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| Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning; Reckoned Before Release? (1 comments )|
by: Willow (142) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months or so, then you’ve probably heard of a little game called Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (or WAR). WAR will be Mythic Entertainment’s second release of a MMORPG following their successful and very well produced Dark Age of Camelot. However this time around instead of playing the role of developer and publisher, Mythic has been gobbled up by EA Games to produce the title.
When the it was announced that EA Games acquired Mythic and would be publishing WAR, the MMORPG community immediately let their protest be heard. Then again, why shouldn’t the community fear for the future of WAR? EA’s track record with PC Gamers is tarnished past the point of repair, and why should this be any different? EA games are notorious for being buggy, unfinished, scrap heaps of games upon release. Combine EA’s track record with the fact that MMORPGs suffer from severe balance issues, bugs, and a myriad of other problems at release, and perhaps the worry will start to make more sense.
Farm the Consumer for Mass Profit
For example, to exemplify EA’s practice of releasing unfinished games, as well as completely ending support for games after a unusually short life cycle, we will look at their two most recent First Person Shooters developed by DICE, Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142. Battlefield 2 was released on June 21st, 2005. With the release of BF2 came a tremendous amount of bugs, balance issues, and annoyances in general.
The first patch for BF2 was released on July 6th and recalled two days later on the 8th, due to the fact that it added additional bugs and instability problems had been found. Why would a game be released, let alone patched, with major flaws and bugs? Was it a lack of testers or just a matter of wanting to get a patch out to fend off the rabid fans? To show EA's track record with abnormally short game cycles we'll look below.
Battlefield 2 Expansion Releases
* Battlefield 2: June 21st, 2005
* Battlefield 2: Special Forces - November 21st, 2005
* Battlefield 2: Euro Force - March 14th, 2006
* Battlefield 2: Armored Fury - June 6th, 2006
Three Game Expansions in a year? The fact of the matter is MMORPGs have ridiculously long life cycles, and the fact that EA Games could shove three expansion packs for a FPS out of the door in under a year is scary, but also a major cash cow considering gamers will lap up whatever is released to keep up with their favorite game and community.
Lessons Learned and Experience Gained
Hopefully Mythic Entertainment has learned a lot from their previous endeavor in Dark Age of Camelot that the consumer demands more then content to grind through. DAOC’s release surprised everyone; critics, gamers, and even Mythic. DAOC came out with the same basic mechanics of Everquest but expanded on it immensely with it’s wonderful PvP system known as RvR. So what can we expect from WAR? Will Mythic stick with the same formula and game play that made DAOC a proven MMORPG, or will they try to appeal to World of Warcraft crowd to try and draw the most players possible. Sadly, the latter will be more then likely to come true.
WoW brings in nearly $120,000,000 in monthly revenue to Blizzard from subscriptions alone. Who can argue with that amount of income? Will WAR bring that much in? Doubtful, but by accommodating to a mass audience Mythic/EA will bring in a sizable monthly income from subscriptions alone. Hopefully we will see Mythic stick to the same kind of grassroot development that was done so well on DAOC; constant bug fixes, balance fixes, as well as new content.
The media coming from WAR has drawn criticism of many for looking like WoW, yet many fail to realize that WoW is heavily influenced by the Warhammer Universe. The graphics look exactly how they should, however what is disturbing is the User Interface that WAR has been demoed with. It’s the same overly simplified, dumbed down kind of interface that WoW uses. The key reason the WoW interface works so well is the fact that it supports some excellent Third Party Add-ons. Hopefully we’ll see Mythic add some serious muscle to their WAR interface, or completely strip it and re-design it.
All of the game play footage of WAR shows it to be very similar to WoW also, however the mechanics have yet to be seen or played by the public. We can hope that similar mechanics of DAOC will stay put in WAR, however DAOC’s game mechanics aren’t the most user friendly. A compromise could be reached, as long as they don’t dumb it down to the point of WoW’s mechanics, however by keeping it complicated they eliminate a large amount of potential players.
What will come of WAR will be shown over the next year or so, and us loyal to solid PvP will have to lay in wait hoping that WAR will deliver the same solid PvP and RvR that DAOC brought to the table and made the standard in MMORPG combat. When I first saw Mythic announce they would be developing a Warhammer MMORPG I could hardly wait to play it, but since EA has acquired Mythic a doubt of the game has filled my mind, and my anticipation has been wavering. Hopefully WAR will be all that DAOC was, but as said, we will wait and see.
|2 User Comment(s) • 2 root comment(s)|
| Spino (9) Feb 09, 2007 - 09:28 am | Edited on Feb 09, 2007 - 09:29 am|
|Yes, it is very worrisome, at least to gamers, that Mythic allowed itself to be bought out by the Great Satan of video game publishers. On the other hand I'm sure Mythic's top officers were crying all the way to the bank after the buyout.|
The fact that Warhammer Fantasy (or Warhammer anything for that matter) resembles Blizzard's Warcraft/Starcraft/WoW universe is no coincidence. The truth of the matter is that Blizzard 'borrowed' heavily from the WH universe to make its Warcraft and Starcraft properties, not the other way around. Take a good look at Games Workshop's numerous WH properties and you'll see that WH:AoR isn't so much a WoW copycat but is really is keeping true to the look of the WH universe. However, this won't matter a bit in the mind of the average gamer but please give credit where credit's due. FYI, I am not one of those fanatical WH figure painting uber-geeks.
Alot is riding on this mmo (which are obscenely expensive to develop and run) so it is entirely possible that EA won't be interfering with Mythic's handling of AoR given their track record with DAoC... (insert sarcastic remark)
Even if EA does run WH:AoR into the ground it is not all doom and gloom for WH fans. THQ and Relic are currently developing a rpg and mmo and many people surmise that one or both of those games will be set in the WH40K universe (THQ currently has the rights to make WH40K games). THQ & Relic did a bang up job with the Dawn of War & Company of Heroes games so I see no reason why Relic couldn't crank out a quality mmo... after all, Blizzard proved to everyone they were more than just a RTS developer when they made WoW.
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| zoemorn (6) Feb 07, 2007 - 09:29 am|
|» under a rock|
I've been under a rock. Actually i'm personally not a warhammer dude; but I totally agree with your thoughts about EA causing "worry" with its involvement in any game franchise. With capitalism though, EA is where the $$ is, because apparently people like buying buggy software - see M$.
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