Richard Duffek – Warhammer Online’s Community Coordinator – drops by for the second in our exclusive run of twice-monthly interviews. Every few weeks we’ll catch up with Richard to go over the issues of the day in Warhammer Online, EA Mythic’s upcoming MMORPG.
Answers by Richard Duffek: (Community Coordinator, EA Mythic)
Questions by Matt Lowery
WarCry: We learned that in Instanced RvR if there are not enough players on one side, NPCs will be added to even the sides out. How will they perform their jobs? Will they be more like pets that follow orders in other MMOs, or just run off and do their own thing? Also how do you intend to keep a highly overpopulated side from racking up victory points by entering PvP against just NPCs?
Richard Duffek:: It will not be possible to enter a Scenario against NPCs only. There will always have to be a human opponent (or two) on the other side. Dogs of War need players to follow as they won’t independently work to complete map objectives. That is the role of the player. The NPCs are there for support and to help balance the sides. However, they aren’t mindless pets; they’ll have a set role and will perform that role without being micromanaged the whole time.
WarCry: In DAOC you pushed into enemy territories by taking keeps and expanding out. As it sounds now, in WAR your empire will expand mostly by the instanced RvR areas. Will this mean that when your area is under attack and about to fall, instead of running to the front lines and holding strategic points, you should run to instanced RvR areas, as they provide more victory points?
Richard Duffek:: You will need to do some of both. It isn’t all about the instanced zones. If you completely ignore the open field objectives, you’ll be giving up easy victory points to your enemy. The open field objectives will also provide bonuses, buffs, rewards, etc. that will help your side in the ongoing war.
WarCry: The tabletop game allows you to customize your units color, look and equipment. We know as you level your look will change. Can you talk about some of the options you have to capture the imaginations of those who loved painting their miniatures in terms of character customization?
Richard Duffek:: While there will indeed be a lot of freedom in the actual character creation, much of the customization will come while you’re actually playing the character. The trophy slots on your character are probably the best example. All throughout the game you will find various trophies that you can hang off of your character in many different manners. They will be purely cosmetic, only there so you can personalize how you want your character to look. Want a dwarf skull hanging from your belt? You can do that. Want some dragon teeth mounted on your shoulder? Sure. We understand how important individuality and customization is to the average MMO player and are definitely striving to provide as much of it as we can in WAR.
WarCry: Many MMOs now use a lot of instancing. Even DAOC started using it in later expansions; other than the instanced RvR, what other types of instancing should we look forward to in WAR?
Richard Duffek:: Outside of Scenarios, we only instance when absolutely necessary in WAR, i.e. certain PvE boss battles.
WarCry: “Warhammer is a grim and gritty setting. ” How much freedom will you have in staying true to that setting in terms of content and presentation? What eventual rating are you aiming for?
Richard Duffek:: We are aiming for a Teen rating. We feel that we can definitely showcase the grim and gritty world that is Warhammer and maintain a Teen rating. Many people are under the misconception that a Teen rating means it has to be all flowery and colorful. There are a lot of things we can do under a Teen rating to keep that grim and gritty feel.
WarCry: As you grow closer to launch on your second major MMO, how is the experience different with the “EA” in front of the company name?
Richard Duffek:: From the development standpoint, being part of EA hasn’t changed our process all that much. After close to eleven year of working on online game, we know what we are doing; that is why EA bought us. What it has given us is greater access to tech, people, and resources to help us make a better game.
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