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E3 2013: Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade is all about war


Announced at E3 this year is the long-awaited MMO rendition of the Warhammer 40K IP named Eternal Crusade. There's been an overwhelming desire from the community to see a new Warhammer project come to fruition in the wake of Dark Millennium Online's demotion and ultimate demise; this version of the tabletop-game-turned-MMO is combining the races of Warhammer in an absolute no-holds-barred warfest where the tired-but-true motto is "there is only war."

Miguel Caron of Behaviour Interactive sat down with Massively at E3 to discuss his grand plans for the IP and how exactly the title will be an MMORPG.

What's different about Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade is that its lore deviates from the stock canon of Warhammer 40k. There's an entire solar system devoted to war. The Tyranid, Eldar, Orks, and Space Marines are the playable races. The campaign mode of the game is designed in such a way that there are conflicts on planets themselves; over a period of time, battles are waged on a planet-wide scale until a race faces eradication or conquers all opposing races. "The campaign is between two weeks to three months, and once the campaign is done, there will be a race that has won," Caron told me. After a race has conquered a planet, content patches will switch the whole conflict over to a new planet, which will entail fresh details such as weather, terrain, and objectives.

So far, the only buffs and rewards for clearing a planet are medals; the presentation we viewed didn't really give us more information than that.

What we do know is that a lot of the mechanics of the game are structured around a player-driven hierarchy in which the leaders are elected in order to delegate objectives for everyone else to complete. Caron couldn't tell me how these elections come about, nor could he reveal what kinds of objectives players can complete, but the game is in such an early stage that it's difficult to pinpoint details on the direction it's taking.

E3 2013 Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade is all about war
"If [players] want to partner with Chaos to wipe out from the planet the Orks and the Eldars, that's fine; they will decide that. I'm just giving the tool for the fan to wage war," Caron explained. What's nice is that you don't have to follow orders for objectives, but if you do choose to invest your time completing them, you'll receive bonus experience, new abilities, and player ranking status. Again, the storyboard presentation wasn't thorough enough to help us glean what the abilities are, and it remains to be seen how the economy will function. "In terms of the economy, we're going to have a very dumbed-down economy, a war economy," Caron admitted.

Immersion is the key to this title, starting with the way the character enters the action: by dropping into a zone from a spaceship. "I hate when when any game brings me out of my immersion. It's war. What kind of general would I be if I said, 'Oh, can you take this package and bring it to this gentleman here?' It's about blood on your screen, survival, and making sure your race wins." The view is third-person much as we'd see in a game like Gears of War. The presentation showed vehicle use and random playfield exploration, but it would have been nice to include an audiovisual sample from the gameplay itself.

Caron also elaborated on battle style. "The type of combat we're going to have will be very dirty. There will be ducking, shooting over obstacles, rolling, avoiding... the combat part is very, very important to us." He described it to me as a mix of epic melee and ranged weaponry. When your team takes over an enemy fortress, the winning team reaps the abilities and resources left behind by the other race. Among the interesting additions to the game are kill animations, such as an Ork dancing over some poor player's fragged corpse, which has been monetized and implemented into the microtransaction side of the title.

It's unclear what other microtransactions there might be, but one thing Caron says the game won't be is pay-to-win. "Can you imagine a multitude of orks and space marines raising their hands in the air and screaming, running towards each other?" Caron laughed, implying that would be the reaction to pay-to-win. We hope Behaviour manages to avert just such a scenario.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-13, bringing you all the best news from E3 2013. We're covering everything from WildStar and Elder Scrolls Online and ArcheAge to FFXIV's inbound revamp and TERA's latest update, so stay tuned!

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