WAR Herald post from James regarding 2 month beta hiatus

Today’s email out to the beta testers has drawn much discussion over the possible reasons for closing the beta servers.  James Nichols, community coordinator for EA Mythic, tried to clarify a few things for the community and give us an update as to what we can expect from this extended server downtime.

Greetings all!

Recently, all WAR Beta participants received a letter stating our plan to end this phase of the closed beta test this Wednesday, October 10th. We periodically close Beta, our last closure being in March of this year, to focus on major improvements and polish. The next phase of Beta will reopen in early December with plenty of new and improved content, art and systems for our beta-testers.

We are very proud to have reached this point in development. Beta has been going very well and the testing community is extremely active. Excitement around the game continues to grow and the team is looking forward to enhancing many features already in the game as well as continuing to add new features to an already great game.

Based on player feedback, our own observations and our current schedule, we have set the following major development goals:

  • Improve open field skirmishes and battlefield objectives with major enhancements.
  • Provide players with even more options to customize their character both through their abilities and visual appearance.
  • Continue to enhance Public Quests and the PQ System.
  • Prepare the elves for their release into the world!

When the beta reopens, we look forward to welcoming back all of our current testers, as well as many new faces. Shortly after re-opening the doors, we will be inviting the first wave of guilds into the beta to really get things rolling.

Thank you!
– The Warhammer: Age of Reckoning Team

From what I understand from reading forums and listening to what people have to say, WAR has had a few issues during it’s development that could be the cause for this downtime.  I am uncertain as to what these details might be, just that they do exist.  Hopefully with time and resources to correct any problems we will still see WAR in Q1 2008.  Cross your fingers.


Warhammer Online to Close Beta Servers for 2 MONTHS!

As if the information blackout wasn’t bad enough. The closed beta servers are going to be shut down for 2 entire months as Mythic does…whatever it is they plan to do with the servers down. According to the post we can hopefully expect to see the next phase of beta come in December. My original guess for release was March (well within their Q1 2008 ETA) but now with this news I am going to change my guess to about May 2008. I have no idea what the real reasons behind this could be, but hopefully they’re good. There goes my hopes of a beta invite for something to do. 🙁

Source: TenTonHammer

According to a post made on the Warhammer Online beta forums by Senior Producer Jeff Hickman, the developers will be closing down the beta servers on October 10, 2007, with plans to reopen the servers in early December 2007. Before we posted this news, we called the folks at EA Mythic to make sure we weren’t breaching anything from the NDA. They gave us their blessing.

Warhammer Online fans….take a deep, deep breath. To me, this doesn’t sound like anything that you need to concern yourselves with. In fact, I’d suggest the opposite and this may be just the little “break” that WAR needs to become a truly amazing game. That said, Jeff Hickman finished off his post to the beta community stating that the Realm versus Realm experience has been a totally fantastic experience and it’ll only improve over this short break.

For those of you that were already in the beta, I’m sorry you couldn’t continue to play the game that a whole host of people are looking forward to. The rest of us can now sit back and relax until early December, when it sounds like the next phase of the beta will roll out. Until then, let’s give them EA Mythic team a round of applause for having the guts to do what they feel is necessary to create a fantastic game.


Is all press good press? Should MMO gaming ascend to mainstream culture?

That old saying comes to mind when I watch the World of Warcraft Toyota commercial: All press is good press. If you haven’t seen the new Toyota truck commercial then simply look one blog entry below this one and you will find a very brief yet effective advertisement using WoW to connect Toyota to mainstream pop culture. My reference to pop culture, instead of gaming, was because WoW has moved beyond the simple label of a ‘game’ and has progressed or ascended to the next level. Duh, right? From what I have gathered in comments and some light research WoW has made an appearance of several Stargate episodes (both SG-1 and Atlantis), The Big Bang Theory, Moonlight, and a plethora of other shows including the infamous South Park WoW episode. Is this good for the gaming industry in general or just World of Warcraft?

My initial impression of the WoW Toyota commercial was repulsion. I find it very odd and uncomfortable to see a MMORPG being used as a tool to sell Toyota trucks. Bildo made a good point in a passing comment to yesterday’s blog entry. “I say, let the mainstream roll. I want these games to make it from WoW being the only frame of reference to the term MMORPG being as household as Nintendo or Playstation. The only way for that to happen is for them to continue get mainstream exposure.” I’ve thought about this and many other comments saying that WoW is merely a stepping stone for all our games and pass-time to make it into common and acceptable mainstream culture. Honestly, I don’t care. MMORPGs are big enough now without the need for them to become household terminology. WoW has shown that it’s possible for games to achieve ‘god’ status if they choose. WoW had no help or stepping stone to get where it was. Sure there were other MMORPGs before that paved the way for those who already enjoyed gaming. Blizzard’s name itself as a popular game developing company helped as well. WoW had no WoW to piggyback on.

What is there to gain from trying to get Lord of the Rings, Warhammer, Everquest 2, or any other game hyped into pop culture? In my mind it’s degrades a game when it becomes more of a lifestyle. Listening to the stereotypical voices on the voice com during the commercial was enough for me to say thank god I no longer play WoW. Who wants to be associated with that? Let us also consider the consequences to get there. Who really wants another WoW clone or for the game you play to become more like WoW? We are already being forced to adapt our play styles or preferences to accept the pop culture crap that WoW has brought into MMORPGs. We’re being fed the same recycled code over and over and it’s becoming stale. I’m not interested.

I’m ready for something new. Nothing new will be like WoW until WoW is no longer used as a frame of reference. It’s just that simple people. If wanting something new means that MMORPGs remain the way they are (unnoticed as a majority by mainstream culture) then that’s cool with me. World of Warcraft can have the spotlight and all the consequences both good and bad that come with it. It’s just not worth the struggle.


WoW Toyota Commercial

I think I just… vomited in my mouth a little…

Yeah, it’s real – unfortunately. People have reported seeing these commercials on TV already. There were also a few WoW references in Stargate Atlantis on Friday. What is happening to this world?!


Ahoy! Release date off the starbord bow!

That’s right! PotBS has an OFFICIAL release date! So when can we expect to set sail? From BurningSea.com, the Official site:

Here it is: January 22nd, 2008!

That’s our launch date. For Real.

It’s been a very long trip. We started this project in the fall of 2002, so by the time we launch, Pirates of the Burning Sea will have been in development for more than five years. Even our closed beta program has been running since December of 2005, so that’s coming up on its two-year anniversary.

During that time we have grown from a handful of people to more than seventy full-time staff. The scale of the project has grown as well. When we started, there weren’t even going to be human avatars! Ports were just a menu where you clicked options. The whole game was much, much smaller and a lot less interesting.

At this point, we have a big fat slab of game: a giant, player-driven economy; incredible ship combat; swashbuckling swordfighting; a thousand missions; eighty towns; a conquerable world; and more adventure than we ever expected. Behind the scenes, we are working really hard to fix bugs, adjust gameplay, balance and tune the numbers, and generally get the game ready for launch. There’s still a ton of work to do and we’re hard at it.

You be sailin’ into dangerous waters there me hearties… A release date of January 22, 2008 places this so incredibly close to Warhammer Online that it could be like a deadly blast from a Ship of the Line to the broadsides of everything PotBS is working towards. However, I’ll keep an open mind and hopeful spirit about this one and say that I am glad they are not rushing the release. It’s great to see that they will continue development to turn their fat slab of a game into a juicy and delicious medium-rare masterpiece.