Before we begin, I want to take a moment and thank Atomics for all his help. He came up with several of the questions, and helped me film a lot of the show. I couldn't have done it without him.
I also need to say to say hi to Paul Barnett's Mom and family over in England. He sends his love. And of course a huge thank you to Jeff and Paul. They went above and beyond the call of duty with sharing information with us. Thanks guys!
This is Part 1 of the interview, and there are a couple of things I should explain first. We got to spend a long time with the guys, and they were very open with everything we asked. This was more like a Warhammer discussion instead of an actual QA. Also you will notice that every time Jeff is speaking I have it "The Hickman". A little story behind that, Paul suggested I always refer to Jeff as "The Hickman". Jeff told Paul that if he ever got anyone to actually do that, he would pay him a buck. Well Jeff, pay up! From this moment on, WarCry will always refer to you as, "The Hickman". Oh and I also have to say that Jeff is one tall and handsome man.... In a totally manly and nonsexual way. I believe all my bases are covered now, and we can get to it!
We started our interview by apologizing to Paul. He talks a lot about game guides and sites that put up guides and quest guides, and how they can ruin the fun of the game. After he and Jeff made it clear that WarCry wasn't one of those sites, or at least we weren't that bad, Paul went into more detail about why he doesn't like guide books.
Answers by Jeff Hickman (Senior Producer) and Paul Barnett (Design Manager)
Questions by Matt Lowery
Paul: Most games are about, do this, do that, get this reward. WAR isn't about that, the journey is wonderful. It's got jokes, it's got philosophy, it's got reflection, it's got metaphors, it's got analogies, it's actually quite deep.
"The Hickman": Absolutely
Paul: An example, there this little Snottling thing, who tries to become a squig herder. Just a little bit of scripted nonsense. So he wanders off, you just watch all of this, he captures a squig, he gasses it, and he trains it, and he is wonderful, he is talking all the time, and he wanders back, then he is telling the goblin squig herders how he got a squig, and how now he is a squig herder, and how he finally did it. Well then this dwarf cannon fires in the distance and kills the squig, and he yells "crap", and then it starts all over. That's the sort of thing, that is it worth being in a guide? No, no where in a guide is going to say, "Go watch the squig thing its funny", but it's great! You sort of go, why miss out on an opportunity for all that? It's kind of like going to see a murder mystery movie, but before hand, googling to see who did it. You end up going, "I got to the end, but where was the joy?" With a lot of these games there isn't enough thought put into the journey, there is too much emphasis put into the reward and destination. So of course people charge to the end.
"The Hickman": We try to do things in the game, that in most MMOs you have to go outside of the game for. Not to the depths like some guides go to with every little detail, but we go partially there. For example, you can choose to see on your map the area the quest is in. So you don't have to go "where is Augrad the giant at?" You can pull up your map, and it will have a circle on your map, that you can highlight, and it will have the text for your quest in that map in that circle. There is a fine line, err well not so fine, between pinpointing Augrad with a dot on that map and having nothing on the map. So what we do is, in the starting areas we have a smaller circles saying "go over there" , as you progress thru the game, the circles get larger and larger, so at high levels it will say, "Go to that half of the zone to find Augrad". Those are the things we find people want. It's like, if I can't find out what to do, so I go out to find a guide to help me. And so, I'm a power gamer, but what I find with Warhammer is, I just don't rely on that, so I don't feel the need to seek out a guide. And yes, it is easier in our game, absolutely it is, but you know what, you know what it's about, it's about fun, it's about having a good time.
Paul: Fun you F***ers!
"The Hickman": YA! We make it challenging, so if you don't want to see those circles, you don't have to, but even if you leave them on, it's still a challenge. It just pushes you in the right direction. And man, that kind of stuff is enough for most players. So it's not like we are replicating our data base in our game, so you can see everything, but we guide you a little bit better.
Mattlow: In the game, we hear about these great public quests. The dwarves with their cannons bringing down a mountain on top of Orcs, and the Greenskins having to get a giant drunk to carry a bomb and blow up a gate to the dwarves. Can Chaos players take part in the Greenskin public quests, and vice versa?
Paul: It's like, modes of transport around Europe. If you go to Greece, they have lots of donkeys, where as in England we use lots of bicycles. When you go to Greece, they don't go, "you can't use a donkey, you have got to go on a bicycle." No, you get the Greek experience. You get to ride the donkey and get a sore ass. Or when you come to England you get to ride around in a black cab. It's like the saying, "when in Rome..... You go and see the Vatican". So it's like, where am I? I'm in Orcland. What sort of PQ are there? Orcy PQs. What are they like? Orky... and funny.... And cool. We had to write some jokes recently. We are putting jokes in for some reason, it's like, you can script a joke into the game or something. You can make your character tell a joke, I think it's an appalling idea. So we are going to do it not that way, we are going to do it in a less crap way, But I had to write some Orc jokes, and so I've written them, and every single punch line is, "And then I killed them". Every single one. "And den, I killed dem." It's a monotone piece of joy with the Orcs, you don't have to think, you can actually just go, "I think I'm going to kill stuff." It's quite a laugh.
Mattlow: Can you tell us a bit about the armor in game. In the demo all bright wizards look the same. Is it like DAOC where you have the different pieces to the armor, or are they more in sets? What about dyes, customization, and unique looks?
"The Hickman": It's really hard to get that across in the demo. The answer to your question is yes, we have a lot of variation to our armor and look. Big time. Like our demonstration in the studio is, we have an Iron Breaker, just an Iron Breaker, in 40 different sets of armor. And this is sets, this has nothing to do with, the random other armor you will get. These are 40 distinct sets of armor that you can earn as you level up.
Paul: "Squig armor, Bloodthirster armor, PvP armor, City armor, Dungeon armor...
"The Hickman": We have that, then we have a whole bunch of different, I hate to call them generic, but that's what they are, armor that you can mix and match with your stuff.
Paul: You know, stuff you get, then you chuck it away as soon as you get your proper stuff.
"The Hickman": We have Armor dyeing in the game, just like in Camelot. So you can die your armor different colors, certain types of armor, there are a few that you can't.
Paul: No pink dyes on orcs! Pass that along.
"The Hickman": He and I are still arm wrestling about that one.
Paul: No pink dyes... or fuchsia, they called it fuchsia trying to confuse me.
"The Hickman": The trophy system, the trophy system is different for every race. There is a bunch of different slots available on any given character. Like Greenskins might have 2 shoulder slots, a back slot, and a waist slot. Where Dwarves might have 3 waist slots and a helmet slot. These are not armor slots, these are trophies, so you go out and you kill the biggest baddest dragon in the land, and you get his tooth, which then you could put on your shoulder spike, or hang it from your belt. Or lets say you go out and you kill 1000 players, and you take 1000 scalps to the trophy master, and he says, "pfft you earned it son" and he gives you a dwarf head you can stick on your shoulder or on a guild banner. There are a lot of different ways you can play that. So all of those things together beyond the fact that things like Dwarves as you rank up their beards get longer, or Orcs gets bigger. That kind of thing.
Paul: Elves get poshier. Dark elves get more druggy.
"The Hickman": So there is a massive amount of diversity, it's just hard to see that in a snap shot.
You can read Part 2 by Clicking Here!
Thanks again to Jeff and Paul, it was a great day, and I can honestly say, I didnt hear a single thing I didn't like. And your game looks terrific! Part 2 should be up in a couple of days.
You can comment on this part at the link below.