Endwar – Warhammer: Wrath Of Heroes Shutting Down

By Nathan Grayson on March 1st, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Raaaaah! Fight me with everything you've got! Oh, but do be careful not to spill any blood on my fire sweater. It's my favorite.

Scene: A graveyard. Tombstones crisscross its every inch in eerily pristine rows. SimCity approaches one, visibly impatient, nearly stamping on a single daisy atop fresh loam. It’s followed by a more somber-looking Mass Effect 3. 

SimCity: “Come on, let’s just get this over with.”

Mass Effect: “Hey now, settle down. We’re here to pay our respects.”

SimCity: “Oh boo-hoo. Some Warhammer MOBA wannabe couldn’t hack it, and now it’s six-feet-under. Why waste time on the dead? I’ve got living to do.”

Mass Effect: “Yeesh, quiet down! Didn’t you see Warhammer Online sobbing on The Old Republic’s shoulder when we walked in? And anyway, you could be next. Well, not next, but don’t think you’re immune to this.”

SimCity: “Yeah? How do you figure?”

Mass Effect: “I’m just saying, there’s something of a trend here. I’m not exactly feeling safe either. I mean, shit, I just got my last batch of DLC. Who knows where my multiplayer servers will end up in a year? It might take a little longer, but ultimately, you’re no different.”

SimCity: “Look, whatever, OK? Let’s just get out of here.”

Yes, Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is going permanently offline on March 29th. It was only available for around a year, which Mythic is chalking up to its status as a “grand experiment.” Producer James Casey explained:

“Launched in Beta just over a year ago, the free-to-play battle arena version of Warhammer Online was a grand experiment.  We were able to test new server technology, learn more about the free-to-play market, and engage in endless quick, down and dirty, three-way battles any time of day or night.  On all of these fronts, we were able to make great inroads and insights and deliver a fast and frenetic game.”

So then, why pull the plug? Well, because apparently Mythic’s shifting gears from pseudo-MOBA to mobile (See? It makes perfect sense when you write it like that), so pricey server upkeep and support no longer make sense.

Amazingly, there will be no refunds for unspent gems (WOH’s buyable currency), and EA/Mythic’s even encouraging players to spend them on upcoming, still-unreleased heroes. That said, the ability to buy more gems has been shut off, so the writing’s still very much on the wall.

Right then, I suppose there’s not much else to say. Sentient videogames with emotions already took care of my read-maybe-a-bit-too-far-between-the-lines commentary. Did anyone sink significant time into Wrath of Heroes, though? If so, is this a great loss to the F2P world? Or has the “experiment” simply run its natural course?

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46 Comments »

  1. gibb3h says:

    I really wish EA and the like would at least release dedicated server software for games they bin :|

    • Jekhar says:

      What? So that the plebs can keep on playing their precious little old games instead of buying the newest hot shit? What are you? Some kind of consumer rights lunatic? (i’m not serious btw)

  2. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    Amazingly, there will be no refunds for unspent gems

    I’d say it’s far from amazing.

    Edit: Which was probably your point, I guess…

    • frightlever says:

      Heinous crap like this will kill “microtransactions”. I never got around to trying it out but there will be Wrath of Heroes players who’ve spent dozens maybe hundreds of dollars on the game – and I am in no position to tell people how to spend their own money. If you’ve been burned like this what’s the chance you’ll invest in the next “F2P” game?

      I would assume that refunding unspent Gems would have “cost” EA Mythic a pittance compared to what the game cost to develop so why not just choke down the loss and salvage a modicum of good will out of the debacle? Perhaps things are so bad at Mythic the bean-counters advised against it on the off-chance EA close them down.

      • TormDK says:

        You’re not being burned if you purchase game currency while the game is in BETA.

        Customers know full well what they are getting themselves into.

        I don’t cry that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Server transfering characters in WoW, even though I no longer play it. Why? – because I got my moneys worth when I did.

        Same deal for the tons of games where I spent money that I don’t play any longer. I fail to see how that is getting burned.

