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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning: Hickman on WAR's Biggest Mistakes

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,715Administrator Uncommon

Speaking at GDC, Mythic Executive Producer Jeff Hickman detailed some of the biggest mistakes Mythic made with Warhammer Online.

Mr. Hickman spoke about the major mistakes that haunted the developer for over a year, with the first of which being challenge of play. On this mistake Hickman states:

"There's a big difference between easy play and ease of use. And one of the lessons that we thought we learned from ourselves and other games, was that it's important to have ease of use, and it's also important to hit the right balance between easy gameplay, challenging gameplay, and too difficult. We thought we hit that, but Warhammer, in PVE, in the beginning, is too easy. It doesn't make you thrilled to do it."

The second issue ties into the first issue that the game was in fact, too easy. The developers built many social tools for the game, but there wasn't much of a reason to use them given the ease of play.

The third major mistake was that of the game's economy, or lack thereof. As many players can attest to, there simply isn't much to buy with your hard earned gold in Warhammer Online, and this fact has been a great detriment to Warhammer's success. Hickman elaborates on the issue, stating that a game's economy brings people together:

"Our economy... we just missed the mark. If you look at the reasoning behind the economy, you'll see things like, 'Hey, we're not going to let gold farmers in our game.' 'We're going to try to make sure we have controlled inflation.' We had all the best reasons in our game, but what it caused us to do was build a game where economy is not important enough. Economy brings people together."

The rest of the talk focused on a host of topics, ranging from the importance and future of digital distribution, some of the things Warhammer got right, an emphasis on the fact MMOGs should be designed as a service from the get go, and the issue of localization.

For all that and more, check out the full article over at Gamasutra.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • JpizzleJpizzle PORT SAINT LUCIE, FLPosts: 371Member

    social issues and economy? How fuggin out of touch can you be about your game? Forums are NOT thread after thread about that shiz. It may be a couple of threads about that, but it sure as shine ain't the "top 2 issues"

    failhammer, indeed.

  • CassSmithCassSmith ParkesPosts: 17Member

     I beg to differ on the problems that existed.  Dont get me wrong theres some *great* points to WAR but as I'm mostly PvE based it wasnt enough to keep me on its own.  The issues I had with PvE are:

    Yes they encouraged groups on one hand but on the other the quests were solo friendly not group.  EG instead of say a quest update being for an entire party, it updated for only one person, with things like drops.  Why group, which is equally as slow?  Theres no incentive.....  Given that however, some cant or dont want to group, so it cant be made so hard as they cant... theres many reasons for solo players.

    The dungeons, at least the starter one, the sewers was very lack luster...... Oh I blinked..... You mean its over?  X-P

    Second issue for me was the crafting.... I'm a huge crafter but I'm sorry, innovation can be the best thing and can also ruin a game, to prove that just look at TCoS that recently got pulled back into redevelopment due to it.  In the case of WAR crafting it was the straw that broke the camels back for me.... I'm more one for component list crafting.

    However, I loved the PQs, the Campaigns and RvR, my only concern was what happens with an older server?  Generally, at least PvP wise, it would mean lower players couldnt PvP (due to lack of non chickens) until they got to higher lvls.

    Yes I know I'm likely to get the fanboi's coming from every side at me, no one seems to like their game criticized, even if what is said they know to be true, however it is important for Mythic to know where they went wrong..... yes they read boards but want to keep the player base, want to get old players back and have new players join.

  • ShreddiShreddi Thousand Oaks, CAPosts: 315Member
    Originally posted by Jpizzle


    social issues and economy? How fuggin out of touch can you be about your game? Forums are NOT thread after thread about that shiz. It may be a couple of threads about that, but it sure as shine ain't the "top 2 issues"
    failhammer, indeed.



     

    Are the top issues listed in post below yours?     I havnt played in a long time,  Liked the game and wonder whats changed.   It was way to easy to level up to cap, I do remember that.   Also the PVP were instances playing games similar to ut's modes.   CTF, King of hill type game, etc.  Thanks.   Again just wondering if its worth picking up again for a while. 

    This post is intentionally written as to not make any sense what so ever. Thank You Very Much.

