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Rationalizing Removal with Mark Jacobs Part 1

Updated Mon, Jul 14, 2008 by RadarX

Questions by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
Answers by: Mythic Entertainment General Manager Mark Jacobs

The community is still recovering from Friday's announcements that four capitol cities and four classes would be removed from the launch of Mythic Entertainment's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Responses have been from mild surprise to the expected outrage but General Manager Mark Jacobs has been doing his best to assuage fears and concerns. Ten Ton Hammer chatted with him recently to see if we can find out exactly why things were being removed and how he felt this would impact the overall game.


Ten Ton Hammer: When you say that we’re going with only two capitol cities is that just for Siege content?

Mark: This is for the siege content right now. Other cities will be coming in later. Here is the thing with cities, and I cannot stress this enough, our cities are like no other cities in any other MMO. There is so much content there; they are so the center of RVR. This is not DAOC cities, this is not EverQuest cities, these are not WoW cities, these are cities of a whole other level.

Whether you look at all the things you can do there that are geared towards RvR. These things are monstrous and massive, they are so integral to the game that they have to be outstanding. It just takes a lot of time to get them right. You know, we’re not perfect and no developer is, the best way to get it right is to focus on two, get it right, and put it out for the players. Let them play, both in beta and live, learn from our mistakes, see what worked, what didn’t work, then rotate in new capital cities with the lessons that we have learned from the old ones.

Altdorf Will Be Ready

Ten Ton Hammer: Since this is based upon Siege content, will we see the other cities as PvE ones?

Mark: The new cities? Not at launch, right now we just want to focus on these two cities. I mean the amount of content in them is huge. There are like one hundred quests, active, important, necessary quests in these cities. This is not like any other cities in any other game. These things have so much stuff in them that we want to get them out there and let people play in them.

See what happens, before we move on in the next cities. We’ve gone through different versions of the cities all looking and hoping to get the best design. You guys all plays MMOs, you can take three years to design something and then once the players get to it, things change. That’s all we’re doing here. We’re giving people the opportunities to tell us what we’re doing better, what we need to fix and we can improve based on that.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are there any balance concerns now that it is no longer three cities vs. three cities, but one vs. one?

Mark: You need to look at this a bit differently. It’s not cities vs. cities. It is focusing the players on each side against one target.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you think there will be a reduction in city raids with everyone being so concentrated?

Mark: No the exact opposite. We have always said, that it is going to take some time to take a city. City capture is not going to happen every day. This is a long process that your side has to go through to get to a city capture. If we had multiple cities out there, it would be an opposite impact. Players would get distracted. People would say, I don’t want to sack Altdorf today. I want to sack something else today. I am bored with Altdorf. I just don’t feel like it. It would be harder then for the group or groups to work together and accomplish the siege. Now because there is only one city for each side to sack, everyone works toward one common goal.

Ten Ton Hammer: So it is a concentration now.

Mark: Absolutely. That’s what we want. As much as we hope, that everyone who plays WAR. will play it for the RvR, do you think that is going to be the case?

Ten Ton Hammer: No.

Mark: Exactly. So if we had a server, which had a higher number of people who really don’t like RvR, and just want to play for the PvE. Maybe they occasionally RvR, with three cities, with a more distracted player base, I think the city sieges would be happening less often than we had hoped. Now, even on those servers where you don’t have as much of an RvR base, you will still be able to work together to take one city. I honestly do believe this is the right decision, even if we had three more years to work on it. Let’s say no one cared when this game came out. I don’t know if I would have changed this decision. I cannot say that about the classes, but I can say it about this. Even if we had an unlimited amount of time, I think having the player base focused on one city at a time for capture is a really, really good thing.

What we’re thinking about doing is rotating in cities, in and out. In the RvR, so let’s say in the content expansion another city pairing comes up. So the old cities get turned off to RvR. It’s not going to be there as a focus for that. Players can focus on whatever the current pairing is, and then we rotate in another pairing. When we rotate the cities out it gives us time to go back and make changes to them. To learn from out mistakes, we can say we thought this scenario was great it isn’t, we thought this design was great for the stuff in the city and it wasn’t. So we can take it out of production and put a new city in or update the city and put it back in when a new city pairing comes in. So I think for the long term health for this game I think that is critical. I think it is absolutely critical. I am very happy about this decision. I know it is hard for people to believe, but if you just think about it. Especially for the people who played DAOC, think about the issues in that game, or any game, that has RvR or PvP or something similar, getting people to focus on something can be a challenge. This forces them to focus.

Keep checking back as Mark goes into classes in Part 2.

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