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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Warhammer Online Sees Massive Content Removal To Make Launch 397

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bad-ideas-in-the-current-market dept.
Zonk is reporting that the Warhammer Online team has decided to keep their launch deadline firm. Unfortunately, in order to do so, they are pulling quite a few things from the game. Four of the six capital cities are being removed, as well as four of the character classes (two of which were considered the primary "tanking" classes for their race). The team emphatically claims that this has nothing to do with EA. Does this hurt their chances for success more than simply delaying the launch date?
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Warhammer Online Sees Massive Content Removal To Make Launch

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  • They know it's the game that counts, not some deadline.

    It seems to me Warhammer is effectively castrating themselves.
    TO which I say: "Good, I hate those bastards."

    • by sgant (178166) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:24PM (#24155641) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. They don't give out a "deadline" and have always stated that it will be done when it's done.

      Yes, it may be frustrating to people waiting for a Blizzard game, but at least they don't pull this crap.

      • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:30PM (#24155749)
        It's not just that Blizzard holds back their games until they are ready, it's that they have fans that will WAIT until Blizzard's games come out. That is a luxury that most other studios don't have. That said, Warhammer Online better have its features ASAP, first impressions are extremely important in MMOs.
        • by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:44PM (#24155937)

          It's not just that Blizzard holds back their games until they are ready, it's that they have fans that will WAIT until Blizzard's games come out. That is a luxury that most other studios don't have. That said, Warhammer Online better have its features ASAP, first impressions are extremely important in MMOs.

          Perhaps the reason their fans are willing to wait until their games are ready is their track record, which is a direct result of said practice?

          • by redJag (662818) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:50PM (#24156041)
            Exactly. If you don't have fans that are 'willing' to wait then you don't have fans, so why hurry the process in the first place? I put the willing in quotes because everyone hates waiting :) Take the time necessary to create a desirable product and presto, you have fans that will be waiting for your next release and creating a hype-machine for you in the meantime.
            • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:59PM (#24156207) Journal

              Additionally, DAOC was known to be a pretty damn good game. They have a lot of anticipation which could already have been measured by looking at their preorders.

              This is just shooting their loyal customer base in the feet. EA has done this at least three times to them now. First by buying Mythic, second by saying that they have no intent to support Linux, and now by screwing over their loyal customers.

              I honestly had pretty high hopes myself, but pulling of features? come on now.

              Guess EA couldn't wait.

              • A lot of content does not a good game make. Just look at Everquest and expansion after expansion. The game wasn't designed to support the huge amount of players that would of been required on the servers to make use of all the blasted content. In the end you had all this mid or used to be high level content just withering away in emptiness. It was really depressing in a sense. I'd much rather have content removed if it meant more social interaction or a better game over all.
              • by NoodleSlayer (603762) <ryan.severeboredom@com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:33PM (#24156777) Homepage
                DAOC WAS a pretty damn good game (well, maybe not that emphatic but it at least was decent.) Then they started nerfing content, dumbing down content, devaluing and making PvE content nearly pointless. And then releasing two "expansions" that as far as content goes were extremely content-light, and yet still charged an extra $20 for them. (Labyrith, their last, at least had more content then Darkness Rising, but still).

                There were a number of mistakes Mythic made in their handling of that game as it went on. The biggest one I think was caving into the incessant whining of their player base and nerfing class after class. For all the whining over Trials of Atlantis, it actually increased the size of the playerbase, not the other way around, and got people playing longer. Then they started driving away anyone that wanted to play PvE content by turning it into a defacto PvP-only game. Of course they didn't take into account that the PvP players typically aren't the ones that are going to be sticking around for a while either. But I think the biggest mistake they made was never raising the level cap. They kind of tried to with Master Levels and Champion Levels, but it never quite worked well.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by p0tat03 (985078)
            Well. For many smaller studios they have very little funding, so not shipping now may mean not making the paychecks next month, so shipping an incomplete product is the lesser of two evils. Blizzard is sitting on top of a veritable mountain of money, they have the ability to wait.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Well. For many smaller studios they have very little funding, so not shipping now may mean not making the paychecks next month, so shipping an incomplete product is the lesser of two evils. Blizzard is sitting on top of a veritable mountain of money, they have the ability to wait.

