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Warhammer Producer Discusses Australian Launch, Game Details, and More 30

Josh Drescher, associate producer for the upcoming Warhammer Online, recently had a chance to chat with Gamespot about some of the recent changes on the horizon. Good news for Australian consumers who are slavering over EA's new title, it will not only be launched in Australia at the same time as the US and Europe but local servers will be set up to allow for better play. "From the very beginning the Australian fans were very vocal. One of the first strange packages that we got in the mail a couple of years ago was from an Australian fan who sent us a bunch of drop bear stuffed animals, and he attached fangs to them and there was blood all over their faces — and was basically threatening [producer] Jeff Hickman and letting him know that if there weren't Oceanic servers, that he would send a drop bear invasion to attack the developers physically."
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Warhammer Producer Discusses Australian Launch, Game Details, and More

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  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:27PM (#23437678)
    Continuing the quote:

    Of course, EA made sure that he got extradited and charged in the US with terrorism and crimes against an endangered species, but we all had a really good laugh about it.
  • Proof (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vexor ( 947598 )
    That Warhammer fans can be crazy enough to destroy what they enjoy.
  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:49PM (#23438052) Journal
    I'm gonna go out on a limb and state that GW will do at least one of the following with Warhammer online:
    • Change the rules for how magic works from one version to the next.
    • Each time a new "world" is opened and new races are added, the most recent race will have access to skills, classes, or inventory that completely destroys everything that existed before.
    • The first version will let you create your own avatar with no extra fees. Later versions will require you to purchase equipment for your character directly from a "shop" run by the GW servers.
    • Additionally, all of your inventory will have to be visible on your character. If the other guy can't see it, it doesn't exist. Which will mean updating your character all the freakin' time.
    • By subscribing to White Dwarf, you'll get access to cheat codes that others won't have, allowing you to defeat opponents with ease. All in the name of driving subscriptions to their crappy magazine.
    • by SBacks ( 1286786 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @02:59PM (#23438220)
      Don't forget that with every major patch to the game, you'll have to go out and buy a new user's manual that tells you how to operate your character in the new rules.
    • The first version will let you create your own avatar with no extra fees. Later versions will require you to purchase equipment for your character directly from a "shop" run by the GW servers.
      Can't I just use a paperboard cutout of my character instead?
    • by Achoi77 ( 669484 )

      I don't know if planned obsoletion is a good idea especially for game balance. Look at the trouble WoW is running into - the gear difference between 60 and 70 is so enormous that lower levels start buying services from lvl 70s to run them thru instances, inadverdently creating a tertiary economy, unplanned by Blizzard and while-not-technically against the terms of service, defeating the spirit of the game via loopholes.

      And then the introduction of new lands (outlands, northrend) causes the previous thrivin

      • by Barny ( 103770 )
        I believe the grandparent was trying to say that if they release the MMOG like they release the miniature game, it will suck ;)
      • by Keill ( 920526 )
        Well - World of Warcraft is simply the best MMO we have at v1.0 so far...

        Unfortunately, no MMO out there so far really seems to aiming for v2.0 - Conan and WAR might be trying, but from what I've heard so far, at best they might make v1.5

        The problem with trying to make an MMO v2.0, is that so much needs to be done differently to the current games, from scratch - and it doesn't seem like any company is going to take that opportunity - sorry - 'chance'.

        So, what elements would make an MMO at v2?

        The main one is
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drsquare ( 530038 )
          I'd be happy if they came out with an MMO which didn't have gameplay based on 20 year old MUDs. Seriously, this is the 20th century, and the best MMO around, World of Warcraft, with its ten million subscribers, can't manage anything better than 'you hit the goblin for 10 points of damage, the goblin hits you for 8 points of damage', and 'fetch me fifty bulls earlobes in order to complete the quest'?

          Let's have an MMO which has some actual game to it, rather than just being a giant chatroom with a combat syst
        • by lgw ( 121541 )
          I was going to write a rant here, but you pretty much covered it. A world that is dynamic (and not just in instanced areas) opens up so much that's barely been touched on by what you term "1.0" MMOs, that it will be a difference in kind once the content creators get the hang of it. (I'd say the MUDs were 1.0, the MUDs-with-pictures were 2.0, and the first-person-MUDs-with-pictures were 3.0, as each was a real step forward in immersiveness.)

