Axe drops at Warhammer dev as subs sink to 300K

With MMORPG's subscriber base shrinking rapidly, Mark Jacobs confirms his studio is "resizing"; rumors put cuts at up to 130.

As part of its grim earnings report yesterday, Electronic Arts announced that it lost $641 million during the October-December quarter of last year. One reason behind the shortfall was the declining subscriber base of the Mythic Entertainment-developed Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Though the game hit 750,000 subscribers three weeks after the game's launch in September, EA said yesterday that the North American and European base had fallen to just 300,000.

The headsman cometh.

Now, it appears as if Warhammer Online's dwindling user base is having an adverse effect on its developer. In a post to Warhammer Online's official Web site, Mythic studio GM Mark Jacobs confirmed that his studio is undergoing a measure of downsizing, maintaining that the head-count reduction is a product of the game's life cycle.

"Mythic has always been committed to maintaining a high level of development and customer service to our MMO players," said Jacobs. "Though we are resizing the team to move from a prelaunch to a postlaunch size, we remain fully committed to creating and delivering the best WAR experience."

Jacobs went on to say that staff reductions in the customer service, quality assurance, and play-testing departments were a result of decreased demand, now that players have become acclimated to the massively multiplayer online game. "Staffing numbers will always map to consumer needs--it goes up when we launch new products and expand popular ones, and comes back down as players become familiar with the game," said Jacobs.

The Mythic GM did not specifically say how much lighter his studio is running. However, game blog Joystiq asserts that the total layoffs ranged between 60 and 130, with a number of senior designers among those served their walking papers.

EA expects to drop head count across its many studios by 1,100 in the coming months. The publisher has already enacted a number of these cuts, with such studios as Skate 2 and Need for Speed developer Black Box and Madden NFL office EA Tiburon both having confirmed layoffs in the past month.

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142 comments
invictuslemming
invictuslemming

I really think WAR's pvp centric nature kills off subscribers before the game gets good. For the first two tiers of leveling (basically levels 1 - 21) world pvp (aka oRvR), at least on my server consists of a war party (raid) running around capturing points which are being defended by 5 npcs.. not very fun is it. The pvp centric nature of the game is great, and works well, when there are people to actually fight and move the story along, right now the lower levels are limited in population, and as a result the leveling content in the lower levels gets cut down mind-numbing, Kill mob A, return to NPC B quest grinding. World pvp is really non existant until the later levels, unfortunately many people get bored long before that point and just give up. I don't agree when people say the PVE aspect of warhammer is equal to warcraft, warcraft does a far better job in the earlier levels with a plethora of dungeons to draw in the player and guide them up the levels. In warhammer, the game starts slow, too slow it seems for most people, and they lose interest before the game gets interesting in the later levels. If you were to take warcraft, and strip it of all the dungeons, and longer quest chains, you would be left with WAR's PVE content in earlier levels. I really think if they fixed the early level aspect, and made it more engaging, subscribers would stick around and see the full potential of the game, I love the game, its a great amount of fun. Its just the issue of patience to get your character to that point where the fun occurs.

dg3215
dg3215

Looks like another WOW killer is dying.. Sad really cause WOW is not all that fun or engaging

Eldramesha
Eldramesha

I found the lack of an open world similar to other MMOs I've played to be rather jarring. I mostly got bored with it; there's some much there that was simply under utilized.

leo_p
leo_p

I have no idea why more people aren't playing WAR, the PVP is over the top, easily better than any other MMO on the market, and the PVE is on par with other MMO's. The world is a lot richer and has a lot more depth than ANY other MMO given that the universe has been around for 25 years and it has been wonderfully translated into the game. This is a fantastic game and I really hope the 10 day free trial helps people to see that.

cyberhawk000
cyberhawk000

for those of you who dont know free trails are available just check the forums here if you want a key.

kaos_da_top_dog
kaos_da_top_dog

Look i aint no MMO fan. But I love warhammer lol. I have been playing warhammer since beta and am still playing. the game is better then ever at the moment rvr is insane. I had been waiting for this game even before mythic picked it up, back when another company was developing it. As I couldnt wait for it and to try out a MMO I downlaoded the free trial of warcraft. I am been completely honest here, It was crap. It actually made me reconcider getting into an MMO. it was boring, it hurt my eyes( the graphics where that bad, trust me you guys have been playing it to long you just dont notice anymore, and questing is just so boring. Luckily I got accepted into the beta of warhammer and it blew me away. Believe me people need to give warhammer more credit. they deal with problems straight away and the game is patched all he time. their team is great and the game is only getting better and better.

