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PAX Preview

Carolyn Koh Posted:
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PAX Preview: Warhammer Online - Age of Reckoning (WAR)

The EA Mythic booth was packed by gamers gathered around the wide screen showing the cinematic trailer and laptops allowing them to get hands-on time with the races currently at a demonstrable stage.

At E3, Warhammer had already shown the Greenskins and the Dwarven races, and according to Content Designer John Cox they were showing off was the development of the UI and the Career Advancement; otherwise known as character development.

Each character will have three areas of skills to build. They are core, specialization and secondary abilities and points are awarded in each category as your character advances. The points distributed will be roughly in a 10:8:6 ratio and you will be able to gain enough points to advance all your core abilities, but must pick and choose the specialization and secondary abilities. Abilities can also be further upgraded through trainers.

At launch, there will be six races, three from each opposing realm, to choose from. They are Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins), Dark Elves and Chaos vs. Dwarves, High Elves and Empire Humans. Each homeland is divided into a warring pair. The Greenskins are matched against the Dwarves, while the Elves do battle in the second pair and Empire fights Chaos in the third.

The basic premise to Warhammer Online is Realm vs Realm warfare. The extent of the tradeskill system as well as the merchant system is still under development, however EA Mythic is staying true to the core game and a profession system will not be built around tradeskills.

Viewing the maps, it can be seen that every map has an open RvR area and when asked, John described the RvR system as a system of moving front lines and control of zones. Control of zones will be based on control of resource points and winning scenarios in the RvR areas. Some of this is only symbolic. For example a Dwarven flag may be raised over a Goblin area, but the area will not be affected if it is not an RvR area. So apart from the annoyance of seeing a Dwarven flag over your beloved goblin village when you view the map, your game play is not affected otherwise.

The neutral zones are high level areas and these can be also be controlled by either faction. The final decision has yet to be made, but John alluded that they could spawn quest NPCs and other NPCs friendly to the controlling faction.

I asked about race uniqueness and customization. Each race will have a mount unique to them. For example, Goblins will ride wolves and the Orcs will ride boars. Every character also has four accessory slots which are items which will show up graphically on the character, like shrunken skulls or heads hanging from belts.

Although some of the engines may show up in game such as the Goblin rock thrower, it is unlikely that others such as the Dwarven Steam Tank will.

At PAX, I also received an opportunity to play a live demo. However, what was available was not much different from the demo we tried out at E3 and likely not their most current internal version.

Warhammer Online is due to launch in the fall of 2007 with Closed Beta starting in spring of 2007.

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.