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”I don’t cry that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Server transfering characters in WoW, even though I no longer play it. Why? – because I got my moneys worth when I did.”

          Actually, you didn’t, you’ve just convinced yourself that you did so you don’t feel guilty / ripped off. There is no way to justify the cost of WoW server transfer at the prices they charge. It’s just exploitative.

  3. razgon says:

    They missed out on a great opportunity here – Just take the battlegrounds from Warhammer Online and let people play them instead of inventing a new game. Gladitorial style – letting you spend money on specials, outfits and who knows what.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      True enough. I guess they weren’t willing to consider Warhammer Online a lost cause and thus proceeded to make a f2p game with inferior gameplay.

      And I’m surprised so many people compare it with MOBA games. It’s obviously inspired by WoW’s arena (or similar).

    • TormDK says:

      Thats what this cancelled game was though…….

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Why, Mass Effect sounds a lot more reasonable than I imagined her to be.

    In cases like this I like to recommend reading Cory Doctorow’s For The Win, in which he thinks up a whole cross-MMO economy of in-game currencies based on the popularity of the games.

    • frightlever says:

      I really enjoyed FTW after the disappointing Little Brother, but the global MMO economy described in the book is primarily a black, shadow economy not an official one. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline describes a global MMO with a F2P model where you have to pay to advance in game. Fun book, though it won’t win any awards for literature. I mean it won an Alex and a Prometheus award but not a good award.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        If I remember rightly, in Halting State MMOs all operate on the premise that you can take your character from one to another regardless of setting. One of the protagonists takes his giant anthropomorphic bear (or something) into some kind of Call of Cthulhu game

  5. pakoito says:

    This is what happens when you don’t understand MOBAs and try to piggyback. We’ll see a lot more graves in the future.

  6. Choca says:

    I would not be surprised if other MMO publishers (say Activision) exploited that idea but, you know, in a successful manner.

  7. rzeznicc says:

    26th february, game dev: OWH LOOK NEW PROMOTION
    http://wrathofheroes.warhammeronline.com/news/239

    27th february, same game dev: SNAP, IT WAS LONG COMING
    http://wrathofheroes.warhammeronline.com/news/240

    • Premium User Badge

      Devan says:

      In their defense, that’s not really a promotion and was not likely to affect sales in one day. Also, the axe can come down pretty suddenly on these projects and it’s probably business-as-usual up until the final word comes in.

  8. Valvarexart says:

    What a shame. It was fairly fun, too. I really liked that it was a 3v3 battleground; something that is not too common. Bloodline Champions it is, instead, then…

  9. Prime says:

    Dear Nathan,

    Please could you always always always use the Alt-image text. Because it are fun and funny.

    Thank you,
    The RPS Readership (member of)

    PS: Please slap Adam and Jim to do so as well, the scamps..

  10. Snorez says:

    /Sigh… WHO could have been a contender, They had all they needed to create a great MMO and Just fucked up the execution…. badly.
    Then this poor red headed stepchild was released a s a F2P and was largely ignored. I bid a fond farewell to my engineer, and my Ironbreaker (those guys used to rock the BG’s).
    I dream that one day someone will create a viable Warhammer MMO.

    P.S I still have that collectors edition box in my closet somewhere if anyones interested ;P

    • frightlever says:

      F2P WHO is still a fun game, it’s just not a game to try to turn into a career like WOW or EVE. Would I spend any money on WHO? Nope. (Well, I bought a couple of time cards off Amazon for a pittance but never got around to cashing them in).

      The biggest problem WHO has is that there are plenty of people in the starter zones most of the time (though nowhere like it was at launch) but that rapidly falls off. Obviously the free accounts are limited to Tier 1.

      But but but the really biggest problem they have is that LOTRO is a far better F2P game and it’s still teeming with people at all levels as far as I can see. You can play LOTRO to max level and not pay a penny AFAIK (I’m a VIP subscriber from launch).

