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r1ft Gaming Blog

A mirror of my gaming blog at The jaded game designer turned corporate lackey. Feedback is always welcome.

Author: Daedren

Warhammer: A 65% Approval Rating?

Posted by Daedren Friday October 24 2008 at 10:08AM
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I’m partial to throwing out the famous words of Mark Twain even before we start: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” My limited premonition has allowed me to see the future comments on this: “Oh, look at this guy now - what the hell is he, a MMO market analyst? Who the hell is this guy? DIE YOU FRENCH BASTARD!” All valid points. I don’t claim that this is official or by any means accurate. It’s just my take, in my limited research, on how Warhammer is doing so far. The hype for the game has died down, and the bigger/better/newer upcomings of things like Wrath of the Undead Treadmill and Bioware’s Better-not-suck Star Wars MMO have been busy stealing the show.

First, I’ll start with my usual disclaimer: the following information expressed is my opinion. It is based upon non-standard and quite frankly rather piecemeal, shoddy and otherwise unreliable statistics that are only a very small fraction of the applicable targeted audience. The statistics for my conclusions are based on forum polls at Warhammer Alliance and the VN Boards, reader responses to my articles on, Massively and - or, to put it more eloquently - the worse place on the internets to find objective information.

I’ve been a bit torn (yes, torn) over how to feel about Warhammer Online. One part of me wants it to fail miserably and be cast down with the other scrubs like Vanguard, Tabula Rasa and Age of Conan. Why? Because of it’s lack of creativity and ingenuity. (and yes, I know that this is just plain unhealthy thinking) Another part of me, though - the more mature and rational part - wants Warhammer to succeed. It’s a PVP oriented game, after all, and failure could spell doom for future companies/investors looking to pour their time and money into PVP focused games. I consider myself a nice guy, anyway, and it’s just hard to wish doom and gloom on anyone, even the uncreative jackasses that spew crap into the MMO industry.

One thing that surprised me in my “Inevitable “Meh” of Warhammer Online” piece was the agreement I got. I had expected the vehement fanboys to arrive in mass and collectively lynch me for not having the same opinion as them. Some did, but a good portion of other readers felt the similar to how I did, or at least could sympathize with my views. So, I took a few minutes and did an amateur research on what people from around the Warhammer community thought of their game after one month of playing. What I determined was that:

About 65% of people are happy enough with the game to pay for another month.

Roughly 25% of the people are not going to pay for another month.

And the remaining 10% are on the fence, undecided what they will do.

With these statistics, it’s good to keep in mind a few things:

  • They are taken from Warhammer fansites, forums, or MMO news sites
  • People that have stopped playing the game would be less likely to respond
  • The game could also be so awesome that the players don’t have the time nor inclination to look at forums.

(Source articles/forum polls are here: Warhammer Alliance Poll 1, Poll 2, VN Boards Poll 1, Poll 2, r1ft 1, Massively 1)

(FINE PRINT: In regards to references, it's been said, possibly inaccurately, that the VN Boards are generally thought to be more "pro Warhammer" and fanboyish who intend to address most of their posts to someone at Mythic, while Warhammer Alliance has gained a slightly unsavory reputation for harboring a good amount of negativity towards the game. Mark Jacobs posts frequently on the VN boards. His posts are usually followed by about 85% of the people trying to fellatiate him digitally, with a sane 15% actually trying to say something objective and without balls in their mouth. This, along with a guestimation that a good portion of ex-Warhammer players would not visit these sites again, led me to my conclusion of a 65% rating. That guess is about as stable Funcom's financial situation.)

I'm not sure what the margin of error should be, but any way you cut it, roughly 1/3 or 1/4 of Warhammer Online's customer base could be not resubbing or thinking about not resubbing. The last official word from Mythic had 750,000 people buying the game. So, if this research is accurate, almost 200,000 of initial buyers of Warhammer Online could be hanging up their boots after the first month. Or, in strict money terms, over 2 BAZILLION dollars a month. Er, 2.5 million $USD per month, sorry.

More importantly - what does this mean in today's market?  Would a 25% player first impression cut rate be higher or lower than other MMO’s like Age of Conan, WoW or LOTRO? Your guess is as good as mine. Initial player retention might be far less important than long term player growth, like in World of Warcraft - which started with under 1 million subscribers (according to


) and has now grown to over 10 Million, or about 2 million if you exclude bot and farming accounts from ninja countries. The question then would be: Does Warhammer have what it takes to make a substantial player growth in the coming years?

In my amateur opinion, I would say no. The difference between now and 2004 is that the MMO genre has a lot more to choose from. The competition in the field has increased by about 300%, or even more when talking about strictly fantasy MMO’s. Warcraft undeniably took a lot of players in from other genres and overall, the MMO industry has expanded significantly because of it. On the other hand, Mythic has catered to the already existing customers of other MMO games (mainly) and hasn’t drawn many into the scene. They’re focused on trying to draw away players instead of generate new ones. This was a fundamental marketing flaw that you really can’t do much about, I’m afraid. So, while Paul Barnett put his money on 3 million subscribers in the future, I’d put mine on hovering around 1 million at most. In the end, though, I could just be plain wrong.

