Join us after the cut as we break down our chat with Behaviour studio head Miguel Caron and talk about space marines, ARGs, and friendly fire.
Caron first explained the title's extensive ARG, which thus far has encompassed a secret website and a novel approach to PAX itself. The team set up a sort of clandestine wireless network designed to be discovered by enterprising and knowledgeable fans. Caron explained how several of Behaviour's employees were responsible for transporting a "warp bubble" around to various PAX locales. The "bubble" was an intranet called Eternal Crusade which featured a 100-meter radius and moved from one show location to another via backpack while allowing ARG fans to connect and discover more info about the promotion and the game itself.
Behaviour, of course, features a few Funcom veterans on staff, and some of them were no doubt familiar with the extensive ARGs that led up to The Secret World's 2012 release. "We did a lot of this ARG stuff with The Secret World, of course," Caron explained, "but that community was really into conspiracy theories and that sort of thing. The Warhammer community has more of a grunt mentality, they just want to kill stuff, so that's part of why we're doing the ARG. To teach them that the whole game is about working as a team."
Warhammer fans are enthusiastic in their own way, Caron said. A group of Russian fans even hacked his marketing website in an attempt to get a leg up on other ARG participants. Finally, he noted that the ARG will continue to run for the next two years right up to the game's release.
As for the game itself, Caron said that it's shaping up to be something different than your typical MMO offering. "There's no genre that exists right now that describes this game exactly. We came up with the term MMO Combat RPG, done in a persistent world," he said.
It's also a very social, group-centric game at its core. "The whole purpose of this game is to not play it alone. I know there are lots of anti-social MMO players," Caron told us, "but this is an MMO and this game is about strategy and waging war in the 40K universe."
He also said that Behaviour will not manage the game content in the traditional sense but will instead leave that up to the players much like EVE Online. Eternal Crusade will also feature an EVE-like single server, though Caron pointed out that the game's economy is "a very simplified EVE."
Other mechanical tidbits include a three-pronged advancement hierarchy beginning with squads and moving on to strike forces and then war councils. Caron said that the councils will ultimately decide objectives for the game's players via their chosen faction, though he also noted that you don't have to follow the hierarchy and are free to strike out on your own. Hierarchy XP bonuses may dissuade you from doing so, however.
The game will also feature friendly-fire, though it will have some sort of "reduced potency." The concept is still being ironed out, but Caron explained that shooting a friend won't be exactly like shooting an enemy. If you're an experienced player in mechanical terms and you shoot a friendly, you'll get a harsher penalty because you should know better. If you're a low-level player and you shoot a friendly, you'll get some sort of debuff that says you're bad at shooting.
Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 30th to September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2013. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest Next, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!