Warhammer Online Merging Servers

Posted by Jeff (3626 posts) -
Looks A-OK to me.
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.
#1 Posted by Jeff (3626 posts) -
Looks A-OK to me.
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.
#2 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

Sounds cool, Warhammer isnt bad.

#3 Posted by JohnDudebro (924 posts) -

Sad to see yet another game fall before the unstoppable Warcraft giant, but it was kind of inevitable. There's just no room for another fantasy MMO.


A good sci-fi game could still carve out its own niche, but all these games trying to dethrone WoW are just doomed.
#4 Posted by mussbus999 (321 posts) -

Pretty cool.

I had a friend who got into this game and really enjoyed his time with it.

#5 Posted by AndrewB (7669 posts) -

World of Warcraft is an evil, evil game. But I suppose if you absolutely can't beat it, you might not want to sink the ridiculous amounts of money into trying. I hate to say that, because I really feel for the Mythic crew, and have no doubt that their game is awesome. I'm simply not an MMORPG kinda person.

Online
#6 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

Warhammer Online MUST have equal numbers of players for both factions in the game, if you don't then it will just end up being a mess and very one sided to whichever faction outnumbers the other.

Kind of an ironic quote from Jacobs there. But at the same time it was said all this server merging is simply a way to keep the populations of each server in check. I believe the situation was simply too many servers with so few players. Luckily I just bought the game and joined a server that everyone is migrating too so I will hopefully never be at a loss for grouping with players.

I personally don't think WAR is in any trouble. I think its more a case that they are consolidating playerbases on their servers. Like you said, playing on an empty server is just no fun at all.

#7 Posted by DeadMonkeys (827 posts) -

When (some) people said that warhammer would be the next WoW I laughed and laughed.

*giggle*

I tried WAR, and it was ok, but I got sucked back into WoW almost immediately.

#8 Posted by Bucketdeth (8024 posts) -

This is something that needed to be done, as I have played the game when it launched and knew right away there were to many servers.

#9 Posted by Southgrove (323 posts) -

A MMO:s success can't be measured in the amount of servers it has, just look at Eve! =)

#10 Posted by TheBeast (1931 posts) -

This was bound to happen at some point - while it may look bad from a PR perspective, it's really improved things - the EU server migrations finished only an hour or two ago and I'm already noticing a really significant difference in the amount of open-world action going on.

Part of the problem in the first place was Mythic being too keen to respond to users complaining about queue times/imbalance when coping with the massive 'MMO tourist' influx on launch - hopefully now the game is settling down and developing a dedicated fanbase (like DAoC), it'll stick around for a while and have more of a chance to slowly grow.

#11 Posted by captkeebz (2 posts) -

I played a couple of characters to 40 in Warhammer, it was pretty fun when there were many folks online, though the server would often crash at that threshold. Another issue was that the game wasn't fun enough. I will continue to argue that the leveling BS needs to go the way of the dodo. Dividing the development effort amongst 40 levels is just stupid, especially going against a dominant force like WOW.  40 mediocre levels of sparse environments and spotty programming, or... one high-quality, immersive, well-engineered world? The die hard RPGers that cling to the leveling thing can have the genre, I'll play whatever variant comes along that doesn't use grinding as a crutch.

#12 Posted by Obiyer (7 posts) -

Hopefully WO: AoR doesn't go the way of TR. I still have my disk I pre-ordered, haven't really tried it out since beta. It's fun, I was just busy at the time. The skill system was great, and I had a good time with my Black Ork. Maybe I'll come back.

#13 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -

Thank god. I love WAR but I was on a low pop server, and hadn't seen a single person for the first 4 hours of play.

#14 Posted by Slunks (329 posts) -

Amazing game. It's a shame that it's come to this, but the combination of servers will certainly enhance the experience players have.

Only if I had the time to MMO it up, I'd be playing that "Paul Barnett" game allllll day.

#15 Posted by darkjester74 (1589 posts) -

My sub with WAR lasted about 3 months or so.  While the orc race was fun/amusing the scenario grind got repetitive REALLY quickly.  I'm kinda over MMOs in general I think.  I dont care for Warcraft and pretty much all the other MMOs I have played kind of blend together.  /shrug

#16 Posted by CoIin (83 posts) -

It needed to come out for the MAC or even consoles to make a solid go for it. I would still love to see a successful MMO Action RPG for the console. Halohammer Online: Evecraft ... ready... set... PUBLISH!

#17 Posted by Scooper (7881 posts) -

I'm playing the 10-day trial and I'm actualy really liking this game. The RvR is very exciting when there's 20 or so people on 2 sides of an area taunting trying to lure players into the middle where they get dusted in a second.

