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Warhammer Online Beta Shutdown

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the jeff-paul-don't-leave-us-hanging dept.

Role Playing (Games) 65

Garthilk writes "Most MMOs typically go through delays in release date; EA Mythic's Warhammer Online has already been pushed back to early next year. A recent announcement from the company on their beta boards has given fans pause, though. EA Mythic is shutting down their external beta test program, and possibly won't reopen it until December. Mythic says this pause in external testing will serve as an opportunity to refine and polish the games core mechanics. A public announcement is said to follow soon."

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ob (2, Funny)

edittard (805475) | about 7 years ago | (#20904049)

Did they fail a 2D6 roll against their INT?

Re:ob (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#20904189)

Did they fail a 2D6 roll against their INT?

No. This is Warhammer, not D&D.

They succumbed to the corrosive taint of Chaos, and even now in the cubicles, the hideous bloated beasts that were once developers stalk and hunt each other in a vicious battle for supremacy in the loathsome hive of corruption that was once their office. In time one of these abominations of nature will establish itself as the master, and under its appalling leadership a ghastly crew of mutant horrors will stream forth from their lairs to bring woe and misery to the peaceful human lands.

Re:ob (0)

afabbro (33948) | about 7 years ago | (#20904213)

No. This is Warhammer, not D&D.

I'm curious what D&D you're referring to...a "2d6 roll against your INT" isn't Dungeon and Dragons, so what are you talking about?

Re:ob (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 7 years ago | (#20904229)

He's being pedantic, but he's also being funny.

Re:ob (1)

no_pets (881013) | about 7 years ago | (#20904729)

He should have said that they failed a 1d20 Saving Throw vs. Release Delay.

Re:ob (2, Funny)

Enzo the Baker (822444) | about 7 years ago | (#20905993)

I got a few emails about herbal pills that can help with that.

Re:ob (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | about 7 years ago | (#20904853)

I like how you focus on the reality of the smaller statement which was used purely to set up the longer and far more unreal statement after it. Good focus!

Re:ob (2, Funny)

Boronx (228853) | about 7 years ago | (#20905229)

So you're saying they've turned into Republicans.

Re:ob (0, Flamebait)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20907073)

So you're saying they've turned into Republicans.
A fell race of lesser men, unequal to the legacy of their forebearers, wholly given to greed, corruption, deceit, and pederasty. They wear the piety of heaven as a cloak to shield their wickedness, and they succeed in fooling dim eyes not accustomed to such skillful artifice.

So basically, yeah.

Re:ob (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20905435)

Now, now, no need to assume the worst. I'd say they only forgot to pacify the spirit of the machine properly. That's what you get when you forget to sing the correct hymns.

Re:ob (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 7 years ago | (#20907415)

I thought this MMO was going to be based on Warhammer Fantasy, not 40k? If so, they probably rolled a miscast and their lead developer was knocked back into the ranks of the other developers, taking a S10 hit with no saving throw (Ward saves allowed).

Re:ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20907979)

The winner? Ballmer.

Developers! Developers! Developers Developers Developers! Get on up AND FEAST UPON THE SOULS AND FLESH OF THE LIVING developers! Wooo! Yeah! Developers!

Re:ob (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 7 years ago | (#20910759)

Did they fail a 2D6 roll against their INT?
No. This is Warhammer, not D&D.

I shouldn't be this pedantic, but rolling 2D6 against INT is Warhammer. Or used to be, at least. I admit I haven't played WFB since the third edition, but there, rolling 2D6 against INT, LD, CL or WP was pretty normal. D&D uses d20, however.

Warcry... (2, Funny)

Shipwack (684009) | about 7 years ago | (#20910911)

"Code for the code god! Code for the code god!"

Re:ob (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 7 years ago | (#20904515)

No, but it looks like the mods rolled a bad fumble when casting 'get joke'.

Feels like Vanguard... (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | about 7 years ago | (#20904075)

Feels like Vanguard all over again, only this the devs/publisher cut the beta-testers out of the loop. I'm not in the Warhammer Beta, but was in the Vanguard Beta. I read this and thought of how many times the Sigil crew said they were reworking the "core mechanics" and ended up releasing a product with no direction (and way too early.)

Re:Feels like Vanguard... (1)

tocqueville (63355) | about 7 years ago | (#20904093)

Definitely way too early. Too bad they were forced to due to cash problems. Vanguard could have been so much better.

