GOA: Love ’em or Hate ’em (or both at the same time)?

Those of us playing the game in Europe and choosing the European servers are one step removed from Mythic. That step is GOA. The same split existed in Dark Age of Camelot, so the two companies obviously feel they have a good working relationship.. how do we, as players, feel about it?

GOA are our main point of contact for the game (other than on fan forums where Mythic reps post, but it’s not quite the same), billing problems, account log-in problems, late patching – we’ll be blaming GOA if problems occur.

They always seem quite friendly but there’s quite a lot of people out there (ourselves included) that remember problems during Dark Age of Camelot, and we’re still trying to regain full confidence in GOA as a company to deal with for Warhammer Online.

They weren’t great at marketing Camelot offline. I think that’ll be different this time around as they have the EA marketing team alongside.

We expect to be able to turn to GOA for European-specific official information (and in all truth, all official information should be available with them). There’s already been quite a bit of confusion over the Collector’s Edition pre-order from Play.com. That’s a bit of a concern considering we have a long relationship ahead!

I guess we have the same concerns as with many MMOs where there are separate servers and/or companies running the US and Euro servers:

  • Will we be treated differently from the US players? And in what way?
  • Will there be any benefits from having GOA run this instead of Mythic?
  • Will there be easier ways to contact GOA? They were notoriously hard to contact with complaints with DAoC and we had to use a system called RightNow, which was far from intuitive
  • I was concerned about delays, but I’ve read a couple of posts from IainC stating we’ll be getting our patches at the same time as America. If this doesn’t happen, expect a bit of a rant 🙂

We want to believe. We want this to be the best it can be. We want to play on European servers, with other people close to our timezone (or in our exact timezone). We want the same standards of service as all players of the game (esp as because of various reasons we’ll probably be paying a little more for it!). Personally, I think GOA has probably learned a hell of a lot from their DAoC experiences. And Mythic alongside them. The fact Paul Barnett came over to Dreamhack in Sweden despite Baltimore Games Day being the same weekend shows that Mythic does care about their European audience just as much as their American one. We’ll be monitoring the situation!


7 Responses

  1. Good luck with GOA — those questions would make me feel a bit nervous, too.

  2. The thing with the 6 month delay on patching is that I was never sure how much of that was down to Mythic and the way they designed their code in DaoC. ie. how hard was it to actually integrate all the translations and so on. I’m sure they will have designed with that in mind this time — warhammer is a very popular IP in Europe.

    One thing is for sure though, we (in Europe) are now used to games which patch the same week as the US. So that’s what we expect.

    In some ways its harder on the english speakers because we see the US servers, we know that our pings to the US would be fine, we also know we’d pay less if we were able to use the US service, yet we choose to go with the EU provider because we want to be with the EU community.

  3. I guess this one is for me.

    From the top then with the bullet points and then I’ll waffle for a bit on vaguer points.

    Our relationship with EA Mythic for WAR is designed around the premise that EU customers will get a service that is equal or better than the US operation. Both we and EA Mythic know that this is going to be a huge game and no-one wants to see the European side (which is likely to be the biggest market) get undersold.
    We are looking at extra value that we can add for all of our customers although there will be limits to that due to the fact that we aren’t the developers and our rights are necessarily restricted in that regard. Having said that (and to slightly avoid the question as a lot of the plans are still very speculative) we do intend to focus on providing the highest quality community support that we can. I’m not going to say that EA Mythic’s will be rubbish by comparison but we intend to be 100% focussed on the European community and that’s probably not something that EA Mythic could do if they were running it themselves.
    You’ll be able to contact support in a variety of different ways. There will be 24/7 ingame support, there will be a knowledgebase and FAQs so that you can help yourself and there will be webform based support for people who can’t access the game for any reason. Again, the design is that EU and US players will have the same options and services available to them.
    Once again, this comes back to the central mantra of ‘everything they have, you will have’. It’s an important part of our arrangement with EA Mythic that development is done in parallel with localisation so that we can launch simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. For a lot of reasons, that wasn’t possible with DAoC and so both parties wanted to avoid a similar situation arising in WAR. You have to remember that DAoC was not originally designed to be localised, it was written to be an English only game by developers that had little experience with localised projects. WAR on the other hand is specifically designed to make localisation as streamlined as possible.

    Ok those of you with ADD can stop reading now, the rest is probably going to end up as a tl;dr bullet point on WHA or somewhere.

    Basically a lot has changed since DAoC launched. We aren’t the same company, EA Mythic aren’t the same company, the MMO market has moved along and – as spinks points out – players have different expectations these days. Back in the day we did what most of the other MMO providers did, we relied on word of mouth advertising with targetted marketing pushes for expansions and other major milestones. WoW changed the rules and by the time that lesson had been learnt, DAoC was an older game that was difficult to get journalists and editors excited about. Three or four times a year I’d go across to the UK to demonstrate the game to the press and gush about whatever the selling point du jour was but a lot of editors wouldn’t touch MMOs that weren’t WoW at that point.

    There were a lot of things that we wanted to do for DAoC that we couldn’t do for various reasons – legal reasons, things to do with our contract with Mythic, things to do with French labour laws, things to do with the fact that we were a tiny part of a very large company and so forth. When we talked to EA Mythic about partnering up for WAR, we made sure that all of those restrictions were removed. Six years is a long time and GOA is a very different company now to what we were when we started running DAoC in Europe,

    So anyway, enough about DAoC, this is a WAR blog so I’ll get back on topic.

    If you want an idea of how seriously we at GOA are taking the success of WAR in Europe consider this:
    We started a new company based in Ireland (to get around some of the restrictions I mentioned above) just to run WAR. A lot of us who were in Paris sold our houses and uprooted our lives to go to Dublin and make WAR work properly. We didn’t just say ‘We’ll do better’, we spent a lot of money and put a lot of people to a lot of trouble to make sure that we can do better – before we have a single subscriber and before we’ve made a single Euro from the game.

  4. Bleh, html doesn’t work properly in the comment field. Pretend that each of the paragraphs between ‘From the top then with the bullet points and then I’ll waffle for a bit on vaguer points.’ and the tl;dr stuff has a bullet point against it instead of being a giant wall of text.

  5. Thanks for that IainC, it answers a lot!

  6. […] Reply: GOA Posted on June 24, 2008 by spinks IanC stopped by to comment on our post about our concerns about GOA (actually, as I write this, I’m stopping to think ‘Is GOA an acronym or do they just […]

  7. […] in europe Requiel left some comments over on this blog where the author was expressing his doubts: GOA: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em (or both at the same time)? Book of Grudges […]

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