Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Previews

The editors at IGN and GameSpy recently had the opportunity to visit EA Mythic's headquarters for some hands-on time with Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. IGN explores the High Elves:
Things start to get really interesting when you begin to encounter the public quests. The first large public quest we encountered takes place in a large, open courtyard near the Dark Elves landing zone. Essentially what you have here is a swarm of Dark Elves pouring off their massive floating Ark and trying to establish a beachhead in the High Elf lands. As soon as a High Elf player enters the area, they'll be greeted with a message telling them they've entered a public quest area, and be shown their current objectives in a small box at the top of the screen. In this case, the High Elf players have to eliminate the Dark Elves who are currently busily engaging the NPC guards the High Elves have placed in the courtyard. If the players in this area can manage to take out thirty of these Dark Elf interlopers, that stage of the quest will be complete and the second stage will begin.

In the second stage, more attackers pour out of the Black Ark and a fresh group of High Elf guards comes running in from over the hill to help beat them back. One of the cooler elements of these quests is the chance to recognize and follow some of these triggers. After taking part in the quest a few times, we were wandering around in the area when suddenly we saw some guards go racing off towards the Black Ark. It gave us a nice sense of satisfaction to recognize what it signified. If you can manage to defeat these waves of new attackers, the third and final stage of the public quest begins.

At this point, a large hydra steps off the Ark, accompanied by his Dark Elf beastmaster. Players have twenty minutes to defeat these bosses before the whole quest resets and starts over again at the beginning. This massive, multi-headed baddie was far too powerful for our little fifth-level Swordsman, so we had to be content with darting in to get a few quick hits in while some higher-level players distracted him.

While GameSpy explores the Dark Elves:
Unlike the game's other racial pairings (Empire/Chaos, Dwarfs/Greenskins) whose players begin the game geographically separated from one another, Dark Elf and High Elf players start practically on top of one another. While they won't be thrust into RvR or PvP combat any faster than the other four races, the mutual storylines the two races' players follow will often place them within viewing/striking distance of one another. The idea of the design seems to be that while RvR and PvP combat will still be completely voluntarily, the close physical proximity of High Elf and Dark Elf players will attract those players most interested in the PvP combat aspect of the game. They'll never have far to go to find an opposing player to kill.

In our case, our Dark Elf Sorceress found herself fresh off the Black Ark on the shores of Ulthuann, part of the invasion vanguard designed to put Malekith back on the throne. The game's first quest sets the mood and storyline by being a simple kill quest -- head out onto the beach and slaughter a number of the High Elf shore guard. It was during this process that we gained an appreciation for the game's art design. High Elves are tall, graceful and straight-backed, their chests puffed out with a sort of haughty pride. They're every football captain or head cheerleader you hated in High School. Dark Elves, on the other hand, are every bit as graceful but their movements are hunched over, tight and very controlled. They give off an aura of fear and paranoia (not an unreasonable emotion in Dark Elf society) and a psychotic determination to hurt the world before it hurts them.