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Warhammer Online : Age of Reckoning: Interview with Sanya Thomas

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

The Director of Community Relations for EA Mythic answers our queries on their upcoming MMO. We chat about the EA deal, squig herders, WoW comparisons and much more.




image MMORPG.com: Obviously, you've heard rumblings about how the game looks like World of WarCraft. Bluntly, did you intentionally mimic World of WarCraft with your visual style? If not, can you explain how it evolved the way it did and why you believe people should not view it that way?

Sanya Thomas: I hate answering this question in print, because you really have to see my face to understand my tone. You must pretend, as you read this, that I have thrown my head back and laughed, and then I rolled my eyes at you. That is the exact tone my voice has when I answer this question. Also, since it is you, Lepidus, and I have known you for many years, it is highly possible that in person, I would have thrown some sort of soft toy at you for asking questions to which you know the answer.

The answer is no, we did not mimic that other game. We are developing WAR in the exact style of Games Workshop, the style Games Workshop developed back in the 1980s.

There was never a chance that we would throw out more than twenty years of development and design just because another company found that look and style so inspirational.

I don't know why things have evolved the way they have evolved. Perhaps that would be a good question for a clever journalist to ask GW and Blizzard. But I don't have a dog in that fight. My company is proud and happy to work with GW, the original designers of the look - an assertion easily proved by pulling up any number of gaming books from the eighties. We are making their world come to life.

You can read more here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • mindspatmindspat seattle, WAPosts: 1,367Member

    I'm thinking they could have done more with a "Warhammer 40k" themed build.  That would deffintly get my attention!

    While some of the screen shots *do* look like it was taken from World of Warcraft others look a *LOT* better then WoW:  example of "better"

    I personally have next to -zero- ineterest in this game due to it appearing like a WoW clone.  The *only* thing that would spark interest is more dynamics and game play *nothing* remotely similar to WoW. 

    Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn that someday...

  • dorobudorobu San Francisco, CAPosts: 80Member

    I'm thinking they could have done more with a "Warhammer 40k" themed build.  That would deffintly get my attention!

    While some of the screen shots *do* look like it was taken from World of Warcraft others look a *LOT* better then WoW:  example of "better"

    I personally have next to -zero- ineterest in this game due to it
    appearing like a WoW clone.  The *only* thing that would spark interest
    is more dynamics and game play *nothing* remotely similar to WoW. 

    Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger
    King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want
    McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn
    that someday...

    -----

    It's unfortunate that people have such limited vision and continue to call this game a WOW clone. I would assume it has to do with age and ability to read but then I'd probably get flamed, but consider this: Warhammer is very old. If you are not old you probably don't understand how long it's been around, but it's closing in on 30 years. So to call a MMO based on a game that's over 20 years old a WOW clone is somewhat small minded. The art style they are using is going to fall pretty damn close to what's been had in WHFB books and manuals for years now.

    Also keep in mind this game will be RVR(PVP) based. Before you argue that WoW is PVP based, think about how many PVP instances there are compared to raid instances.



    -doro

  • checkthis500checkthis500 Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,236Member

    Originally posted by mindspat
    I'm thinking they could have done more with a "Warhammer 40k" themed build.  That would deffintly get my attention! While some of the screen shots *do* look like it was taken from World of Warcraft others look a *LOT* better then WoW:  example of "better" I personally have next to -zero- ineterest in this game due to it appearing like a WoW clone.  The *only* thing that would spark interest is more dynamics and game play *nothing* remotely similar to WoW.  Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn that someday...
    Do me a huge favor.  Go through the dynamics and gameplay of WoW and the dynamics and gameplay of WAR and show me factually how WAR is a WoW clone.  please :)

    I mean take this acronym: RvR.  WoW has nothing even remotely close to it.  Or how about this one: 4 unique classes for every race.  WoW has nothing even remotely close to that either. 

    Wait wait, I have another one for you: lateral skill advancement.  4 tiers of 10 ranks each.  Yeah WoW just has 60 levels. 

