Warhammer 40K MMORPG

Warhammer 40K MMORPG

WAR 40K - making shoulder pads from the 80s look small

There really isn’t much to be known about the upcoming Warhammer 40K MMORPG or even if it will ever materialise (let’s face it, it’s not uncommon for MMOs to die before even hitting the shelves). Still, after the disappointing Warhammer Online MMO from 2008, I’m hoping for a better implementation of such an exciting IP.

Although I never played the original table top game, I did use to paint the miniatures when I was a kid (my secret shame revealed to the world) and always enjoyed the style of WAR 40K. It’s over the top sci-fi theme and darkness was always very original and appealed to the geek in me (as most geeky things do). It’s still early days but here are some of the things I’d like to see in the Warhammer 40K MMORPG:

Ditch the Holy Trinity

The Tank/Healer/DPS combo is just so passé now. I know it’s a hard thing to escape but I’d like to see some MMORPGs try a different model. Perhaps it involves restricting healing to downtime only and giving all classes equal ability to take and give out damage. Wild fantasies of thought, I concede, but one can dream.

Diverse racial areas

Although Warhammer Online offered some nice and different starting areas, I was a little disappointed when they canned the racial cities and went live with only two, one for each side. Maybe it’s just nostalgia from the original Everquest but I always loved the variety of cities that the game offered and I feel that it gives the player not only a strong connection to the identity of their character’s race but also makes the whole world feel more alive and vibrant.

Interesting classes

Assuming WAR 40K is going down the themepark class route, I’d like to see some original and interesting classes come our way. I’m just plain tired of seeing remixes of Warriors, Rogues and Mages all of the time.

An immersive world

Tying in with my point about racial cities, one of the mistakes a lot of MMORPGs make (at least in my opinion) is their dramatic separation of content (i.e. you can’t run from A to B, instead you teleport between zones or queue up for action areas) which in turn kills immersion. I don’t want to play a glorified arcade game based around an online chat room, I want to escape into a character who inhabits a growing, bustling and living online world. Easy to say, hard to accomplish, I know.

Fast paced combat

If any setting is going to be suitable for fast paced combat, it will be a sci-fi one and especially Warhammer 40K. Laser guns, Terminators, vehicles, giant robots and rabid aliens, I can’t think of a MMO that would suit a depature from the traditional hotbar, click 1-2-3 action keys more than this IP. I’m not talking about FPS or twitch-based mechanics suitable to only hardcore gamers with lighting fast reflexes, just give us something a little less mundane that the usual fair.

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  5. Will The Torchlight MMO Work?


  1. Carson says:

    I played some Warhammer Fantasy when I were a lad, but never 40K. But just this last year a couple of my nephews have been getting into it, which has seen me venturing into Games Workshops for the first time in many years to buy Christmas and birthday presents. So I feel more than familiar enough with WH40K now to be interested in a potential MMO. It has been a long time between drinks for a ground-based (as opposed to spaceships) science fiction PvP MMORPG – although there are a couple already on the horizon, aren’t there? Earthrise? Something else?

    • Gordon says:

      I think WAR 40K is a strong IP for a MMO and I’m looking forward to it. The IP is excellent and it’s the perfect setting for a fast and furious sci-fi MMORPG and so long as THQ avoid the mistakes that Mythic made, it could be a really good game.

      • Ferrel says:

        What makes me a little sad about it without knowing anything at all, is that I assume they’re going to force it down the PvP path.

        I realize 40K is a wargame and conflict is everything but I think the IP would work better as a PvE game with an initial system of built in PvP game modes. Something that isn’t an “add on later” type thing but not “the whole focus.”

        One of the problems with War is that it is hard to maintain a war 24/7. Global Agenda is at least kind enough to schedule the war during certain hours of the day!

        • Gordon says:

          Well, WAR was created by Mythic who were famous for their Realm Vs Realm gameplay in DAOC and I think they tried to force that on WAR more than anything else. They tried to capture lightning in the bottle twice and thought they could make a bigger, better DAOC. Unfortunately it didn’t really work.

