Thursday, 2 September 2010

Five things from WAR's concept that we never seen

Just looking through old previews and artwork for Black Orcs (I'm gutted my closed beta screenshots have disappeared off my hard drive) and came across some fantastic little concepts that never quite made it. I'd love to see all five come back in some form to spice it up a little but well, we can't have everything and of course, things had to get cut out. Have a look, which is your favourite? (I've deliberately left out the other cities out of this)

Mythic also seems to be focusing much of its PvP efforts on a more structured manifestation of this sort of gameplay -- what it's calling Battle Zones. You can make the obvious analogy, and you'll probably be correct. These Battle Zones will be instanced matches between preset groups of players. The number of players on each side won't necessarily matter, mind you. Rather, true to Warhammer's legacy, it's all about their "point" value. A given Battle Zone scenario might have, say, a 1000 point limit. This could permit ten less-powerful players go up against five who are significantly stronger, while theoretically keeping things balanced. It works just like this in the tabletop game. Mercenary units -- belonging to the Dogs of War faction from Warhammer fiction -- will be on hand to make up for any point deficiencies.

Your character model will also evolve as your character levels up. Orcs get bigger and thicker as they level up and dwarves get longer beards. This makes it very easy to tell at a glance just how powerful an opponent is.

Social organisation is reinforced in the game design at guild level, too. Guilds level up themselves - progressing through 80 ranks - and there's a heraldry system whereby they earn banners. These can be assigned tactical buffs that play an important part in skirmishing. They're hung proudly from keeps by the owners and can be taken from defeated guilds too, their tatters displayed as a trophy. The guild interface also looks like a vast improvement on the usual fare, including a facebook-style news feed.

Death will also be handled in a truly unique way. If your character falls in combat, you'll be presented with a chance to use acquired Fate Points to resurrect yourself and continue the fight at the very same instant you died. If you don't have any Fate Points, you'll be resurrected but you'll also acquire Insanity Points and you'll temporarily suffer from various attribute penalties. The only way to rid yourself of these insanity penalties is to successfully complete PVE quests.

For example, you earn trophies for killing 100 players, 1000 players, a million players (OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit), etc. It is up to the art team to make sure the million-players-killed trophy looks much cooler that the 100-players-killed trophy. Applying this thinking to every type of trophy awarded will ensure that Badassery is accomplished.

On a personal level I'm still wishing to see Black Orcs getting bigger, but also I've been so disappointed with the trophies. Now I know that we have seen trophies and they are in game but they just seem like so much wasted potential. They could have been so damn cool but ended up being a horrible, low res blob that no-one can actually make out so it doesn't stand out at all.