    Hang on I think I can possibly think of another off the top of my head..... Oh yeah.  Armor customization including dyes, and the ability to mount trophies from PvP on your armor.  Yeah WoW doesn't come close to that either.

    Please oh Please go through of list of WoW clone items without saying things like "WoW has a minimap and WAR has a minimap so it's a clone."


    ---------------------------------------------
    I live to fight, and fight to live.

  • DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member
    To be clear, the "WoW Similiarities" I asked about were exclusively artistic.


    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,514Member Common
    For starters:  Warhammer online does not look like WoW... Warcraft was modeled after Warhammer.  When they were first working on warcraft the Blizzard art team used the miniatures and style of the Warhammer universe as a reference point.  It had been stated several times in numerous publications websites and interviews.  World of Warcraft, though originally started as a single player rpg, derived their graphical style from the Warcraft RTS games.  Warhammer has been around for 25 or so years, Blizzard copied the warhammer style for their RTS which evolved into the mmorpg known as WoW.  I can't be any more clear on this subject.  Argue all you want, thats fine and rather funny, the facts are facts though and people can choose to accept it or not.

    Now, alot of things that warhammer seems to be doing will wrongfully be credited to blizzard and world of warcraft.  Blizzard has only been good at taking what everyone else has already done and putting an extra level of polish on it.  WoW is a solid game, very easy for new people to the genre to get into, but has 0 innovation and even less depth.  Will Warhammer end up being as shallow as WoW? I dont know and I certainly hope not. 



    image

    image
  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,514Member Common

    Originally posted by mindspat
    I'm thinking they could have done more with a "Warhammer 40k" themed build.  That would deffintly get my attention! While some of the screen shots *do* look like it was taken from World of Warcraft others look a *LOT* better then WoW:  example of "better" I personally have next to -zero- ineterest in this game due to it appearing like a WoW clone.  The *only* thing that would spark interest is more dynamics and game play *nothing* remotely similar to WoW.  Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn that someday...
    Settle for In-N-Out?!?!?!?! BLASHPEMY!!!!!!!!11!11!1!! :D


    image

    image
  • Lunar_KnightLunar_Knight Portland, ORPosts: 292Member
     

     

    It's the over-done Tolkien-ish fantasy setting that people are seeing the similarities in. Yes, WoW used Orcs, but so has a ton of other games and fantasy worlds before them. And I'm sure Warhammer thought up "Dwarfs with Guns" before Blizzard did.

    But that’s not why I'm not going to buy this game on launch. I'm afraid of what EA has done or will do to Mythic in the coming months or years (if they even allow Mythic to exist that long).

    If I see that this game is successful for about a year, I might get into it.

    .....................................

    ...but time flows like a river...

    ...and history repeats...

    -Leader of "The Fighting Irish" in DAoC on Hib/Kay-

  • ThedrizzleThedrizzle Palm Coast, FLPosts: 322Member



    Originally posted by severius
    For starters:  Warhammer online does not look like WoW... Warcraft was modeled after Warhammer.  When they were first working on warcraft the Blizzard art team used the miniatures and style of the Warhammer universe as a reference point.  It had been stated several times in numerous publications websites and interviews.  World of Warcraft, though originally started as a single player rpg, derived their graphical style from the Warcraft RTS games.  Warhammer has been around for 25 or so years, Blizzard copied the warhammer style for their RTS which evolved into the mmorpg known as WoW.  I can't be any more clear on this subject.  Argue all you want, thats fine and rather funny, the facts are facts though and people can choose to accept it or not.

    Now, alot of things that warhammer seems to be doing will wrongfully be credited to blizzard and world of warcraft.  Blizzard has only been good at taking what everyone else has already done and putting an extra level of polish on it.  WoW is a solid game, very easy for new people to the genre to get into, but has 0 innovation and even less depth.  Will Warhammer end up being as shallow as WoW? I dont know and I certainly hope not. 



    Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGEEEE Mythic and WHO fanboi, but the game and gameplay so far does look alot like WOW artistically...

    Anyone who has seen the gameplay video of warhammer on Warhammeralliance.com would probably agree.

    [quote]But that’s not why I'm not going to buy this game on launch. I'm afraid of what EA has done or will do to Mythic in the coming months or years (if they even allow Mythic to exist that long). [/quote]

    Its funny when someone takes a fleeting memory of a game turned wrong in the past due to a certain company, then speculates that every game in the future this company has a hand in will then be garbage as well. Short sighted fools.

    Corporations want to make money and learn from  mistakes, thats why they have a ton of money and joe shmoe is broke. The MMO market is still in its infancy and is actually, maybe just making it past "the terrible twos".  A companies mistakes in the past, when the market was so fresh the shit stains still smelled, does not mean the same mistakes will occur again.

    I feel bad for the people who make such comments, they act as if their girlfriends had cheated on them and they are still crying in their beers.  Well they can keep crying while im sacking another factions capital city. 

    BTW what is your past with EA? Please dont tell me it was UO.

  • KremlikKremlik CrewePosts: 716Member

    Funny how the interview asked 'is this like WoW?' and we got a 'No' (finally comfirmation btw, I've been saying that for ages), yet people still go 'it's a WoW clone', do people not read things? It's built off DAoC (pre-WoW), and guided by Games Workshop themselfs, who practically invented 'war'... Yet people still think 'WoW/Warcraft/Blizzard created all, tis the center of the MMOverse', whats next LOtR copied WoW? Makes me just want to.... WAAAGGHH! *thud* *chop*

    Right.. bloodcrazed rank over..

    Anyway.. I'm glad to see GW still have a huge hand in WAR and EA just seem to be keeping their mitts off it and just throwing money at it for the moment.. things look promising

    Bring on the WARRRRGGHH!

  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,514Member Common
    Lunar_Knight wrote:

    It's the over-done Tolkien-ish fantasy setting that people are
    seeing the similarities in. Yes, WoW used Orcs, but so has a ton of
    other games and fantasy worlds before them. And I'm sure Warhammer
    thought up "Dwarfs with Guns" before Blizzard did.

    But that’s not why I'm not going to buy this game on launch. I'm
    afraid of what EA has done or will do to Mythic in the coming months or
    years (if they even allow Mythic to exist that long).

    Has the Tolkien-esque fantasy genre been done to death? I don't really know.  I do know that for me personally no one has really done it the justice I think it deserves so far.

    The EA Mythic thing has to make someone pause.  EA destroyed Origin Studios by forcing OSI to completely change the way they did business.  This is a well documented fact.  Has EA learned anything?  On the surface one might think so.  Mythic is saying the same things that Sigil and Perpetual are saying with their recent moves to SOE Platform Publishing.  Obviously there are differences in the relationships, Mythic is now a part of EA wheras the other 2 companies arent owned by SOE, yet (verant wasnt owned by SOE at the start).  Only time will tell where the EA Mythic thing is concerned.  If I remember right at the start EA didnt do anything to OSI, it was only later that things really started going downhill.

    TheDrizzle wrote:
    Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGEEEE Mythic and WHO fanboi, but the
    game and gameplay so far does look alot like WOW artistically...

    Anyone who has seen the gameplay video of warhammer on Warhammeralliance.com would probably agree.

    Yes it might, but dont be confused.  Blizzard copied the artistic style of Warhammer.  They said it in tons of interviews, there were pictures in pcgamer back during a preview of warcraft of one of the art departments desks and it was covered with warhammer books, miniatures, etc.  Wow came to market in the mmorpg genre first, but their look is entirely ripped off from Warhammer and Games Workshop.  That's the point that people seem to miss.



    image

    image
  • VideoXPGVideoXPG Tempe, AZPosts: 268Member
    I was hoping for a question on when the next newsletter will hit inboxes image, I kid I kid, just a little anxious, thats all.