          I’ve got no problem if they have a lot of PvP in WAR 40K just so long as the PvE is excellent.

          • Ferrel says:

            This is true, Mythic is a RvR developer. Still though, I imagine it will be a PvP focused game given the nature of the world.

            I can handle PvP as long as it isn’t so walled off that it feels like a separate, segregated game (but this isn’t me saying I want open PvP). If it is, I wonder why bother having it?

            The main issue I have with PvP lately though is that developers use it as an excuse for bad PvE content. “Oh yeah, we only have two dungeons but you can go PvP! Every PvP BG is a totally unique experience!” Yeah… no…

            • Gordon says:

              Yeah, and it frustrates me completely too. PvP is all fine and dandy but the game has to have good PvE otherwise there’s no point to it. Aion and WAR bought made this mistake and PvE was lacking and grindy which really put me off.

              • Wolkinov says:

                The only issue is that, since the game will likely be organized with factions similar to WAR, with Order (Imperium/Marines + maybe Eldar) vs Chaos (Chaos + Orks), there aren’t many PvE options that present themselves unless they leave out certain races, because PvE content has to be stuff that both factions can fight against equally. I suppose a Tyrannid incursion, or one of the worlds turning out to be a Necron tomb-world, could work out though…

                Personally, Id like to see more than 2 factions, since the armies in 40k are notorious for mistrusting each other and any lasting alliance required for a faction is unlikely. It worked for Fantasy because there’s less general mistrust and it had a good story, but the Imperium is viciously xenophobic, the Eldar are arrogant SOBs, and Orks aren’t discriminatory in who they decide to Waaaaaaagh! all over.

  2. Russ says:

    I know this is a bit off-topic, but I laughed at your comment about painting the miniatures being your secret shame. I know you really can’t be that ashamed of it, since you mentioned it…. and please don’t be! I think the things we did as children can be really funny. For instance, when I was 8 or 9 I painted my He-man action figure’s hair black because I thought it would look cooler (ROFL)! I used Testor’s model paint, not thinking that it might never dry properly on a head made of a rubbery material. It didn’t. From that point forward, He-man’s black hair was sticky to the touch, and quickly made his way to the bottom of the toy box.

    Anyway, it’s my first time commenting, but I’ve been reading your blog for a while. As a fledgling blogger myself, it’s inspiring to see how consistently you post. Good stuff. Keep it up!

    • Gordon says:

      Many thanks for the kind words, sir! :)

      You’re right, I’m not that ashamed of it :) I have even actually considered taking it up again! I don’t think I’d play the table top game but I like the idea of painting the figures. I always remember being very relaxed when I did it and it would be a nice break from sitting in front of a computer all day.

      • Paul says:

        Do it. I think about taking up painting and customeising from time to time. I think it would be nice to be able to make all the things you coulden’t now you can afford a dermil drill and get all the parts and bits from GW online and make something realy cool.

  3. Eliot says:

    To be fair, we are moving away from the trinity, albeit very slowly. I’ve just started warping about in STO and I’m impressed at the way it refuses to give you a solid class archetype – you can loosely peg certain classes as certain parts of the trinity, but it’s not a very even fit, and depending on the ship you’re piloting versus your field of expertise it might be an even worse fit.

    And I’m with you about getting rid of the same classes that we always see. Mash rogues and mages together into some sort of sneaky backstabby mid-range elemental mass. Or toss rogues and healers together. Warrior-mages. There have to be better ways to handle the lynchpins of melee damage, tanking, healing, and ranged damage.

    • Gordon says:

      You’re right, we are making in roads with the removal of the Holy Trinity! Hopefully it will keep up.

      I liked most of the clases in WAR and they were pretty diverse and interesting. Stuff like the Battle Cleric was cool because it was a departure from your traditional Cleric/Priest model. Hopefully WAR 40K will offer some interesting classes too.