              Yes, but that fails on two points: 1) Blizzard was a small company once too. Everybody has to start somewhere. 2) These guys have EA behind them, so funding shouldn't be an issue. That is, if EA doesn't mind providing additional funding to finish the game properly...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by morcego (260031)

              This is, unfortunately, a fallacy we also hear about software companies: software development always takes longer than planned.

              I used to think that was true myself. Until I once met a software company with real professional leading the teams and on management. Not talking about MBA crap. I'm talking "software development management" professionals. During the 3 years I had contact with them, they never missed a deadline (and released earlier either). They were right on the spot every single time. That proved

        • by fishbowl (7759) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:51PM (#24156065)

          >they have fans that will WAIT until Blizzard's games come out.

          They have fans that drop out of college, quit jobs, let spouses move out, etc., for the game.

          One problem is that any other company has to compete with *that*.

        • Hmm, moderate or educate.

          It has absolutely nothing to do with people who will wait for a Blizzard game. Those waiting on Warhammer will continue to wait indefinitely, just like how those who were waiting on World of Warcraft waited indefinitely for it too.

          The same applied for the Burning Crusade expansion. They announced a release date, and then pushed it back ~2 months, if I remember. The forums lit up with complaints, whining, and many large capital letters. People had scheduled their jobs around this release date, and now suddenly they had all this free time and no game to play. And what happened? They bought the game anyway.

          People will wait on games because they're looking forward to them. Blizzard's reputation of pushing quality games out the door was built on people getting pissed off that they were taking so long.

          You say that "that is a luxury that most other studios don't have." And I disagree entirely. There is nothing stopping a studio from pushing their dates back. The only reason they don't is that they feel if they don't make their release date, then they will miss out of customers.

          Which is entirely wrong. The entire MMO market is saturated right now, with WoW. Those who want to play other MMOs, such as Age of Conan or Warhammer Online will wait indefinitely for one simple reason: they are dissatisfied with Blizzard for one reason or another, and these are the people who are not only just dissatisfied, but will also remain dissatisfied indefinitely.

          The thing that the Warhammer Online people are missing, and to some degree this applies to Age of Conan too ("hey guys! Let's launch a game where a core stat, strength, does entirely nothing!"), is that their playerbase consists almost entirely of people who are pissed off at WoW. Those people are not pleased with how Blizzard has taken WoW, and no degree of talking with them will change that.

          The name of the game is "the grass is always greener on the other side." The vast majority of people who want to play Warhammer don't want to play it because it will be awesome, they want to play it because they are sick of WoW, and likewise, Warhammer suddenly becomes awesome.

          The Warhammer devs saying "let's cut a huge amount of content" is ultimately what is going to kill them, at least in the short term. The people who are pissed at WoW will remain pissed, and they will always have that one shiny, better game out on the horizon. Why anyone would cut content and quality for release dates when almost their entire fanbase will be ex-WoW players who will join them the moment that games comes out - be it tomorrow or in two years - boggles my mind.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Incoherent07 (695470)

            I feel obliged to point out that they never actually announced a November release for Burning Crusade; everyone just assumed that (and they may have stated that they wanted to release it in 2006 but not with any specific date).

            The original WoW was released without a couple of the features they wanted to add (obvious example: honor system), but this seems somewhat more drastic than the honor system (which turned out to be a bad idea in the end anyway).

            • The exact release details are beyond me, yes. If it was never set in stone then I'll take your word for it. :)

              And you're right, WoW launched without some *features* such as the honor system. They did, however, launch with all six capital cities, every single one of their classes, tens of hundreds of spells, and over 60 (or so? Exact numbers are beyond me) individual zones. WoW was largely content complete from the day it launched, just not feature complete.

              When you compare this to Warhammer cutting 4/6 cities and 4 classes, things look quite a bit more bleak for Warhammer than they ever did with WoW.

              Cutting a very large chunk of content just to make a release date is nothing good for the future of Warhammer.

              • Warhammer just lost a future customer.....
                I'm a ex WoW player, thus very spoiled, got a bit bored from it and was really looking forward to Warhammer.

                But if they are already cutting corners, taking out content just to meet their releasedate I'm willing to take bets that it will be just another 100 in a dozen mmo.

