Richard Duffek and EA Mythic part ways (Confirmed)

Well the rumors we posted here at KeenandGraev.com are sadly true. Missy Hatch had the following to say at the War Herald:

“Richard Duffek and EA Mythic parted ways as of this morning. We thank him for his contribution to the organization over the past years, and wish him the best in his future endeavors. James Nichols and Missy Hatch will be acting as general Community gurus for Warhammer Online for the time being.”

We are sad to see Richard depart from the community and we wish him the best of luck wherever his career and life may take him. We look forward to creating new bonds with James Nichols and Missy Hatch as they lead the WAR community. Best of luck to them as well.


RUMOR: Richard Duffek is no longer with EA Mythic?

Confirmed as of 12 Sep 2007 18:21:53 EST 

Due to the large interest this topic has shown across Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Fansites, I would like to state the following up front to make it very clear. We certainly do hope that this rumor is false and the information we have been given is in error. Richard Duffek has earned respect among our community and I truly hope, again, that his is false.

This is currently hearsay so take it for what it’s worth. Rumor has it that Richard Duffek is no longer with EA Mythic. This news comes as a complete shock to me especially after having written such praise for Richard in yesterday’s blog entry.

UPDATE on facts that we know so far!

– Richard’s message board accounts on Warhammer Alliance and Vault Network no longer reflect any connections to EA Mythic. Previously his signature stated his status as Community Coordinator for EA Mythic. (To clarify, the Warhammer Alliance still has him VIP’d but his signature has changed.)

– Message board posters are starting to pick up on this and ask questions – no responses so far.

– Richard’s profile on War-RvR.net has been changed.

I will try and stay on top of this rumor to prove it’s validity and keep you all updated. I certainly hope that it’s untrue. I have had high hopes for the community in the hands of Richard.


Loads of LOTRO Info! Housing and Patches and Content OH MY!

The Stratics House of Commons had their dev chat two nights ago and the transcript is up!  During the chat Patience, Orion, Keth, Scenario, Saffron, Constant, and Annuvin (I think I got them all!) were flooded with questions on housing, Book 11, and the developers plans for the future of LOTRO.  While the questions regarding ‘plans’ were artfully dodged with nebulous responses (no surprise there) we did receive quite a bit of information on housing and Book 11.  First up let me share a few of the highlights from the chat:

Sprite – *Icidian* How many different types of homes will there be in the 30 home neighborhoods?
Scenario – Each neighborhood will have thirty houses. Out of those thirty – 16 are “Tier 1”, 10 are “Tier 2” and 4 are Kinship Homes.

So right off we now know that there will be Kinship housing.  At first I was unsure that there would be any form of kinship support when it was stated that there would be no kinship neighborhoods.  This is a pleasant surprise and one worthy of further discussion.  To go deeper into the housing revelations:

Sprite – *Mirbain* Will Kinship Housing have Crafting areas? Also how much will housing cost and will there be a continous fee to keep a house?
Keth – Well, we have definitely been talking about how to incorporate crafting and forges into housing, however we aren’t sure what shape that will take yet.
Keth – We want to promote a sense of neighborhood in our housing, so it may appear as part of that, or it may appear as part of kinship housing.
Keth – Or it might appear as something altogether different.
Keth – As for costs, I can’t get into that yet, because that’s still being determined, however there will be an initial cost to purchase a house and regular upkeep.
Keth – We want to make sure that the cost and the upkeep are within the reach of everyone, so don’t get too worried about costs yet.

If you remember from DAOC guild housing quickly became THE way to craft.  By adding crafting stations to homes Mythic effectively created ghost towns in major cities such as Jordheim where you could spend all day wandering around and maybe see one newbie.  While Turbine runs the same risk I like the idea of making neighborhoods into focal community gathering points.  Perhaps by creating crafting stations somewhere in the neighborhood they could in a sense create a social gathering point.  This could work out in favor of practical implementation for those wanting to craft and for players seeking a more immersive experience of block parties and such.

In an interview at the Austin GDC the CEO of Turbine said that decorating your house would involve “hooks”.  I interpret this as saying that there will be specific locations in your house where certain items/decorations can go.  Your couch can only go here, your pictures can only go there, etc.  Sadly that eliminates such customization options as seen in EQ2 and Vanguard, but it still allows for a customizable experience as stated below:

Sprite – *Theoldwizard* Hello, I also have a question about the houses, will they be able to be customized? Or will it be just one way
Keth – (we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.)
Scenario – Home-owners will be able to decorate the interiors and exteriors of their homes with a variety of different furnishings, some obtained from a vendor, others by crafting and some through the trials of battle. You will also be able to modify the colors and materials used to construct the interiors of your home.

