So I wanted to go down a list of all the ideas being thrown out there and evaluate them as a long time WAR player and someone who has a vague knowledge about the lore of Warhammer. In the father post which will start a chain of posts I cited Mythic’s carrots which have riled up the community. Essentially from two phrases, “the Red Plague had come” and “we want to shout it from the rooftops…but not just yet” the player base got excited and began to dream up what this could mean. Thus I enter the first hypothetical expansion scenario – that of a new race. For the purpose of this thread I shall primarily use Skaven as an example due to the high level of popularity as shown in this thread. I shall lump two scenarios in one post because they are similar situations with different outcomes. For the purpose of this thread and all “Hypothetical Expansions” I will state the possibility and what it would entail, evaluate the pros and cons, evaluate how this fits in the Warhammer lore, evaluate the possible financial impact for Warhammer (because lets be honest, the aim of any company is to increase profits), and state my take on the situation. Buckle up!
Scenario 1 : A Third Faction
The Possibility: One of the most called for expansions to WAR has been the call for a third faction – and you know anyone calling for a third faction is most likely from DAoC where three factions did exist, and whenever one grew too powerful the other two allied to balance the situation. What this would do for WAR is if one side was zerging, a similar situation could occur where two smaller factions allied against a common foe.
The Requirements: If we were aiming for a truly balanced third faction then naturally it would have to consist of three races. Otherwise, if we use our example of Skaven, if they alone composed of the third faction their numbers would depend solely on Skaven popularity – there would be no dynamics in terms of different archtypes. When you accept that at least two races are required to compose of a faction, you have to look for who would ally with the Skaven. Also if a third faction was introduced it would somehow have to be meshed into the existing pairings and maps.
The Pros: As stated above, this would be a good way to stop one side with greater numbers from constantly zerging all zones. A secondary pro would be the addition of new races which would raise excitement amongst the WAR community which is dying for new content – in this case new races, new maps, new mechanics.
The Questions to be raised:
- Three-Way Tug of WAR? – In the current WAR system it is a two way tug of war between Order and Destruction; the points either go for team blue, or team red. Should team yellow be introduced, then the victory tug of war would be messier. The problem may seem simple in terms of VPs but let us delve into the realm of T4 and a pairing we are all familiar with – the Empire v. Chaos pairing. If the ‘Skaven’ faction and their allies were in this fight how would you branch them out? The easiest solution is for a branch off of Praag to a ‘home zone’ for the Skaven followed by their fort and capital.
- With whom dost thou ally? – So far it all seems easy but what happens when the Skaven lock Praag – which realm unlocks? Does the WAR move to Reikland, in which case Order would be ganged up on, or to Chaos Wastes where Destruction would be on the defense? Or do both zones unlock and then Destruction locks Reikland and Order locks Chaos Wastes and we’re in a mess. You see in this two way tug of war between capitals it seems like injecting a third realm would complicate matters.
- Expanding RvR lakes to accommodate new faction – Currently each faction in T4 has three keeps and a fort, would Mythic add a third keep in Praag for Skaven and two more in their home territory? In this case Praag would have to be expanded somehow. Underground say ye??
- What if the third faction became predominant? – Would Order ally with Destruction to hold them at bay? I hardly think so. Perhaps the greatest issue.
- Crush da Newbs! – Lets be honest, it would take several months before a new faction would become a serious force. Two years into WAR both sides can field dozens of rr80s on the battlefield, a third faction would be the underdog for quite some time before they gained the renown to be on par with the big kids.
The Lore: Warhammer’s lore, although not clear cut, pretty much doesn’t give room for a faction that swings either way, at least not a faction composed of three races or twelve characters to fulfill all the arch-types. Sure sometimes races in “Order” fight other races from “Order” but they never gang up on each other, its usually an individual struggle. However when “Order” fights “Destruction” they do tend to ally against “Destruction”. “Destruction” likewise fights other “Destruction” races, but again they rarely gang up on each other; in fact, they rarely ally together against Order. One could argue that the Lizardmen are neutral and wouldn’t fight with Order, but they certainly wouldn’t fight with Destruction against Order, however if necessity demanded it, they would fight with Order against Destruction to survive. In most cases any race that would exist in a third faction would work easiest in the two existing factions.
The Finances: Undeniably the introduction of new races and new places to fight would bring an influx of players to Warhammer, most likely many returning to play a new race and test the waters to see how things had changed.
The Hypothetical Solution: As much as people are clamoring for a third faction, the lore of Warhammer doesn’t easily allow for a faction that would fight both existing factions and also ally with both existing factions. The favored and beloved armies such as Skaven, Lizardmen, etc. would work best if forced into a lore-bending alliance with Order or Destruction. The most logical implementation for a ‘Third Faction’ would be a mercenary race that exists in the Warhammer Army list, such as the Dogs of War or the Ogres. These races could be hired to fight for either side – perhaps a mercenary market where Order or Destruction guilds could hire a mercenary guild at their listed price for a week or so, times and prices could vary of course, and while hired that guild could only fight for that realm.
Conclusion: In my opinion a third realm for Warhammer is not a viable expansion. It would require a lot of reconstruction of current zones (which wouldn’t be a bad thing…) but I hardly expect the developers to do this if they can’t fix things like a gate in Tomb of the Vulture Lord. Additionally any popular race, such as the Skaven, would work best in the existing factions because in the world of Warhammer team blue is far outnumbered by team red, and there aren’t many guys in team yellow. A neutral faction could be implemented which would be hired out to the highest bidder but of course whats to stop the big guys from hiring all the mercenaries to further beat the weak guys into a fine powder…?