Collector’s Edition unboxing

Just a quickie, but this came in the mail today and wanted to show it off. It’s a 33s Youtube vid, so that’s what you’re committing to if you click through to it. The blue book is the graphic novel, the burgundy one is The Art of Warhammer Online, and the thing with GOA in the corner is the mousemat.

If you also received your copy of the game today, don’t enter the codes yet. This is because it’s not set to patch the retail DVDs till tomorrow (an hour before launch the patcher will be up, apparently).

Initial thoughts and stuff

So, we’ve had the game for a few days now, all our headstart people have been in since Monday, and we await the influx on Thursday. Here’s a few points on how it’s been:

GOA’s done a good job

There was a slight delay to the Collectors Edition Headstart, a couple of hours. Standard Edition headstart went well with people getting in smoothly. Queues haven’t been horrible (we’ve had none, but we’re Order and Core-RP), just haven’t seen too many complaints. And everyone who got an email back from a GM was very happy with it. Just Thursday to go and signs are positive! Also, there is nothing about it in the gaming news – which means it’s going well. (Obviously there are stories that the game is launching, but strictly they’re focusing on Thursday).

EA problems with keys an exercise in why to order elsewhere

I really feel for people who went with EAStore, because hey, it’s EA and they promised all sorts of goodies and for a while they were the only Standard Edition seller (soon joined by Direct 2 Drive) who said they were offering the headstart. Sending out the wrong keys was a cock-up, I hope everyone is in now and it wasn’t too painful. Having problems with manufacturing so that not all CEs have been sent out on time isn’t great either. On another note, looks like has some CE copies left. (This may be out-of-date when you get to read it).

Standard Edition Headstart

Because of Games Day, I started playing a few hours before the Standard Edition people came online. I was out of the starting area and at the first Dwarf PQ. Had to ask in-guild for some help finishing it and someone headed back to help (yay, guild). By the time we got to Stage 3 it became apparent the Standard Edition had come online as suddenly a whole gang of people entered the PQ, meaning we stormed it. Was a great sight and feeling. So enjoy that today America!


We have a separate post coming with names, screenshots, guild details – just making sure of Hawley’s first. But quickly, would just like to pause for a moment to say the guild is great. We’ve done a few things together and lots of things in smaller groups. Chat levels high, as is excitement. The guild is full of people we haven’t yet met, and Teamspeak is full of unfamiliar voices, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun learning about and meeting them all.

The Game

The game remains insanely fun, with a few collywobbles as I realised this character isn’t getting deleted so I better take it a bit more seriously. Scenarios have been plentiful (more so at night), open groups have invited me along, rather than waiting for me to invite myself, have done a bit of exploring in the mornings – but I intend to do more. I’m not sure why, but it feels better than either beta. I have a suspicion it’s the number of players and general level of excitement. Good stuff!

Any plans this weekend?

Here’s GOA’s plans for this big ol’ weekend (aside from coming to Games Day, of course!)

We will close the open beta servers on Saturday afternoon at 15:00 CET. We thank you for the time you spent in the game and for your feedback which helped us to apply the last layer of polish.
If you own a Collector’s Edition Pre-Order you will be able to enter your head start code on Sunday at 1:00am CET. Also, you will be able to register your bonus items at that time. The head start for the owners of a Collector’s Edition Pre-Order will begin on Sunday afternoon.
If you own a Standard Edition Pre-Order you will be able to enter your head start code and your bonus item code on Monday at 9:00am CET. You will be able to log into the game and play as soon as your code has been validated.

Seriously. Collector’s edition headstart is what, half a day longer than the Standard Edition one? (I know, I did notice the ‘as soon as your code has been validated’… but all the codes will need to be validated, for whatever edition.)

Good luck all!

Headstarts redux

Ok, I thought I was going a bit crazy this morning when I read the coverage about the headstarts announced as 14th and 16th at 7am EDT.

Previously, we’d been told 14th and 15th September for these. And that’s what I reported a while back, when the news was given.

I’m not really able to make any comment on this, I suggest though that we assume the American dates are the correct ones and don’t hassle GOA about it too much until the issues with the open beta are done with. Am fairly sure we’ll know before it matters!

Have HMV got it all wrong?

We spent a while in the early days of the blog pondering when would send out their CE pre-order codes, and kind of wishing we’d gone to an HMV store and picked up the pre-order box there.

It now seems that HMV are having issues with the way they handled the pre-order programme. Right from the start people had conflicting reports about whether HMV staff were asking for their details to reserve them a copy of the Collector’s Edition when it came into the store. Some were being asked, some weren’t.

