We ventured out to London to get some hands-on time with BioWare Mythic's Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes and to chat with Lead Producer Carrie Gouskos.
Continuing to substantially develop a game - any game - while in open beta is usually a mammoth task, requiring herculean project management. In order to respond to community demands quickly, Gouskos realized that supporting rapid iterations would need to be part of the bedrock the game is built on. She admits that "It's not a sexy feature", but that as a result the game is completely unrecognizable from how it looked three months ago.
It's likely that Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes will continue to develop at the same pace, with new features and improvements constantly being added. A fourth map is planned for release soon, with a heavy focus on team objectives, in order to give freshness to the game experience.
For future maps, the team is trying to work out the best way to make the game appeal to as many people as possible. It's currently unclear if that means offering the option for players to choose which map they want to play, or if the answer is to design maps that have something for everybody. As Gouskos notes, "The death match map […], if you think of the Bartle type, it's for killers. And the people who want to sneak off and get the objective, maybe they can sneak off and sandwich from the back, but there isn't a lot of variety for the type of gameplay in those areas. But we've also found that the people who love that map love that map."
Longer term, the future of WOH is full of options. "One of the game modes I really like from all the modes of competitive gameplay is Horde mode from Gears of War. I love that idea of your group of six against the world. And lots of games incorporate this in some way or another."
"What is the next step for us? I don't know. Is it public quests? Maybe. Is it big huge raids and city sieges? Maybe. Is it horde mode against waves and waves of monsters? Maybe. Is it focusing on clans, and tournaments, and leader boards? There's so much potential, and for us it was get the game in there, get the core game right, so that people are going 'I get this, I like this, what's next?'"
"And then the answer to that is anything."
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is currently in public Open Beta. You can find out more about how to get involved, and try it out for yourself, over at the official site!
Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer, Staff Writer