RPS Demands: Rats For The Rat Blog!

By Kieron Gillen on September 19th, 2008 at 4:00 pm.

There's got to be a Skaven/Raving gag somewhere, but I can't manage it.
RPS is not unreasonable. We grasp why the starting races of Warhammer were chosen – three matched pairs of dark mirrors who have every reason to be at each others throats forever. We also know that Mythic’s next step will be reintegrating the cut cities and classes, which we’re pleased to hear will be totally free. We’re fine with that. We understand. However, when all that’s done, we’re going to tell you what you’re going to do next.

You’re going to let us play Skaven. Because otherwise, we’re going to cut you up with knives.

To some, being the first full day of release, this may be a little early to actually start campaigning for an add-on pack. It can never be too soon. Because if we wait, it risks someone over at Mythic having already decided something like “You know – I think the next step should be Vampire Counts versus The Moot” or something booze-addled. By starting now, we can campaign, and make them see sense.

(When we say “see sense” we mean “obey our random whims”.)

If you don’t know anything about Warhammer, you won’t understand or craving for Skaven thus wondering why we should be so het up about them rather than those guys from The Moot we mentioned earlier. Let me explain.

Skaven are a race of subterranean chaos-rat sadistic cowards who amass enormous slave armies, throw them en masse at their foes then nuke everyone with warpstone weaponry – the slaves being just something to make sure their foes stay still for a bit. Alternatively, the warpstone weaponry malfunctions and disintegrates its operators, anyone standing near the operators and anyone who the operators have met on the way to the battlefield. Either way, hi-jinks and death ensue.

They also have a habit of adorably doubling up their word-words before slicing someone up in a right nasty way.

Putting aside our enormous affection for the children of the Underempire, the main reason why they’ll be the ideal race to add for player characters is actually to do with their culture. You see, they actually have a culture. Anyone else half as infected with Chaos as they are spend their time eating their own limbs, but these industrious rodents have built a proper hierarchical structure, with the Lords of Decay at the top, Countless slaves in the bottom and a mass of varying degrees of suffering in the middle.

But Skaven society is run by clans. There’s a dominant four, each with highly distinctive characteristics. Think on that. Four. As in, the four character classes you’d ideally need for a new race. They’re the Clans Skryre, Eshin, Pestilens and Moulder. Or Rats with crazy mechanical bits and bobs, ninja rats, Plague-ridden rats and rats who try to crossbreed a rat with a tank.

The class-types write themselves. Eshin’s is your DPS fighter stealth sort. Pestilens, who have a habit of using censers leaking poisonous fumes as flails, would be some manner of tanky sort. The Skryre’s array of mechanical oddbits would make him a ranged-damage guy. And the Moulder would be a pet class with a splash of hyperdrug warpstone healing.

But with pets that look like this:

We repeat: Ninja-rats! It’s like a ninja… but is also a rat. The guy at Games Workshop who made ‘em up probably killed himself on the way home that day, knowing that his entire life was downhill from that great apex. Hell, we wish we were rat ninjas. And since that’s unlikely, clearly we charge Mythic with letting us pretend to be one in a videogame. We don’t even mind that it makes us sound as if we want to be Furries. We want to be ninja rats.

(Actually, Kieron would go for the Skryre, Alec the Moulder and Jim would continue to pretend to be a spaceship in Eve, but that’s beside the point)

This leaves one problem for Mythic to overcome before releasing the greatest MMO-expansion pack featuring skaven ever. Who will they rodents be paired up against? The Skaven have had a fight with just about everyone, from the Tomb Kings of Northern Arabia to the Knights of Middenheim. They’re even the Chaos race who have no truck with the four great Chaos Powers, instead worshiping their own God, The Horned Rat. But while no-one really likes them, it’s also true they have no natural enemy, in a High Elf/Dark Elf, Dwarf/Goblin and Empire/Chaos way. As far as the Skaven are concerned, the whole world is looking at their bit of cheese funny. They don’t have a nemesis.

But this is Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. We need a partner. This problem is, we’re sure, why Mythic haven’t already announced WARHAMMER: AGE OF RECKONING: GET YOUR SKAVEN HERE. Who’s their mortal enemy?

Luckily, we’ve done some thinking. Here’s a handy map of the Old World. Skavenblight – the Skaven’s Capital – is marked with a handy red dot. There’s other Skaven cities we could use, but Skavenblight has the best name. These things count.

