The Saving Throw / MMORPGamer
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning May 25, 2006
You got the Saving Throw in my MMORPGamer!

Mail Shawn | Mail Ross | Discuss | Back to The Saving Throw | Back to MMORPGamer

And so it begins. . .

It isn't often that you see a combined column like this one. As part of RPGamer's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning coverage, The Saving Throw and MMORPGamer have teamed up to bring you a special report.

Warhammer the RPG

Warhammer Fantasy was born in 1983 with the release of the tabletop wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battles by Games Workshop, which has mostly dealt with importing American role-playing games before that. It wouldn't be until the release of the tabletop RPG Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in 1986 and the third edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles that Warhammer Fantasy would become a full-fledged fantasy setting. It is often described as "low fantasy" as opposed to the high fantasy settings of Tolkien's world or the settings of the Dungeons and Dragons games. This describes the fact that the Warhammer Fantasy has more focus on black comedy than epic storytelling and great magic. Indeed, the setting is loosely based on our own history, which the primary setting being the "Empire," which is similar to the Holy Roman Empire of our past. That said, the setting is more advanced than many other fantasy settings, being in an early Renaissance era in terms of technology and culture.

Games Workshop eventually refocused most of their attention to Warhammer Fantasy Battles in 1989, finding the miniatures business more profitable. Flame Publications, a spin-off of Games Workshop, continued publication of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay material, but suffering financial trouble, Flame Productions closed its doors in 1992. The game was revived in 1995 when the British publishing house Hogshead Publications purchased the license for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Hogshead released a revised version of the core rulebook, a reprint of the Enemy Within campaign, and many other supplements to the game, but in 2002, Hogshead was sold to another business and the license to print Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay material returned to Games Workshop. This left the future of the game uncertain.

This leads to the second edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay designed by Green Ronin Publishing and published by Black Industries in 2005. The second edition system is basically an update of the first edition system, using many of the same concepts with some changes, though there were some major revisions made, such as replacement of the old magic system. In addition, the second edition game is set after the online campaign Storm of Chaos, bringing the tabletop RPG in line with the Old World setting.

The first edition system was based largely on the same mechanics seen in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles game. Some characteristics rated 1-10 in the miniatures game were rated 1-100 in the tabletop RPG. In the second edition, all primary attributes are rated 1-100, as all attributes are tested using percentile dice. In fact, the game specifically calls for two ten-sided dice of different colors. Naturally, modifiers are applied according to favorable or unfavorable conditions. Games are run by the Game Master, who creates the circumstances and challenges which the player characters will face during the course of a gaming session.

Characters are advanced through the use of "careers." Basic careers are those that virtually anyone could enter, for example: Peasant, Pit Fighter, and Rat Catcher. Advanced careers can only be entered by satisfying certain prerequisites. This advancement system is an interesting way to help establish the background of a character. These careers allow the characters to get the skills and talents that define what they can do in the game. Combat in the game is more deadly than in many other tabletop RPGs, such as Dungeons and Dragons, with human-level creatures only able to withstand one or two hits before dying or becoming crippled or maimed. Fate points can be used to avoid being crippled, maimed, or killed, but these provide only limited chances to avoid these unpleasant fates.

Warhammer the MMORPG

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning begins a new time period in the Warhammer Fantasy world, not surprisingly called the Age of Reckoning. Although we could post the entire game back-story here, we think those of you who want to read the back-story can do so at your own leisure.

The back-story brings together the six playable races and their six armies into two factions. The Alliance of Order is composed of the Dwarfs, High Elves, and the Empire. The Armies of Destruction consist of the Greenskins, Dark Elves, and Chaos. The Greenskin are a group of Orcs and Goblins, while the Empire and Chaos are both human armies. Although Chaos and the Empire are both composed of humans, Chaos player characters are the barbaric humans from Hordes of Chaos. Expect other Warhammer races to appear as NPCs, including creatures from Hordes of Chaos and Beasts of Chaos.

When the MMO launches, there will only be two realms; One per faction. Part of this is due to the game's Realm vs. Realm PvP design. The three zones that connect the warring faction's capitals are referred to as battlefronts, where most of Realm vs. Realm combat takes place. The three battlefronts are between the Dwarf and Greenskin capitals, the High Elf and Dark Elf capitals, and the Empire and Chaos capitals. At first, it is only possible to enter the one next to your racial capital, but that will change as you proceed through the game.

Each capital has a number of zones surrounding it, in addition to the battlefront. While most of these are still under construction, developers have been previewing some of the Dwarf zones on the official site.

Realm vs. Realm (RvR) combat also has some objective-based missions. In one of the demos RPGamer staff members played, the goal was to convert a tower to our side, which was done by one player performing an action while other players defended him/her from attacks. In addition to Battlefronts, there are also instanced battlefields present in the game. These arenas are more goal-oriented, similar to World of Warcraft's Battlegrounds.

Party size has not yet been determined. Whether party size will have an effect on RvR is difficult to say, as a lot of RvR objectives are faction oriented.

While the game focuses heavily on RvR, developers have mentioned that Player vs. Environment (PvE) will also be in the game. In addition to the RvR quests mentioned above, there are also 3 other types of quests.

  1. Normal quests
  2. Public global-objective quests, which anyone in the area can work on. Rewards are given out to all participating players when it is completed
  3. Branching quests, where you can either complete the quest or betray the person who gave it to you

PvE also factors into the Player vs. Player (PvP)/RvR death system. Death in PvP is handled similarly to the tabletop version. The exception is what happens when you run out of fate points. Since permanently killing off characters is a Bad Idea™ in an MMO, players who have no remaining Fate Points will still be resurrected. The catch is that they will accrue Insanity Points. Insanity Points give players random dibilitating effects until they can get rid of them. Current information suggests that there are PvE quests to get rid of Insanity Points.

There is currently no information on how death is handled in PvE.

The career system in the MMO works much like the careers do in the pencil and paper (PnP) game. That is to say, your career options are based on both your race and your previous careers. Many of the careers have been adapted into MMO archetypes. For example, both Dwarf Iron Breakers and Black Orcs are tanks. However, each of those classes has their own unique abilities. Like the PnP game, there are no levels... only career skills.

Sources: Wikipedia, Warhammer Alliance, Gamepro, Ten Ton Hammer

And so it ends. . .

We hope this gives you some more info on how Warhammer works, and some insight into how Age of Reckoning is shaping up. Since the game is still in development, not all the information presented here may apply to the finished game.

Nwash's signature
Shawn "I want a warhammer." Bruckner

Powerlord's signature
Ross "I'm not hammered, really!" Bemrose

© 1998-2017 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy