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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning shuts down

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning shuts down

Thu 19 Dec 2013 9:02am GMT / 4:02am EST / 1:02am PST
Development

"I don't want to gloss over the real human cost of the project's failure"

EA Mythic MMO Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was taken offline last night, after the license agreement between Mythic and IP holder Games Workshop came to an end.

"I'm not going to waste time picking at old wounds or attempting to offer a post-mortem commentary on 'what happened,'" said former producer on the game Josh Drescher in a personal blog.

"There's been tons of gossip and speculation and smug armchair game design (and project management) in the years since it launched. Some small bits of it have been on-target. Most of it is uninformed BS. It will be up to people well above my pay grade to decide if the 'real story' ever gets told."

"It will be up to people well above my pay grade to decide if the 'real story' ever gets told"

Users were notified of the planned shutdown in September, when EA Mythic also suspended account creation and removed subscription fees. The game first launched in September 2008 after the Warhammer license was acquired by Mythic in May 2005.

In 2009 EA reported subscriber numbers of 300,000, and that year began closing servers down.

"I don't want to gloss over the real human cost of the project's failure to become a blockbuster, because that's a very real part of the story as well," continued Drescher.

"I realise that not everyone was able to transition to new and better things, at least not within our industry. There were a large number of people who simply decided they couldn't put their families through the stress of the game development 'lifestyle' anymore."

8 Comments

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

767 574 0.7
"I don't want to gloss over the real human cost of the project's failure to become a blockbuster, because that's a very real part of the story as well,"

That is the part that hurts the most and also the most ignored one in most of cases.

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Neil Young
Programmer

270 300 1.1
"There were a large number of people who simply decided they couldn't put their families through the stress of the game development 'lifestyle' anymore."

Whilst I've no issue with anyone who decided that was the right choice for them, I disagree that working in the games industry automatically means a family unfriendly lifestyle.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Axel Cushing
Writer / Blogger

102 128 1.3
"I'm not going to waste time picking at old wounds or attempting to offer a post-mortem commentary on 'what happened.' There's been tons of gossip and speculation and smug armchair game design (and project management) in the years since it launched. Some small bits of it have been on-target. Most of it is uninformed BS. It will be up to people well above my pay grade to decide if the 'real story' ever gets told."
Translation #1: I refuse to give the peasants the satisfaction of watching me abase myself in front of them by admitting "mistakes" which I still feel are completely justified.

Translation #2: I'm under an NDA not even God could undo and will be sued black and blue by EA if I look like I'm even thinking about saying anything which could even vaguely be construed as unflattering or critical of the suits in upper management.

I played WAR for about six months, tried a few different toons, and found that about halfway through the character progression, the enjoyment came to a screeching halt. I loved the art design, I geeked out on the lore elements, but right about level 25 or so, the level grind became too naked and too slow. I think that a candid and brutally honest postmortem would be a good thing. If nothing else, it would give those "uninformed" people Drescher complained about the straight dope on what happened.

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,133 1,039 0.5
I still think that these MMOs all NEED some sort of offline play for solo and/or co-op adventuring after servers die off or even better, if the game is a success, users can play when they wish. Oh well. Hopefully, anyone laid off has already found work or can easily find it... another one for the pile and I guess more shall follow...

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Axel Cushing
Writer / Blogger

102 128 1.3
@Greg

I think probably the closest you're going to see something like that happening will be Star Citizen. It's not going to be quite like WoW or EVE Online in terms of MMO elements, but they are talking about being able to run private servers, so that one will likely have legs past any sort of official shutdown of Cloud Imperium servers. 'Course, with the stupid money they're raking in on a monthly basis, it's difficult to see them shutting down their servers anytime after they launch.

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,133 1,039 0.5
@Axel, I hope to hell SC is a hit (all that money it's making is indeed amazing), but as someone with a shit connection AND someone who despises this always online thing because, hey, I do love my privacy, I think no way to play alone when the servers are going down for a short time for maintenance, means at some point someone in the world who wants to play any of these games can't.

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

481 290 0.6
"The stress of the game development lifestyle"

I had been about to say something about that when I realised this is EA we are talking about. One of the nastiest companies I have ever had the misfortune of doing some freelance work for. Admittedly this was back in the EA spouse days but, I have always found it very hard to believe that they have changed that much since then. Most likely they simply now pay overtime for the ungodly hours they expect you to work to meet their unrealistic deadlines.

Posted:7 months ago

#7

Krzysztof Nizielski
Junior QA Project Lead

34 34 1.0
I used to play MMO's like you, then I got Skyrim as a gift.

Posted:7 months ago

#8

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