Now, here’s the pros and cons of all the nearby options:

BRETONNIA:
Pros: Land of Chivalry and excelling in a variety of hard-hitting Knights. With the Empire’s heavy-armoured guys being left out of the game, there’s room for the guys in the Plate Armour.
Cons: They’re the French.

ESTALIA:
Pros: They’re really very near. They’re an unexplored part of the Warhammer world.
Cons: There’s no bloody source material to base it off.

TILEA:
Pros: Unexplored part of the Warhammer world but with slightly more material than the Estalians.
Cons: But still nowhere near enough to base a race off.

THE EMPIRE:
Pros: Yes, I know – they’re in the game already. But there’s a lot of Empire-originated characters who’ve yet to be integrated into the game, and this would give a chance to lob in a few more agreeably puritanical humans with dirty-great SIGMAR tats. Also, rather than having to invent a second capital city, you could have Altdorf exist on two battlefronts. Having it pincered between Chaos and the Skaven would certainly capture the perpetual sense of imminent disaster. Alternative, you could implement one of the large cities in the south of the Empire, like Nuln.
Cons: We’ve already done the bloody Empire.

THE WOOD ELVES:
Pros: While not a natural Skaven enemy, this – on the quiet – makes a lot of sense. The Skaven are corrupted nature, while the Wood Elves are about integration with the lands. Based in the Loren Forests, they’re in the right area. Plus, they’ve got quite the variety of entertaining troops – the Wardancer is the most fun an Elf can have short of waiting for the 41st millennium and joining the Harlequins. Not that Eldar and Elves are anything at all like each other.
Cons: They’ve done Elves already.

Our personal preference would be the Wood Elves, but really, it’s all secondary to getting to “be” the Skaven. Do whatever, Mythic. Just do something. Hell, Skaven versus the Moot sounds better and better the more we think about it.

Hence, our campaign starts here. Rock Paper Shotgun will be bringing you updates as we march towards inevitable victory. To show your support, we’ve a banners you can use to show your allegiance to the underempire and publicise this noble cause. Just cut and post the code, and display it with pride on your blog or similar places…

CUT THIS CODE:
<a HREF=”http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=3031″><img SRC=”http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/ratbanner.jpg”/></a>

Oh – anyone else fancy making some agitprop, put the link to your banner in the thread.

Go forth, brothers. Change the world!

(The world in question being the world of Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. Not the real world. We don’t want Skaven in the real world, unless we can be one. And a high up one. Not a slave. Yes.)

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94 Comments »

  1. Spludge says:

    Fun Facts about WAR: The Standard edition shipped to Australia and New Zealand contained an error on the discs, born sometime in the local copying process.

    That error was that the game’s executable was missing.

    Granted, some clever dick has found a way around it, and they promise a fix tomorrow, but… it’s the freaking executable! Would you sell a TV without the power button?

  2. cullnean says:

    best bit = (Actually, Kieron would go for the Skryre, Alec the Moulder and Jim would continue to pretend to be a spaceship in Eve, but that’s beside the point)

  3. schizoslayer says:

    Here’s a thing: If Rat Ogres were actually the tank class you may be able to get Moulder to be a healing class in a similar manner to the Warrior Priest. The fumes from their Warpstone flails actually having a curative/buff effect.

  4. Alex says:

    Me me wants warpstone… powerful *sniff sniff* warpstone… it will me mine mine. Mine alone!! ALONE!!!!

    I never understood why skaven are not in the release.

    By the way… do you know this place? Perfect for the starting capitol.

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=55.887972,8.357635&spn=0.01728,0.038624&z=15

  5. MRig says:

    The Wood Elves in Loren are hugely isolationist, and anyway their main enemies are Beastmen. Beastmen vs. Wood Elves (either Loren or from the Empire’s forests) is an ideal matchup for somewhere down the line.

    But who then do we put the Skaven against? Howabout Dogs of War? It’s a broad term for the Old World’s mercenaries. Most of them come from Tilea (Italy), but you can draw them from pretty much anywhere. Zorro-style swordsmen? Sharpshooting crossbowmen? Guy with an ogre? The Empire’s gonna need to bolster its ranks from somewhere, especially if rat-ninjas start popping out of the ground.

