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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning: Former GM on the Rise and Fall of WAR

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,724Administrator Uncommon

Jeremy Monken, a former GM on Warhammer Online, writes an insightful piece over at The Escapist on the rise and fall of Warhammer Online from the perspective of a Game Master. Entitled "Casualty of Warhammer" the article details his history with Mythic, from touring the facilities, to his eventual employment at the company as a GM after losing his job at a D.C. newspaper, to his personal experience with the many layoffs that hit Mythic over the past year. which of course, eventually hit him.

By December, paid subscriber numbers for WAR had dropped from a reported 800,000 to fewer than 300,000. We quickly learned we weren't immune to EA's company-wide layoffs as two rounds hit my department and familiar faces disappeared.

The first to go weren't surprises. CSRs that were less adept with the software and less able to deal with customers stopped showing up. It was the third wave that had most people updating their resumes. People who had become our friends and mentors - guys whom we would all ask for advice or help with difficult issues - got cut. It became obvious that nobody was safe. The party was over.

Our department became more spread out as our neighbors were sent home. Most of us avoided speaking with our former coworkers lest we remind them of what they lost or remind ourselves of what was coming. It was a sad, lonely atmosphere. Every blank monitor was a gravestone.

Jeremy was only employed at Mythic for a few months, but going from the article it sounds like it was one heck of an emotional roller coaster.

Read the full piece over at The Escapist.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • HathiHathi Wendell, NCPosts: 236Member

     can't get link to work

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  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    Nice read, however it's not Lich King that killed this game, it's EA.  EA has one of the worst reputation when it comes to shutting down games and reducing staff.   EA cut staff when peoples logged back to WOW to play the expansion, what did you expect ?

  • AhilesAhiles londonPosts: 414Member
    Originally posted by Aguitha


    Nice read, however it's not Lich King that killed this game, it's EA.  EA has one of the worst reputation when it comes to shutting down games and reducing staff.   EA cut staff when peoples logged back to WOW to play the expansion, what did you expect ?

     

    you are blaming Mythics inept ability to make a AAA mmo with a multi million doallr budget with adverts on channels from MTV to sky 1 onto EA?  Get a grip without EA financial backing for the last yera of production before they went live they would have probably folded.  These idiots at Mythic hyped the game up to epic proportions and had the budget to match it and the screwed it big time.  Its all well trying to hype a  game up as being a wow killer, which make no  bones about it Mythic were planning this game unlike any other was going to be.  IOt shows you, any idio game devloper can have multi million dollar budget and resources and mess the game up.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,461Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ahiles

    Originally posted by Aguitha


    Nice read, however it's not Lich King that killed this game, it's EA.  EA has one of the worst reputation when it comes to shutting down games and reducing staff.   EA cut staff when peoples logged back to WOW to play the expansion, what did you expect ?

     

    you are blaming Mythics inept ability to make a AAA mmo with a multi million doallr budget with adverts on channels from MTV to sky 1 onto EA?  Get a grip without EA financial backing for the last yera of production before they went live they would have probably folded.  These idiots at Mythic hyped the game up to epic proportions and had the budget to match it and the screwed it big time.  Its all well trying to hype a  game up as being a wow killer, which make no  bones about it Mythic were planning this game unlike any other was going to be.  IOt shows you, any idio game devloper can have multi million dollar budget and resources and mess the game up.



     

    I sort of agree, wotlk did not kill this game, what has damaged it is that it wasn't quite what players were looking for. Too much repetitve game play in some cases.

    However, I do recall the producer or some sort of head dev stating that they were not creating a wow killer. This was in an interview when the question was asked of him.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,028Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aguitha


    Nice read, however it's not Lich King that killed this game, it's EA.  EA has one of the worst reputation when it comes to shutting down games and reducing staff.   EA cut staff when peoples logged back to WOW to play the expansion, what did you expect ?

     

    While EA didn't help this is Mythics own fault. First they cut out a lot of important features from the game, 4 of the 6 citys for starter. They decided that 2 factions were enough even though 3 would have fitted the lore better. They released the game too early, they should have released 3 months after WoTLK instead with a more stable game and more content.

    And the dumbest thing they did was that they didn't play Warhammer. The game was not made so the original millions of Warhammer fans would feel at home, instead they tried to make Wow players feel at home. It failed of course.

    Warhammer is one of the best fantasy worlds ever made. If they had checked out the brilliant Warhammer fantasy roleplaying game they would have seen that everything was already mapped out, the game have a system that would have translated into a great levelless MMO. But no, they tried to make a mix between Wow and Daoc  and that upsetted Mythics fans and the Wow fans still play Wow.

