Battlefields have come and gone over the eras of the human race. From throwing rocks to firing missiles they change with time. From the artwork over the years, Warhammer 40,000 has painted some of the most vivid images of battlefields in the far future. The landscapes are almost hellish with demonic portals bursting forth, hordes of Orks, and endless ruins on fire. All of these images are enhanced by valiant warriors, the Space Marines and their vehicles attacking the odds at all costs. These images really stick in your mind, and when I was young, it was the artwork that brought me into Warhammer. In today’s column I want to talk about how these battlefields and also tactics will be represented in Eternal Crusade.
One word came into my head as I began to write what the battlefields should look like, Hazardous Terrain. I think there should definitely be aspects of the terrain in the video game taken from the tabletop. Moving and fighting over hazardous terrain brings some great challenges to the field. I can imagine having pools of acid or traps with spikes. Attempting to assault a bunker and getting caught on razor sharp wire. Most of all, there needs to be fire, the burning hell that is so well depicted in the 40K artwork needs to burn all around. This also plays into vehicles. Some vehicles should have to go around walls, while hopefully Land Raiders would go right through them.
Objectives are also a major part of the game. In sixth edition tabletop Warhammer a lot of the scenarios are based on Objectives. While these mechanics can work, Objective can also become boring very quickly. Just having a battleline fight back and forth all day over some dumb flag does eventually get old. The key with objectives is to make them mean something, but also be fluid in how they appear and can move on a map. Static battles can be fun, but moving battles really are exciting. It is why capture the flag is so much fun. Once you gain the flag, you have to move it and defend it. It presents a threefold system of combat. Hopefully, the team at Behavior will bring multiple scenarios into the picture for objective based battles.
Deployment is another critical factor. Getting your players into the fight at the right places is a key to having successful battles. From what we know, you will deploy from your drop ship and head to the battlefields in your rhino or other vehicles. From there you will enter combat and well you know the rest. The map interface should represent where the fighting is taking place. It should show what is going on. Years ago in Dark Age of Camelot when a fight broke out, two swords appeared on the map. 40K needs to have a visually striking map UI for each faction which points players into the direction of battle.
Communication is another area where the game needs to really shine. Faction alerts should be loud and in your face if something happens. “Oi ladz, we just smash’d dem ummies at the powerz plant!” should come over the screen if you are an Ork. “Squad 52 deploy to the landing zone to battle the Orks, the Emperor wills it!” These are the types of communications I would like to see in the game. Also, with players forming their own squads and joining larger segments of their factions like Chapters, there needs to be clear ways for large groups of players to know where to fight. This system will be very important as players will want to get involved in the strategic side of the game, especially wargamers.
Eternal Crusade needs to remember something very important. They need to play to Warhammer 40,000’s strengths. Having a great UI which can communicate and even entertain players during the game will go a long way. I would even go as far to ask to get alerts on my phone if my Chapter master willed it. These are the elements of the futuristic battlefield that make the game and combat exciting beyond just shooting and hacking away with chainswords.
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