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Exclusive : Warhammer Mark Of Chaos: How is the RTS game shaping up?

by Steven Williamson on 24 July 2006, 11:10

Tags: Warhammer Mark of Chaos, Koch Media, Namco (TYO:7832), PC, Strategy

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagdl

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The Story, the game and the Champions



Warhammer: MOC is the third real-time tactics game based on the Warhammer Fantasy Battle tabletop rule set and features epic battles with warring armies, mighty champions, a level of detail that stays true to the Warhammer universe and a real-time combat system that moves away from the rather banal concepts of base and resource management. Instead Warhammer: MOC gives the player total control and customisation of their armies whilst managing to create an empathy towards the chosen characters and ultimately delivering a completely intense battlefield experience over beautifully constructed destructible environments; and all of this whilst staying true to the fiction and the art of the Warhammer world!

The day at Warhammer World began with the latest high definition trailer of Warhammer: MOC. The video manages to capture the underlying darkness and spirit of Warhammer superbly. The gripping cinematics and epic orchestral piece added to the flavour of this flamboyant starter before we dived into the tasty looking main course of seeing the game in action with a walkthrough by Chris Wren on some of the latest features and maps that have been added since E3.



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THE STORY
"Over a year has passed since the Great War, during which the brutal Chaos armies swept across the Empire lands. Many fierce battles still rage across the Old World.
Portions of the defeated Chaos armies have retreated to the distant Northern Wastes, while others have fallen to hostile groups. Among these tribes, new Champions rise up in an effort to reunite the Chaos forces, yet eventually all fail. None can match the power of their fallen leader, Asavar Kul.
The united Empire and High Elf forces hunt the Chaos hordes from the Empire territories, still alert as danger lurks around them in the form of smaller enemy warbands that loot the settlements of the border lands.
Now, four powerful armies – Empire, Chaos, Skaven and High Elves – along with other "dogs of war" including Orcs, Dwarfs, Vampires and Goblins, clash amidst breathtaking scenery in an epic battle for land and power.”


THE GAME

Warhammer: MOC puts you in command of four playable armies: the Empire, Chaos, Skaven, and the High Elves, with each faction having its own champion or hero. There are also additional controllable races, Orcs and Goblins, Dwarfs and Vampires. The emphasis of this latest strategy title is on war, and the battles range from huge-scale epic cinematic battles over extensive landscapes to smaller objective based missions and even quest based puzzle solving assignments.

Each race has its own specific look and different strategic manoeuvres and formations. The underlying points system, taken directly from the tabletop game, ensures that each race is balanced. One race won’t be stronger than another and it will be a matter of outwitting your opponents in order to take out their army effectively.

There will be a standard set of formations but some armies will have an arrangement that is unique to them. For example, the Spearmen can form together to lock their shields in a defensive manoeuvre that sees them pushing back their opposition. Each army can move around the terrain whilst staying set in their formations, thus providing a more stable and well-organised set of troops.

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Bandai Namco have focused heavily on personalisation and customisation of the armies. The customisation tool ensures that you have control over every aspect of your army, from changing the look of faces, helmets and shields to modifying complete colour schemes for your regiment; this will be a dream for hardcore Warhammer fans. You’ll also be able to completely re-model banners; the developers have brought word of numerous banner competitions for fans before Warhammer: MOC is launched. You'll be able to design these banners in Photoshop and then be able to be upload and trade them between players, or just add them into the game.

Customisation doesn’t stop there. The ‘Create army tool’ allows you to pick your own army and four champions, which you can name, or you may choose a default set. Bandai Namco’s Chris Wren told us that the extent of customisable options within Warhammer: MOC ‘encourages you to take look after your army and expand them.’ You have complete ownership over the overall look of these characters and it’s clear that this personal touch we mean that you’ll want to fight tooth and nail to defend them.

THE CHAMPIONS

The Mark of Chaos heroes/champions have four different skill trees, similar to that scene in many RPGs. In addition to the three skill sets that were revealed at E3, Combat, Duelling and Command, there is also a morale boost. These skills are developed through spending skill points that have been gained through battle.

Building up these skill sets effectively may give you the edge over an opponent. For example, you can choose to spend all of your points on Combat meaning that your champion will be more adept in the art of warfare, or you could spend the points across the board giving your hero a more balanced set of skills; the choice is totally yours.

These champions are the spearhead of your regiment so it’s vital that you keep them alive, something that will be extremely tough when faced with another champion from an opposing army. These duels are a strategic game of cat and mouse and there’s a lot at stake. If your champion is defeated your opponent will be able to pick up his weapons and armour thus making him even more formidable.

Bandai Namco have also hinted that they may include trading between champions in the future.

In addition to this, there will be hero specific missions that will consist of puzzles where the rewards may come in the form of EXP or items. Your champions are at more of a risk than ever before thanks to a new concept called ‘aggro’. This notion, introduced since E3, sees an enhancement in the A.I. which ensures that the enemy armies may not necessarily attack the closest thing to them, but instead will systematically switch their focus to that which provides the most threat. Your champions will need to be more aware than ever before. The A.I. have also been enhanced in every aspect of the gameplay to give the game more balance, including a few recent tweaks to the long range attacks of certain factions, making them more deadly.