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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  MMOG Discussion  |  Topic: Mythic-EA shuts down Warhammer beta, tells players to come back later 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: Mythic-EA shuts down Warhammer beta, tells players to come back later  (Read 130586 times)
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Reply #70 on: October 08, 2007, 08:48:44 PM

WAR has been in beta for a long ass time and AoC is just starting this month. They're not in the same boat. I'm sure they're happy about it, though.

If AoC felt pressured to get the beta underway in order to compete with WAR's beta, this was a nice gift. It could mean that the start of AoC beta could be delayed a bit longer if there were some critical issues to address.

AoC devs would be stupid not to spend at least 5 minutes thinking about what this delay means to their game's beta. Imo.

Falwell
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Reply #71 on: October 08, 2007, 08:49:40 PM

Yeah this screams major retooling to me. I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see a major retooling of at least one core mechanic / system of the game come out of this.

As far as beta serving no purpose? I think you're a bit off on that one my good man. If the developers are smart, they can use a beta to gather a ridiculous amount of data. Player habits, hotspots, over clogged areas, balance issues, the list goes on.

Flagship is using a piece of software called "The Evil Eye" in the development of Hellgate. Go google that and check it out, it's interesting as hell. Every game company, MMO or no, should use some form of this application.
Darkgar
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Reply #72 on: October 08, 2007, 09:21:23 PM

Just a hunch, and I have been watching the game's development a whole lot. Since early this year they have been double timing and outsourcing their art production assets. If the elves need to get their visual content worked up the pause may be an out-sourcing/scheduling issue.

I can say the art style has improved greatly since EA got involved, but if one of the factions aren't finished you'll probably see them delay launch until summer (kind of like LOTR:O did). Just one thought, optimizing the network-game core code may be another.

I would love to see an end to instanced PvP though, but I feel this game will end up sadly just another 'wow.clone()'.  It hurts cause I am a big fan of the Warhammer universe too.
MarkJacobs
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Mythic Entertainment


Reply #73 on: October 08, 2007, 10:11:47 PM

All,

   It's really simple.  We got lots and lots of data (some great, some good, some not so good) and we are going to act on what we got.  That's one reason we started beta as early as we did so we could gather that data now, not later, when we have a chance to fix/change/improve things.  As an FYI, the tools we are using now I would have killed for with DAoC, if we had then what we have now, a lot of dumb stuff would not have happened.  In terms of possible reasons (raised here) for the delay:

1) Making it more like WoW:  Nope, if anything the exact opposite is true.

2) That we are yanking out whole systems: Nope, we are adding new systems (as planned) and balancing the existing systems.  Here's a shocking bit of news, the game isn't balanced yet.  Thanks to the tools we have now, we are able to identify what is messed up and we can now fix it ahead of time, as opposed to the past.  Trying to fix these things while we have lots of beta testers running around is not conducive to getting a game out on schedule.

3) In terms of whether this move was EA-induced: Not a chance.  They have not been involved in the design of the game at all and still aren't so I can't blame them for this. 

4) That it was caused by lots of people fleeing Mythic: Umm, no.  Last I looked all the key members of the *Warhammer* team are still there and very few people have left that team to go elsewhere.  People come and go, probably at a higher rate than when we were independent but we are also a heck of a lot bigger than we were in those days.

5) That we are now on a death march: Hardly.  If you look at most of the great games that have been done by other developers, they usually are delayed or a date isn't announced as early as we did with WAR or DAoC.  If we were putting this game in "turnaround" mode, then it's time to play taps.  For now, we are simply taking a break from the beta testers so we can focus on the game with as few distractions (inaccurate or conflicting reports, build/debug/test time before a version goes to the players, etc.) as possible for the next couple of months.  This is a critical time in our development cycle and we want to make sure that we are doing it the right way.

In terms of the Elves, they are being put in but they weren't supposed to be playable at this point anyway.

