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Warhammer 40,000 Online

With so many Warhammer games coming our way, what will make Warhammer 40,000 Online stand out? We talked to Vigil Games’ General Manager David Adams and Studio Creative Director Joe Madureira for the exclusive first glimpse at the gritty sci-fi online world.



PC Gamer: Besides the obvious distinction of being science fiction as opposed to fantasy, how will you distinguish yourselves from the Warhammer fantasy MMO from EA Mythic?

David Adams: The fact that Warhammer 40,000 is science fiction and not fantasy goes a long way to distinguish the game from other Fantasy MMOs, such as Warhammer. Besides the obvious visual differences, the setting also affects many aspects of the gameplay.

First off, unlike a fantasy MMO, guns play a major role in the dynamic of combat. The gameplay will be much more intense, focusing a lot on fire-fights, tactics, cover and general brutality (which is befitting a game set in the grim future).

Secondly, the sheer scale of Warhammer 40,000 lends itself to experiences players have never seen in an MMO. The term “Battleground” takes on an entirely different meaning. Our battlegrounds will be more epic in scale, more intense, and more true to a game with the tagline, "In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war." This doesn't preclude the more intimate battlegrounds that other MMOs have, only that we will also be including more grand affairs, that give a player the sense that they are immersed in an actual Warhammer 40,000 battle.

PCG: The 40k universe is already very complex and rich; how are you making it approachable to players new to the world?

DA: One of the reasons Warhammer 40,000 has been successful is that it has a built in cool factor. Someone new to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe doesn’t need to understand the sheer depth of the Imperium, or the age-spanning history of the Eldar to appreciate the setting. All they need to see in the universe are a couple of Space Marines defending a corridor against a rush of Genestealers, or an Eldar Farseer facing off against a Daemon Champion of Khorne - and you are hooked - whether you are new to Warhammer 40,000 or not.

PCG: When is this game set in the 40k universe (i.e. is it set before or after the Horus Heresy?)

DA: The game is set in the 41st millennium, well after the Horus Heresy and more contemporary to the tabletop game.

PCG: The gameplay for the tabletop game focuses on squad combat and tactics. How are you translating these elements to an MMO?

DA: To preface, let me say that this game will be an RPG. That needs to be said, because when someone thinks of a Warhammer 40,000 MMO there is definitely some question as to the style of play: will it be an FPS, an RTS, or some other genre altogether? Relic has the RTS angle covered with the awesome Dawn of War series - we are making an RPG.

However, that doesn’t mean that aspects of the tabletop don’t influence the style of play we present to the player. As I mentioned earlier, just the inclusion of ranged weapons as a dominant form of combat changes the basic underlying mechanics of a typical MMO. This leads to similar tactics that you might employ in the tabletop, such as cover, suppression fire, flanking, etc… If you think about it, “Group” is a just another way of saying “Squad”.

PCG: How many different races are playable?

DA: We aren’t ready to release a full list just yet. Rest assured, all of the races important to Warhammer 40,000 lore (not to mention the fans) will be represented. We want each and every race to have weight in the game world, and feel distinct. We won’t include a race if we can’t do them justice.

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25 comments

  • zgaff1 - July 6, 2010 4:26 a.m.

    The problem with being an inquisitor, commissar, ethereal e.t.c. You can't just become one, you would have to start off as one, and then no one would choose to be a normal tau fire warrior or imperial guardsman if they could just be a lord commissar or a Aun'O, You should have to reach a certain level and then there is an option to be that character. Also, with vehicles, Maybe you could get them, but their use would be limited, like with orks, you could buy a trukk, but you could only access it in certain areas, or with marines or guards you could join a squad and and enter a battlefield in a tank and get back in it, but only the leader can choose where to go, and they only choose the destination, and not be able to drive it or fire the gun.
  • w40kfanatic - June 9, 2010 9:37 p.m.

