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News - - Thursday, November 8, 2007 Edit

WAR Beta Update - Part 2

James Nichols


It's that time again to share some news from the front lines in the second part of our WAR Beta Updates. Learn about itemization, city life in Altdorf, insider information on the Marauder and much more!

Waaagh! and well met!
First off we’ll go with the RvR Team. Since last we spoke they’ve been working on… Well I’ll just let them answer themselves:
The construction of the Elf scenarios is well under way with the first seven in various levels of polish. We should have three of those seven , along with some new scenarios for the Empire and Chaos zones. We have also been making changes to existing scenarios across all pairings. These changes have been focused on equalizing run times between the realms and adjusting the game play based on the feedback we have received. This week we’re going to evaluate ways to make access to scenario queues easier, while still keeping an immersive feel.
-RvR Team
Moving on over to the Items Team, they go into a bit of the detail on what it takes to itemize a chapter in the game:
Itemizing the elf chapters continues…
What does itemizing a chapter entail?
Well we go through every quest that gives rewards and create 24 quest items for it. Every quest in WAR gives you a choice of reward when you complete it, and those rewards are filtered to only show items that are specific to your career. Then we do the same thing for influence rewards -- influence rewards are also filtered in a career-specific way.
Then we figure out all the monsters in that chapter and make sure that they drop loot, and that the loot is level appropriate for that monster. We also make sure that players will also drop loot when killed in RvR when we do this. Then we hook up all the stores in that chapter, including the renown stores – where all the great RvR items can be found.
Afterwards we create all the loot for the three PQs in that chapter. Each PQ boss can drop some very-rare unique items, and some rare and uncommon stuff too. PQ bosses also drop most of the armor-set pieces. If there’s a set piece noted for a PQ in this chapter, we add those items to loot that can appear in the chest. We’ve also been looking at how we give out loot in PQs this week – But that will be in an Update later on by the PQ Team.
So, as well as just churning out items for the elf chapters we’re also putting in new stuff. We have our first iteration of the Trophy system in testing right now. We’ve been doing all our testing using an in-game Witch Hunter model, and it’s been fun trying out all the combinations of placement points.
-Item Team
Let me tell you that what I was shown with this first iteration of the Trophy system is certainly very exciting. The Witch Hunter is a great model to show off the Trophy system, especially with all the visual doodads and thingamajigs that they can have hanging around. It’s *almost* like you’re doing a visual conversion on the model itself, like you would with a Warhammer Fantasy miniature.
Here’s another update from the Cities Team. This week we’ve got some details on two of the “named” locations that you’ll find in the Empire city of Altdorf:
Hello from Altdorf! The cities team has been busy this week doing some really fantastic work on the Empire’s home city. One of our biggest tasks this week has been working on one of the most important elements of a good city: pubs! One of my favorite pubs located on the docks tentatively called “the Blow Hole”. Once an Empire Galleon, the remains of this old ship have been salvaged to form the entrance. It’s immediately recognizable from a distance and sure to be a favorite place to unwind and swap stories.
Another exciting feature we added this week are the crypts beneath the Temple of Sigmar. Our content developers have been delving deep underground, adding terrifying encounters with the undead, spirits, and deranged monks. These places are extremely tough and will be a challenge even for the most seasoned adventurer. The monks are always looking to add a few more tombs.
More to come!
-Cities Team
Not only does it have an awesome name, but the Blow Hole itself is visually distinct and very cool to see. What’s the use of fighting a war unless you’ve got a good place to cool off after a hard day slaughtering the forces of Destruction?
Next we have some information from the lads and lasses over on the UI Team. Since the UI is what allows the players to interact with the game they are set on making sure it’s as useful and easy to use as possible. Let’s talk about maps:
Most recently we just overhauled the main map from the ground up. Until this point, we had only zone level maps and then a long list of names of all the zones. Now we have a World map and a Pairing level map, as well as the Zone maps, and a method of navigating between them that should feel very intuitive.
