by Ryan Phillip Hardesty
previewed on PC
The Cavalcade of Freaks
But just what demons, aliens and heretics will make their appearance at launch? The large number of races and their different abilities, styles and tactics has always been the most intriguing aspect of 40K and it is no different for the MMO. The question of playable races is, arguably, the biggest question for now, aside from the mystery surrounding the quality of the gameplay. Though nothing official has been revealed, it is not hard to imagine what furious creatures and humanoids will make their appearance. An even number will be necessary to balance the game’s two flagship sides, Order and Destruction. The Imperium of Man, 40K’s ‘human’ faction and the first side for Order, is a lock, but in what form? Will the Space Marines be solely playable? The Imperial Guard? Or will they both be an option under the banner of the Imperium?
The Imperium’s eternal enemy, the Chaos, is another lock. The Orcs made a prominent debut in the trailer, particularly in their ‘Deffkoptas’, and their canonical importance cannot be denied. That leaves the Eldar, the mystical elven-like warriors. Their importance, coupled with the need for another Order race to balance out Destruction’s Chaos and Orcs, would place them as the 4th candidate. Any talk of other races is mostly, if not entirely, speculation. Even then, if one is to believe that January rumor about the info leaked from a THQ company conference, any speculation is for naught – there will be only four races available at release, the four races mentioned above.
Following the brief E3 trailer and the developer’s code of quasi-silence, numerous other questions have flowed out, such as what classes will be included, how expansive the setting will be (what we know: it is well after the Horus Heresy and takes place in the Sargos Sector, 40K’s newest excuse for mind-blowing bloodshed), how professions in the game will work, how insane PvP will be, and what form of subscription fee will there be, if any (but considering all the money THQ has reportedly poured into the game, it is almost a guarantee you are going to be paying something). Hopefully most of this information will be revealed when Dark Millennium makes its next appearance at Gen Con.
A Promising, if Far, Future
The potential for Dark Millennium as a WoW competitor is heavy. The graphics look great (running on the same engine as the gorgeous Darksiders), offering a stark contrast to the bombastic and sometimes cartoonish WoW while still retaining some colorful splendor. Perhaps what makes Dark Millennium most promising is the depth of the 40K universe itself. All the various factions, sub-factions, plot threads, creatures, weapons, artifacts, planets and vehicles amount into an awe-inspiring mountain of potentiality. Not since Star Wars has a universe been so primed for an MMO. Blizzard had a somewhat deep universe to draw on several years ago when they gave birth to their behemoth but none of it compares to what currently lays at Vigil’s feet. With a built-in audience anxiously awaiting their product and a treasure trove of canon in their stock, Vigil need only create some solid gameplay in order to make it a hit. Danny Bilson, THQ’s core games vice president, recently stated they would like a million subscribers in order to deem Dark Millennium a success, and so far nothing and no one is saying that cannot happen.