The reactions have been kinda funny.  When we said we could do the game in about 2 years (we didn't even have a contract for WAR till the summer of '05), people said we should take more time, spend more money and do it right.  When other companies take extra time to do it right, lots of people jump up and down and say that shows that they really care about making a great game.  When we announced our delay last year so we could make the game even better than we originally planned (thanks to the level of competition from Blizzard and elsewhere), people said the game was doomed.  When we don't invest enough time and money into the test/iterate cycle for DAOC (since we didn't have any extra money to do so with that game), people said correctly that it caused problems and that next time we need to do it right.  Then, here we announce that we want to hold off on the next stage of beta, for among other reasons, because we want to fix what was broken before the next group of invites, some people again say it is a sign that we are doomed.  We can't win, no matter what we do it seems, when it comes to some peoples' perception.

In terms of beta serving no purpose, not in our case.  It's why I wanted it to start early even knowing that we would shut it down at some point (we've done this before, we just didn't talk about it).  It is precisely because we knew that the guilds and lots of other people were waiting for admittance that we even talked about this publicly. The beta has been going extremely well but that doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  We expected that the beta would point out both strengths and weaknesses of the design and now we are acting on what we've learned so far.  Since we have more than enough to keep us busy over the next two months, nothing would have been served by opening it up to lots of lots of new people, many of whom would say that exact same thing as the groups that have gone before them.   From a purely business perspective, that would make no sense at all.  I want people to be excited by what they see in the game and not to point out the same bugs/issues/etc. that the group before them did.  We also want our current crowd of testers to be able to come back in 2 months with fresh eyes to see all the things we've done in the interim.  One other thing to keep in mind is that the game has been pretty much up 24x7 since we began letting in people so we really do have a ridiculous amount of data and private and forum feedback to work with.  Most other games early on don't do that.

This last point may seem a little obvious or even self-serving but if we were really in trouble why wouldn't we simply say that beta is closed until further notice or until it's ready?  We chose 2 months precisely because we have a good handle now on what needs to be done and how long we need to get ready for a really major infusion of players.

Mark
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Reply #74 on: October 08, 2007, 10:54:59 PM

I don't think anyone is concerned about the release date. Take all the time you need. At this stage, shutting down beta entirely is pretty unusual, that's all.

If you value beta purely as a promotional tool this makes sense, but since it's under full NDA that can't be it. And I'm surprised you QA builds before pushing them to production. Isn't that what beta's for?

My feeling is that the communitity is stagnating, major code and content pushes are in heavy development but not being staged for an extended period of time, and testers are posting incestuous 100+ page threads and /signed petitions and polls and whatnot bitching about mechanics, content, etc, that will take a couple of months to complete and/or fix and you just want to make a clean start of it without all that baggage.
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Reply #75 on: October 08, 2007, 11:04:30 PM

I don't think anyone is concerned about the release date. Take all the time you need. At this stage, shutting down beta entirely is pretty unusual, that's all.
Actually the stockholders are very interested in the release date since delaying the game beyond the publicly announced timeframe of Q1 2008 may affect EA's stock price.
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Reply #76 on: October 08, 2007, 11:07:29 PM

OK, anyone here.
eldaec
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Reply #77 on: October 08, 2007, 11:22:13 PM

If shutting down beta was half the portent of doom some people seem to think, an evil Mythic would have just left it up for the hell of it.

And by the way, back when betas were something other than marketing tools, it was quite normal for them to go up and down like this.



I also doubt that WAR's release date will have any significant impact on EA stock pricing. EA's core business is Madden and console shit. If WAR hits a WoW-scale home run it will expand the areas seen as driving EA's value and profit, but till then I doubt the market gives a shit, or expects anything from WAR.

WAR might be shit, it might be a shallow WoW imitation, it might be gimped for the consoletards, it might be utterly innaccessible because of the inherent design problems with sport PvP, but a gap in beta doesn't tell us crap. And it will certainly get released in 2008ish.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 11:25:02 PM by eldaec »

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Arthur_Parker
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Reply #78 on: October 09, 2007, 12:14:24 AM

The way I see it is WAR is doomed to be a mainstream game because of the zone layout.  It might be very popular but, it just doesn't appeal to me, I can already forsee it's just going to be a meaningless light pvp ladder game, with zones switching upwards and downwards depending on who is winning.