It’ll be curious to see how this affects PVP/RVR based games in the future. I think most will agree that the genre did need - hell, it still needs - more PVP focused games to play. (Hello Darkfall, yes, I know you’re there. Look, about last night…) Let’s hope that just because Warhammer hasn’t generated an enormous player base, other investors and game studios will shy away from creating PVP oriented games.

So, what’s everyone else think? Is this “approval rating” healthy, unhealthy, or just a bunch of crap? How do you think it will do in the long run?

Original article here.

greydor writes:


i think most mmo companies will take from this and expand on is instanced pvp if done in a 24-24 or 50-50 setting with goals other then ctf and just killing for the sake of killing like putting sieges in the instance also

not that i am a fan of instanced pvp but it looks like if Mythic did anything it showed people want fast and fairly even sided pvp

Fri Oct 24 2008 10:23AM Report
tool089 writes:

Erm... uncreative..?  Think WAR came before WoW.. Why not complain about WoW taking WAR's lore and such?  Or remember that WAR had enough innovative new things that WoW had to add them to their expansion... So the uncreative spewing crap reward is rightfully Blizzard's.

There's a number of players that haven't even joined WAR yet because they're waiting to see whether or not it will be successful (I got hyped for TR and AoC and got let down on both).  I think the boosted RvR experienced and lowered scenario experience will attract players.  I played beta and realized everyone was doing scenarios, which was too close to just gring battlegrounds.  But with emphasis being pushed towards the Open RvR like it should be, I'd consider joining after I get some reviews on it in a couple weeks.

Fri Oct 24 2008 10:27AM Report
tool089 writes:

"i think most mmo companies will take from this and expand on is instanced pvp if done in a 24-24 or 50-50 setting with goals other then ctf and just killing for the sake of killing like putting sieges in the instance also"

Mythic showed companies this so well that AoC has 48~ vs 48~ sieges that are instanced from the rest of the world?

Fri Oct 24 2008 10:38AM Report
Player_420 writes:

eh lame post

im sure you can think of some better things to do?

Fri Oct 24 2008 10:47AM Report
vazzaroth writes:

I have to go with "Bunch of Crap".

I try to stay off of this site because of it's obsession with declaring every game ever a horrible failure, so I am not suprised people would agree with you when you say anything bad about any game as you mentioned in the article.


Most people who are unsubbing are probably people who just decided to "try it" and are going back to their old games. Not WAR's fault, IMO. They would do that no matter what game it was, and probably have been for awhile. The majority of WoW players are not MMO fans, they are friends and family of MMO fans who play casually and are not up with new MMOs. I bet over half of the WoW playerbase has never heard of WAR or at least never looked into it. Partly this is Mythic's fault, as Ive noticed they have relied on Word of Mouth and Gaming News Coverage to advertise for them mostly. This game makes it  easier than ever to convert a casual to at least a somewhat hardcore player by not having an Elietist attitude towords it's players and making it easy to be competative and viable.


Now that they are pulling in subscriber money I can assume we will start seeing more ads to make players aware of it, and I can only see the player base growing considering this game has PvE on par with WoW's (Outside of raids. WoW undoubtedly does this best.. but me and many, many, many other MMO players HATE raids.) and better balanced PvP.

Fri Oct 24 2008 11:08AM Report
greydor writes:

Mythic showed companies this so well that AoC has 48~ vs 48~ sieges that are instanced from the rest of the world?

alomst all of AOC was limited to instances of 48-48 regardless of Zone


Fri Oct 24 2008 11:23AM Report
Daedren writes:

@Player_420: I think that can be said to anyone that plays MMO's.

Surprising how much time you have when you don't have dailies to grind out or scenarios to play nonstop. ;) 

Fri Oct 24 2008 12:45PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Players 420, dont you have something better to so beside reading the writings of someone who should have something better to do?  You are reading blogs about video games, repeat that question to the closest mirror.

Fri Oct 24 2008 12:53PM Report
Myrdek writes:

I want the game to succeed too but I'm very scared it will be niche right now... Heres something to complement your 65%

Warhammer has now dropped to 10th position on Xfire, it was 4th at peak. It's currently at around 60% of what it was 1-2 weeks before launch

DAoC had a 72% retention rate according to Mark Jacob

AoC dropped to 30% after the first month so its doing a lot better than this at least

These are very bad signs if the game doesn't maintain as many people as Dark Age of Camelot did but it launched under very competitive conditions so we can't call it quits yet. To be fair, Mythic seem to have a really good idea of what needs fixing and how to do it so we'll just have to wait and see if the 1.1 patch manages to bring back players

Fri Oct 24 2008 12:55PM Report
pixeldogmeat writes:

I think it's a bunch of bull. Theres a big difference between forum users and players, most of the players I run into, while in MMO's don't read the forums and most of the forum users don't actually play the games.

So in the end, when some official numbers come from mythic, whats the point in speculating, especially if you're not paid to do so.

