In Nomine Imperator, A Warhammer 40K Online Tale
By Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle, OnRPG Journalist
In the name of the Emperor! I bring you news my friends. News from the darkest reaches of the galaxy, ripped from the minds of heretics, torn from the grip of foul xenos and collected by one humble servant.
Warhammer 40,000 Dark Millennium Online for those of you who don't know is an upcoming MMO offering from Vigil Games. Formed by comic artist Joe Madureira and David Adams, Vigil Games recently developed Darksiders for consoles and now are working on WH40K for THQ.
This all needed to be said first because I can already hear some of the naysayers. Once burned and twice shy I know, but this is a new game from a publisher that has already proven itself capable of not only capturing the feel of the setting but of the character of each of the armies in their RTS offerings Dawn Of War and Dawn Of War II. EAMythic have nothing to do with WH40K despite being the creators of Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. If anyone doubted THQs commitment to Warhammer 40,000 after the two games and several expansions, there is another game being developed alongside the MMO. Space Marine!
That said, let's get on with what we know about Dark Millennium. Given that is it still a long way off, current launch date is around the last quarter of 2012/first quarter of 2013, details are naturally light and not set in stone. What is concrete is that Vigil Games have based it off of a modified version of their Darksiders engine and if you watched the trailer here at OnRPG, for an early glimpse, game play looks mighty fine. Importantly the trailer, unlike some from E3, is all game play footage.
Joe Madureira is on record, thanks to a wave of information over the last few months, as having said that "All of the races important to Warhammer 40,000 lore (not to mention the fans) will be represented". For any of you who are fans, like myself, of other armies this is at least some good news. The trailer only definitively shows Orks, Imperium and Chaos battling. Even that though would be welcome given the amount of conversations there have been on Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and how it would have benefitted from a three-faction system.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property and have come looking only because it sounds interesting or you wanted a break from fantasy games I feel I must pause here to explain the setting a little.
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. Humanity, in the form of the Imperial Guard, the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Astares (Space Marines), will never make peace with Chaos. Neither of them will ever let the Orks do as they please. All factions, at all times, are trying to win. Winning means everyone else wiped from the face of the galaxy, and that is before you bring in the homicidal tendencies of the Necron or Tyranid races.
What Details We Have
Players will, in the course of their adventures, (read: wholesale slaughter of the other guys) in the Dark Millennium explore cities, alien vistas, Chaos infested areas and space hulks! Other confirmed information is the presence of vehicles for players. Again, if you're not really up on Warhammer information, let me tell you that the bikes and the "koptas" seen in the trailer are just the start of the possibilities.
(You won't be driving the Titan though... well no one has said you will. We'll all just have to dream)
The game has been stated time and again to be an MMORPG rather than an MMOFPS offering, so if Planetside wasn't your cup of tea there's still hope here. Characters will be somewhat modifiable too with weapons, purity seals, scrolls and other such embellishments able to be added to your armour.
Sadly there isn't much else known just yet, though we will be looking out for more Warhammer information here and keeping an eye on the upcoming GenCon where the team will be showing off again.
There really is only one thing left to talk about of course where all new AAA MMOs are concerned. The elephant in the room that is World of Warcraft. At E3, the Core Games Vice President for THQ, Danny Bilson, made some statements on the game. Apparently it will be "very friendly to the WoW player" and he himself would love a million players, whether from WoW itself or the general MMO population.
"They've got 14 million players! Gimme a million and I'm good! We're real good at a million, right?" He added: "We don't need everybody to migrate. We just need some of them - and I'm full confident we're going to get them.
Only time will tell if THQ and Vigil Games get the numbers they're looking for. Time will also tell if those statements end up damaging the game. There are likely as many people who want to play "WoW In SPACE!" as there are people who would sooner chop off their hands rather than play it. Friendly to WoW players doesn't necessarily mean that it will be their cup of tea. Just for your sake and ours don't start the Starcraft/Warcraft/Warhammer fight again. A million players is a tall order, but if THQ and Vigil games do the work and deliver a gem, who knows, they may get that many and more. Certainly Games Workshop is behind them on this, the console games and even a movie. The Dark Millennium approaches.
If you are not ready for it, you should always remember one important thing. A lesson inscribed in all things Warhammer 40,000...
There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.