Welcome to the WAAAAGH!

As of 8am this morning, ladies and gentlemen, we are at WAR.

A war where we don’t break for tea (sorry Hawley) and where blood and guts are a Good Thing ™. Where racial pairings battle it out for supremacy and to settle a few old scores and grudges. Where ‘bugger’ is as common a battle-cry as ‘waaagh’. Welcome to the Age of Reckoning, and welcome to Warhammer Online.

It’s been a long time coming, there’s been some ups and downs. But here we are. Servers up and open for the masses to join. We look forward to greeting you in game with a mug of ale or a sharp prod.

Enjoy it, it’s been created to be fun. And it is.

Useful Links for Launch Day

How do I enter my EU codes? First create an account if you haven’t registered on the EU warhammer site before. You’ll get a confirmation email. After that, use the CODE tab on the left hand margin to enter your validation code. You don’t need to enter subscription details today.

MagnusK is keeping the EU community informed today via threads on community bboards. So keep checking that for the latest news from GOA. (NB. I linked to the FH Boards because it’s less likely to be overloaded today.)

How do I get to the other zones to meet my friends? Find your way to the warcamp in the zone where you started, there will be a Flight Master there and you can use that to travel between racial areas.

To help with finding warcamps, Massively have some maps showing the routes. Click on your starting zone in this list for the map.  Order: Nordland (Empire), Blighted Isle (High Elf), Ekrund (Dwarf). Destruction: Norsca (Chaos), Mount Bloodhorn (Greenskin), Blighted Isle (Dark Elf).

For all other map related needs, we really like the Atlas at the Tower of Dreams.

How do I set my bind point? Talk to a Rally Master in a local town. It will be the same NPC who gives out influence rewards.

How do I train a craft skill? You will find craft skill trainers in the second (or third) town you encounter in your starting zone. You can’t train crafts before you get there.

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.

Launch time!

GOA just updated their site. The game launches at 8AM CET (7am for us).

Also, there’s still work to do on Account pages, but they’ve brought them up today for people to change passwords, addresses and secret question. If you need to do any of these things, do it today, as it won’t be accessible tomorrow. And pass the message on!

Massively interview with Mark Jacobs

Not to be out-done, Massively also have an interview posted today. This one is with Mark Jacobs (Mythic VP and Lead Designer of WAR), and he talks about launch, his hopes for WAR, how DaoC influenced the RvR design in the new game, and his blog.

European server list announced!

English servers listed in full:

Core

Axe Bite Pass
Karag Dron
Karag Orrud
Karak Eight Peaks
Karak Ungor
Karak-Azgal
Karak-Hirn
Karak-Izor
Karak-Norn
Karak-Vlag
Karaz-a-Karak

Open RvR

Dragonback Mountains
Eltharion
Finuval Plain
Mount Silverspear
Sea of Dreams
Shifting Isles
Tiranoc

Role-Play

Burlok
Makaisson

Open RvR Role Play

Alarielle
Ellyrion

The full list of European servers can be found listed here, including all the foreign-language servers.

And a bit of further explanation from Magnus, which made me laugh…

So the German servers are based upon the Empire, the Italian based upon Tilea, the French based upon Bretonnia, the Spanish based upon Estalia. We were considering basing the English servers on Albion, but we soon realised that having dozens of servers which in one way or another relate to fog and rain would be quite depressing, so we went with Dwarf and Elf names instead.

Personally, I like the notion of being able to see which language community a server belong to just by its name. Regarding the many Karak- based names, I think we will soon grow to learn these names by heart, and I further doubt that the first half of the name will be mentioned in every-day conversations. Gamers are renown for their ability to abbreviate pretty much anything.

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!

Morning updates (well, middle of the night!)

Well, GOA made some updates to their site at 2am (CET) and 3am (CET). First an explanation:

We have encountered serious problems with the authentication system since this morning, while the stability of the game servers, the speed of the patcher and the performance of the downloader have all been satisfactory. This issue, combined with an exceptional amount of traffic and a fault which was not identified during the extensive tests we ran on our platform has unfortunately limited the access to our servers to only a few of you along with our closed beta testers who had already been a part of the closed beta.

During the day, we have reconfigured authentication and database servers several times, both of which suffered under the huge number of simultaneous connections. The investigations and corrections we have done so far were essentially targeting the parts of the system which didn’t require a complete stop of the writing process in the database. This means we preferred to keep the database turned on during the day to let it work on the huge number of accounts that were in the process of being handled. This operation will continue through the night and when complete, we will shut down the database and reconfigure it.

