Yesterday, MMORPG.com brought you part two of a three part interview with Mark Davis and Steve Perlins from EA Mythic. In that interview, we talked about the first hour or so of play as a Dwarf. Warhammer Dwarfs are pretty much like their stereotypical counterparts in other fantasy settings. They love to drink, they love to fight and they love killing Orcs and Goblins, otherwise known as Greenskins. Warhammer Online is not only no exception to that rule, but it could be said that WAR personifies the rule, pitting Dwarf against Greenskin right from the very beginning.
In yesterday's article, Mark told us that the Dwarf starting area had been put together, but that they decided to go back and take another look at it, changing a number of things to improve the overall experience. It was the Greenskin area that was great as it was. You can imagine my surprise then, when, 20 minutes into the interview, Mark told me this:
"When we first got into this... revising these areas, we were largely happy with the Greenskin area. But, after we had really put our resources into re-doing the Dwarf area and re-imagining that whole place, we looked at the Greenskin area and weren't that happy anymore. We thought 'ya know, we can do Greenskins better."
Personally, I like the idea of developers overhauling something they don't think is quite as good as it could be. In today's MMO world, there are too often complaints that games are rushed to market without being completed, let alone polished and re-tooled.
"We had all the checkboxes checked off, we had WAR, we had Shaman, we had lots of fighting, that's what Greenskins are about. They're essentially Football Hooligans, they just want a good fight. So we decided to go back and punch that up a lot more."
Greenskins as football (soccer) hooligans might be one of the more amusing mental images I've had while conducting an interview, but I kept it to myself, lest we get off track. From here, Mark went on to jump right in to talking about starting life as a Greenskin.
"When you start off, you start in a Greenskin war-camp. Who's the first guy you meet? You meet Skarzag, and he's on this vicious Wyvern. Now the Wyvern is just standing there and he's hungrily looking around."
As you might imagine, from this point, Skarzag tells you that the Stunties are invading. Stunties is the name that the Greenskins have given to their Dwarf counterparts. Get it? They're short! Hey, no one said the Greenskins were clever.
"So you've got Skarzag on your right, and below you, you have this massive war camp. Towering above you is this ancient, Dwarf lock. The lock is really, really old and hasn't been used in centuries, the Dwarfs closed it down, but ever since Eight Peaks has fallen, Dwarfs aren't taking it anymore, so they're re-opening all of these mines and ancient strongholds that were previously shut down. They're here to basically stop the Greenskin encroachment into their area of the mountains."
Greenskins, Mark tells us, are all about getting the Stunties to fight. They like nothing better than to provoke the Dwarfs and work them up until they're attacking stupidly. Unfortunately for them though, the Dwarfs in this case are being smart and attacking from behind their lock, using cannons for long range. This leaves the Greenskins in this particular scenario in a bit of a bind. If the Dwarfs won't come down to fight, the Greenskins have to take the fight to them. So, logically, the Greenskins decide that the best course of action is to load their comrades into catapults to be fired into combat.
"One of the first things that you get to do, is you get to fling yourself up in an orc-a-pult all the way to the top of that lock. When you get up there, you find plenty of Dwarfs to fight. In addition to that, you find a Dwarf Ironclad. The top of the lock is full of water, so you get to go aboard that and kill a bunch of ironclad sailors."
Once you've completed your task at the top, you need to get back down. Now, according to mark, you can either climb your way back down, or you can fling yourself back down. The choice is yours. When you get to the bottom, there are other Greenskin quests. It's the next part of what mark said that really made me laugh and consider Greenskin as my race of choice:
"When you get down there, there's lots of other great Greenskin quests, like the Dwarfs have statues around this lock area, and nothing makes Dwrafs angrier than when you desecrate their ancestors," he said. To my mind, there's nothing quite like the anticipation of waiting to see how you can desecrate someone's ancestors in an MMO, "so you can throw mud at the statues and really pile it on. You can stuff Dwarfs into Barrels and knock them over the lock."
This brings us to the Public Quest portion of the first few hours of Greenskin play. Now, Mark has already told us that Greenskins are always trying to get the Dwarfs to fight.
"In this particular Public Quest, you've got this big Giant. Now, Giants to the Greenskins are basically weapons of mass destruction. You've just got to get them motivated correctly. They like to drink a lot of beer. This particular Giant is being harassed by 20 or 30 Squigs... There's a Goblin Shaman that's got it all figured out. He's figured that if you can get that giant drunk enough, you can convince him to pick up a Dwarf water mine that's painted up like a Squig and throw it up against the door to the lock. If the giant can do that, the Dwarfs will come out... But he needs some help, and that's where the players come in."
"So your first stage of this quest is to kill a bunch of Squigs and they're just hopping around mad all over the place. So once you've killed your 20 or 30 of those, and the Giant is basically exhausted he plops down on the ground and tells you that he needs some beer before he's going to move another step."
Fortunately for the players, Mark tells us that there are conveniently placed barrels of Dwarf beer here, it just those crafty Squig that are getting in the way. They have hidden some of the barrels underground. This way, Squig can pop up at you as you try to get the barrels (otherwise it's just getting barrels... how much fun is that?).
"So you get your Giant nice and drunk," Mark continued. I couldn't help but laugh at the utterly ridiculous turn this conversation had taken (in a good way). "The Goblin Shaman walks up and slaps him on the foot. The Giant Stands up, looks at what the Shaman is pointing at and promptly squashes him. He walks over and picks up what he thinks is a giant Squig, which is really just a water mine. He walks over the Lock door and then BOOM, he blows himself up. He gets himself killed, but he does his job and gets the Dwarfs to come out of the lock."
Mark goes on to describe the Dwarf regiment that comes out of the lock, and makes a point of telling me that if a player was here by themselves, they would be in serious trouble. You fight wave after wave of Dwarf, and if you defeat them all, then the commander comes out.
That, my friends, is the end of our tour of our first hours of life as a Greenskin. I want to thank Mark and Steve very much for their time in talking to me for this interview. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing these quests with my own eyes.