migduvednok
migduvednok

oh, and moreover - none of these big MMO's have solved the big one: creating something sufficiently new! We don't want to grind anymore, we want to be creative!! Give us that, and you'll have a succesful mmo.

migduvednok
migduvednok

I just read about Age OF Conan developers fall in subscribers - incredible that none of these games have trials, which would allow lots of potential new players to test the games: it doesnt cost much to erect servers, and the game is already there, so what's to lose from offering free trials? Really strange indeed!

sexywhitetrash
sexywhitetrash

OMG someone refered to a confederate battle flag as a rebel flag he r nubb sauce L2read ur historyz. xsithisx must be an evil person who embodies racism and hatred of all kinds for having that flag.

mortalsting
mortalsting

Plz so much burn in Conan, and War is even more failure ... ive played and already cancelled my subs.

corntheholio
corntheholio

I don't see the logic behind so many MMO's being made. Why cant they just face that it will be years to any MMO can copy WOW's success, there's just not enough players willing to pay every month to play the game, and most of those play WOW. I play WOW myself and are happy with that, but would probably play other MMO's if they where free, i did try LOTRO for a month but all it did was make me want to play WOW, though if there is released a trial for the KOTOR MMO i will at least try it but i would have preferred a KOTOR 3.

CharlieFubar
CharlieFubar

thanks for posting this.... i totally forgot to cancel that subscription =)

broncosfan
broncosfan

"The game is actually really good imo. And now that they dropped the un-needed weight who obviously were only there just to say how bad/horrible/unfinished the game was. They will start progressing higher higher and prob meet 1milll. And i cant remember but it was a interview with pual and josh... or what is jeff... well anyway one of them stated that the numbers were now increasing once again, (from that other game). So im assuming the game will start doing very good soon. It has not lost its flare at.. but right now it just a smoldering coal. ready to light up some wood and started blazing through the mmo world..." Their subs dropped from 3/4ths of a million to just 300k since launch. You are kidding yourself if you think that they will swell to more than 1mil subs. More like a smoldering coal that is about to wink out.

darthfrag
darthfrag

I've wanted to try this game since it came out, but I'm not interested in dropping $50 on a game I might not like. Why don't we have an open free trial yet? I played WoW for almost two years based on a great experience with the free trial, and Warhammer might get my money if they'd only let me try it first. I can't tell you how many games I've bought solely based on my experience with a free demo, but it's a lot. You'd think that most publishers would have embraced that by now...

acej2000
acej2000

"God i Hate WoW it has Totaly Ruined my sisters Life. Im going to go back to warhammer online next year when i get a better pc." Anybody see something wrong with that statement? A MMO ruined my sister's life. So, I'm going to start playing an MMO when I get a new PC. I'm not understanding the logic behind that statement. It's called IRONY, it is a glorious thing which galvanizes any kind of humour.

_DeadlyFred_
_DeadlyFred_

You don't need a "better game than WoW", you just need a better game, period. WoW is for tourists and raging obsessive-compulsives. If companies would set out to make a GOOD game, without trying to take every cue they can from WoW, they'd probably end up with a better product and a more sustainable fanbase. Making something which is cool on its own merits is a lot better than making something which is kinda like something else which is cool, just with a different coat of paint. I don't think many games which have gone on to have lasting legacies fall into the "carbon copy done better" category; make something new and interesting for once.

fairlypriced
fairlypriced

I had more fun in the first 10 levels of WAR than in 60levels of WOW but the european servers were being managed by GOA who stuffed up at every opportunity so I didn't continue. If not for the GOA and money being so darn tight at the moment I'd probably still be playing, at least until KOTOR MMO comes out anyway. Lets hope KOTOR is a long term success.

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

the game had some problems that should have been fixed. back when i was playing (i don't know the most recent patch data), bright wizards were wayy too overpowered, magus was comically bad, squigg herder was just as bad if not worse, and the mirrored class system was flawed due to some mirrors having a clear advantage over their counterparts. patch 1.1 should have fixed some of this and didn't. The game also had the problem that a lot of the leveling was instanced pvp grind. a lot of players picked up warhammer because witih group quests, open rvr and keeps people thought it wouldn't be a grind of any sort. if you wanted to gain any levels, however, it was. i got to 27 on my chosen, then did a lot of keep takes for about two weeks and was still a 27. overall if the game was more polished by its hotfixes and patches than it was, and it would now have over a million people.

natewallis123
natewallis123

The game is actually really good imo. And now that they dropped the un-needed weight who obviously were only there just to say how bad/horrible/unfinished the game was. They will start progressing higher higher and prob meet 1milll. And i cant remember but it was a interview with pual and josh... or what is jeff... well anyway one of them stated that the numbers were now increasing once again, (from that other game). So im assuming the game will start doing very good soon. It has not lost its flare at.. but right now it just a smoldering coal. ready to light up some wood and started blazing through the mmo world...

matte989
matte989

I'm currently subscribed to Wow but I did purchase and try Warhammer. I think they showcased some really great ideas like giving pvp a pve flavor. For pve'ers this was great because they didn't feel they had to put their character advancement on hold to pvp. Unfortunately was it boiled down to is War was/is not good enough. A good game just like anything will stand on it's own. One example would be when Call of Duty launched in a already saturated market. It was successful because it was solid. It is hard for me to bash a game like Warhammer because it doesn't take much time to see the effort, time, money, etc that went into making it. In the end though I just feel it wasn't solid and that is kind of sad given the investment. Good luck to all those who lost their jobs and I hope you are able to quickly find new ones.

DredWulf
DredWulf

looks like WoW killed yet another competitor...

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

Wow (no pun intended), down to 300K in such a short time. :|

sammoth
sammoth

xSithiSx We are not the ones with the Controversal flag hanging in our background picks. You Are. Maybe you should of kept your simple minded remarks to yourself. Some people like you get things out of there system by posting pics of flags hanging behind them to make a statement. I guess you got that out of your system too.

oflow
oflow

as a player of both WAR and WoW, what *really* hurt WAR was basically two things: 1) bugs and server sync errors 2) and the end game of an RvR game being almost totally PvE, which wasnt done very well. After finally grinding to unlock the capitol city sieges you get in to find out its just a bunch of PvE PQs. Very anti-climatic.

xSithiSx
xSithiSx

Some of you people will go so far to get satisfaction on a gaming message board. Well, is your life any better now that you got that out of your system?

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

"God i Hate WoW it has Totaly Ruined my sisters Life. Im going to go back to warhammer online next year when i get a better pc." Anybody see something wrong with that statement? A MMO ruined my sister's life. So, I'm going to start playing an MMO when I get a new PC. I'm not understanding the logic behind that statement.

lamprey263
lamprey263

it's hard enough for companies to compete against WoW, I think all these struggling companies trying to get their MMOs out there need to pool their resources, come up with a subscription service that will give users access to multiple MMOs, that way people don't have to pay $15/month for just one game, but instead they'll get access to multiple games through one cheaper subscription, that might give them a fighting chance against WoW

okassar
okassar

I'm not buying any MMORPG until they make on for the 360 or multiplat--An Elderscrolls MMORPG for example :)

Humanseye
Humanseye

Magick_Mike, you may want to brush up on history. The Confederate states of America were commonly referred to as the Rebels. Confederate being some sort of outsiders uniting for a cause, in their case it was against the federal government, that makes them rebels. Even now the south's army is referred to as the rebel army in studies most of the time. As for the Confederate flag, technically, it being the Confederate flag, makes it an anti-American symbol, more than a racist one. Though most southern people cling to it as a way to remember their rebellion, even if they lost. I for one actually find hanging it and being pro USA ironic. As for WAR...its a good game, but EA/Mythic should have got the rights to 40k not fantasy, 40k is much more popular, and interesting.

hoverboy
hoverboy

Wait Magick_Mike, are you saying that Bo & Luke Duke weren't rebels making their way the only way they knew how, but instead undercover confederates secretly trying to revive right of state secession in each episode? Interesting. I should have paid more attention to that show. On a side note: WAR is a good game, but I'm only paying for one MMO, and WoW is currently that one MMO.

