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Maghorn

Maghorn's Warhammer40k: Eternal Crusade review

2 posts in this topic

My impressions of the game after following the 2 year dev cycle and playing for 30 hours. 

 

Like many other people, I bought into the idea of Eternal Crusade from the getgo. It wasn't hard to imagine, a Warhammer 40,000 game in a Planetside-like MMOFPS. I bought a founders package and dove into the game as soon as I could, and at first I liked what I was seeing. Behavior was very open with us alpha testers, telling us outright what the roadmap for getting to a seamless open world would be and what content we could expect, while also outright telling us that even if they kept to their original timetable they may not reach their end goal before launch. Lo and behold, they didn't make it.

So what exactly is Eternal Crusade? It's a third person MMOFPS which allows players to join an ongoing war on the planet Arkhona, which is being fought between the Imperial Space Marines, forces of Chaos, the savage Ork tribes and the enigmatic Craftworld Eldar. Each faction is unique in style, skill progression and combat proficiencies. Even the sub-factions are different from each other, not only having palette swaps but also including unique taunts, armor customization and special classes like the Blood Angels having Sanguinary Priests instead of normal Apothecaries, which serve the same function.

Now that we're clear on that, lets dig into the gameplay.

As I said before, Behavior did not meet their goal of an open seamless world, instead giving us arena style gameplay as a holdover until bigger maps can be implemented and tested. At the moment the game features two game sizes split between four game modes. Standard 15 v. 15 matches feature two types of point capture modes, one being linear and the other being nonlinear. The defending faction must ride out the timer while stopping the aggressor from capturing points to either dominate the chain, or control the points long enough to collect enough tickets to win. The 30 v. 30 gamemode is a fortress assault, where the attacker must capture the fortress by claiming its capture points or by defeating the defender through attrition. If PvE is more your speed there is a co-op mode where your team must progress through a Tyranid infested space hulk, completing various tasks and encountering more dangerous enemies along the way. To do this they must use 5 unique classes, or in the case of the Eldar, 5 of 8 classes, (more are confirmed to be added to the other races in coming content patches) as well as vehicles, including Rhinos, Wave Serpents, and Wartraks that serve as mobile spawn points for squads, and Predator tanks for anti-infantry support. The Wave Serpent and Wartrak serve both purposes.

Each race comes with different racial bonuses and debufs. Loyalist Space Marines get stronger armor and more accurate weapons, Chaos Space Marines have mid-range armor, harder hitting weapons and the Marks of Chaos which provide various bonuses and tweak the Marine's taunts and appearances. Eldar have Striking Scorpions, which can cloak and Screaming Banshees which can scream at enemies to suppress them, while sacrificing armor and health. and the Orks have extra health and deal more damage at the cost of armor and accuracy.

 

This is the point where we come onto the major issues of the game, namely the balance and the poor server stability. If you want to win every single game without fail and have the rest of the community hate you, you go Eldar. Their weapons are extremely powerful, being able to clear massive numbers of hostile players in single hits. Orks are just as bad with their one-hit weaponry if they manage to get in close enough, otherwise they're easy to gun down unless they hit you with a rokkit launcha first. Space Marines and Chaos Marines are fairly balanced against each other, but they've also been out the longest. Loyalists do have a major edge thanks to the Storm Shield for their ground assault class, which can absorb a full magazine worth of ammo before needing to recharge.

Melee combat is also very frustrating. The mechanics of it are easy to get, it's rock paper scissors. You press the right mouse button to do a fast attack, or a lunge while sprinting, hold it for a strong attack and hold both mouse buttons to do a bash, which stuns your opponent for a few seconds. Augmenting this is a dodge ability, preformed by moving in a directing and pressing the spacebar. This system is broken, not because the concept is bad but because the server lag and overpowered weapons make it broken. In my opinion, the concept is better than the spam-fest that was WH40K: Space Marine's melee system, but EC needs a lot more polish before it works properly.

 

Anyone watching the development of the game closely can see what went wrong. At first Behavior was moving at a decent pace, and was very open to feedback from alpha testers. In the past few months, however, it became content quantity over quality as Bandai Namco clearly cut the game's budget and timeline down, condensing the development cycle for the game down to 2 years, where any other MMO would take much much longer. It can also be assumed that the free-to-play element of locking the Eldar and Space Marine factions behind a one time paywall while making Orks a free race was probably dropped at Namco's "request."

But for all the issues Eternal Crusade has, it does manage to create a perfect environment for the game. It fits into the 40k universe perfectly with all the detail put into the characters and maps. A bolter feels like a bolter. Eternal Crusade has the outline of something that could be a beacon of light for 40k fans among a growing tide of beige shovel-ware. If the game had been given another year and maybe a bit of a larger budget to work with it would have been a masterpiece for us to look forward to, and it makes me upset that it ended up this way. However, more content will be coming soon. As I mentioned before, Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines will be receiving Terminators as free content in the coming months, and the balance issues with Eldar and Orks aren't hard to solve at all. 

I would recommend that anybody looking to buy Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade keep an eye on the patch notes and wait for a few more months. Behavior has stated that their roadmap hasn't changed, and the game they promised us is still on the way but they aren't making any more promises they may not be able to keep. For those of us who bought in early, it may be rough around the edges but it's still fun to play with friends.

 

I don't do numbered reviews like Joe does, so take this picture of a glorious brother of Chaos. My name is Maghorn, Warmaster of the Angry Army.

warhammer_40k_chaos.jpg

BlackOpsElf, QwiK and DoctorEvil like this

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And before anyone asks, no, the four races currently in the game are the only ones there are. Xyz race is not on the roadmap and may never be implemented. 

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