Warhammer Online Content Cuts

By Jim Rossignol on July 11th, 2008 at 7:01 pm.


Some huge changes to Warhammer Online have been revealed in this interview on MMORPG. The number of capitol cities available on release will drop from six to two (Empire, Chaos). Mythic boss Mark Jacobs explained: “We wanted to make our Capital Cities the best cities in any MMO. We think we’re doing that, but it came at a price and that price is that the other cities aren’t going in the game right now.”

But that’s not all that’s going.

Jacobs revealed that four “careers” – two tank and two melee DPS classes – will now also not make the release game. Choppa, Hammerer, Blackguard, and Knight of the Blazing Sun will all be canned. Jacobs said: “Of all of the news in this interview, this is the worst. Having to cut these guys out, even though it’s the right decision, I am really sorry that we have to do it. I truly am. I don’t like going to the guys and telling them ‘hey sorry, we’ve got to cut these guys out. They’re just not good enough’, but that was what we had to do.”

These are massive changes at this stage of development, and will have huge implications for the proposed release game. It’s reducing the potential of the world drastically, effectively making it a two-sided conflict, at least in the months post-release. It’s clear why it has happened: even a studio of Mythic’s size and experience simply cannot produce content fast enough, and proficiently enough, to keep a game of this size on the rails.

This is going to come as a blow to some fans of the game, I’m sure. Others, surely, will write it off as simply what was needed to be done in making the game work on release, and hope to see detailed cities for the other races down the line.

For me, however, it’s another illustration of just how difficult it is to try and follow in World Of Warcraft’s shoes and do another game of this breadth. For studios thinking about making an MMO right now, I’d take this as a warning: come up with something smarter, don’t go down this same world-creating mass-production route. It’s really, very hard to do.

__________________

« | »

, .

49 Comments »

  1. Al3xand3r says:

    2 Capital cities? Aren’t there far more races than that? I guess I don’t know how the Warhammer world works. I still think this will be the MMO to watch with the most potential to be a mainstream hit that goes well throughout the years, even after this big hit.

    I just hope all this wasn’t cut only to be added on some expansion. They should slowly add the content in order to keep people playing, the monthly fee should be enough to sustain further development without the need to charge for additional content… Ie, do it how Eve does it, not WoW.

  2. Fat Zombie says:

    Eh. Still looks awesome. And, to be fair, TF2 isn’t really the worse off for being fairly content-light, is it?

  3. Sixstringsamurai says:

    damn that sucks, i already preordered my collectors edition and i was going to play a black orc or a choppa. looks like the decisions been made for me.

  4. skalpadda says:

    WoW has such a huge amount of content from the last couple of years of patches, not to mention expansion(s). Making something that’s as full of stuff to do as WoW is now seems impossible, and something as big as WoW was at release would seem small.

    WAR still looks more fun to me though, I’ll be sure to stay far far away from it for fear of addiction.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    I think Mythic will make an excellent game, but it’s interesting to see the ambition being rolled back so drastically.

  6. Rook says:

    Blizzard should just let people reskin WoW for a cut of the profits.

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    @Rook

    That’s not even a bad idea. Wasn’t someone making an art mod that played around with all the 3D stuff in WoW to make it some crazy abstract visual experience? I can’t Google it up at the moment, but I’m sure I’m not hallucinating.

  8. Deuteronomy says:

    Fat Zombie, content-lite and gameplay-lite.

    *Dons Exoskeleton*

  9. PaulMorel says:

    @Rook: That IS a good idea. I have to admit that I would probably play a reskinned, restoried WoW.

    @Fat Zombie: Is a comparison to TF2 really appropriate? After these feature cuts, it seems like there are a million other more appropriate comparisons. SWG comes to mind. “We promise you the moon! Except it will be on the ground, and look just like stuff on the earth…”

  10. Noc says:

    I think I like the capital city thing. In a PvE environment, it’s generally a good idea to spread out players so they don’t get in each other’s way . . . but if Mass PvP is going to be a big deal, then it makes sense to want to keep everybody, at least at first, on the same track. Especially at launch, when playerbases might not be as high as they could be; in order for PvP to work you need people on the other side, and if it’s spread out over three countries I can see one or two of them being the empty ones that no one goes to.

    Classes I’m not quite as sure about, because I like variety. Fat Zombie brings up TF2, which is a great example because it did something really well: it gave us ten classes which all play in completely different ways. I’ve been noodling around in a few free MMOs of late, and it’s the lack of variety that’s always killed me: small number of classes fitting the classic party roles, with one set of equipment each and only one really effective build per class. I remember, for example, starting up a Feca in Dofus and thinking “Hmm, I get to play around with damage reduction.” But, nope, the only way to be really effective is to put all your points into Intelligence and your damage spell.