Also I don't see how they can make a more engaging pvp ruleset on a specialised server (that was my real hope for WAR) working with the limits imposed in the main ruleset of light territory control, two set factions and no city building. 

Plus anyone who played AC2 knows that "balance" is one of the worst things you can impose on a game, it's like a vortex of negative fun.  Two factions means it's guaranteed there will be a lot talk about "balance".
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 12:35:39 AM by Arthur_Parker »
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Reply #79 on: October 09, 2007, 01:13:31 AM

Mark is a tricky one, he switches out his poisons.

Heh. I've played a few of 'his' games, and I'm inclined to subscribe to this train of thought. Ignoring Mark's big post just above, I will say that Mythic/M.Jacobs are pretty good at shipping playable and profitable MMOG's. Admittedly I was a DAoC fan for a while (hi ToA, you suck ass), but even prior to that in around 2003 or 2004 I spoke to some Mythic folks at E3 and they 'got it' much more so than any other dev group there that I saw a presentation from or spoke to. I'm willing to give that group specifically a very rare benefit of doubt. If they need more time to make a better game and they take it - good! Isn't that what we always advocate here? And if they fuck it up I'm sure we'll hold their feet to the fire for it. Time will tell.

Speaking of marketing, we're out of milk.
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Reply #80 on: October 09, 2007, 02:28:01 AM

Tangent: What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway? That's an incredibly bad/stupid idea for a Red vs Blue PvP MMOG.

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Reply #81 on: October 09, 2007, 03:02:27 AM

Battles are more unpredictable that way. Some people think that's more fun/challengng. It's also more interesting at the strategic level if there are multiple battlefronts that are non-instanced that players can move between.
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Reply #82 on: October 09, 2007, 03:07:53 AM

Tangent: What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway? That's an incredibly bad/stupid idea for a Red vs Blue PvP MMOG.

Saying you don't personally find instanced pvp fun, is not the same as saying instanced pvp is unpopular.
Talonus
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Reply #83 on: October 09, 2007, 03:25:36 AM

We can't win, no matter what we do it seems, when it comes to some peoples' perception.

Mark

Considering the MMO community, you can't win period.

I'd say the doom and gloom here came from the simple factor that it is abnormal to simply stop a beta. Abnormal things lead to speculation and speculation leads to talk about possibly bad things, rather than possibly good things. At least there seems to be a good reason behind the abnormal in this case.
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Reply #84 on: October 09, 2007, 03:30:12 AM

Tangent: What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway? That's an incredibly bad/stupid idea for a Red vs Blue PvP MMOG.

Saying you don't personally find instanced pvp fun, is not the same as saying instanced pvp is unpopular.
I said "Red vs Blue MMOG" for a reason. Team based PvP with two teams will have an imbalance, that imbalance will get worse with time, and that will wreck any sort of non-instanced (or, to be more accurate, non-number-capped) PvP.

See: Tarren Mill.

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ShenMolo
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Reply #85 on: October 09, 2007, 03:59:57 AM


The reactions have been kinda funny. 


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Reply #86 on: October 09, 2007, 04:05:07 AM

Tangent: What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway? That's an incredibly bad/stupid idea for a Red vs Blue PvP MMOG.
Saying you don't personally find instanced pvp fun, is not the same as saying instanced pvp is unpopular.
I said "Red vs Blue MMOG" for a reason. Team based PvP with two teams will have an imbalance, that imbalance will get worse with time, and that will wreck any sort of non-instanced (or, to be more accurate, non-number-capped) PvP.

See: Tarren Mill.
I'd tell you to go read some of HRose's posts on this subject but that might make your head explode :-D
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Reply #87 on: October 09, 2007, 04:17:18 AM

I said "Red vs Blue MMOG" for a reason. Team based PvP with two teams will have an imbalance, that imbalance will get worse with time, and that will wreck any sort of non-instanced (or, to be more accurate, non-number-capped) PvP.

See: Tarren Mill.

Yeah, you are saying Warhammer will be Red verus Blue, therefore not having instanced pvp is a bad idea.  I was pointing out that saying you don't like something, doesn't mean you have to offer a better solution, nor does it imply you think the current solution will be unpopular.

Edit to go further.  If instanced pvp is one of the main complaints from beta testers for not enjoying the game (I have no idea if it is or not) then the defense of, "it's the best solution we have" does not help a normal person enjoy the game more.  The devs need to come up with a something and not blame the players for not seeing the benefits of a system they don't enjoy.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 04:22:47 AM by Arthur_Parker »
Abelian75
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Reply #88 on: October 09, 2007, 05:43:15 AM

Plus anyone who played AC2 knows that "balance" is one of the worst things you can impose on a game, it's like a vortex of negative fun.  Two factions means it's guaranteed there will be a lot talk about "balance".

No.  This belief stems from misunderstanding what "balance" means.  For example, balancing a game with two factions does not mean that those two factions have to have parallel classes (though that is certainly one easy way to accomplish balance, it's just a wee bit boring).

The reason you balance a game is to ensure that the choices a player has to make (which class to play, which skills to develop, which equipment to use, etc.) are non-trivial.  That is, there is not one choice that is superior or equal to all the other possible choices in all situations.  If your game is full of dominating strategies, people will figure this out pretty darn quickly, and then the game will be over.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 05:50:55 AM by Abelian75 »
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Reply #89 on: October 09, 2007, 06:03:31 AM

People are lazy, it's easier to balance boring classes than interesting ones, so that's what normally happens.  When I see talk of balancing I take it as a bad sign and always will, AC2 was the most balanced game ever, right before they pulled the plug.
Calantus
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Reply #90 on: October 09, 2007, 06:11:19 AM

Can I pop in and tell Kaa to stop signing his posts before I burst a brain vessel and fill with impotent rage?
Abelian75
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Reply #91 on: October 09, 2007, 06:14:16 AM

People are lazy, it's easier to balance boring classes than interesting ones, so that's what normally happens.  When I see talk of balancing I take it as a bad sign and always will, AC2 was the most balanced game ever, right before they pulled the plug.

That's fair I suppose.  Though I prefer to remain optimistic!
HRose
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Reply #92 on: October 09, 2007, 06:31:19 AM

Last I looked all the key members of the *Warhammer* team are still there
Once again, this is false.

Your lead designer, or lead system designer (whatever) is probably worthy of being considered "key member"? Well, he quit.

At least one quit. And he was on Warhammer.

And that's he only bit we had. It's quite easy to state they are all there as no one knows who they are.

Quote
The reactions have been kinda funny.
Well, with your experience you should know that these reactions everywhere aren't funny, they are predictable.

If you planned these beta phases from the beginning, clearly stated the schedule, at least approximately. Then everyone would have known that it wasn't a sudden "emergency" move.

So, either this move was sudden (so justifying the speculation), or you handled it poorly because you fueled this speculation by not announcing your plans with beta when it was the time. Instead you publicized all those inscriptions to beta and have now a queue of 400k waiting players when you can't even hold the few you have already invited.

And you are surprised?

You just closed the servers, and now you can't be surprised by the reactions. You handled this poorly.

Besides, there's a difference between delaying a good game to improve it further, and delay it because it can't hold itself on its legs (I don't know if this is the case of Warhammer).

WoW's beta was good for that reason, 10 months before release and the game was already very playable and enjoyable. I was there and most of us, in February, thought the game was going to be released in June. It was so good and polished that we thought he was almost ready. But Blizzard delayed it.

That one was a positive delay. because there was no NDA, we could play the game, know it was solid, already fun. And yet they bought time.

So you can understand that a delay isn't always good. There's a delay that can be used to make a good game better, and there's another delay, that requires some honesty to admit, that is used when a game is still very immature and slipping off its schedule.

Even Vanguard was delayed. No, it wasn't a good sign.

