This past weekend MMORPG.com went down to Games Day to check out some of the Games Workshop goodies that are coming out. Warhammer Online was there showing off its latest patch which is heavy on the Skaven. As well as THQ showing some Dawn of War II goodness and the new trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium. If any of you have been in a bubble for the last six months; that is the Warhammer 40,000 MMO. Overall the day had some good things to offer and gave us some insight into why table top games are making a comeback.
Games Workshop always does a fantastic job for its fans. The layout of the Balitmore Convention Center was fantasic and tables were there for everyone to enjoy Speed Painting, open gaming, sponsored tables, and most of all, the Forge World store. If you play either of the Warhammers, it is obvious that Forge World is becoming more and more popular among enthusiast gamers. The Forge World line was huge and the work was amazing. Of all the displays at the show, nothing impresses me more than the Golden Deamon Compeition. After painting miniatures for years, I am still blown away by the artistry of some of the entries. Even if you are not a fan of Games Workshop, check out the Golden Deamon Miniatures, they truly are amazing.
THQ had a booth at the show and was talking heavily about Dawn of War 2. However they were showing off the new trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium Online. Though it had some bits thrown in from the other trailer, it still focused on the playable race, The Imperium of Man. Basically this sums up the idea that both Space Marines and Imperial Guard will be playable as part of the same faction. They also say Playbale Race not faction in the trailer, which to be clear, means they could be part of a faction mixed in with the Eldar. Yes, I know this is a rumor, but again the Imperium of Man is defined as a race.
Other than the obvious Space Marines and Imperial Guard, they do mention Tech Priests which begs a class in the game. My biggest hope with the game is that they will not have a two faction split. If you see the Imperium teaming up with the Eldar and Tau to fight again Chaos, Orks, and Tyranids or something, it will just be frustrating. With all of these MMO companies quick to grab Games Workshop IPs to make games out of, they forget that the biggest appeal is the variety of factions warring against each other. Sure in an MMO it is risky to have population imbalance, but overall that is still the appeal of GW products.
For Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the team was on hand to talk about the last patch and fixes to the game. In a quiet presentation that lacked the punch of pre-launch WAR sessions, the team took a lot of time to answer player questions and address specific issues on the game. A lot is being done with Open RVR and giving players a boost in Realm Ranks to 100. I hope they don’t make them immposible to get numbers wise. The biggest questions surrounded the Skaven are the new zones and playability of possible Skaven characters. Something fans in the game have been screaming for since launch. With WAR now really working on what the player base wants, it seems like there are a lot of possibilities for the player base to influence the future of the game. A trend we are seeing more and more in MMOs with hardcore user bases. If you are a fan or player of Warhammer Online, let your voice be heard, the team at Bioware Mythic is definitely listening.
Overall Games Day was a great time. The THQ 40K Orc from E3 was on hand, one of the coolest props ever and drew a huge crowd with it walked out into the sea of GW fans. From an MMO perspective, nothing major was shown or discussed, but we were happy to see both Bioware Mythic and THQ represented at the show. Also, the Ultramarines movie coming out this fall was showing a trailer and looked awesome.
In general, Games Workshop does a great job and has proven over time the fan base of table top war games continues to age and grow. It does seem like a lot of gamers are going back to grass roots gaming lately and this was a good example of how players are getting back into what made gaming great in the early years.