#18 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -
Scooper said:
"I'm playing the 10-day trial and I'm actualy really liking this game. The RvR is very exciting when there's 20 or so people on 2 sides of an area taunting trying to lure players into the middle where they get dusted in a second."
Thats what prompted me to buy the game after a few days of the recent trial. The RvR is great fun when lots of people take part, it turns into a literal Realm vs Realm warzone and can be great fun. On Monday night myself and 2 large Destruction Warbands raided Nordland after we got a hot tip Order had a large number of players there in RvR. Our two greenskin warbands rolled onto the battlefield and we had an awesome WAAAGH!
#19 Posted by CenturionCajun (1461 posts) -

WoW has skewed people's understanding of the size of a successful MMO. 300,000 or so paying subscribers is more than enough to be a profitable venture. Numbers like WoW's 12 million are obscene in the MMO realm and something that no other game of the genre has even come close to matching.

#20 Posted by JoelTGM (5596 posts) -

WAR was fun, but it just took too darn long to level up that it got boring having to AoE grind with a mage.  After I quit they patched it up some by adding more xp per quest and more quests I believe, but I'm done with MMOs now so I won't go back.

#21 Posted by Babble (1270 posts) -

300,000 subscribers is not an MMO that has failed to the people that say it has. In fact it is one of the more successful ones when you don't compare it to WoW which people assume you have to beat to survive.

#22 Edited by DiGiTaL_SiN (1790 posts) -

Man, Blizzard is crushing the competition. Too bad though, guys and gals at Mythic deserve better. Good luck to them!

#23 Edited by Kohe321 (3529 posts) -

Warhammer was pretty bad post level 20. And it's funny, by saying what he said in that MTV interview, he can't come with any excuses. He probably regrets saying that now... :/

#24 Posted by MadReaper (1 posts) -

Theres no room for another fantasy mmo? I thought that most of the other mmo's are fantasy. Maybe their isnt one that comes close to the numbers wow is putting up besides runescape if you count free players. If you dont then runescape is the only other one with over 1 million subscribers, i think. I think that blizzard is eventually is going to beat itself, with another of its mmo's.

#25 Posted by Tolkienfanatic (99 posts) -

Hopefully it doesn't go the way of Conan.  Server consolidation isn't always a horrible thing, look at EVE, it is a game that has thrived on a single server.  Granted, it was designed to be that way from the beginning...

#26 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

O well, I don't play MMO'S

#27 Posted by Meteora (5787 posts) -

Yeah, 300,000 subscribers does not mean it fails. Getting anywhere near a million is a tough achievement to get in first place. It's sad to see them shrink the servers but if it addresses the low server problem as well make things funner then it's for the best.

#28 Posted by Gunner612 (4338 posts) -

Hope this is a good sign and not a bad one. Warhammer is one hell of an MMO.

#29 Edited by ZoRzEr (130 posts) -

Been playing for a few months now and I'm having very mixed feelings towards it. Like people said in here everything is quite boring, but when you get into massive Realm vs Realm combat the game is incredibly fun. It has glaring issues and bugs. Character balance is strangely addressed by Mythic and like so many other MMOs it suffers from the immature behaviour of players. I doubt that I will renew my subscription when this month runs out. You make a friend today, tomorrow he's left. The concept and story is a great one and it has a lot of humor in it, its gritty, dark and interesting but the gameplay is just so mundane and dull. The end-game is non-existant and it's just mass zerging anyway.

Hopefully this game will evolve into something a bit more fun.

#30 Posted by Xymox (2105 posts) -

Meh, even if warcraft has a lot of players I still think that game needs to merge its servers as well. Most places are completely deserted anyway. And no one doing low level instances or quests at least not on the servers I tried. And it's not like the game world isn't big enough to handle more people or that blizzard can't afford even better server farms... Player limiting seems counter-productive in a "massivly multiplayer" game. EVE seems to get the point only having one server - the way it should be. 

#31 Posted by ZoRzEr (130 posts) -

EVE has always had my complete attention. Been playing that since late beta. With the new expansion, released on tuesday, it should draw a few more players towards it. If space, spaceships, huge world, awesomely complex interests you.. check out EVE-online.

#32 Edited by PenguinDust (12554 posts) -

This is kind of sad but not unforeseen.  I really don't believe there is any room for another subscription-based fantasy MMO in the current market.  Free-to-play model MMOs are growing, and can attract more casual player base who aren't as interested in replicating a WOW experience.  Warhammer  tried to go head-to-head with WOW and this is the end result.  However, as EVE has shown, all is not lost.  If WAR scales back from its grandiose ideals and instead concentrates on its loyal fanbase, structuring the game around their needs, it has a stronger chance of surviving past the hype of initial release.  They need to say screw all the looky-loos. 

I do think there is room for a high profile subscription-based non-fantasy MMO, still.  In all likelihood that game will be Bioware's Star Wars RPG, although either of the new superhero games could succeed as well, especially considering their strong console focus.  Pricing will be the key when appealing to console-based gamers, since they are unused to monthy fees.  I think $5.00 a month is something at even console players would be okay with paying for an MMO-scale game on top of a $40.00 retail price tag.  The Agency is another possibility, but we haven't seen much of that in ages.  Of course, the most popular answer to "who will topple Blizzard's WOW" is Blizzard's next MMO.  I don't know it that is true considering the reluctance EQ players had moving to EQ2.  We'll see how it all plays out over the next few years.   