    @mc457 Inquisition wouuld be awesome! I cant imagine anything cooler in a w40k universe than being an inquisitor. Weilding absolute power and amazing combat or manipulative abilities, it would be the greatest player class ever! cant wait for this game! My name explains why i require excitement towards this game. recaptcha: there bubblier
  • captloki13 - May 10, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    I'm jumping with glee, when Warhammer Online was first announce I was happy but when it got release it was not really I expected. Now that Warhammer 40k is in the fix, I can't wait for it to come. I don't care if it will be release in 2012 or in 3000, I will play that game even if it will cost my family fortune!
  • Girim - April 8, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    Could also be cool if you get a squad. Start as only Commander, and when you raise levels, you can get more units in you squad. Also depending on you race and class of course :)
  • jasoncady - February 23, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    if its like an RPG as they said i think it will be more rogue trader style cause i want to play a basic human with a rotator cannon
  • nelsonhughes - February 17, 2010 5:40 a.m.

    I think if they did vehicles like they did Banners in WAR online it make it a little balanced. For those that do not know as a guild lvls they get rewards, one being Banners, at the highest guild rank a guild in WAR gets 6 Banner bearers, and 3 diferent banners that can gives specail buffs to warbands. The same can be done with vehicles or Dreadnoughts. max number x at rank X. Per chapter it would make it so you wouldnt have 1000s of Dreadnought and other vehicles running all over hell. Anyways cant wait for this game, will be the best time EVER.
  • Pyromania99 - October 27, 2009 12:39 a.m.

    If they let you choose your chapter that would be cool, but if they force one like they do in the DOW games and Exp's, Blood Ravens? Gray Knights and Tactical Marines FTW
  • MC457 - October 12, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    What I want to see is the inquisition. They weren't really featured in any of the DoW games,and I generally consider them awesome. Imagine smashing open a Bloodthirsters head with a glowing daemon hammer. That would be legend-wait for it-dary. Vehicles should be used like in battlefield, but nothing to powerful. The imperial guard should not get baneblades. It would be nice to have different chapter of space marine and different regiments of guard, but that's probably not going to happen. It would be cool to have an FPS MMORPG. Thanks for listening =)
  • 8run8 - December 9, 2008 5:31 a.m.

    I was really hoping for a mmoFPS. Since thats clearly not the case and from what i've read here. This sounds alot like a glorified remake of Tabula Rasa and if they allow Mythic to mess up their game (With crappy servers) like they did with WAR: Age of Reckoning, this game will be just as short lived.
  • Zavadiel - December 5, 2008 11:19 p.m.

    Where can I sign up to do beta testing on this game?
  • DA-Librarian - November 8, 2008 5:26 a.m.

    To hell with the Space Wolves, I wanna see Dark Angels Deathwing, the craftworld Alaitoc Rangers, or the Thousand Sons Spireguard.
  • Litherous - October 7, 2008 4:18 p.m.

    will we see the big characters like marneus calgar, logan grimnar etc....and with space marines will they do the different chapters because they havent properly done it in Dawn of War....i want to see things like wolfen in space wolves, the crusader squads in the black templars?
  • DreadWolf - December 6, 2008 2:50 p.m.

    Having different chapters and sects is important but here is a bigger question. Say they do have them, how will that mesh with class advancement. Think about it this way, in cookie cutter space marine terms you start as a scout and earn brotherhood, but in the space wolves you start as a blood claw and their scouts are considered elite. Even more puzzling is how basic progression will work when there certain achievable positions that are permanent in 40k lore. For instance the dreadnought. It would be awesome to stomp around as a dreadnought, killing with heavy weapons and massive power weapons, but if you stay true to lore, once you are a dreadnought, you are always a dreadnought. You could just simply not have dreadnoughts, but then you would have to remove the other races representations of it, i.e. Ork Dreadnoughts, Chaos Dreadnoughts, and to some extent Tau Crisis Suits, Guardsmen Sentinels, and of course Eldar Wraith Guard. Having said that, I don't think vehicles will find there way into this game except in special areas or driven by NPC's. Making this game capture the lore and scope of 40k must be a challenge indeed, but I think the hardest part for the team is going to be meeting the expectations of the fans.
  • overlaps420 - July 22, 2009 7:48 p.m.

