[WAR] Nothing Good to Say

Posted: January 28, 2011 in WAR

My mom always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”  My mom wasn’t a blogger.

If you still wear your rosy glasses when looking at WAR, that’s cool.  I respect that. It may not seem that way, but I do.  Anywho, I wanted to take a little bit of time to dissect the Producer’s Lettter.  I’ve done this in the past, so this ain’t my first time to the rodeo.

Our first patch for the year (1.4.1) will be a smaller version dedicated to bug fixes and a few new features. Amongst those features will be a new way to claim account entitlements (such as the Snotling Herald Pets). This new interface will replace the current method of delivering account entitlements via the in game mail system. We did this for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that in-game mail expires by necessity. The new claim interface will allow you to claim the items anytime. The second reason is that we wanted to give you an easier method to recover lost items that you may have misplaced over time. For items that don’t have charges or function as a ‘currency’ item, such as War Tract scrolls, players will be able to reset those account entitlements at their leisure without having to contact customer service. This new feature will cover all item based deliveries from account entitlements whether they are paid items like you can purchase on the EA Store or marketing rewards from events or the collector’s edition.

Really?  This is a high-priority item?  I’ve been reading the forums rather religiously over the past couple months, you know, with the WARdrobe and all.  I don’t think I’ve ever read that someone was missing this.  It boggles my mind that resources are being put into things that don’t directly contribute to player retention.  I’ve not seen an “I quit, I lost my snotling!” post.  Really, I’ve looked.

Another feature of the patch is a re-structuring of our Scenario line-up. We’ve monitored feedback and statistics over the last year and decided to shake up what scenarios are available all the time for each Tier. The current structure of the Scenarios will remain unchanged, but the Scenarios themselves will be different. Some scenarios stayed where they are, some changed what tiers they are available at, and some are gone and replaced by other classic scenarios. For example; The Maw of Madness will be making its return to the Tier 4 scenario Queue. We’re going to be closely monitoring the scenarios when 1.4.1 goes live and will make further adjustments in later patches as go through the year based on your feedback.

I remember the lashing out the last time they tweaked Scenarios.  And then they put in the Weekend Warfront.  Is anyone else out there tired of getting rehashes (if that) of existing content and calling it “new” ?  People want NEW scenarios.  Just one would pacify the masses for quite some time.  It shouldn’t be a shocker that this part is going to piss people off, almost as much as the first.

We have plans for major features for each of our numbered patches this year. The plans include expanding existing areas and features as well as new concepts to the Warhammer Online experience. With each subsequent producer letter I plan to share more of these plans.

This is more of the same “We have a promise that we’re going to do something, and eventually we’re going to tell you about it.  Maybe.  Unless we decide not to do it.  Yeah, then we’ll just move on to rotating scenarios again.”  I’ll put this in Bold in Italics:  You are not doing your customers a service by dragging them along in the dark like this.  You are hurting yourself.  When you start to realize this, and do something about it, you will see an immediate change in your customers’ attitudes.  Until then, you can expect to see the same type of apathy, anger and lack of trust in you, the provider of our paid services that you see today.

We’ve been down this path of rhetoric before.  Nobody buys it.  If you’re telling us that you have nothing of significance that is in a format that is concrete enough to talk about, then you have bigger issues than just your communication.

Shifting gears a bit, I’d like to tell you about our plans for Live Events. We have eight Live Events planned for this year. Some of these are returning favorites (like the recently completed Keg End) and the forthcoming Night of Murder in February. Others are new ones we have planned to fill in some of the calendar gaps. Along with the Live Events, we’ll continue to support Weekend Warfronts with plans to introduce some scenarios that haven’t made their debut in the Warfront format. We also have some very special plans for Grovod Caverns.

I’m actually somewhat enticed by this one.  I like Live Events.  They’re pretty fun. Recycled ones…are not fun. How many times have you completed Keg’s End?  The new ones better be sweet, and better encourage PvP. And the WW is going to likely bring back the current SCs we play, which are retiring in 1.4.1

Along with the patches and live events, we also have plans to expand our services and Account Entitlement offerings this year. This includes introducing paid name changes, more pets, and more ways to personalize your character.

Lump this into the whole “Stuff that should be developed when the game is in a polished state.” You’ve made it no secret that developer resources are INSANELY hard to come by.  Like… don’t bother asking for em.  Yet, they’re spending time doing more pets?  Name changes?  When you have to dedicate an entire patch cycle to fixing bugs…don’t you think you should put all those developer on them?  Just a thought.

Finally, I’d like to address a topic that I’m sure is close to everyone’s hearts; server population. We’ve been monitoring the situations on each of our servers in every market. Our current situation on most of the servers shows us numbers that fall within traditionally acceptable parameters, notably our peak population values. Peak population is where we see the most activity on the server; during what is considered prime-time for the server or ‘peak’ hours. However, we understand that population is a key component to enjoying the game. As part of an effort to ensure off-peak hours are as enjoyable as peak hours can be, we are actively discussing our plans for lower population servers. If you haven’t heard anything to this effect by the time this letter sees print, you should see something very soon. We are committed to ensuring that we do what is needed to make sure players enjoy their experience in WAR.

This one is a real punch in the gut for quite a few players.  For a fee, you can make sure this issue isn’t close to heart.  Unless you can’t afford to pay MORE to play the same game as everyone else.  It may not be Mythic that is directly causing the population issues.  Players leaving lower population servers just to play the game is a HUGE factor.  The fact that Mythic takes too long to react to a sinking ship (Here’s looking at you, Vortex) is another factor.  If you don’t see some server consolidation coming soon, I think you’re going to start losing servers at a time.

My personal take on this whole thing is… I feel sorry for James.  This is your first time out in the public eye like this, and your superiors didn’t give you jack crap to talk about.  Look at the image rape that Carrie has gone through.  I wish you didn’t have to go through the same thing, but it’s looking like you will.  It would have been nice if you could have come out of the door swinging, rather than limping. 😦

  1. Tyanon says:

    I agree with everything except possibly the account entitlement claiming/structuring. I think they should move to a f2p model and these types of things need to be done to move to that. So in those circumstances, I think it could be more important than people realize.

  2. VonPP says:

    The account entitlement claiming/structuring is (imo) an obvious step towards F2P. The current system works unless you forget to claim your entitlements on an alt. But I have never heard anyone complain about the system itself.

    The fact that they are even wasting time on this (seemingly and in our eyes) suggests they are looking to make a better more robust system is because we the players will need one and the only reason why I can think of that we will need this is when the game goes F2P.

    And look it seems we will be able to play Grovod Caverns as Skaven…

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