Re:Feels like Vanguard... (1)

servognome (738846) | about 7 years ago | (#20904215)

Definitely way too early. Too bad they were forced to due to cash problems. Vanguard could have been so much better.
Ditto for SWG... *sigh* how can you launch when a guy named Swiggy was crashing one of the beta servers constantly for several days.

Re:Feels like Vanguard... (2, Informative)

Steeltalon (734391) | about 7 years ago | (#20904341)

I thought that SWG's bigger problem was that Raph Koster decided to design whatever the hell he wanted and just slap the Star Wars name on it. Next to that albatross the troubles they had with their beta program seem minor.

Re:Feels like Vanguard... (1)

toolie (22684) | about 7 years ago | (#20913637)

I thought that SWG's bigger problem was that Raph Koster decided to design whatever the hell he wanted and just slap the Star Wars name on it.
That was one part of the problem. The other was that under the license agreement, SOE basically had to follow LucasArts' directions. That, combined with having that fucktard Koster as a lead basically doomed what could've been an amazing game.

Re:Feels like Vanguard... (1)

jamie(really) (678877) | about 7 years ago | (#20914749)

I actually enjoyed SWG when it first came out, before they completely changed the skill system. I could play casually with my mates, who played hard-core, and still contribute to the experience in meaningful ways, e.g. healing a TKA just before he died, saving him from a long walk back. I built a shuttle port thats still in use.

I suppose the fact that I'm not hard-core, however, may be why they rejigged it. OTOH, I had three paid-for subscriptions, which they lost when that happened.

they forgot to paint the figures (4, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#20904099)

Everyone knows they are not playable till ya paint 'em.

Re:they forgot to paint the figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20905083)

I'm seriously hoping they include painter as a crafting profession in this game.

Re:they forgot to paint the figures (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#20913043)

I think that would be breaking the 4th wall... which is the whole reason for the painting in the first place.

Sometimes... (2, Funny)

Cleon (471197) | about 7 years ago | (#20904147)

Translation: "We realized that the whole thing was a steaming pile of crap, and needed to be seriously re-engineered."

Sometimes you just have to realize that your "Beta" is more of an "Alpha."

Re:Sometimes... (1)

MrTester (860336) | about 7 years ago | (#20904199)

Is there a reason beyond general pessimisim that this is causing so much greif?

Reading the announcement it looks to me more like "Weve gotten everything we want from this part of the beta, the next changes will take a while to impliment and we are not a charity who is going to suply the beta testers with a free game for the next 6 weeks for no purpose."

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Knara (9377) | about 7 years ago | (#20904271)

It's odd because usually when one phase is over, they move over to another phase by introducing new players from alternate sources. Completely turning off a beta for a few months is unusual.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20904893)

It's not all that unusual. I've been in a couple different betas that had short periods of open beta followed by short or medium periods of closed beta, over and over. It allows them to do some serious testing on major changes during the closed periods, and do general heavy-load testing (and free advertising, since they get so few bug reports from the 'testers') during the open betas.

I will admit that most companies don't do it that way, but it's not 'unusual.'

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Knara (9377) | about 7 years ago | (#20911991)

If "most companies don't do it that way", by definition it's unusual.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Ribbo.com (885396) | about 7 years ago | (#20904301)

It's only the griefers causing the grief :-)

Re:Sometimes... (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | about 7 years ago | (#20904821)

Actually, seeing beta-test as "suply the beta testers with a free game for the next 6 weeks for no purpose" is arguably the worst attitude a company can have, and chances are the effects will be seen in the final game.

1. That's some people who put up with some major bugs and crap balance, to help you fix the game. For the price of a "free game." If you were to hire internal testers for that, even at minimum wage in Elbonia, it would cost you more than 10$-15$ a month. In fact, you'd have to give those a copy of the game too, so that evens out to meaning that the volunteers essentially work for you for 0$ a month.

If anyone actually sees it as doing them some royal favour by letting them beta-test your crap, it denotes a head-up-the-ass attitude that doesn't put much value on getting those bugs reported and fixed. It doesn't bode well.

But more importantly

2. If it had been beta-quality stage, never mind the stage where it would actually be offering a finished game for free, it makes no sense to abort it for 6 months. Either (A) you decide it's actually ready and proceed to the stress test and launch, or (B) that final stage is one of continuous tweaking-and-seeing-the-results and a rush to find as many bugs as you can. Both are things you don't do in short fits and bursts. Well, not if you actually care about delivering a finished and polished product.

