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News - - Thursday, November 15, 2007 Edit

WAR Beta Update - Part 3

James Nichols

We bring you Part 3 of our Beta Test Updates straight from the battlefield to your home! Be ready for Trophies, Taverns, and Tomes!

Waaagh! and well met!
We begin this week’s update with new images of the Empire capital city of Altdorf. I’ve been given two exclusive screen shots of the Blow Hole Tavern and the Library.

Blow-Hole ss

Imperial Library ss

These give you an idea of the detail that’s going into our capital cities. As an added bonus, in this month’s Newsletter we have a video tour of Altdorf. You’ll see the Blow Hole from the perspective of someone walking down the street. If you watch closely, you’ll also see areas of the city in ruin and on fire. This is the first glimpse at what this incredible city is going to look like after it’s been ravaged by the forces of Destruction.
You can find the video here: [1]
Next up is new information on the Trophy system. As you may be aware, our Trophy system is one way for a player to differentiate their character visually from all of the other characters of the same career. In a nutshell, as you unlock items in your Tome you will gain access to Trophy items that you can place on your character. Up to five trophy items that you can show at once, but you’ll have from 11 to 15 slots to showcase them.
Below is a picture of the Witch Hunter that we’re using as a tech demo for the Trophy system.

Witch Hunter Trophy Test

Show above are some of the various options the Witch Hunter will have as far as locations go. In Picture 1 you can see that the WH has a dagger on his hat, two in his bandoleer, and a scroll on his belt. In Picture 2 the WH moved the scroll from the belt and placed it on his bandoleer as well.
Picture 3 shows a scroll on the WH’s hat as well as one on his right arm. He has three daggers as well. Two are on his left arm, and one is on his right. In Picture 4 he goes ahead and moves the scroll from his hat and places on the back of his belt. Then in Picture 5 he moves the three daggers and one scroll from his arms and places them on his bandoleer and belt.
As you can see, this is a quick and easy way for a player to personalize the look of their character with the various trophies that they have unlocked throughout their adventure without affecting their stats.
As a note, this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the Trophy system is concerned. Our artists are slaving away so that you will have access to 100’s of trophies to choose from. Just think of the combinations that you can achieve when you have 100+ trophies, five to select, and 11 different locations to equip them. Talk about visual specialization!
We’ve got a new entry in our Beta Update this week. I received a note from the World Development Team:
Greetings from the World Development Team!
This week the World Development Team is implementing the first pass of Elf content in the Tier 4 zones, Eataine, Dragonwake, Caledor, and the Isle of the Dead. This high-level content involves some of the most prominent characters in the Warhammer IP with some of the most intriguing story and encounters to date. We are very excited about this content and are spending a lot of energy to make sure it’s perfect.
We are also putting the finishing touches on our most recent iteration of monster abilities. We’ve reworked some of the core abilities to allow us more flexibility across the board and have added new ones to more fluidly synchronize with our player classes. This iteration is in the early stages and following their creation they will be sent to testing and then, eventually, associated with the monsters themselves.
On the art side of things, we’ve finished the first rough for the Elf dungeon and it’s looking great! Combined with the fantastic story and great IP location, this dungeon is shaping up to be our most exciting one yet.
That’s all for this week, see you next time!
Needless to say these Lads and Lasses have been extremely busy implementing the various bits of Elf content in preparation for the re-opening of Beta. We’re really looking forward to hearing what the Beta Community has to say about our last racial pairing.
Last week the UI team talked about updates to the in-game Map system. This week they are talking about updates to one of our most exciting features within the UI: The Tome of Knowledge.
The Tome of Knowledge has gotten an overhaul and looks absolutely fantastic. We've finalized and updated all of the sections in the Tome. Not every section is going to be visible yet (because there are still tons of secrets), but we've outlined all the major sections and filled them with lots of really interesting and fun content so that players will be able to spend a lot of time messing around with it. This includes updating the reward systems and letting you know how you got various unlocks.
Previously on the beta, it was a big secret how to get a Title, for example, now we'll actually tease the events that trigger them so you have a little more guidance going forward. You won't have all the guidance though; we are trying to keep a lot of things with the Tome hidden, so you'll have plenty of things to discover when we launch.
We've also given the Tome a graphical overhaul and a lot of visual polish. It's amazing how a few changes to something like the bookmarks makes it feel and look a lot better. The ease of navigation has greatly increased with just some changes conceptually to how the Tome is built. We can't begin to express how happy we are with where the Tome is now, and how much we're going to be able keep on expanding it and making it even more interesting.
