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Warhammer Online is Mythic’s attempt to match, and better, World of Warcraft. It’s going to do everything WoW does, such as quests, for single or group play, instanced dungeons for up to five players, big, 40-man raids, tradeskills and experience points, levels and equipment upgrades. It’s not going to mess with a formula that has proven wildly successful.
It has, however, a very big hammer to wield: it builds on Mythic’s battlefield experience, bringing a sense of meaning and purpose to the endless grind of monkey fingernails, honor badges and equipment upgrades that MMO gaming is so cursed by - via a system dubbed realm versus realm.
Warhammer Online’s six races - Empire (humans), Dwarves (short), High Elves (sexeh!), Greenskins (orcs and goblins), Chaos (madmen), and Dark Elves (dark) - fall into two factions: Order and Destruction. Every quest you complete, every battle you win, every dungeon, every enemy player you stamp on, contributes to your faction’s current ‘victory points’ - an overarching persistent battle that ends with the winning side sacking their opponents’ capital city.
Josh Drescher is an Associate Producer at Mythic, responsible for day-to-day WO development. As he explained to us, this realm vs realm system isn’t just a case of pandering to the twitch-addled, aggressive teenagers of online gaming. It’s more a way of providing incentive. “One of the things we wanted to make sure when we started work was that we built a complete player-vs-environment (the typical questing and looting of most MMO games). You can level all the way through the game without engaging in realm vs realm, or if you never want to group on a quest, if all you want to do is kill other players, you can go all the way to level 40 (the opening level cap) doing nothing but fighting.”