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Warhammer Online : Age of Reckoning: More Layoffs, Response and Analysis

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Reports have surfaced about another, more extreme round of layoffs at Warhammer Online studio Mythic Entertainment. This article reveals the nature of those reports, response from Mythic and some commentary from MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood.

On Tuesday, Electronic Arts announced that Mythic’s Warhammer Online ended the third quarter of 2008 with over 300K subscribers from North America and Europe. This number, which is significantly lower than the 1.5 million units sold to retailers (not units purchased by the public, stock purchased by retailers) for launch, and the 750,000 registered players reported back in October (albeit these numbers included Australia as well), is still above the 250,000 number that had been previously thrown around.

This announcement, combined with the reports of layoffs in late January that saw the company lay off “21 customer service employees, half of QA and all of the playtest group”, has led some players to speculate that more cuts, and perhaps even the demise of the game itself are on the horizon.

Yesterday, according to reports at joystiq.com, at least a part of those predictions seem to be coming true. Joystiq cites “several well placed sources” when it writes that a second round of layoffs has taken place, this time taking out some of the development staff and perhaps even some Senior Designers. The report puts the number of layoffs at “between 60 and 130” people.

Read More Layoffs, Response and Analysis

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • qbangy32qbangy32 GT YarmouthPosts: 681Member

    Tell us something new, it's as if ppl think there's no Recession at the moment, what did ppl expect.

     

     

  • m3tam3ta MoscavidePosts: 59Member

    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.

    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.

     

  • DerjetaDerjeta MelbournePosts: 2Member

    It depresses me to say this, but

    goodbye WAR

  • qbangy32qbangy32 GT YarmouthPosts: 681Member

    Oh no, we got ourselves a code RED ppl, the "B" word has been mentioned which is bound to be followed by the "W" word, brace yourselves for incoming Flames and endless pointless arguments over who's gotta a bigger phalic symbol.

     

     

     

     

  • ShohadakuShohadaku Roc City, NYPosts: 581Member
    Originally posted by m3ta


    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.
    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.
     

     

    Maybe Devs will realize people don't want WoW like MMOs. If people want a game formulated on WoW they will play WoW. Devs should try to produce a real NEXT GEN MMO, and not all these shotty shallow games.

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    This could be the start of a catch 22 situation, EA cut jobs, WAR players panic and leave, EA forced to cut more jobs due to loss of revenue, more WAR players panic and leave, etc.

    Though an MMO doesn't need more than 100 people working on it, going live with a 400 strong team seems crazy to me, I'm not aware of any other MMO, WoW included, that employs that many people for one project.

  • Zayne3145Zayne3145 EssexPosts: 1,448Member

    MMO's are going to do well during the recession as they are a cheaper and more consistent form of entertainment than going to a bar, cinema etc. The escapism that virtual worlds provide should not be underestimated during such a period. The cold hard facts are that WAR did not to live up to the hype and is suffering as a result.

    I've always been of the opinion that PvP alone is not enough to sustain an MMO. Killing players hour on hour, day after day gets old pretty quick. MMO's are not like normal games - they have huge demands put upon them by players to keep them entertained for sustained periods. From what I've heard about WAR, it seems there is not enough variation to fill this requirement.

    image

  • KhebelnKhebeln DoncasterPosts: 691Member Uncommon

    I would say that huge part of issue with WO is crappy engine. Atleast 1/2 of my guild in WO left the game after 1st month (most of the ppl had max lv) becasue terible game performance in meny parts of the game esp in some scenarios, TOWNS, and during huge RvR.

    Thing is if you have anything beter than 8xxx like 2xx or 9800gx2 cards (i think situation was simlar for ati) you will have performance worse than on some 3-4 year old GPU....

    Seriously no mater how good the game is, if you cant play it, you wont pay for the game. Its simple as that. I hope they will fix this some day and i can come back to WO, but as it is right now game is unplayable, and extremly depresing esp if you have hardware that can run Crysis in 1920x1080 with AA and AS on and maxed at around 40-50fps or over 70fps in lower resolutions....

    And for example WO runs 20fps in Altdorf.... setings dont mater you can max the setings or set them to min or even force 16bit color fps is always the same...

