The Grab Bag of Questions #10
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Welcome to the Warhammer Online Grab Bag, where your friendly neighborhood community manager will answer the most popular, and most interesting, questions in a new regular feature. Many things aren't yet certain, so try to be patient with us. Trust me - we're as eager as you are to see the features finalized, so that we can hear what you've got to say.

Q: What happens when the capital cities fall to the invading armies?

A: The city falls, and the winner is declared as the losers are humbled forever... on a webpage. Loot is taken, NPC merchants are slaughtered, and the cobbled streets run wetly with blood of all colors. Okay, kidding about that last part, the game's rating won't allow for THAT. But seriously, wholescale slaughter and destruction.

And then the encounter resets, because this is a game that people should have fun playing - even if their side lost that round. War never ends in WAR. Even victory doesn't lead anywhere but another battlefield. (I totally stole that line from Designer Josh.)

Here's what will happen, according to our design. The game will wait a decent interval for the dancing in the streets to subside, and begin to spawn guards. The players whose city was just destroyed will find themselves a tiny bit stronger, as they come back into their ruined city still bristling with invaders and looters.

The defending players will grow ever stronger, with more NPCs and automatic buffs and hit points, over an as-yet-undetermined period of time.

Once the invaders are all driven out, the zones reset. (Remember, to invade the city in the first place, a certain amount of territory must be controlled, and the invaders must be winning a certain percentage of their encounters.)

That is the plan, and subject to change based on experience and feedback. Notice I have given absolutely no hard numbers at all. I assure you, this was intentional.

Q: Will there be bonuses for racial grouping, e.g. Orcs fighting in a group of Orcs rather than mixed with Chaos & Dark Elfs?

A: Designer Steve: "Not inherently, no. Equipment or tactics could conceivably allow a player to tune themselves slightly in this way, but it would not be an unbalancing advantage." Designer Steve is getting better at reading between the lines, and followed up with: "And if this question is specifically about Waaagh!, then no, it will not work that way."

Q: I'm interested if the game will have a 64-bit client side executable, to take advantage of the next generation of CPU bit levels, and huge ram address-space. I'm also interested in what parts of the "server" end will be available to players who like to develop 3rd party tools for games, such as Character information, zone statistics, battle outcomes, and other interesting numbers that we can crunch into web apps, or window apps, or chat bots :)

A: Part of your question, I can answer – we're planning to track quite a bit on the Herald, and information flowed to the website will mostly be available via XML. Tool-building players, who take advantage of the data the Herald team gives over, are some of our favorite people in the world.

For the rest of the answer, I turn you over to EA Mythic's CTO, Matt: "We have no firm plan for a 64bit version; we are experimenting with it, though. Whether it is viable/cost effective to release and support is unknown at this time."

"Some server information is expected to be exported and available, we are still determining how much, when, and in what format at this time."

"Sorry to be so vague, but that's about all I can say publicly at this time."

It really is early for this kind of thing. I expect to have a clearer picture when Beta 3 begins.

Q: Paul and Lance have both talked about each class playing a specific role and sticking to the purpose for which they were designed, which got me curious about defensive tanks. An ironbreaker is meant to be a shield tank. Will this hold true in the game or will ironbreakers also be able to equip 2-handed weapons? I have seen what looks to be ironbreakers holding 2-handed weapons, but I have also seen Slayers, which will not be playable at release, so I don't really know what the facts are regarding this. Can you give me any insight? Thanks in advance.

A: Before I get to Designer Steve's answer, I would first like to beg you, on my mother's grave... do not look at posters, beautiful trailers, or anything like that for ideas about how we're going to implement the game. Trailers and posters and pretty pictures are supposed to give you the flavor of our world, and give you the feeling we're after. The only time you can assume a particular weapon, class, or attack style is in the game is if you see it in actual game footage. And even then, the developers reserve the right to tinker, change, and even remove stuff based on play testing! Let the movies inspire you, but make no assumptions.

Now, back to Steve: "Every career will have the ability to fulfill their primary role at 100% effectiveness (and no more, there will be no super-anythings). You won't be able to make a tanker the best DPS fighter in the game. That does not mean that a shield tanker could not equip himself with a great weapon and load a bunch of tactics that would make him more effective as a fighter... this is a critical element if only for good solo play. But there will be no "best" or "worst" careers of any kind."

Q: Will we see weather effects in Warhammer Online? And if so, will they have any impact on pvp, such as rain/snow/fog decreases morale, strength, ranged aim, etc.?

A: One more from Steve, and then we'll leave him alone: "If we have such effects, they will have no effect on gameplay, primarily because if we do have them, we will almost certainly have to allow them to be turned off for performance reasons. Invisible unknowable debuffs suck."

That's it for this week, everyone. Remember, tell your friends – is developing quite the FAQ list, including all these grab bag Q&As.; If it's not on the web, I'm probably not allowed to talk about it yet. Sigh. I really can't wait until beta.

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