                This simply tells me that they're just after the next big money machine behind WoW. And that they're not after the next big near perfect game (which will earn them even more money in the end I'm sure)

                And *that* is a big mistake, the first studio that will do some serious damage to the WoW customer base will be the first studio that doesn't care about the release date. A MMO is something that's ment to be played for years, the players know that now, they know they need to look for solid end-game, solid designs and not hollow prommises like "it will be patched later"

                My prediction, the first studio that will eat a large chunk out of the WoW customer base will be Blizzard itself.
                No other studio has the balls to develop as long as they do. 1 or 2 more expansions for WoW, then Blizzard will announce their next MMO and people will buy that even if they have to pay for it with their souls.
                • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm a i l . c om> on Friday July 11, 2008 @05:23PM (#24159075)

                  Well until Valve gets into the MMO business that is.

                  *Drools*

                  "Welcome. Welcome, to City 17. You have chosen, or been chosen, to relocate to one of our finest remaining urban centers. I thought so much of City 17, that I elected to establish my administration, here, in the citadel, so thoughtfully provided by our benefactors. I am proud to call City 17 my home. And so, whether you are here to stay, or passing through to parts unknown, welcome, to City 17. It's safer here."

                  "But, could you please bring us 10 headcrab fangs for... research purposes? Here's a cowbar."

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by NeMon'ess (160583) *

                  If Warhammer needs six more months too "cook", then what's stopping you from buying it six months after its release when all the cities and classes have been included?

          • Money is the only reason I can see for keeping a hard release date in exchange for major content cuts.

            • Got me there. If not releasing for another year means they go bankrupt, then sure, it'd be better to release now.

              On the flip side, by releasing earlier they drastically reduce all chances they have of being successful in the long run.

              The obvious proof of this statement is seen by comparing Blizzard to any other MMO company. One rolled a game that has 1-60 and 40+ zones, all of their classes and zones in-game. The other is cutting a HUGE amount just to make a date on a calendar (unless, yes, the real factor

          • by dcollins (135727) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:32PM (#24158471) Homepage

            "There is nothing stopping a studio from pushing their dates back. The only reason they don't is that they feel if they don't make their release date, then they will miss out of customers."

            As a former computer game engineer, I'll have to disagree with this part. They reason most game companies run into a hard release date is that they're physically out of money right *now*, to the extent that they can't afford payroll or rent the next month.

        • by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:01PM (#24156239)

          It's not just that Blizzard holds back their games until they are ready, it's that they have fans that will WAIT until Blizzard's games come out. That is a luxury that most other studios don't have.

          Did you actually read what you just wrote? Read it again. And then think about it.

          Who besides fans will wait on a game? And if you have good fans, they will wait. If you don't have an established fan base yet, it doesn't matter how soon you release - no one's waiting.

          No matter how you cut it, it's always best to wait to release the game until it's ready for primetime.

          Nothing to do with EA

          Yeah right. Because EA has never done anything ever to screw over a good franchise they bought. Nope.

    • If they are trying to evolve into something like a gaming version of Gnome, where the schedule is fairly straightforward, than that might be a Good Thing.
      The transition may be painful, and could even kill them.
      Depends on the management.
    • by 74nova (737399)
      is that your opinion of DNF, screw deadlines? :-)
    • by jayhawk88 (160512)

      Let's not forget that Blizzard launched WoW in November of '04 in the US, right before the Christmas holiday. Let's also not forget that as (relatively) smooth as the WoW launch went, there were a lot of features that were missing from the launch version that Blizzard had clearly intended to be ready by launch, including some dungeons such as Maura, the honor system, etc. Let's also also not forget that in the fall/winter of '04, Blizzard was over a year removed from Warcraft 3, three years removed from Dia

  • INCOMING FAILGATE! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigdady92 (635263)
    nothing like ripping out promised content and abilities to make it to release. why not let it cook a bit longer and not pull a flaghsipp'n?
    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:16PM (#24155523) Homepage Journal

      Becasue they are loking at the numbers, and not the realities of the game market.
      Blizzard is successfull becasue they release quality titles.
      Blizzard has what, 3 titles? And they practically print money.

      • by Thaelon (250687)

        I'm curious to what titles you're talking about.

