Monday, 27 September 2010

Bootae interviews Andy Belford at Gamesday UK

Gamesday UK was a great day out, we got lots of solid news about WAR and there was a truckload of WAR EU players in attendance at the main event. However the highlight was I got absolutely drunk as a skunk with Andy and a collection of people from the EU servers. Well I say a collection of people, there was one representative from Azgal, one infamous Norn player and a bunch of people from my alliance that went out on the beers. Andy proved to be a quality bloke, a good laugh and a seasoned drinker, important to fit in over here which he did admirably.

I could tell you all about the many, many hilarious and at times totally bizarre events that happened, but there’s just too much mentalness to type. Let’s just say it featured a copious amount of beer, a real life pirate, about 100 extremely drunk and glammed up women from a Hairdressers convention and a very rude south African lady. Oh and I got lost for an hour at 3am trying to find my hotel and almost decided to sleep alongside a motorway, thankfully that worked out ok though and I did find the hotel...

Anyways, thanks to an epic hang over and delayed trains, it’s taken ages to get back home and meant I missed breaking the main news of the day. I won't repost what has already been covered very well on both Bruglir’s blog and WAR Aura, be sure to check out the news AND then come back here for further goodies... However we also found out a lot of little bits and had many interesting debates through the night, so there maybe some more things I post about as my brain gradually recovers.

I did however get an interview with Andy. Questions were obviously all focused on the new changes and the future of WAR.

Bootae- First thing I was wondering about, you know you talked about the resource gathering from the BOs, is that going to be the current ones so you’d have multiple resource gathers moving around at once?

Andy- It’s gonna be all the current BOs, so there will be four resource nodes open at any point and they will be capturable at any point in time. So you’ll have to actively defend them all, if you want to hold them all then you’ve got to spread out and defend them.

Bootae- And defend the resource gathers themselves?

Andy- Exactly.

Bootae- So you’ll have multiple groups of people all over the zone guarding or attacking different things.

Andy- Yup. Because even if the resource runner is moving, the resource node can still be captured. So you’ll need to protect the resource node, the runner and probably your warcamp as well.

Bootae- You mentioned the resource runners being upgradeable. Does that reset if their node is lost?

Andy- No, that’s based on what rank your keep is.

Bootae- So now we’ll never again have a situation where you’re attacking both keeps, because we’ll always start off owning one and have to capture the other, while managing and controlling everything else in the zone.

Andy- Yup.

Bootae- The campaign itself then, this continues with the one zone open in each pairing, that locks, moves onto next zone, etc? We won’t have multiple zones open per pairing?

Andy- That remains the same. We had considered changing that, considering revamping how that works actually, but we decided it would be too radical a departure from the way things currently work and that it may actually having a negative effect on the game for people that were comfortable with the way the campaign progresses, but not happy with the zone locks. So we thought we’d change how zone locking works first, see how successful it is, see how it goes over with the players and then if we need to continue with adjusting the campaign mechanism we’ll go from there. But it’s part our approach incremental changes, it’s how we approach our development. We change things incrementally one step at a time.

Bootae- Regarding the Fortresses and the revamped campaign, is there a planned way they’re coming back into the new system or is it still very much up in the air?

Andy- We have it in our mind yeah, but we’re not set in stone or prepared to talk about their implementation just yet. It’s definitely one of those things on the forefront of what we want to do, the reintroduction of fortresses, however it’s not something we doing right now. That’s not to say the next patch set afterwards wouldn’t reintroduce them. Is that possible? It’s possible if we have all these changes go according to plan, everything works out brilliantly then if something falls into place with the fortresses that allows us to reintroduce them in a way that we think will be fun and dynamic then yes, we’ll move forward on that. So while it continues to be a priority right now, no we don’t have any definite plans.

Bootae- The next bit then for the campaign, the new Skaven zone… How does that fit in? The general idea in the community is about a tunnel system linking up all the zones, is that anywhere near the truth or is it more like a Land of the Dead entry?

Andy- You’ll find out this month.

Bootae- Moving on to Skaven, are Skaven something you can log in and play whenever you want or is there like a gated access of some form?

Andy- It is gated and it ties into the new Skaven area. How exactly it ties into the new area we’re not discussing right now.

