WAR’s Groaning

Enough niceness, eh?  Bloggers, and in can be assumed others in the community, are testing out other games until WAR gets fixed or until the Land of the Dead brings people back to the game.  Hell, it’s what I’m doing. I’m even sometimes choosing grinding in LotRO over what it plainly fun about WAR – Tier 1 and an alt on many nights. People are doubting their subscriptions.

And Mythic? Mythic are tied to their desks trying to fix stuff and bring in new stuff that will need fixing with their lesser numbers in QA and elsewhere. The game needs these fixes and changes, and they’ve been promised to us. A number of people I know are pretty excited about Land of the Dead but not really bothered about much before, so this ‘live expansion’ is very important to Mythic, don’t mistake that. If it all goes wrong, it might be the end of a number of subs on both sides of the pond. The community is flagging a little and could do with pepping up.

Not heard of Paul visiting many blogs recently, or even updating his own. And that’s the problem with community involvement, once you start it, people expect it to continue. I expect these luminaries of Mythic to be doing all they used to do, marketing-wise, even when it’s unfeasible from a grander scale. But I’m sure there will be a ramp-up in community chatter and involvement with the Land of the Dead, there needs to be!

I’m finding WAR quite suitable for a casual game, but that also means if something more interesting comes up, WAR gets dropped for the night. I still enjoy the game when I play it, but even that’s somewhat because I’ve disengaged myself from the endgame, I’ve heard too much about it being unsatisfying, and I know I enjoy sleeping, so I don’t go to city sieges or defences, preferring to try new characters and play them through Tiers 1 and 2, safe in the knowledge I have my preferred char at rank 40 just in case I need a top level character.

WAR needs enthusiasm. It needs to be fun. If you’re not enjoying it, try alting, or play another game and keep your eye on info about the ‘expansion’.

And come talk to us all about it on May 9th at the Cittie of York pub in Holborn, London (while arranging to meet the rest of your guild there, of course). Seriously, I think we need more people for this or we’ll get moved out of our booked room… so ask around and drum up some interest, please!

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Eurogamer Interview: Paul’s thoughts on everything

Eurogamer.net have posted up an awesome interview with Paul Barnett (Creative Director at Mythic) that they did at Games Day. (We were outside the room taking pictures of Ardua caressing a plastic Chosen.)

On how many players he (personally) predicts:

I don’t know what the business people have – they have all sorts of crazy numbers, and things to do with shareholders, and things that would probably get me fired. But we’re having a staff pool. I put down my bet: a million within the year, and then three million.

On expansions and updates:

GOA and Mythic have got a great track record of doing loads of content for free throughout the life of the product, followed by expansions every year or year and a half. WAR definitely is going to follow the same route. We already have a live team, a core team and an expansion team in the studio right now who’ve been working on all the different elements.

On Public Quests:

They pass my genius test. If you see something, and the first time you see it you end up slapping your forehead and going yeah of course, it’s obvious, whatever it was is probably genius.

On GOA:

GOA did it with Dark Age of Camelot and they’ve done it really well. They’ve done it in a very European way, but they’ve done it very well, and it’s more of the same.

On EA in Europe:

They know nothing about launching MMOs in Europe, unless it’s spending lots of money closing them down I suppose.

On why to play WAR instead of WoW:

It’s funnier than WOW. It’s easier to play, but all the dragons are still left to slay: in WOW, there really isn’t that much to do, not any more. You can wait for two years and get another ten levels, but you’ve probably seen it and done it.

Why not to play WAR:

If you really, really don’t like MMOs, you don’t like the subscription model, then I’d say stay away, mate. Don’t be a hater.

See, this is why they are professional journalists and I’m not. I just asked about the trousers 🙂

Meeting Paul

Paul was extremely gracious and charming when we met him at Games Day. He was sitting at a little podium in front of the spooling Warhammer Online trailer that people were staring at, ignoring most of what was going on nearby.

A little later, we got the chance to go stand with Paul in the GOA area and chat to him. First of all, we asked him what it was like to be at Games Day where he didn’t need to whip the crowds into a frenzy. He said it was quite relaxing to be a small fish in a big pond for once, and that of course he was used to Games Days since he’d been at Games Workshop for 12 years and attended 8 Games Days. He mentioned how it was interesting to see the game demoed for people who knew the lore extremely well and judged it against that, and how he didn’t need to explain what an Orc was to them at least. And then we chatted a bit about some of our favourite quests in the game and the things we thought people were being impressed by.

In an I-Spy point-scoring moment he likened it to trying to show people around your Church while the Pope was visiting the town. A fair estimation of the levels of interest in all things Warhammer vs all things computer game at Games Day.

