23
Feb
09

Dude, Where’s My Character?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgBZ_X2_h9A

I was nosing around the Freddyshouse DAoC offtopic forums and someone had posted a link to this. First time in a long time I’ve heard that. It was strange getting transported back to WAR’s precursor. Then it jolted another memory regarding the WAR character screen.

During WAR Beta there was an intro screen with just an Orc standing there and some thumping drum based musc, er, thumping. It was great. Big, menacing and moody. Raar. I mention this because… well.. I don’t really rate the WAR retail music very highly or the character intro screens. The big Orc had the right feel of orcish menace and the music was perfect to match their brutality. Then came retail and the whole character plopping down thing. Clunk.

Nothing says epic all-out warfare like a character plopping down jerkily as the game loads and a few tents behind. Right? Uh…huh.

What would work better? Hrm. Well… fade in the character with one of the more dramatic skylines. For Destruction, one of the most impressive vistas is the skyline in the Inevitable City when you are outside the Apex with the Viper Pit behind you. Why not use this? There are plenty of impressive pieces of Dwarven architechture around but for Order there is this rather wimpy…tent and some random pillars. An alternative to a dramatic skyline would be to have a trophy room that reflects what you’ve achieved (hey, rooms have windows…can still include the dramatic skyline. Woot).

A very nice touch would be perhaps on the left side of the screen to show a map fragment with where the character was logged off. But please for the love of all that is dramatic and impressive lose Camp Kludge at the next available opportunity. It wouldn’t hurt to have the music change as a different race is selected, fading in something appropriate to each race – make it minimalist. But keep it mean, moody and magnificent. Warhammer is filled with brooding threat. Leave the wimpy fluff to WoW.

WAR is about ripping off heads and spitting down throats (well getting some kind of liquid down there – I don’t think it matters which end is the source), taking heads as trophies then doing it with hundreds of close personal friends who just happen to be online psychopaths. The game should start off in a way that reflects this.

Led Zep the intro, turn the amp up to 11. Leave other games to beatle around.

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