

Wed Apr 02 2008 4:03PM Report
dethgar writes:

It would seem that a Space Marine class being playable at launch would cause too many lore balance issues than could be resolved. So, why not allow it to be a type of "hero" class unlocked by finishing the campaign, and have one or two for each race? Sort of like Jedi in pre-cu SWG only more lore appropriate.

Wed Apr 02 2008 8:26PM Report
Firemission writes:

I think the issues are simply make a system with home planets and zones on the planets, expand each planet with expansions; a planet for each race to start and several that are always contested, PVP, make your character a unit.   That way it will be army fill in the battles would be simple just comply the dps and everything into unit stats and make graphics bad ass.  races would open IG back up b/c your unit size would be higher than the Space Marine and level the field for all the races.  It would take gaming to the next level

Wed Jan 26 2011 8:42PM Report writes:
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