Eternal Crusade Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson has updated Steam players on what’s on the way for the newly launched Warhammer MMO. Next week’s patch isn’t the “big monthly update,” he says, but it will include progression tree fixes, balancing for guns-vs.-vehicles, Eldar shrines, “various improvements to user experience,” and a fix for the PvE lobby.
“Sadly, some of the bigger time consuming tasks won’t make it in, such as adjusting the timing and feedback of some melee animations to fit exactly to the underlying combat, and addressing a certain roadkill problem and should be in the following patch,” he writes. “It’s important to note again, these intermediate patches are for creating a solid momentum of bugfixes, improvements, performance, optimizations instead just one big monthly one. This is both safer as smaller patches are easier to manage and test, and we can focus one patch on big fancy bling and big badabum.”
Behaviour Interactive is counting down the days until the launch of Eternal Crusade. Yes, the game is officially launching on September 23rd for the North American PC market, with a European boxed release and console launch to follow. In the meantime, a Steam post from Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson today explains, the studio is working not just on the launch patch but on the pre-launch patch, which is out today. Well, actually both of them are pre-launch patches:
“While you can say ‘here are the features for launch’, patch #24 is also pre-launch and adds more of everything, balance, performance improvements, bugfixes etc. This work continues post launch in two pipelines. One is working on the regular content updates and general improvements/fixes and the other pipeline, which is now a month in is preparing the monthly/quarterly updates. All free because we love you. (We actually don’t, we just want your money).”
Patch #23 is expected to maintain quick progression and add more wearables, supply drops, the token system, guilds, guild-vs.-guild content, the new world map, and numerous balance and bug fixes. It’ll also see the return of PvE.
Last week, Behaviour Interactive and Namco Bandai announced a release date for Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade — September 23 — but it surprised gamers by its apparent exclusion of the European and console markets. In Behaviour’s state of the game this week, the team explains its plan.
“There is about a 3-month lead time to get a gold candidate into a box and on the street for consoles, but on Steam it just takes a push of a button on a Steamworks webpage,” writes Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson. “Now I consider myself mildly insane at best, and even I would be able to push that button within a minute. Moving the console release back gives us more time to work on the game with our entire team than we previously had, before we launch it on console.” Furthermore, he says, Bandai Namco plans a “marketing campaign and boxed release in Europe.”
Richardsson also explains that the studio has “never cut any features […], only moved them into a free expansion,” meaning that post-launch, there’s more content on the way, some of which is already in production. And he again explains that the game is still founded on MMO principles.
Eternal Crusade’s launch date nears. Behaviour Interactive announced in a press release this evening that it is “launching in the Americas for PCs on September 23, 2016, with the console version to follow at a later date.”
Behaviour’s Stephen Mulrooney says that “to pause the development of the console versions was a tough decision but will result in an optimized and extended experience when released.”
Meanwhile, Behaviour is putting a halt to Eternal Crusade game updates while the process of updating the game to the latest Unreal Engine is underway.
“Yes, we know melee has bugs making it unbalanced,” writes Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson, “but 4.12 is for the greater good of mankind.”
Behaviour Interactive has a new Eternal Crusade Q&A up with a question that addresses the MMO component of the game and how it relates to its promised 120 unique points of interest. Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson writes that his next state of the game will focus on “the metagame and the latest progress and where it’s going, along with how it is designed to extend easily with new game modes, open territories, more traditional MMO mechanics and such.”
“The 120 locations were a huge limitation for us because it didn’t scale up. You could only have ‘thousands’ playing the territorial conquest, the rest were playing in so-called ‘overfow’ locations. Now, we have far more than 120 locations and it scales up to hundreds of thousands participating in territorial conquest. However, each location isn’t ‘unique’ from a map perspective, in fact we made that decision a long. Besides the Imperium being build by pre-fabricated buildings and structures, in a shooter, knowing the map is part of the skills of the player. Trying to memorize 120+ unique maps is counter-intuitive for a good shooter experience. On the flipside, we have things that creates variations and random or warlord activated gameplay elements which change things, like warp storms and such (mutators we call them) and of course time of day or different biomes affecting gameplay is also something which makes variety in visuals and gameplay, while not having to learn a new map.”
The Orks are almost here. Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is moving forward in development to a phase where — as Nathan Richardsson, Senior Producer and self-proclaimed Destroyer of Worlds, Dreams and Unicorns, put it — “core ‘massively online’ systems that have been in development for many months are starting to see the light of day.” The Eldar race is in, and the Orks will be following within weeks. Other systems and features are emerging, including variations of weapons, more maps, character advancement trees, Wargear, and more.