Magick_Mike
Magick_Mike

XSithisX, that's is not a rebel flag it's a CONFEDERATE flag. Thats means one of two things about you, 1) You don't know your history, what that stands for, what those guys went to battle for, or what displaying it means, or 2) You do, and your scrambling to defend yourself. Given that you called it a REBEL flag, it could honestly go either way.

sammoth
sammoth

Never said you where Racist. You are hanging a flag Of the South that LOST the Civil War. Why not hang the Flag of the USA and not some old Rebel flag. You sir are a pathetic loser who claims that your not racist or believes Souf will rise Agayne but, then why do you hang the flag?? Please enlighten us all on your simple minded flag. See the Last Time I checked this country we live in is under the American Flag not the confederate flag. That’s why you’re able to even have a flag like that hanging because we have freedom that most countries would hang you for stuff like that. As far as your flag is concerned its stands for more then just the south thanks to the great Aryan Racists and KKK who walk around with it all the time. Good Luck trying to prove the reason why you have that flag up. I am far from closed minded seeming I am not the one who had the closed minded remark about people who play MMO's are simple minded.

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

I agree with Airek49. When I did play WoW, I was definitely invested in my own characters. The idea of having to start over completely was definitely not something I was ready to do. That's why you don't have many switchers.

xSithiSx
xSithiSx

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

runstalker
runstalker

I'd like to see them revert to their older plan: fewer, but denser clusters/higher population single servers, instead of additional lower pop servers. Such that the RvR is really active at all tiers and the Scenario queue is always hot on each server.

sammoth
sammoth

xSithiSx are those simple minds like that Simple Redneck Confederate flag you got hanging behind u in your pic. I mean the North Won the War many years ago. So ask yourself who is simple minded ?

sircyrus
sircyrus

If they'd fix world RvR so that it actually feels like a PvP experience rather than PvE, they'd probably be able to get back a lot of those 450K that have left. Scenarios get boring very quickly tier 3 and 4 when it's nothing but knockbacks and DoTs.

runstalker
runstalker

300k is fine for WAR, and the updates and new character classes are flowing in Feb-March. . If 300k was a failure, the following profitable MMOs would no longer be on the market: EQ, EQ2, EVE Online, Vanguard, Age of Conan, LOTRO, City Heroes/Villains, etc. Most of these are 1/4 million or under subs, yet MMOs can be stable and profitable with as few as 50k subscribers. Problem with WAR is that EA spent/lost a lot of money marketing the game and the sub forecasts don't match.

docleisure
docleisure

I'm having a blast playing WAR and hope it lives on for a long time. Even at 300K subs thats $4.5 million a month ($54 Million a year). I'm sure the game is not going anyway anytime soon. The PvP rocks. Be a man and play against other people, not NPCs.

xSithiSx
xSithiSx

WoW is the same bland crap it was when it first came out, the fact that it sells so much has nothing to do with whether the game is actually good. It just means there are more simple minded fools in this world then there should be. I played WoW for awhile, but I just can't stay immersed into something that has barely changed since launch.

enoslives7
enoslives7

WOW kicked the living crap out of WAR. EA needs to choose its battle more wisely. I think EA is kind of like microsoft. They used to be king of the hill, now they are getting whipped on every front. Blizzard is the new king of the hill, and probably will be for at leat the next 3 years.

stubazz316
stubazz316

i tried WAR for a few months same with age of conan, unfortunatly i found both subpar compared to WOW and i hav got to give it to blizz ive been playing WOW for three years now and im still enjoying it, i really think the characters and story do wonders for WOW as its all canon, it continues the story from the previous strategy games, i feel games workshop dont do enuff to push major characters and thats why i felt lost with WAR and as a result went off it, it is a shame its starting to slip as i thought it looked awesome when it first came out, hopefully 40k will do better.

Airek49
Airek49

The thing too about "stealing" customers from WoW with another MMO is people in these types of games becomes attached to their characters, guilds, and friends. It's not easy to make them break away.

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

It's impossible to get a share of a market World Of Warcraft is choking. Sadly their installbase and subscribers makes it impossible for anyone else to go head on head with Blizzard and push their franchise further. They basically have monopoly on MMORPGs these days.

buckizard
buckizard

Such potential this game had when I 1st jumped in. Such a shame the game didn't live up to all the hype, at least in my eyes.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

PVE was really boring in the end. I really enjoyed the public quests at the beginning when there were people all over the place. PVP was fun for a while but when you had large groups together it became a lag party. Too bad the game had potential but I spent way too much time soloing to go stay.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

Another "WoW Killer" bites the dust, give up...you can't keep making "WoW Killers" because it is not going to happen. WoW has 11 million customers...thats a tough number to catch up to, let alone compete.

SlayerX13
SlayerX13

It's because everyone keeps making the same crap with a different skin. No one has the balls to try anything different. Hopefully Darkfall or Champions Online will be fun. Once Old Republic is near ALL those homesick SWG players will be there. I am personally waiting for STO.