It’s no secret that Warhammer Online’s voluntary character transfer service is trying to guide people off less populous servers and on to those with more healthy populations. What isn’t stated is whether or not there will be server mergers after this process is complete. Either way, it is obvious Warhammer Online is not holding up to expectations.
When the game first came out, there was alot of buzz. With the backing of games workshop, and the pubilicity that comes with the reputation that warhammer has built up over the years, the game promised to be good. T-shirts were being sold, posters were on sale, canvas printing companys did huge runs of some of the original artwork in the hopes of selling them at great profit. The board was set for a great sucsess… but has that happenned?
According to EA’s recent shareholder report:
“Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMO from EA’s Mythic Entertainment studio, sold 1.2 million copies in the quarter – with over 800 thousand current players.’
The key words in this statement are current players. Gaming companies will spin reports such as these to reflect a more optimistic reality than is sometimes truly present in a game.
As former EA Mythic PR guru Sanya Weather states on brokentoys.org:
“When there are 800K paying subscribers, the press release will explicitly say “subscribers.””
Obviously as someone who has worked in the industry, she knows what she is talking about. One need not rely solely on the observations of former employees however.
Mythic VP and Lead Designer Mark Jacobs, speaking to MTV’s Multiplayer Blog a month before the Warhammer launched, said the following:
“The corollary to that is if you’ve seen a game consolidate servers, you know it’s in deep, deep trouble — that’s not a healthy sign for an MMO–It will be the same for ‘Warhammer.’ Look at us six months out. Look at us six weeks out. If we’re not adding servers, we’re not doing well.”
If you take the man at his word, Warhammer Online is not doing well. Some might say the pseudo consolidation that is happening right now is due to adding too mane servers in the week of post launch. The reality however, is that they have sold 1.2 million copies of the game, and obviously do not have 800k subscribers. How much lower is the true number? Only the people at EA and Mythic know. What we can decipher from this is the game is retaining somewhat more than half the people that buy it, and while even 600k subscribers is nothing to sneeze at, that cannot be happy news for the hardworking folks at Mythic. Word at the Water cooler is that these numbers will take even more of a hit as a certain Lich King hits Norrath.
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