As an Associate Producer with EA Mythic, Josh Drescher is hard at work on EA Mythic#DY#s upcoming next-gen MMORPG- Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, based on Games Workshops#DY# tabletop fantasy war game, and one of the most-anticipated PC games of 2008.
Now we have an opportunity to interview with Josh Drescher. He tells us more information about the game. Also he brings us his picture.
MMOsite: First, congratulations, you#DY#ve got over 500,000 players signed up for Warhammer Online. Till now, how do players perform on the battlefield? Does it require NPCs to involve in the battle in order to keep balance?
Josh Drescher: Thanks! We#DY#ve VERY excited about how the fans have responded and we can#DY#t wait to get the game into their hands so they can experience what we#DY#ve been building.
Warhammer Online is all about huge armies of players fighting against one another forever and ever. Our goal has always been to make that the focus of RvR whenever and wherever possible. With that being said, we have found that adding NPCs to RvR areas is useful in some places.
For example, in the persistent (non-instanced) game world, we noticed in early beta testing that players had a hard time defending battlefield objectives effectively. This was mostly because, unless people stood next to those objectives 24 hour a day, people would just wait until no one was around and then take over the unguarded objectives. To address that problem, we#DY#ve added NPC guards that will defend any battlefield objective that has been claimed by either side. They#DY#re not super-powerful, but they will guarantee that you have to work to take over an objective, no matter how many players are around.
MMOsite: When a new player joins Warhammer Online, he knows little or nothing about the game. How will you help them integrate into the game quickly? Any tutorials, guide quests, or veteran players offering help to the beginners, etc?
Josh Drescher: We do a number of things to help introduce new players to Warhammer Online. First and foremost, we make sure that the starting areas help players understand that they are in the middle of a war. We don#DY#t start you out in a green field full of flowers and bunny rabbits. We start you out in the thick of the fight.
From a more mechanical standpoint, we start players out with a very basic set of abilities to help guarantee that they aren#DY#t overwhelmed when creating a new character or playing the game for the first time. As they level up, they earn access to new and more complicated abilities, but only after they#DY#ve had time to master their earlier skills.
The quest progression is also designed to quickly teach you about interacting with the world. NPCs are obviously labeled, the map auto-populates with critical information like quest target area, NPC locations and quest hubs.
Finally, we have a very intuitive UI system in place that helps give players the information they need when they encounter new elements of the game. Some on-screen notices draw their attention to detailed information housed in the Tome of Knowledge, others indicate that an important event is underway in the world.
MMOsite: There are rumors saying that the next class of High Elf will be White Lion. Can you clarify on this?
Josh Drescher: Nope, sorry. The folks in Marketing will punch me in the nose if I leak that information too soon.
MMOsite: Many players hope that melee classes can have a skill like "charge" which can help them get close to the enemy rapidly. Do you have any plan on adding such sort of skill for the melee classes?
Josh Drescher: All of our melee DPS careers have the ability to "run down" an opponent. This is essentially a second "sprint" ability that they have that allows them to catch up to someone who breaks away from a fight and tries to run away. This ability differs from standard "charge" abilities in a couple of major ways.
First of all, it#DY#s not a super-fast ability that moves you forward a large distant almost instantly. It makes you faster than your target, but it doesn#DY#t teleport you over to them.
Second, you control your character#DY#s movement the whole time. Because we have player collision in WAR, we needed the melee DPS player to have control over how they move through the world. Otherwise, they#DY#d fire off that ability and either bounce off of an enemy nearby or jump past them accidentally.