    EA started cutting people when the subs started to dive under 300K and it was actually the right thing to do, when you start merging servers you don't need so many people. But the same day MJ and Barnett said that they were aiming to take Wows players things started to fall.

  • augustgraceaugustgrace Cottonwood, CAPosts: 624Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ahiles

    Originally posted by Aguitha


    Nice read, however it's not Lich King that killed this game, it's EA.  EA has one of the worst reputation when it comes to shutting down games and reducing staff.   EA cut staff when peoples logged back to WOW to play the expansion, what did you expect ?

     

    you are blaming Mythics inept ability to make a AAA mmo with a multi million doallr budget with adverts on channels from MTV to sky 1 onto EA?  Get a grip without EA financial backing for the last yera of production before they went live they would have probably folded.  These idiots at Mythic hyped the game up to epic proportions and had the budget to match it and the screwed it big time.  Its all well trying to hype a  game up as being a wow killer, which make no  bones about it Mythic were planning this game unlike any other was going to be.  IOt shows you, any idio game devloper can have multi million dollar budget and resources and mess the game up.

     

    I agree Mythic killed WAR, EA just put the nail in the coffin.  Seems as though the developers cut a lot of corners on the game engine and the end game, though I think population issues are the official cause of death.  WAR is a game that depends heavily upon population density and balance.  You need a bunch of people in the same area for pvp or the PQs to truly be enjoyed, yet the game engine stalls and sputters the moment you get a few players on the screen.  A third faction, higher server caps and giving the axe to scenarios would have gone a long way to saving this game.  At this point though I think it is too late, and forsee WAR becoming a f2p game by next summer.

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member

    I read the article and Mythic is just in complete shambles. A total mess. Right from the start it was an accident waiting to happen. It is a shame because they had such a beautiful ip and they tossed mud on it. EA just needs to get rid of them or send them to Bioware's office to learn how to make a good game because its obvious Mythic since day 1 has really milked gamers for their money to play subpar games. Sad because if they made Warhammer any good I would be still playing Warhammer today.

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  • PsatiyahPsatiyah Vezac, BCPosts: 71Member

    I have to agree with the article. I unsubbed in January.

     

    The only part I disagree strongly with is the fact that 'WotLK' was the downfall of WAR. Although it must have contributed in some way, it was definitely not the MAIN contributor.

     

    The main contributor was the repetitive, boring end-game and the intensely aggravating response-lag (i.e. pressing skill, which does not activate until a second later). Although they eventually fixed the response lag, it came far too late. Poor design of the most fundamental features of a pvp game were the nail in this MMO's coffin. I'd probably still be subbed today if they hadn't fucked up the combat.

  • MAUL0rMAUL0r San Diego, CAPosts: 16Member

    This article is poorly titled on MMORPG.com. It's called "Casualty of WAR" and talks about 1 employee's experiences with a company that was hit with the same economic troubles that every company has dealt with in the last few months. If you actually read it, he states that the game is still, in fact, going strong (allbeit with smaller overall population). The server I play on is very high population and I gain new players to the game each day in my guild/alliance. The game is not going anywhere, and to subtitle with article with "the rise and fall of WAR" is just bad journalism on MMORPG.com's part.

  • TrashcantoyTrashcantoy DragonstonePosts: 827Member

     very interesting, and sad, story

    MMOs currently playing: -
    About to play: Lord of the Rings Online
    Played: Anarchy Online (alltime favorite) and lots of f2p titles (honorable mentions: 9Dragons, Martial Heroes, Dekaron, Atlantica Online)

  • templargatemplarga Atlanta, GAPosts: 1,964Member
    Originally posted by MAUL0r


    This article is poorly titled on MMORPG.com. It's called "Casualty of WAR" and talks about 1 employee's experiences with a company that was hit with the same economic troubles that every company has dealt with in the last few months. If you actually read it, he states that the game is still, in fact, going strong (allbeit with smaller overall population). The server I play on is very high population and I gain new players to the game each day in my guild/alliance. The game is not going anywhere, and to subtitle with article with "the rise and fall of WAR" is just bad journalism on MMORPG.com's part.

    Actually, I think the title is fine. The game has obviously "fallen" from its height of 800k players to 300k players and even less now. The same "fall" could be said for AOC and several other games as well.

    The game is no where as popular as it was expected to be nor does the game occupy the dominant role many thought it would at launch.

    And given the devs words about the fact the community would know its WAR was a success or a failure (abvout adding servers or merging them), it is obvious WAR has fallen from where it should be.

