Rationalizing Removal with Mark Jacobs, finale
By now you've heard about the announcment Mythic made on Friday about cutting four classes and racial cities, and if you're anything like us, you had questions galore! We were lucky enough to have Mark Jacobs, General Manager of Mythic, sit down with us last Friday and talk about some of the things that went into this decision and why it was made. Here's some of the things Mark Jacobs told us about the decisions made.
Aw'right boyz! Let's show dem nancies how real Orcs DPS!!
Ten Ton Hammer: With the removal of the tank classes and the melee dps classes, are there plans to specially "tweak" the other classes in that race to compensate for them?
Mark: Yes there is, that is the plan absolutely. We mentioned earlier about the Black Orc. If you follow the melee line, we hope that that replaces some if not all of the Choppa for now.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is that something that would have already normally been incorperated into the game?
Mark: Probably not, I think when we made the decision to pull them it became more important to do that.
Ten Ton Hammer: You have been talking about how the classes just arent up to snuff and they're playable, but just not exciting and wont grab players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you guys have any idea how long it may take to have those classes that way? Or is it just kind of a "Were working on it and it gets done when it gets done?" scenario?
Mark: If I knew for a fact, that I could have another three months and have all those other three classes in and they would be great, I would have done that. What the hell, right? I have already delayed the game twice. Two major delays anyway. So a third would not have been a big deal. In the end if that would have made it a bad game I would have gone to EA and said "Look I want another delay and here is why." I cannot say that, I really cant. I wish I could. I really, really wish I could.
What do you mean I've been decommissioned?!
This is not a discussion that happened once. This was an ongoing thing within Mythic. We just reached a point where we threw up our hands and said, "these guys just arent coming along the way we had hoped." So, will they go in at some point? Maybe. Were going to keep working on them, keep thinking about it, and keep asking if these are the right choices. I am really disappointed in losing the Choppa. Choppas are great. The Choppa rocks. However, in certain terms, the class wasnt rocking. Its so funny, because even on our Beta boards people are saying, "I cannot believe youre taking it out. I know the feedback wasnt great on it, I know that it wasnt exciting, but why are you taking it out?" Well, thats the whole point! Were taking it out because we have gotten this kind of feedback, because we know that people arent playing them.
This happens all the time on boards. You get a small percentage of the population acting like they speak for the entire population. However, this time, weve got the data. We know just how many people were playing the Choppa or the Hammerer. We know just how long they took to level. We have the surveys. We have all this data going in. There was one post on the forums that said, "I know I have provided a lot of hard feedback on the class " Well, that's the whole point! You told us, we watched, weve listened. Unlike the past where we have been accused and rightly sometimes, to listening too much to the vocal minority, this time we have the data to back it up. We have our great survey system, great metrics tools, which we did not have in the days of Camelot. Even if we have a very vocal minority who said, "hey this class was the best dont ever take it out", this time we have months and months of data showing that he was the only guy who played it. I do wish I could promise that all of them would go back in, I do wish I could promise that, I cant. I honestly dont know the answer and we wont until we have more time to work on them.
Ten Ton Hammer: So you are saying we may not see those archetypes in the game ever?
Mark: If we can make them great, they will go into the game. Youve got the Choppa, youve got the Knight, and these are really iconic characters, but again, only if they are great. I cannot emphasize this enough and I keep trying, the worst thing we could have done is put in something and then said that we are going to fix it after launch. Many games can fall in that trap, we did it with Dark Age of Camelot. We had no choice, we were out of money. So, okay, games ready! I wish we would have had another three months of cash back then because we would have fixed a few things before launch.
So the worst thing we could have done with WAR is put these classes in, knowing that these guys were the worst. Then say, "dont worry about it guys. Well fix it after launch." That only leads to bad things happening. It leads to people being disgruntled and over compensation by the developer. It leads to massive changes post launch in based system. If this was a PvE game, maybe we would have thought about it more, but this is an RvR game. If we put something in that is unfinished, if we put something in that was not great, in the hopes of fixing it afterwards, when you start trying to fix it afterwards, the impact you have is not just on that career, it is on every career in the game. That leads to the constant cycle of improve and nerf, improve and nerf. That happens in a lot of MMOs. We were not going to go down that path. It really is that simple.
Ten Ton Hammer: In terms of class balance between tanks and casters, do you think cutting two tanks and two melee classes, the game is a bit caster heavy now?
Mark: No, not really. If you are looking at pure numbers, I guess, you could just do the math. But if you look at the mastery lines, does it really matter, if there are more squishies than guys in heavy armor, not if the guys in heavy armor are great. Does it matter if one race has a slight difference, no I dont think it matters at all. If it does, you know what, we are still in beta, and if we find out we made a mistake, then well fix it. Then well find a way of making it right. Thats what beta is all about.
Hammerers? We don't need no stinkin' Hammerers!
Ten Ton Hammer: Does this now open the door for you to mess around with other classes for these races?
Ten Ton Hammer: So within the next twelve months you certainly have a broader canvas with classes?
Mark: Absolutely. I think it is safe to say, that whether we do a content expansion or an expansion pack, we hope it is a content expansion, we hope to fill in the gaps. If the guys can come up with something clever, fabulous, keep in mind this game is not Choppa WAR. We knew from the beginning we were just going to upset some people, especially, when you work with such an iconic IP as Warhammer. When we chose these careers from the beginning we took heat. People were asking us why we picked this or that, saying this is not my vision. We cant win no matter what we do and we knew that. By removing them now, we can look at them, see if we can somehow bring them in in the future. When can look at the other options we had in the Warhammer IP that may have been a better choice right from the beginning. That is a opportunity and we are going to try and make the most of that.
Ten Ton Hammer would like to thank Mark Jacobs for taking the time out of his packed schedule to talk to us in regards to the removal or the classes and the cities.
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