Balance tweaks, for example, you can get sorta right on paper with lots of maths. (Though the average game designer seems unable and uninterested in taking a spreadsheet and nailing that maths in detail.) But to _really_ know if it works or not, you have to see what thousands of players come up with as ways to abuse it. And see what happens if you add 1% to this spell, or subtract 1% from that armour class. It's not something you can get right in 1-2 big sweeping changes tested briefly every 6 months.

Bugs too don't just mean the big obvious fuck-ups, which shouldn't have made it past the internal testing anyway. It means race conditions that happen to the average player maybe once a month, or stuff that involves the player being on the exact pixel between terrain tiles, or whatever. Because it's that kind of thing that will bite you in the arse at release. A bug that happens only once a month to 1 player, will happen 10,000 times a day when you have 300,000 subscribers.

So it makes no imaginable sense to abort a beta for 6 months, if the game was indeed at beta stage. It only makes sense if you decide that you fucked up so badly, that you need 6 months just to (hopefully) bring it to a _real_ beta stage.

It's not pessimism, it's just realism. That's how it works.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

MmmmAqua (613624) | about 7 years ago | (#20913747)

They're shutting down for maybe six WEEKS to do a whole lot of bugfixing and gameplay tweaks all at once, without having to worry about spending the extra development time to make sure every incremental change is (probably) going to work on (most) beta testers' machines. You don't even have to read more than the article summary to understand that!

I don't think it's a big deal. EA/Mythic doesn't have an obligation to ensure that I can play the beta 24 hours a day, every day until launch without interruption. They have an obligation to use the feedback they get from beta testers and the load testing on their servers to improve the game so that the final product is fun to play.

I suppose this wouldn't be Slashdot, though, if a lot of people who aren't playing the beta and didn't RTFA refrained from spouting off with ill-informed rants that don't add anything useful to the discussion.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Medrin (1170107) | about 7 years ago | (#20913821)

The gist I got from the letter they sent out was that they had a few core changes they wanted to implement(More diversity in classes and skills, better PQs) before they began the next phase of beta, without having (relativly) expensive servers stagnating while they worked on the fixes.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#20904219)

Translation: "We realized that the whole thing was a steaming pile of crap, and needed to be seriously re-engineered."

To be fair, this is what testing is for. They've done their testing, decided some stuff's not right, now they're off to fix it for a couple of months.

At a guess, it turned out that absolutely everyone wanted to be Chaos, and they've had to go away and rebalance the races a bit.

Re:Sometimes... (2, Funny)

bateleur (814657) | about 7 years ago | (#20909533)

If they balance the races that will hardly be a faithful reproduction of GW's games!

At least they're admitting it? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | about 7 years ago | (#20905795)

After seeing so many MMOs fall flat-out on their faces after launch, if they managed to fix the game (I played a demo at Comic-Con, it was far from completed) then I say keep on delaying it.

Re:Sometimes... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 7 years ago | (#20908431)

Translation: "We realized that the whole thing was a steaming pile of crap, and needed to be seriously re-engineered."
"...and we know it will be completely unplayable during re-engineering, so we shut down Beta for a while".
I guess this is the most likely explanation.

Meh... (3, Funny)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 7 years ago | (#20904169)

Blizzard will still continue to copy off of Warhammer, regardless if it comes out or not.

Re:Meh... (2, Funny)

Rayonic (462789) | about 7 years ago | (#20904221)

Blizzard usually does a better job making Warhammer-ish games than whoever has the actual Warhammer license. (Though I hear the latest WH20k RTS is pretty cool.)

Re:Meh... (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | about 7 years ago | (#20904779)

Though I hear the latest WH20k RTS is pretty cool

Yes, but it's only half as good as the official WH40K game.

Re:Meh... (2, Funny)

SkyFalling (1115231) | about 7 years ago | (#20905701)

Yeah, but who wants to wait another 20k years? Besides, sequels always disappoint. I betcha Madden 40k will still be just the same game as it is now. ;)

Re:Meh... (2, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | about 7 years ago | (#20907077)

Money talks. It looks like Blizzard did a better copy of Warhammer than Warhammer did. That's okay. The Warhammer guys copied all their stuff off Tolkien anyway, right? Elves, Orks, Dwarves.. jeez.

Of course, if you think any of that copying is acceptable, then that kinda means you have to also accept that Disney's business practices are in any way "acceptable".

It's a painful place to be....

