Too much stuff going on today that I want to talk about, and on a Friday no less.
Jeff Hickman from Mythic talked at GDC about Warhammer Online and what he believes are some of the mistakes made with the game. While I don’t directly disagree with his three flaws, especially that making PvE braindead easy was a mistake; I don’t think WAR would be any more successful if Mythic had fixed all those issues on day one. Even if the PvE challenge was spot on, the economy was as awesome as EVE’s, and players were happily grouping and socializing like it was 2001 EQ, they would all still hit rank 40, see T4 RvR, and 75% would leave.
Now unless the article fails to mention him talking about RvR (and if he did, the writer should be fired), that aspect is not even addressed. Everything in the game is designed to prepare or filter you into RvR, ESPECIALLY the end-game city RvR, and despite almost everyone agreeing that it’s the weakest part of the game, it does not make the list of issues with WAR? When people think of WAR, they think RvR. When the RvR is broken, is it any wonder your game is struggling? That would be like if WoW had a terrible PvE game but had fun PvP and a great economy; would anyone care?
The biggest shame with WAR is that overall it’s a good game crippled by one major flaw. The graphics are very solid, the sound is good, it has one of if not THE best IPs in the fantasy space, and it’s combat system is in a good place between the hardcore system of a game like DarkFall and the easy combat of WoW. But hey, none of that is going to keep people around for 6+ months when your leveling is fast and soon everyone is at the cap and looking to do one thing; RvR. Why are you talking about the economy, the PvE, or how PQs are going to be in all MMOs going forward when day in day out people are leaving because of one thing and one thing only, Tier 4 RvR? Absurd.
I would bet that a large number of those who left WAR would love to come back if T4 was fixed, as I doubt many really burned out on the game, or even got to see it in action the few times the stars aligned and T4 worked. I’m also guessing not many quit because the economy was weak (gold has zero meaning in WAR, but does anyone even care? The MMO space already has a themepark where one of the rides is running an auction house mod, and other games with actual economies for players to test themselves on, wtf is WAR going to add here?), or players who quit because the PvE balance was off. Sure fixing those would be a nice side bonus, but it’s not the make or break issue here!
I believe more than any other MMO, WAR could easily pull off a comeback and get back to respectable subscription numbers, but that won’t happen until the needed miracle patch truly fixes T4 RvR. Until then, Mythic can tweak animations, PvE, the economy, and add in countless live events, and continue to watch as WAR slowly bleeds dead. But hey, PQs are going to be in WoW soon, huge win Mythic…