WAR Team Talks 1.1
With Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning's first major content update set to go live today, December 11th, four members of the WAR team - Associate Producers Josh Drescher and Spyke Alexander, Designer Brian Wheeler, and Combat & Careers Strike Team Lead Adam Gershowitz - found some time in their busy schedules to speak with WarCry Editor John Funk about Patch 1.1 and the goodies inside it - new live events, an overhauled RvR system, and of course the addition of two previously cut careers.
The most anticipated feature of WAR Patch 1.1 is, of course, the addition of two new careers - the Dark Elf Black Guard, and the Empire Knight of the Blazing Sun. These tank classes were two of the four careers that were chopped from the roster several months before the game's September launch. As Gershowitz explains it, "When it comes down to it, it was all about quality for us. When we were looking to launch the game, we were looking to launch a complete product. We stopped working on these careers in the first place because they simply weren't the quality we wanted for launch - they weren't bad concepts, they weren't bad ideas, the mechanics were fine, but they weren't the quality we were looking for."
As the team thought about where they wanted to take the game after launch and where they wanted to go, these two classes "turned into win," chuckles Gershowitz. "Players wanted more melee classes, and these are two very evocative, iconic careers for the Warhammer universe." Furthermore, the fact that they'd been in a semi-complete state when cut meant that they could be more easily "picked up and dusted off - we didn't have to start from scratch. We had feedback from Beta, we had the concept art and design, we had everything we needed to make the gameplay for the Knight and Black Guard very smooth."
Drescher echoed the statements, stressing that the Warhammer that launched in September was a "complete product, not deficient in any way." He compared it to a film, where for whatever reason, shots and scenes that sounded good on paper didn't work out for whatever reason and get left on the cutting room floor, but the film that releases is still a finished product anyway. "This is like a Director's Cut," he said, noting that Adam and their team had worked on the Black Guard and Knight for months to get them to a point where Mythic was satisfied with the quality. "They weren't 'must have' boxes on a checklist or anything." When asked if the other two classes - Hammerer and Choppa - would ever be released, Drescher further affirmed that approach, saying that "if the time ever comes when those two careers are on the same level as the others, absolutely - but it isn't a 'must have.'"
Noting that WAR is primarily a Player-vs.-Player game, Adam Gershowitz said that they hadn't seen the introduction of these two new classes affecting the balance at all. "Players wanted it - Order wanted a class like the Chosen, and Destruction wanted a class like the Ironbreaker. Now, we have these equivalent careers; we have parity between the two sides." While most characters of the new classes were still low level, the handful that were above level 30 didn't seem to be skewing the balance at all.