Last year, Scarybooster came up with the awesomely stellar idea of thanking those whom we gamers should praise the most: our game’s developers. How often do we belittle their work due to minor imperfections from an otherwise great game? The human mind seems to grab onto the negative much tighter than the positive and Scary wondered what better way to thank the devs other than… well… thanking them? These doods put in a great deal of work, sacrificed time with their family and possibly health in order to get their products out the door on time, and all too commonly we cite the tiny cracks that make up an otherwise flawless presentation.
Today I thank Paul Barnett and the rest of the Mythic Entertainment crew.
While I heard a great deal about Dark Age of Camelot from friends who would play it at the local cyber cafe, I never got into it. (“Pay to play a game? What? Who’d be dumb enough to do that?”) It really wasn’t until Warhammer Online started to appear at expos and on youtube/the interwebs that I got wind of Mythic and their zany cast of creators. Fairly early on I was hooked on their selling points: emphasis on battling players over mobs and that tanks could actually do more than stand there and absorb damage like a thick log of lamb waiting to be blasted, burnt, and julienned. (Black Orc! Waaaagh!)
Nearly every week Paul Barnett, Josh Drescher, or Jeff Hickman would have a video up about something new and tantalizing about the Warhammer IP coming down the pike, and with each video I grew more interested. The guys were always relaxed behind the camera, joyous and nonchalant, while still providing helpful information about how their game worked and what they had planned ahead.
The amount of time it took to get all those videos edited, animations to play during the audio, and just rounding people up and giving them a basic script to base their humorous rants about was well worth it in my mind, as if it was not for these funny details and insights, I would not have liked the game as much as I did. If any one thing dictated why I bought the game at launch, it was because the cast behind the camera, most notably Paul.
Searching for Warhammer Online on youtube will likely net you a video with at least Paul in the image, if not he and someone else, possibly wearing white-rimmed sunglasses similar in style to Charlie in the Chocolate Factory with Mike Teevee. He is an extraordinarily festive and jolly guy, but he’s got a good brain under that hood of his and there is a definite logic to his madness.
Here’s an interview on Ten Ton Hammer posted back when the game was delayed. Paul and Josh are explaining the creative process, and Paul just goes on a tangent about what people like, how the nearly unseen minutia dictates the feeling, the aura, of whatever product you own. You buy a giant tv, but you really enjoy how the remote molds to you hand, for example. The TV is more important, but that remote sparks something within you and you form an attachment with it.
Those little ideas are all over in WAR and they really did put out a heck of a game when it arrived. Many features in it are now being propped up by other game companies all over the place. Public Quests were arguably the best part of WAR and games like Rift and others on the horizon are tapping into the excitement of the same idea. The Tome of Knowledge was fairly revolutionary, and while other games support Achievements, none were as detailed as the Tome. Titles for killing the enemy, the specific class, dying to the specific class, clicking on a rock in the middle of nowhere, clicking on people without any gear on, etc., etc.
While the game is not as popular as they would like, there is still a great deal of good in there. I might not have paid as much attention to the game if it were not for the crew rooting for the game and radiating awesome in front of the camera in interviews and conventions, and while my time with the game cycles on and off, I am appreciative of having played the game and enjoyed my time with it.
Three “WAAAGH!” ‘s for Paul and the rest of the crew at Mythic Entertainment!