  • AmazingAveryAmazingAvery Age of Conan Advocate UK to CanadaPosts: 6,999Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MAUL0r


    This article is poorly titled on MMORPG.com. It's called "Casualty of WAR" and talks about 1 employee's experiences with a company that was hit with the same economic troubles that every company has dealt with in the last few months. If you actually read it, he states that the game is still, in fact, going strong (allbeit with smaller overall population). The server I play on is very high population and I gain new players to the game each day in my guild/alliance. The game is not going anywhere, and to subtitle with article with "the rise and fall of WAR" is just bad journalism on MMORPG.com's part.



     

    Whilst I see where you are coming from, it is the headline used at the Escapist here: 

    www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/93737-The-Rise-And-Fall-of-Warhammer-Online

    Game is strong and has strong pop servers. Many of my friends play WAR and love it to bits.

    When you have a high profile and a big budget and things dont work out though there was a rise and now a fall. Fall not meaning the end - at least that is how I see it.

    What Went Wrong with Warhammer Online? Is it a failure?   lists many things, personally I agree about the lack of 3rd faction which without it didn't make sense to me prior to release and playing the first month.

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  • FrobnerFrobner REykjavPosts: 649Member

    I personally consider WAR to be a good game in many ways.  It simply isn't playing to its strenghts and sadly its hard to see things change now.  The game will probably be put on minimum lifesupport for some time.

    There are alot of ppl out there wondering if two fantasy based games like WOW and WAR can survife at the same time.  My answer would be OFC it can.  There are HUGE groups of WOW  players that are looking around for simualre game - they just want something tad diffrent - and alot of ppl are  very unhappy with WOW and the route it has taken - yet they have nothing else to play - cause LOTRO isn't a magic based game and WAR is not PVE game.

    WAR screwed up - badly.... RVR is a total failure from A - Z.  Its badly designed and repetitive.  Repetitive means its simply not fun.  And everyone knows the servers can't handle real battles - and 90% of the maps are empty in between.  

    WAR is in a freefall atm and sadly I can't see it recover.  Aion is aiming for the same group as WAR so the real dmg isn't out yet.

    The really sad thing is that WAR is diffrent enough from WOW to support strong PVE content and raid like enviroment (with strong guildsystem and keep ownership).  The game had huge potential with the hugely varetiy of mobs and endless possibilites.  But thats all in the past now.  It will not happen.  And it makes me sad cause WAR is soooo huge in lore.

  • HricaHrica Mocksville, NCPosts: 1,125Member Uncommon

    I totally disgree with this article's statment that WoTLK killed Warhammer.

    My family and I have been playing and "sticking it out" with Warhammer since beta. With billions of dollars, Mythic's "talent" and PR that made this game out to be "the one"  you would think this game would have at least 500k subs right now.

    Wrong. My family and I painfully just unsubed this month due to the fact that Mythic has no clue on what to do with Warhammer.

    Yea we all thought DAoC was good back in the day, ..but that was almost a decade ago. That talent is long gone.

  • QualeQuale OsloPosts: 105Member

    I wonder if he actually believes that a WoW expansion and gold farmers killed WAR.

     

    If he does, to me that is a huge indication of how WAR could happen the way it did in the first place.

    The first time I watched Mr Jacobs helpless attempts at presenting a vision, I thought to myself; This guy seems kinda clueless. Little did I know at the time just how right my gut was. The whole project reeked of misunderstood incentives and sub par brainactivity.

    If someone with some pull in that company still hasn't stood up internally and said: 'Man, we're kinda sucking here' I just don't see a future for them from my perspective.

     

    It's true what some say that it takes talent to screw that IP up with that kind of backing, and they sure passed that test with flying colors.

  • ThalariusThalarius Frederick, COPosts: 125Member

    The most notable problem with WAR as with many other MMO's that have PVP/RVR is the extreme high numbers of cheaters and exploiters.  Seems game devs either do not care or they just ignore it but IMHO a game that fails like WAR is from those who cheat and exploit.  I also unsub from the game back in April due to players cheating/exploiting the game during RVR/PVP.

    Complaints went unheard or gotten the standard stupidity crap from the over worked CSR's (those whom were left after the massive layoff's).

    Plus we must keep in mind that we are also in the middle of a recession so it makes a big impact on the market. I seemed to remember EA canned Earth and Beyond when it went below the 300K subscriber mark. 

    Is WAR still a money maker? I think time will tell if they can make it to the end of this year.  I would not be suprised if WAR is shutdown in 2010.