Re:Meh... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | about 7 years ago | (#20909333)

Of course, if you think any of that copying is acceptable, then that kinda means you have to also accept that Disney's business practices are in any way "acceptable".
And why wouldn't they be acceptable? I don't really see what's wrong with taking old stories and animating them. There's lots of good reasons to hate them (they are the poster-child of the oppressive copyright regime after all), but "copying" just isn't it.

Re:Meh... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | about 7 years ago | (#20911021)

Of course, if you think any of that copying is acceptable, then that kinda means you have to also accept that Disney's business practices are in any way "acceptable".

Well, Disney copying old stories isn't bad as such. The attitude of "We, ahem, re-invented them, and now nobody can ever make a better version of it forevermore" is what is the problem.

Though, Disney folks have done good stuff too. The animated films and series are pretty much yawnsome compared to the comics, some of which are completely brilliant. I mean, the stuff that made me a geek [inducks.org] =)...

Re:Meh... (1)

sgant (178166) | about 7 years ago | (#20908295)

Didn't Blizzard go to the people at Games Workshop years and years ago about doing a video game based on Warhammer? But they were turned away by Games Workshop and so Blizzard decided to just make their own.

If that's true, wonder how their feeling about it now.

NDA anyone? (1)

Necroman (61604) | about 7 years ago | (#20904237)

Gotta love how the news got leaked out. This was supposed to be covered by the NDA but it escaped from the forums (and it was emailed to testers as well).

It's a lot easier to deal with an internal test team than a large external one. Don't have to worry about supporting the end-users (testers) as much. Don't need to worry about server downtimes and preparing/serving up patches. If Mythic feels they need to do this, it may be good. I still have a lot of faith in the company because of DAoC.

Re:NDA anyone? (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 years ago | (#20905603)

I still have a lot of faith in the company because of DAoC.

You played Hibs, didn't you?

Re:NDA anyone? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 7 years ago | (#20914691)

Their past with DAoC can be both good and bad.

Good: DAoC had a great initial design
Bad: Mythic has a nasty case of "Killer DM" syndrome. They ignored the complaints of their playerbase for two years after ToA's release without doing anything until it was too late and WoW provided another place for the playerbase to go. By the time Mythic finally fixed ToA (prompted by their plummeting subscriber numbers) it was too late.

And of course, EA is now in the loop. They don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to MMOs... How many games have they attempted to launch that either never made to launch or were spectacular failures after launch? I don't know the numbers, but it's 100% of any MMO attempt from EA so far.

Skaven! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20904289)

Call me when Skaven is a playable race.

I love Skaven! (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 7 years ago | (#20911109)

I play Skaven [modarchive.org] all the time. Skaven rocks!

Though some days, I dig Purple Motion [modarchive.org] just a bit more.

Maybe they learned a lesson? (4, Insightful)

Pearson (953531) | about 7 years ago | (#20904387)

Gordon Walton, co-studio director at BioWare Austin, summed it up in a speech he gave last month at the Austin Game Developer's Conference. (a write up on the speech can be found here [gamasutra.com]

"I think that quality was a true innovation on Blizzard's part. Nobody had done that before at that level of play. Because they did that, their game stood out night and day above everybody else's games. What's the biggest mistake? What everybody did without exception -- shoving it out the door.

"You have one chance to make a first impression; the brand value of an MMO is created within the first week of launch. End of story. You're done the first week... I say a week, but it might even be a day. It's a post-World Of Warcraft world. You better do that."


So I take this as a positive sign that Mythic wants to make a bunch of money, and realize that if they don't take the time to do it right the first time, it will not make the kind of money they want.

IP holder. (4, Insightful)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | about 7 years ago | (#20904565)

Games Workshop is widely known to be very hands on and overly protective of their IP. It could be that Mythic is obligated to make sure that everything they do as far a gameplay and strategy is the most perfect blend of table-top style gaming and the MMORPG style of gaming. If they don't get it just right, I have a feeling they could see a lawsuit from the IP holder, whether Mythic is able to make a killing on the game or not.

This is of course, all speculation.

Re:IP holder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20909275)

Games Workshop already scrapped the earlier incarnation of Warhammer Online because they were not content with the design. For all the bad things you can say about GW, they have always taken a lot of care that products with their label on have a high quality, even if it means delays or altogether scrapping bad products.