    They should make proper engine before they start making the game...

    image
    (Retired)- Anarchy Online/Ultima Online/DAoC/Horizonsz/EQ2/SWG/AC1&2/L2/SoR/WoW/TMO/Requiem/Atlantica Online/Manibogi/Rift+(SL)/Lol/Hon/SWTOR/Wakfu/Champions Online/GW/Lotr/CO/TcoS/Tabula Rasa/Meridian 59/Vanguard/Shadowbane/Fury/SotW/Dreamlords/HGL/RoM/DDO/FFXI/Aoc/Eve/Warhammer Online/Gw2/TSW/Tera/Defiance/STO/AoW/DE/Firefall/Darkfall/Neverwinter/PS2/ESO/FF14/Archeage/Gw2

  • strykr619strykr619 San Diego, CAPosts: 144Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Khebeln


    I would say that huge part of issue with WO is crappy engine. Atleast 1/2 of my guild in WO left the game after 1st month (most of the ppl had max lv) becasue terible game performance in meny parts of the game esp in some scenarios, TOWNS, and during huge RvR.
    Thing is if you have anything beter than 8xxx like 2xx or 9800gx2 cards (i think situation was simlar for ati) you will have performance worse than on some 3-4 year old GPU....
    Seriously no mater how good the game is, if you cant play it, you wont pay for the game. Its simple as that. I hope they will fix this some day and i can come back to WO, but as it is right now game is unplayable, and extremly depresing esp if you have hardware that can run Crysis in 1920x1080 with AA and AS on and maxed at around 40-50fps or over 70fps in lower resolutions....
    And for example WO runs 20fps in Altdorf.... setings dont mater you can max the setings or set them to min or even force 16bit color fps is always the same...
    They should make proper engine before they start making the game...

     

    I can give you the answer why the game runs like crap, its CPU impactive now GPU impactive, most of those highpowered Vid cards ( like my 4870 X2 ) was never utilized fully.

    WAR failed in 2 ways .... A very weak seige mechanic and lets face it PvE raiding is a good way to keep people playing ( esp if the mobs were contested and order vs chaos would have been crazy ).

    they had crappy ideas for both of those and thats why its in the toilet.

  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member
    Originally posted by m3ta


    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.
    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.
     



     

    I'm not following Blizzard closely enough to say, but if you don't see the effects of the global economy at CCP it's because you are blind or not looking.

    The *entire* reason why CCP didn't televise the 6th Alliance Tournament is cost cutting; look closely and you will see it elsewhere also.

     

     

  • MyrdekMyrdek Jonquiere, QCPosts: 346Member

    Stradden, I know your trying to be diplomatic here but saying that this isn't a failure is ridiculous. Losing this many employees and so many subs in such a short time is catastrophic for a huge budget MMO like War.

    Failure Definition:

    www.google.ca/search

    By all account Warhammer is a failure, not because they lose money (they might not), but because they didn't even come close to their goals and hype. Now, that doesn't mean things won't ever get better, but for now...   Cross your fingers I guess

  • KhebelnKhebeln DoncasterPosts: 691Member Uncommon

    That much i know that the issue is CPU related, but thats only part of the problem. The real isssu is that the game is way to much cpu dpependend and instead of utilizing big part of cpu calculations on the gpu the do it on cpu and creating botleneck at the same time...

    Atm i use Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 3,00 GHz Overclocked with water cooling to 4Ghz....  

    I dont think my CPU is the real issue here. As example i tryed the game on 3 GPU. 9600GT 9800GX2 and 280. I had same crapy fps on the 2 last ones even tho they where few times more powerfull. 

    To make things funy i had 60-100 fps on 9600GT... now someone tell me its not bad engine. I can add that i tryed it on 3 difrent MB most typed of drivers available and like 40-50 crazy tricks that forced the game to run in unsupported modes through 3rd party programs. Nothing helped. 

    image
    (Retired)- Anarchy Online/Ultima Online/DAoC/Horizonsz/EQ2/SWG/AC1&2/L2/SoR/WoW/TMO/Requiem/Atlantica Online/Manibogi/Rift+(SL)/Lol/Hon/SWTOR/Wakfu/Champions Online/GW/Lotr/CO/TcoS/Tabula Rasa/Meridian 59/Vanguard/Shadowbane/Fury/SotW/Dreamlords/HGL/RoM/DDO/FFXI/Aoc/Eve/Warhammer Online/Gw2/TSW/Tera/Defiance/STO/AoW/DE/Firefall/Darkfall/Neverwinter/PS2/ESO/FF14/Archeage/Gw2

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member
    Originally posted by Myrdek


    Stradden, I know your trying to be diplomatic here but saying that this isn't a failure is ridiculous. Losing this many employees and so many subs in such a short time is catastrophic for a huge budget MMO like War.
    Failure Definition:
    www.google.ca/search
    By all account Warhammer is a failure, not because they lose money (they might not), but because they didn't even come close to their goals and hype. Now, that doesn't mean things won't ever get better, but for now...   Cross your fingers I guess



     

    Totally agree. I really wnted to see WAR survive but unfortunately barring a miracle it will not survive the year.