  • twitch242twitch242 copenhagenPosts: 137Member Uncommon
    In style War does look like WoW, but some pic aint telling the whole story and i need to see the thing in action to speak more on it, random lowres movies will not do. To me though, Warhammer is alot more dark and grim than what we see currently, in short it looks more like they want to capture the kiddie wow style. All said though, my interrest in this game stopped asap EA got their hands on it, nothing... repeat... nothing good will ever come from this ! Ill wager all the users are infested with EA spyware and ingame adds from launch day.


  • indyneindyne Orlando, FLPosts: 81Member

    I don't really see the point in exerting effort to convince people that WAR is not a WoW clone.  If they want to write it off because they know very little about the game and pass judgement on it anyway, let them.  Those of us who are plugged in to WAR and it's development know better.  If people don't appreciate what could be a great game, that's fine.  Let them.  I'm just amped to play with other people who are as excited about the game as I am...the other people...well, oh well, their loss.  In reality, I think I would prefer that those people who think it is a WoW clone not play WAR anyway.

    [Here's a list of all the games I've played and/or my computer specs to show how much more seasoned or technologically advanced I am than you.]

  • KremlikKremlik CrewePosts: 716Member



    Originally posted by indyne
    I don't really see the point in exerting effort to convince people that WAR is not a WoW clone.  If they want to write it off because they know very little about the game and pass judgement on it anyway, let them.  Those of us who are plugged in to WAR and it's development know better.  If people don't appreciate what could be a great game, that's fine.  Let them.  I'm just amped to play with other people who are as excited about the game as I am...the other people...well, oh well, their loss.  In reality, I think I would prefer that those people who think it is a WoW clone not play WAR anyway.



    I do wholeheartedly agree, however being a Warhammer fan and knowing Warcraft owes not only Warhammer but D&D and LOtR etc, I just find it insulting and idiotic that poeple can't understand or choose not to beleave that things these days CAN be based off things 'pre-'X' fad', the 'fad' these days being WoW so everything must be based off the 'fad' has thats the only way to make money...

    What really annoys me atm is the people trying to convince others that may have an interest in WAR 'not to play it because it's gotta be like WoW, WoW's crap so don't play WAR', those people really need to be shot.. Mythic really do need to use the 'WAR is not WoW' stick, as then people on the fence would actally try this and not be put off with the 'WoW haters' finding a new target..

    Either way I think Mythic would be quite happy with 300,000-ish worldwide playerbase and not 'try' for a 7 million effort

    Bring on the WARRRRGGHH!

  • BrainyBrainy Simpsonville, SCPosts: 291Member



    Originally posted by mindspat

    Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn that someday...



    Wait a minute here!  You are not possibly trying to compare In & Out Burger with Burger King or McDonalds.  You are seriously crossing the line here.  Thats absolutely preposterous notion.
    Have you tried their animal style?
  • ArconaArcona VanlosePosts: 1,185Member

    LOTR is a WoW clone.

    Gandalf is sooo like a warlock.

    image

    jesus, some people....


    More Warhammer questions answered here
    http://games.slashdot.org/games/06/11/27/1752236.shtml


  • Archon2021Archon2021 Santa Rosa, CAPosts: 51Member

    Archon @ Warhammer Alliance

  • boognish75boognish75 lancaster, NYPosts: 1,540Member



    Originally posted by mindspat

    I'm thinking they could have done more with a "Warhammer 40k" themed build.  That would deffintly get my attention!
    While some of the screen shots *do* look like it was taken from World of Warcraft others look a *LOT* better then WoW:  example of "better"
    I personally have next to -zero- ineterest in this game due to it appearing like a WoW clone.  The *only* thing that would spark interest is more dynamics and game play *nothing* remotely similar to WoW. 
    Oddly enough, how many will settle for In & Out Burgers, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Carls JR., or any variation, when you want McDonalds?  MMO's are not hamburgers.  Hopefully someone will learn that someday...