    Will this game be available for MAC
  • wd200888 - May 5, 2009 2:58 p.m.

    how about: 1)choose your race and gender (human, eldar, ork (eww female orc...)) 2)choose your backstory (sort of like 'mass effect' but more options to reflect scale of game) 3)play a couple of tutorial missions (getting you aquainted with melee, ranged, abilities & items. 'fable' comes to mind) 4)something quest related happens that you use to define your faction/class/"talent points" if they have them (eg. spacemarine/assault marine, guardsman/sniper, tau/firewarrior) 5)short "X years later" cinematic, your in the game ready to start developing your avatar... i know its not really cool to predict how a game will turn out or go around saying "THIS IS WHAT I WANT!" but with still so much mystery around this title, its hard not to speculate on what the developers are doing behind the scenes.
  • Shockforce - March 1, 2009 5:44 p.m.

    well Lopsidillian, the guns will be balanced. It's an MMO, characters will have armour etc, possibly shields like in Hellgate London. If there are sniper rifles in the game, they'll probably be balanced with a longer cooldown between shots or something, and only a crit would outright kill a player, which is normal for some MMOs (eg. cloth wearers in WoW). I hope we'll have some form of mounts (bikes, knarlocs, wraiths etc), and racial Auction Houses and banks. Hopefully the gun targeting will be like Hellgate, where its free to shoot anywhere, not auto-aimed, and vehicles could be approached as in WoW PvP battlegrounds, although there are mixed opinions on that, and I know a lot of people hate WoW and don't want a copy. They've got to stay true to the background and the original tabletop/DoW fans, not give way to the wants of general gamers, which they seem to be doing so far. One thing tho @ darkdingo, I'm not a fan of player houses/guild halls like in Age Of Conan, Runescape etc. Theyre pointless, and, with the amount of guilds that pop up in MMOs, it could just get annoying, or desolate/underused. But that's just my 2 cents. Sorry for the essay guys =)
  • lopsidillian - February 27, 2009 1:47 a.m.

    I just want to see like some really cool graphics. As long as the game isn't completely retarded and boring...i'll love it, i love DOW and i'm excited to see this! The biggest trouble i see in this game is that its an MMORPG with guns. I don't see how that is gunna work cuz i mean if you are like trying to attack someone and someone else comes up and just owns you with a sniper from somewhere in like jupiter..that wouldn't be fun.
  • Sportsyeti - September 13, 2009 7:20 p.m.

    What about instead of passing out as datv said, you can choose to be an apothecary and you can drag wounded soldiers off the battlefield as your teammates cover you. As for vehicle use if anyone's played Section 8 on XBox, I think the whole drop-pod thing is a very good idea, enabling you to call down support vehicles while you single-handedly defend a base, or launch a siege against the opposing forces' base.
  • Frunzel - September 13, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    I can't believe the last news of this game is from 2008. I hope that they make the (ranged) combat something like Hellgate, as Shockforce suggested. This was a pretty good mechanic for a FPS/RPG (too bad the rest of the game was lacking). I also hope that vehicle combat (If they include it, which they should) will be more like vehicles in games like battlefield than vehicles in WoW. I don't think anything could be more awesome than driving an Ork trukk with two guild/party members in the back firing their big shootas :) I doubt that there will be all the different chapter-specific classes/races for space marines, as there are so many different races and possibilities for classes already. I don't care how long development takes for this game, as long as they do it well. I do hope we get some new information about this game soon, though.
  • datv - August 9, 2009 7:35 p.m.

    wd200888 said:1)choose your race and gender (human, eldar, ork (EWW FEMALE ORC...)) One thing: there are no female orks... they're genderless, and reproduces like mushrooms with spores... pretty gross still, but that explains why they're stupid... :P And like Shockforce said, it would be cool with mounts like Bike's for the imperium, and you start like just the regular G.I. Joe Imperial Guardsman trainee and then at a point shortly after become sniper or Seargant, Commisar or whatever. Oh and really cool graphics as mentioned before, but not too demanding, and not really demanding of Processor... I can't play WAR anymore 'cos i've got a 2.4 processor and not the 2.5 required. And maybe when u die you dont die just get knocked out and brought back to conciousness at the field hospital, and get back in the fight. And what i wanna se is me as an imperial Seargant or something blasting stuff with a laspistol or boltpistol and hacking other stuff to bits with a powersword. And have "talent points" maybe to determine what you are (sniper, seargant, commisar, guardsman, heavy weapons). Taking cover like in Rainbow Six Vegas, Quantum of solace, or GTA IV. Sorry for the long post just letting out my mind :)

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