  6. Okami says:

    Rat Ogres really aren’t any more intelligent than animals, they’d make for bad player characters.

    The great thing about the Skaven is, that you can take anybody as their enemy, because they’re everywhere. Of course you couldn’t make Skavenblight their capital city in this case, but that’s not too much of a problem. After all, you never fight in Nagaroth as the Dark Elves too.

    I don’t think that Bretonnians would make for a good WAR race, because they’re basically an all cavalry army and they don’t have too many different unit types: It’s eithe mounted knight or peasant. Nobody wants to play a peasant. Ok, they do have their funny enchantresses. But still not enough variety for an MMO.

    Lizardmen might make a good match. There are Skaven in the Southlands and in Lustria and the two races are arch-enemies. Then again, both these locations are far removed from the old world and the lizard men, though technically ‘good’ because they fight against chaos, don’t make for good allies for humans, dwarves and elves. Though there would be enough variety for 4 classes. (Saurus Tank, Skink Ranged DPS, Skink Pet Class, hmmm… Tyrannosaurus Rex)

    Actually, another Empire Faction might be a good choice. There’s Nuln and Middenheim to choose from. Middenheim would be a good fit, lore-wise, because when the Skaven first invaded the Empire, it was the Count Mandrad Skavenslayer of Middenheim (later Emperor) who finally defeated them. Middenheim would make for a great capital city as well. And they’d have enough material for classes: Knight of the White Wolf, Priest of Ulric, Amber Mage and.. whatever..

    Nuln would be a pretty good fit too (the Skaven attacked Nuln as well, but were defeated by Gotrek and Felix) and has enough character for a few classes as well. Think hand gunner, engineer, stuff like that.

    Yes, I was a Skaven player. Why do you ask?

  7. Tom says:

    That error was that the game’s executable was missing.

    You didn’t hear? That’s their new copy protection scheme. But don’t worry, there will be a crack out there fixing the issue any time soon…Be patient!

  8. Kieron Gillen says:

    Mrig: Dogs of War don’t have a capital and who cares about the Tileans?

    Okami: Pet class. As in, the master has a pet Rat Ogre like the Squid Herder.

    (Did think of the Lizardmen as a match, and I suspect were this is a more serious article, I’d have mentioned ‘em)

    That said, pleased no-one is suggesting Skaven shouldn’t be introduced.

    KG

  9. Morph says:

    Discussing this the other day we thought Skaven and Lizardmen were a natural good/bad guy pair. Would also take you to some jungle terrain. And playing a Saurus would be cool, you know it would.

    Then you get Bretonnians vs Undead and Wood Elves vs Beastmen. Writes itself.

  10. Devil says:

    Maybe you wouldn’t be furries yourselves but I bet every time you form a group there’d be some creepy guy rubbing his avatar on you…

  11. jambamagamba says:

    I fully support this ratman crusade on the condition that Mythic never, EVER put halflings in.

  12. Lu-Tze says:

    We also came to the Lizardmen conclusion. STEGADON MOUNTS. But yeah, Skaven kick ass.

    In terms of casting the Lizardmen into the current 4 class system they have…
    Saurus – Tank
    Kroxigor – Melee DPS
    Skinks – Ranged DPS
    Slaan – Support/Healer

  13. mujadaddy says:

    …and now we see the problem with Two-and-Only-Two factions. This is the same thing that pissed me off about Star Wars Galaxies — You’ve got this rich, 30-year history of every-man-for-himself subtly nuanced factions, and you’re telling me that I can’t declare myself a Tusken Raider and PVP with Jawa-aligned players????

    But, directly on-topic, Kislev. Duh.

  14. Hmm-hmm. says:

    Skaven vs Lizardmen could work.. the Bretonnians were the ones I though of first, though. What with their unequal society and their lack of care for modern amenities such as hygiene on a city-level, their cities and ports (esp. in the south) have a history of Skaven infestations.

    But Morph’s solution would probably work better if you’d be planning to include undead as well.

  15. Xagarath says:

    Introducing both Skaven and Lizardmen would probably sell me on the game.
    They’re both among the most colourful, unusual Warhammer races.

  16. Carra says:

    The guy at Games Workshop who made ‘em up probably killed himself on the way home that day, knowing that his entire life was downhill from that great apex.