    Granted, there’s usually one or two vaguely interesting class ideas tossed in (Summoner! Time mage!) which turn out to be tremendously ineffective, so no one plays them. And I think this is what was happening in WAR – and the fact that they realized that these were, at the moment, superfluous classes that really wouldn’t be fun to play is a very good sign. I feel pretty confident that they’ll be added back in at some point, and the vibe I’m getting from the interview is that they’ve sort of bit off more than they can chew but are still determined to expand the world back into what it should be once things are stable.

    Which is a good thing. Again with the “games as services” thing, I feel like MMOs should be constantly adding content anyways.

    My only fear is that if WAR isn’t very successful at the outset, that they won’t end up with the playerbase and revenue to be able to continue development at the scale they could. And that the whole thing will just sort of fizzle out. In Tabula Rasa style. But we’ll see.

  11. Paul S says:

    Surely this is going to have a massive effect on the game, and on the promises Mythic have been making? The much publicised “RvR” system (where cities can fall and be occuppied for advantages etc) will surely have to change now, or you’d have one side getting crippled when it loses the city(loss of quests, vendors, starting areas…) and then balance goes out of the window.

    Cutting FOUR CAPITAL CITIES is a huge deal. I’ve been very positive about WAR, but this has me worried.

  12. Ian says:

    I was initially upset at the news, but after remembering the state of a few classes at launch for Age of Conan, I think I’d honestly prefer the classes to just not be there at all rather than have them be fundamentally broken and aggravating to play.

  13. Sahagin says:

    Listen to Ian

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    I agree with this too – I mean, it’s disappointing and worrying, but it’s better for a developer to make a hard call rather than launch with something that’s questionable.

    KG

  15. Noc says:

    And Paul S: It’s my understanding that after a realm gets sacked, everything resets. So one side isn’t going to be under the occupation of the other, for example.

  16. ChainSOV says:

    not everything, your king remains in custody of the force, who pwned your capital city, so you can resue him. at least, thats what I remember reading somewhere ^_^

    I think this decision speaks positively for their QA and hope the game will be polished at release, they can always add the other stuff later on

  17. Riotpoll says:

    Spot on Ian, in the case of Age of Conan they could have done with launching it without females! (which still haven’t been patched afaik). What does makes me sad is that they’ve had to cut the Orc class that is what everyone thinks of when they think of Orcs.

  18. Tak says:

    Rawk.

    I actually kind of more want to play this, now. It’s either a sign that it’s going to poops, or that they’re taking time to do it right. I can’t wait to find out.

  19. Meat Circus says:

    Oh, FFS.

    Lazy doomed developers can’t even get doomed half-arsed doomed WoW clones right any more.

    DEAR DEVS: PLEASE STOP MAKING DOOMED MMOS. YOU’RE EMBARASSING YOUR DOOMED SELVES AND EMBARASSING US.

  20. Butler` says:

    Unfortunately I think that this kind of thing is yet more proof this game is going to struggle.

  21. Walsh says:

    It’d be nice if these MMO’s would pull a page from WWII Online’s campaign system. Fight, gain territory, build fortifications, etc until one side wins and then reset the map; keep your characters at the same level.

  22. Alex says:

    Maybe this’ll finally be the MMO that focuses more on story than on leveling.. but there is a part of me that is left thinking the Warhammer world is such a rich world, I’d much rather have seen a good singleplayer RPG.

  23. Walsh says:

    Yea but it seems like their story is just set pieces; this zone is a never ending beach head scenario with orcs attempting to invade dwarf territory. Atleast thats what one of the devs was saying at a GW Gamesday a few years ago.

    I tried to get into the beta since I play the tabletop but since every RPG MMO is just a MUD with graphics and different names for the same statistics; I couldn’t get into it.

    It might as well be a skinned WoW clone at this point.

  24. Andthensobecause says:

    I would like to be a part of a large, well written MMO set piece. And so despite the disappointments, I am closing my eyes and hoping that it’s “still good.”

  25. Commando says:

    24 classes? Suprised that didn’t happen sooner. How many melee and caster classes can you even think of? You only really have three basic templates after all, low health/high damage, medium health/medium damage, high health/low damage!

  26. Fat Zombie says:

    @Deuteronomy:

    I am slightly miffed at your insult to TF2: but you are redeemed by your STALKER reference.

    *dons Science Suit*

    *fights bunch of Ukranians with guns in a grimy warehouse*

    *Loads up STALKER*

  27. The Discordian says:

    Okay, I do remember hearing not so very long ago from a very vociferous WAR fanboy that this game was NOT going to be rushed out of the gate, goshdarnit.

    And I remembering thinking: Suuuuuuure.

    I won’t even link to our little comment war, but man… sometimes its just nice to be right.

  28. Dexton says:

    I can see how this would be really disappointing if you were planning on playing one of the canned classes (I wasn’t) but I am encouraged by the developers admissions that they are focusing on quality rather than quantity, getting the classes and locations they have right.

    Still the game I am most looking forward to right now.

  29. Hob says:

    WoW has 9 classes, WAR will have 20.
    WoW has 1 endgame city (Shattrath) and WAR will have 2.

    Ok, it’s disappointing to hear they’re cutting anything, but it does seem like the volume of content isn’t the problem.

  30. Al3xand3r says:

    End game city doesn’t equal Capital city. WoW has several Capital cities with at least three of them being ever popular and full of people. 14 classes doesn’t equal 9 classes with 3 different pure specs per class and various possible combinations for further customising. Let’s wait and see how it all works before implying it will offer the same amount of content as WoW. Also, cutting four out of six cities does sound like the volume of content was the problem. What other problem would force them to do that in order to be able to offer up to par content in the remaining two?

    Either way this direct comparison to WoW is silly unless people who have played this think it’s a copycat (better or worse is subjective). Even if they do have two “end game cities” it doesn’t mean they offer more things to do than WoW’s single end game city, or that it doesn’t lack in other end game areas which WoW surpasses it in equaling the difference or whatever. So it’s pretty ridiculous to defend (or attack) this with size comparisons, when we don’t really know what it means to the game.

  31. Erlam says:

    I was going to get this, before. Now, I’m likely not. My GF was really looking forward to one of the axed classes.

  32. andy says:

    fracking amateurs, don’t they know they shut their mouths, release, and THEN tell people that stuff is missing but will be added later.

  33. Steven Hutton says:

    Lets be honest WoW started with 6 capitals but people only ever went to either Iron Forge or Orgrimmar.

    I’m not going to say I’m not disapointed by this news but I’m honestly more sympathetic than anything. Making games is hard.

    I guess so long as this stuff gets released eventually I guess it’s not that much of a big deal though. The announcement certainly doesn’t help with the supposed “perception problem” that WAR has at the moment. Although I reckon that’s more of a snare for the people who arn’t checking the WAR news everyday. Those people who’re already excited seem to have built up a pretty substantial stockpile of goodwill and are taking this news rather well.

  34. Kaltano says:

    Actually, not the first time Mythic as done this. When dark age of Camelot came out it was supposed to have two cities per realm, and ended up with just one each. Was a beta tester and it was fairly disappointing to watch the Avalon area develop a bunch then go no further.

  35. Falwell says:

    That much content cut this close to it’s supposed launch?

    Danger Will Robinson.

  36. Arathain says:

    It was a very wise move on Mythic’s part to release this news as soon as they made the decision. Imagine if they’d left it for the open beta to discover. This way we have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

    I like that they are willing to axe things that just aren’t working, or are too much to handle at the time. I worry (as does every rational person who is looking forward to this) that they have overstepped what they can achieve, and I hope this isn’t a symptom of that.

  37. Sahagin says:

    It’s disappointing to hear all the people who will likely not play because of this move. It’s disappointing because, once again, it makes me question my faith that there is always resolve and clarity within people. They temporarily cut four cities, and four classes, they aren’t taking them away forever. If you don’t have enough patience to wait for them to make the content enjoyable then you need to reassess your lifestyle before playing this game.

    Honestly, I’d rather them take these things out, get them as close to perfect as they can and then release, instead of them having horrid excuses for what they promised.

    The only thing we should be worried about is if they plan on releasing the content as expansions. If they try to make people pay extra for what they said would be in the release, then you’re free to whine.

  38. cyrenic says:

    I’m betting they’re cutting this stuff so they can release before WotLK comes out. I’d expect the stuff that got cut will turn up in an expansion or post release patch.

    That said, if the world PvP in this game is as good as I hope, I’ll still happily play it.

  39. Icarus says:

    Thing is, Blizzard would never do this. They wouldn’t sacrifice a launch date for game content. This is why World of WarCraft is the best MMO and it will remain so for a long long time.

  40. WhiteRabbit says:

    @ Icarus: I think you meant it the other way around.

    If any of you actually read the interview, you would realize that Mythic wanted to set the release date back a few more months to get all these things worked out. EA said they needed to release. So, Mythic made the right move and made some cuts. Instead of releasing a game with unenjoyable parts, they are releasing the game with those parts removed so they can fix them and release them in a later patch.

    These things aren’t gone forever, just delayed for a little bit. At least they are honest in letting us know now, unlike what AoC did.

    Of course this game isn’t going to be as big as WoW when it launches. Blizzard has been adding tons of content to it for years. For an MMO just staring out, there’s so much to do that a player will never be bored.

