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News & Features Discussion  » Warhammer Online : Age of Reckoning: More Layoffs, Response and Analysis

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122 posts found
  User Deleted
2/05/09 7:57:32 AM#21

During development, Warhammer Online was eventually operating with a 400 strong work force. That 400 strong workforce represents the largest MMO development team that I am aware of. If I am perfectly honest, it was an overinflated number right from the start that always suggests Mythic would be hit by noticeable redundancies at some point in the future. Even if the game had performed exceptionally well, that 400 strong team would have been cut down to a post-launch size. The only difference is, in that situation the community wouldn’t have jumped all over it as if it spelled doom for Mythic and Warhammer Online.


Mythic escaped an initial round of redundancies so that the development process of WAR was not hindered by staff changes. It was logical to assume that they would make up for this later on once WAR had launched. Eventually they did, with two rounds of redundancies taking out around 150 staff members. The thing to remember though is that it was always expected. The size of the development team was always questioned and – as I have said – many believed it would be downsized regardless of the success of WAR.


This preposterous talk about how Mythic and Warhammer Online is going to close soon because 150 redundancies and 300,000+ players is infinitely bad needs to stop. It just perpetuates my belief that game communities should be treated like a collection of mindless sheep rather than a collection of intelligent people. Screaming blue murder only emphasises your ability to take all of this out of proportion and blow it up to outrageous levels. Warhammer Online is not likely to close in the next 12 months and I’m more realistically hedging that we’ll see subscriber numbers increase - possibly past the 500,000 mark - by Christmas 2009. There are many reasons for this, not least the fact that over the last 3 weeks, I’ve seen more people returning to WAR than leaving.


300,000+ subs is still returning enough money to keep the studio going and make money whilst they are at it. Why would you close a studio that is in that position? Yes, Mythic failed to meet the hype but then every MMO that has release in the last 4 years has failed to meet the hype. Standard sub numbers for western P2P MMOs rest between 200,000 and 500,000 subs. The only MMO to defy this convention is World of Warcraft.
 

  Alandora

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 356

2/05/09 8:04:14 AM#22

Article writer completely misses the point of the 300,000 announcement.

The problem isn't the 300,000 they have left, it is how quickly they lost 450,000 players.  Do even a simple graph and put 750,000 at september, and then 300,000 on December 31st.   That is just a huge downward slope and there is no reason to expect the slope has changed.  It's also very very unlikely that they have 300,00 subscribers as of February 1st (again, taking in the retention rate from the graph).  

Also, talking about the layoffs.    You really are confusing two different things in the article.  A lot of what is happening has more to do with the natural progression of any MMORPG... the shift from pre to post launch staff.  The article was muddled down in it's numbers because you talked too much about 'layoffs' that were planned last year at this time that had nothing to do with the troubles of EA or Warhammer.  There were probably dozens of people at Blizzard that 'lost their jobs' once Wrath launched which indicates nothing except a game has gone live.  If you are going to talk about the effects of the health of EA on Warhammer, then don't muddle your argument by including numbers that are irrelevant to that argument.

  Ravenmane

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/07/07
Posts: 244

I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way.

2/05/09 8:11:00 AM#23

Ok, for starters I think a lot of the nay-sayers here just hate WAR and are WoW purists but that's just me.  I'm not here to flame them, however.  I would like to point some things out.  WAR is actually one of the best ones out there right now whether you choose to believe it or not, the ratings speak for themselves as well as the fanbase.

You can't blame the game or Mythic.  Who here has played Dark Age of Camelot? /Raises Hand.  DAoC was a great game and you could tell the developers really enjoyed what they do.  And there's a saying in the gaming industry that happy developers make great games.  No, no, it's not Mythics fault.  I blame EA.

EA used to make good games, back in the days of the first Medal of Honor and the early Madden games.  But they got too greedy.  I kinda look at it like when Hasbro bought out Wizards of the Coast.  A bigger company sees a smaller company whose doing really well and makes a great product.  The bigger company turns around and buys the smaller company so they can make games for them to increase their profits. 

Then here's where corporate greed rears its ugly head.  The larger company is losing money because of other ventures not doing what they wanted *cough*EA's Flagship Studio*cough*.  This in turn cause them to lay off people in the companies they control so they don't have to worry about paying them so they can keep their pockets fat. 