  • MAUL0rMAUL0r San Diego, CAPosts: 16Member

    it still remains a point to me that the article was more centered around the general economic consequences that we've all faced than the mistakes that were made at mythic (which of course, there were). This was an article about the rise and fall of a mythic employee, which while poinient in today's economy, had very little to do with the design team's efforts and where they could improve.

     

    We all have opinions on it, and like those above linked, there are even articles about it, but this article specifically feels more like yet another casualty of our economy, a story that could be re-told a thousand times across a thousand game companies.

     

    WAR likely found that their nestegg dried up ALOT sooner than originally planned due to the economy collapsing and EA not considering their efforts to be as high priority as the next big Sims game or NFL game... they're a business and frankly, i don't think they've ever taken much stock in MMOs... hopefully that changes with this little lesson.

     

    The fans of WAR desperately want it to be a great game, and they continue to hang on the hope that someday it will be. So far it's getting LOADS better, and I feel confident that it will sustain a good population for years to come. Sadly, the mmo consumer is a fickle animal that is easily scared away by simple issues that are ultimately resolved over the lifetime of any mmo.

     

    can one really blame blizzard though? WAR was never designed to beat WoW, if it were, you'd see evidence of it EVERYWHERE in the game. The truth is, Gamer's Workshop would NEVER allow many of WoW's defining features to be part of a game based on their IP. WoW was designed to appeal to the lowest common denomonator, while clearly, WAR was designed to bring the more PvP centric players (especially former DAoC) to a game that was more centered on PvP. WoW is designed so that everyone who's anyone can log in and find something to do... WAR was never envisioned with that sort of broad based game design, which I personally like.

  • maddbomber83maddbomber83 Andrews, TXPosts: 422Member

    WotWK killed WAR??????

    Try this...

    They put a lot of effort into a PvE expansion to a RvR game!!! (and to thier credit, I like the added content)

    RvR has 2 sides in this game.  Only 1 side can enjoy the PvE content at a time.  So while one side is enjoying that content, the other side has NO ONE TO FIGHT!!!!  The only thing to do is to take RvR objectives (against the compter with no opposition from the other realm because they are all in thier exclusive content).  We call this RvE and there is a lot of it now. (I edit to add the exception of Fortress and City takes.  There always seems to be defenders for those but man it is very hard to take a fort prime time.  They need to adjust the # of defenders vs attackers to make it hard, not impossible)

     

    Before the expansion the game had problems.  Rather than work hard to fix the RvR aspects of the game (the selling point, if I wanted PvE I would play EQ2 or LotRO), they added a PvE expansion that made the RvR worse.

    Luckily, they have done a lot of server merges so the game is not dead dead.  But if they don't do something soon, they won't be able to keep those of us holding out much longer.  This game will go the way of Shadowbane.

  • GolarumGolarum Montreal, QCPosts: 151Member
    Originally posted by MAUL0r


    This article is poorly titled on MMORPG.com. It's called "Casualty of WAR" and talks about 1 employee's experiences with a company that was hit with the same economic troubles that every company has dealt with in the last few months. If you actually read it, he states that the game is still, in fact, going strong (allbeit with smaller overall population). The server I play on is very high population and I gain new players to the game each day in my guild/alliance. The game is not going anywhere, and to subtitle with article with "the rise and fall of WAR" is just bad journalism on MMORPG.com's part.

     

    Actually, the title fits it perfectly. He says in the article that they had around a million preorders, by December, just under 300000 subs, and probably now under 200k. I rejoined the game last month, the servers were barely busy, and just quit 2 days after.

    When a game sells a million preorders, usually you're supposed to get more than double the subs on the first month. Because not everyone preorders, and I played every release of every mmo since EQ, and I can say that the number of subs on the first month are always around the double of preorders.

    Then in December, they went to 300k, so thats 1/3 of the preorders they got. In 3 months the game was dying. 

    So yeah, he can title it the rise and FALL of WAR.

  • FrobnerFrobner REykjavPosts: 649Member
    Originally posted by maddbomber83


    WotWK killed WAR??????
    Try this...
    They put a lot of effort into a PvE expansion to a RvR game!!! (and to thier credit, I like the added content)
    RvR has 2 sides in this game.  Only 1 side can enjoy the PvE content at a time.  So while one side is enjoying that content, the other side has NO ONE TO FIGHT!!!!  The only thing to do is to take RvR objectives (against the compter with no opposition from the other realm because they are all in thier exclusive content).  We call this RvE and there is a lot of it now. (I edit to add the exception of Fortress and City takes.  There always seems to be defenders for those but man it is very hard to take a fort prime time.  They need to adjust the # of defenders vs attackers to make it hard, not impossible)
     
    Before the expansion the game had problems.  Rather than work hard to fix the RvR aspects of the game (the selling point, if I wanted PvE I would play EQ2 or LotRO), they added a PvE expansion that made the RvR worse.
    Luckily, they have done a lot of server merges so the game is not dead dead.  But if they don't do something soon, they won't be able to keep those of us holding out much longer.  This game will go the way of Shadowbane.