    As far as the PvP goes, this will be just fine, as the main conflicts with the capitol cities won’t happen until the end-game. Beta testers have been claiming it takes a few months to fully level up, so that gives Mythic a few months to polish their other four cities before they actually become important.

    The things that are going to make this game awesome were not taken from the launch. It is still going to be one of the best MMOs to ever be released.

  41. Chiablo says:

    Vanguard was too ambitious for it’s own good. It was an attempt to make a massive world that’s populated with a ton of content.

    They got the massive world part, that’s for sure… but that’s about it.

  42. Anthony Damiani says:

    This has suck written all over it.

  43. Hmm-hmm. says:

    I suspected they’d do something like this ever since reading some comments from http://www.Massively.com accompanying their preview. It was probably either this, deliver unfinished content, or delay yet again. This was probably the best choice for them to make.

    And I agree, it’s incredibly difficult to deliver an entire MMO’s content on time, with the quality you’d like it to have. You can see this from the fact that no MMO to date has delivered this (as far as I am aware).

    Maybe in the future MMOs will be delivered to the player in parts (say, certain classes, races, areas, level ranges) to cut on content-pressure, while keeping to the set quality of the product. Oh, certainly, it would incur criticism, but at least it would be a much more stable, less economically and time hazardly way of developing an MMO. And it would be more clear towards the customer as well.

  44. Subjective Effect says:

    Disappointing but now that the races are unbalanced in terms of possible career choice I’m sure they will come back once they are tweaked properly. Ditto with the cities.

    This game will offer RvR as well as PvE. For that reason it is completely different to WoW. You don’t compare apples with oranges.

  45. Gorgeras says:

    My opinion appears to move in the opposite direction to everyone else on this matter, here and on Warhammer Alliance(which I’m currently suspended from for being a bit too forward in pushing it, will be back there in August). I think this is brilliant news for two main reasons.

    The first is that Mythic have avoided doing what FunCom did with Age of Conan where specific information about the game was kept out of the public domain until the last possible time before release, thus contributing to AoC being a well-undeserved success. Yes, FunCom did cut some classes and ‘merge’ others and announced it in due time, but we never had much specific information on the world those classes were going to be interacting with in the first place. Thus AoC was not the PvP extravaganza it was hyped to be. The class changes were not even as bold as they should have been.

    Mythic revealed this information knowing full the reaction it would get, to no advantage for themselves. I’ve been critical of matters I consider moral failings in EA and Mythic. Their decision to announce this when WAR’s release date is far enough of to remain ambigious even if it is in beta, has swung my view of their moral fibre right the other way now. I will be trying WAR for a few months now regardless of anything else.

    The second reason is to address concerns about the game balance: I think this will benefit it, greatly. Mythic must now make a competitive PvP game balanced less around the old and tired and frankly absurd tank-healer-dps system which has stifled the imagination and ambition of MMOs since Everquest and is the worst part of WoW completely. With less tanks, remaining classes will be made much tougher and with less melee DPS, the remaining tanks are better at doing damage. The Everquest cycle is broken and when the delayed classes(or whatever might replace them) are put in, they will be balanced around a more flexible system forced to be more innovative out of the neccessity.

    If Mythic are not simply another company wanting to make a money-spinner and instead care about the game(as I think point one indicates) then they will manage to make point two actually happen.

  46. Kanakotka says:

    In the frantic effort of ‘cleverly not trying to be WoW’ it still fails quite badly. Ever see any large flocks of people in say… Darnassus or Thunderbluff? Me neither.

  47. Bursar says:

    How long as the beta test been running? I rember reading somewhere that they were in one the various beta stages.

    If this is a result of feedback from the beta test then that surely is a good thing is it not?

    On a side note is anyone in the beta who can comment on the classes/content (unless there is a scary NDA)

  48. Bob Bobson says:

    I’ve seen masses of people in Thunderbluff and Darnassus. Specifically masses of horde in Darnassus and masses of alliance in Thunder Bluff. On a PvP server every part of the world gets used. Either the people who are supposed to live there use the services – or the enemies see it as an easy target because its so empty.
    With WAR being a PvP based game any and all cities will have a role and the more the better. But if they are all bland because they are rushed out then that would suck, so I think Mythic are doing the right thing. Agile development demands you have a list of things you want to write. When the deadline can’t be pushed any further you start crossing things off that list. Naturally with them taking such core things off, their initial estimates on how big a job this is were out, and that’s a shame, but I don’t find it unforgivable. So long as they don’t have to spend all their time post release on bug fixes and balance issues we’ll see the content Mythic want in the game before too long.

  49. CryoDeath says:

    well i guess this game is just going to suck now. well for those who like the cuts good for you and i hope you like the game. i have moved of to another game that coming out this year. so good luck to everyone who still wants to play this game.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>