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Disc of Tzeench Press Conference

Yesterday, Garrett Fuller attended a telephone press conference with EA Mythic about their upcoming MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

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We have heard a lot out of the Warhammer camp lately, with the press event last month and a conference call this month the crew over at EA Mythic is doing their best to give potential players the information they want to hear. Last night on the press call, the guys gave away some great new bits of information for both the Empire and Chaos. The usual suspects of Jeff Hickman, Paul Barnett, and Josh Drescher were on the phone to answer a ton of questions from the media. Let me start by saying that these guys have enthusiasm, and a lot of it.

Looking at the Empire first, in case you do not know the concept the guys summed things up quickly. It is the human race on the brink of destruction. With Chaos, Orcs, and Dark Elves closing in from all sides, the Empire reaches to extremes to survive. Magic, warriors, faith, and technology are all tested to the limit in order for the humans to survive. The Empire also mirrors a medieval Germanic setting with the look and feel of armor, weapons, and housing. Here is a quick breakdown of the classes: Knight of the Blazing Sun (tanker), Bright Wizard (Nuker), Warrior Priest (fighter, healer), and Witch Hunter (DPS, faith, light melee fighter).

When elaborating on the Witch Hunter, Paul and Jeff brought up the fact that the Witch Hunter fights by exacting a confession out of their victims. Once they get a target they continually torment and torture them until they build enough confession to finish them off. Sounds like a great concept and a very different way of fighting. Paul also reminded us to "never underestimate the hat."

The other classes for the Empire were not focused on as much mainly due to the line of questioning. However, the guys did say that the devs had a lot of fun testing the Bright Wizards in RvR scenarios. Think of the Bright Wizards as the licensed pyromaniacs of the Empire.

Moving on into the realm of Chaos, there were many questions regarding the newly announced Marauder class. This is the light tank, DPS dealer for Chaos. For those of you wondering the Marauder will have Chaos Mutations! From what the guys said, some of these mutations will be temporary. The player will be able to option mutations to attack with. If you have seen the concept art, you'll know that the Marauder can shape their arms into claws, tentacles, clubs, and general Chaos craziness.

For those who don't know the Chaos classes, they are: Chosen (Chaos Warrior), Marauder (Mutated DPS fighter), Magus (Sorcerer of Tzeench), and the Zealot (Healer, caster type). They did talk more about the Zealot class and how they will have birds, scarecrows, daggers, and skulls to carry out their attacks and enhancements on the field of battle. For those who play Warhammer tabletop, there are always some very strange attacks in the game. When hearing about the Zealot I was imagining attacks like throwing heads, stabbing people, and using buffs or heals to boost your Chosen.

There were a lot of questions asked about the trophy system and character customization. As you may know when Orcs get stronger they grow larger. When dwarves grow stronger their beards get longer. For the Empire and Chaos these changes will be reflected in a very human way. Their weapons and equipment get flashier and more menacing. Don't misinterpret that as their weapons will be better than other races in the game. That is not the case. Really it means that a Tier Four Chaos Chosen will have very elaborate looking weapons and armor as opposed to one starting off at Tier One (Tiers are the leveling system in the game). Paul also said that there are so many ways to customize your character in the game that they hope no too players look alike. They are trying really hard to keep players looking like individuals.

Players will get trophies from killing NPCs and other players to add to their characters. There will also be player mounts in the game (imagine the armies from Games Workshop). The guys were very quick to highlight the Disc of Tzeench for the Magus class. Discs seemed to be flying around the room during the conference; they were talked about so much. Players will fly atop their "floating demonic shark" and blast lightning spells at their enemies. I feel like, if I didn't mention the Discs enough in the article, one would be summoned by EA Mythic and waiting to eat me at my car this afternoon. So, the Discs play a major part in the Chaos Magus class.

Some important game mechanics were asked about by listeners during the call. Here is a run down of some questions you may have from an MMO side. The only penalty for Death in the game is time. They are still in talks about a death sickness type of effect. Casters will have to stop and concentrate to cast spells; however, some of the instant spells can be cast on the run. There is Collision Detection in the game. The Collision Detection does not impact line of sight though. So even though you will bump into players, characters can not block attacks against people standing behind the front line. The NPCs will not have full voiceover chat for quests; they will make sounds and interact, but not force you to sit and listen through the entire epic tale of a quest. In regards to transportation there are personal and group transports in game. Also, Paul mentioned you don't have to run somewhere first to get a transport there. I hope that covered some of the random game mechanics that were mentioned, there were a lot on the call.

Loot and gear were definitely a hot topic on the call. It was made clear that gear will not be the driving force behind the game. Players will have up to six different ways to collect new gear in the game. Anything from simple monster drops, player quest influence rewards, RvR drops, Capital City drops, and even capturing the King of the city rewards are in the game. Jeff was very serious when he talked about balancing game loot among players and it seems to be a major priority. The reason is they want the RvR combat to be as fair as possible. The issue of buying in game loot or money in the secondary market also came up. Again Jeff got serious and said that EA Mythic is wholeheartedly against the sale of virtual currency. They are working very hard to combat the secondary market within game mechanics. Everything from the economy, loot, and crafting are being reviewed so that the secondary market won't become a factor in the game. This was great to hear and it seems like the team is determined to keep gold farmers out through game design. Many other MMOs can learn a lesson from Warhammer if this tactic works.

In the conclusion of these Warhammer articles I always try to put something in for the Games Workshop fans that know the lore and want to hear about in-game goodies. Well, Paul dropped a big one on this call and said that Teclis and Karl Franz are both in the game, and...you can fight them! Keeping up with Paul, Josh, and Jeff is like trying to control a Chaos Spawn, there are so many directions they go it's impossible to write down everything that happened in one hour. Thanks again to the guys for all the new information and to Eddiemae Jukes for hosting the call. Her job in trying to coordinate these guys is harder than herding rhinos. We'll have more on Warhammer in the coming weeks from the NY Comic Con and GDC. Hopefully we'll see the Beta and release dates soon.

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