Want to be on board as all this happens? Richardsson invites players to be a part of the development process during the Steam early access by, you know, buying the game. However, he also emphasizes that those wanting a polished game should wait until it launches.
“This is Alpha in Early Access,” he stresses. “Sure, you’ll be buying the full game and our expansions (or DLCs if you will) are all free but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got drawbacks in our masochistic attempt to do transparent game development.”
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson has penned an update for the game today that’s branded with his usual form of wacky humor. At the heart of the note is the announcement that Eternal Crusade is now rooted in Unreal Engine 4.11 with lots of optimizations, and it’s playable today on the founders server, which Richardsson says he’s named the WART server (cannot tell whether he’s joking there).
Today’s patch also includes balancing mechanics for matchmaking, a new newbie PvP map, and tweaks to chat, global cover, and vaulting, plus “a currently unknown amount of extras, such as 100s of bugfixes, improvements, class and weapon balancing as well as a few surprises that might make it in.”
Check out Richardsson’s rundown of the highlights on the Steam update page.
Behaviour Interactive says Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade is at a “critical juncture in [its] development,” and the only solution is… an infographic.
Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson explains that staff setbacks and technical uncertainties led his team to prep a “conservative” infographic detailing the game’s launch outlook. “We added to it only what we believed we could deliver with high certainty,” he writes.
“As with any online game, we will continue post-launch development for years. We find it a very strange practice that in a game designed to play with friends, you can pay for a DLC that denies them from playing with you. Add a few more of that type of DLC, and none of you could play together at all. That’s not how we roll. We don’t want to segment the player-base, so you will all get new content, updates and an expansion every 3 months, for free.”
Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade studio Behaviour Interactive has gone in depth on PC Gamer about the Eldar faction currently under construction for the lobby shooter that will someday become an MMO. The faction will boast seven different classes, each with a clear-cut role.
“[For] example, the Howling Banshees are good at one thing—that’s charging at the enemy and chopping them up,” Lead Designer Brent Ellison explained. “So we’re giving them tools they need to do that, but that’s exactly what the Howling Banshees do and if they try to do anything else they’re going to be in trouble.”
Executive Producer Nathan Richardsson took on the Warhammer curse too. “Everybody is afraid that we’re gonna blow up like other 40K games,” he sighed. But Ellison was more positive: “We would already have blown up. We’ve had opportunities to blow up, but we haven’t blown up yet.”
As promised, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has closed down its founders program and gone live on Steam’s early access platform.
Now labeled a “massively multiplayer shooter” giving a “massive-scale third-person shooter experience,” the game is apparently being published by Bandai-Namco, which might explain Behaviour’s confidence about its 2016 funding and launch prospects in recent weeks. As we explained yesterday,
“Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson told players that the Steam launch wasn’t a ‘cashgrab’ and that the game was already funded such that it would launch this year regardless, but more money would mean more and faster content. ‘We are simply continuing [the founders program] in the Steam Early Access framework,’ he wrote.”
The companies have confirmed a 2016 console launch on PS4 and Xbox One as well. We’ve included the new in-engine cinematic trailer below.
If you were hoping to pick up an Eternal Crusade founder pack, today is the last day to hand over your money.
Behaviour Interactive announced earlier this month that it would be closing down the founder program in favor of an early access launch on Steam, which will allow access to the closed alpha without all the founder perks. The game’s Steam version will be priced for retail, though the company has vowed it will offer some sort of early adopter program for Mac and console players as well.
Following its announcement that it will discontinue Eternal Crusade’s founder pack program in favor of a Steam early access launch on January 25th, Behaviour Interactive has penned an FAQ for players about what that launch entails.
Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson reassures players that the game’s finances aren’t hurting (“Do you need more cashmoneys to launch the game this year?” “Nope. We’re funded.) and that the early access shift isn’t a “cashgrab”:
“[W]e strongly believe that the inclusion of more people, as early in the development process as possible will ultimately make a better game. We are simply continuing this program (previously called Founders) in the Steam Early Access framework.”
Eternal Crusade is preparing for Steam early access, says Behaviour Interactive Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson.
“We are now preparing to fully move over to the Early Access program on Steam, where you can easily get into our Closed Alpha with all the payment options they offer and the ease of use of the Steam platform. We’ll be communicating more about our Early Access launch in the coming weeks and our servers will of course remain open.”
Richardsson says sales of packages under the current Founders program will come to an end on January 25th when retail prices take effect. “We will strive to offer similar early adopter and influencer programs for our other platforms (Mac, Consoles etc) as we want other platforms to have that opportunity as well,” he explains.