About this time Paul dashed off to teach someone playing a Dwarf how to fire a cannon and we commented that the person probably had no idea who was standing there teaching him! Can you imagine?

We got back onto the subject of the quests we enjoyed and the humour in the game. Paul agreed that it had a certain humour element all the way through it, but one which veered very deliberately away from pop culture references, as opposed to World of Warcraft’s way of humourous quests, NPCs and rewards.

And we talked also about who the game was aimed at, the fact it was aiming more at the adult audience not because it was an adult game per se, but because 12-year-olds wanted to be treated like adults. Another design choice we think is really appreciated.

At this point we were joined by others and the chat just grew more, we did some introductions all round and Paul was very open to chatting to everyone that came over, and signed plenty of stuff.

He did keep getting whisked away to speak to people, but each time he’d come back and touch base. Spinks asked about his trousers and he gave us a guided tour of the various patches, some of which he’d done himself, some others had.

There was very little jumping about, only a couple of ‘waaagh’s and just a pleasant chat with someone obviously committed and in love with the game we’ve all grown to love.

What we did at Games Day

First of all, let me say I haven’t counted up our I-Spy totals yet, though I plan on doing that tonight, so feel free to add your scores here. Who knows, there may be a prize involved (unless we win!). And you can read Games Day as it happened on the bookofgrudges twitter.  If you read the Games Day entries, you’ll get a feel for our coach journeys etc, ie. the boring stuff!

So once we got to Games Day we met up with Ardua from Echoes of Nonsense. He was easy to spot, luckily and he was already chatting to Paul. We exchanged Cherry Coke for chocolate (the blogger’s contract), and I said hi to Paul too just briefly while he was sitting at a little desk in front of a monitor continuously playing the trailer. He had to go to an interview with Eurogamer, and we wanted to check out some of the Warhammer stuff, so we went for coffee in the main room of the event. (Spinks: I demanded coffee at this point because I was a wreck from the early morning and coach. They propped me up in front of the Rhino noted below for pictures and then … coffee!!)

After coffee we had a look at some of the tables in Hall One, where the Black Library, Forgeworld and Author signings were. Ardua wanted to get some books signed, and I wanted to go look at the new books, so we parted briefly for that. They didn’t have enough cool Games Workshop related T-shirts or jewellery and I realised I’ve ordered them for my work library, so we didn’t buy anything. Then we went to check out the sale area (mostly sold out by the time we got there) and then Spinks checked Forgeworld. We decided to head back to GOA quickly.

GOA and THQ were situated in what we referred to as ‘a corridor’, because it was a corridor. The promised Rhino tank was next to the Dawn of War II stand and their trailer was getting a lot of attention. Because GOA had 24 PCs set up where everyone could see them and an orderly queue, it looked like a few less people – but I’d hazard a guess they had just as many if not more. Me and Spinks joined the queue and watched some of the gameplay. The game looked fantastic on the computers and monitors they brought with them.  We quickly worked out which computers were linked to the two bigger screens that the queuing people were watching and I nabbed one. Ardua caught with us when we got to play and I made a Squig Herder and did the initial Greenskin quests until the flying bit. I wanted people to see how much fun it was, and a lot of people just picked up whatever char the previous person left.

We took a moment to go look at the Games Workshop stands, check out the art competition and also look at the Golden Demon entries. Our favourite was in the diorama category and included some colourful multi-coloured squigs with spots on. (Spinks: I liked the purple one with yellow spots. And the one jumping out of a bush to bite a slayer on the bum. It wasn’t a prize winning entry but it made us laugh. We think they should have a section for comedy dioramas.) But seriously, there are some scarily talented people out there and it was great to see their work. We also went to the Arena and checked out the gaming tables and some of the amazing models and landscapes that were on show.

As we returned to GOA, Paul returned and asked if we were ready for an ‘interview’.  Ardua, realising we’re complete wimps, had organised this for us! And we went through to the GOA area and stood chatting with Paul in-between him having to dash off and talk to other people. More on what we talked about in a separate post. But he was charming, polite and adorable with his daughter. He also rushed off to help someone in the dwarf starting area who ‘wanted to fire that cannon’ (Paul’s words, but the guy was trying to work out what to do).

In one of the in-between times a couple of the people we know from Freddyshouse spotted us and asked the GOA staff if it was us! Incredible! So they came through to stand and chat with us and we got to meet Dervish from Covenant of Zak and Flimgoblin from Humberton Blackguard. Paul came back and there was another round of chat, videoing (if my vidskills are weak, the guys got much better footage I think), signings and hilarity.