          There's not a real technical limitation here - building new towns
          • by Keill ( 920526 )
            yep - though, tbh - I didn't help my cause by automatically thinking 'MMORPG' instead of MMO in general - and yes - for an MMO in general, a dynamic game in as many ways possible is basically IT for v2, well, ok v4/5...

            TBH - the only 'dynamic' MMO I've played so far - (and about the only MMO I'd go back to - (if I didn't have a crappy usage cap on my internet connection :( )) - even though it is more PvP orientated than PvE, (which I usually prefer, though thats mostly because I've never liked the way the P
        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          If you ask me the only thing it really needs is to do away with this whole insane power growth through repeated whacking of similar enemies bullshit. It's not accepted in any other genre, why is it accepted for MMOs? Would Super Mario Bros be fun if you had to stomp 100 goombas to be able to hurt koopas, stomp 200 of those to be able to hurt hammer bros, etc? Would Gradius be better if powerup drops had a 1% chance to happen and without powerups you can't even hurt some enemies?
      • I disaggree (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @06:13PM (#23440756) Journal
        Having played more than one MMO in my time, I disaggree.

        1. EQ2 already tried the blatant commercialism route, where even single instances get sold as "adventure packs" if they aren't big enough for an expansion pack.

        Heck, most of their expansion packs are the kind of micro-transactions that you seem to favour, only priced too much. Their _largest_ expansion pack, Echoes of Faydweyr, introduced... two races, their newbie-ish areas and capital cities. I.e., it was pretty much comparable in size to the Draenei and Blood Elves of Burning Crusade, including their two zones each. But without the whole Outlands, which made the meat of Burning Crusade. I.e., it was pathetically small compared to Blizzard's one EP.

        I don't think it did much to bring new players. It did, however, leave a lot of people with a bad sensation of being fleeced, quartered and dimed by Sony.

        2. More classes just create more confusion, and a bigger chaos trying to balance them all. Plus, since there are only so many types of actions that even make sense in a game, you either

        A) end up with classes which are almost identical, and add nothing new except confusion. (Did we really need 6 f-ing kinds of priests, among which two almost identical druids, in EQ2? One is slightly better at healing, unless you put your talents in offense, and one is slightly better at offensive magic, unless you put your talents in healing. Or did we really need Brigand, Swashbuckler and Assassin as different _classes_ instead of Rogue specs? Seriously, wtf? One class and 3 talent trees would do the same job just fine.)

        B) have to restrict what other classes can do, so they don't overlap. (E.g., to have a class whose specialty is healing over time, you have to not give others such spells, or a severely gimped choice of them. Or to make a sub-class of mage recognizable by its AOEs, you have to have a different one that's got none or very few/weak. See EQ2 again. Or better yet, see COH.) Unfortunately that also makes the class less interesting to play. One of the attraction points of WoW is that there's so much different stuff you can do, and combine in interesting ways. A class which mostly just does the same thing over and over again, is repetitive and ultimately boring. And that's what you get if you try too hard to slice classes too thin.

        Even in miniature games, you have more than one kind of unit in your army, and can alternate what you take in your army. So you can have narrow-focus "classes", because the player can then just make a mix of several of them.

        In a MMO you play exactly one character (at a time.) If that one character is pushed into a very narrow role, and just pushes the same few buttons over and over again, it becomes boring fast.

        3. Unused instances don't require any CPU cycles, because they're, you know, not instanced. And it's fairly trivial to not update some NPCs if noone is within range. I don't know how Blizzard coded it, but I wouldn't be too surprised if they're not wasting much.

        4. As someone who still plays lower level alts too, I can tell you that virtually no outdoors zones became baren Wastelands.

        You can't do much in the Outlands until level 58. Technically you can get a portal there earlier (I had Shattrath as my home on one char as early as level 11), but it's not like you can even take any quests or do much there. So you'll still have to level up from 1 to 58 the old fashioned way. Other than a couple of level 55+ zones like Silithus or EPL, nothing was hit too hard by the expansion pack.

        The former grind instances are pretty much the only ones which became wastelands. But let's be honest: that grind sucked to start with. That's why people dropped them as soon as they had half a choice.

        5. The "boosting" market isn't that horrible a phenomenon. Sure, half the people do their low level instances by following a level 70, but you still can find others which do their instances the old fashioned way.

