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BioWare Mythic
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 09/18/08)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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System Req: PC Mac | ESRB:TOut of date info? Let us know!

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Previews: First Look, Hands-On

By Dana Massey on April 04, 2006

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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Preview (Page 3 of 5)

Essentially, they did not want to slam the door on a large audience and they felt that a dark and stereotypical Warhammer world would be depressing, dreary and dark. Overcast skies would dominate, it would always be raining. Where is the escape in that?

Thus, they have the world they built, which is bright, vibrant and exaggerated. That doesn’t mean it isn’t Warhammer. The characters look like the figures – or “toy soldiers” as Barnett calls them – and despite the cartoon nature, there is gore and detail everywhere.

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The comparison to World of WarCraft is evident. Partly, Mythic says this is to do with what they chose to explore first: dwarves and orcs. They also avoided technical things like normal mapping, as they believe it makes everything look plastic. However, when you look closely at Warhammer, there are a thousand little nuances that make it fit.

Banners and flags have real crests and symbols that actually mean something in the Warhammer world. Most textures are extremely high resolution and like the art of the IP itself, they have a lot of small details filled in. They insist that no flourish is there just for eye candy. It all means something.

Races Matter

In Warhammer’s fiction, the races are all distinct personalities. Mythic set out to ensure that their difference are reflected in the way they built missions for each group.

To illustrate, Paul Barnett made two examples. In the first, he made a simple quest where someone asks a character from each race: “Would you please get a pie for me from the old lady down the road kind sir?” In short, a FedEx quest. In every MMORPG, the player would simply get the pie. In Warhammer, they set out to make sure that each race can do it in a unique way. Here is how Paul’s chart had each race react:

  • Empire: Gets the pie and returns it like a good little altar boy…the pats himself on the back for a job well done.
    • OR
  • Evil Empire: Gets the pie, wraps it up in a box with skulls and pseudo-latin phrases on it, and returns it like a good little altar boy…then adjusts his eye-patch and pats himself on the back for a job well done.
  • Dwarf: Gets the pie and checks it for gold… finding none he sells it for some ale.
  • Greenskin: Defecates in the pie… then eats it… then defecates some more… then decides to kill the person who asked him to get the pie.
  • Chaos: Kills the old lady, violates the pie, then wears it as a hat… then the pie grows an arm.
  • Elf: Too good for such a lowly errand.
  • Dark Elf: Betrays the pie then whines that he is the rightful owner of the pan the pie was cooked in.
He continued to demonstrate the difference through a second chart. In this he took the stock phrase “hello would you like to look at my sword” and translated it how each race would say it.
  • Orc: Oi Git, get a load of me choppa before I guts ya!
  • Elf: Remember the songs this blade has song for our family.
  • Human: (brandishes sword) What are you looking at stranger?
  • Dark Elf: (stabs person) You appear to have got your blood on my blade.
  • Dwarf: Sword, sword. Axe’s lad, we use axes!
  • Chaos: Blood for the blood god. Any ones blood will do, even yours.
This does not mean you can actually defecate as an Orc – I hope – but these two templates are the actual examples provided to the quest teams as they crafted content for each race in the world.

What is more, according to Robertson and Bales, when a player of a different race travels to visit one of his allies, the NPCs will be aware of this. While there are no restrictions on content players can access when they travel abroad, it does become a great source of humor.

Fans of Warhammer have been asking why did they not include the Skaven?

They wanted the races most iconic of the Warhammer brand, and according to Robertson, the selection they offer is just that, He does, however, admit that the Skaven are also very iconic.

“Skaven will be in the game in some form,” he added, while also noting that it leaves them room for expansion.

Each of the six races has a male and female option, save the greenskins. Warhammer lore says orcs came from mushrooms. Thus, a new orc wanders out of a cave and into the world. To balance them, they’ve included the smaller goblins. At the time of the demo, orcs, goblins and dwarf males were the only races on display.

The trailer, though, revealed that the dark elf females will fill the sex-appeal role and chaos can only be described as evil incarnate. Generally, the looks of each race have honored the original license.

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