Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

So is the game aimed purely at those Warhammer fans? Or does the team expect the same breakout success as, say, WoW? “We really are putting a lot of care into building a world that the Warhammer fans can get excited about... but in the modern gaming world the sheer number of people who play MMOs is several orders of magnitude higher [than the Warhammer fanbase]. We want a substantial chunk of the millions of guys worldwide who play MMOs.”

And yes, the screenshots resemble WoW. But you know what: Warcraft wasn’t exactly original. Josh makes a thinly veiled jibe at how influential the Warhammer tabletop games and fiction have been: “The look is one of those places where we were able to shamelessly steal from our friends at Games Workshop, a proud tradition in this industry. But we’re allowed to do it.”

The look is still cartoonish, but with a slightly more realistic tint. “Anyone who’s familiar with Warhammer will know it’s a grim fantasy world,” explains Josh, “but there’s humor in it. When we started making the greenskin territory, it felt relentlessly dark: you’d have dwarves hanging from crucifixes. One night, the artist looks at a wall of dwarf bodies, some of which were just desiccated skeletal remains, and put beards on the skeletons.”

The big question: when can we play? At the time of writing, a closed, invite-only beta is taking place, accessible via this site. A testbed for new features, it comes and goes as the developers receive feedback. It’s also massively over-subscribed: over half a million players have signed up. So it may be better to wait for the full game, although Mythic won’t pin themselves to a release date. They’re aiming for March but there are still huge amounts of work to do. No MMO survives first contact with the public, and WO was no exception. Since the beta, a rewrite of the career and skill system has taken place, as well as the addition of capturable keeps and siege towers, adding a certain amount of persistence to the realm vs realm endgame. Summer is probably earliest the game could be released, but autumn seems more likely.