        If anything, it's more of a problem of class than an
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by llefler ( 184847 )
        And then the introduction of new lands (outlands, northrend) causes the previous thriving lands to be barren wastelands sitting there doing nothing but wasting cpu cycles on mobs just roaming around waiting for someone to kill them.

        A bigger cause of empty zones is they are hard coded for characters of a specific level. Elwynn Forest and Dun Morogh become just a path to get someplace else, an no one goes to Teldrassil unless forced to by a quest. As you advance through levels you abandon a tier at a time.
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        New classes alone won't do much for the majority of people, your character has his class already and getting a new one means starting over. That's not a good thing for an MMO, they retain players through all the work they had to do to get where they are.
  • ...Then where the servers are. Like making the game not suck, which from what I've seen so far they havnt done yet.
  • if there weren't Oceanic servers, that he would send a drop bear invasion to attack the developers physically

    I don't think it's a cause for concern. The bears would probably get lost on the flight between Australia and Los Angeles.

  • Blood bowl (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday May 16, 2008 @03:23PM (#23438556) Homepage Journal
    I'm more looking forward to the blood bowl [] video game that's coming out. It has serious potential.
  • As a GM of a guild playing (and played for about 7 years) their existing game Dark age of Camelot I can say this will completely fuck up unless we are still given the option of playing on US servers.

    At the moment the make-up of my guild is about:

    30% aussies
    55% americans
    5% asians
    10% europeans

    What making all these segregated servers is going to do is break up one of the oldest and, imnsho, the best guilds in the history of their games. /golf clap

    An Australian who doesn't send stupid fucking ideas to ga
    • by SBacks ( 1286786 )
      If they just create servers located in Australia and give people the option of what server to play on, this would be a perfect move.

      If, however, they force people to play on a specific regional server based on their location, you're right, this is a terrible idea.

      But, of course, there's always the option of buying/registering your account from a different region and just ignoring what they want you to do.
      • by Barny ( 103770 )
        Most of my aussie guild members have pre-ordered the collectors edition (via different and unorthodox methods, due to it not being for order in australia) which, according to mythic, will give us access to aussie and US server pools.

        The problem is, if we chose a US server, the aussie players will have no one to group with (aussie peak will be dead) and vice versa if we chose an aussie server.

        One server farm for whole world, we have learnt to put up with 300ms of lag.

        Imho instead of servers why not pay for a
        • Imho instead of servers why not pay for a oceanic cable for dedicated WAR servers in the states to decrease the latency to around 200-250?

          Because the price of laying a cable across the world's widest body of water is going to be hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

          You probably can't afford that.

          Even leasing dedicated space on the existing cables will run into millions per year (I worked with a company that leased a line to India, cost hundreds of thousands per year for a low quality line just e
          • by Barny ( 103770 )
            I wish :)

            Still, the cost of several computing clusters, the people to admin them, the bandwidth to remote patch them...

            Remember of course you only need the game data routed over them, the patching could go via regular paths.

            And afaik there is still dark fiber on the east coast aus link, at least internode seem perfectly able to lease new ones when they find time to upgrade.
    • by Xest ( 935314 )
      As an ex-DAOC European and US player I only hope the Australian servers will be run by a slightly more competent service than GOA, the European server hosts. Just to get the list started, here are the exciting things you can look forward to if they choose a company like GOA:

      - Frequent server crashes with no one to reboot the servers until Monday if it crashes Friday evening because they don't work weekends
      - Servers getting hacked, random monsters spawned everywhere and summoned upon various players
      - Passwor
      • by Barny ( 103770 )
        Yeah, pre-ordered my collectors edition a few weeks back from gamespot, according to mythic they will allow any US or Aussies to be on either set of servers, but I can see the thinning of Aussies from the US server pool as a very bad thing for those of us who will not split our guilds up :/
  • the fact that when EA dumps millions down the drain in Australia, it swirls in the wrong direction.
  • There is alot of money to be made with Aussie/NZ players considering it takes 0 localization to launch there, you also pick up via teh grey market the SEA markets in Singapore and the Philippines. This is one place where WoW has kinda failed they run oceania serves for the Aussie/NZ players but they are still located in the SoCal data centers giving lots of ping/lag to these guys. Putting a remote admined rack in Au is just good business for any large scale MMO.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser