Remembering Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

librarianToday marks the end of a long journey, the end of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

My time with Mythic Entertainment began back in 2007 when I was hired as a concept artist to work on the game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. During my three years at Mythic I worked with a lot of talented artists to bring Warhammer Online to life. Much of the work I did there has never been seen before by the public. Even the concepts I show today are only a fraction of the work I did while employed by Mythic Entertainment.

I probably created hundreds of concepts during my time there. I also worked on a lot of textures and in-game assets, but they aren’t really worth showing. Please remember, these paintings are now 5-6 years old. It is interesting to see where my art has gone over the years.

Some of these concepts aren’t something I would normally show, but I figured it might be nice (and embarrassing) to show where I came from. My paintings were so much looser back then, and they were incredibly dark. I think I was Daaarken back then, I’m not as bad now. Most of these paintings I had to take into Photoshop and turn the levels up in order to see what was going on. I blame my computer.

I’ve never really been known for my environment work, and even less known for any architectural work. The funny thing is, half of the things I worked on at Mythic were environments and interiors/exteriors. It is good to finally be able to show some of my environment and architectural work, even though they are incredibly old now.

As a concept artist you usually need to be able to paint anything and everything. It is very rare that an in-house concept artist will specialize in only one thing. During my time at Mythic I had to paint characters, creatures, weapons, props, interiors, exteriors, environments, icons, textures, skydomes, marketing illustrations, loading screens, and probably some other things that I can’t think of right now. It isn’t always glamorous. Sometimes you have to paint a bottle or a ribbon or a rotting cake. It is all part of the job. Some of the concepts I have included in this post are from some of those not-so-exciting moments.

I also worked on several other projects while I was at Mythic. I probably won’t be able to ever show any of those either, but that is the life of a concept artist.

I’ll try to group these by race, but sometimes we moved things around or sometimes they were grouped by the expansion they were created for or we would create a concept for one thing and then decide to use it for another thing. Some of my other Warhammer Online concepts can be found on my website, although I’m sure many of you have already seen them. I think a few of these might already be on my site and some may have been posted in other places, so sorry for the repeats.

Dark Elves

I’m probably best known for my Dark Elf Sorceress, for better or worse. Boy oh boy did I catch a lot of flak for my Dark Elf Sorceress concepts. For some reason her headdress sparked the inner fanboy hatred in a large population of the fans. Some people hated it so much that they went so far as to say I should be killed, all because they didn’t like the hat on an a video game character. Sometimes you have to stick to the IP and listen to your boss.

Of course people also complained about her attire, but once again, you gotta stick to the IP. If you stray too far from the IP, people get mad because it doesn’t look like Warhammer. On the other hand, if you make it look too much like existing Warhammer designs, people get mad because you are unoriginal.

When the male sorcerer came out, people once again threw up their hands and ran around screaming. It is actually pretty funny because most of them said I shouldn’t have put him in robes and that I should have made him show more skin like his female counterpart. Some of them even drew their own concepts of what he should have looked like. The thing is, my original concept was very close to what the fans said I should have done. They didn’t realize that my original idea was shot down and that I was told to put him in robes. The concept artist always gets the blame.

Chaos

I think all of the character concepts I did for Chaos were released many years ago, so the only things I never posted were my interior and exterior work. I believe the Maw concept (the 4th one in the gallery) was the very first Chaos concept I did. I had a tough time working on the Inevitable City concepts. I wasn’t much of an architecture guy, so I think that was my biggest challenge. How do you make something look like Chaos? Use the chain brush, oooooooh yeah.

Dwarves

Not too much here that hasn’t been seen before. I think I probably even posted that Dwarf Slayer a long time ago, but I can’t remember. Usually people know the other Dwarf Slayer painting I did, not this one. That Rune Priest turnaround is absolutely ridiculous. I wonder how long that took me…

Empire

I didn’t do very many Empire concepts while I was at Mythic. I think Empire was pretty much nailed down by the time I was hired.

Greenskins

Same for the Greenskins, most of them  had already been concepted by the time I was hired. I really enjoyed working on the Greenskins, I wish I had been able to do more character concepts. The Choppa and Squig Herder were probably two of my favorites during my time at Mythic. Greenskins are just so cool.

High Elves

These docks were the first thing I painted when I was hired at Mythic back in 2007. Talking about throwing me in to see if I could swim, no pun intended. Before this, I had never really painted architecture from my imagination before. I had done some studies from photos a couple of years before I started working at Mythic, but I was still pretty unprepared. I remember constantly glancing behind me so that I could make sure no one was watching me fail at my first assignment. Curse you High Elf dock!

Lizardmen

I think by now everyone has seen my Temple Guard. Heck, I think at least 8 different people have stolen my painting and claimed it as their own. This is the turnaround I did for the Temple Guard.

Skaven

I’ve always loved Skaven. I used to paint the miniatures when I was a kid. Back then I remember thinking “man, I’m really good at painting these.” I found them the last time I went home a few years ago and they looked horrible!

Vampire Counts

Remember when I said I hadn’t really painted buildings from my imagination before when I painted those High Elf docks? That all changed when I had to concept the Vampire Count expansion. Not only did I have to paint a ton of buildings, but they needed to have a gothic feel to them. Gothic castles are probably the most complicated castles to paint. It was definitely good practice, but I’m not sure I ever want to do that again, haha.