EA also has the tendencey to rush a game into stores.  It's not the developers fault if it gets released early.  I'm pretty sure they would have pushed it back more but EA said no because of the declining economy and just told them to release it, hence they took out 4 classes and 4 cities to keep the "you promised us" flame to a minimum.  Also WAR is still new and I always expect the first 4-6 months of a game to be buggy and such.  The consumer doesn't help the situation when Americans as a scoiety has gotten impatient.  We are in a "give it all to me now" age.  WoW wasn't perfect when it launched either and if you compare the early days of WoW to the way it is now then you wouldn't even look at it.  It has a few years on WAR (which is only 4 1/2 months old).  MMO's take time, to perfect even out of the box.  A game only has to sell 150,000 units for the company to come out even.  300,000 says they're doing fine.

All in all if you must flame and blame somebody; flame EA...they have killed hundreds of good games and ruined good careers because of their greed.  I was a Beta tester for Mythos and when they closed Flagship studios I was very sad to see that one go because that was a great MMO in the making.

 

"If at first you don't succeed, excessive force is probably the answer."

  User Deleted
2/05/09 8:14:38 AM#24
Originally posted by maxnrosy

yet wow increases its subscriber numbers and so does eve.

To state that Eve Online and World of Warcraft increase their subscriber numbers in such a way as to suggest Warhammer Online does the opposite is ironic considering that selling more boxed copies than having subscriber accounts in the first 6 months is a phenomenon that occured with World of Warcraft as well...

mythic and its precious mark Jacobs Lied about their product. They refused to make official forums (til now well not yet)because they knew their product was flawed and NOT ready . They hide their problems with future promises and lies. They depended on Fansites to be baised to their favor. They didnt want potential buyers to be turned off if they had official fourms swamped with unhappy players speaking bad about all the problem the game currently has.

Where did they lie about their product? I've never seen them tell an outright lie about Warhammer Online. In fact, I'd say that both Blizzard and CCP - who are notorious for having employees exploitng in game for personal gain - are far more guilty of lying than Mythic are at this point. Their reliance on fansites was obviously a mistake and one that they have decided to rectify by opening up official forums.

yet still they hpyed alot of people due to ip involved wich is the warhammer ip. they had  a huge amount of players at the start and now they lost about 60% in a few months, infact more because that was the last quater of last year its not including jan and feb of this year. the truth is their numbers will continue to decline.

And you can say this based on what informed position? If you go and take a look at things like Xfire and take into account the money going back in to Mythic for things like official forums, continued development, marketting etc you should realise that the implication is that numbers are growing, not declining. Stating that they are declining based on no evidence what so ever is ridiculous and you shoud be quiet. It isn't an opinion either as you asserted it as fact, before you pull that card.

not mythic. they have been ignoring many issues. They have not made anything to retain the lvl cap players. or atleast fix many issues of the little end game they have. They just expected everyone to fill up their tome of whatever thinking it will cover up till they can add more stuff.

yep 2 new classes are comming, which have been tested in beta, then removed and now are finally being implamented. Thye mention somthing that wont be out till summer which is their new area.  as the game is. till summer is to damn long for the new part.Mythic is hypeing an event in hopes to retain and swell their numbers.

Erm... Have you even looked at the content schedule for the next 6 months? There's more end game content and fixes than their is anything else... So your point is obviously based on a fundamentla lack of understanding, rather than actual knowledge.
 

 

 

  RedwoodSap

Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/07
Posts: 1249

Not a retired MMORPG.com mod

2/05/09 8:21:18 AM#25

I'm glad. I hate theme park games and how they have dummied down the MMOG genre.

  Warcriminal

Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/03
Posts: 244

played:AO EVE COH SWG SoR EQII
Tested:LII WOW COH RF AA CoSB tabula Rasa
Currently: WARHAMMER

2/05/09 8:48:48 AM#26

yes -a lot of people left after det initial rush and now we are left with the people who really love the game and RVR-mechanics

no surprise for me here. Sad to see people fired, and I hope they get new jobs soon. In my oppinion they did a great job on WO.

 

I see a bright future for this one. WO has become better and bigger with every patch they introduce

 

 

 

  Soki123

Elite Member

Joined: 8/10/08
Posts: 1219

2/05/09 8:50:40 AM#27

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

  Soki123

Elite Member

Joined: 8/10/08
Posts: 1219

2/05/09 8:54:20 AM#28
Originally posted by Warcriminal

yes -a lot of people left after det initial rush and now we are left with the people who really love the game and RVR-mechanics

no surprise for me here. Sad to see people fired, and I hope they get new jobs soon. In my oppinion they did a great job on WO.

