If you have ever played a game of Warhammer 40K, or even picked up a paintbrush to sit down and work on a model, you will immediately connect with this week’s column. Games Workshop has been asking its players to paint their models since the 1980s when they first came out. Now, with so many plastic miniatures and bitz coming in model packs, we are also building very custom looking armies before they even get a drop of paint on them. This aspect of the hobby is great fun for many of us. So when taking a look at the MMO coming out in 2015, the team at Behaviour needs to launch with a ton of options for players to make their characters as detailed as their models.
Let’s look at the Space Marines first. Behaviour is launching with four chapters to start. The UltraMarines while regimental and organized still offer a ton of options for customization. Squad highlights and insignias should be available right away. It is the other three that go heavy into the modification area. The Blood Angels should have all kind of enhancements and options for their armor and look. The Dark Angels need to have robes available, purity seals everywhere and endless symbol options to put on their weapons and armor. However, in all of these the Space Wolves come in from left field with options. Wolf teeth, pelts, fur cloaks, runes, glowing blue weapons and alternate helmets all need to be available right away for players. As a hardcore fan of the Space Wolves I would gladly give money to a cash shop to make my avatar look like one of my models.
Orks on the other hand come with a whole different custom approach. Here it is more about the look of the weapons and armor options than anything else. While colors and symbols play a big part in the Ork design, it really is more about the clunked together armor pieces and the crazy weapon upgrades. Ork Boyz will be the free to play area, but the Nobz are really where the options should shine. Big choppas with buzz saws on them, weird scopes on guns, and combi-skorchas or whatever your favorite weapon is, it should be right there at the start for players to buy or earn through gameplay. Do not even get me started on the possibility of Speed Freaks and custom biker options.
Eldar take a very different approach to their look. Here is where I think color and symbols come to the forefront and armor and weapons remain more streamlined. The real benefit to painting Eldar comes when you choose a color scheme for the army. You then can make a futuristic looking design which stands out beautifully on the table top. If we see Warlocks in the game, then all kinds of cloak and helmet options need to be available. Behaviour needs to enhance the Eldar with glowing armor pieces, amazing color options and Craftworld markings that truly capture the sleek, deadly units they are.
Most people would think that Chaos is easy to customize, but it is not. Sure you can add some spikes and claws, but that will not satisfy the 40K player who spent hours kit bashing models and using an alternate paint scheme. The key to making Chaos look amazing is to offer options in all five factions: Unaligned, Nurgle, Khorne, Tzeentch, and Slaanesh. Colors and upgrades that reflect all of these really need to be in the game. I am not talking about just adding green, blue, red, and pink. There needs to be a lot of alternatives. Helmets are important as are shoulder upgrades and weapons. Khorne axes need multiple designs. Slaanesh sonic weapons need to be in the game. Nurgle players should be able to add guts and tumors everywhere. Tzeentch players need chaotic magical swirling images all around their avatars. Chaos can get the customization correct, if it is done for every aspect of the army. You cannot just add tentacles and call it a day.
I am not a fan of cash shops in games personally. But in Eternal Crusade I would happily spend money to make my avatars look like the models I spent hours painting. It is this passion that Behaviour Interactive needs to tap into with Warhammer 40,000 players. Even if you enter the game casually and suddenly get addicted to the universe, the developers cannot go wrong with offering options. There is a trend in MMOs to give more creative tools to their communities. Let’s hope that Eternal Crusade gives custom tools to their players. Lastly, I spoke briefly with David Ghozland the Creative Director on Eternal Crusade about this column on his way home from the GamesDay U.K. and he had this to add for fans, “Here at Games Day everyone can experience the infinite possibilities offered in Warhammer 40,000. It is the Eternal Crusade team's duty to capture the essence of the IP offering enough diversity to fullfil our fanbase's needs."
It is great to see the team recognizing what they need to do to make this game great. Thanks Dave for the final thought.