MJ Followup Interview with Eurogamer

Following Paul Barnett’s comments to Eurogamer earlier this week, Mark Jacob called them for a quick ‘damage control’ interview where he explains that EA is really really good at distributing games and it’s not true at all that they don’t know anything about MMOs. The EA Online Store hasn’t been doing an especially good job on distribution but we’re not inclined to argue the point since our CEs arrived in the post today.

He also discusses the launch, how Mythic expect realm populations to pan out and what sort of plans they have up their sleeves if adjustments need to be made (he mentions the idea of a renown bonus for the weaker side).

He also notes that in the first 24 hours of headstart launch, they received 0.5 pieces of feedback per server. A cynic might wonder if that meant that the feedback system wasn’t working, but actually I know it was because I reported a minor graphics bug and got an email acknowledgement.

He also predicts that it’ll be a few weeks before any capital cities get attacked. It’s a good interview, go follow the link.

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Keep yourself busy

EA tests new marketing by offering £20k of free petrol at a petrol station in North London to celebrate the launch of Mercenaries 2. Chaos ensues at the petrol station involved – locals whine. Gets reported in The Telegraph’s motoring section. It got a lot of news space, the game was mentioned in each. Free petrol was limited to £40 per car (the game costs £27-£40 depending on platform).  Gets called a smart campaign. We agree – but have spent many happy minutes contemplating a similar-style campaign for WAR where Marble Arch is turned into the Gates of Ekrund and tourists fight Londoners!

Hurrah, Spore finally got released. Cue more Spore articles! While we’re waiting for the sporn to take over the universe and me to figure out the tribal phase, here’s an interview with Will Wright about the launch. And here’s a cute article about the world’s tiniest billboard – advertising Spore, of course.

How to break into the Industry! Any Industry!

US Politics has been in the news a lot over here this week.  Seems there’s some election going on in the US. Not sure who to vote for? Luckily, the Edge has examined the candidates’ gaming credentials. Meanwhile, Daniel O’Brien at cracked.com cuts to the chase because there’s only one issue he thinks Sarah Palin must address.

Tobold is one of our favourite bloggers, and he notes for the record that Mythic (US) have given him a free WAR account. Yay for freebies, and congrats Tobold! I find this amusing because like us, he’s planning to play in the EU anyway because of timezone issues. Naturally, other bloggers have reacted in a variety of ways. Wall of Text wants to know how he can get freebies, and Syp ponders the ethics of freebies/pay for bloggers.

Thanks to PixiePalace for finding this picture of a badass female warrior in fantasy-style heavy armour. She’s right in that it’s quite difficult to find images like that which aren’t showing a lot of skin.

Would friendly fire work in an MMO? I know the people I play with, so am glad there is no friendly fire!

Killed in a Smiling Accident mourns the loss of some secret classes, last seen in the super secret alpha stage of the game; the Scion of Slaanesh, the Dwarf Beer Master, the Orc Negotiator, the High Elf Conscientious Objector, the Dark Elf Emolator, and the Human Bloggerer (thankfully not quite extinct yet.) Kept us smiling, for sure.

Keen and Syp weigh in with thoughts about the chicken mechanic staying on the open-RvR servers. It’s an interesting debate, and apparently Mythic are now surveying feelings on it, via the preview weekend+ players.

Links-a-matosis

Want to start writing about Warhammer? If so, Regis from Wizards and Wenches is running a blog competition you should check out.

Hammer of WAR is a new community site, set up by husband and wife team and looking to establish itself through some interesting columns and a set of forums. JoBildo has said he’s going to be a columnist so it’s definitely worth watching.

Also new to the community is Forums of WAR, a dedicated series of server forums. Obviously it’s a bit quiet so far!

And check out WAAAGH! Hammer also, a very professional looking blog.

Stuck for a name? Here’s a pretty cool resource for Warhammer Fantasy RP names.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun return to their series of conversations with Paul Barnett. This time it covers his top 5 MMOs – which aren’t  MMOs and they discuss more than 5 games, but he likes Elite so it’s cool with us.  (Spinks: Did I ever mention that I got to Elite on the Atari ST version?) Also at the same site, you can watch 3 trailers for Deathspank. Go – watch them.

Scientific American discusses why people like stories in The Secrets of Storytelling. It’s not something you necessarily expect a scientific magazine to come out with, but it’s fascinating stuff.

The latest guild highlight looks at the taverns provided and includes lots of useful info I never tried to explore in the beta – such as where you can fly to from the tavern and what you can buy at reduced price. The EU guild in the spotlight this time is Unleashed. The US featured guild is even more hardcore.

Over at The Consumerist, there’s a cautionary tale about trying to change your postal address on a Collector’s Edition pre-order. Apparently EA do not make this simple, or even possible. NB: this is a US story.

Obviously, there’s been a lot about PAX in the interwebs this past week, but the panel I enjoyed reading about most was How to get your Girlfriend into Gaming. Maybe you could do like Bernie Ping and hack her favourite game so it proposes to her (arbitrary: seriously, I love Bejeweled so I’m impressed!)

On Warhammer-related PAX news, stop by Jeff’s Ten Ton Hammer blog and read all the Q&As cos they’re really informative and definitely added to the whole thing.

Waaagh: the Podcast has a home over at GAX and is available on iTunes. Episode 2 includes a long chat with Brent from Virgin Worlds about his recent Warhammer Online comments. Really enjoyed it. And talking of podcasts No Prisoners, No Mercy has a special Warhammer Online broadcast out and Shut Up, We’re Talking does a pretty nice overview of the game also.