Bootae- So will you be able to have both factions playing Skaven at the same time?

Andy- Yes.

Bootae- The four classes mentioned today, are there more to be revealed?

Andy- No, that is it.

Bootae- So no Stormvermin or things like that. It seems like the Skaven are being very much built around being a component of the new siege system.

Andy- The Skaven are there to enhance the ORvR experience. To make ORvR more fun and more compelling.

Bootae- So it’s not a third faction as such as we were thinking before, its more enhancement for the existing factions?

Andy- That’s correct.

Bootae- So Order players can have Skaven fighting alongside them?

Andy- Don’t worry, we got approval from GW (Gamesworkshop) on that.

Bootae- Hah, yeah you know people are gonna go for you on that.

Andy- Well the thing is if you read the Gotrek and Felix novels then there’s actually a point where the Skaven work with Empire. Even though the most recent edition of the Warhammer playbook has grouped them with Destruction, they really are very mercenary.

Bootae- They’re out for themselves.

Andy- Yeah, they’re out for themselves yeah. As long as you have enough warpstone to satisfy their craving, they’ll do whatever they can to get that warpstone. Including stabbing you in the back.

Bootae- So the RvR packs are one thing, but it sounds like from all this that it’s really 1.4 that needs to be in place to enable all of this.

Andy- Right now 1.4 is a component of the RvR packs, I would say that.

Bootae- You’ve talked before about how we’ll be getting these packs more often than a game would usually get full on expansions. So in future are we always going to see a major 1.4 style patch accompanied by a pack? So there will be the free patch and then the extra purchaseable components like the packs alongside that?

Andy- We’re not gonna stop free updates to the game, that’s not gonna stop. There’s always gonna be free updates to the game, we’re always going to be improving content, we’re always going to be making things better and some of that just happens to coincide with the RvR Pack. So yes there will always continue to be free improvements for players, regardless of if they purchase the RvR pack.

Bootae- So this current timing of pack and patch is just a timing thing.

Andy- Yeah, it’s kinda the logistics of the development schedule.

Bootae- PvE pack? Now I don’t give two monkeys about PvE really…

Andy- Neither do we.

Bootae- …but some people will do. So is the future of PvE pretty much out of the window?

Andy- The immediate future. You know, we’ve embraced the fact that we are an RvR game. Some people say it’s niche, some people say its you know, it is what it is, but people play Bioware Mythic games because they like to kill other players. That’s what we’re good at, that’s what we do. We are dedicated to making our RvR experience the best it can be.

Bootae- So thoughts of dungeons and lairs gone?

Andy- No, no, no. There’s actually a lot of lairs that are attached to the RvR lakes. Like the one in Chaos Wastes near the north keep. It’s kinda hard to get there, it’s like a jumping puzzle to get up.

Bootae- Ah yeah like the one in Norsca.

Andy- Personally I would love to see some of the lairs and stuff repurposed into RvR fights, I think that would be very cool.

Bootae- Like the invadeable Land of the Dead style?

Andy- yeah.

Bootae- We were talking earlier about a PQ in tier 1 Orc/Dwarf, where for whatever reason it’s RvR enabled. That’s probably the best PQ in the entire game, but then it doesn’t happen anymore.

Andy- We should have done more of those. We should have continued to build upon the PvP foundation interspersed with the PvE. Unfortunately that one PQ is one of the only places in the game where that happens with a PQ, up until the city revamp of course. So you know, it’s lessons learnt, no development team gets everything right, no development team is perfect. And I know a lot of people like to point at warhammer online and bash warhammer online, it’s the cool fashion. But you know, we’re still here, we’re still going, we’re still developing and delivering a visceral, heart-pounding experience for our players. And you know, our community is right now in a better place than its been in the last 2 years. The players, while they’re critical and while they still let us know what they think, they really do love the game and you can see it, you can see the passion.

People sometimes like to attach the word failure to our game, but you know we are not a failure, we are profitable, we are making money for the studio, we are still developing new content and we’re doing something that a lot of games are afraid to do, you know we’re saying yeah we made a lot of mistakes when we first launched the game and we’re gonna take 12 months, 16 months, we’re gonna take however long it takes to go back and fix these things.

+++++++++++

My recording went a bit dodgy from here and I’ve got a horrible hangover clouding my memory, but I asked a cheeky question about sub numbers and while Andy wouldn’t divulge the numbers, he did confirm that subscription numbers are increasing. We also talked about the amount of people in one zone and Andy mentioned recently Badlands saw over 700 people in one zone, 500 of them attacking a keep. I also learnt a few things that I've been asked not to blog about, but lets just say I'm very positive about the next few months and the future of WAR.

And that was that for the interview, Andy had to head off to do yet another presentation to the masses and I went and joined the mass debate amongst WAR players about all the announcements. I'll post thoughts and stuff over the next few days.

So thanks to Andy for his time, the beers, chicken wings and a bloody comedy gold night.

16 comments:

  1. I enjoyed that interview, so nice one sport.

    Now where is the Spanish Inquistion to get the rest of the information you were asked not to divulge.

    I'm actually 95% pleased with what's come out in the last day or so. So it's reaching out to the old players and wetting their whistle.

    Shame I missed the piss up. I always like a good drink. Maybe I can come next year.

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  2. Gotta love those things you can't talk about! The put pressure on the seams, and you wish you could shout them out!

    Good stuff man, Andy's a fun guy to talk to.

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  3. Awesome interview! Thanks for sharing. You know ... you should've never mentioned that you have some secret info you can't divulge. We will find you and get that info out of you.

    Sleep with one eye open, my friend, one eye open.

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  4. Mention my name next time.

    The world shall soon know about Theblogoftru!!

    Or will they?

    Nice interview Bootae.
    Sorry I haven't been on my shammy recently, To much playing desto.

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  5. On gorfang that is

    -thehealeroftru (to lazy to log in to comment)

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  6. Smooth talks imho.
    But from other side i feel WHO renisance. Realy wish to see this game to beet the charts.
    To do that devs should focus on rvr gameplay itself and introduce new way of killing options to the players along with this RvR pack.
    Think ill spend some time and will post those ideas regarding classes and fight mechanics ... hope they will be helpful.

    Sett the Warrior priest of Advaita RuRealm

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  7. I am not sure if I am okay with fighting alongside skaven... I am pretty sure I am not okay with that.

    I do not see anyone on the side of order willing to do it. Then there was mention of warp stone. I hope that is not the excuse for skaven working with the sides. I would expect a witch hunter to burn every mofo he sees speaking this heresy.

    I could see the empire working with the skaven but not with the way WAR was built. WAR was built where we are all classed as epic people with high morals. I could only see this working if we were the fodder of WAR, not a collection of high minded skaven haters.

    Eh well. It still all sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait.

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  8. Great interview. Between what I've read here, and on Bruglir's blog and WAR Aura, I'm super excited about the future of WAR and how it may actually reach the potential it missed on release.

    I'm really hoping one of the things Andy asked you not to talk about is an EA/BioWare/Mythic advertising campaign for the 1.4 patch and/or the RvR Packs to bring back old players that left, as well as new players who perhaps have heard of WAR but never gave it a shot. If they pull off all of what we're hearing with minimal problems, and advertise the upcoming content (banner ads on gaming networks, magazine ads, etc) WAR could have a serious comeback in its future.

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  9. To Zeathy,

    Try not to think of it as the Empire working alongside Skaven, so much as perhaps shadowy, unscrupulous people involved in the war campaign making backdoor deals to get Skaven assistance via subterfuge (ie. the enemy of my enemy is a temporary ally).

    The Empire certainly isn't squeaky clean in their history.

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  10. Thanks for the good read.

    Emi.

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  11. Lol. POPULATION IS ON THE RISE? NONSENSE.

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  12. x Lolz

    Believe it or not on Karak Azgal it's full of players, and a lot of them are new players.
    So YES Population is on the rise

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  13. Thanks for sharing bootae!

    //Jearom of Svea Ulvar

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  14. Thanks all for kind words. Wasn't sure if I was gonna get an interview for sure, or what was going to be revealed, so just winged it when the opportunity turned up. Worked out ok.

    lolz - Can't speak for other servers, but its certainly increasing on Karak Norn and has been for quite a while. Obvious to anyone playing on our server tbh. But of course, Mythic must be lying. The internet told us so :P

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