These changes to the system has allowed us to integrate many things into the maps that weren't there previously, such as the quest tracker (allowing for more fluid waypoint toggling), filters to turn on and off various pieces of information, and by far my favorite, map coordinates. Hooray! Coordinates have actually been very useful to the development process though they were originally designed only for player use, so it just goes to show you how good designs can be pervasively beneficial.
Oh, the maps are now larger so that you can get a much clearer visual picture of what you're doing, and where you need to go at any time.
Overall the maps are very indicative of the style that we're going to be using in all of the UI, in particular the parchment graphics, and we're using the maps in other places that they can help to provide more information to the player. In fact, we've just begun integrating the map system into the Tome of Knowledge, so you'll be able to see a visual representation of your Main map in special key locations in the Tome as well.
-UI Team
Needless to say, the Tome of Knowledge is going to be one of the main objects in the game that players will be interacting with on a day to day basis. The designs of the Tome, in this case in regards to maps, really make it feel like you’re holding an actual large bound book in the game. I can’t wait to see someone try and create a Tome in real life.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got two updates from the Combat and Careers team. It seems that last update’s information on the Marauder wasn’t quite enough for some people, so I asked the team to go into greater detail this update. They also have some information on the updates to tooltips that we’ve recently been working on. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we:
We had so much feedback from the Marauder peek last week that we thought we'd get a little more into detail! The Marauder is "dual wielding" in the sense that they have a weapon in their right hand, and a what was formerly their left hand, and they're beating you over the head with both hands at the same time. Whenever they're mutated, they'll get the same combat benefits that someone dual-wielding weapons would get, and their mutated limb is considered to be a rare-quality weapon as far as DPS goes.
As far as the mutations themselves, the Marauder will have several different mutated forms which each provide different benefits and unlock different abilities: a claw-like arm will increase their Weapon Skill and its attacks will be suitable for taking down heavily-armored targets (e.g. Rend, a shredding attack which causes damage over time and increases each time you apply it), while a bone-bladed forearm will increase their Strength and provide strong positional attacks (e.g. Impale, which does heavy damage but can only be used from the victim's back), and a crushing club-like appendage will increase their Toughness and grant attacks which sweep larger areas at a time (e.g. Demolition, which hits all enemies in a cone in front of you and knocks them down).
Additionally, there will be some special abilities which are usable in any mutated form (such as Uncontrollable Warping, which makes your mutated arm explode right off of your body, damaging everything nearby...and you, too!).
Up until this point, the Beta tooltips have been fairly rudimentary, but our tooltips as a whole will be getting a large overhaul soon. While it may seem simple at first glance, keep in mind that your abilities are constantly improving as you increase in rank - we make strong efforts to ensure that your abilities will -always- be useful, but this means that they're always changing, which wreaks havoc with tooltips!
Some upcoming changes will finally allow us to show you some more of the actual numbers that drive your abilities. For example, a Bright Wizard's "Sear" will no longer simply say "A basic magical attack", but will instead say "Deals 18 Elemental damage to your target", and you'll be able to see the automatic upgrades that are inherent in your abilities when it says "Deals 47 Elemental damage to your target" a couple of ranks later. Additionally, we'll have far-more-detailed ability data, including build time, cooldown time, cost, range, requirements, and so on, for every ability.
-Combat & Careers Team
That should answer most of the questions in regards to the abilities and how the mutations interact with each other in regards to the Marauder. The update to the tooltips also helps as well. Now you’ll have a much better understanding of how the various abilities stack up to each other, but how they compare as they level up as well. No more hiding behind vague descriptions and that is certainly a good thing.
Well that wraps up this week’s Beta Update for all the lads and lasses out there. Between this and the October newsletter that you should be getting shortly this should help fill your craving for all things WAR!
Until next time, keep it tuned here… Same Squig time! Same Squig channel!

- The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Team

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