Mythic Entertainment laid out plans yesterday to close over 40 North American and 20 European Warhammer Online servers. Characters found on the closing servers will be automatically transfered to another server, and Mythic is offering one free character transfer after that, in case players want to get on the same server as some friends and so on.
While that might not look too healthy, it's probably the best thing for the game. Warhammer Online is a game that only really thrives on populated servers. As someone with a character on one of the soon-to-close servers, let me tell you that playing on a low-population server is nooooo fun. It's hard to do public quests when you're the only member of the "public" around.
This comes among news that the game's first live expansion is getting underway, and Mythic General Manager Mark Jacobs has posted a new "state of the game" message talking about where the game is and where it's going. The game has also rolled out an incentive program that offers bonuses to players who recruit new subscribers.
But it's hard not to remember an interview that Jacobs gave to MTV Multiplayer back in August, less than a month before the game's release, where Jacobs spoke specifically about server reduction while discussing how much money it would take to compete with something like World of Warcraft and his measures for a successful game. Here's the relevant portion of that article:
According to Jacobs, another way to measure success is to look at the number of servers a game has added in a six-month period. “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,” he said, citing Sony’s January-released “Pirates of the Burning Sea” as a recent example. “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.”
Warhammer Online will reach the six month mark next week.