Now, over at Freddyshouse, there’s a worrying thread which goes into quite a few details of people being told by various sources at HMV that they might not have enough CEs to cover the pre-orders they took. As they were haphazard about recording people’s details – this could be of major concern to people who went this route to the CE pre-order.

Our advice:

  • Check with the manager at the HMV store where you bought your pre-order box
  • Email HMV (consumer-power!)
  • Check over at Freddyshouse, since obviously quite a number of UK buyers there with similar problems, post your experiences so that everyone can benefit from any information gleaned
  • Hope that HMV can come up with a solution to this

Just a quick note

Werit drew my attention to Mark’s latest posts over at Warhammer Alliance which clarify some of what’s going on with the North American and Oceanic customers (CE pre-orders mostly) and their invites to the closed beta.

It reminded me that I should have said something here earlier. While all this is going on, we’re making a concerted effort to mostly report on the European side of things. It’s getting a little confusing now and there’s a whole bunch of blogs and forums that have a more North American focus, so it’s easier for us to stick to EU news on the stages of beta.

But, interesting snippets for me included:

The new Oceanic Beta and the new NA CE Closed Beta servers will be at a different stage of testing than the non-Oceanic servers to allow the Oceanic players to play the Tier 1-3 content while the rest of the Closed Beta testers are currently playing in Tier 4.

We’ve invited about 10K players into our Oceanic Closed Beta regardless of whether they bought a CE or not. We need some volume down there so we invited both Oceanic CE buyers and non-CE buyers.

Mark speaks

Mark Jacobs has made an exhaustive post over at the Vault, listing a number of important things, including an NDA lift next week. The whole article and thread is here.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • 18th September was picked so they could have a simultaneous worldwide release
  • subscription pricing was chosen to be ‘on the same level’ as competition
  • there will be a preview weekend in addition to the normal open beta, and people who pre-ordered the CE will be given priority into the preview weekend (assume this is US until we hear otherwise)
  • CE people will get an extra day’s headstart than the SE people (I’m assuming all announcements relate specifically to the US CE/SE thing, as we know GOA are doing things a little differently – but would love this to be the case in Europe too)
  • pre-order CE peeps will be invited into closed beta as of next week, but will have to meet tech requirements to get in (again, assume America only)
  • still working on a date for open beta
  • they hope to lift the NDA next week but it’s subject to change – there are three issues they need to address first – full explanation once the NDA lifts

How to pre-order the Collector’s Edition at HMV

Because are sold out, here’s a quick rundown of the HMV situation for those in the UK still wishing to pre-order a Collector’s Edition. Benefits of pre-ordering can be found here.

  1. Go to an HMV store and purchase the pre-order pack for £9.99 – it is a DVD case with all the codes in
  2. Get staff to take down your details to reserve you the CE when it comes out
  3. When CE comes out, go to HMV with receipt from pre-order, and buy CE
  4. HMV staff take the £9.99 off your CE final cost

That’s the theory. Not everyone has found it that easy to complete steps 1 and 2, but go speak to staff first, get them to look up the memo from Head Office and to take down your details. If you bought the pre-order pack but didn’t get your details taken down – it might be worth popping back into HMV with the receipt.

As IainC notes, HMV may put excess stock up on their website, but your guaranteed pre-order pack and CE will take precedence over any internet sales, so if you can get to an HMV then do so to make sure you don’t suffer any disappointment and/or ranting.

HMV do apparently have quite a few copies left on their shelves currently. I’ve heard that the store in Angel (London), has ‘loads’ (our roving reporters are about as exact as we are!), and I know spinks saw some too.

Collector’s Edition Quests and Titles

On the Euro site, there is a very comprehensive page all about the Collector’s Edition (CE). If you scroll down to the section on quests, rewards, and titles, they link to a full list of the quests and the rewards (NB. Just because it’s listed here doesn’t mean it can’t change before the game goes live).

The titles are good fun, and a different one is offered for each quest; “Brewmaster” for Dwarfs and “da Scrapper” for Greenskins should be popular. The quests comprise one PvE and one PvP quest for each race, but the racial quests are open to anyone of that realm — so your drunken master White Lion could be a Brewmaster too. It looks as though there will be lots and lots of different titles in the game, similar to CoH and LOTRO. I think we’d guessed that anyhow from hints about the Tome of Knowledge but it’s fun to see some examples.

I’m impressed with the CE. I think they’ve put together a great package for collectors without doing anything to unbalance PvP or make things unfair for non-CE players. And interestingly, at the bottom of the GOA page, they’ve listed which retailers have sold out already. I wouldn’t bet on it being 100% up to date but interesting anyhow.

Early access – bring it on!

In the week when 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 £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?