        Because you can still - after eight freaking years - find Diablo II in stores. And it's not in the bargain bin, either. It's $40 plus tax for the game and the expansion the expansion. I think the base game is still $20.

        Starcraft is alive and well in some parts.

        Are those the two you're referring to in addition to WoW or...?

  • EA, most likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the4thdimension (1151939) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:15PM (#24155515) Homepage
    Even though they say that EA is NOT behind this deal, I have to believe it is. This sounds too much like something EA would pressure them into doing. They were fine pressing back release dates BEFORE EA came on scene.

    I am skeptical, to say the least.
    • Re:EA, most likely (Score:4, Informative)

      by illumin8 (148082) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:51PM (#24156057) Journal

      Even though they say that EA is NOT behind this deal, I have to believe it is. This sounds too much like something EA would pressure them into doing. They were fine pressing back release dates BEFORE EA came on scene.

      It's not just EA that is behind this, its the basic reality of the market. Wrath of the Lich King (the WoW expansion) is coming out next spring most likely, and if they try to release around the same time as that, they're pretty much guaranteed to fail at capturing any significant marketshare.

      They pretty much have to release it this Fall or they're screwed.

      BTW, I've been playing the closed beta, and I predict this game will be epic fail. The graphics are similar to 2004 era WoW graphics. Bugs and lack of content are everywhere. I love the Warhammer universe, since I grew up playing the tabletop games, and I had high hopes for this franchise, but the game simply fails to deliver. It might have been good if it came out 4 years ago, but people expect a game to have the same polished content upon release that WoW has taken 4 years to add. The market expects an unrealistically high level of polish and content, so pretty much any new challenger is guaranteed to fail unless it's made by Blizzard.

      I've been having a lot of fun playing Age of Conan lately. Don't let the haters tell you it sucks. It really is a pretty good game, even though it has bugs. What MMO doesn't?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by PIBM (588930)

        Sadly, it's not an MMO.

        From level 25 to 45 I encounter a single player... beside he was angry and cursing at me because I had just finished cutting a tree he was on his way to loot, so I killed him.. I guess I was the only one left afterward =)

      • I love the Warhammer universe, since I grew up playing the tabletop games, and I had high hopes for this franchise

        I've always been aware of Warhammer but never took time to experience the series, could you recommend a good PC title to get acquainted with the series?

      • Unfortunately (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        It probably will not fail regardless. Maybe if MMOs started failing, companies would work harder in to making sure they were good. However, to the best of my knowledge, no MMO has yet failed. Even games that were disasters seem to have been able to get enough players to maintain profitability. It seems there are currently enough players to sustain pretty much any MMO and that is part of the reason there are such quality problems. While games may fail to achieve the success that World of Warcraft has, they a

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "Even though they say that EA is NOT behind this deal, I have to believe it is. This sounds too much like something EA would pressure them into doing. They were fine pressing back release dates BEFORE EA came on scene."

      The way MMORPG development goes, I do think it's more likely that it's Mythic that's run out of cash, and this is the point where the suits rip their hair hair out and demand income asap. Probably EA has done nothing except given them their last agreed-upon advance check.

      It's really way more

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        Umm, this isn't Mythic's first MMO- they wrote DAoC. In fact, I don't think they had any single player games.

  • The exclusion of capital cities seems more reasonable than handicapping some of the character races. The former could be added in via expansion packs (free via download or otherwise). To start off without "tanks" for some of the races is just silly, though. Were I them I'd split the difference and make sure the game is balanced in a smaller scale world, then expand that world.
    • by rhombic (140326) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:22PM (#24155607)

      Exclusion of the capital cities ruins the whole race vs race war aspect of the game; it turns something that could have been really deep into a WoW clone. Sigh. Hopefully it'll add back in later.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PlatyPaul (690601)
      Hmm... it seems we're losing two "berserker-brawler[s]" [The Choppa and The Hammerer], one "heavy tank" [The Knight of the Blazing Sun], and (roughly) "a World of Warcraft Warrior" [The Blackguard].

      (source [massively.com])

      There are still 20 of the original 24 promised classes, and there really wasn't an equivalent set of roles across all races anyway, so it may still work out.