  4. Stabs says:

    Some quick thoughts on your bolded points:

    Ditch the Holy Trinity

    It’s only passe to nerdcore nerds. People whose first MMO was WoW just think of it as normal, people who’ve not played MMOs will find it accessible and fun. Holy trinity is going to be around for some time.

    Diverse racial areas

    …are one of the most expensive pieces of content to produce. Unless they break the industry habit of going for amazing state of the art visuals they won’t be able to produce large amounts of state of the art gorgeous cityscapes. Warhammer Online showed that.

    An immersive world

    I hope this happens but the industry is trending away from this. You see packaged fun is working out better for players than an open sprawl that might have pockets of fun in it somewhere. It’s Warsong Gulch v prowling Stranglethorn Vale looking for trouble. The players have overwhelmingly voted with their feet on this.

    Fast paced combat

    I think that’s a given. If combat is not fast and dangerous it totally fails the IP. Two dudes in powered armour flailing away at each other for 20 minutes both too tough to drop is not 40K.

    Conclusion: I’m expecting sci fi WoW. I’d be moderately astonished if they make it even as innovative as TOR. Having said that a good WoW-alike with the 40K IP and a dangerous, fast-paced atmosphere could be amazing fun. I just hope it isn’t too achievement based, don’t want to play 40K Warsong Gulch with a bunch of achievement whores trying to throw the match to tick off one of the boxes.

  5. Khoram says:

    I like your ideas about the classes and ditching the holy trinity. I tell you what I’d like to see is somewhat more realistic, quasi-medieval combat. Instead of tanks and dps, have “classes” that revolve around a style of medieval fighting – ie, polearms, spearmen (I’ve yet to see a good MMO take on spears, yet they were one of the most common weapon types for many centuries), swordsmen, etc. Everyone contributes to damage. There is no tank class per se, instead everyone must work together to help protect each other (think shield walls, phalanx, etc). This would require full up collision detection but would be so much more fun. Perhaps you could have a special class or ability to let someone be the warband leader – they could have an aura that increases discipline as long as their followers stay within command range; they could have the ability to direct their followers actions by slowing time (during pvp) or pausing time (during pve) and issuing orders; if their followers achieve them, they get bonuses to attack or damage, etc; if they disobey they get penalties. To account for no in-combat healing there would be less chance of “dying” as opposed to being knocked unconscious or developing wounds that need treatment later. There could be skills or classes that heal or treat wounds after battle. There are a lot of possibilities, would love to see someone try something new.

  6. Tesh says:

    It seems to me that the IP isn’t based in the trinity design. Howzabout we get an MMO based as well as possible on the actual IP, all the way down the the core philosophy and mechanics, rather than trying to shoehorn the IP into a standard DIKU sub mold?

    How about a squad-based MMO? Turn based combat? There’s a lot of game design space out there, but all devs seem to want to do is put a new coat of paint on WoW. Bleh.

  7. efkelley says:

    The trouble with entirely ditching the Trinity is that people want to feel that they’ve made significant contributions to the group. In a way, tanks and healers have their own minigame, and if they do a good job and your DPS is on top of things, victory is yours. There’s a good reason it exists and has been copied so often: It works. It keeps people engaged. It’s a staple.

    That said, the trouble with keeping the Trinity in all incarnations is that it gets old. Warhammer did a pretty good job of fiddling the system with their ‘everyone fights’ philosophy. For example, I really liked the yin/yang of combat damage boosting heals and healing boosting damage. Similarly, STO gives everyone a reason to keep shooting. If your doctor is standing in the back waiting for people to get hurt so he can do his job, then he is NOT doing his job. He’s got a phaser and a tricorder He should be using them.

    I believe that the systems we see in Dawn of War 2 are the basis for the MMO, wherein your character is the leader of a squad, and your squad fills your role in combat based on loadout. Heavy weapons or jump packs for fire support and extra damage, a tech priest or apothecary for support/healing, and termie armor for heavy assault/tanking.