-UI Team
Nothing like being a Greenskin and having some book tell you how many Stunties to kill. Come to think of it, that’s actually the perfect Greenskin book.
Anyway, last but not least we have this week’s update from the Combat and Careers team. This time around they gave us information on both the Swordmaster and Witch Elf:
The Swordmaster is a more offensively oriented Tank career that specializes in combat chains called “Blade Dances”. Each successful Blade Dance contains a total of three sequentially chained attacks. Each attack in the chain shifts the Sword Master’s balance closing off the previous abilities and opening up options for new attacks. This chain sequence is always Balanced -> Improved Balance -> Perfect Balance, and by level 40 the Sword Master will have multiple options for each balance stage. This will allow them to flexibly choose what type of attack to launch next.
The following is an example of a “Blade Dance” chain; this sequence is intended to keep a ranged class from fleeing combat allowing the Sword Master to follow up with a more offensive Dance to finish them off. The Sword Master opens with Ensorcelled Blow (A melee attack that does magical damage instead of physical, allowing him to bypass normal armor) this attack shifts him into Improved Balance. He then follows up with a Quick Incision (Deals damage over time and snare you’re opponent) which then shifts him into Perfect Balance. The Sword Master’s final attack is Whispering Wind (Melee Damage & Spell Interrupt with a high chance to Silence the target). After completing the sequence the Sword Master returns to “Balanced” and can then choose a new chain of attacks to begin on his now snared (and probably silenced) victim. Keep in mind the Sword Master is not locked into a set chain so in the case of the above sequence the Sword Master might choose to end with Ether Dance (A 3 second string of high damage magic melee attacks) if his target wasn’t currently casting a spell.
The Sword Master can also supplement his Dances with a variety of self buffs & defensive skills. The Sword Master’s self buffs come in the form of weapon enchantments. These self buffs play an integral part in the Dance since the type of magical damage applied by most attacks is determined by the enchantment on the blade. In addition each enchantment comes with a chance to proc an additional effect on the target. An example of an Enchantment is “Natures Blade” which allows the Sword Master to launch corporeal attacks as well as giving him a chance to drain stats temporarily from his target.
Playing a Swordmaster will be all about making strategic decisions, and utilizing your weapon enchantments & Blade Dances in the most effective way for the situation. An accomplished Sword Master will always be planning two steps ahead of his opponent in an attempt to properly direct the flow of the battle to his advantage. As such the Sword Master tends to attract players who focus more on evenly paced strategic game play.
Witch Elf:
Witch Elves are dual-wielding lightly-armored attackers, capable of quickly dispatching a target at close range with blades, poisons, and elixirs. All of their attacks will either build or expend their Frenzy, requiring a constant stream of attacks to rebuild Frenzy points. As an example, she may begin the fight with a Ruthless Assault, an attack which builds up several Frenzy points but can't be used once engaged in combat. She can immediately expend her Frenzy with a Heart Render, which reduces the target's Toughness and becomes more powerful when more Frenzy was spent. While the enemy is more vulnerable, the Witch Elf will Slice them repeatedly to rebuild her Frenzy, and then attack with a Mangling Cleave which once again expends her Frenzy and snares the target, lasting longer when more Frenzy was spent.
Blades are not the Witch Elf's only weapons, however, as she has a stock of poisons and elixirs as well. After selecting a poison, all of the Witch Elf's attacks will gain a chance to cause an additional effect, but she may only use a single poison at a time (such as a Withering Poison which causes the target to deal less damage, or a Dark Poison which deals damage over time). Her elixirs, on the other hand, are potent and fast-acting draughts which greatly increase her effectiveness for a short period of time, but then take a toll as well (for example, the Elixir Of Insane Power will greatly increase the Witch Elf's Strength for 10 seconds, but will then slightly reduce her Strength for another 10 seconds after the effect has ended).
Much of the strategy of playing a Witch Elf will depend on knowing when to bring all of these elements together - how long to build up Frenzy before expending it, which attack to expend it on, which poison you should be using for the specific situation, and when to best use an Elixir to maximize the benefit while minimizing the weakness.
-Combat & Careers Team
After having seen both of these careers in action on our internal server, I can say they will certainly appeal to many players out there. Plus, their animations (while wildly different) are simply amazing to watch.
Alright Lads and Lasses… That’s all we have for this week’s update.
Remember… Just because it looks good to eat, if you picked it off someone you just killed in RvR… I’d recommend against it.

- The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Team

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