Social networking is at the heart of WARAt the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning event in Paris this week, we were treated to a lengthy presentation on what EA Mythic believe sets its MMORPG apart from its competitors as well as getting the opportunity to ask a few questions about the highly anticipated title.
We’ll have more on the presentation early next week, a hands-on preview of WAR and an examination of the game’s main features, including how Realm versus Realm (RvR) play has evolved since it’s Dark Age of Camelot days and how the multi-purpose reference tool and meta-game, the Tome of Knowledge, aims to expand the MMO experience.
For now, sit back and enjoy our brief chat with the Product Manager, Roland Cox, who we talked to specifically about one of the redeeming features of the game, public quests, as well as asking him a few other probing questions.
If you’re unfamiliar with WAR we suggest that you check out the official site, or alternatively sit tight for our hands-on preview early next week. If you've had your fill of WAR already, God knows there's enough about it floating around online, then skip straight onto the interview.
HEXUS: In the presentation EA Mythic talked about ‘Public Quests’ being one of WAR’s redeeming features, what are they and what makes them so special and unique to MMOs?
Roland Public Quests basically expand on the PvE solo-playing experience, turning them into communal experiences where realm pride is really at stake. There are 300 public quests in the game, most of which consist of multiple stages. The first stage is generally solo-able, though they do take some time if you go down this route, and the other stages require participation from other realm players and they all generally culminate in disposing of a big boss.
It's hard to convey what's really great about public quests, until you actually experience it. It’s a fantastic social hub in the game. I was in the beta the other week playing in the Dark Elf Zone 1 and I was just having a look around, watching what other players were up to and I was right next to the citadel, which has public quest where you need to kill a Hydra. There were 7 or 8 people around contributing to the public quest and intuitively I thought I might as well join in. I grouped up, did the public quest and then added two of the guys as friends. The public quests are good fun, but what really makes them great is that they are intuitive social networking hubs. You don’t have that problem where you gather a group together and then wonder what to do. People will probably be in the middle of doing a public quest, so you can just join them, or not, the choice is yours.
HEXUS: How are public quests triggered?
Roland When you enter an area a message will appear on the screen saying that you are in a public quest area. For example, it may say “Stage 1: Kill 30 guards”. Once you complete the stage you’ll then be given a second objective and finally a third where you’ll need to fight the big boss.
They sound pretty repetitive, fight dozens of baddies, kill the big boss, rinse and repeat etc. How are you going to ensure that Public Quests don’t become a monotonous chore?
Roland Each public quest really is different and although there’s usually a big baddie, they’ll react in different ways. For example, when you fight the Great Demon of Khorne you send it back to warp instead of simply killing it. We’re trying to make them as interesting as possible. One of our favourite ones at the moment, which we are polishing up, takes place in the Chaos waste, where you’ve got these necromancers floating on stones above the ground.
You think it’s going to be a case of simply killing them, but one thing we do in WAR is mess with your expectations. In this case, a bone giant comes out of the ground and starts pummelling you. Of course, there’s a formula to them, but we try and shake them up to make them interesting. We try and make all the public quests as fun as possible. At the moment we’re looking at all the average PQs we have in the game and striving to make them better before launch.
After all this hard work, I suspect I get some decent loot for my efforts?
Roland Yep, big fat loot. You do your three stage public quest, and say there were 7 of you doing it and you were the guy risking all, you’ll get the fattest loot. If you don’t contribute and you just come in at the end of the fight, you could be lucky and get something half decent, but the likelihood is that you won’t get as much as the other guys who have contributed more. If you’re a healer in the game, you will get an equal reward for healing people who are fighting, so it's balanced around the player types.
The loot that you get will also be appropriate to your class. You won’t get an Orc item if you’re an Elf. In fact, there aren’t that many generic items in the game, each class has their own items.