-HRose / Abalieno
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Reply #93 on: October 09, 2007, 06:57:58 AM

The way I see it is WAR is doomed to be a mainstream game because of the zone layout.  It might be very popular but, it just doesn't appeal to me, I can already forsee it's just going to be a meaningless light pvp ladder game, with zones switching upwards and downwards depending on who is winning.
My only impression of WAR is, the guy showing it off to people at fanfest or whatever turned on dev speed hack 10 mins in the presentation, simply because times to get from place to place in single zone were quite unbearable. And even then it took half of eternity to move around.

But players won't have dev speed hack...
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Reply #94 on: October 09, 2007, 07:35:17 AM

1) Making it more like WoW:  Nope, if anything the exact opposite is true.

If true, this is the best news I've heard to date. 

You're going to get at least $50 out of me regardless.  I was a slave to DAoC for over 5 years and I'm willing to give WAR a try.  Whether or not it can manage to hold my interest is the question. 

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
Simond
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Reply #95 on: October 09, 2007, 07:37:38 AM

I said "Red vs Blue MMOG" for a reason. Team based PvP with two teams will have an imbalance, that imbalance will get worse with time, and that will wreck any sort of non-instanced (or, to be more accurate, non-number-capped) PvP.

See: Tarren Mill.

Yeah, you are saying Warhammer will be Red verus Blue, therefore not having instanced pvp is a bad idea.  I was pointing out that saying you don't like something, doesn't mean you have to offer a better solution, nor does it imply you think the current solution will be unpopular.

Edit to go further.  If instanced pvp is one of the main complaints from beta testers for not enjoying the game (I have no idea if it is or not) then the defense of, "it's the best solution we have" does not help a normal person enjoy the game more.  The devs need to come up with a something and not blame the players for not seeing the benefits of a system they don't enjoy.
Having non-instanced battleground in a two-team game will generate far more complaints about balance and lack of fun from the playerbase as a whole than keeping instances in and hearing the gripes from the ex-DAoC players.

Seriously, did you miss the time between WoW's launch and AV being added or something? On 95%+ of all servers, PvP consisted of the Alliance zerging TM/Crossroads with numbers 2:1 in their favour, and the Horde having no chance at all to defend for any significant length of time (and this was back when shaman was one of the alpha classes, most paladins were retadins, and Horde racials were at their most powerful).

Logging in a character on losing_side and finding all your NPCs slaughted, no allied PCs in the same zone and you have no way to change things is Not Fun. Hell, even logging in a character on winning_side and finding that your team massacred the nearby enemy outpost by steamrolling it under, leaving you with nothing to do, isn't particularly fun either.

Given that, with the best will in the world, most servers will have a population bias to one side or the other anyway, there needs to be some sort of population limit...and the easiest way to do that is instanced battlegrounds. You could do something with world PvP like AC Portal Storms, or NPC reinforcements for the less populated sides, or whatever, but that's just window dressing in the end.

(Tangent: Yes, I fully expect the World PvP zone in the WotLK WoW expansion to be a cataclysmic failure on the majority of all servers, for the same reasons mentioned above).

"You're really a good person, aren't you? So, there's no path for you to take here. Go home. This isn't a place for someone like you."
LC
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Reply #96 on: October 09, 2007, 07:55:34 AM

...

Mark

Some of your statements seem to be proven false already. I know of someone who got into beta less than 48 hours before the shutdown was announced. Boy was he pissed when he found out he couldn't finish downloading before the beta was shut down. Why were people being let into beta so close to the "planned" shutdown?

I prefer rumors, and hearsay myself. Do you know how many times I have been lied to by suits in my life?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 07:59:44 AM by LC »
Signe
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Reply #97 on: October 09, 2007, 07:56:46 AM

I believe Mark Jacobs!  I very disappointed in the lack of drama involved, however.  I was hoping for a wee bit of doom and, maybe, some violence.  Someone running off with someone else's husband would have been awesome.

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Reply #98 on: October 09, 2007, 08:03:16 AM

Having non-instanced battleground in a two-team game will generate far more complaints about balance and lack of fun from the playerbase as a whole than keeping instances in and hearing the gripes from the ex-DAoC players.

Seriously, did you miss the time between WoW's launch and AV being added or something? On 95%+ of all servers, PvP consisted of the Alliance zerging TM/Crossroads with numbers 2:1 in their favour, and the Horde having no chance at all to defend for any significant length of time (and this was back when shaman was one of the alpha classes, most paladins were retadins, and Horde racials were at their most powerful).