    Pfff, it’s clearly a rippof of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

  17. Durbin says:

    Including Skaven would mean that I’d deff have to buy this, and take part in my first MMO :o

  18. Thesper says:

    The thing that’s being missed is that if they put Skaven in, unless their enemies were something more awesome than rat ninjas (perhaps dinosaur ninjas, so maybe lizardmen would work) no one would play as them.

    Solution: Skaven civil war! Or better yet open up their lands as a 3 way battle front – Order v Destruction v GIANT RATMEN OMG.

    So you’d have to tack a 3rd battlefront onto the Inevitable City vs Altdorf and let each faction fight the others.

  19. Okami says:

    @Kieron: This was in response to schizoslayer suggesting, that Rat Ogres would be a good choice for a tank class. A moulder beastmaster with a Rat Ogre pet would be seven kinds of awesome.

    Oh god. I can’t write anymore about this. Just thinking about the possibilities is making me all giddy and excited, causing my brain to short out in a massive case of nerdgasm..

  20. Kieron Gillen says:

    Okami: Ah, yes. Sorry. NERDGASM.

    KG

  21. Riotpoll says:

    Because none of the other races you listed for opponents are a)ninja-rats b)dinosaurs with teeth and swords! Then the logical conclusion is Lizardmen, because they’re nearly as awesome as the Skaven. The Psychic Toad is pretty win too.

    Please strike-out Wood Elves, the biggest bunch of pansies ever invented. And they don’t fit war, as they never go out to conquer people. (I know the lizardmen don’t either, but they’re bloody dinosaurs!)

  22. garren says:

    Skaven = Underground zones.

    Enough said.

    Oh yea and Skavenblight ftw baby.

  23. marko2te says:

    As a long time Skaven player I would be overjoyed with addition of ratties in WAR.

    As for classes they would probably be something like this a plague priest as melee DPS, engineer as caster/support, packmaster as pet master/healer and gutter runner as compulsory rat ninja.

    Since Skaven dont have strong melee tanks packmasters pets would be used to fill that hole.

  24. Matt says:

    I wholeheartedly support this idea and would even start playing fantasy MMOs again should they follow your grand plan of warpcheese.

    Incidentally, Skaven were also the best warband in Mordheim, which should be the follow up to the Necromunda MMO I’m still feverishly awaiting.

  25. Ghazi says:

    Yes, yes. Quick, quick. Because Skaven are crazier than Gobbos. And they haven’t been done to death elsewhere.

  26. cyrenic says:

    Skaven vs. Lizardmen sounds the most interesting to someone not familiar with the Warhammer lore. Adding another elf or human faction to Order seems a bit redundant.

  27. schizoslayer says:

    @ Okami:

    I just liked the idea of playing a ridiculously big Rat to be honest.

    I would actually map the classes thus:

    GutterRunner = Melee DPS
    Plague Monk = Melee/Support (Buff/Debuff a’la Warrior Priest)
    Skyre Engineer = Ranged DPS (Dual Warplock Pistols or Warplock Rifles)
    Moulder Beastmaster = Proxy Tank (Choose from Rat Ogre or Swarm of Rats as pets)

    If things got desperate then you can always fall back to StormVermin as tanks and Warlocks as casters/healers but they aren’t anywhere near as cool.

  28. Heliocentric says:

    Necromunda mmo cant be a bloody turn based skill activation game. Why do they do that to every mmo apart from *sigh* planetside.

  29. Ben Hazell says:

    Don’t the Skaven also live under Empire cities?
    Their capital could be right underneath Aldorf, connected by sewers and wells. Then there could be a struggle outside the walls, and a struggle to purge the underground… and more Empire classes is a better bet than the other options. Warhammer’s weighted quite heavily towards cool baddies , who all fight each other – so much so I’m surprised the developers trapped themselves within the Order v Chaos war.

  30. Citizen Parker says:

    Anything but more Elves. The High Elf faction seems so half-heartedly added when you compare their lackluster world and nearly-identical looking classes (Shadow Warriors aside, of course) to Empire and Dwarves. It’s really my only complaint so far with this otherwise wonderful gem.

    I wholeheartedly support the Skaven / Lizardmen idea, but I’d vote for giving Order back Hammerer and Knight of the Blazing Sun first. Order seems to really be hurting for melee players aside from Witch Hunters and Iron Breakers

  31. Nick says:

    Wood elves would be more interesting than High Elves.

