Cry “Havoc!” And Let Slip The Dogs Of War

“In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war”… Hopefully, that will be in maybe 2011 or 2012.  Vigil Games has been silent for years after they initially announced they were making a Warhammer 40,000 MMO.  Finally, at this year’s E3 Expo in June, we got a glimpse of an actual gameplay trailer for Dark Millennium Online.  I have to say, this will probably be the one game that will draw me away from my PS3, and back to my long-neglected PC.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a Warhammer 40,000 table-top gamer.  Love the books, and the setting, but I could never get into all that painting and collecting.  Still, I’ve spent my share of time in MMO’s, and know a thing-or-two about gaming.  Anyhow, I really have no clue about where Vigil actually is insofar as development goes, but if they want me (and others who have been done with WoW for awhile, but are still waiting for the next killer app) to actually buy the game and start paying subs for monthly playtime, I thought I’d give them some ideas.

  • More Grim Please: I know this is a stretch, but I’d love to see a “M” rating from the ESRB for this game.  The reality is that the Warhammer 40,000 universe is mature.  It’s dark, bloody, and horrific.  If the gameplay is cartooned-up like WoW, sorry, I’m not going to buy it.  All the books speak of the brutality of the warriors, and the scale and bedlam of their battles…  The hopelessness of the Imperium and humanity, contrasted against the rising tide of Chaos needs to be felt and experienced.  Anything less, and players will drop like flies.
  • People Want Options: I know this will be a little tough, but if I want to be a Black Templar or a Space Wolf  or an Imperial Fist, then I better damned-well be able to create one.  Same thing on the chaos side as well… The Emperor’s Children, Alpha Legion or World Eater’s should all be options.  The trailer freaked me out a bit here.  I couldn’t tell how many races and legions were actually showcased.  I saw Orks, and a Black Templar, and I believe some chaos marines, but I didn’t see any Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Necrons or Tyranids.  I know making necrons or tyranids playable has some challenges, but don’t be too limiting.
  • Learn From Blizzard: Both the good and the bad.  WoW has it’s problems, but it’s wildly popular for many good reasons.  People like the idea of building a truly unique character, and watching them become more powerful and achieve goals as gameplay progresses.  People like guilds (chapters, maybe, in your case?) and contributing to a greater group.  What don’t people like (and why I plan to never renew my subscription)?  The ‘no end-game’ grind for gear was way too tedious, and the raid system inherently flawed in many ways.  Character development needs to continue beyond the level cap, and that involves more than just new gear with better buffs.
  • It’s All About Content: And not just expansions.  Time-to-market is key, of course, so set a date and stick to it.  Delivery is great for both players and shareholders.  That doesn’t mean things in mid-development go to the wayside.  Keep releasing fresh content in patches and service packs.  I probably don’t need to tell Vigil this, but the most successful software company in the world (Microsoft) never has a finished product.  It’s the perpetual beta, and they are continually updating and refreshing their code.  Get the product to market, and fast, but keep that new material flowing to keep us players engaged

Vigil has got the opportunity from THQ to build a MMO based on an amazing franchise.  This is going to really represent a departure from the swords-and-sorcery settings that most MMO’s really adhere to, and as a result, they should have license to get creative beyond just the setting.  Looking forward to it, guys, and I hope new screenshots and trailers get released soon!