Early access – bring it on!

In the week when Play.com sell out of their Collector’s Editions and start to send out beta keys, I found myself considering why Early Access to the live game is such a valued thing – even if it just means 3 days playtime before the masses converge on the game. So far, this is my list of why it was worth the extra money* to me (and um, yeah.. I still owe someone a bit of money for my CE!)

  • You have a better chance of getting your fave character name
  • You have a better chance of getting your guild up and running and getting the name you want
  • You get to vacate the starting areas before the deluge
  • Less server stress, less chance of un-smooth launch

These should all be pretty obvious. On another tack, we have less servers to choose from. I believe it’s been stated a number of times that there will only be limited servers for the Early Access Brigade (my fabricated name there), maybe one or two of each server type, whatever they think they need. Now, this sounds bad initially, because:

  • You don’t get to choose from the entire server list from the start
  • If guilds are split between early access and non-early access players, then there’s a chance the server will be pretty full before the entire guild can join it, which may lead to problems, depending on how they deal with overcrowding

But on the other hand, let’s assume that the Early Access Brigade are all fairly into the game, enough to blow Ā£60 on a game that they could otherwise have got quite a bit cheaper by not getting the Collector’s Edition (and this assumes there are no pre-order bonuses about to be made available on non-CE purchases). They’re the kind of people who hang out on internet forums and blogs discussing Warhammer Online and what they look forward to or fear about the game. They embrace RvR as a concept – and they’re all going to be choosing from the same limited list of servers!

So.. surely those servers will have a higher chance of being populated by experienced MMO players? Which again, is a big advantage to both the experienced and non-experienced alike. It’s not like the later servers won’t have experienced players on them, some guilds might want to wait for the non-early access servers so everyone can join at the same time, or because they want to pick an emptier server to start on from the entire list of potentials. But for those of us who’ll probably stay on their early access server, I believe it means we’ll have a fairly knowledgeable population on both sides of Order/Chaos split.

This, for me, is a huge benefit and one that I hadn’t really thought about until all the analysis of the WHA figures and speculation that new players were more likely to pick Order. Does this mean early access servers will be weighted towards Destruction? Or that it won’t matter as much, because at least the Order players might have more chance to be organized from the off? I have no idea, that’s all in the realms of ‘who knows’ but I do think the poll results might affect the early access servers more than the ones that come later.

*obviously it’s not the only reason the pre-order Collector’s Edition was worth the money to me – who wouldn’t want the choice of extra heads, some extra quests and funky items?


10 Responses

  1. I got to thinking after writing this, will every person on the early access server look the same, cos we’re all using the CE-only heads ? šŸ™‚

  2. Yeah interesting recap to why I wanted to buy the CE.. but then I thought the price is a rip off, will have to give it some thought….

  3. […] Jump to Comments Them lovely ladies over at Book of Grudges have a very interesting post uptoday. Mainly it talks about the early access to Warhammer, before it goes live to the world, […]

  4. I bought it for one to get some cool swag, but after reading your post, I have to agree that the head start is going to be really nice.
    Not so much as a get ahead of everyone but I will have time to look around, and try to finish every ToK unlock that pops up, while at the same time trying level.

  5. I have to say I was mostly tempted by the extra heads and the swag and well.. just because. But thinking about it, there are quite a few benefits I hadn’t really considered previously. Now I just need Play.com to provide those keys!

  6. Sadly I am doubting Play.com’s ability to deliver šŸ˜¦ Fingers crossed X

    I don’t think I will use the CE heads though. I had assumed there would be a level of customisation to faces, hair length, facial hair etc and I am not sure this will be possible with the special heads.

  7. I’ll just go with whatever head I like best for my chars, collector’s edition or not. I hope we can customise them all a bit, but it’s all up in the air right now.

    I’ve not yet had problems with Play.com, but bulletin boards have got me worried. Mine’s getting sent to Spinks too, so I have to reply on her to let me know if we ever get them.

  8. Have never been let down by them either but obviously spooked by all the negative vibes!

    Want to create my chracter now!

  9. I bought an early access pre-order for both LotRO and AoC through play.com and had no problems at all.

  10. One of the interesting things you brought up was that the few amount of servers that will be up when compared to full-release. This will be putting all the Collector’s edition buyers together and I think it is safe to assume that these purchasers have played MMOs before or have some sort of knowledge about the game, possibly more than the folks that dont have the collector’s edition.

    This is something I’ll embrace as playing with good players. I’d rather play alongside and against good players and have fun that just steamroll over people that have no idea what they’re doing and get bored rather quickly.

    Also it makes me want to start or get into a guild as soon as possible after Head start begins.

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