The Grouchy Gamer

Yeah, I'm cranky. That's kinda the point...

Tag: Mythic

New Info on Warhammer Beta

Kevin over at The Server is Down has some information on the Warhammer Beta Update – Part 2. One of the most interesting things to me is the loot itemization that they are talking about. For example;

What does itemizing a chapter entail?

Well we go through every quest that gives rewards and create 24 quest items for it. Every quest in WAR gives you a choice of reward when you complete it, and those rewards are filtered to only show items that are specific to your career. Then we do the same thing for influence rewards — influence rewards are also filtered in a career-specific way.

Then we figure out all the monsters in that chapter and make sure that they drop loot, and that the loot is level appropriate for that monster. We also make sure that players will also drop loot when killed in RvR when we do this. Then we hook up all the stores in that chapter, including the renown stores – where all the great RvR items can be found.

Afterwards we create all the loot for the three PQs in that chapter. Each PQ boss can drop some very-rare unique items, and some rare and uncommon stuff too. PQ bosses also drop most of the armor-set pieces. If there’s a set piece noted for a PQ in this chapter, we add those items to loot that can appear in the chest. We’ve also been looking at how we give out loot in PQs this week – But that will be in an Update later on by the PQ Team.

So, as well as just churning out items for the elf chapters we’re also putting in new stuff. We have our first iteration of the Trophy system in testing right now. We’ve been doing all our testing using an in-game Witch Hunter model, and it’s been fun trying out all the combinations of placement points.

-Item Team

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EA to “Align Costs With Revenue”, Heads Sure to Roll

In an article today on the Destructoid Blog, it was reported that EA has asked all business units, specifically including EA Mythic and their Redwood Shores Studio to “Align costs with revenue”. It’s been reported that some of the remaining UO staffers have already been let go, effective Thursday. More cuts are expected through attrition, “performance management,” and layoffs according to the article.

This is a major problem when a big company like EA purchases smaller studios which then become business units. If the whole of the business is suffering, then the smaller business units have to bear some of the pain, whether the shortfalls are theirs or not. Ironic that this comes on the heels of the suspension of the Warhammer beta until December and the announcement from the head of Mythic that (paraphrased) “EA has been a great partner, and hasn’t meddled in our business.” Hope you got the new memo, man. The rules have changed. Again.

This is becoming more and more of a pattern, as major publishing houses get their camel’s noses under the tent, and before you know it, the whole damn camel is inside there with you. I’m predicting that the “publishing” relationship that SOE has for the upcoming Pirates MMO is a precursor to SOE eventually owning the IP. You read it here first. Well maybe not first, but most recently.

Is there any chance that a major MMO can come to market any more without the involvement of SOE (customer? fuck you.), MS (It’s over budget, cancel it), NCSoft (Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa; are you fucking kidding me?), Blizzard (Sorry, we’re too busy printing money to make any more MMO at the moment. Maybe after Starcraft II is entrenched we can think about it), or EA (Hmm, can we make John Madden into an MMO?)? There have to be more ways than these to get a salable product to market.

I sure as hell hope so. And to those displaced by this most recent display of poor business acumen in the MMO business, my heart goes out to you. You guys are some of the best people I have ever met and you deserve better. Maybe some day you will get treated correctly and have the stability and creative influence you deserve.

Best to all of you.

Warhammer Surpasses 400,000 Beta Applicants

Over at WarhammerOnline.com, they have a little ticker that shows how many beta applicants they have for Warhammer:Age of Reckoning. As of this writing, the number actually shows 416,853.

I find this interesting, as I am not aware of having this kind of beta interest since World of Warcraft. Now, I’m not saying that this is going to be another WoW. Far from it. I don’t think it will ever get close to that kind of subscription number (currently over 8 million players worldwide, according to Blizzard.) I do think it’s an indication that people are looking for something, anything to hitch their wagon to.At the Austin Game Developer’s Conference this week, Gordon Walton of Bioware gave a speech about the 12 lessons on making MMO’s in the “post-World of Warcraft” era. In an article on Gamasutra, these 12 lessons are summarized.

I’m of two minds regarding his assertions. I do believe that his pragmatic view of the current climate is mostly right-on. I think he misses the point on a couple of his points. First, in “Lesson 4,” he asserts that people will only play MMO’s until the solo content runs out. While that may be true in the beginning to middle of the game, I’m yet to see an end-game that effectively supports solo play. So his point is not exactly correct, as if it were there would be a lot fewer subscribers still playing WoW than there still are. Second, in “Lesson 9,” he says that characters on canceled accounts should be deleted to make more “name space” for new players. Sure, if you never want people to resubscribe. I just resubbed to EQ, of all things. Had my 3 or 4-year-old characters not been there I would have turned around and immediately canceled. I don’t think this is a good idea.

The reason I brought up these subjects together is because I believe that to have 8 million subs, you have to have a perfect storm of the game, the community, and the brand. No one else has all the ingredients to do that. The only ones close are SOE, and they lack the reputation and community support.

WAR has a chance to be a great MMO, although I don’t think this means anything like 8 million subs. I’m encouraged to see some excitement for the upcoming MMO titles. I don’t see any of them unseating WoW or becoming the legendary “WoW-Killer.” From what I am reading about WAR, I think it has a chance to become a strong contender for market share.

For now, WoW is safe. I don’t believe that the “WoW-Killer” is in the pipeline.

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