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BioWare Mythic
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 09/18/08)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Previews: Land of the Dead Hands-On Preview

By Dana Massey on May 12, 2009

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Unlocking the Land of the Dead

Finally, Mark Davis from the Live Event team dropped in to explain how they’re going to unveil the Land of the Dead.

Too many games just patch the servers and say “go,” which is a lesson too few MMOs learned from EverQuest, which has generally done a great job of introducing new content through epic Live Events. Warhammer has had some success with Live Events and plans a doozy to open the doors to Patch 1.3.

When the patch goes live, the Land of the Dead will not be available instantly. The two sides will take part in the culmination of the Call to Arms story arc over a full week. The winning realm receives 24 hours of unfettered access to the new area.

The Call to Arms story arc began back in February with Bitter Rivals and has teased this update, even before the wraps came off what it was all about. Now with Rise of the Tomb Kings, players can duke it out, not just in the traditional RvR-focused meters, but through quests and other content that will only be available that week.

Davis noted that the previous legs of the story arc were very individual in nature, with players conscious of their contribution. This arc is far more realm driven, and the Live Event page will even keep track of who is in the lead as the week goes on.

Players can, of course, jump into this Live Event at any time or hour. It is not an event where GMs roleplay out characters on a Live Server, but content that is activated and available around the clock. It doesn’t require that the player was around for Chapters One and Two, either, but Davis did hint that those who were will be happy.

“There’s a reward from Beyond the Sands (Chapter Two) that is useful in the Land of the Dead,” he teased cryptically.

Davis has been thrilled with fan feedback on their Live Events to date and emphasized that this is something else Mythic has a renewed commitment to. While the timing will vary for a range of reasons, they hope to do a Live Event every couple months for the rest of the year. And for players overseas, don’t fret. All content, even Live Events, filters out to the partner servers (regardless of language) within a day of going live in the US.

Final Thoughts

This is undoubtedly going to be a big moment for Mythic and the future of Warhammer Online. The content itself is a departure from the core game, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It remains to be seen, though, if some fresh new content in one zone, no matter how epic, will be enough to entice a large number of players back into the world and whether it’s worth the risk of alienating players who liked their PQs the way they were.

Nonetheless, it’s a risk worth taking. These quests are fun, no doubt about it. They were a joy to play and Mythic seems to have done a good job of balancing the new ideas with the realities of an MMORPG. Although the lack of console staples like ragdoll death are emphasized when a Witch Hunter gets smashed with a giant pendulum, only to crumple to the ground in a stock death animation. Still, these details aside, the content stimulates parts of the brain that few MMOs bother with and that alone represents a huge jump forward that Mythic hopes will reinvigorate and expand their community.

The Land of the Dead is available to any player in the controlling realm over the level of 25 (it automatically scales people to the mid 30s) and should roll out free of charge in early June.

For more coverage on what's coming in Patch 1.3, besides Land of the Dead, check out this article. It covers some RvR and Class tweaks the team has in store.

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