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The power of the WAAAGH radiated through the Baltimore Convention Center Lobby, at Games Day 2007, hosted by Games Workshop. The cheers and screams of Masses of Games Workshop fans heralded the start of the event. Fortunately for me, I was on the inside of the doors. Despite being separated from the crowd, you could sense the enthusiasm waiting to come on through.
The day's events consisted of painting contests, scenery construction, and of course, tons of table top gaming (both individual games, and "BIG" games) The Big Games consisted of dozens of players forming two separate teams and cooperating with each other to crush their competitors. Sound Familiar? Table top gaming is one of the oldest forms of competitive and cooperative massive multiplayer games. At the heart of modern table top gaming lies Games Workshop. Games Workshop's miniatures, board and role playing games have spanned the globe for nearly thirty years now. Fans of Games Workshop games don't just play these games, they love these games. No really, they LOVE these games. The level of detail and commitment dedicated to amassing, assembling, and displaying their forces is overwhelming. For anybody who has never seen any Golden Daemon, do yourself a favor and search out some images on the net. You won't be disappointed, well unless you completely aren't into that, in which case you may be disappointed.
Old school gaming and modeling aside, EA Mythic was in attendance to demo Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning . The line around the corner at the WAR booth was proof positive that Games Workshop fans are excited about this game. Attendees were exposed to some Realm vs Realm action as well as the Order and Destruction starting zones. You can check out Anthony Love's Hands-On preview report here.
The highlight of the day was the WAR presentation, hosted by Senior Producer Jeff Hickman and Senior Creative Director Paul Barnett:
Paul Barnett's enthusiasm for WAR is completely infectious. For those who have enjoyed his podcasts and video blog, you'll be in for a treat if you get the chance to see his demonstration in person. He makes you just want to log on and hurl yourself straight in WAR and start bashing.
Jeff Hickman's vision for WAR and MMOs in general is inspiring. The production of WAR will take the best elements of previous Mythic games. To quote Jeff "We learned a lot from DAoC".
Mythic is looking to break the "classic" MMO classes with WAR. There is no plan for there to be any class to just have to sit there and spam heal, or just sit in front and take a beating. That's not to say that classes won't have their roles. There is no doubt that the Dwarven Iron Breaker is a damage soaker, he just won't be a "tank" in the traditional sense. The entire design team is doing their best to make the game fun for all.
There were plenty of character designs and animations to watch. Seeing this classes evolve from the Games Workshop gaming miniatures versions to how they will look on screen was great. The designers are completely faithful to the look and feel of the Warhammer universe.
For those of you have been following the WAR podcasts, specifically podcast 7, there was footage of the Dwarf and Greenskin public quests. The giant in the Greenskin quest was just as described, with great detail to both the look and the attitude expected of a Warhmmer giant.
There is no doubt that Realm vs. Realm will be a driving force of WAR. Mythic's treatment of player vs. player gameplay is stellar. In my opinion Dark Age of Camelot's PVP is still the best I've ever played. WAR's PVP will be goal oriented with zone control playing a major role. For those of you out there who are worried about PVP only, or being upset about not being able to stay competitive with other players, there will an enormous amount of PVE as well. With over three hundred public quests that players can be involved in.
It was my impression that it will be well worth your time to explore all parts of the realms. You never know what may be on top of that mountain in the far Northwest of a map. WAR will be what a gamer wants it to be. If you feel like logging in one day and RvRing, smashing your foes and gloating in their misery, this game is for you. On the other hand, if you feel like logging in, just doing your own thing without worrying about being pwned by power gamers, this game is for you. Warhammer: Age of Reckoning will have it all.
My personal favorite clip of the demonstration was watching a Skaven run through the field clutching an enormous Blood Thirster axe. It was hilarious and completely in keeping with the flavor of Warhammer. From the Skaven's loping pace to its little ratman grip on the axe, it was something truly worthy of a Forgeworld model.
Paul and Jeff's demonstration was outstanding, answering fan questions and signing autographs (yes signing autographs, these guys are great) well past the end of the demo.
With luck, this demonstration will be making it to a WAR podcast or part of Paul's video blog.
The demonstration has only fueled my eagerness for WAR release. It's getting harder and harder to wait for the day.
Make sure you sign up for the WAR Newsletter, and keep watching those podcasts. www.warhammeronline.com the folks at EA Mythic have been doing an outstanding job with the content.