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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Warhammer Team Hit By Layoffs 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-what-every-mmo-needs,-fewer-devs dept.
Zonk notes that Mythic Entertainment, developer of Warhammer Online, is being hit by another round of layoffs. The report estimates that between 60 and 130 staff were let go as part of Electronic Arts' reduction of its workforce. This comes alongside news that the number of Warhammer subscribers has settled to around 300,000. Mythic's Mark Jacobs was quick to affirm that while they were "resizing the team," their plans and schedule are unchanged, citing lower demands on QA now that the launch period has passed. Hopefully this means that their upcoming "live expansion," A Call to Arms, will not be affected by the layoffs.
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Warhammer Team Hit By Layoffs

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  • Re:Warhammer sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:43AM (#26734963)

    Really? What sort of problems did you encounter exactly?

    Apart from some of the cut content the game seemed pretty polished to me and was good fun.

    I didn't encounter anything that would suggest this was a game not fit for release.

    I think they should've just held off on release and finished off the content, that was all that was missing. They tried to do in 2 years what took Blizzard over 6 years and did a damn good job, the codebase was clearly solid- never encountered any instability issues either client or server side. The graphics weren't groundbreaking but I think the goal there was to make sure it was accessible to as many people as possible.

    Most importantly, as far as MMOs go it was actually fun unlike many others, but the reason I quit is because MMOs aren't exactly high on the fun scale anyway. I'd rather play non-MMO games because I feel I'm getting more enjoyment for the time put in to them.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:45AM (#26734975)

    Huh? WAR had PvP in it, especially if you play on the PVP servers. What was the PVP problem with it exactly? What do you play instead that has better PVP?

  • Re:Warhammer sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:54AM (#26735009)

    This was always going to happen, why? GOA.

    GOA were the worst MMO company I've ever used when I played the English version of DAoC, everything from having their servers hacked, to having an overheating processor lead to database corruption through to continuing to charge people for subscriptions who had cancelled their accounts.

    I have no idea why Mythic chose GOA for Warhammer, I think it's cos they'd been picked up by EA afterwards and couldn't run the Euro show on their own so the contract was already signed, but the important thing to take away from this is that the quality issue isn't Mythic's fault directly (only indirectly for choosing GOA again), if you play the US servers the quality is vastly superior, support is much better and so on.

    Shame on Mythic for letting GOA host Euro when they already knew every single European customer hated them when they ran DAoC, but can't criticise them for the way they run their show. I specifically imported US DAoC and US WAR in the end to the UK so I didn't have to deal with GOA. Perhaps this is why I'm sat puzzled as to why there are complaints here about QA- certainly that didn't seem the case on Mythic's own US servers.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:42AM (#26735203) Journal

    I love people like you. You have no clue about the development process at all, and you make far to many assumptions. If a game was released in a shitty state could be because of a bad QA yes, but at the same time they could have found 90% of the issues but due to a set release date or any other sort of pressure from production/development they were punted by programmers/producers to be fixed later. Either way you are too quick to blame one singular entity of the process instead of the whole based purely on what you assume.

    And I love people like you, who are so eager to blame the producer (or anyone else) for not giving a team infinite funds and time.

    The facts are:

    1. The producer isn't some mysterious bogeyman who does nothing but set arbitrary deadlines and stop you from finishing QA. The producer is the guy who pays for the whole development _and_ QA, and each extra month is a month he'll be paying for.

    2. I don't know how you imagine things to be, but any project involves some negotiations. Basically those devs said at some point, "yes, we can do it before date X and with Y million dollars." I'm not aware of any game which was pushed out before the date the devs agreed on. In fact, most blow the deadline and the budget. Some outright lie to get the contract, or are apparently unable to learn from past bad estimates.

    Warhammer Online has been in development longer than WoW IIRC, and it looked so often that it was going nowhere that it was cancelled and then continued after all a couple of times. The first cancelling I remember was in _2004_ FFS. And that's not the _start_ date, it's one of the dates when it wasn't going anwhere.

    And while I have no clue about how it went with the deadlines and budget in the final round, but at the very least, the team delivered less than they promised. See all that cut out content. That's stuff they hadn't just promised their fans, it's stuff they had promised the publisher for that money too. They effectively delivered maybe half the game they had been paid for, or maybe even less.

    3. Most games actually don't even break even as it is. E.g., EA actually subsidizes a heck of a lot of games out of the profits of their sports games and such. I.e., statistically the expectation for any of those games is that it will be yet another hole to throw money down. And digging a bigger hole isn't exactly going to help.

    So, yes, from where I stand it looks to me entirely fair to blame the devs. What do _you_ propose? That the publisher keeps throwing money down a rat hole until the end of times?

  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @09:52AM (#26736241)

    ... but I cancelled a few days ago.

    It wasn't that the game was bad - I liked it and kept my subscription up since release even though I only played it a few times.

    It was that rebooting my MacBook Pro from OS X into Vista became too high a bar for entry. It was just easier to load up WoW than to reboot and play WAR. When you use OS X for everything, and you have to quit all the apps and reboot for a game...

    I wanted to love it. I bought a copy for myself (collector's edition) and a copy for my wife. We played for a few hours in total (I hit level 10!), but in the end, the game did not fit our need for casual gaming.

    We didn't want an easy game or everything handed to us. We just wanted a game that was accessible. Booting to another OS sounds simple (and is) but after a while it becomes too much.

    I'm ready to re-subscribe one day... I did like the game.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7NO@SPAMcornell.edu> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:32AM (#26736759) Homepage

    This wasn't WAR's only accessibility barrier.

    It also failed to run at a playable framerate on systems more than capable of WoW. Two friends of mine tried it and it wasn't playable for them, and there's simply no way my girlfriend's computer could play WAR. (Admittedly even WoW is stretching it, but at least it runs and is playable at low detail.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:17AM (#26737551)

    Troll or ignorance?

    They fuckin' ripped all their IP from Blizzard Entertainment

    The Warcraft line of game was initially intended to be a Warhammer game, but they didn't get the IP. Those guys were around a long time before Blizzard existed. Blizzard's so famous IP is a Warhammer clone.

    Games Workshop so famous IP is a LOTR rip off. So what? People have been borrowing ideas from those that came before them for more years then you've been alive.

  • by rgdanville (1470053) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:20AM (#26737601)
    WoW should serve as an example of how cutting edge graphics do not rule the MMO landscape the way they do in other games. It would be nice if other developers took note that WoW has initiated millions into the MMO market. Despite all their collective faults, actual or perceived, the WoW subscribers have more appreciation now regarding issues like PvP/PvE balance, bots, grouping, crafting, housing, etc. Old MMOs when in development found their forums flooded with questions about screenshots/movies. Now go look at the new Star Wars MMO in development and you have daily questions about will it be released with a native Mac client or how will it handle PvP/RvR or crafting vs looting gear. The consumers have gotten over the glitz factor being the number one selling point with MMOs and are now showing interest in gameplay aspects that before they didn't even have the vocabulary to discuss. Now we just need some developers to spend more time on the rules engine as they do on the graphics engine.

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