  • WardropWardrop Plymouth, MIPosts: 462Member

    Hickman doesn't seem to know really what made folks like myself stop playing the game.


    1] Crafting was shallow.
    2] Static rvr.
    3] Everyone was playing instanced pvp battles for the faster xp to max their lvls.
    4] Siege warfare in warhammer was on static pads, strategy played no role in the game. You were forced to play one way and that's the way they said it not the way i felt would work best.
    5] Many aspects of the game have been done to death (cookie cutting, nothing new and exciting for much of the game experience.
    6] Too close to being a WOW clone.. If we wanted to play WOW we would just go play WOW.
    Instead we wanted to play Warhammer online instead we got something other then Warhammer online.
    7] Why didnt you follow segas version of Warhammer online.... Or went with something more closer to DAOC 2 you should have. Shame on us for thinking you would have.

  • tauraktaurak rock cave, WVPosts: 174Member

    Of course I can't really give this idea to a developer myself in the way that I wish I could...

    But why isn't there a much better crafting system in Warhammer?

    I mean Mythic made one of the best games of all times with DAoC, why don't they take a look at what made it successful and incorporate it in Warhammer?

    Get rid of scenarios and make frontiers for example *big smile* Let blizzard have their dumb instanced mini games, people don't like them I promise.

    Create a very good crafting system. Allow people to make armor, weapons, enchantments and things like that, it will help to fix the economy, espescially if the items are good enough to be used at max level.

    All I cans ay is, in DAoC thidranki was packed a lot of the time, and it was a blast. In Warhammer the lower level areas are pretty much just empty. You could actualy have more fun at low levels in DAoC than you can in Warhammer at max level, and that is a huge problem.

    Warhammer has a lot of potential, and Mythic is a good gaming company. I am VERY sure that you can find solutions to make this game 100% better if you are willing.

    If not, how about making DAoC 2? !!!!

  • MMO_DoubterMMO_Doubter Bedford, NSPosts: 5,056Member
    Originally posted by taurak


    Of course I can't really give this idea to a developer myself in the way that I wish I could...
    But why isn't there a much better crafting system in Warhammer?
    I mean Mythic made one of the best games of all times with DAoC, why don't they take a look at what made it successful and incorporate it in Warhammer?
    Get rid of scenarios and make frontiers for example *big smile* Let blizzard have their dumb instanced mini games, people don't like them I promise.
    They do, actually, and the game was originally even more slanted towards scenarios. RvR is great at lower tiers - when the numbers are fairly even. That is a rarity, though.
     
    Create a very good crafting system. Allow people to make armor, weapons, enchantments and things like that, it will help to fix the economy, espescially if the items are good enough to be used at max level.
    More crafting would give people more things to do when the action was slow. More dungeons at a better range of levels would help too. There's a crypt in Empire Tier one, near the starting area, that screams mini-dungeon, but just a quest or two and some mobs.
    All I cans ay is, in DAoC thidranki was packed a lot of the time, and it was a blast. In Warhammer the lower level areas are pretty much just empty. You could actualy have more fun at low levels in DAoC than you can in Warhammer at max level, and that is a huge problem.
    Warhammer has a lot of potential, and Mythic is a good gaming company.


    I see no evidence that it is. It might have been at one time, but not now. Good companies don't release what Mythic released last September.

    "" Voice acting isn't an RPG element....it's just a production value." - grumpymel2

  • RuynRuyn Moose Jaw, SKPosts: 1,052Member

    The single worst thing about Warhammer was leveling in the scenarios.  It took people from the places that really mattered, like in the open world and really buggered the best part of their game, the PQ system.

    I also agree on the game being to easy.  It took all of the carebearness of WoW and multiplied it by 10.  This combined with the excessive use of instancing really took away from making WARHAMMER a living, breathing world.

  • CassSmithCassSmith ParkesPosts: 17Member

     Originally posted by taurak

    But why isn't there a much better crafting system in Warhammer?

    As Mythic originally put it, they did what they did so that crafting wasnt so grindy..... It actually felt more grindy to me personally.

    Get rid of scenarios and make frontiers for example *big smile* Let blizzard have their dumb instanced mini games, people don't like them I promise

    Speak for yourself! Yes but how many "people"  I know for a fact its not everyone.