     

    The servers can't handle big scaled RVR - Even the keep rooms can't handle RVR.  Mythic did right in trying to prevent 200 ppl from watching lag for 20 mins until servers died.  Or... Mythic did well in preventing 50-80% of the players to be teleported away from the RVR content just when it mattered most.

    I do agree with you tho - that there are ways to make keep battles more intresting.  One of it would be to make it a permadeath zone - so if you die you will not be able to enter it again in next 10 mins.  That goes for resurected players to.    This would actually lead to more fun endfights and reduce the lag alot.

    Permadeath zones is the only way to make keep battles something other than lag fests.  Secondly - I think that holding other objectives in the area should lead to the boss in the keep beeing easier to kill - meaning that even when you die in the keep - you still have a role to play - as an attacker OR a defender.

     

  • maddbomber83maddbomber83 Andrews, TXPosts: 422Member
    Originally posted by Frobner


    The servers can't handle big scaled RVR - Even the keep rooms can't handle RVR.  Mythic did right in trying to prevent 200 ppl from watching lag for 20 mins until servers died.  Or... Mythic did well in preventing 50-80% of the players to be teleported away from the RVR content just when it mattered most.



     

    I should clarify.  I think the TOTAL number of players should be the maximum the game can hold w/o mass crashes.  If it is where its at that is fine.

    My intention was to point out that the RATIO between Attackers and Defenders needs to be tweaked to make fort takes hard, but not impossible during prime time.

  • maddbomber83maddbomber83 Andrews, TXPosts: 422Member
    Originally posted by Frobner


    I do agree with you tho - that there are ways to make keep battles more intresting.  One of it would be to make it a permadeath zone - so if you die you will not be able to enter it again in next 10 mins.  That goes for resurected players to.    This would actually lead to more fun endfights and reduce the lag alot.
    Permadeath zones is the only way to make keep battles something other than lag fests.  Secondly - I think that holding other objectives in the area should lead to the boss in the keep beeing easier to kill - meaning that even when you die in the keep - you still have a role to play - as an attacker OR a defender.



     

    Couple points to consider.

    Permadeath buff sounds awesome and I would support that. But...

    Don't apply it to Rez.  Instead make Rez a 2 minute timer in a fort take and make it so if the Lord is Agroed (you can't rez anyway) there is no timer, you just respawn.

    Second, you need a chance at loot if you participate in any way.  That includes the people that died and are in camp, and includes the people taking and defending objectives.

  • cybertruckercybertrucker Pensacola, FLPosts: 1,119Member

    300k subscribers is still leaps and heads more successful than the average MMO.. WAR is a decent game... If you like PVD (player vs door)... The PVE is a joke... The community is abysmal unless you open RVR all the time.. Scenarios well they can be fun if you bring friends but anymore its just people joining scenarios and then dropping to flip zones in the high end of the game so you cant even run them half the time.

     

  • abalabal fdsdsfdsfsdfPosts: 169Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by cybertrucker


    300k subscribers is still leaps and heads more successful than the average MMO.. WAR is a decent game... If you like PVD (player vs door)... The PVE is a joke... The community is abysmal unless you open RVR all the time.. Scenarios well they can be fun if you bring friends but anymore its just people joining scenarios and then dropping to flip zones in the high end of the game so you cant even run them half the time.
     

     

    300 k was back in December. The game is slightly above 100k now.

  • talonkuntalonkun londonPosts: 13Member

    Man, if only they had set this game in space... We could have had, like, Space Marines and Legion of Chaos! Man I would LOVE to have played them, and Tyranids and all those other COOL races!!! We could even maybe have awesome jetpacks! And anti-gravity battles! Yeah awesome! pew pew.

    Is there a WoW game set in space? No? Man, they could have totally capitalised and monopolise that theme. No competition!!! People wanna play fantasy, they play WoW. People wanna play hardcore Space Marines, then they have to play WAR cause there's no other game like it out there....

    Man, that idea alone was worth all their developers high paid salaries.

    All they had to do was copy an idea and they failed at that. I say fire the lot of them and hire me.

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