      Me, I'm still pissed about the lack of Skaven.
  • 4-2=2 (Score:2, Funny)

    by DarthVain (724186)

    Um so what there is a "good" city and a "bad" city? Wow, just wow. (no pun intended!lol)

    • by Shihar (153932)

      I wish I had my mod points.

      Personally, I think Warhammer online is DOA. My impression of Warhammer is that it is just basically WoW with some turning and a few PvP game mechanic differences. In other words, it was a copy and paste from WoW that they tried to tune up a little. This is wonderfully ironic, because the entire World of Warcraft setting was basically stolen verbatim from Warhammer (and Starcraft a rip off of Warhammer 40K).

      Warhammer had a real potential to strike out a new path and reclaim the

      • by Knara (9377)

        There is a 40k MMO in development.

        Also, I wouldn't say that WH "could strike out on a new path". The realm vs realm thing was done very well in Dark Age of Camelot already, long before WoW came out.

    • Of course, there'll be Springfield and Shelbyville. Any hope that Ogdenville would get added back at this point is purely speculation.

  • by Lord_Frederick (642312) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:23PM (#24155617)

    Feels like a bit of a bait and switch for the folks that pre-ordered.

  • New "expansion"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:25PM (#24155645)

    I hope they release the content after WAR goes online, but I have a sneaking suspician that these cities which are cut out will end up being put in the game as an "expansion".

    I hope not.

  • The right mouse button, any attack other than "hit", support for the capslock key, and the number "4".
    Cutting support for the number 4 alone reduces the number of xp and currency tests you have to do.

    At this point, they ought to use CGA graphics and an atari joystick for all input as well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by c1t1z3nk41n3 (1112059)
      Have you played any mmorpgs? Removing support for the capslock key would be the single greatest thing they could do.
  • by Phrogman (80473) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:29PM (#24155733) Homepage

    While no MMORPG is ever complete, and thus never completed when released, releases like this in the past have caused major problems in getting people to accept the game in the past. Vanguard was released with major elements of the game incomplete, Pirates of the Burning Sea had similar problems (although it was mostly feature complete and the changes made after release were tweaking that could only be made after large enough populations were logging in).

    The missing elements and poor gameplay in Vanguard resulted in a mass exodus of players after release, and a similar thing happened in POTBS (eventually resulting in a server merge that took the game from 12 servers down to 4 I believe). Its always important to make a good impression when selling a product, and its doubly so for MMORPGs I think.

    Given that WAR is considered the next likely candidate to challenge the supremacy of Warcraft (a daunting prospect for the developers I am sure), I can't help but think that this is a very bad idea generally speaking. The game needs to be as complete and ready to play as possible in order to attract the required playerbase. Taking the game live in a partially developed manner is no longer a viable option I think. Prior to Warcraft this might have been possible - Dark Age of Camelot went live with many features missing, but what it had was enough to attract people away from Everquest (which was its only major competitor at the time), but with Warcraft being such a complete product and so well designed (I may dislike it but 8m+ people disagree with me), any game that comes out now needs to be able to put its full featureset into gameplay right from release or it risks losing the majority of players who are pretty jaded and expect *everything now*. The time for incomplete products has passed, thanks to Blizzard.

    Not only that, but if its missing the Tankers on all sides specifically thats a very bad decision as well. This will undoubtedly slow PvE leveling and thats usually the focus of any MMORPG early in its history as players build up their characters in preparation for the end game (yes I know you can PvP at any level in WAR, but realistically people will want to race to the end levels first and likely avoid PvP as they do in so many other games, even though the game attempts to balance it at all levels).

    Since Jacobs has stated this is nothing to do with EA, its most likely an internal decision based on lack of development time and a desire to make a November release date that is key to getting Christmas sales for the game. It may also be a reaction to the success of Age of Conan (which is doing well by reports, although I didn't keep my subscription going so I am out of touch), or to some other major release thats coming at the same time. MMORPGs and their expansions tend to be timed to coincide with releases from other companies and that often seems to shift dates.

    Mythic had an extremely successful product with Dark Age of Camelot, although they blew it in the long run, overdeveloping the game in some areas and inconsistently designing it in many cases. I have high hopes they can produce an excellent game with WAR but we shall see.