    The key will be giving people a way to stand out in a group, which is what the Trinity does. Since THQ is making the MMO and since they’ve done so well with 40K in the past, I have some faith that they’ll do right by us.

    • Gordon says:

      I could live with the Trinity if, like you suggested, THQ made the roles more versatile and didn’t just force everyone into cookie cutter roles. I did like how Mythic tried to make everything more fun in WAR and moved away from the classic roles a bit. Of course, I barely did any PvE even though I was a tank and PvP was just a damage frenzy.

  8. Blue552 says:

    Okay I play Warhammer Online on a daily basis and you clearly do not have enough experience when it comes to MMO’s.

    The reason they stick to tanks, MDPS, RDPS and healers is because that is as diverse as it gets. Any ‘new’ classes would just be hybrids of these.

    WAR is one of the best MMO’s out there. Having more then 2 cities would have been a horrible idea as the cities are never crowded anyway.

    Either way anybody who gets the chance to read this comment disregard the opinions of the original poster as he does not have enough experience on the matter and should not be commenting on it.

    • Khoram says:

      Doesn’t have enough experience when it comes to MMOs? Have you looked at his MMO timeline? He did play WAR, as did I. I’ve played about 20 or so different MMOs going back to UO; I think you’ll find you’re in a very small minority of people who think WAR is one of the best MMOs out there. I thought T1 and T2 scenarios were fun, but everything else was not as good as it could have been, and the PvE and world were not well done at all.

      Since when do people need “enough experience” (lol how do you even define that?) on a subject before commenting about it, anyway? It’s like you have no idea what blogs, and most personal websites dating back to the birth of the web, are all about :)

    • Gordon says:

      @Blue552 Uh huh… Think you missed the point about trying to move away from the Holy Trinity design :)

  9. Jordan says:

    lets say this if they make it faster pace than wow or war then its definitely gonna be better, not lightning fast but challenging i don’t wanna swing my chain sword and then wait for them to hit me or have to quickly activate skills just to make it fast pace if i wanna lay cover fire for my brothers as they charge the line i need constant fire not fire a few rounds an wait for them like they do in kotor they need to make it realistic like they did in dow and dow 2

    I guess what i am saying is that most rpgs have gotten entirely too slow if i can block i wanna block if i can evade i will make it more real than i hit u now its your turn….

  10. Jordan says:

    an to add the the earlier argument warhammer is built on different possibilities Yes it will be hybrids but thats what the point is the more choices the better for customization and thats another thing the guys and gals at gameshop aim for. and then plus i agree with khoram, an mmo is a game that anybody has the right to sit down an express themselves on here, even someone who never played computer games let alone mmos ever before

  11. Jordan says:

    plus like he said at first its just a rumor so its not a big deal they just might keep the holy trinity plus more. and then there are tau, tyranid, chaos, imperium (which if done right can be done in 4 or more races in its own right), Eldar, Dark eldar, orks and Necron so like yea if they are doing this then there is going to be some serious diversity, and due to the way all the races are there will be NO ALLIANCES if there are its going to ruin the storyline the closes thing that should be there is the imperium consisting of space marines, imperial marines, sisters of battle, and the Adeptis Mechanicus which surprises me that the table top doesn’t have them as a usable race…

    • ROGALTHEDORN says:

      Umm actualy if im not mistaken the sisterhood of batle is a usable table top army.
      They’re just mixed in with the “Witch hunters” (witch is basicly the inquisition if you get right down to it)
      And another thing besides this, is how are they going to get this out there among the other gamers who have no frakin idea what 40K is???
      I know for a fact that probaly millions of WoW addicts are out there and will not leave, but WoW is getting very repetitive. GW has been around WAY longer than blizzard but how are they going to appeal to Blizzard fans?
      (just curious sorry about horrindous spelling lol)

  12. Gareth says:

    This is a game that I’m really looking forward to seeing on one hand, and dreading on the other.