In other news, if you’ve been wondering where all the local cats and mice have been recently, it’s probably because they’ve also been gearing up for the relase of Warhammer Online, with some pretty tasty epics…

GOA confirm open beta will be available with EA Store/D2D preorders

From Freddyshouse, IainC writes:

I just wanted to clear up a few points of confusion about the open beta program in Europe. When the US pre-order program was announced, it was mentioned that the EU program would not include Open Beta access. At that point we hadn’t officially unveiled our program, but as we were getting a lot of enquiries about this, we confirmed that this was the case. Since then, some of you have seen the EA Store in Europe and Direct2Drive advertising the pre-order with Open Beta access.

It’s important to note that our official announcement regarding the Standard Edition pre-order is coming on Thursday 28th which is when the program launches. At that time we will provide you with all the details of the pre-order package as well as a list of partners. Some of our partners have preempted that announcement which has led to a bit of confusion.

The situation then is basically as follows:
Pre-ordering a standard edition from most of our partners will not automatically give you Open Beta access as we have said previously. We will however be announcing a list of ‘preferred partners’ who will be selling the pre-order with Open Beta access. A full list of these partners will be included with the main announcement this week, I can confirm that both the EA Store and D2D are preferred partners and so those of you who have already placed an order need not worry that you won’t get what you were offered.

Hopefully this will put some minds at rest and, as I have said, all the remaining details will be unveiled this Thursday.

Now, the EA Store and D2D (see how nice I am, finding the links 😛 ) are both charging £10 more for their warhammer online standard editions than places like play.com or amazon. So I’d suggest waiting until Thursday for the official announcement and list of preferred partners to see if you can get an open beta spot more cheaply with your standard edition pre-order.

I’m not sure how I feel about paying for beta access. We’ll have to wait to see which other partners are in the list before we know if EA et al want to stiff the high street retailers (and all that nice free high street advertising) in favour of pocketing the change from getting the direct download bucks.

September 23rd?

So by now you’ll all probably have read the heavy speculation about September 23rd being the release date. It’s been reported all over the place, mainly because the EA site in Singapore gave that date. We’re bound to find out for sure whether this is the plan or not, it’s plausible but there’s still the guild beta and open beta to get through first.. and some time needed for early access (unless Sept 23rd is that date).

I have no amazing insight into whether this will happen or not. I did glance at my work schedule and figure out it’s not the greatest date for me, nor is it the worst. Except it means we need those big announcements of date and subscription cost quite soon.

Which reminds me, just saw this over at Videogamer and thought you all might be interested in GOA’s comment on the release date:

When contacted for comment this morning GOA refused to confirm or deny the release date, but did provide a statement: “Yes we will be announcing a release date extremely soon.”

Anyway, in the meantime, I thought I’d check out what else happened in history on September 23rd!

  • First commercial production of chewing gum
  • Billy the Kid arrested for the first time
  • Nintendo Koppai (later Nintendo) founded in 1889, made a card game
  • Norway and Sweden sign the Karlsbad treary
  • Euripides, Kubla Khan and Augustus Ceasar born
  • Sigmund Freud, Pablo Neruda and Bob Fosse died

Not a bad little list, eh?

…on the links

The Warhammer Herald reports that Warhammer Online won best of E3:PC at G4TV (ie. G4TV liked it better than Spore and Left 4 Dead!) and also highlights an interview with Josh there.

Carrie Gouskos mentions her interview on ChaosCast no.4 and the sudden realisation that Warhammer Online is no ‘little thing’.

Times they are a-changin’ at Warhammer Alliance, and Garthilk posts about the state of WHA and plans for the future. Plans involving a reorganisation, a database and of course … a wiki!

Vale writes a new Warrior Priest blog, huzzah!

John Darwin is on trial at the moment for faking his death in a canoeing accident while his wife cashed in on the life insurance. It’s a bizarre case. Anyway, in her defense case earlier this week, she mentioned MMOs (saying her husband had met someone he’d gone on to have an affair with over one).

Relmstein classifies the different types of villains we meet in MMORPGs.

Keen posts his first article on E3 and Warhammer Online over at the Vault. His second piece is also up over there, or you can read it on his own blog.

mmorpg.com sent a journalist to check out WAR at E3 and she gives her reactions here. Will have to remember to go thank her if our dwarf girls get cool jewelry.

As I often see during demos, the guys showed me the various male characters. I wanted to see the females. So when I got the chance for hands-on, I scrolled through the various races and careers and decided to customize a Dwarven female. Sorry, no beards for female Dwarves. Okay… I could live with that but where was MY jewelry? Wait just one doggone minute. How come the male Dwarves got jewelry and the females didn’t?

“We can look at that!” was the chorus of replies.

Bruce Everiss writes about virtual worlds, including MMORPGs and investment into these worlds. Not sure what his point is, except that they cost a lot and the earning potential is huge, but they often fail. I could have said that and I’m no ‘veteran games industry marketer’.

For those who wanted, there’s another white lion vid here, it includes some footage of a fully grown white lion. Oh, you wanted more info about White Lions in the game? Check out this brief preview at gamespot.

Games Workshop have posted a preview to Games Day UK 2008 on their site.

Random things you should watch this week: Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the Watchmen trailer.

Love RPGs and hate saving money – this could be the product for you!! Of course, it’s only available in Japan, but we hereby launch the quest to get it released over in the UK and US.