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Hands-on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - PC

by Steven Williamson on 1 April 2008, 10:40

Tags: Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, GOA, PC, MMOG

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Staying true to the lore

Securing the Warhammer license must be a huge bonus for any developer because immediately their game will gather a fevered interest from its legion of fans, even before the first information hits the public domain. But, with a guaranteed audience, comes the great burden and pressure of creating a game that sets itself apart from other MMOs, remains faithful to the Warhammer IP and excites the masses. With approximately 600,000 people signed up to the beta phase if they do mess up, you can be rest assured that they'll be hung, drawn and quartered by the fanatics (perhaps a bit harsh, but you get our drift?)

Fans of Warhammer will be delighted to know that WAR does encompass much of the lore, the characters, the classes and even the colours that you'll find throughout the Warhammer universe. Even though the dice-rolling mechanics of the table-top game can't be incorporated fully into an MMORPG, there is plenty of visually-pleasing and iconic imagery to enjoy, including the Grand Principality of Reikland, which hosts the wealthy city of Altdorf and the impressive Celestial College and boasts huge mountains that cast shadows over the vineyards and forests as the mighty River Reik flows from its source in the Black Mountains and then passes eloquently through the heart of the city. There are also familiar characters and classes, such as the ornamentally-decorated Warrior Priest and the iconic Gotrek and Felix (primarily from William King's Warhammer novels) and of course the appearances of the forces of Chaos and the Empire.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

All of these things and much more will be familiar to those who know Warhammer and all are backed up by a story that stays faithful to and merges with existing lore.

There isn't one particular part of the Warhammer back catalogue that the game has been sourced from, but instead it takes themes from different parts of its illustrious history. EA Mythic has also been awarded creative license by Games Workshop to expand on the universe where they feel necessary, so you'll come across locations that have developed from scratch by the team. EA Mythic say that no decision in the game has been taken likely in the creation of new locations, characters or classes and as in the case of the 'Disciples of Khaine', who appear for the first time in a Warhammer game, a lot of collaboration with Warhammer experts and the Games Workshop team has taken place to slot them seamlessly into the Warhammer universe.

If you've not read about the background story before, you can find this is in full detail at the end of the preview, alternatively turn the page for our first look at Realm vs. Realm play.