 

I see a bright future for this one. WO has become better and bigger with every patch they introduce

 

 

 


 

This here is the truth in all aspects. I hate seeing people lose their jobs, especially in these times. That said My wife and i recently re subbed and are in awe at how much better the game is, with the people playing the game it was meant to be. Too many people at release not getting a grasp for the way RvR should be and it was flat out boring. Now, well yesterday at 1 pm pst we had a huge fight for at least 1.5 hours in tier 1 in elf lands. This was tier 1. I then thought lets try my tier 4 char and it was even more insane. The game is way better now then release, and the stuff coming is huge.

  Samuraisword

Novice Member

Joined: 2/15/06
Posts: 2120

Gamers who use RMT are like athletes who use steroids

2/05/09 9:03:47 AM#29
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

True but the profit margin of EvE is greater than the profit margin of WAR. WAR spent much more money on development and is losing subscribers rapidly while EVE has grown and maintained it's 30-50k subs.

  Soki123

Elite Member

Joined: 8/10/08
Posts: 1219

2/05/09 9:07:02 AM#30
Originally posted by Samuraisword
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

True but the profit margin of EvE is greater than the profit margin of WAR. WAR spent much more money on development and is losing subscribers rapidly while EVE has grown and maintained it's 30-50k subs.


 

I will agree with that, but I m going on a guess here, that most people playing now are happy, from my experiences. I have found on the 2 servers i play , pops are increasing not decreasing. I think in the ebd they ll maintain close to these numbers with spikes here and there, when nice patches come out like the DF style one. As well theres still Russia, and i beleive the were releasing in Korea or China at some point I m not sure which one.

  Varsheva

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/20/06
Posts: 29

2/05/09 9:08:18 AM#31

I don't think you can lay any part of the blame on the recession.  Many studies have shown that during a bad economy people seek escapism, movies and video games actually do better in a down economy. I mean $15 a month for hours of entertainment.. what could beat that.

The problem with WAR is that it's just an average game designed for the super casual player. After a month or two or three of logging in , playing some no consequence scenarios they get board and leave the game. The problem is basic design and Mythic leadership decisions, nothing else.

  hauj0bb

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/29/04
Posts: 153

2/05/09 9:08:35 AM#32
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

But there aren't plenty of games that had the budget WAR had. The budget is important here, though I'm not 100% on the exact amount invested in this project. One way or another, EA has declared that it's taking a loss not just within WAR, but across their entire product line.

If the budget for WAR didn't exceed 60 million, I'd say 300k subs is fairly healthy, but if it were more then i'd question it.

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  2/05/09 9:09:25 AM#33
Originally posted by Alandora

Article writer completely misses the point of the 300,000 announcement.

The problem isn't the 300,000 they have left, it is how quickly they lost 450,000 players.  Do even a simple graph and put 750,000 at september, and then 300,000 on December 31st.   That is just a huge downward slope and there is no reason to expect the slope has changed.  It's also very very unlikely that they have 300,00 subscribers as of February 1st (again, taking in the retention rate from the graph).  

Also, talking about the layoffs.    You really are confusing two different things in the article.  A lot of what is happening has more to do with the natural progression of any MMORPG... the shift from pre to post launch staff.  The article was muddled down in it's numbers because you talked too much about 'layoffs' that were planned last year at this time that had nothing to do with the troubles of EA or Warhammer.  There were probably dozens of people at Blizzard that 'lost their jobs' once Wrath launched which indicates nothing except a game has gone live.  If you are going to talk about the effects of the health of EA on Warhammer, then don't muddle your argument by including numbers that are irrelevant to that argument.

Missed the point? Or specifically addressed your point in the SECOND PARAGRAPH:

On Tuesday, Electronic Arts announced that Mythic’s Warhammer Online ended the third quarter of 2008 with over 300K subscribers from North America and Europe. This number, which is significantly lower than the 1.5 million units sold to retailers (not units purchased by the public, stock purchased by retailers) for launch, and the 750,000 registered players reported back in October (albeit these numbers included Australia as well), is still above the 250,000 number that had been previously thrown around.

PS: MMOs almost ALWAYS crest and fall in terms of numbers. There is a crest at launch, where a maximum number of players tries the game, and then a crash aftetr launch, where within months, the game stabalizes at its approximate player base. These slopes you refer to, don't remain constant throughout the life on an MMO.

I'm not saying that WAR hasn't lost subs since then, but I AM saying that your premise is flawed and skews toward the bleakest possible outlook.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  2/05/09 9:18:22 AM#34
Originally posted by hauj0bb
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

But there aren't plenty of games that had the budget WAR had. The budget is important here, though I'm not 100% on the exact amount invested in this project. One way or another, EA has declared that it's taking a loss not just within WAR, but across their entire product line.

