[At the time of writing, Warhammer Alliance site went down so I included alternate links to Massively articles on the same topics that summarise the WHA threads.]
I’m sure if you’re here reading this that you also read other Warhammer Online blogs. So, You’ll have noticed the little controversy and hoo-ha over an opinion piece at Warhammer Alliance about Mythic’s marketing (Massively). The article accuses the marketing department of using obfuscation and little tricks to keep attention where it wants it, and I don’t use the word ‘accuse’ lightly. The piece was obviously written to be inflammatory, but stemmed from the author’s concerns about information and its control.
It doesn’t take long for things like that to get around. War Noob posted a thoughtful response on his blog, disagreeing with the original author (Browncoat @ WHA). And Syp over at Waaagh posted a response also, agreeing in part with Browncoat about information flow, commenting on the responses the post had garnered so far. Syp also took at look at responses to criticism and how some people, rather than picking and choosing which bits they agreed with, or not, of Browncoat’s article simply moved into siege mentality, attacking anyone that criticised Mythic or the game at all.
Now Mark Jacobs has added his response (Massively) to the mix by posting on the Warhammer Alliance boards and expressing his disappointment in the whole affair, while telling some home truths about Mythic, including the fact that information flow starts and ends at his desk.
Where do I stand? Well, I already posted my partial opinion over at War Noob. I’m no fan of the original article. Perhaps it’s because I used to work in Marketing :-).
There’s always a danger about releasing information while the beta is still in progress, and not all fans of the game have the common sense to realise things will still change, classes are still being balanced, the game is still being polished. And because of that, the NDA needs to stay in place a while longer, however frustrated we are by that. While marketing departments will have some influence on the release of information, it’s often to explain what the consequences of revealing certain bits of information might be. But honestly, with Mythic in particular, I can’t see the marketing people sitting Paul Barnett down and telling him not to say something he wants to say. Likewise Mark Jacobs or most of the big names we see touting us the information around the place.
Yes, there may be some discussions about it, and some agreements about what can be shared and what can’t. But these guys are professionals, many of whom will have witnessed what’s happened to other games that went too far with pre-order information (Vanguard) and they want Warhammer Online to launch as smoothly as possible and seem to realise that not pissing off the community with over-expectations is a big part of that.
I’m fairly used to the NDA now, and a little terrified yet excited about the information outpouring that’ll come when it’s lifted. Sometimes I wish I had some more information on something, but in the meantime I’m still getting my head around some of the info around there.
ps. anyone still humming the Magic Roundabout theme tune by the end of this article gets a round of applause