     

  • Marcus-Marcus- chepachet, RIPosts: 969Member Uncommon

    For me it was the end game...

     

    Fortress attacks were actually less exciting than keeps...  a lot less, as they were almost impossible to take over..  The PQs in the city sieges were a mistake, and many beta testers told them (the few times we did test city sieges..)

     

    I can deal with the instances to level up, a poor economy, an extremelly mediocre crafting system. But when your end game consists of taking over the enemy capital, and its almost impossible to make happen, (yet you say your game is easy... ) Your end game is severely messed up.

    There was no realm pride at all (at least not on the three servers I was bounced around on. WAR seemed like just another gear grind.. Once again, not the end game a lot of your RvR types are looking for.  imo of course...

  • Maleus666Maleus666 san paoloPosts: 72Member Uncommon

    1 -  The game began  like a fail when tried to copy WoW. 

    2 - Warhammer  has a  great universe. And i didnt see it in the game. aalthough I always will say that War is the best MMO ive played, it could be better.  Nothing to do now, just play till my  time card  ends and move for other MMO. Maybe WoW, maybe GAyon...eeer... Aion, and wait for SWOR and DCUO.

    Go to hell!

  • HersaintHersaint Oak, WIPosts: 366Member

    Time outside of RvR didnt really help me in RvR. The best way to play was just play when primetime mass of people were on - ride the RvR zerg train, que for Sceners (scenerarios where a blast but got boring and they dont justify a monthly fee) Zerg surfing isn't the game I want to play. WHy not make a challenging tiem consuming craft system that gives you an advantage in a 3 way RvR? Why not try a 3-way like in DAoC? Sorry I know people bring it up all the time. Just wanted to throw my vote in for it as well.

    image
  • kingkillarkingkillar AntrimPosts: 4Member

    For me the biggest issues were the lag fest that was end game due to rubbish servers, alot of broken skills that just kept getting more broken rather than fixed and the way Mythic wielded around the nerf bat, which in some cases led to certain classes being made absolutly useless.

    image

  • HricaHrica Mocksville, NCPosts: 1,125Member Uncommon

    LOL right..

    Interview Mark Jacobs right now "off the record" and he will tell ya the truth..maybe..

  • JpizzleJpizzle PORT SAINT LUCIE, FLPosts: 371Member


    Originally posted by Hrica

    LOL right..
    Interview Mark Jacobs right now "off the record" and he will tell ya the truth..maybe..


     
    eeeehhhh.. no. MJ is a big part of the problem, IMO. He was the owner, and he green lit the "quantity over quality" design choices that drove the game to the state it was in Dec-Feb. I think if MJ was "off the record" interviewed, we'd get some spoiled brat answer like "EA didn't show enough support"

  • GreenLanternFanGreenLanternFan Burlington, VTPosts: 374Member



    People that are providing answers like instancing, too much like WoW, etc.; really? C'mon!



    All these posts and not one person mentions class balancing? How about server stability, lag, etc? How about one-sided server zerg-fests stemming from the class balancing issues that pushed hordes of players out the door. And most importantly what about POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE! Nothing like completely ignoring your community for months on end!



    With that said, the game itself has gotten better since Mark Jacobs departure IMO, aside from the now dying population that is still killing RvR on some servers.



    If Mythic can figure out a way to truly entice players to come back the game may survive, but that is a big if. I hope they can as I truly enjoy the game, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

    Your fail comment, failed.

  • drbaltazardrbaltazar drummondville, QCPosts: 7,987Member

     mrc ,what you ask is a very hard task ,they re stuck in a mold if they move too much they could be sued by the one giving them a licence

    right now they need to change stuff but they re sketish on one hand its needed to acces korean market or they might as well not release it there at all on the other hand they go the company licencing it saying hold on dude you cant do that to hour franchsie

  • MightfoxMightfox Richardson, TXPosts: 24Member

    Been playing Warhammer since April, enjoying playing scenarios lots. Class balance could use work, but it is nowhere near as bad as awful players who scream about it claim.

     

    For me, playing an hour or so of scenarios a day is sufficient, though I understand that a lot of people signed onto the game expecting big open PvP, which they ended up not delivering on. Very PvEish, RvDoor, etc, typically little strategy as someone said.

    The game is still worth a ton of casual, alt-filled fun to me thanks to scenarios. $15 a month for 30+ hours of alt-friendly fun? Sounds good. But yes, they failed in designing open PvP.

     

    Also, I have had none of the lag/stability issues outside of an attempted city siege. I suspect some people are playing with terrible computers/connections.

  • rounnerrounner CanberraPosts: 602Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ruyn


    The single worst thing about Warhammer was leveling in the scenarios.  It took people from the places that really mattered, like in the open world and really buggered the best part of their game, the PQ system.

     

    This is the one I agree with the most.

  • roma650roma650 Brooklyn, NYPosts: 26Member

    Aion combines Asian mmos and WoW...i say thats not a bad idea whys evryone flaming it for being like WoW , not to mention is plays very diffrent ...more like WoW. 1.0

  • GreenLanternFanGreenLanternFan Burlington, VTPosts: 374Member
    Originally posted by Mightfox


    Been playing Warhammer since April, enjoying playing scenarios lots. Class balance could use work, but it is nowhere near as bad as awful players who scream about it claim.
     
    For me, playing an hour or so of scenarios a day is sufficient, though I understand that a lot of people signed onto the game expecting big open PvP, which they ended up not delivering on. Very PvEish, RvDoor, etc, typically little strategy as someone said.
    The game is still worth a ton of casual, alt-filled fun to me thanks to scenarios. $15 a month for 30+ hours of alt-friendly fun? Sounds good. But yes, they failed in designing open PvP.
     
    Also, I have had none of the lag/stability issues outside of an attempted city siege. I suspect some people are playing with terrible computers/connections.



    Let me guess, you've played 1 or 2 classes on the order side, maybe a few more and that's it, right? Truly try leveling the majority of classes on each side first before talking about balance. I've been playing since beta and will gladly put my SC screenshots against yours any day. Try playing a WE to 40 then let's talk. I've leveled a WH and WE and there's a noticeable difference between the two. Also, when the best players on your server for a specific class are either rerolling or leaving, saying the class has been made useless, you have balancing issues.



    Furthermore, look at the number of people playing each class and tell me that they're balanced.




     

    Your fail comment, failed.

  • MightfoxMightfox Richardson, TXPosts: 24Member
    Originally posted by MrcdesOwnr

    Originally posted by Mightfox


    Been playing Warhammer since April, enjoying playing scenarios lots. Class balance could use work, but it is nowhere near as bad as awful players who scream about it claim.
     
    For me, playing an hour or so of scenarios a day is sufficient, though I understand that a lot of people signed onto the game expecting big open PvP, which they ended up not delivering on. Very PvEish, RvDoor, etc, typically little strategy as someone said.
    The game is still worth a ton of casual, alt-filled fun to me thanks to scenarios. $15 a month for 30+ hours of alt-friendly fun? Sounds good. But yes, they failed in designing open PvP.
     
    Also, I have had none of the lag/stability issues outside of an attempted city siege. I suspect some people are playing with terrible computers/connections.



    Let me guess, you've played 1 or 2 classes on the order side, maybe a few more and that's it, right? Truly try leveling the majority of classes on each side first before talking about balance. I've been playing since beta and will gladly put my SC screenshots against yours any day. Try playing a WE to 40 then let's talk. I've leveled a WH and WE and there's a noticeable difference between the two. Also, when the best players on your server for a specific class are either rerolling or leaving, saying the class has been made useless, you have balancing issues.



    Furthermore, look at the number of people playing each class and tell me that they're balanced.




     

     

    I mostly play destruction, in case you're one of those who thinks order was purposefully overpowered.

    I never said balance wasn't a big issue. I know that WE is significantly worse than WH, examining scaling and the ability/tactics/mastery trees reveals this. But there is really no reason to call classes "useless", and the issue is overstated, though there are instances like WP/DOK and SH/AM are obviously superior to zealot/runepriest due to the latter having underdeveloped design.

    And please, demographics don't reveal balance off the bat.

