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Hickman on WAR's Biggest Mistakes

Posted by Michael Bitton on Sep 17, 2009  | Comments

Hickman on WAR's Biggest Mistakes -

Speaking at GDC, Mythic Executive Producer Jeff Hickman detailed some of the biggest mistakes Mythic made with Warhammer Online.

Mr. Hickman spoke about the major mistakes that haunted the developer for over a year, with the first of which being challenge of play. On this mistake Hickman states:

"There's a big difference between easy play and ease of use. And one of the lessons that we thought we learned from ourselves and other games, was that it's important to have ease of use, and it's also important to hit the right balance between easy gameplay, challenging gameplay, and too difficult. We thought we hit that, but Warhammer, in PVE, in the beginning, is too easy. It doesn't make you thrilled to do it."

The second issue ties into the first issue that the game was in fact, too easy. The developers built many social tools for the game, but there wasn't much of a reason to use them given the ease of play.

The third major mistake was that of the game's economy, or lack thereof. As many players can attest to, there simply isn't much to buy with your hard earned gold in Warhammer Online, and this fact has been a great detriment to Warhammer's success. Hickman elaborates on the issue, stating that a game's economy brings people together:

"Our economy... we just missed the mark. If you look at the reasoning behind the economy, you'll see things like, 'Hey, we're not going to let gold farmers in our game.' 'We're going to try to make sure we have controlled inflation.' We had all the best reasons in our game, but what it caused us to do was build a game where economy is not important enough. Economy brings people together."

The rest of the talk focused on a host of topics, ranging from the importance and future of digital distribution, some of the things Warhammer got right, an emphasis on the fact MMOGs should be designed as a service from the get go, and the issue of localization.

For all that and more, check out the full article over at Gamasutra.

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB