February 11, 2008

Mark Jacobs Leaves the Door Open to Canceled Classes/Features in WAR

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) has worried me for some time. No, it is not the numerous beta delays or EA acquisition. Actually, I am worried about the lack of information being fed to the community, which is abnormal for a Mythic developed game. Of certain interest to me lately has been the lack of class information being provided which prompted me to post on Warhammer Alliance.

In the post, I speculated that Mythic may be considering cutting classes from the game prior to release. Many argued that it was simply a marketing move. I contended that it makes no sense for a game that was already supposed to be launched to have not released basic information on each of the planned classes. Along with a addition of a new career mastery system, it is feasible that Mythic could scale back on the number of classes they had planned for launch.

Mark Jacobs happened across my post and had the following to say:

In terms of the number of classes, marketing, release, etc. It's still pretty simple, we'll release it when it's ready but keep in mind that beta is for chucking what doesn't work in order to replace it with stuff that does work. So, if a class doesn't work out the way we hoped it would, we *might* keep it out on release if we can't come up with a good way to fix it. It would make no sense to either release the game with a broken/bad class or to hold up the game's release if we are not sure even how to fix a bad/broken class. One of the lessons from DAoC's development/evolution was that less is indeed sometimes more. Again, please don't read anything into this post other than the usual "this sort of stuff is what beta is for" disclaimer. Besides, with the new systems we have been putting in, players will have even more options to customize their class than before so I don't think players having a dearth of class/options is something you have to worry about.

I read it like this: "Folks, we're cutting stuff that isn't working." Which is fine by me, and is to be expected for games still in development. However, it is worrying that Mark, a normally no bullshit type of guy, is leaving the door open for truly blockbuster news that something big could be cut from WAR, whether it be classes or features.

Really though, why all the fuss? The game is still in development and nothing is ever cast in stone until day one of launch. Fortunately, Mythic has communicated almost all major changes to the game and I would hope they would continue to do so. However, as the PvP flagging debate showed a while ago, the general MMO community can't be trusted with information that is left up to interpretation. Thus, why this statement from Mark Jacobs has me worried.

On one hand, he assures us they are doing what needs to be done and telling us that stuff that doesn't work is going to be cut, not band-aided on to the game in some hope it will work in the future.

On the other hand, he shows us that Mythic has the capability to reveal more major changes to WAR. So far, those major changes have been welcomed warmly, but I fear that may not be the case if Mythic starts talking about removing something from the game. We shall wait and see.