Yup, I used some 3D on the Crypt. I didn’t know any 3D, so I learned how to use SketchUp while I was at Mythic. It made it much faster and easier for me to knock out some of these concepts.

Tomb Kings

Other than my Liche Priest and a few other Tomb Kings concepts, I didn’t do very many paintings that I would consider showing to the public. Many of them weren’t very pretty. They got the idea across to the modelers and environment artists, but they definitely weren’t “pretty pieces of art.”

I used SketchUp again for a few of the concepts.

Mounts

Exploring different mounts was fun, but I don’t think any of these ideas ever came to fruition. I think that tends to happen with a large chunk of concepts, they are just ideas that never go any further than that.

Well, that about does it. I think those are the only concepts worth showing. It was a fun ride while it lasted and working at Mythic opened up so many opportunities for me. I probably wouldn’t have done any of the Warhammer covers for Fantasy Flight Games if I hadn’t worked at Mythic.

Working around so many talented artists pushed me harder than I ever thought possible. Some days I wondered how I was going to make it through the day because I felt like I was on the bottom of the totem pole in terms of ability, but somehow I survived.

Thank you Mythic for teaching me a thing or two and trusting me to help bring the vision of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning to life.

Blood for the Blood God!

 

16 thoughts on “Remembering Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

  1. Great stuff,you could do a book on that stuff alone :)

    Only thing is it shows me how crap my stuff is haha :)

    Thanks fr sharing.

    Cheers Simon.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing theese, this litterarily made my day, if not week!
    I have been following your work for years and the concepts you did for Warhammer has always been my favourites.
    Would you mind showing even more that hasn’t been seen before? I would be extremely happy to see what more that was planned for my favourite game, I stuck to it for 5 years, so to see it go now was very hard. Good thing I can still watch your concepts and travel back imaginary the world of Warhammer Online!

  3. *posting in epic thread*

    Oh man, that was freakin’ awesome. So much great stuff. Holy shit those cathedrals looked insane. I think I would have died of old age if I were assigned to draw those. And it’s funny how you mention that your old paintings were really dark. I do the same thing with my paintings right now. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I paint mostly in my dimly-lit room, but it’s hilarious how dark everything always turns out. Every time I try to show one of my teachers a digital painting it’s always “ok, here it is *click*…aaaaand it’s too dark to see.”

    But anyway, that was absolutely fantastic. Pro work, dude. Uber pro.

    • I think there are probably a few reasons why many artists have that problem in the beginning. For one, you actually have to train yourself to see and replicate color. It is like learning anatomy, you have to practice in order for you to get better at seeing and understanding light and form. Many times I’ll look at something and see a certain color, but beginners can’t see it.

      Another reason is because I was trying to hide my mistakes and lack of skill. That wasn’t always the case, but there were definitely times when I would just make something dark because I couldn’t paint it.

      I think I also genuinely thought it was “cool” to paint so dark. I dunno, maybe I was being stubborn when people told me my paintings were too dark or maybe I was just being emo. In any case, my paintings have changed a lot over the years.

  4. Wow this is excellent! I’m a long time fan of the Warhammer setting. I was never a big fan of this particular game – but I’ve really enjoyed the concept art. I wish I had your talent – but I guess you’re going to say that it’s mostly hard work. You really gave life to these places in the setting – even some that have never really been described by anyone before (e.g. some of the sites in Naggaroth). I hope you get the chance to show us some of the other stuff as well.

    Outstanding work!

  5. Amazing artwork! The Inevitable City is just awesome, it looks almost as alive. I could only wish i could see more. Is it possible that your other concepts for WAR can be shown? Is there any other art of Lizardmen you made for this project, or any other races which was not in game factions?

  6. Pingback: Remembering Warhammer Online: Art | The Random Hero

  7. So much astonishing work! Seeing all of these iconic props in their original concepts brings so much nostalgic recollections :) Also, looking at how many things you actually contributed, I can safely say you’ve single-handedly designed half the game! Despite its gameplay mechanic shortcomings, I’ve always been overly fond of WAR’s visual style. In my opinion, you’ve played a crucial role in defining it! Special thanks for all the hard work, the great visuals, and the inspiration! :D

    • Thanks! My role was only a very small part of the look of the game. There were 8 other concept artists working on Warhammer and they all did just as much, or more, than I did. I appreciate it though!

  8. I have to leave a comment because I’ve always enjoyed the warhammer online concept arts to such a degree I still view them from time to time.I know it’s been a while ago but the art is timeless.
    I even use them for warhammer fantasy roleplay characters whenever I can.
    I just wanted to say that this type of art, the art you make is my favorite type of concept art and you make the setting come to life in a way that few people can. Just a thanks from a warhammer fan and admirer of your work, I’m sad that warhammer online came to an end, even if I didn’t play until the end.

    You should nail a job for Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade, you would make that game worthwhile. Or gamesworkshop’s miniature range, since the chaos banker is totally nuts and needs to become a miniature.

    Thanks for the eye-candy

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