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News - - Thursday, November 1, 2007 Edit

Warhammer Online - State of the Game

James Nichols

Greetings All!

Below is the State of the Game from Mark Jacobs, VP and General Manager for the Studio. You can also find the state of the game in the October Newsletter which has just started to go out, please note it may take a couple of days to get all of them to your in-boxes.

In 2005, when Mythic signed the licensing agreement for Warhammer, I promised Games Workshop that we would create a great and glorious game. When Electronic Arts acquired us a year later, I told them the same thing. Now, a year after that acquisition, nothing has changed: we still intend to deliver the next great MMORPG. As many of you may have heard, we have extended WAR’s development cycle until the 2nd quarter of 2008. The reason is simple; we will not release Warhammer Online until it is the game we set out to create two years ago.
Our goals for Warhammer Online are not easily met. The game includes many new and innovative ideas, a feature set that is going to blow players away, and, most importantly, the best RvR system in MMORPG gaming. These things take time to implement and test properly. During the last phase of beta testing, we received valuable feedback from our testers that will help make these features even better. When we looked at our options, two paths lay before us: 1) Ship the game on time with fewer features and less polish, or 2) Extend the development cycle and spend the needed time and money to make WAR great. We chose the latter path - to invest additional time and effort in implementation and polish to make WAR great. Fortunately, we have the resources and support of EA behind us to extend our development cycle; time that will be used to make sure the game is everything we want it to be. WAR is coming, and it will be glorious.
One of the “popular” topics of discussion regarding EA Mythic this past week has been the subject of layoffs within the studio. While we did let several people go from the Warhammer Online team, the number was *quite* small and their loss had no impact on our development schedule. These layoffs were part of our normal studio operations and a necessary step for EA Mythic to ensure that we have a focused and committed team working on WAR going forward.

On the Beta front, we will begin a new phase of testing in December, and we look forward to getting even more people involved in WAR by the end of the year. We are approaching a half a million registrants, and, to my knowledge, this could be the most ever signups for a Western MMORPG beta. I am very proud of this as it is a testament to the strength of the community, the popularity of the Warhammer license, and the outstanding work the team at EA Mythic is doing on the game. When we open the beta in Asia, we expect the numbers to continue to climb as we’d like to see one million players signed up to test the game. At that point, we will be well on our way to bringing about the second part of the double entendre of our motto as WAR really will be everywhere.
Over the next few months in Beta, our players will find all-new content to experience, careers to play and cities to siege. Our Capital City team continues to push the envelope by creating the next generation of living cities in MMORPGs and Altdorf is simply breathtaking. New Community systems will be in place and we look forward to getting many existing guilds into the beta to try them out.
In addition, we’ll be making changes to the RvR (open field RvR FTW!) and Server Rule Set Systems. These changes bring WAR a step closer to fulfilling the promise that “War is Everywhere” while ensuring a great play experience for those that do not choose to engage in RvR 24x7. This is another example of how EA Mythic talks to the community, listens to what they have to say, and takes action. We will continue this process over the next three quarters as we continue to develop, expand and improve WAR.

As I often quote from movies, one line particularly leaps to mind right now: “Creation is an act of sheer will,” said John Hammond in Jurassic Park. Unlike his creation in that film, however, what EA Mythic creates will be great and glorious, and nobody will get eaten by giant reptiles. That is, until we bring Lustria to life and then all bets are off.
As always, we thank you for your patronage, support and interest.
Mark Jacobs
VP and General Manager, EA Mythic

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