Our 40K column this week takes a twofold approach to the game as we were gifted with some new information from the team at Behaviour. The Meet the Team video introduced us to the game developers, but more importantly it showed very brief glimpses of gameplay. While there is very little to deduce from the flashes of the game we saw, there is also a much bigger topic we have not covered: Chaos. So I wanted to try and tackle both of these and see how far we can get. Hopefully more will be coming from Behaviour in the month of August with PAX and Gamescom around the corner.
While it was great to see the video and meet the team developing Eternal Crusade, there were some flashes of gameplay shown on the screens. It was extremely early and many people might view these models and leap to wild decisions: don’t. Miguel Caron has been very open with fans about the development. That is a great thing to build trust in the community. Also, it means that people will see things long before they are done. So try to reserve judgement, as that’s what I’ll be doing.
We do know that the gameplay models close to Space Marine’s action. With heavy aspects of a shooter followed up with hand-to-hand combat. Space Marine made such a strong switch between the two that I really enjoyed going from bolter to chainsword when fighting in close battles. How the team at Behavior will capture this style of gameplay is the real question. The good thing about their approach is Eternal Crusade makes no bones about being a very heavy PvP game right from the beginning. Therefore combat and pacing will be dictated by the players and not by AI. Even though there are some PvE elements to the game with the Tyranid, primarily it is built around the planetary struggle. If you can catch the brief glimpses of gameplay in the video, it may not say much, but it really piqued my interest when looking at the game. One more note on this: the fact that the team is painting models and playing tabletop 40K games throughout the video is a very good sign. It is very important that fans realize how much the developers are also players of the tabletop game.
Probably the most interesting faction in all of Warhammer is the Chaos. It encompasses the four chaos gods, the fallen chapters of the Horus Heresy, and countless champions and villains. It is the ultimate foe of humanity and in many ways the most fun evil faction in any game. At the beginning of the Eternal Crusade news feed it was stated that only the Iron Warriors Chapter would be playable. However, as we have seen with the Imperium Astartes Chapters, it was only the Dark Angels then that got expanded to include several others. I think the best way to handle Chaos is to include one of the Unaligned Chaos Chapters at launch, and then fit as many of the go favored chapters into the game as well. So you would have World Eaters, Death Guard, Thousand Sons, and Emperor’s Children all playable, plus one of the neutral chapters. That will give Chaos fans a lot to choose from right at the beginning. Obviously other chapters would need to be added as well.
The biggest mistake that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning made was only including Tzeentch as an option for Chaos. None of the other gods: Khorne, Nurgle, and Slaanesh were included as playable in any form. Sure you saw their daemons walking around the game, but honestly so much was left out for the player by not including these gods in a character makeup. If Eternal Crusade does anything with chaos, please make sure you include all four Chaos gods and be damned the consequences. Even if you do not go directly into the Traitor Legions, at least give us options for Noise Marines and Berserkers and so forth. These are what set Chaos apart from all the other factions. I personally would like to see a marriage of both the traitor legions and the gods’ aligned abilities, but we will just have to wait and see. The point is to do Chaos correctly, begin with all four gods in some form and work from there. Do not single out one god and expect players to rally behind the idea. They won’t.
Behaviour has talked about the mix of squads that players will build. Even though all four gods hate each other, I think I would be okay foregoing that lore for the sake of a better game. If the daemons can ally now and battle it out in the same army, then what is to stop Thousand Sons from shooting their Inferno Bolts next to the Khorne Berserkers who are frothing at the mouth for some assault fighting? I just hope the team can capture this.
Chaos really does reflect how in-depth Warhammer 40,000 is as an IP. The chaos lore alone could be made into countless games. The key to getting it right is to really include the essence of what makes Chaos so interesting and do not leave out any of the gods. Keep them all in the game somehow. Let’s hope Behaviour Interactive can make the right choices. Hopefully we will get a good look at the Chaos faction as we get closer to autumn.
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