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  • todeswulftodeswulf Dallas, TXPosts: 715Member
    Originally posted by m3ta


    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.
    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.
     



     

    Mr. Hawking......

    Blizzard has laid off Twice, In June 08 and in August 08....they are scehduled  to lay off again in April. Google it.

    CCP has ran a skeleton crew since launch, they also currently have 3/4 of WARs subscribers.  Grab a clue before you speak.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by m3ta


    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.
    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.
     



     

    Well, regardless of your opinions of the game, companies do lay off people even if they are profitable. My company was profitable last quarter but because all stocks are taking a hit, they laid people off.

     

  • Marcus-Marcus- Posts: 970Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SaintViktor

    Originally posted by Myrdek


    Stradden, I know your trying to be diplomatic here but saying that this isn't a failure is ridiculous. Losing this many employees and so many subs in such a short time is catastrophic for a huge budget MMO like War.
    Failure Definition:
    www.google.ca/search
    By all account Warhammer is a failure, not because they lose money (they might not), but because they didn't even come close to their goals and hype. Now, that doesn't mean things won't ever get better, but for now...   Cross your fingers I guess



     

    Totally agree. I really wnted to see WAR survive but unfortunately barring a miracle it will not survive the year.



     

    I'm no MMO expert, and i agree it doesnt have the gaudy numbers that WoW has, but at 250k, how many subs do think an MMO needs to survive? How many subs do other current MMOs have?

     

    I just cant see them shutting  down within a year with a base of 250k, especially considering they just launched in Russia (last week?)

  • fansedefansede Raleigh, NCPosts: 960Member

     I think Mythic is just a victim of teaming up with the "corporate devil". They enjoyed gold faling from the heavens which allowed them to do so much PR and get the game out the door before WOTLK,

    Now, the big man (EA) demands some sacrifice. Mythic is now tied to it and as a result must give up some of that gold that they received.

    if Mythic was doing this without EA support, would they have launched yet?

  • SalvatorisSalvatoris Fort Worth, TXPosts: 1,360Member

    I don't think 300k is anywhere near a "door closing" number.  People just think a game has to have WoW numbers to be a success.  Truth is, WAR has subscriber numbers as good as any western MMO besides WOW.  I'll be glad when that obsolete pile of garbage starts it's inevitable decline.  They can only polish that old turd for so many years... When it's numbers aren't throwing off everyone's expectations, maybe we can all start talking about sub numbers reasonably again. 

  • maxnrosymaxnrosy Winter Haven, FLPosts: 608Member
    Originally posted by todeswulf

    Originally posted by m3ta


    "recession" is being a nice excuse for many people, but i don't see it in Blizzard or CCP.
    WAR has failed. Bugs aren't fixed, RVR is crap, the downfall is inevitable and obvious.
     



     

    Mr. Hawking......

    Blizzard has laid off Twice, In June 08 and in August 08....they are scehduled  to lay off again in April. Google it.

    CCP has ran a skeleton crew since launch, they also currently have 3/4 of WARs subscribers.  Grab a clue before you speak.

    yet wow increases its subscriber numbers and so does eve.

    eve was announced not to be easy to get into. Eve was never intended to be a massive mmo like most others. they did not hype their game  much less falsely advertize it. They had their own official fourms from the start and had confidence in their product.  While not big in numbers. Eve is one of the few mmos that have retained its subscribers and has grown.

    mythic and its precious mark Jacobs Lied about their product. They refused to make official forums (til now well not yet)because they knew their product was flawed and NOT ready . They hide their problems with future promises and lies. They depended on Fansites to be baised to their favor. They didnt want potential buyers to be turned off if they had official fourms swamped with unhappy players speaking bad about all the problem the game currently has.

    yet still they hpyed alot of people due to ip involved wich is the warhammer ip. they had  a huge amount of players at the start and now they lost about 60% in a few months, infact more because that was the last quater of last year its not including jan and feb of this year. the truth is their numbers will continue to decline.

    ccp started small with their game eve. over the years it grew. it got better. its getting more stable.  when a big pvp war is comming up they quickly send resorces in the area where its gonna happen to allow a less laggy battle. before it was not like that and  you would end up lagging to hell on a huge scale battle. they have been working on every concern their player base has.

    not mythic. they have been ignoring many issues. They have not made anything to retain the lvl cap players. or atleast fix many issues of the little end game they have. They just expected everyone to fill up their tome of whatever thinking it will cover up till they can add more stuff.

    yep 2 new classes are comming, which have been tested in beta, then removed and now are finally being implamented. Thye mention somthing that wont be out till summer which is their new area.  as the game is. till summer is to damn long for the new part.Mythic is hypeing an event in hopes to retain and swell their numbers.

