Nathan Richardsson on the Eldar
Welcome back fellow Crusaders, once again we have the pleasure of speaking to Nathan Richardsson, and his team of Devs working on Behaviour’s upcoming Warhammer 40K game, Eternal Crusade. This week we are going to talk about the Eldar and their recent addition to Early Access. This is the first time we are seeing the Eldar in action, and the first time players get to actually try out a non-Space Marine-based faction, so you can understand the excitement and curiosity that surrounds the release of these enigmatic aliens.
MMORPG: Welcome back Nathan, it’s great to speak to you again. Let’s jump right in, to start with, can you set the stage for the release of the Eldar, give us a little background for their presence in Eternal Crusade.
NR: Why they are there from a the storyline I can’t tell you much about, the best way to get a glimpse into that is to read the more than 15 short stories on our website, which goes into what’s happening on Arkhona, the planet the 5 factions are fighting for.
That being said, Eldar have never been used in a shooter, let alone in a massive online shooter, so both from a storyline perspective and their unique aspects, tactics and strategy, they were a great faction to have to stir things up and add vibrance and variety. They also look pretty damn cool and are fun to play.
MMORPG: Now, we know that the Eldar have just been introduced, and that, for now at least, they share a lot of the statistics and attributes of their Space Marine predecessors. What sorts of changes are planned for the future, to help them develop their own particular play style and flavor? Will we changes in movement rate and fluidity of motion? How will they ultimately compare to Marines in terms of durability and armor?
NR: They already have moved far from using placeholders like on the public test server to now being in Steam Early Access. They have more classes, they are highly specialized, faster and more in line with the lore of Eldar. It’s just very normal to start at a base point with placeholders and then take it from there. Saves a lot of time creating them and effort ironing out bugs. That doesn’t mean they’ll be anything like the Space Marines, it’s just so that we don’t start from scratch. We call that “pragmatic” ;D
So ultimately, they will be entirely different even though you will see some similarity between classes, ie close combat vs ranged vs flyers and the specific roles of their vehicles. This is reflected through character advancements, weapons, weapons modifications and wargear which further allows you to customize your class.
You already see most of these new “classic massive systems” appear in Early Access now and are getting more and more content into them.
MMORPG: How about their weaponry, will they be getting more efficient implements of destruction, in order to balance out any imbalances, perceived or otherwise, in their design?
NR: Absolutely and they already have – and another thing to remember – is that we balance factions and sub-factions asymmetrically. These are far from carbon copies and the more content we populate all the systems with, which is all faction specific, will emphasize that even further.
MMORPG: Right now it appears that the Elder are getting pretty soundly trounced by the Space Marine factions. Do early metrics support this? What changes are impending to try and rectify this imbalance? We know that there are a lot of changes coming, but how are the fans receiving the Elder in general?
NR: No, not trounced but they are new, short on the character progression, weapon varieties, wargear and general balance. This is because we’re in the middle of a massive rebalancing effort right now based on all the data and player feedback we’re getting. It takes time when on gun can have more than 50 tunable stats and effects. That being said, the hardcore Eldar take the challenge as true Eldar and don’t let an uphill battle prevent them from trying to win. After all, it’s a choice between Slaneesh or survival and victory.
MMORPG: It has been suggested in the past that the Elder are more specific and specialized in their roles (which is part of the reason there are more classes for them), is it a concern that the skill level inherent in playing the Eldar well will act as a bar to getting people to play them?
NR: Not at all, I think while we say that their classes are more specialized, we have to realize that within that specialization, there is a lot of character advancement and personal customization to affect this in a specific direction which fits your playstyle more. You want more time flying or more durability? Accuracy? Different ordinance causing mass carnage on the ground?
It’s understandable that these systems which we’ve been working on for months and aren’t visible – or some only coming into Early Access now with very limited test content – that you get the impression that you have very limited options. This is not true and is a part of why we are a persistent universe where you advance and the world and your wars matter. We’re looking massively forward (pun intended) to the reception of all these systems which we’ve been working hard on and about to introduce.