    WAR was good overall I thought, its failings was the PVP>everything (just PVEing up I actually started to fall behind on gear), and that it then lacked the end game content (PVP isn’t a substitute for content in my book), lastly too much questing automation, the quests were excellent, the storyline beautifully written in places, but no one actually reads it because its all bypassable + the rewards were far less then a battleground would give.

    Anyway, onto W40K, for me I want two games, I want a PVE game where I can venture around the Imperium and get involved in missions and quests on various worlds. Some of the 40k books are excellent and really do give the 40k universe a deep storyline.

    I also want Planetside, not Global agenda 10v10 small scale, not STO 32 player instances and non immersive third person view tiny spaceships circling around slowly. I want a battlefield full of players that from a distance just makes me amazed. No fancy pants to be upgraded to be able to compete (the never ending gear grind), just certs that give you guns that are as powerful in anyones hands.

    Going for the Planetside route ditches the holy trinity gameplay, it gets massive, and has vast areas connected by some sort of storyline reason why you can travel to them. Its FPS though, but really right now I’d love to see that implemented again as no one has had the balls to do it on the massive scale since Planetside came out (hence I’m still playing it along with EQ2 :) ), 400 on a world in 2006, surely with today’s hardware we could hit 800?

    I’m setting myself up here to be disappointed, all we know is that it’ll be Space Marines, and they are organised into chapters and squads, guessing STO ground mission style here, at least that way my expectations are set low :)

  13. namerequired says:

    Please let Bethesda develop a Warhammer 40k RPG. I beg the video game overlords, please!

  14. I personally haven’t got around to playing the first warhammer MMO, this sounds good I must admit and some of the 40k stuff seems really cool. :P Thanks.

  15. Kareem says:

    I know its an old topic but i just came by this blog and loved it , so im reading all i can read from the begining hehe

    but anyways , did anyone thought of the game will be something like Dawn of war ??
    i mean u control a small squad , mainly this is my thought to solve the balance issue ,
    if its normal setup , and players can play space marines imagine a party of terminators vs a party of orks lol

    so maybe its like u play 1 terminator or 3 scouts , 4 assault marines , 5 orks maybe …

  16. 40k says:

    Actually, the holy trinity will be VERY hard to fit into this game… there are not many units that heal in the 40k universe, orks got painboyz, and marines have apothecaries just to name a few. They are also few and far between in the 40k table top game.

    Here is to hoping that it is fast paced and there will be a clear deliniation between what a player can do because they will put you in the shoes of a marine for example. There may be a max of one apothecary per squad. who knows.

  17. If it resembles any mmorpg especially WOW or Conan, they failed horribly. I would like it to be successful but not at the cost of integrity or quality. I really wish they weren’t calling it a MMORPG as I would prefer it to be somewhere in-between an RTS and a FPS with minimal rpg elements. I like the idea of two marines, four orks, etc per Hero, Nob, etc during the “pve” portions and more during the “pvp” portions. I find those terms to be lacking to say the least.

    No holy trinity and let the Nerdcore and tardcore players cry. Where would Psykers fit in? Would the be the equivalent of a Burning Crusade Paladins to the healers and tanks? Bah, I want to feel like I’m on the field and the players are invisible or I’m in one of the novels when I hear the crunch of Tau after a Dreadnaught stomps them into spare parts, etc not the typical grind, gear hunt and fetch quests, etc that leads to a wheel chair crew. The people that play twenty hours a day and poop their diapers to be the first that did everything it took the developers years to make and then piss and moan because they don’t have anything to do. I don’t want to spend 80% of my time playing solo until I get a chance to gather with ten to twenty impatient, lazy and daft people yelling “MORE DOTS!”, “PHAT LOOTS”, “HEAL!”, “afk…”, “I HAZ LVL 50 WINGS!”, etc or even worse, find myself responsible for these invalids. That’s not fun, those scenarios are actual occupations which people receive professional training and tactual compensation for. I’m with the poster called 40k on this.