Also, I disagree with your opinions on the "lack of creativity and ingenuity" and feel like that is just another canned response to a game you have barely played.

I think people really need to stop comparing games to other games, because the meaning is lost in the comparison. I could compare apples to oranges and call them both fruit, but they are both different in many ways and the comparison isn't really fair.

Comparing WOW or any other game to WAR means to me that you haven't really played the game or know anything about it and would rather use a comparison, instead of thinking for yourself and coming up with some valid reasons where it "lacks in creativity and ingenuity".


Fri Oct 24 2008 2:26PM Report
AlienShirt writes:


Fri Oct 24 2008 6:26PM Report
metalhead980 writes:

More Doom and gloom, I can't wait for TCoS to come out so you guys can troll the hell out of that game in an attempt to sway players away and toward WoW.

Fri Oct 24 2008 7:30PM Report
t0nyd writes:

I believe Mythic has the opportunity to succeed (if they get their head out of their collective asses). Its like they took all that DAOC experience, forgot it, then created their first RvR mmo.

The one fail in my book, the one thing that holds world RvR back... Subscribe to DAoC. Wander off into the instanced BG and notice, hey, there are mobs to kill. Hey, these mobs give more xp than normal. I think I will level here, this is way faster, ganked. I just got fucking ganked. Im gonna fuk that dude up.

This dynamic doesnt exist in War RvR. The RvR lakes are empty and what enemy mobs that are there guard keeps and nodes and give little to no xp. So why go into an RvR area.

Basically what I am saying is every fucking RvR area should be exactly like the rest of the damn world, full of quests and mobs, and full of PQs. These areas should only differ in the fact that you can be killed by players and that mobs are worth more xp...

Fri Oct 24 2008 9:36PM Report
zerocool writes:

@ t0nyd

I agree with most of what you said as I gave about 6 years of my life to DAoC. I don't agree about PQs in the RVR areas but everything else. I'll never forget how fun it was losing a fight in the BG on DAoC only to kite the guy trying to gank you into some mobs and turn around and beat the snot out of him.

Not to mention there were keeps and towers in the BGs. I'd rather sit in a DAoC style BG and attack a keep for a few hours than try to capture this flag and that flag and get this many points.

Instanced play was a great idea at the time i'm sure, now after its been implemented into how many games over the past years, i have to say yeah, still great for some, VERY FEW select portions of games, but instanced PVP i think has backfired. By and large its taken away from largescale fighting and caterered to that group of players that always have to have 8v8 or 6v6, etc.

Fri Oct 24 2008 11:16PM Report
Kildaor writes:

War being so player intensive is going to be it's downfall.  RvR is almost impossible in the lakes, there is just never anyone there.  With so many possible places to PvP, it's hard to figure out where everyone is.  Scenarios are hit and miss as well.  While it's not usually difficult to que and get in one in a relatively short time, I find that I get grouped with the same players over and over.  Not a problem if the are skilled.  But I play Order, and for some reason many of these players just don't "Get" what it takes to win a scenario.  i.e. Get the "thing", get the guy with the "thing", pick up the "thing" once it's dropped, lol.  The population is thinning out, the hardcore players have hit 40, and the rest are spread throughout the first 3 tiers.  It's a fun game to begin with, but there is a serious lack of things to do other than PvP, crafting is painful, and honestly, not very useful imo.  Quests are ok, but JUST ok, nothing special.  I'm not sure if this game will have staying power, time will tell.

Sat Oct 25 2008 8:29AM Report
daltanious writes:

After months and months of searching for a good replacement for WoW finnaly War come to life. I'm great fan of WoW - no, I'm not a little kid, but my kid is now 22 :-)) - but even if you love pizza and eat it few times per day every day ... one need a break :-)) And now I will be able to eat again pizza for 6 times per day. :-))

The good is I have now two great games to play, sometimes I guess will be subscribed to both, sometimes to one of them .... but for sure only this two will be present in my free time for months and months.

AoC had great potential but Funcom #"$#!&$ all.

Wow is still more complete package ... but War is really one incredible game. The only thing I'm missing is some real gathering and crafting system.

Sat Oct 25 2008 10:04AM Report
cosimusta writes:

 I don't think it would be mathematically possible for them to report an approval rating of 50% or below.  Oops, wait, mathematical = financial, it's the statistics....errr

my answer = it's a bunch of bullshit.


I disagree with you on that investors will shy away from PvP oriented video games.  I also think that Warhammer failing is a good thing for the industry.  It was a very well funded attempt in repoducing WoW.

I think investors will look at this and see that Warhammer's target market = WoW's current market, and not jump to the fact that it was PvP oriented.  And PvP is clearly very popular.  Humans are smarter than AI for now..most of us anyways.


But if there were a very PvP oriented game, that's targetting a smaller market,...say....of MMO veterans who aren't currently playing WoW, or any MMO at all.  It would clearly make more sense to invest in something like that now wouldn't it?

The truly mature/rational way of considering WAR would be to not give a shit if it lives or dies at this point because you don't want to play it.  It's just a failed game mang, let it go.

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Sun May 15 2011 11:13AM Report writes:
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