GOA Confirms Open Beta, Definitely Lowers Prices

By John Walker on August 26th, 2008 at 1:37 pm.

My head hurts.

Edit: As confirmed by GOA in the comments below, the prices for Warhammer ARE lowering in the UK as we printed last week, and their statements contradicting this and poo-pooing our reporting seem to have been somewhat erroneous. The lesson: RPS is always right, and handsome.

After astonishing amounts of confusion, GOA has finally made what appears to be the definitive statement regarding Open Beta access for those who pre-order Warhammer Online from the EA Store, and Direct2Drive.

It seems their plan was to not announce which of their partners would be offering customers OB access until the day the game becomes officially available for pre-order sale – this Thursday. However, EA and D2D, who it turns out will be amongst those partners, put the information up early. GOA then responded to this by, er, denying it. Now they have said they intended Open Beta to be available via certain pre-order outlets all along.

Despite GOA’s Community Manager, MagnusK, rather unambiguously responding to the question, “Will EU SE pre-order customers get into WAR Open Beta?” with, “No,” it seems the answer was rather, “Yes.”

Today’s response from IanC on the Warhammer Alliance forum:

“Pre-ordering a standard edition from most of our partners will not automatically give you Open Beta access as we have said previously. We will however be announcing a list of ‘preferred partners’ who will be selling the pre-order with Open Beta access. A full list of these partners will be included with the main announcement this week, I can confirm that both the EA Store and D2D are preferred partners and so those of you who have already placed an order need not worry that you won’t get what you were offered.”

So that’s good news: EA Store and D2D customers will get their Open Beta. What’s strange is that GOA didn’t just say what was going on immediately, leading many players to try and cancel their pre-orders, or approach outlets for refunds.

Like he said.

What’s most bemusing is that all of this has played out on at least two unofficial forums. The official EU site contains not a jot of this information, the only possible way of finding it being to scour through the “Fansite” section in the “Community” drop-down, and then spot the links two-thirds of the way down the page.

Meanwhile, our continued enquiries regarding the perhaps-maybe price drop have yet to receive a response, and the subject has so far been avoided on the various forums. As it stands, GOA has made this comment:

“As far as I know, these rumours origin from a blogger (forgot which) who called EA to ask about the UK prices, only to be told that they were lower than those announced in our Press Release last week.

As of now, the information we have at hand is those stated in named PR document. If there are any changes to the UK pricing, we will announce this. I’ve made enquiries about the truth behind these rumours, but I’m afraid I have nothing solid to go on so far.”

We (the “a blogger” in question) never spoke to EA, but rather to GOA through their PR company, who returned us the figures. We find it very strange that GOA made the above statement, based in no fact, and that they have so far chosen not to reply to our requests for clarity.

Astonishingly, as I write this another press release arrives, announcing that yes, we were right, and the RRP for the boxed game has lowered.

“GET READY FOR THE WORLDWIDE WAAAGH! GOA, Orange’s games and Mythic Entertainment, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio, today announced that the highly-anticipated MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, has gone gold and will open its servers on September 18, 2008 with an MSRP of £34.99.”

This is a significant drop from 6th August’s press release stating,

“The regular edition of the game will be priced at 49.99€ (£39.69) RRP with a 30-day subscription included.”

No mention of monthly subs prices in that release, however.

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58 Comments »

  1. phuzz says:

    Was interested in trying this a way of stopping smoking, but am now scared and confused.
    I think I will hide until november and hope that I can work out what’s going on then.

  2. SuperNashwan says:

    That’s it, no way I’m buying this now if this is the kind of operation they’re going to be running.

  3. Duncan says:

    Ruh-roh!

  4. cullnean says:

    Do GOA realise that most likley one of you guys will be reviewing the game for some of the larger publictions/websites?

    which could affect a review along the lines of “good little game but a bunch of cunts running it!”

  5. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Oh, snap. Did you guys just get dissed? Too bad you probably couldn’t get away mentioning this in a review for that there The PC Gamer.

    I wonder why they bothered denying the beta and opening up a big can of uncertainty? The last thing you wanna do is shake up consumer confidence. Maybe they were just unprepared for the “leak,” and aren’t used to recovering in times of caught-in-public-with-pants-downness. (I imagine the mental picture might be funnier in places where the term “pants” isn’t immediately synonymous with “trousers.”)

  6. Bobsy says:

    This saga ought to be made into a musical so it doesn’t get lost to history. What’s the Buggy Saints Row guy doing these days?

  7. cyrenic says:

    Looks like if you’re in the EU you might consider getting the American version of WAR if you’re wanting to play it.

  8. shon says:

    I get this weird feeling that when players log in it will actually be for the Beta for Necromunda MMO.

  9. Arch says:

    Can sources for the price drop of the SE retail box be linked please?

  10. Torn says:

    Good to finally hear confirmation about EA & D2D, who have been advertising open beta as part of the SE pre-order ever since it went up for sale. Makes you wonder what GOA’s PR strategy is when they say nothing for weeks (‘hey, there’s an NDA on, come back later’) categorically deny something, and then change their stance and mutter ‘that was our plan all along!’.

    It also strikes me as strange that they don’t update their official site with important news like this, or have (at least) an official blog. Scouring third-party forums is hardly ideal.

    At least the keys are secure for those who have been promised them, rather than all in a ‘giveaway’ in the first week of Sept as the August newsletter was hinting at. GOA worry me less now.

  11. John Walker says:

    Arch – the source is GOA’s UK PR, Indigo Pearl, on an official press release emailed to us. If you have Games Press access, it’s here:

    http://www.gamespress.com/release.asp?c=w%05%C3i%B8

  12. Beastman says:

    Warhammer Online! Coming soon to Windows 98*!

    *Other Windows versions neither confirmed or denied.

  13. MeestaNob! says:

    This situation is verging on ridiculous, if it isn’t already there.

    Dare I ask what the deal is for Australia regarding price/servers? Or will we be paying through the nose to play with 700ms ping to Far FAR East Russia servers as per most MMOs?

  14. Nny says:

    All the partners are equal, but some retailers are more equal than others. :D

  15. Wyrm says:

    My god, Open Beta is only a sodding week anyway, was it worth getting so worked up about?

  16. cyrenic says:

    @MeestaNob!

    I’m not sure on all the details, but there was an Oceanic server up during the US beta, so I’m assuming Mythic is handling Australia servers.

  17. Flint says:

    No tags?

  18. John Walker says:

    EA Mythic’s handling Oz and NZ.

    Not sure why, but my tags vanished when I published.

  19. AbyssUK says:

    big WoW!

    see what I did there.. hey hey am a genius..

    /leaves

  20. maxmcg says:

    WEST OF HOUSE
    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

    >examine mailbox
    The small mailbox is closed.

    >open mailbox
    Opening the small mailbox reveals a teacup
    >take teacup
    Taken
    >N
    You are in a clearing. There is a Storm nearby.
    >Put Storm in Teacup
    The storm is now in the teacup. you are likely to be eaten by a grue.

  21. Azhrarn says:

    That sounds like GOA alright :S
    I sure hope the European reviews will reflect the “quality” of support that GOA is giving this game. While the game is certainly promising, with something like them running it, it becomes far less attractive.

  22. IainC says:

    Just to answer one of the main points here. The reason we’ve only addressed the open beta issue via community sites so far is that the confusion was – until now – limited to those sites. We have not yet unveiled the details of our standard edition pre-order program – this will be happening on Thursday (28th August).

    We have answered queries on some community sites about a statement made by Mythic on the same sites when they announced their own pre-order program earlier this month and since that time, there have been further negotiations between us and some of our retail partners. It has always been our intention to announce the full details publically on the 28th of August on our website when the pre-order program begins.

    In any event, the information we gave previously stands and is not contradictory. Standard Edition pre-orders do not automatically come with Open Beta access, certain preferred retailers will be offering this as part of a ‘premium offer’ but it is not universal to all of our partners. We had to make this distinction so as to avoid disappointed fans who might otherwise believe that any pre-order will come with Open Beta access.

    IainC,
    English Community Manager – WAR Europe

  23. cullnean says:

    lol

  24. John Walker says:

    Thanks for your comments Iain. Obviously we’re very pleased that the pre-order open beta offers are being honoured.

    While you’re here, could we receive some confirmation regarding monthly subscription price changes? We are being told one thing through official channels, and then having it denied on forums.

  25. ScruffyLemming says:

    Just checked play.com, the info page for warhammer has just been updated to say this:

    # Pre-Order Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning from Play.com and receive early access to the game and 2 in-game item unlocks. Instructions on how to claim this pre-order offer will be emailed on Thursday 28th August 2008.
    # In-game items:
    # “Rittenbach’s Portable Camp” – Rest your weary soul and heal your wounds between battles.
    # “Champion’s Sapphire Band” – Enhance your stats and cast ‘Touch of Frost,’ increasing your chance of doing additional elemental damage with each hit. (Usable in PvE combat only.)

    This was not listed on play.com’s warhammer product description the last time i checked a couple of days ago, so im assuming that play.com are also going to be one of the partner sites.

  26. Leelad says:

    £34.99 for a PC game!!?

    What do they think I am? A pre-owned hunting Console gamer?

    Get to shit. i’ll buy it when it’s below £30.

  27. E. Smith says:

    Iceberg? What iceberg?

  28. IainC says:

    Regarding the price changes, there has been a lot of going back and forth over the UK prices. Obviously we’re very aware of what our competitors are charging and while we feel that 12.99€ per month is a fair price for the game we understand that a direct pound to euro conversion is significantly above what UK customers are used to paying.

    We will be issuing revised prices for the UK which are the same as the numbers Indigo Pearl gave you. Until today however those details weren’t finalised which is why we weren’t able to confirm them officially until now. As you can imagine we have to deal with a lot of different partners and we need to make sure that they are all made aware of changes before the info is released into the wild. Obviously in this case, the cat was out of the bag a little prematurely but these things happen and we’ll be updating our site soon to reflect this.

  29. Heliocentric says:

    if i wanted to steal money off the players every month my game would costa fiver over a months sub and come with a free month. And adding new game boxes would be a valid method of extending your sub sorted, there you have a perpetual store presence.

  30. mno says:

    Play.com is now offering Warhammer Online Pre Order with early access and bonus items too! Slightly cheaper than D2D.

    http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/3473724/Warhammer-Online-Age-Of-Reckoning/Product.html?cur=257

  31. IainC says:

    MNO, just to be clear, all official pre-orders will come with the headstart and the bonus items. Only premium partners will be offering all of that and the open beta access too.

    Non-partnered retailers will only be able to offer the game box of course. All of our partners will be announced on Thursday.

  32. John Walker says:

    Thanks for the clarification IainC. I hope MagnusK is DEEPLY ASHAMED. Perhaps kick him in the heels for besmirching our good name. (I insist he change his name to Marcus too).

  33. IainC says:

    Magnus has already been killed and eaten for referring to RPS as a random blog. He may however come back to haunt you for getting his name wrong.

  34. Martin says:

    And kick Magnus as well while you’re at it.

    ;)

    EDIT: Beaten to it, and by an offical none the less!

  35. K says:

    Aww. No more screenshots with speech bubbles?

  36. arbitrary says:

    Thanks all for following up on this, and to Iain C for stopping by.

    (now we’ll stop being stalkers, for at least 24h)

  37. Gorgeras says:

    John W is being polite. If IanC can kindly provide a translation to Magnus’ unintelligable ramble about the discrepency between the US and Europe:

    “Will EU SE pre-order customers get into WAR Open Beta?
    No. This was a solution well suited for the American market, but less so Europe. With more diverse demographics, we have opted for a solution where we will be giving away 55 000 Open Beta keys through the EA Store and other community sites. This allow for a more focused approach, better suited the five-language market we operate in. ”

    Also, does this constitute ‘equal or better’ level of service? Because it still sounds pretty crap to me. I think this was a cynical, shameful and greedy way of grabbing money. Was it EA or GOA’s idea to encourage players to avoid retailers and buy direct from the publisher, increasing the net profit?

    And please stop making up brand new and novel definitions for the word ‘fact’.

  38. John Walker says:

    You can get a long way being polite, Gorgeras. Try rephrasing that as if you were talking to another human being, and see if you get a reply. I’d love to know what MaRCus’s babbling madness was all about, but I don’t think you’re going to invite a warm answer with your current method.

  39. Gorgeras says:

    I’m not talking to another human being; my previous conversations with IanC lead me to believe he’s a dishonourable Romulan. Joking aside, I treated him and others on the Warhammer Alliance forums as human until I started to notice the repeated non-reciprocation. Attacks on GOA’s record were deliberately re-interpreted as attacks on him. Criticism of his version of events was deliberately framed as personal criticism of him. Expressions of disgust towards him were repeatedly answered with faux upset at the ‘unprovoked’ nasty words.

    I like courtesy, but loath politeness. There is a very distinct difference. Ian can display all the duplicit politeness he’s trained to, I’ve never seen warm genuine courtesy. That would be just too damn impressive. I vowed to the site admin that I would give WAR a try no matter what in an e-mail after Mythic impressed me with their courageous honesty in revealing the cuts they had to make, something which would have no benefit for them and the genuine trolls on WHA savaged them for.

    To keep my word I have to get a US client. GOA so far hasn’t demonstrated courtesy to the tune of 0.0001% that Mythic has towards their future base. I wanted them to, I will always be waiting for them to and IanC’s ridiculous assertions on WHA that nothing would change my mind(when ‘nothing’ is precisely what I was shown) says more about what GOA intends to do in the future than even their history does.

  40. JM says:

    “I get this weird feeling that when players log in it will actually be for the Beta for Necromunda MMO.”

    I would buy TWO copies.

  41. Konky Dong X: Zombie Elvis and the Pecan Sandies says:

    Smells like orc mischief to me.

  42. Gorgeras says:

    I had too much caffine.

    Yes, I am an Orc IRL. Can you guess what kind?

  43. Elikal Ialborcales says:

    And THIS is exatcly why games NEED an official forum: to give clear ways to announce and ask. Period.

    What I would like to know is, WHY on earth do we get the info which partners are “special” so we EU folks get OB chances so late, when most already did preorder? Annoucing who is in the selected few so short before OB begins is a bit unfair towards customers.

  44. IainC says:

    Gorgeras
    EA isn’t the publisher in Europe, we are. EA are purely our distributors. You will also find that the RRP is the same regardless of whether the retailer is a premium partner or not so there is no additional markup for the pre-order bonuses, additionally many of the premium partners are not affiliated in any way with EA or GOA so it’s entirely inaccurate to describe this as a way of grabbing money. When we publish the full list of partners you will be free to shop around for the store that gives you the best price – the RRP is just a recommendation and many stores will be selling at significantly below this level. For your other comments, my posting record on WHA is easily searchable in the dev tracker and I stand by every post I make, your attitude is your own problem not mine.

    Elikal
    The Standard Edition pre-order program doesn’t begin until the 28th of August. It’s not possible to make an official pre-order until then (actually you can on some sites because they have already announced their details, but you get the point).

    Any pre-order you may have made up to this point isn’t part of this official program and you will need to check with your retailer that they will be honouring it and whether you will be entitled to any of the bonuses.

  45. Orange says:

    I think it’s better when mmos don’t have an official forum. Guild Wars certainly benefited a lot from that, while WoW and Conan both suffered greatly imo.

    Official forums are a troll and whiner magnet, at least on community servers the mods tend to take a harder line as they don’t have to worry about complaints.

  46. Rocktart says:

    I remain confused as to what an ‘open beta’ is.
    Compare and contrast Battlefield Heroes and WAR, both obscured by their current use of ‘beta’ terminology.
    Of course this will all become irrelevant pretty soon on release, and it goes to retail/demo instead. Assuming there will be one.

  47. Butler` says:

    Can’t say I agree Orange, have you seen the WoW forums? They might have a lot of whine, but in sheer activity numbers they must be up there with the most popular on the net.

    In other news, I’ve pre-ordered WAR. It better not be shit like AOC else i’ll be holding RPS responsible.

  48. Gorgeras says:

    IanC, continuing a fine tradition of obscurification. While my bleeding eyes can still keep awake, I’d just like to take the time to challenge some of those claims.

    I made no accusation of a mark-up, I pointed out that two of the ‘premium’ partners that we currently know of are outlets which EA has a vested financial in. It’s why I was curious about who thought of this ridiculous idea. You’ve implied it is GOA. What it does not explain is how it bares any relevence to Magnus’ sensically-challenged comments about European demographics.

    I’m not picking up any information about why there are premium partners at all. I assume HMV is a premium partner, which I find odd because they are not a major retailer of PC games. I expect that GAME is unlikely to be announced as a premium partner, despite being one of the most prominent retailers of PC games. If this turns out on thursday to be the case, then nothing about this plan makes sense. It means some digging has to be done for dots that can be joined in the back-ground. It’s too early to speculate, mainly because GOA has refused to actually be open whilst repeatedly claiming to be open, even though most people would consider delaying announcements for weeks until a certain date to exactly constitute not being open. GOA blames everyone but themselves.

    I already purchased my European Collector’s Edition pre-order box at HMV almost a year ago before you accused me of being unable to change my point of view, that I was anti-GOA no matter what(I stared at my GOA WAR CE pre-order box with a sense of hopelessness after reading that). I wanted GOA to succeed right up until recently, now I no longer care unless something magical happens this autumn. I came to that view only after a long read of events, I didn’t begin like that. I intended to play on the European servers all along, only GOA changed my mind. I will now only be on the Euro servers for the open beta and will play the game on US servers after release.

    Criticism is meant to challenge you to improve, inform you of short-comings and work out best for everyone. But GOA never accepted blame for anything as long as they had a shoe-string to tug on. Those who pointed things out were the ones who were blamed, it was their fault. Even now fansite forums are filled with legitimate complaints which are met with the same arrogance that has been GOA’s most consistent export for two years now. Word definitions were changed, black was white, up was down and questions were cherry-picked for favourable answers.

    Lastly, it’s not my attitude; these are not solely my complaints or feelings. They are repeated frequently on every fansite forum. These would have been your most loyal players, they are like this because they care the most. They are not glad to know what you think of them.

  49. ASH says:

    GOA: One company where “Not it will not” actually means “yes in some cases”.
    I do not know why they simply CAN NOT seem to just communicate with the potential customer base without obfuscating it and twisting it around afterwards.

    How much proof does Mythic need for understanding that GOA *is* a terrible choice. They showed in DAoC, they show pre-launch now, then what on earth will change come live?

    At least we know GOA is “on shedual” and that account center and download of OB will be up “the first week” (meaning the last day of said week no doubt) of September.

  50. Butler` says:

    Whilst GOA and other Mythic affiliates have caused a lot of unecessary grief and misinformation, the words “mountain” and “mole hill” are coming to mind.