Grim Darkness, Far Future, Orks Free To Play
Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade is the upcomming Warhammer 40K (duh) MMORPG developed by the little known Behaviour studios. Very little is known for sure - the interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun is more PR than information - but MMORPG.com had an exclusive preview.
The game will supposedly have four factions - the Space Marines (well, of course), Chaos Marines, Eldar and Orks. Tyranids are there as an NPC PvE element, because all 'Nid fans are basically bots anyway. They all fight over the control of a planet - and every three months, a winner is determined and war (only war) moves to another world. It's unknown how different the worlds will be. But on them, you'll have procedurally generated dungeons full of Nids. It's promised that if you, say, clear a mine of the most boring race in the game, your faction will gain the mine's resources. Though it's a lot better if you answer the call of the player elected faction leaders and help take a fortress that's really important for your people. Fortresses, by the way, will be destructible and might be a little worse for wear after capture.
You gain XP for skills and Requisition points for better gear (and decking out your personal ship with Marine/Ork swag) and probably help - airships and bombardments were mentioned, allthough I doubt the appearance of vehicles. Still, PVP battles are promised to be vaguelly massive.
Now for the part that got some people's panties in a twist. While you can play Dark Angels (probably chosen because they're both pretty vanilla AND colored dark green instead of, say, yellow), Iron Warrios (they're probably the least tentacly of Chaos Space Marines) and as of yet unknown Craftworld Eldar or Ork Clan...only Ork Boy class will be free. And, as far as game balance goes, it will take five Boyz to take down a Marine.
On one side, people bitch that nobody will want to play cattle. On the other hand, this will help make up the Ork numbers (of the four armies, the Orks are the only ones who rely - and can rely - on numbers). The argument that the game is "pay to win" is kind of moot here since free players can't access 3 of the game races and the other Ork classes. For me, it's just another iteration of "play 20 levels/14 days free". And an interesting one, because let's be serious, when was the last time that an MMORPG had real imbalance between the factions?
I'm more troubled by how tall an order this is for Behaviour, who have done nothing like this before. Sure, they have some of the staff that were fired from Funcom Montreal and some other veterans, but that's a lot of work, considering the 2015 release date.
On a less serious note, I can't wait for Kotaku and Escapist to bitch about the lack of female Space Marines, CSM and Orks (hint: orks don't even have women) in the game.