EA Announces Lots Of Sales, Layoffs

2Q09 report is out today:

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMO from EA’s Mythic Entertainment
studio, sold 1.2 million copies in the quarter – with over 800 thousand current players.

That would make Warhammer the 3rd most popular Western MMO (Runescape being #2). However the wording is… odd.

EA announced today a cost reduction plan, which will include the elimination of approximately
6% of the Company’s workforce.

Ouch. That would be around 540 people.

HEY MASSIVELY

Do you think you could make at least 50% of your RSS feed content actual, you know, content?

I know people gotta make a livin’ but this is just ridiculous.

Warhammer Is Totally Freakin' Metal

No, really. They said it!

When the Heavy Metal live event begins on November 17th, players who log into WAR will see a new tab in the Tome of Knowledge. Clicking on this tab will open the Live Events page, where each day we’ll place a new daily task. Completing these daily tasks earns influence, just like you’d earn in a public quest. There are rewards for Basic, Advanced and Elite influence, culminating in the ultimate prize: the chance to play WAR’s new classes a full week before they’re released to the public! This last reward won’t be easy to earn, and players who want to get to the Elite level will need to log in each day and complete on the daily event.

Not that, you know, anything else is going on in the MMO world in mid-November.

All You Zombies: A Message From Your Lich King

My deepest apologies.

It is my understanding that my invading forces, in their attempts to besiege your cities and snuff out all life on Azeroth, have inconvenienced the activities of common civilians. In the future, I will ensure that your commanding officers are informed well in advance of planned invasion times so that they may properly fortify themselves.

I have also looked into the issue of my plague being too quick in its purpose and too difficult to cure. Please be reassured that I have taken the matter up personally with my top necromancers and that any further incarnations of said plague should be only a slight challenge for your natural immune systems to overcome. Please forward any additional complaints to either Kel’thuzad or Anub’arak. 

Regards,
the Lich King Arthas.

(Source)

All You Zombies: Shuffling Off Into The Sunset

In an announcement COMPLETLEY UNRELATED to the Blizzard forums exploding with pro- and anti-zombie related sentiment, Jeff “Tigole” Kaplan announces that the zombie plague is ending today.

While we recognize that the event could prove to be disruptive at times, we hope you made the most out of it while it lasted. Part of playing in a “living and breathing world” means that things are going to change from time to time. We meant no harm but only wanted to create a lasting impression on players as they head to Northrend to defeat the Lich King. The Lich King’s goals (as you will soon learn) are to turn the Horde and Alliance not only on one another, but on their own kind as well. I think the plague truly demonstrated this firsthand.

Have Kaplan and Blizzard learned anything about implementing world events from this? Let’s ask the Angry Eight Ball!

Well, there you go.

All You Zombies: Everything I Needed To Know About Event Design I Learned From F13

So, at first blush, turning every World of Warcraft server into a zombie movie? AWESOME!

Turning every server into a PvP server? Eh, not so much.

Blizzard has a history of telling whiners to STFU about such things, and this is no exception. As CM Nethaera says, if having an event where other players randomly cause all your quest turn-in and flight NPCs and you yourself to explode upsets you… maybe it’s just you.

While we don’t mind constructive feedback, this event will continue and has an end. It’s not forever, though some would like it to be.

 

If this event is causing you undue pain or stress, then, it might be a good idea to take a little time off until it is over. Again, it won’t last much longer and has an end. It’s important that you take care of yourself first and foremost above anything else.

Remember kids, it’s just a game! Certainly not a world or a social hub or anything like that that would preclude care being taken in randomly upsetting millions of people as an introduction to a new expansion.

 

The curiously named WoW blogger Lume the Mad has more commentary, including tales of his thwacking errant guildmates.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having fun with people near the cap, considering they can immediately defend themselves. But thinking about the lowbies who have yet to build up connections on a server, I can’t help but wonder how frustrating this event must be for them. How many of them have quit over this fiasco? I’m willing to bet a rather sizable amount. The fact that safeguards weren’t put in place for low level areas is greatly disappointing.

 

What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose to becoming a zombie other than to kill and infect other players and NPC’s. If there was actually a quest to perform as a zombie, and if lowbies could actually defend themselves, I’d be a whole lot more forgiving and inclined to view the event in a positive light. I definitely think it has its place as a fundamental concept. But the specifics are broken.

In retrospect, there are some takeaways here.

  • Players really, really like world events that mix things up, especially ones that allow you to temporarily ‘play the bad guys’.
  • Players absolutely cannot be trusted with ‘playing the bad guys’, especially on servers specifically set aside from world PvP (where you can assume players selected those servers for a reason). Given the ability to kill other players with impunity, unsurprisingly for those of us with MMO live team experience, a very high percentage will immediately rush to new player areas and make the lives of those who thanks to game mechanics can’t do anything about it a living hell. While laughing. And bitching at anyone who tries to stop them.
  • No one at all is complaining about the temporary new dungeon/raiding content.
  • Maybe keeping the brainsucking zombies segregated in a high level city (oh, I don’t know, maybe Shattrath, where you have to be level 60 to gain access unassisted) would be a nice compromise.
  • Telling your players STFU and log out if you don’t like it? Not the best idea.

Anyway, it won’t last much longer, and if suffering random death and expensive durability hits upsets you for some reason, well, I’m told there are other games which would be glad to have you! Oh, wait.