We were gutted by the recent news on a new delay for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning to mid 2008. Simply because, we can't wait to get our hands all over it.
The talent and experience of EA Mythic coupled with the rich and established Warhammer fantasy universe is surely a recipe for MMO success, and we're fully expecting WAR to be the biggest game in the genre released next year. Please EA / Mythic, don't bugger it up.
Anyway, we recently knocked heads with WAR product manager Attaba Rahim at GOA - which will be publishing the MMO in Europe - and chatted about the game that Rahim says is more about an evolution rather than revolution in the MMO space.
How has the Warhammer universe defined the core MMO gameplay experience you've designed?
Attaba Rahim: The core MMO gameplay for us is definitively our RvR system where you have an entire army behind you in this global conflict.
The Warhammer universe, theatre of the conflict between the races, fits perfectly with our goal to design a unique game with a brand new PvP system. It's not just a new heroic-fantasy MMO, It's WAR, people will be struggling against each other for their Realm!
Expectations are high. How are you meeting that challenge?
Rahim: The European market is really big and there is a place for more than one MMO. WAR will target a lot of different players from former or actual Dark Age of Camelot players to casual MMO players and Warhammer players/fans.
The challenge is quite big and the first one is to deliver with EA Mythic the best MMO ever. Furthermore, we do believe that WAR will bring something different to the players with our RvR and PvE content (Warhammer Online is also about player versus environement content).
So would you describe WAR as an MMO evolution or revolution?
Rahim: It's more about an evolution as players want something different but with some familiar elements. EA Mythic is still developing an MMO based on a fantasy universe. Evolution because PvP is no more hardcore, playing against real players is challenging (just like the MMO market).
Is WAR going to kick World of Warcraft's arse?
Rahim: Again our goal is not to kick WoW's arse but to deliver the best MMO ever. With Warhammer Online, we will bring new, fresh, funny things that players will embrace (we hope)! We want our game appealing for different kinds of players. If we have this success, it will be more interesting than kicking WoW or whatever MMO competitors' arse!
You've combined PvE play and PvP play so that they work toward a single goal. What particular challenges has going that design route thrown up?
Rahim: We view balancing RvR with PvE as an incredible opportunity rather than a challenge. Most games are either heavily focused on PvP or are dominated by PvE play.
Warhammer Online seamlessly weaves both together throughout the entire game - creating a balance between traditional MMO questing and exciting RvR action.
Players won't have to choose a specific PvP server since the RvR areas are clearly marked on each zone map. If you enter that zone, you are flagged for intense RvR action. Stay on the outside of the zone to enjoy the robust PvE action. It is that simple and fun.
In terms of implementation, we have learned a lot from developing Dark Age of Camelot and everyone on the team is using those experiences to take RvR and PvE design to the next level.
Why are players who focus purely on PvE going to find the game as fulfilling as those that fully embrace PvP?