While we didn't spend any time in the captured versions of these capstone RvR targets, our time exploring these living, breathing areas was very illuminating. EA Mythic's attempt to involve the player in the lifecycle of their capital city is really interesting, and expresses itself in numerous ways. Read on for descriptions of these elements and far, far more as Massively investigates the neighborhoods and streets of Warhammer Online's mightiest metropolises.
|Bonus Trivia: On either end of Altdorf is a huge drawbridge, beyond which more city hazily extends out of sight. These are open areas the developers are leaving themselves to enlarge the city in future content updates. Every capital city is open-ended in this fashion.|
We started off in the market square, the heart of the massive sprawl. A mass transit system is located there and in other neighborhoods, insuring that players will be able to arrive at the heart of the Empire with a minimum of conflict. Stone estimates that the first time a player would arrive in the city, they'd likely be about level 7 or 8. The first sight when players step off of the gyrocopter pad will be a magnificent view of the Imperial palace.
Just off of the pad there's a quest giver who will set players to the task of exploring various parts of the zone. This quest will in turn lead to other quest-givers, especially in taverns. Taverns play a crucial role in the capital cities, offering quest-givers a place to hang their hats, access to subterranean dungeons, and auction house NPCs. Four pubs are spread throughout each of the racial cities, ensuring players aren't clustered around a single auction locale.
A troupe of actors is just walking out into the main square as we enter the tavern and (our quick look around complete), we follow them back outside. They're heading for a massive platform in the center of the area, right near the gallows (several dead men hang from nooses). Stone says that the troupe will regularly perform fully voiced theatre productions. The tools the team has developed for these elements are very robust, and these productions will rotate regularly based on season, in-game holidays, etc. Nearby, there's a bank and a mailbox – staples that you'll find near every tavern in every city.
|Bonus Trivia: Invading armies can smash the War Quarter statues during a city invasion. Players who have their statues destroyed, even if they're not present, will receive a Tome of Knowledge unlock for the trouble.|
Just off of the War Quarter in Altdorf is the Guild Tavern. It's a unique building, separate and distinct from Guild Halls. Guild Halls are slated for the game, but details on those structures aren't quite available yet. The Tavern unlike the (presumably private) Hall, is a communal meeting ground for members of every Guild. Only guild members can enter, and there are just a rooms inside. The front room is a massive meeting ground, filled with useful services. There's a mass transit NPC, which will allow you the opportunity to travel from anywhere in the world straight into the arms of your fellows. Likewise, the transit NPC will spirit you away to other areas of your side's controlled zones. Upstairs, there's an area for guild leaders only. There are several benefits to organizational leaders, including extra rest XP and a few other "extra" perks.
Abutting the docks is yet another tavern. The Blowhole is another worn-down gin-joint with auctioneers and quest-givers. This particular tavern, though, features a unique Public Quest: a bar brawl. Bother a patron, touch his brew enough, and the whole bar will break out into fisticuffs. The Screaming Cat tavern, halfway across the city, is the home to Gotrek and Felix. These notable NPCs only arrive in town once Rank 5 is achieved. Invading Destruction players will find that the famed duo is available to fight one-on-one as well. Of course, whether they can actually be slain is an entirely different issue ...
From the docks we moved into the slums, the worst part of the city. Towering over the rundown district, like a furious demon just felled from the sky, is the Bright Wizard's tower. There is rubble everywhere, and open flames mark several just-completed "experiments". As we move into the tower, Mike notes that that this is one of the two encounters that will "gate" access to the Imperial Palace for Destruction players. Once the contested version of the metropolis is unlocked (via the keeps and sieges gameplay we've previously discussed) the hordes will be faced with the difficult task of taking out two mighty sub-bosses before they can take on the imposing Karl Franz.
|Bonus Trivia: The sub-boss PQs are gated to 'just' 48 players. They'll be some of the hardest encounters in the game, but because they're Public Quests and not raids they require no single point of coordination.|
With a glance upward at the towering spires, we move from the squalid streets into the Emperor's palace. As we enter the massive marble doors a Tome of Knowledge unlock reveals itself; every part of the city has one of these just for exploring, and hints as we move through the rest of the area suggest there are dozens if not hundreds of hidden unlocks waiting to be found. The Emperor himself, of course, resides in the palace's inner sanctum. As we walked down the lengthy central corridor, Mr. Stone noted that this is the exact route that Destruction characters will take when the city siege comes to fruition in the final battle.
|Bonus Trivia: The Elven and Dwarven kings won't stick around once the city comes under siege. By the time Destruction players break down the doors of the Imperial Palace, they (and their mighty warships) have already left Altdorf's harbor.|
Read on for our exploration of the Inevitable City -->