The GOA staff told us we’d been spotted by a couple more people so we all moved over to chat to them and they were really nice too. Gave them guild details and had a bit of a warm-glow moment in the realisation that real people read the blog. So thanks to everyone who waved or spoke to us, seriously, it was humbling and awesome and you were all so nice!

Paul was nabbed for more interviews at some point and we were getting knackered so we went to the Arena to go watch the Golden Demon awards and then find our coach home.

Took quite a few photos and I’ll set up a Games Day flickr and just add them all to it, with little editing! Also, my brother-in-law is going to attempt to help me with the video footage I took yesterday and see if he can get it off the camera and show me how to edit it into clips. When that’s done, I’ll put it in our Youtube account. Yes, we have one, but we’ve never had any clips to show until now. I won’t tell you what kinds of things I videoed in case it all went horribly wrong – except to say that there’s some fun stuff in there!

No skaven skin cloaks, no T-shirts – but you know what? The GOA staff were incredible, and helpful and friendly and a little nervous about wearing big shirts with GOA on their backs. But I think we all managed to express our thanks for the game and that we really really want the European community to be as good as it can be. The guys manning the stall were actual GMs, and I think I prefer that to booth babes.  Oh, and we all got texts to say the headstart servers were delayed a little and then up and running just fine – so well done on a pretty damn smooth start to everyone! Especially GOA and Mythic, of course. (Spinks: The GOA guys were also cute and Irish, just saying … My husband texted to say ‘servers fine. am almost RR3 already!’ so we passed that on.)

Back from Games Day

Just a quick thank you to everyone we met at Games Day, it was really fun to meet you all and we had a great time. Special thanks to Ardua from Echoes of Nonsense who drummed up our bravery which allowed us to have a great chat with Paul Barnett.

And the GOA team – they were awesome, sweet and very helpful. And will be glad to have them as our GMs in-game.

ps. for Games Day

Have decided to twitter our trip to Games Day and have just set it all up to take twitters from my mobile, so hopefully there will be good reception there! Not sure what kind of stuff I’ll have to say except ‘whee, big tank battle’, but if you want to follow it, the twitter is bookofgrudges. Who knows, we might be able to persuade random people there to steal my phone and send messages! (seriously, do not steal my phone!)

If there are no updates after 10am UK time, you know the NEC is somehow getting in the way of my mobile phone. We might pay for some wifi access – but since it’s something like £5/hr we’re more likely to make you wait till we’re home that evening (I’m staying with Spinks for the Games Day experience!).

Don’t forget to bring your Games Day I-Spy along, I’ll be bringing a copy amended for me & Spinks (we get quarter points if we meet someone who’s read the blog!). It’s had some tweaks since I originally made it up, mostly to reflect the fact we know Paul Barnett will be there, but probably not any other Mythic types.. and Iain C and Magnus are unable to attend due to the headstart launch, so have changed it to generic-GOA staff. Also a generic 20 points for grumbling you’re missing the headstart launch!

  • Will we get skaven skin cloak codes like the US Games Days? Hope so!
  • Will we go gawk at the huge tank? Definitely!
  • Will we be happy to chat to anyone despite our nerves? Yes, though forgive us if we seem a little nervous, we’re used to this cloak of anonymity we won.

I’d suggest a big meet-up sometime, but honestly – we’ll be at the GOA booth, am sure you all will be too!

And, here’s the GOA press release about the Games Day presence as an added bonus:

GOA today announced that they will be bringing the highly anticipated MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), to Games Workshop’s annual Games Day on September 14th, 10am-4pm at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.

GOA will present Warhammer Online on 24 PC’s, guaranteeing hours of non-stop Realm vs. Realm action for legions of attending Games Workshop enthusiasts.

WAR’s Creative Director, Paul Barnett, will also be on hand to meet fans and speak with press as GOA publicly presents the game one final time before its global launch on the Day of Reckoning – 18th September.

Good news x 2

[please excuse lack of links, am at work and hurrying to get to my ‘desk’ by 2pm]

From Paul’s blog:

I am off to Europe, to games day on Sunday the 14th of September in Birmingham. I will be there all day to wave and say hello.

Also in Paris around the 26th of September for the Paris computer show.

Also in Birmingham the evening of the 27th for PC Gamers LAN show.

From GOA site:

…those of you who have entered an open beta code need not wait any longer. All valid codes entered will be able to log in and play within a few minutes of successfully submitting your details. All players who have already entered a code should be able to log in immediately. There is no need to wait for the confirmation email