If the operation works as anticipated, we can once again give you access to the account page and let you register your code for the open beta. We expect the whole maintenance to be finished late Monday morning.

And then a 3am letter from the CEO,

I rarely address players directly, but I wanted to write you as too few of you have been able to access the open beta today.

As my team explained in the previous post, although we have opened the servers and corrected numerous issues during the last 24 hours but we have not yet solved the issue of saturated Open Beta key activations that we’re currently experiencing. I am sincerely sorry for this, and I understand all the frustration the situation has spawned.

Today was a dark day. We expected a massive influx of players, but reality was even harsher.
I personally commit that we will communicate to you as clearly as possible on the resolution of these current issues. My goal is to give Warhammer Online the success it deserves. Be ensured that all GOA teams, with Mythic’s support, are working hard to bring you the best possible game experience.

There’s a general overview of how the first day of open beta went over at the Vault. Mark Jacobs acknowledges the European situation, but also tells us the state of various glitches and fixes and carries on commenting for a while.

Updates from GOA

I’m not going to hide how disappointed I am that we had to wait until this evening for a proper update from GOA on the situation. But you can follow the status of servers here and here. It tells you whether beta and authentication servers are up. It also tells you population caps as they increase them and what to do about certain specific issues/problems.

We shouldn’t have had to wait all day for an official update. People have been excited about this for months, they have bought from specific vendors purely for the open beta access, and it’s also encouraged others to buy the Collector’s Edition of the game. And those people have already had to wait till afternoon on a sunday because of the ‘simultaneous’ opening of servers worldwide. When they have work on monday morning – and when wasting a day off sitting in front of a computer looking desperately for information that should be available is pretty depressing.

Yes, we all expected the website and servers to get a thorough hammering. Who didn’t? Yes, some of that needs to be tested as part of the open beta. But seriously, to open the registration on the same day as the servers were supposed to go live was a very risky strategy, but GOA were pretty adamant it would all be smooth sailing.

I’m not angry or frustrated. I can play since I was in the closed beta. But I am really really disappointed.

Edit: I still live in hope that everything will be fine soon, however, but I wouldn’t sit around and wait for it.

More from the European community team

Magnus tells us on Freddyshouse that the website is going down for maintenance tomorrow, but should be back on wednesday.

Iain, on the same forums, stops by to clarify his comments from earlier. They’re not sitting around waiting for new hardware to arrive (as some have worried about),  the datacentre is currently being set up and they are working to have a simultaneous open beta and launch with the North Americans.

He’s also been back to Warhammer Alliance forums and taken his comments from earlier, and those from Freddyshouse and put them in one convenient thread. And he’s given some information that when you install the European client you get to pick your language, and that you can change your choice fairly easily too.

moar links!!!111!!!!

The Brainy Gamer wonders why industry keeps making so many shoot-em-up games.

Mark Jacobs comments on current plans for server types. Open RvR servers will be present as well as Core.

Classy Gamer explores the decision to remove some of the tanking classes from the game and pleas for their return.

Ten Ton Hammer talks to Erik Mogensen, Licensing and Acquisitions Manager for Games Workshop about the future of tabletop gaming in an MMO world, and Warhammer in particular.

Iain C, Community Manager for WAR in Europe ponders whether MMOs are more like massively single player games these days and looks at the importance of soloing as well as group play.

Keen’s interview with Mark Jacobs can be read in full over at the Vault.

So the Mythos Beta has been shut down. Not really a surprise, but it was a fun little game and we hope it returns someday.

At The Vault, RagingMarauder has a thread for people to make their predictions for launch. I see lots of predictions of people taking a day off sick! And Linuxx has some good advice on that:

never waste a sick day on a launch..it never is worth it…maybe in a day or so after launch then get sick.

Coffee-lovers check out Oliver Shwaner-Albrights New York Times coffee blog. In an interview on the Mr and Mrs Smith blog, he discusses where to get the best coffee in London.

Massively’s latest articles on Warhammer Online are all grouped together here. They include articles about UI customisation, open groupings and RvR.

Josh Drescher mentions the upcoming appearance at Comic-con, while Paul Barnett goes a step further and lists a few events he has on his schedule, including Comic-con, Develop Brighton and PAX. We’re, meanwhile, still preparing for our trip to Games Day UK!

At Warhammer Conflict, they have a Focus Discussion: Solution to Gold Farmers

Another week, another set of guild highlights on both official pages, and features profiled guilds and some info about guild advancement. Here’s a link to the EU one.