Swords, spells and Rat-men. These are just some of the things you’ll expect in Warhammer Odyssey, the upcoming mobile MMO by Thailand-based studio Virtual Realms.
We spoke with James York, Co-founder of Virtual Realms about all the juicy details like how the game fits into Warhammer’s Old World, as well as what players can expect when they try out the game for themselves.
Warhammer’s Old World is more than just your run-of-the-mill Fantasy setting. It has its roots in Warhammer Fantasy Battle- the old miniatures game from the 80s by Games Workshop. Despite the fact the canon of The Old World has come to an end- spoilers, it blew up-many modern games continue to return to the setting, despite Games Workshop’s soft-reboot Age of Sigmar taking the “fantasy slot”.
As a result, old Warhammer fans should easily recognize Warhammer Odyssey’s use of iconic Warhammer races, such as the Elves and Dwarves. According to James, the team wanted to make sure that the pool they were drawing their characters from would be recognizable to both old and new fans.
“We wanted classes that were recognisable to both people new to the IP and existing Warhammer fans, that were also a good fit for the types of roles we needed to fill”, he says. “There were a lot of other ideas in the mix early on along with some great concept art which we would hope to put to good use in the future as the game expands”.
Of course, Warhammer is a lot more than just humans, elves and dwarves. The series has a rolodex of races and factions, from moon-worshipping goblins to beastmen to even Egyptian-themed Undead. While not all of them will be in Odyssey, James mentioned how it was still important to make sure these areas had the diverse character that drew people into The Old World in the first place. Naturally, the team at Virtual Realms found a way to integrate this character into the gameplay.
“Each region has its own set of quests that are separate from the main storyline and explores the area and its local inhabitants”, James says. “We also want our zones to evolve so new quest lines could appear in future updates to expand on those stories or bring new insight into old zones”.
Slayers, Poets and Rat-Sorcerers
James also said fans of the original Warhammer Fantasy would find their loyalty rewarded, as some familiar faces would show up in the game.
“Those who have been keeping up to date with our social media will have already seen a peek of Gotrek & Felix, we have a few others lined up too, maybe even a certain rodent antagonist of theirs if he can ever find some competent underlings!” he says.
Gotrek and Felix are a duo of adventurers, with Gotrek the Slayer looking for the quest that will ultimately kill him. Felix, a poet/insurrectionist, follows him around to honor a Dwarven Oath they made, for him to be there and ultimately tell the tale of Gotrek’s final moments.
Their arch-nemesis is the evil Thanquol, a Grey-Seer of the mighty Skaven Under-Empire. Well, Thanquol certainly thinks so, anyways. In the books, when the duo finally meet the Grey-Seer, they don’t even so much as recognize him.
Creating Your Fantasy Hero
From a gameplay perspective, James talked a lot about how they were planning to make it a game anyone could enjoy. According to James, the game has a relatively low skill floor, meaning plenty of players should be able to get into it no problem. However, he says it’s also important to give them something more to do.
“Our goal is to make all classes easily accessible for beginners, while rewarding for those who want to take the time to work out how to maximise their potential,” he says.
“[It’s about] Optimizing rotations or cooldown usage, understanding synergies between abilities that enhance results and so on”, he said of players looking to maximise their character potential.
However, players would still need to know what kind of role they’re willing to play. One of the most interesting features in Odyssey is the ability for characters to spec into one of two branching paths. Most recently, they revealed that the Archmage, for example, could choose between specializing as either a support character or a heavy damage-type.
For those looking to build hybrid classes, I’m afraid James has some bad news:
“At a point early on the player will need to make a clear decision about which path they wish to specialise in, that said there will be ways for players to respec should they wish to if they want to”.
While this may sound strict, James assures us that they don’t intend to railroad players. According to him, players will be in full control of their experience, being able to engage with the world in any way they want.
“Everyone’s different, for some it will be exploring the world, for others gearing up to take down bosses…some might even want to never leave Rijkspoort and become a trade tycoon!” he laughs. “We believe with current and future systems, there will be something to appeal to all”.
He also mentioned the possible inclusion of an auction house, fully allowing players to give in to their enterprising urges and make sure other good adventurers get the resources they need.
“[Regarding the ‘Trade Tycoon’ comment] it may be someone who loves the auction house and has a knack of buying low and selling high, maybe they corner a market and price fix it”.
Adventure Alone Or With Friends
As an MMO, you may be turned off or pulled in by the prospects of social play. After all, MMOs evoke stereotypes of large raid groups, dungeon parties and the like. To many, they might be afraid that they simply won’t be able to progress through the game’s story because they lack the friends to do so.
On whether or not Warhammer Odyssey would be a multi- or single-player experience, James says the answer is a little of column A and a little of column B.
“Whilst we have wanted to have a clear solo path through the game certain optional and end game content will require a group as is the nature of the genre”., said James. “That said both for launch and future content we have both preferences in mind”.
What he means is that you won’t have to sigh and go looking for more random players even for future content, as there’s likely to be a single-player experience at least somewhere in future updates.
All in all, there’s a lot to look forward to with Warhammer Odyssey. From one of the defining fantasy settings of the 80s to its attempts to make a game with something for everyone, there’s a lot to look forward to when the game finally comes out of beta.
Thanks a lot to James for taking the time to talk with us. The Warhammer Odyssey team is pretty active on Twitter, so be sure to check that out for more fun titbits about the game.