Tobold's Blog
Monday, August 18, 2008
WAR NDA drops tomorrow

Via Keen and Graev I got the news that the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning NDA will drop tomorrow morning. As during a similar occasion Keen was hopping mad at me, because I had taken such an announcement too literally and posted my first review on the day the NDA was supposed to drop, but 8 hours before the Americans due to difference in time zones, this time I won't post anything before I get the official green light. And I'm not planning to write a complete review anyway, there are already far too many of those around. Instead I plan to pick out features and subjects around WAR and discuss them in the light of what I learned in the beta. The NDA drops just in time for Mark Jacobs, who had previously written that games that drop their NDA less than 4 weeks before release have "a lack of confidence in the product". So 4 weeks and 2 days is fine. :)

In related news, same source, the WAR open beta starts only September 7th, and will only last 1 week. Which means that bug-hunting won't be a priority in that open beta, it's just a mix of server stress test and disguised "free trial" marketing. The really good news is that apparently you can simply patch your WAR client from "beta wot is closed" version to open beta version and even to release version, no need to redownload or reinstall the game. This seems such a simple thing, but it isn't common: Quite often you need to uninstall the beta and install the release version to get a MMORPG running. Kudos to Mythic for being user friendly.
now THAT motivates me to download it. Not having to reinstall. Hope Keen reads this. :)
*hope Keen read your article I mean, not my nonsensical jibber jabber :P
Wow... let me start off by saying that the WORD VERIFICATION I must type in before this comment is published starts off with these four letters:


Now that's spooky! Contextual captchas! Artificial Intelligence will doom us all!

Secondly, I am extremely happy that I'll be able to patch my beta client instead of having to reinstall everything from scratch.

Thirdly, technically we're not allowed to post NDA-stuff until we get the official word from Mythic, which will be posted on the Herald or come out in a press release. This should solve any time zone issues (unless you're Keen who is still dreaming of stunty girls having half-nekked pillow fights with burlap sacks of potatoes).
Let me paraphrase. If you think the idea of WOW type PVE mixed together with a WOW/DAOC hybrid PVP system sounds appealing, then you will probably enjoy WAR.

The new features are intriguing, though not without some seriously needed tweaking. The classes aren't balanced, though this genre isn't exactly known for class balance now is it. The PVP is also a bit too twitchy, though that too should be ironed out.

In short, WAR represents a functional diversion from WOW, though never comes close to actually surpassing it, except in the graphics department.

Prediction: a sweeping success for the first two months, settling down to the half million mark by Christmas.

This prediction is from someone who's not in beta, and who's total time watching WAR beta videos is probably less than ten min.
half a million would put it well behind Age of Conan, which I definitely expect it to surpass handily.
Lol, let that one go Tobold. I was not mad at you.
I'm not sure I would say "free trial" as it isn't freely available to anyone who can download it. It will be cut off at whatever limit Mythic needs to successfully test their hardware and may not even accept anyone that hasn't pre-ordered the game.
Well as a beta player, I have several things I'll comment on so looking forward to it.
There is a beta. And I am in it. And I am very very happy.

Thankfully, after tomorrow, will be able to say right out what I think instead of drawing analogies. But to the person upthread who predicted WAR would settle down to .5 mil accounts by Xmas, yet has not played the game nor studied it?

You are wrong, sir. It will have a life beyond .5 mil. Way beyond. :)

Let me put it this way: by Blizzard's own admission, only 40% of the people who "left for Age of Conan" have returned and reactivated their WoW accounts. For a game as broken as AoC, to retain 60% of WoW players that went over is huge. And that's nothing compared to what will happen next month.

There is a beta. And I am in it. And I am VERY HAPPY.

AOC didn't retain most of its players. 800k copies sold, 415k at the end of June, clearly plummeted in Mid-July if you read any forums dedicated to the game. Funcom shares are at a 3-year low of $16.

Anyway, given that Mythic had 800k beta signups I have to think that this game will sell 1.2M copies even if reviews are middling, but it seems like they'll be largely positive which could easily push it close to the 2m mark by the end of year. Even if it proves to be a 2-month game or just unappetizing to people who prefer PVE, it'll probably still have >1m subscriptions at the end of the year.
Word of mouth alone is selling WAR at this point as well.
If anyone reads any game site (massive, ten ton, mmorpg, etc) they are all inundated with WAR news.
And we all know it is all good right now...WAR can do no wrong.

Will be interesting to see the aftermath!
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