#33 Posted by Out_On_Bail (1549 posts) -

This is not as bad as some might think.  I think part of the problem was they had way too many servers up at launch, and rightfully so as there was a ton of people that bought the game.  Of course not all of them stayed, but they only imbalanced the servers.  Now they have the crowds consolidated onto the larger servers and it makes for a more enjoyable experience. 


I guess according to Mark's quote, it might seem that they are hurting.  But I think he said that a long time ago and that even he would tell you they aren't hurting as much as one might think. Even if they are, it's a good game that's fun.

As soon as we stop comparing every MMO to WoW we will be better off. 
#34 Posted by FuzzYLemoN (1600 posts) -

First sign of a dying MMO...
*mourns in advance*

#35 Posted by chrisg3dinatx (5 posts) -

I'm not an MMORPG fanatic. I do enjoy them, and I respect the grind that is part of the game, part of the genre.

I enjoyed WAR. I don't play regularly. WOW reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid. I think parts of it are ridiculously cartoon-ish, which makes it unappealing to me as a player.

Any company with an MMORPG hoping to de-throne WOW is spitting in the wind - that being said, that's not the goal of any of these designers. You co-exist with a T. Rex. You don't try to kill it.

#36 Posted by DukeTogo (1504 posts) -

While  I could scoff and say "WoW roolz", this is more of a move that stems from having plenty of servers to make probably the best launch of an MMO in recent memory and the fact that the game works in a very different way than others.  It's focus on PVP and cross server battles, with whole zones held by forces that have more numbers means that if there isn't a fair amount of balance between the factions then it makes being on the wrong side not at all an enjoyable time, especially when you're paying to play.  This is a smart move, that while ominous-looking, is the best thing they can do to improve the game as quickly as possible.

That being said, shutting down 63 servers is a pretty big deal, and while just about everything these days can be blamed on the economy, saving $15 bones a month by not playing an MMO - possibly while still playing others as well - is something more than a few people are doing.  There are folks leaving WoW to save money as well - some guildmates did recently - and I'd bet if Blizz released the number of players recently it would lower than it was before.

I think playing an MMO is pretty good these days, I get much more out of it than a console game when it comes down to money spent per hour of entertainment.  For the same amount of money as a new 360 games, I can play an MMO for as many hours as I can for four months, while that 360 game would most likely be beaten and collecting dust in a week or two.

#37 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -

Now that I think about it. It really isn't a sign that WAR is failing, they just had too many servers to begin with. I mean, they are shutting down 40 servers!

#38 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2499 posts) -

How many people still play Dark Age of Camelot?  That game was and probably is still awesome, I stopped years ago due to marriage and the creation of a mediocre at best social life, but that game rocked.

#39 Posted by alConn (153 posts) -

WAR had way too many servers to start out, there was no way they could maintain the growth they experienced in the first few weeks.  This was inevitable, it isn't a sign of the game dying so much as consolidating its base and growing from there.  Anyone that has played WAR for any amount of time knew this would happen eventually due to the inherent nature of the game's precarious balance for RvR and the need for high population servers for that game concept to work properly.

#40 Posted by BiG_Weasel (524 posts) -

The best thing WAR has going for it is hardcore, dedicated players. The people who play WAR are all about the game, just like the guys playing EVE or LOTRO right now.  They don't acknowledge WoW even exists, and have no interest in moving to another game. And honestly, why should they? WAR is the most fun I've had with an MMO in a long time.

#41 Posted by uskomaton (89 posts) -

Now if only their site stopped sucking so I could actually download the trial and test it...
Damn thing keeps logging me out on both IE and FF (yes, cookies are enabled etc.).

#42 Posted by GioVANNI (1288 posts) -
@DiGiTaL_SiN

How do the people at Mythic deserve more business?   Isn't Blizz the company that could make an MMO to gain over 12 million subscribers?  I don't know, I think they deserve their money.
#43 Posted by Teirdome (262 posts) -

It's been a couple months since I played last, but WAR has been slowly dying after its great launch.  The end-game content simply isn't there to support a heavy player base.  It's kinda unfortunate since Warcraft/Starcraft are basically direct copies of the Warhammer Universe, yet Bliz has always shown more love to their IPs.

#44 Posted by jakob187 (21691 posts) -

I checked out the Slayers the other day, and man, those fuckers are AWESOME!!!  Unfortunately, my buddies STILL wanna play WoW...so I'm sticking it out until they realize how retarded they are being.


Warhammer is DEFINITELY a superior game to WoW.  I just don't think people wanna leave that 3 year commitment behind yet.

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