  • Sober_SeanSober_Sean sacto, CAPosts: 170Member

    I knew going into reading this article that they still would miss the point.  THEY STILL DON'T GET IT.

     

    ISSUE NUMBER MOTHER FRACKING ONE: They released a year too early, rushed development to meet an unrealistic EA enforced deadline.  We told them in Beta "NO! You're not readeh the controls, the lag, the ai, no no don't do it! You're gonna ruin our beloved Warhammer!  Please for the love of everything not WoW hold off another year, you need to!"

     

    ISSUE 2: They put out way way way too many servers at launch.  We told them in Beta "The population balance is key to the enjoyment of this game.  People will overlook alot of crap as long as they're logging and playing on equal sides.  Enforce caps on destruction until Order fills up, roll out servers on an 'as needed' basis, do not release a bunch of servers, you will kill your own game with no hope of recovery if you do this period."  So what did they do?  Released a shit ton of servers at launch, nailing the second nail down flat into the coffin, on the god damn day of the games release.  A year later and it's not in the top two reasons why they failed?  Arrogant, prideful fools.  You still don't get it!  The writing is on the wall and you can't read it because you're too damn pig-headed to admit your own mistakes and cope with them.  Even a little child would get over his stubborness a year later and "fess" up to screwing over so many people by making such a huge mistake.

     

    ISSUE 3: The controls.  Should have been fine tuned to the bare minimum at least as good as WoW's at launch.  It's been a year later and it's not even there yet.  Do you know why Blizzard is so damn well-liked by their fans?  Because they focus on Controls first, to the exclusion of everything else until the controls are dead-spot-on.  It's no secret.  Yet again, relates to number 1 on the list.  Needed more time to fix the mess before it went live.

     

    He addresses some of the other concerns in the article, but not even mentioning the top 3, 3 things that killed this game which had oh so much potential outright...is just unbelievable.  Unbelievable but par for the course from these jokers.

     

    Edit: And if I sound pissed in this little rant here, it's because I'm still pretty damn dissappointed and don't have a good mmo to play because they drove this one into the ground so quick. I had all my hopes pinned on this one as a huge fan of the IP.  Just a massive let down that I'm still a little bit bummed about.  So seeing an article like this where they still don't get it...so blatantly just clueless...rubs salt in a still open wound.  Although it's not as bad as all that, just seems that way when mention of this game comes up time and again.

  • tboxtbox Old Town, MEPosts: 372Member
    Originally posted by Wardrop


    Hickman doesn't seem to know really what made folks like myself stop playing the game.


    1] Crafting was shallow.

    2] Static rvr.

    3] Everyone was playing instanced pvp battles for the faster xp to max their lvls.

    4] Siege warfare in warhammer was on static pads, strategy played no role in the game. You were forced to play one way and that's the way they said it not the way i felt would work best.

    5] Many aspects of the game have been done to death (cookie cutting, nothing new and exciting for much of the game experience.

    6] Too close to being a WOW clone.. If we wanted to play WOW we would just go play WOW.

    Instead we wanted to play Warhammer online instead we got something other then Warhammer online.

    7] Why didnt you follow segas version of Warhammer online.... Or went with something more closer to DAOC 2 you should have. Shame on us for thinking you would have.

    AMEM SO SPOT ON I THINK YOU ARE READING MY MIND!

  • battleaxebattleaxe Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 158Member

    The game had so much potential, but was basically broken at launch.  Skills didn't work as advertised or in some cases, at all.  Class balance was simply a joke.  The whole "you have to fight to heal" thing never really worked out for most of the healing classes.  There were multiple scenarios at launch for each tier, but only one or two would ever come up.

    I hate buying beta software and having to wait for it to be patched into usefulness.

  • sonicbrewsonicbrew Sparkill, NYPosts: 511Member

    If Hickman would have clearly pulled his ass out of his head in early beta and listened to the lot of us testers things could have been a bit different. Now a year later, hes still got his head firmly jammed up his ass and fails to recognize what players are saying on his own forum board much less the internet as a whole. maybe he should go have tea and crumpets with the the asshats at SOE who keep thinking SWG is still a thing of beauty.

    “Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” ~ Italian proverb

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