    Racial cities – Keep the setting intact for the love of the Immaterium. I want Warhammer 40k this means the Litany of Fury, Slaanesh, Vespid, etc not WOWHunterHammer, GuildPewPewHammmer, AionHammer or at best, another FireWarrior….*shudders*.

    Interesting classes – Already exist.

    Immersive world – Decades of material and novels were created. We’re on the 5th version currently and Blizzard and the like are out of their league. The Terrans are cheap knockoffs when compared to Space Marines, I know a handful of people who can explain the storyline for any major mmo while not finding them convoluted/lacking and if I see an Eldar dancing around like a NightElf….I will want to hunt and torture wowtards until Hannibal, Henry VIII, Genghis and Caligula appear to be incompetent sissies by comparison. The empty city issues discussed were directly related to level progression, new content and to be blunt, greed and poor planning. The DOW2 (Dawn of War) multiplayer handled the level and gear issue pretty well but I can see players who are motivated by gear grinds and saying “ding”.

    This will not be an easy task and I don’t envy them. Also, I hate everything Stabs had to say. Every thing.

    “BURP” – The Hive Mind

  18. maximumpain says:

    Im hoping they use some of the things that Warhammer fantasy did right like the open RvR realms and Q-able battlegrounds. This thing needs an epic war feel to be successful.

  19. ChaosTheory says:

    I used to browse various places where people threw around What-Ifs and dream scenarios for DMO. Too bad I lost the bookmark…

    One way to be rid of the Holy Trinity, even if just a little, is to allow each ‘class’ some form of each thing to some degree. Stim packs to increase natural healing rates, or reduce damage taken as the avatar ignores or moves fast enough to dodge incoming attacks. Everyone comes with weapons to contribute to damage, but I can see where the tank role would be harder to write out. Perhaps an item-based system where the character gets equipped with things that absorb or deflect damage better but still not on the level as, say, a Leman Russ or even a Baneblade’s metal flanks.

    Unique areas had better be more than simply dropping down occasional iconography for the relevant race of the region. Age-worn metal and stone of the Imperium, flattened land around ramshackle Orkish deathtraps, and the like where a player would have to go pretty far out of the way to see some untouched part of the planet. And for the love of all the Gods, make some main HQ for each of the races to give diverse goals for players to attack, rather than a predictable farm-fest because there’s only one place to go. To the Warp with an empty city. Once the alarms go off, you can bet the die hard PvPers will be there looking for a fight.

    There will definitely be unique classes, at least as far as looks and method of attack goes. The only similarity I can think of would be between Space and Chaos Marines since they come from the same pre-Heresy stock. Even so, they think and function differently enough that a simple change of skin would be easy to find and insulting to the hardcore 40K fanbase. Each class will have a specialty, but they still have some wiggle room as far as how they operate. Only access to psycher abilities would be restricted since not everyone has that kind of power.

    Now the Immersive World point caused a bit of a stick in things since it was hard to guess what the design and programming teams would be capable of in the time given to them. Will there be fighting on just one planet? In that case, portals between zones would be a glaring fault in the game even if it can somewhat limit the scope of server crashes. Maybe. But what if the fighting takes place on multiple planets? Then there would have to be some loading screen action when a player moves from one planet to the other, but once there it goes back to the single planet idea.

    Finally, the fast-paced combat… If it’s going to be shooter based, then you won’t really need to worry about cluttering hotbars as much. Move, aim, attack, and maybe a way to toggle between gun/sword/grenade/psycher power. There really isn’t a whole lot more that needs to be done to stay with the 40K mantra that “There is only war”.

    I doubt there will be much emphasis on player crafting, though it would be funny to watch a Howling Banshee stop to dig at some shiny boulder or crystal. And what about currency? Orks use Teef, Space Marines receive equipment from their Chapter’s stores, and Chaos Marines steal or grow their stuff. But how could you reason in some kind of system that allows players to get upgrades that won’t be too great a lure for gold spammers? Personal requisition points, maybe? Who knows.

    Now my head hurts from trying to get my thoughts to make sense.

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