A major release, version 1.19, is first on the agenda. “Version 1.19 is going to be the cornerstone of "Beyond Blitzkrieg" and will establish the core features for the box release,” Sherland told us. Existing customers will get 1.19 as a free upgrade provided to their premium subscription, but those who purchase the retail release will get a couple of extra goodies. “The box will have some pretty cool stuff in it that won't be available anywhere else including a color fold-out map and an extensive manual,” Sherland said.
So what can players expect in this release? Chris was happy to share info on the new features. “Well our goal for the box release centers around reducing the barriers to game entry and improving the look and feel of some major elements,” he said. “The troopers are getting a redo of the first person models and weapons, the smoothing code and predictor for the infantry is getting a re-visit as well, and these efforts will bring some real solid feel to infantry play. But the real huge move is the new user interface. We've looked over a lot of the feedback for WWIIOL over the years, and we've taken a lot of time to fashion a new flow and navigation to the UI that allows for newbies to get in the game much quicker, and insures that they will be with a group of players, on a mission, the very first time out. We've put a lot of the more complex functionality out of the critical path so that entry into the game is smooth and fast.”
The new UI will be great for new players, but how will the veterans see the move? Will changing the UI they’ve known so well put them off? The team at Cornered Rat Software has taken this into account in their design, as Sherland explained. “We’ve designed the flow of the new UI to be based on a tabbed system where all the features are exposed, but not on the single-pane design we have relied on. This does a couple of great things; it gives the advanced player more control over complex features, and also gives the newbie a sense that there's more to see and do once they get their feet on.” Ultimately, the upgraded UI is designed for ease of use and better interaction for all players, both old and new.
So what about new hardware and units? Many players are anticipating some new vehicles, but they’re likely going to have to wait just a bit longer. “Well we have a set of tanks that we will be adding,” Sherland told us, “but they are taking a temporary back seat to some long needed clean up of our existing units. With the ‘Beyond Blitzkrieg’ release coming up quick, we are focusing our modeling efforts on getting our existing set bug-free and cleaned up for the big day. That will probably push this set of tanks into the next release after 1.19, but they will definitely be in the box release.” Chris did mention what those tanks would be, however. “The Germans get the famous Tiger tank, the Brits will get the super-heavy Churchil, and the French get the US-made M-10 Wolverine tank destroyer.”
Now is the perfect time for those who want to play WWIIOL to give it a try. Cornered Rat Software and MMORPG.com have teamed up to offer a 14 day free trial of the game. Just visit this link to get started. Chris offered the following advice to those of you who choose to take advantage of this offer:
“Get in there and have a good time! Channel 99 is the official "help" channel, ask questions there if you get stuck. This will likely be the last free trial we run prior to the box release, so smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and remember to shoot at the guys with no icons!”