If the budget for WAR didn't exceed 60 million, I'd say 300k subs is fairly healthy, but if it were more then i'd question it.

 

Did you take box sales into account in your analysis there? I'm just asking because if we assume 750,000 (it's either that or assume that mythic was paid fior the 1.5 million units sold to retailers... which they actually might have) as the number of boxes sold (that's how many registered users they said they ahd at one point), then you're looking at like 37 mil right there in recovered cost.

Now, I too have no diea what was spent on WAR, but you seem to be talking apples and oranges? Were the cuts made because EA had a loss across the board, or because WAR doesn't have enough subscribers... And I present to you this thought: If WAR were losing money and not recouping... Don't  you think EA would shut it down rather than cut just a  few jobs?

I'm just saying.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Soki123

Elite Member

Joined: 8/10/08
Posts: 1219

2/05/09 9:21:56 AM#35
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by hauj0bb
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

But there aren't plenty of games that had the budget WAR had. The budget is important here, though I'm not 100% on the exact amount invested in this project. One way or another, EA has declared that it's taking a loss not just within WAR, but across their entire product line.

If the budget for WAR didn't exceed 60 million, I'd say 300k subs is fairly healthy, but if it were more then i'd question it.

 

Did you take box sales into account in your analysis there? I'm just asking because if we assume 750,000 (it's either that or assume that mythic was paid fior the 1.5 million units sold to retailers... which they actually might have) as the number of boxes sold (that's how many registered users they said they ahd at one point), then you're looking at like 37 mil right there in recovered cost.

Now, I too have no diea what was spent on WAR, but you seem to be talking apples and oranges? Were the cuts made because EA had a loss across the board, or because WAR doesn't have enough subscribers... And I present to you this thought: If WAR were losing money and not recouping... Don't  you think EA would shut it down rather than cut just a  few jobs?

I'm just saying.


 

This is the truth, EA would just shut it down and not the huge layoffs. Sure in these times there would most likely be layoffs anyways, but not to this magnitude.

  popinjay

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/07/07
Posts: 6638

Aaron Rodgers>Brett Favre

2/05/09 9:32:56 AM#36

From another site, but it did make some sense (however angry dude sounded):



"Can we just PLEASE try to keep it as simple as possible and not blame it all silliness. The fired employees at Mythic deserve MUCH more respect than for fanboi morons to boil it down to the economic boogeyman and the shoe plant closing.

To20 PC games for December:

(1)World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $39 (Average)
(8)World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $38 (Average)
(9)World Of Warcraft / Blizzard / $20 (Average)
(15)World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack / Blizzard / $28 (Average)

You apologists are starting to get sickening. Folks lost their jobs when there's 26% MORE money spent than last year on gaming, Wow puts four of these beeches in the 20 here, and you say "Gee yall, it's the 'conomy doin' it all."

Why don't all of you log into WAR right now, attempt to lock down zones on your respective "full" servers, and see how far you get before you get all CC'ed up, can't move, die, then the city crashes on your heads. Then, look around in game and see if you can find any player called "Economy" that you can blame that on.

Or you can just wake up at 3am again to do that. I think that's when the "Economy" logs off and goes to sleep."


  Thomas2006

Elite Member

Joined: 11/16/05
Posts: 742

2/05/09 9:53:49 AM#37
Originally posted by Soki123
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by hauj0bb
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

But there aren't plenty of games that had the budget WAR had. The budget is important here, though I'm not 100% on the exact amount invested in this project. One way or another, EA has declared that it's taking a loss not just within WAR, but across their entire product line.

If the budget for WAR didn't exceed 60 million, I'd say 300k subs is fairly healthy, but if it were more then i'd question it.

 

Did you take box sales into account in your analysis there? I'm just asking because if we assume 750,000 (it's either that or assume that mythic was paid fior the 1.5 million units sold to retailers... which they actually might have) as the number of boxes sold (that's how many registered users they said they ahd at one point), then you're looking at like 37 mil right there in recovered cost.

Now, I too have no diea what was spent on WAR, but you seem to be talking apples and oranges? Were the cuts made because EA had a loss across the board, or because WAR doesn't have enough subscribers... And I present to you this thought: If WAR were losing money and not recouping... Don't  you think EA would shut it down rather than cut just a  few jobs?

I'm just saying.


 

This is the truth, EA would just shut it down and not the huge layoffs. Sure in these times there would most likely be layoffs anyways, but not to this magnitude.