    • by Shihar (153932)

      The "fix it later" mentality is the death of an MMORPG. Pirates of the Burning Sea is a great example of this. PotBS is one of the more unique games in existence. Combat is actually challenging and fun. It has the potential for one of the most kick ass economies in MMORPG history. The PvP potential is so good you can almost taste it. What happened?

      They blew it.

      The economy was launched with features that border between too stupid to contemplate and utterly missing (no sell orders, dumb "bidding" system

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by metanoia3 (1255212)
      Case in point, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. It lacked content, it ran at horrible framerates no matter what your setup, and contained obnoxious bugs... but they released it anyway.
  • Dwarf,Undead,Orc,Human,Gnome,Dranei,Blood Elf,Troll in WoW. So what? Factions aren't a single race so it's not all that important which races have which classes.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#24155765)
    It is funny that everyone bitches when a company holds back a release *Forever* while the developers Duke it out over new technology, features, etc... Rather than Nuke a fer features in favor of a quick release. Yet when they trash a few features to make a release date, they get the same kind of flack.

    Of course everyoen mentions Blizzard... I would be willing to bet that the difference is the marketing, I mean, Blizzard doesn't announce games untill they are good and ready... they don't need years of buzz. I would be willing to bet that they always have a good bit of feature chopping in every blizz game (in fact when you open and look at MPQ files, you could find lost character classes, never activated items, etc etc, it just happens BEFORE the marketing, rather than after.
    • by D Ninja (825055)

      I mean, Blizzard doesn't announce games untill they are good and ready... they don't need years of buzz.

      Blizzard doesn't need to create buzz because they are so good at what they do, the buzz generates itself.

      This is a position *every* company wants to be in. But, very few have it. The only way you get there is by constantly delivering good results, and (in the case of certain Blizzard games), chopping out the stuff that is going to be crap.

      Unfortunately, egos and people on power trips don't typically like to let this happen. It makes them look bad. Meh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tridus (79566)

      "it just happens BEFORE the marketing, rather than after."

      Yep. Thats also why they don't announce release dates.

      People flip out if you promise the moon and fail to live up to your own hype, even if the game is fun. Take away the promises, and people may find that the game is fun without thinking about some missing feature.

      Of course, Blizzard's marketing department is a good deal more intelligent then that of most other game developers.

  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hachima (718971) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#24155771)
    The article seemed a bit misleading. It made it sound like the game was dependent on races having all class types available for RVR, when it's not. It would be like saying Alliance in WoW is in trouble because they removed the ability for Gnomes to be priests. In WAR there are two factions, Order and Destruction. Order has the Ironbreaker and the Swordmaster as tanks, the White Lion and the Witch Hunter as melee dps. Destruction has the Black Orc and Chosen as tanks, the Witch Elf and Marauder as melee dps. Just because particular races don't have tanks doesn't mean the faction doesn't have tanks for the RVR.
  • Paid Beta (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Holammer (1217422) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:37PM (#24155841)
    Looks like they're in a hurry to get to the "paid beta" stage asap. Whomever handles their finances is probably riding their ass because they're not cashing in already. Delaying the release would probably not hurt the general goodwill towards the game, but releasing it this early and they'll be the next major laughing stock since Vanguard.
  • by Chas (5144) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:38PM (#24155847) Homepage Journal

    "The team emphatically claims that this has nothing to do with EA"

    Right.

    EA, who essentially turf all projects that aren't their beloved sports games.
    EA who has gone out of their way to buy healthy, actively developed games and kill them just shy of release.

    Likely the WHOL guys got an ultimatum of "Ship or we shut you down". That's pretty much par for the course with EA.

    • by lantastik (877247)

      Let's look at the rest of that quote:

      "This has nothing to do with EA ... they had zero input in this ... They don't even know about it. It's not a discussion we would have with them."

      Now I know it's total bullshit. That's a discussion you better damn well have with your publisher. If I were your publisher and you chose not have that conversation with me and I found out about it through some interview on a website, you'd start losing funding and Mark Jacobs would be looking for a new job.

  • Just like Vanguard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LandDolphin (1202876) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:49PM (#24156007)
    Releasing Vanguard before it was ready killed it. I fail to see how Warhammer doing the same thing will have any other outcome. This makes me sad; I was really looking forward to Warhammer Online.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:50PM (#24156043) Homepage

    to figure out they have to have *something* to release for the all-important fourth quarter.