  32. erratic_prophet says:

    Thank you! I’m glad someone finally said it. As soon as they even mention Skaven as a playable race I will pick up this game. As it is now, meh.

  33. Wallace says:

    “They have to do Skaven for the next race” has been running through my head since I got to Altdorf. It just makes so much sense.

  34. andy says:

    …i think someone has too much time on their hands. no significant other? ;)

  35. Johnnemann says:

    I do not play WAR.

    If Skaven were introduced, I would at least try WAR.

    Your move, Mythic.

  36. Paul S says:

    Actually, I love the High Elf stuff. It’s brilliant – but it is catering to different tasts than the other stuff, I suppose.

    Skaven are really a no-brainer. Wood Elves would be the natural next Order race, IMO. Wardancers!

  37. Rudolf says:

    I demand a vertical banner asap, come on!

  38. Jockie says:

    I seem to remember Paul Barnett saying in an interview somewhere that he -loves- Skaven, surely they are a shoe in for the first expansion anyway.

  39. chesh says:

    I think I’ll break my “I don’t want to play any MMO but FFXI” stance if they add Skaven. Skaven, fuck yes.
    Also, my coworkers now look at me funny because this post had me cackling madly. Funnier than they did before at any rate.

  40. perilisk says:

    Eh, the only warhammer computer game I’ve played featured Skaven as the main antagonists. So I’m for it, despite never playing MMOs on principle.

  41. Ergates says:

    How about some cats?

  42. undead dolphin hacker says:

    What are you talking about? Most MMORPG players aren’t any more intelligent than animals either. It’s perfect!

    (DISCLAIMER: I’ve played like EVERY MMO EVAR and am currently playing WAR. And to be fair, most MMORPGs don’t require more than animal-level intelligence to play anyway. And my cat is smarter than me.)

  43. Radiant says:

    I read a little way through this article, got to the bit where you described the different types of rats and thought “this must be Gillen”.

  44. AbyssUK says:

    Shit if I can play as Splinter am sold!

  45. Janto says:

    Skaven are an obvious next additional race to Chaos, and of all the options to fight them, the only really strong one on the Order side is Lizardmen. Admittedly, I used to play Lizardmen, but given that the only other serious contenders are Bretonnia and Wood Elves, the lumbering Lizardmen against the scurrying Skaven works best in my mind. Plus, Lizardmen could open up another front on the New World against Dark Elves.

  46. fanciestofpants says:

    For the love of god, Lizardmen on Order would not bloody work! Just try to picture a Saurus Temple guard, sauntering along the streets of altdorf.. “Excuse me my good man*tips tophat courteously*! Might I enquire where I could indulge in a bit of malt beer?” NO NO NO!

    In before lore lawyers; Yes I’m aware the lizardmen helped the High elves way back in the good ole days, it doesn’t matter, no one in the warhammer world bloody likes them anymore(Don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome, but they belong on destruction if anything).

    Skaven vs. Bretonians or woodelves please. But vampire counts first. I WANT TO PLAY A GRAVE GUARD… or Beastmen..

  47. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Wow, epic HTML fail.

    My last post was in reference to the quote, “Rat Ogres really aren’t any more intelligent than animals, they’d make for bad player characters. “

  48. Weylund says:

    You guys honestly think they’d choose lizard men over Wood Elves? Elves are easy to animate, and Wood Elves, as far as I recall, pretty much single-handedly expanded the playerbase of Warhammer when they came out a couple years back.

    @AbyssUK: Learn your lore, man. “Splinter” isn’t a damned Skaven. He’s a Bretonnian. He rides a horse. Duh.

  49. danarchist says:

    Actually one of the funniest things I have found in the game was the presence of elves and dwarves in groups with witch hunters. Witch hunters think their is barely any difference between the allied races and the enemies, pretty much the attitude of the imperium in 40k. Having only two “sides” in a world as huge and epic as warhammer is like the football league having only two teams. Lizardmen, mercs, wood elves all could be a third faction easily, as would the vamps, skaven and undead armies. Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way, maybe a whole nother set of factions would be better lore wise. If I remember right wood elves and high elves don’t get along all that well.

  50. Kieron Gillen says:

    Skaven and Undead would be at each others throats though, lore wise.

    KG

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