James Casey, the associate producer for the features team, has written a dev blog entry that outlines the "New User Journey" features that are being added to Warhammer Online in patch 1.3.2. Casey says these new features will be helpful for all users, whether they are new to WAR or are a current or returning player.
The biggest chance is that all characters will now start in Empire and Chaos, based on their Realm choice, regardless of their race. "Combining the starter locations for each Realm into a single pairing allows us flexibility and helps to provide a better population for players experiencing the game for the first time, or for existing players starting another character," Casey said. "Because we are dealing with a single starting location, we are able to tailor and revamp the content offered in the pairing to make the quest flow more intuitive, give better itemization / rewards for players' efforts, and provide a better detailed and informative play session."
Other upcoming changes include a new tutorial window system, updates to the existing help tips, new content added to the in-game manual, and new global chat channels. You can read all about these changes in the dev blog after the jump.
With 1.3.2 on its way soon, I was asked to write a quick Dev Diary about some of the cool stuff you’ll be seeing in this patch. One of the more prominent features will be our Realm versus Realm changes, which include changes to the Tier 4 campaign, notably with Fortresses. This patch will also continue on the career balance changes started in 1.3.1, with a specific focus on crowd control. Another cool feature is our new ‘apprenticeship’ program where players can group up or down with players of varying Ranks and be adjusted to be competitive with the player that is ‘apprenticed.’ This will allow players of any Rank to play with any other Rank characters in the game and not be at a disadvantage.
As you can see, there are a lot of cool things going in, but I’m here to talk about a group of features that we’ve dubbed the ‘New User Journey’ around the office. The title ‘New User Journey’ might be a little misleading though as the features will be useful to all users, whether they are new to the game, playing currently, or returning to the game after an absence. This Dev Diary is dedicated to touching on a few of the new features in the New User Journey, and how they fit into our goal of constantly improving WAR!
Before we begin on any of the features, some background might be prudent. When planning 1.3.2, we were tasked at looking at what can make our game more accessible to all players. Accessibility covers a lot of ground from a philosophical point of view; it ranges from how you sign up for a game to how it feels when you play it. It can also mean different things to different people. The crux of the issue is making the game accessible to the greatest amount of people while also making it entertaining and engaging.
One of the biggest changes existing players will notice is that all characters will now start in Empire and Chaos, based on their Realm choice, regardless of their race. The reason for this in game terms is that there has been a big push by Chaos and Empire in these areas, and allies have been called to battle in Nordland and Norsca to bring forth glory for their respective Realm. The actual game-play reason for this is multi-fold. One thing to note is that regular players will still be able to access the other pairings in Tier 1 via the Flightmasters if they desire to seek out specific content in those lands, but the action and focus of the WAR effort will now be Empire and Chaos for Tier one.
Combining the starter locations for each Realm into a single pairing allows us flexibility and helps to provide a better population for players experiencing the game for the first time, or for existing players starting another character. Because we are dealing with a single starting location, we are able to tailor and revamp the content offered in the pairing to make the quest flow more intuitive, give better itemization / rewards for players’ efforts, and provide a better detailed and informative play session. It also ensures that players are in the same area in their formative Ranks to assist each other in Public Quests, Open Realm vs. Realm combat, and all the other concepts introduced in the first Tier of the game.
Along with the revamp to the first few Chapters that constitute Tier 1 (which you’ll see more information on when the patch notes hit PTS), we also took a look at the type of information and how we explain the game to new and existing players as they enter the world of Warhammer. To that end, we’ve added in a new Tutorial window system that will give players a more visual walkthrough of key concepts of game-play as they encounter them.
With the addition of the tutorial system, we took a look at the existing help-tips as well, tweaking and updating those, and even making them available at any time in the Help Menu. Speaking of the Help Menu, we completely updated the content and functionality of the in-game manual to make the information much easier to access and much more complete. The goal for these and a lot of the other tweaks we made are to provide a much smoother game experience for any character’s initial introduction into the game world.
There are a number of New User Journey features tailored specifically to the returning or existing players as well. One of these is our new Global Chat Channels. We have a global Advice channel available now that anyone can ask or answer questions in. Characters can even opt to flag themselves as Advisors if they want other players to be able to seek them out personally for specific questions. As well, there are now global chat channels for every Tier of RvR. For Tiers 1 to 3, anyone can participate and post in the global chat, but in Tier 4, we’ve restricted posting in the channel to a select few people called Realm War Captains. These individuals are designated by their guild for this ability, and each guild is awarded a Realm War Captain slot at guild levels 20, 30, and 40. This ensures that players can choose leaders among their guild and Realm to drive the forces for their Realm in the back and forth battle that is Tier 4.
There are quite a number of things I haven’t even hit upon for the New User Journey or other initiatives coming to you in 1.3.2. The big thing I wanted to touch on and reiterate in this diary though, is that we are always looking at ways that we can tweak existing content, add new features, and generally make the game more fun and accessible to all players, current, returning, or new! Because everyone that plays WAR deserves the best!