    what is up mindspat my old friend, its me jenquaidefender ahahah!!!! games workshop my friend actually had this look before blizzard did in the 80's as he stated as blizzard being a sucessor to GW in the 80's it is not surprising to see simialrities, and as he stated they are trying to stay to the look of GW's ingame i think it will be a good game, though i myself am not gonna play it.

    playing eq2 and two worlds

  • indyneindyne Orlando, FLPosts: 81Member

    What really annoys me atm is the people trying to convince others that may have an interest in WAR 'not to play it because it's gotta be like WoW, WoW's crap so don't play WAR', those people really need to be shot.. Mythic really do need to use the 'WAR is not WoW' stick, as then people on the fence would actally try this and not be put off with the 'WoW haters' finding a new target.. Either way I think Mythic would be quite happy with 300,000-ish worldwide playerbase and not 'try' for a 7 million effort
    I hadn't thought about that, and now that you brought it up, I am inclined to agree with you.  It's kind of like, ignorant people spreading their ignorance onto other players who don't know any better, and then they take it as fact.  In that instance, I think we will miss out on some potentially great players.

    As for the worldwide player base, I have to be perfectly honest.  I think I would actually prefer the 300k subscription than the 7 million for numerous reasons that are too many to list here.  I'm sure you agree the game doesn't have to be a huge success numbers wise to be a huge success to us.

    The only thing that might concern me about a smaller player base is...is EA going to be happy about that? And what might they do in response?  I am not an EA merger basher at all, but from a business standpoint (ignoring EA's history completely, purely economical here), that disturbs me slightly.  Still, that's a whole 'nother conversation for a whole 'nother thread.




    [Here's a list of all the games I've played and/or my computer specs to show how much more seasoned or technologically advanced I am than you.]

  • VegettaVegetta Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 438Member

    ZOMG EA IS TEH DEVIL1111111111111
    They made every1 trammie carebears and tooked away my ganking fun
    waaaahhhhaaaahhaaahaahaa

    /sarcasm

    I used to think the same thing til I went out and actually did some digging for information. Orgin is as much to blame for their failures as EA.

    The deal for this game was done before EA came on board.

    Nothing has changed since EA came on board.

    EA is not calling the shots Mythic and Games Worksop are.

    EA wants successful market share in online gaming and don't want to hose this up - they will not interfere, they will not dictate how the game is made.

    no ingame advertising - Confirmed by Marc Jacobs. Besides, Games Workshop won't allow it - they don't even have outside advertising in White Dwarf magazine.

    What EA will do is help with marketing, advertising and help with making sure the product has a lot of retail shelf space.

    image

  • DarktaniaDarktania Omaha, NEPosts: 805Member
      I'm also growing tired of hearing the whole "this is going to be a WoW clone" cliche'. I'm glad the artwork looks the way it does. They're keeping to the traditional Games Workshop art style. But even it did look like WoW, then who cares? If the game ends up being a great game then thats all that counts.

    image

  • scaramooshscaramoosh rhhdhfPosts: 3,424Member

    looks dated.

    Also it looks more of the same old same old grind to end level.

     

    Where are the new ideas?

     

    ---------------------------------------------
    image
    Don't click here...no2

  • checkthis500checkthis500 Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,236Member

    Originally posted by scaramoosh
    looks dated. Also it looks more of the same old same old grind to end level.   Where are the new ideas?  
    New Ideas:

    Collision Detection with both friend and foe when flagged for PvP
    Armor Customization that includes turning bits of armor on and off to be more unique
    Anything dealing with Chaos
    City Sieges where you actually capture the opposing king
    Trophies that are worn from PvP
    WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) philosophy
    Tome of Knowledge (you'll have to look that one up since there's too much to describe here)

    That's all I can think of at the moment.

    Dated? Seriously?  To me it looks great.  Definitely not top of the line graphics, but I prefer to have tons of players on screen at once and a great frame rate as opposed to having my computer slow to a crawl due to the high-end graphical content.


    ---------------------------------------------
    I live to fight, and fight to live.