    Watching Fanbois drop their soap in a prison full of desperate men.

  • InfalibleInfalible Llandrindod WellsPosts: 204Member

    During development, Warhammer Online was eventually operating with a 400 strong work force. That 400 strong workforce represents the largest MMO development team that I am aware of. If I am perfectly honest, it was an overinflated number right from the start that always suggests Mythic would be hit by noticeable redundancies at some point in the future. Even if the game had performed exceptionally well, that 400 strong team would have been cut down to a post-launch size. The only difference is, in that situation the community wouldn’t have jumped all over it as if it spelled doom for Mythic and Warhammer Online.



    Mythic escaped an initial round of redundancies so that the development process of WAR was not hindered by staff changes. It was logical to assume that they would make up for this later on once WAR had launched. Eventually they did, with two rounds of redundancies taking out around 150 staff members. The thing to remember though is that it was always expected. The size of the development team was always questioned and – as I have said – many believed it would be downsized regardless of the success of WAR.



    This preposterous talk about how Mythic and Warhammer Online is going to close soon because 150 redundancies and 300,000+ players is infinitely bad needs to stop. It just perpetuates my belief that game communities should be treated like a collection of mindless sheep rather than a collection of intelligent people. Screaming blue murder only emphasises your ability to take all of this out of proportion and blow it up to outrageous levels. Warhammer Online is not likely to close in the next 12 months and I’m more realistically hedging that we’ll see subscriber numbers increase - possibly past the 500,000 mark - by Christmas 2009. There are many reasons for this, not least the fact that over the last 3 weeks, I’ve seen more people returning to WAR than leaving.



    300,000+ subs is still returning enough money to keep the studio going and make money whilst they are at it. Why would you close a studio that is in that position? Yes, Mythic failed to meet the hype but then every MMO that has release in the last 4 years has failed to meet the hype. Standard sub numbers for western P2P MMOs rest between 200,000 and 500,000 subs. The only MMO to defy this convention is World of Warcraft.

     

    http://www.themmoquest.com - MMO commentary from an overly angry brit. OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED!

  • AlandoraAlandora Savannah, OHPosts: 337Member

    Article writer completely misses the point of the 300,000 announcement.

    The problem isn't the 300,000 they have left, it is how quickly they lost 450,000 players.  Do even a simple graph and put 750,000 at september, and then 300,000 on December 31st.   That is just a huge downward slope and there is no reason to expect the slope has changed.  It's also very very unlikely that they have 300,00 subscribers as of February 1st (again, taking in the retention rate from the graph).  

    Also, talking about the layoffs.    You really are confusing two different things in the article.  A lot of what is happening has more to do with the natural progression of any MMORPG... the shift from pre to post launch staff.  The article was muddled down in it's numbers because you talked too much about 'layoffs' that were planned last year at this time that had nothing to do with the troubles of EA or Warhammer.  There were probably dozens of people at Blizzard that 'lost their jobs' once Wrath launched which indicates nothing except a game has gone live.  If you are going to talk about the effects of the health of EA on Warhammer, then don't muddle your argument by including numbers that are irrelevant to that argument.

  • RavenmaneRavenmane Pensacola, FLPosts: 246Member

    Ok, for starters I think a lot of the nay-sayers here just hate WAR and are WoW purists but that's just me.  I'm not here to flame them, however.  I would like to point some things out.  WAR is actually one of the best ones out there right now whether you choose to believe it or not, the ratings speak for themselves as well as the fanbase.

    You can't blame the game or Mythic.  Who here has played Dark Age of Camelot? /Raises Hand.  DAoC was a great game and you could tell the developers really enjoyed what they do.  And there's a saying in the gaming industry that happy developers make great games.  No, no, it's not Mythics fault.  I blame EA.

    EA used to make good games, back in the days of the first Medal of Honor and the early Madden games.  But they got too greedy.  I kinda look at it like when Hasbro bought out Wizards of the Coast.  A bigger company sees a smaller company whose doing really well and makes a great product.  The bigger company turns around and buys the smaller company so they can make games for them to increase their profits. 