Re:IP holder. (1)

Taulin (569009) | about 7 years ago | (#20910417)

I think it would be great if like you said Games Workshop came over, and gave the thumbs down. It's really weird how most companies shove things out the door so fast. I do specialized app development for many different clients, and every single one of them has always delayed launch to make us perfect and add features, despite their loss. Why is it with games it is an opposite world where things get pushed out the door? This may be proof that companies do not look at games as actual products, but something else.

Re:IP holder. (1)

MrBulwark (862510) | about 7 years ago | (#20911527)

Unlike business aps, Game software shows it's age much faster. You have to release it while you game engine/graphics looks current. A game from 5 years ago looks much worse than a business application from 5 years ago. Wolfenstein3D looked awesome back in the day, but now its dissapointing.

Re:Maybe they learned a lesson? (1)

ricree (969643) | about 7 years ago | (#20904629)

"I think that quality was a true innovation on Blizzard's part. Nobody had done that before at that level of play. Because they did that, their game stood out night and day above everybody else's games. What's the biggest mistake? What everybody did without exception -- shoving it out the door.
It's been a few years, but Dark Age of Camelot had one of the smoothest launches of its time. While I'm sure that the company has changed a lot since then (they've expanded massively and been bought out by EA), I'm fairly sure that the same people are running the show and they should realize how much a smooth launch paid off for them in the past.

Re:Maybe they learned a lesson? (1)

freshmayka (1043432) | about 7 years ago | (#20905359)

Ahhhh unlike Richard Garriot and his "WE ONLY NEED ONE MORE WEEK TO FIX THIS PUPPY!" delay of Tabula Rasa... or shall I call it "Just Another Doomed MMO In A Post WoW World"

Re:Maybe they learned a lesson? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 7 years ago | (#20906835)

"I think that quality was a true innovation on Blizzard's part. Nobody had done that before at that level of play. Because they did that, their game stood out night and day above everybody else's games. What's the biggest mistake? What everybody did without exception -- shoving it out the door.
This quote just restored my faith in WAR. Finally someone gets it. Finally someone in charge of a game company actually understands what makes Blizzard games different. Sure, you can't polish a turd, but that doesn't mean don't polish. You have to start with a diamond, and then you'd better polish it to within an inch of its life, or that magic first impression won't be there.

Translation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20904775)

We're tired of babysitting all these crybabies who think they're playing a production game.

Yeah, yeah, your fucking horse fell off the cliff, shut up already; I'm trying to track down the money dupe bug your clan-mates have been exploiting for the past two weeks.

Yes, we know about it. No, we're not going to punish you, we want to figure out how you're doing it.

What?? Now you other fuckers from another clan are bitching that we're 'not enforcing the rules' and how 'this game is totally gonna suck cause the admins don't do anything to prevent cheating'?

This is a BETA people; wait, fuck it, it's now an ALPHA. Get off our servers and let us do some real work. We'll let 10% of you assholes back in when we need some real help.

Thank you, and get a life.

Re:Translation (1)

analog_line (465182) | about 7 years ago | (#20906421)

NO, PLEASE!!!

Don't make them all come back to World of Warcraft and annoy the hell out of us more. =(

We thought we'd finally been rid of them.

Re:Translation (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 7 years ago | (#20906899)

You haven't been playing WoW long, have you? :P If you had you'd know that they'd be back within 3 months anyway. Most of my friends quit WoW for Guild Wars... yep, back in a couple of months. I quit WoW for Vanguard (and again for RL) - I'm still playing. "They'll come crawling back" is the catchphrase here. Make sure ya give 'em shit about it too! :P

Well who wants to run a beta when (1)

anduz (1027854) | about 7 years ago | (#20911797)

The release of Mass Effect is approaching?

Mark Jacobs responds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911839)

Mark Jacobs (head of Mythic) has responded here: http://forums.f13.net/index.php?topic=11052.msg351002#msg351002 [f13.net]

For what it's worth, I don't think the game is in any serious trouble. Unlike many MMO studios, they've shown lots of playable content to the public. If they don't restart the beta after two months, maybe then it's a sign of trouble.

What really happened (1)

cpt.hugenstein (1025183) | about 7 years ago | (#20912007)

The bastards at Games Workshop has released a new series of figures and all old figures are no longer playable causing the mmo team to go back and redesign all of their character models.

O RLY? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 years ago | (#20913387)

Redo the game's core mechanics? Come on, how hard is it to implement big meat bags with taunt, healers, blasters, and retarded AI that recognizes none of this?
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