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How Warhaven blends medieval melee combat with magical immortals

Warhaven is bringing visceral 16v16 medieval fantasy competitive multiplayer to PC and Shacknews spoke with the game's director to learn more.


The path to glory lies on the battlefield in the upcoming Warhaven. It's a class-based competitive multiplayer game like few others out there, taking players into a Medieval fantasy realm and arming them with swords and sorcery. On top of that, players can turn the tide of battle by becoming powerful godlike beings known as Immortals. All of this adds up to some intense 16v16 multiplayer action.

We were eager to learn more about Warhaven and were happy to hear from Game Director Eunseok Yi at Nexon Korea. He offers an overview of what Warhaven is, as well as what players can expect to see down the road.

Clashing with swords in Warhaven

Source: Nexon

Shacknews: There are a few games like this on the market right now: a game where teams can battle with medieval weaponry. What would you say sets Warhaven apart from the pack?

Eunseok Yi, Game Director at Nexon Korea: Warhaven is not based in a historically accurate medieval European setting. Herarth, the world within Warhaven, is a multicultural world filled with elements from fantasy like magic and Immortals. Soldier characters can transform into an incarnation of the Immortals during battle by acheiving kills and assits. Because the Soldiers and the Immortals play quite differently, players will be able to use magic and supernatural powers as Immortals and have a lot of fantastical fun!

Although the technological background comes from the medieval era, there are unique items created or brought by Immortals through time and space; these may operate as an over-technology in the setting of Warhaven. We're hoping to provide a different interpretation of medieval fantasy.

Shacknews: Walk me through a typical Warhaven session. What are the main objectives in a typical Onslaught or Arms Race session and how do teams go about ultimately winning?

Yi: In the Onslaught mode, players fight to capture footholds and drive back the enemy. A team can claim victory by capturing and holding more footholds which deplete foes' military strength. Each foothold provides different strategies; one is for quick respawning, one is for depleting the opponents' military strength, and the last one has a huge canon overlooking a courtyard. Great for crowd control.

Arms Race is a mode where players escort six war machines (three for each team) after capturing three separate footholds. Protecting and escorting the war machines to their goalposts will allow teams to destroy their opponent's giant totems.

Shacknews: What is your approach to map design? How do you determine where to place strategic points, such as ones that contain war cannons and siege engines?

Yi: The dev team conducts play tests every day, and this has been something we've been doing since our prototype days. We start by playing on a "gray map," which is basically a map with no textures nor colors, but only big building blocks to show the overall layout of a map.When the map structure has been decided to some extent after series of tests, we move on to apply art details that fit the style of Herarth. The strategic points are positioned in the initial design of the map, but we constantly move and reorganize them until the last moment, based on feedback.

Shacknews: Can you explain the four different Immortal characters? Who are they and what abilities do they offer on the battlefield?

Martyr is an Immortal who magically returns from the dead after being burnt at the stake for hiding a war deserter. She's an Immortal who has a strong sense of justice, and she's extremely capable at crowd control, close encounters, and definitely a well balanced Immortal to use in all types of situations.

Raven is a magical crow transformed into the form of a human. The crow on Raven's arm is actually an evil wizard who has to live his remaining life as a bird to repent for his sins. Raven is one of our most powerful long-range characters, and her magical crow bombs can cause havoc on the battlefield.

Hoet is another Immortal. He's a pompous aristocrat and a former interrogator who dies under mysterious circumstances and is reborn as a half-undead. He is a supporter character who specializes in providing allies with protective barriers, reviving allies from afar, mass resurrections, and restraint magic.

Darkgale is a horse and rider duo. Darkgale is an Immortal horse, and her rider is Sadru, a simple fisherman turned Immortal, chosen by the horse god herself. Darkgale can stampede through crowds and skewer enemies with magical lances.

Shacknews: What has been the most common piece of feedback that you've seen from the player base following Warhaven's recent open beta?

Yi: During the beta, we received feedback from various players stating they came expecting For Honor-like gameplay, but ended up experienced something very different. For Honor's gaming experience centers around mainly 1-on-1 combat, whereas Warhaven tries to provide a more N vs N, large-scale battle experience.

Aiming cannons in Warhaven

Source: Nexon

Shacknews: How do you feel the open beta went? Are there any specific issues the team wishes to address or features that you'd like to work on based on what you've seen?

Yi: Players gave a lot of positive feedback that the visceral combat was fun and enjoyable. However, a lot of new players also said they had difficulties in understanding the rules of each match, and the in-game controls. Additionally, fans of the melee slash genre commented that they wanted more depth in 1-on-1 combat situations. Based on the feedback, we hope we can further develop the game to become ""easy to start, hard to master""; an experience which allows casual and hardcore players alike to enjoy Warhaven.

Shacknews: You mention in the FAQ on your Steam page that more combatant perks may be coming. Are there any ideas you're floating around?

Yi: One of the many areas we're constantly tweaking and revamping are Perks. A few ideas we currently have in mind include drastically changing how skills are performed skills (e.g., Guardian has a skill where he can plant his shield down and stand his ground, protecting allies behind him. What if he could also move around while doing this?), and adding another slot for Traits (which is currently limited to three slots) to diversify setting options for Immortals.

Shacknews: When do you hope to release Warhaven?

Yi: Although we are still adjusting our roadmap, we are targeting an early access launch in 2023.

Updates on Warhaven's ongoing development continue to come in on a regular basis. The game was recently revealed at CES 2023 as one of a number of titles that will receive DLSS 3 support. It's a game that has certainly landed on our radar and one that we'll continue to monitor at Shacknews. Look for Warhaven to arrive on PC in early access later this year. For more on what Nexon has already revealed, check out the Warhaven website.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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