    Then here's where corporate greed rears its ugly head.  The larger company is losing money because of other ventures not doing what they wanted *cough*EA's Flagship Studio*cough*.  This in turn cause them to lay off people in the companies they control so they don't have to worry about paying them so they can keep their pockets fat. 

    EA also has the tendencey to rush a game into stores.  It's not the developers fault if it gets released early.  I'm pretty sure they would have pushed it back more but EA said no because of the declining economy and just told them to release it, hence they took out 4 classes and 4 cities to keep the "you promised us" flame to a minimum.  Also WAR is still new and I always expect the first 4-6 months of a game to be buggy and such.  The consumer doesn't help the situation when Americans as a scoiety has gotten impatient.  We are in a "give it all to me now" age.  WoW wasn't perfect when it launched either and if you compare the early days of WoW to the way it is now then you wouldn't even look at it.  It has a few years on WAR (which is only 4 1/2 months old).  MMO's take time, to perfect even out of the box.  A game only has to sell 150,000 units for the company to come out even.  300,000 says they're doing fine.

    All in all if you must flame and blame somebody; flame EA...they have killed hundreds of good games and ruined good careers because of their greed.  I was a Beta tester for Mythos and when they closed Flagship studios I was very sad to see that one go because that was a great MMO in the making.

     

    "If at first you don't succeed, excessive force is probably the answer."
  • InfalibleInfalible Llandrindod WellsPosts: 204Member
    Originally posted by maxnrosy


    yet wow increases its subscriber numbers and so does eve.
    To state that Eve Online and World of Warcraft increase their subscriber numbers in such a way as to suggest Warhammer Online does the opposite is ironic considering that selling more boxed copies than having subscriber accounts in the first 6 months is a phenomenon that occured with World of Warcraft as well...
    mythic and its precious mark Jacobs Lied about their product. They refused to make official forums (til now well not yet)because they knew their product was flawed and NOT ready . They hide their problems with future promises and lies. They depended on Fansites to be baised to their favor. They didnt want potential buyers to be turned off if they had official fourms swamped with unhappy players speaking bad about all the problem the game currently has.
    Where did they lie about their product? I've never seen them tell an outright lie about Warhammer Online. In fact, I'd say that both Blizzard and CCP - who are notorious for having employees exploitng in game for personal gain - are far more guilty of lying than Mythic are at this point. Their reliance on fansites was obviously a mistake and one that they have decided to rectify by opening up official forums.
    yet still they hpyed alot of people due to ip involved wich is the warhammer ip. they had  a huge amount of players at the start and now they lost about 60% in a few months, infact more because that was the last quater of last year its not including jan and feb of this year. the truth is their numbers will continue to decline.
    And you can say this based on what informed position? If you go and take a look at things like Xfire and take into account the money going back in to Mythic for things like official forums, continued development, marketting etc you should realise that the implication is that numbers are growing, not declining. Stating that they are declining based on no evidence what so ever is ridiculous and you shoud be quiet. It isn't an opinion either as you asserted it as fact, before you pull that card.
    not mythic. they have been ignoring many issues. They have not made anything to retain the lvl cap players. or atleast fix many issues of the little end game they have. They just expected everyone to fill up their tome of whatever thinking it will cover up till they can add more stuff.
    yep 2 new classes are comming, which have been tested in beta, then removed and now are finally being implamented. Thye mention somthing that wont be out till summer which is their new area.  as the game is. till summer is to damn long for the new part.Mythic is hypeing an event in hopes to retain and swell their numbers.
    Erm... Have you even looked at the content schedule for the next 6 months? There's more end game content and fixes than their is anything else... So your point is obviously based on a fundamentla lack of understanding, rather than actual knowledge.

     

     

     

    http://www.themmoquest.com - MMO commentary from an overly angry brit. OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED!

  • RedwoodSapRedwoodSap Fenwick Island, DEPosts: 1,235Member

    I'm glad. I hate theme park games and how they have dummied down the MMOG genre.

    image

  • WarcriminalWarcriminal OdensePosts: 244Member

    yes -a lot of people left after det initial rush and now we are left with the people who really love the game and RVR-mechanics

    no surprise for me here. Sad to see people fired, and I hope they get new jobs soon. In my oppinion they did a great job on WO.

     

    I see a bright future for this one. WO has become better and bigger with every patch they introduce

     

     

     

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