Warhammer Online goes away, with a last fart

They couldn’t let it go without a final stinker, could they? Nope.

Here’s some bad rhetoric for you:

In some cases, HUGE chunks of the WAR team simply set up shop in a new project – old comrades in a new home.

That hasn’t happened by accident. We didn’t miraculously recruit a team of people who were already the Best There Is At What They Do. The WAR project helped MAKE them that. It gave people an opportunity to learn and struggle and grow. Oddly enough, I suspect that – had WAR been a run-away success – a lot of those people WOULDN’T have become the industry leaders they are today. It’s hard to toughen up and get stronger in a comfortable environment. It’s even harder to grow if you never leave the nest.

If Warhammer Online was to be a smashing success, wouldn’t those same devs become industry leaders automatically? Isn’t that exactly what they actually planned on and EXPECTED?

Warhammer Online had a mediocre technical realization and really bad game design. It seems that the only positive qualities they can find is about appropriating the work of the *people* themselves? “Those qualities, they aren’t YOURS. They belong to Warhammer Online, because without working on it and its awful situation you wouldn’t have become good”.

Not exactly encouraging considering the dreadful state of the MMO industry. It’s the only game genre that collapsed on itself and made zero progress in these last few years.

I will also say that Warhammer Online not only simply failed, but deserved to. Countless pages could analyze the reasons and this blog has ideas for the game that could have been useful to improve it substantially, but I’ll mention at least three big problems that played an important role in Warhammer failure and all three should have been EVIDENT already when the very first design doc was written:

1- Public Quests not scaling with the number of players involved in them. Everyone should have known that a mechanic that pivots all around a variable you not only do not control (number of players), but that you know varies wildly, absolutely needs a system that automatically load balances the quest. This system just can’t work if you don’t design it properly.

2- All PvP emphasis focused on shallow, insubstantial, volatile instanced PvP mini-games. Leaving the open PvP areas empty and with no incentives. Warhammer Online never played on its strengths. It actively worked AGAINST them.

3- Levelling curve in mid-to-latter part being completely unbalanced and disproportionate to the actual amount of content available.

Add to this the choice to go with a really bad engine that especially works poorly while handling many characters on screen, which was maybe fine for DAoC but so not good if you really do target WoW numbers… and you can see why Warhammer Online’s failure wasn’t surprising at all.

We were proud of and confident in the game we launched.


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