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 Pyramids and Plunder: Warhammer Online's Land of the Dead

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PostSubject: Pyramids and Plunder: Warhammer Online''s Land of the Dead   Fri May 22, 2009 2:57 am

Previews
Pyramids and Plunder: Warhammer Online's Land of the Dead
By Gerald Villoria | May 8, 2009
WAR's forces of Order and Destruction will take their ongoing battle to the Land of the Dead.

Spiffy:
18 new public quests; new dungeon; Indiana Jones-inspired designs. Iffy:
Content is almost exclusively for level 40 characters.
StumbleUponRedditFarkEmail The Land of the Dead, the new region introduced in the final chapter of Warhammer Online's Call to Arms event, will feel more like a console-style experience than anything that WAR has seen before.

Scheduled for release in June, this latest WAR content update will open up a new RvR-gated territory, and players will fight for the right of first access to it. Like anything else in WAR, accolades are earned by destroying your fellow player, in this case the conflict being a race between the forces of Order and Destruction to secure resources that will support the construction of airships. These zeppelins will then transport the "winning team" over to this new region, the arid wastes that are home to the infamous Tomb Kings.

This new content will have you emptying the sand from your boots.
So what exactly does this new console-style thing mean for WAR? It starts with a focus on gameplay elements that you'd expect if you had a controller with a jump button in hand, instead of just your keyboard's space bar. The recurring theme I observed in my Land of the Dead dungeon experience was that of an Indiana Jones-styled adventure, filled with traps and pulse-pounding life-or-death challenges that could make the exploration of these terrifying tombs more than just the rote repetition of chain-pulling monsters for experience and loot drops.

These traps included a corridor filled with swinging pendulum blades, beams of dark energy to dodge during boss fights, and the obligatory "outrunning a giant ball" sequence (this time a rolling swarm of insects). The traps have been changed up for the multiplayer crowd by forcing players to help each other out of situations where one might falter behind the rest, as is usually the case with those short-legged dwarves, who are always tripping over their own beards.

WAR is also taking a more solo-friendly approach with this new content than it did in the core game. While the new public quests will still spawn tough creatures in later stages, they'll be avoidable, so a savvy player will be able to adventure on his or her own without engaging in an exercise in futility. It will be worth investing time in killing the local fauna, as that's how you collect scarab coins, a new token currency that can be exchanged for gear and crafting materials.

Those who are familiar with the Tomb Kings army book from the Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battles tabletop game will recognize most of the new creatures and enemies introduced in this free expansion. I was able to fight various skeletal soldiers first-hand, as well as the Ushabti, the animated constructs that bear Anubis' likeness. Other creatures to be introduced include bone constructs, scarabs, terracotta soldiers, and carrion, giant vultures that will actually pick up your character and drop you into the nests they've built along rocky cliff faces. This will actually be a part of a public quest, where you have to go around smashing eggs, leaping from nest to nest in a bit of level design craftsmanship that puts an emphasis on verticality.

While the new content expansion won't do anything drastic like introduce a new player race or class, it will bring a few new Land of the Dead-themed weapon and armor set changes, so players will have plenty of new loot to look forward to. Eighteen new public quests and a new instanced dungeon are being introduced here, so there should be plenty of reasons for players to want to fight for access to this new zone. The necropolis in particular is available for players at level 25, so while the new content is primarily for those at level 40, this should also be a good fit for those looking to power-level their characters.



My demonstration ended with a peek at one of the expansion's "final bosses." Grasping at one final chance to stop you and your group, the Tomb King injects his spirit into the giant statue that stands before the great pyramid. It falls to the ground and animates, starting a battle between your stalwart companions and a very angry torso and pair of arms. The arms need to be attacked individually, and the Tomb King unleashes a variety of unique attacks, including frantic swipes and a volley of burrowing sand mounds that probably conceal something multi-legged and nasty.

Once the arms and body have been dealt enough damage the statue will temporarily collapse, at which point the group must run up the arms and onto its back, dealing the finishing blows to the back of its vulnerable neck. Take the boss down, distribute loot, and then get ready to do it again. Such is the life of an adventurer in an MMORPG -- would you have it be any different? Check back with us for more on Warhammer Online's latest offerings from the E3 show floor.
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