The battlefields pulse with the armies of Destruction and Order clashing endlessly against each other. The sidelines however, have throngs of onlookers waiting for their chance to battle. Clans of Skaven each led by one of the many 13 Council members are tentative in their allegience to each other, and threaten to break ranks to join the WAR. The Land of the Dead boasts eternal liches, vampires, and other undead who seek to kill anything that holds a beating heart. Ogres, with their Gnoblar slaves, hire out to the many races of WAR, or roam the lands eating anything in their path. What about the Bretonnians? Or the Lizardmen? Or the tribes of Beastmen? WAR has tons of room to expand and include all these races as playable characters. Hell, they could go so far as to add in a third massive faction to the game for some real RvR chaos. Imagine Tier 5 as a giant sandbox of contested zones, with no capital cities to speak of, just Keeps, BO’s and a faction Fort that add to the capture of any capital city…
In lieu of the new expansion on its way, and the lands of the Tomb Kings being released, my brain has been on fire with activity. Consider for a moment the tabletop version of Warhammer, its true roots. There are tons (quite literally) of different armies and races that you can collect and build with. Even as I level each new character, I consider it part of my own arsenal of figurines, carefully selected, fine tuned, and delicately painted. Are there deeper implications of these new lands being released?
The way I look at things, you could easily introduce two new playable races with the Tomb Kings expansion. Firstly would be the undead armies of Settra, and opposed by the Bretonnian forces. Granted, the Breton and Empire factions do not exactly get along, but considering the current circumstances of the WAR, a truce could be forged. Settra is the final ruling undead king of Nehekhara, skeletons and zombies, mummies and liches, basically anything without a beating heart would fall under his rule. His conquering ambitions would make a nice addition to the forces of Destruction. Bretonnia is no small force to be reckoned with either however, easily rivaling the size and scope of the Empire. Units such as the Grail Knight, and Fay Enchantress would make some highly playable classes, add in a normal (i.e. not-on-fire) Mage, and a weaponmaster to round out the rest.
However, this is just one of the possibilities, though I believe it would be the most likely. Another potential rival for the armies of Settra would be the Skaven. Ah yes, the council of thirteen once saw Nagash as a threat and ended him quickly with a powerful Warpstone blade, they could rise from beneath the Empire cities and join forces and another Truce to fight the undead. Motivations for the Skaven would be convoluted, but essentially coming down to jealousy. You see, if the forces of Settra wish all the world to join the dead among his armies, then the Skaven would have no way to spread their pestilence and disease. A truce allowing the Skaven to fight alongside the forces of Order would also give them an inside edge for further pushing disease on the living, while combating the greater threat of eternal undeath. Anyone who has traveled underneath Altdorf can appreciate the range of classes that would be available.
Lizardmen are the oldest race on the planet, and contrary to their appearance, are highly civilized and wielding some of the most powerful magics across all the lands. They have sided with forces of Order before in the face of incursion by the Greenskins, and now with Undead pouring through their marshes, this would be an ideal time for them to rise again. Lizardmen boast a full complement of warriors, healers, and other magical users. Many battles have been won dating back to the Dawn of Creation. For even further intrigue, have one of The Old Ones return to lead them against the undead hoardes.
Yet now we are only at the tip of the iceberg. There are other implications in work here, as the wide world of Warhammer is as deep and complicated as any. Perhaps we further escalate the situation, and add Beastmen to the ranks of destruction. They’ve been sitting on the sidelines defending their tribal lands, but surely they could sieze the situation to expand into new territories. It is easy enough to look at the bestiary entry and pick our 4 archetypes.Driven purely by rage and desire to expand their territory, Beastmen would make a strong addition to the forces of chaos as well, or possibly a third faction entirely…
Yes, a third faction. One of mercenaries and oppourtunists, the true benefactors of any war. If you cannot imagine Skaven siding with Order to fight off the undead hoards, then imagine them creating a new alliance among the many races that are already on the verge of civilization. Skaven, Beastmen, Ogres and Gnoblars as your three main races, have the Vampire Lords join in as a late entry. This third faction would have their own lands parallel to each of the major cities of either Destruction or Order, and frequently take part in battles if only for the lust of power and greed. Consider the playerbase for a moment, and tell me there couldn’t be a whole faction of players based on power and greed.
This is the wonderful and glorious thing about Warhammer in the Age of Reckoning. Warhammer Online is writing this new age as it develops, and anything can happen. Now, lets review what I’ve proposed…
Faction 3 – (name suggestions?)
Certainly, it’s not going to happen anytime soon, as Mythic seems to be in the habit of release one new class per faction every 3 months or so, but I certainly hope this is a direction they start looking at. Warhammer is based on thousands of unique units. I understand keeping it simple for launch, but it’s just not the style to play with 24 different units throughout the entire game, or even a 1v1 battle. Many times, the three or even four sided battles on tabletop, not only last for hours, but they’re incredibly exciting. I think translated over to an MMO would be damn near heart-stopping. Figure one of each archtype for each faction with the named races here and you’re looking at 48 unique classes. A challenge for sure, but give WAR 5 years of time, and I think it could be a rather strong possiblity. I’d expect two races to be released entirely in an actual (not-live) expansion sometime in 2010, and the third faction to be released in another expansion in 2012.
In the meantime, these all may be hopes and dreams, cause I’d certainly rather see them get gameplay issues sorted before adding a whole lot of heavy content. Cheers!