    Launch it any other time of year and you won't get the same sales bounce out of a new release.

  • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:52PM (#24156071)
    ...and not 40k?
    Who thought we need yet another fantasy MMORPG with swordswinging, arrowshooting, fireball casting humans, orcs, dark/notsodark elves, undead etc etc etc?
    They had access to the Warhammer franchise and chose this... I couldnt care less about their deadline, or if they ever make it at all.
    Its not a Warhammer MMORPG for me, unless you give me a bolter and a power-armour.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      I agree. Going after the fantasy crwod is going to be a tough sell.

    • by Knara (9377)

      There's a 40k in development, but its a few years out.

    • by geek (5680)

      Because THQ has the rights to 40k. They have the Dawn of War RTS series which they announced would become a 40k MMO at some point. It's still years away however.

  • Still should be fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by EvilGoodGuy (811015) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:52PM (#24156079)
    The summary is a bit misleading. 4 classes are out, but there are around 20 so it's not that big o a deal. And the capital cities aren't like that in EQ and WoW. You get to them later in the game for PvP purposes. So there will still be plenty to look forward to and have fun with in Warhammer :)
  • Yes, absolutely it does in my opinion. A combination of the two would have been the smarter move in my opinion.
  • by Broken Bottle (84695) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:56PM (#24156141)
    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17549 [gamasutra.com] "You are what you are at launch." WAR has been postponed a bunch of times. If they're going to launch with severely stunted *basic* content they're essentially crippling the game for the rest of its lifespan. Seriously, when MMOs launch there are always a bunch of bugs that need to be concentrated on in the first few weeks/months of the game's life. If they can't launch 4 of the 6 capital cities, how quickly can we expect to see those FOUR remaining cities given the other demands of the game's launch? Not good for them at all. They've been in development for a while and I'm sure that they have financial realities pressuring them but this isn't going to help the game at all.
  • by Aphoxema (1088507) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:58PM (#24156187) Homepage Journal

    I really don't see the problem here. It's an MMO, they can and it's expected that they add this content later and much more.

    I also don't see what the purpose of a release date, it's just marketing bullshit. The game could have been 'released' a long time ago, and if they honestly let people know that it wasn't ready for typical gameplay then anyone who felt hurt was expecting the wrong thing.

    They could have just arbitrarily chosen any point in it's development to say, "Hey, this is good enough, let's stick it in a box."

    I hate terms like 'alpha' and 'beta' and 'release' things like, especially when they're used so glamorously. Do you really ever want to call something a finished product? When something's 'out of beta' it's probably not going to get the same attention it had before. If something's still being called beta, someone's actively working on it, and it already kicks ass, then what wouldn't I have to look forward to?

    It's just philosophical ideas made official, and it's useless. All that matters are version number. It's not like software becomes perfect when it's released or there's some magical point where it's instantly ready to be marketed.

    Release dates are also stupid. It's more marketing bullshit about holidays and stuff. What's so bad about "We're working on it, it'll be done when we say it is and if you care you'll know when we say it."

    If it wasn't for that kind of garbage, no one would have any reason to squeal over bugs in the 'final product'. The problems are there and they're expected to be there, and it's getting about time for the idea of software as a tangible object to come to an end.

  • Misleading Headline (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ACupOfCoffee (459804) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:03PM (#24156287)

    Everybody Panic!

    You would think the slashdot crowd would be refreshed by a company doing a public disclosure of changes like this.

    Seriously though, this is not a huge deal (unless you had your heart set on one of those classes at release). There are still 20 classes with a large amount of variety and a good mix of standard mmo and new-ish mechanics. That's a large number more than many MMO's. see: http://www.warhammeronline.com/armiesofWAR/index.php

    As for the cities, yes it's a definite loss, but two strong cities will serve that facet of end-game content well to start. (Yes it's only one of many possible facets.)