Logging in a character on losing_side and finding all your NPCs slaughted, no allied PCs in the same zone and you have no way to change things is Not Fun. Hell, even logging in a character on winning_side and finding that your team massacred the nearby enemy outpost by steamrolling it under, leaving you with nothing to do, isn't particularly fun either.

Given that, with the best will in the world, most servers will have a population bias to one side or the other anyway, there needs to be some sort of population limit...and the easiest way to do that is instanced battlegrounds. You could do something with world PvP like AC Portal Storms, or NPC reinforcements for the less populated sides, or whatever, but that's just window dressing in the end.

(Tangent: Yes, I fully expect the World PvP zone in the WotLK WoW expansion to be a cataclysmic failure on the majority of all servers, for the same reasons mentioned above).

You are still missing the point, you started the derail by saying "What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway?"

Some people don't like instanced pvp and they won't like it any more after you explain in great detail why it's great solution to other problems.
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #99 on: October 09, 2007, 08:15:56 AM

I am glad that they aren't backpedaling on design, that would call for some serious doomcasting. So 2 months to finish up the elves, and 3 monthes of beta to balance RvR and final polish. Sounds a bit short but not implausible.

Tactics:  WAR already has a system for loading up only a subset of your tactics for battle.  Why not let us unlock all the tactics (and morales)?

This pop balance problem really irks me, I hope they take drastic measures, like hard locks.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 08:17:46 AM by tazelbain »

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Simond
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Reply #100 on: October 09, 2007, 08:22:22 AM

This pop balance problem really irks me, I hope they take drastic measures, like hard locks.
Do you honestly think that "No, you can't join the zerg. Go be cannon fodder with the rest of the losers" will work? You already got people who don't want numberically even fights in battlegrounds - what on earth makes you think that character caps will fly?

And that's not even going in to the "I just want to meet up with my friends and play" issue, of course.

"You're really a good person, aren't you? So, there's no path for you to take here. Go home. This isn't a place for someone like you."
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Reply #101 on: October 09, 2007, 08:22:35 AM

I know of someone who got into beta less than 48 hours before the shutdown was announced. Boy was he pissed when he found out he couldn't finish downloading before the beta was shut down.

LOL @ your friend's shitty Internet. Other than that,  NDA  :-D

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LC
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Reply #102 on: October 09, 2007, 08:29:55 AM

You are still missing the point, you started the derail by saying "What's with the "We want non-instanced PvP combat only" crowd anyway?"

Some people don't like instanced pvp and they won't like it any more after you explain in great detail why it's great solution to other problems.

All MMOs with instanced pvp, dunge instancing need to just die now. At the very least they should no longer be called MMOs. How about "LMO" or "Limited Multiplayer Online (game)".
LC
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Reply #103 on: October 09, 2007, 08:31:59 AM

I know of someone who got into beta less than 48 hours before the shutdown was announced. Boy was he pissed when he found out he couldn't finish downloading before the beta was shut down.

LOL @ your friend's shitty Internet. Other than that,  NDA  :-D

He has a daily bandwidth cap. He has to spread the download over several days. Blame third world countries and their poor broadband offerings.
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tazelbain


Reply #104 on: October 09, 2007, 08:40:46 AM

This pop balance problem really irks me, I hope they take drastic measures, like hard locks.
Do you honestly think that "No, you can't join the zerg. Go be cannon fodder with the rest of the losers" will work? You already got people who don't want numberically even fights in battlegrounds - what on earth makes you think that character caps will fly?

And that's not even going in to the "I just want to meet up with my friends and play" issue, of course.
a) there would be a lot less cannon fodder with hard locks
b) the people who don't like insta-PvP is not because they don't like fair fights.
c) if they are in from the very beginning, people accept server queues which have exactly the same issues.
d) wouldn't have to tight locks, like one team shouldn't have more than 120% than the other
f) the zerg causes more people to quit than server locks, IMHO.

"Me am play gods"
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