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.