    Yes, I've been in beta since the beginning, and yes the game is much more polished than people are expecting. I really can't comment beyond that with the NDA, but feel free to browse the public info: http://www.warhammeronline.com/index.php

    -ACupOfCoffee

  • Absolutely it does. The first impression is what counts most, if you put out an unfinished MMO the early subscribers will jump off quickly, go back to WOW, and tell all their guildmates that your game sucked. That's millions of customers who in turn won't even try your game, let alone subscribe to it long-term. And I'm not talking "unfinished" as in new patches come out once a month, I'm talking the kind of "unfinished" that takes entire locations and classes out of a game.
  • The title of this article is completely mis-leading. I fail to see how dropping 4 classes out of 24, and some of the capital city sieges, is 'Massive'. Massive typically means a very large quantity of something. In terms of the game, while these delayed items will be missed, it is a small percentage of the overall game content. At least read the interview to understanding what was actually announced and the reasons behind dropping a few classes.
  • by mcvos (645701) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:19PM (#24159565)

    From TFA:

    the capital cities for the Dark Elf, High Elf, Orc, and Dwarf factions will not be in the game at launch.

    I didn't know Orcs even had a capital city. And isn't the Dwarven empire in ruins? High Elves have Ulthuan ofcourse, but nobody else ever goes there, and whatever the Dark Elf capital is is on the other side of the world, so who cares?

    What I'd like to know is if Bretonnia, Marienburg and Kislev are in it.

    Somehow I don't think it's going to be my kind of game...

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:48PM (#24159813)

    Another stillborn in the making.

    Why so gloom? Well, look at the recent MMORPGs, all of which were dubbed "the one that kick WoW off its throne". And? None did. Why? Were they too complex? Too hard for the everyday player?

    No. They just were not finished.

    Now, no MMORPG is ever "really" finished. But WoW was to the point of being good enough for release, and that made it king. It wasn't so much its "noob appeal", it wasn't the comic style graphics, it wasn't the "rich" story (what rich story, btw?). Was it because it needed no insane box to play it (it did, just because it doesn't anymore doesn't mean it didn't).

    It was simply and plainly that WoW was released when it worked.

    I was in the WoW Beta. It was one of the longest betas I've ever experienced. And I was incredibly amazed how polished the game was already when it went into beta. Basically, WoW was when beta started (almost) as "finished" as many MMORPGs are now when they get released. And when they finally went into release, the key problems were resolved and you could play it. Namely:

    CTDs: Rare.
    Classes: All finished.
    Skills: Worked (almost, but generally they did).
    Quests: Worked (almost all).
    Raid content: Existing (not a lot, but it was there).

    Basically that's WoW's "secret". When you look at the failed MMORPGs, you'll notice a sharp pick up, especially when the hype was running rampart around it (and believe me, the WHO hype is), then an equally sharp decline and a slow and painful death. Either they kill their userbase by being as stable as a pig on stilts, they have classes that are unplayable, they got bugs all over the place, to the point where you can't even finish the newbie area without the intervention of GMs, or they simply have no high level content whatsoever. Many combine a few of those "features".

    Essentially, this means WHO will be a stillborn, too. I predict a crispy start with many, many people wanting to play, then turning away in disgust after less than three months and the game being milked for as long as it's profitable, then shut down in a whimper.

    Another WoW killer out of the game. Ok. NEXT?

  • by ocbwilg (259828) on Friday July 11, 2008 @10:09PM (#24161333)
    The team emphatically claims that this has nothing to do with EA.

    Of course it doesn't. And anyone who says it does either doesn't work for EA or doesn't work for EA "any more". Because we all know that EA has never told one of its studios that it was time to either ship the product or kill it. EA has a terrible, terrible reputation in the games industry for being almost 100% deadline driven. You come out with a new product and release it on time, period. Then you come out with a refresh/upgrade of that product every year and on time, or else. It's their entire business model. It's also one of the biggest reasons that they are not known for quality products. Their goal is to ship it on time, and if it sucks they'll fix it in the next release. Unfortunately with an MMOG you don't have that option. There's no such thing as Warhammer Online 2008, followed by the sequels Warhammer Online 2009 and 2010. When they destroy their reputation with the initial release it will be much harder to recover. Not only that, but WO players will blow through what little content they have in the first month, then move on to the next big thing. If EA is lucky some of the WO players will spend the next 6-9 months waiting for content that should have been in the original release. Hopefully EA will have the good sense to NOT release that content as a for-sale add-on, but they have a pretty bad track record with MMOGs so I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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