      • 2helix4u says:

        WHO is probably, after WoW, the best MMO I played since 2004 in that me and my friends actually had lasting fun in there and it had a well designed world.
        EAs refusal to make it properly F2P when they did so with TOR makes me think that there is some internal politics going down and somebody wanted the game to die rather than have a second chance as a fully freemium MMO.
        Which is a shame because the PvP was great and actually different from WoWs since classes were not jack of all trades.

    • Lemming says:

      As much as my first instinct is to say ‘Warhammer MMO, yes please!’ the more I think about it, the more I realise it’s not really the best fit for the franchise.

      A Total War style war-game, hell yes. A 2D fighting game that uses famous Warhammer characters, sure. But not an MMO. At least, not in the traditional WoW quest-pick up sense.

    • Nick says:

      I don’t know, who could have been a contender?

  11. caddyB says:

    From what I’ve heard it was pretty bad.

  12. MeestaNob says:

    First time I’ve heard of this game.

    Marketing ftw.

    • Moraven says:

      It was still in beta. I never really picked up it was even in Open Beta… and already charging people.

      At least Dota 2 and MWO seem like a sure thing for them to reach v1.0

  13. wodin says:

    I wonder if those who did buy these gem thingies knew the game was just a grand experiment?

    • Premium User Badge

      slerbal says:

      Yeah I was wondering that too. Microtransactions are always a risk

      On the plus side EA are showing a remarkable amount of consistency with closing down multi-player servers after a year. You can now pretty much plan on this.

      On the negative side they are closing down multi-player servers after a year.

  14. faelnor says:

    In the future, we’ll all look back and think: “oh, if only abandonware was as simple for game preservation as it was in 1999″.
    The future is now.

  15. RakeShark says:

    I heartily endorse the idea that more articles should include the exaggerated flawed caricatures of video game franchises. Hell, there’s your holiday special articles, how big of assholes can video games be to each other during these time around interesting news bits.

    • Kamos says:

      I vote for Sentient videogames with emotions soap opera too!

      • Phantoon says:

        I look forward to the singularity, where video games will bitch about video games.

        It’s like high school all over again! Bonus points if it’s a game about high school.

        • MacTheGeek says:

          Does it have to be limited to games, or can we get anthropomorphized depictions of publishers, too?

          I’d like to hear VeronicEA’s thoughts about how much fun it was to slip a lethal dose of uPlay into HeaTHQer’s coffee.

  16. Premium User Badge

    HighlordKiwi says:

    I spent quite a while with WOH (and sunk about £40 into it, which I don’t regret) and still play from time to time. It was a game with a laser focus… just MMO battleground-style PvP, with none of the usual level and gear tread milling getting in the way.

    Writing it off as a grand experiment was annoying and makes me wonder if I should have regretted spending money on it. Why am I funding their research project?

    The writing’s been on the wall for some time though, they stopped putting anything unique out after the Halloween event. It’s a shame, if they’d bothered to support it it could have been much better.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    We need to start some sort of dead-pool for EA games and dev-studios. Winnings will be paid out in whatever virtual-currency that game used when it was still alive.

    • Phantoon says:

      Alternatively, we can hire Deadpool to stab people.

    • Vernalagnia says:

      I’m shocked that they haven’t closed Mythic yet, honestly. They must still be making some kind of profit on Dark Age and WAR, but they’ve stripped the studio of any developing talent. Last week Mythic announced the first patch for DAOC in six months…and it was some little gear updates, the baffling ability to open your personal vault from anywhere in the game world. Basically nothing. I think things are in a pretty similar state over in Warhammer land too. It’s a shame, because while they were never perfect, they were a talented, overall above average studio before EA got their grubby hands on things.

  18. Lemming says:

    This game was an act of desperation on the part of Mythic instead of fixing the Warhammer MMO they had. It had fail written all over it, and only compounds their deep misunderstanding of the license.

  19. mollemannen says:

    haven’t even heard of this one. the market is so saturated with different types of mobas so that many of them fall between the cracks.

  20. zeekthegeek says:

    Please let this be the death of everyone and their mother making MOBAs. The Market has absolutely been flooded with one VERY sameish genre, moreso than even modern military FPS games lately.