Changing the colors and materials inside the houses, given enough options, will suffice for me.  I definitely look forward to finding different trophies from huntings and raiding to add to my housing arsenal.  Moving away from the housing talk, there was also a ton of information on content coming in Book 11:

Sprite – *Eekamouse* Can they tell us any more about the new zones coming in Book 11? Will they be raid content? PvMP content? Or, more 6-man instance content?
Scenario – Book 11 does not introduce any new regions to the landscape but it does add quite a lot of a couple of existing regions.
Scenario – In the Trollshaws, players will be able to explore Tal Bruinen – the hills and marshes south of the Bruinen Ford. The Misty Mountains nearly doubles in size with the addition of the High Pass. And what is the High Pass without a trip down…. down down to Goblin-Town!
Scenario – We’ll also be making additions to the landscape with our Housing system and stretching the abilities of our dungeon technology with our second raid instance.
Annuvin – In general, we’re focusing on smaller instances. As it stands, the majority of players (based on our secret marketing ninjas, that are watching you from behind your flatscreens)
Annuvin – have a hard time getting into full sized fellowships, let alone larger groups. So… yeah.

*Sadface*  I really was hoping for more ‘new’ stuff to see.  The addition of High Pass and the Goblin-Town really does sound fun though.  During the interview it was also mentioned that they will focus heavily on the Goblins and be revealing Gollum finally!

LOTRO is moving at… a healthy pace.  I can’t really say they’re pushing ahead full steam because they’re taking a really long time to produce new and interesting things for those of us stuck at the top.  It’s become blatantly obvious that there is too little to do when you reach the top and hopefully with the ‘expansion’ of the world more options become available.  The game is still good and it’s far from failing, but if they don’t kick it into high gear soon they will feel a serious hurt when WAR and AoC hit the shelves.

Definitely check out the full House of Commons Developer Chat.


The WAR community is in good hands

Thanks go out to Kevin from The Server is Down for the link to this interview. Today Warhammer Conflict posted an interview with EA Mythic’s Community Coordinator Richard Duffek. The interview focused on, conveniently, the hurdles that Richard and his team will have to overcome when dealing with such an enormous MMO release. If you play or ever did play Dark Age of Camelot it is likely that you remember the Camelot Herald. What an amazing addition to the community and game that website was, am I right? Commonly referred to as the Herald, this website bridged the gap between the devs and the players by offering a feedback system and many common tools that players would actually need and want to use! Remembering back to the early days when DAOC was still in it’s prime there was a constant struggle for control in the Frontiers and it was often not easy to find who controlled what keep and frankly it was never easy to know where the heck any of these places were. I remember always checking the Herald for information on server status, maps, and important announcements from the devs.

Warhammer Conflict asked Richard what plans are in place to make up for the lack of any official forums. The answer actually makes sense! Similar to the Camelot Herald, there will be a feedback system for players to send in complaints, suggestions, praise, questions, bug reports, and more. Many people out there are still, I’m sure, skeptical about the lack of communication between players and devs and whether or not without forums there will be any communication at all. Personally I feel that the Camelot Herald system worked and if brought up to speed it can work again for Warhammer Online. A quote from Richard should put all of your minds at ease: “We’ve found over the years that the signal-to-noise ratio is FAR FAR lower with this type of setup over having “official forums”. And of course we’ll still maintain a presence on all the community Fansites to gather information and feedback from there as well.” He has me convinced.

There is great potential in the WAR Herald. If it lives up to the expectations being placed upon it we could easily have the greatest community of developer-player interaction ever. Richard is awesome. I have great faith in his ability to coordinate our community and sustain a thriving link of communication between the devs and the blood thirsty fans. Having seen first hand his dedication to the community I feel that we are not only good hands, but the best hands possible. I look forward to seeing this community evolve.


Keen and Graev’s Podcast Episode 3

We’ve made it to our third episode of Keen and Graev’s Podcast! We’re proud of this mini accomplishment and hope that our listeners have found KGPodcastthe information both entertaining and useful. Looking back from when we first started, as if it were so long ago, we really have come a long way. Creating a podcast is really tougher than I had at first anticipated, yet it’s much more fun and rewarding as well. We’re a few days late (again!) on this podcast as we try and figure out a good time for both of us to sit down where it’s quiet. For now you can continue to expect a podcast approx. once every two weeks. We hope you enjoy!

As usual, the podcast is available for listening right on the front page of KeenandGraev.com!

Episode 3 Notes:


What have we been playing?
Keen: Rune Factory, LOTRO, Travian
Graev: Warhawk, Bioshock, Rune Factory, Monster Hunter Freedom 2

Console Stuff
Rune Factory – addicting farm simulator
WarHawk – initial impressions
Call of Duty 4 Beta – downloading now!
Bioshock – completed
Lair – soaring to new heights of disappointment

PC Gaming
Thoughts on Tabula Rasa? Flop or innovation?
Age of Conan is starting to look good. Siege demo with attackable villages and real time construction.
Vanguard’s potential comeback – short lived?
LOTRO Housing – loads of info!

Blog Pimpage
Darren from CommonSenseGamer.com – Are Bloggers press? Our thoughts on the topic.