  • boognish75boognish75 lancaster, NYPosts: 1,540Member



    Originally posted by indyne




    What really annoys me atm is the people trying to convince others that may have an interest in WAR 'not to play it because it's gotta be like WoW, WoW's crap so don't play WAR', those people really need to be shot.. Mythic really do need to use the 'WAR is not WoW' stick, as then people on the fence would actally try this and not be put off with the 'WoW haters' finding a new target..
    Either way I think Mythic would be quite happy with 300,000-ish worldwide playerbase and not 'try' for a 7 million effort


    I hadn't thought about that, and now that you brought it up, I am inclined to agree with you.  It's kind of like, ignorant people spreading their ignorance onto other players who don't know any better, and then they take it as fact.  In that instance, I think we will miss out on some potentially great players.

    As for the worldwide player base, I have to be perfectly honest.  I think I would actually prefer the 300k subscription than the 7 million for numerous reasons that are too many to list here.  I'm sure you agree the game doesn't have to be a huge success numbers wise to be a huge success to us.

    The only thing that might concern me about a smaller player base is...is EA going to be happy about that? And what might they do in response?  I am not an EA merger basher at all, but from a business standpoint (ignoring EA's history completely, purely economical here), that disturbs me slightly.  Still, that's a whole 'nother conversation for a whole 'nother thread.






    OHHH i almosrt forgot to remind everyone what ea does when they take over and merge a company 3 big words EARTH AND BEYOND.

    playing eq2 and two worlds

  • MLecl0001MLecl0001 Saint Paul, MNPosts: 153Member
    First off while the art may be similar to WoW, for reasons already stated in previous threads, I see a huge difference.  You put a screenshot of WAR in its state now and WoW and I can tell the difference easily.  About the best way I can put it is comparing WoW to the animation lets say used in Pokemon cartoon or some such, and comparing WAR to the animation used in a more adult themed animated show or anime.  While both are technically cartoons or drawings that may look similar one has more of an edge and crisper.  I liked WoWs art design, but I think WARs is much better, and I see a big difference between the 2.  People tend to just see dwarfs and orcs and think oh noes they are the similars!!!111!!!!

    Secondly for people expecting some sandbox MMO, with new and innovated ideas pushing the boundaries of the MMO genre as we know it, will be disappointed.  This game has been designed from the beginning with a single purpose in mind.  Mythic realizes that not every one will like that goal or purpose, but thats just too bad.  They realize they can not and will never be able to please every one.  As is evident with WoW that when you try to please every one it only ends badly.  Also ask Blizzard how many of their 7.5 million subscribers are in NA, I bet you that its not peaking anymore and slowly heading down.  Blizzards just getting a boost from their Asian numbers because their end game is very similar to the grind Asians love in their own MMOs.

    Thirdly and lastly, the EA deal.  Well I like how some people just totally ignore the fact that MBJ, the top guy at Mythic before they got bought out.  Is not still only the top guy at Mythic, but the top guy for all of EAs online MMO department.  Basically EA realised they were screw ups when it came to the online field.  They also saw that other companies were cashing in and they wanted to also.  However they needed successful expertise to do so, so they turned to a small development company that did alright for themselves in DAoC.  And were currently making a game that will most likely also be a success, although not in WoW numbers.  Also they saw a guy, MBJ, who knew what he was doing in the field, so they absorbed them and have left them relatively alone.  EA wants to make money, they figure the best way to do that is to let Mythic go about their business and make money. 

    I can not wait for this game because of the fact Mythic is making it, and they are making it to their strong suit.  Basically a RvR game, they are also doing so with a goal and purpose in mind.  They are not trying to be everythign for every one.  Warhammer: Age of Reckoning will be a RvR focused game, based more on skill than gear.  Simple as that, if you want a sandbox type of MMO sorry, if you want a PvE focused game look to WoW.  While there maybe good PvE in WAR it will never be the sole focus of the game, because in WAR the war between the factions is the sole focus.



    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

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