 

You freget EA will hold onto a dieing MMO for atleast a year before they cut its tails. E&B anyone?  With that said 2009 will be the telling year for WAR, If they can pull a rabbit out of the hat and turn the game around and stop the massive loss of players (BTW 4 more people left from that number in Jan as myself and friends all have moved back to LOTRO).

Now with that said no matter how you the paint the picture in the brightest colors possible. ANYONE and I mean ANYONE will say that a loss of more then HALF you customers in a 2-3 month period is a bad sign. Yes there is some turnover after the first free month. But to lose more then half your customers is a bad sign (aka look at AoC). Now on top of all that they cut staff numbers (doesn't matter what the reasion is) when the game needs all the staff it can get. There are LOADS of bugs and issues throughout the game and even more so endgame. Will a reduction in staff keep the bug fixs coming at a steady rate like it has been? No, when you lose people things do not remain the same or even speed up 90% of the time. If a team of 400+ couldn't fix the issues how will a team of 200-250 fix the issues?

https://www.youtube.com/user/Toom316 Streaming: Elder Scrolls Online

  User Deleted
2/05/09 9:54:40 AM#38

We can debate a lot about numbers and statistics and exactly what something means, but in my opinion the biggest issue at hand is that within 11-12 weeks or so (from launch to the end of the quarter), for one reason or another, WAR lost 450k subscribers. Now granted, who knows what those numbes are now and why that many people left (I was one of them to be honest and have my reasons) but this IS cause for concern for the game.

Mythic and EA need to "right the ship" so to speak and do it fast because bad press = more people leaving or fewer trying the game which then = more bad press which then = the same thing over and over again.

I hope Mythic and EA can figure what caused those players to leave and fix the issue and do what needs to be done to keep WAR a viable alternative in the MMO market. But at the very least this is not good for WAR right now.

  googajoob7

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/06
Posts: 877

2/05/09 9:56:48 AM#39

i ve heard this theory that mmos will do better in times of recession . that really depends on a lot of factors . i think we ll see a rise in the number of older single players ( over 18 ) but proberbly a decline in those with familys . if mum and dad lose thier jobs the kids are less likly to be given the money for a subscription fee . theres also is ikly to be less people buying gold from gold sellers so we ll see a drop in thier numbers and subs . every mmo is bound to be effected . even the biggest beast in the jungle wow . i personally think wow will lose 1-2 million subs this coming year . with 300 k players warhammer is still a going concern but no where near the success it could have been but lets not forget it is still only in its first quarter after release . its actually not that bad . its definatly a lot better than warcraft for pvp ( wows pvp is so imblanced now that side of the game is essentially broken ) .

mythic needs to offer a free trial so people who are interested in the game can see if they like it or if it will run well on thier pc system . they need to do this soon because every month that passes without one they lose potential new customers ( there are plenty of people who are fed up with wow and war offers the only real alternative ) .also they need to start merging servers theres far too many for the amount of people playing .

i m sure they plan to impliment both but the sooner the better really .

  User Deleted
2/05/09 9:58:41 AM#40
Originally posted by hauj0bb
Originally posted by Soki123

People give it a rest, WAR is doing fine and isn t going anywhere. There are plenty of games out there, that operate with 30-50k subs.

 

But there aren't plenty of games that had the budget WAR had. The budget is important here, though I'm not 100% on the exact amount invested in this project. One way or another, EA has declared that it's taking a loss not just within WAR, but across their entire product line.

If the budget for WAR didn't exceed 60 million, I'd say 300k subs is fairly healthy, but if it were more then i'd question it.


Development cost was said to be a bit "south of 100 million" according to Mark Jacobs in a forum post

EA has already commented on the fact that they would need at least 1 million box sales and an average of 250k subs for a few years following launch in order to "break even". That is, to recoup development cost, servers and continued staff support. This was said a few weeks before launch

Now, if we're talking about the game being kept above operating cost so it doesn't shut down, we should look at Tabula Rasa. Both it and War had a close to 100 million development cost so we can assume that their operating cost are pretty close. When Tabula Rasa announced it would shut down, they mentionned that they had roughly 75k subscribers and they were now taking a loss. Which means that its VERY doubtful that Warhammer would be shut down anytime soon, I really don't think they would drop this low when they sold close to 1 million boxes to consumers.

The real question here is, can it recover from such a drop? Can it start growing again if they improve it? That would be very hard to do, most times you only have 1 chance to make a first impression. But then again, EQ 2 managed to do it so we'll just have to see :)

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