Mythic boss departs as EA restructures MMO/RPG group

Warhammer Online studio head Mark Jacobs replaced, as publisher names BioWare's Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk to lead newly formed division.

In a genre dominated by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online has not been the massive breakout success that Electronic Arts and its wholly owned Mythic Entertainment were likely hoping for. After peaking at 750,000 registered players three weeks after its launch in September, Warhammer Online's user base has dwindled to 300,000 users as of EA's most recent accounting, with Mythic taking 63 of the game's servers offline in March.

Jacobs bids adieu to Warhammer Online.

Today, EA announced a substantial shake-up at Mythic Entertainment, saying that studio general manager Mark Jacobs would be departing the company as of June 23. Mythic Entertainment will subsequently be folded into EA's newly formed RPG/MMO studio group, which also includes BioWare. Heading up the group will be BioWare cofounder and general manager Ray Muzyka, with fellow BioWare cofounder Greg Zeschuk named group creative officer.

Jacobs cofounded Mythic Entertainment along with Rob Denton in 1995 and served as lead designer on Warhammer Online. Denton will replace Jacobs as Mythic Entertainment's general manager, transitioning from his current role as chief operating officer.

"We thank Mark for his contributions at Mythic and wish him the very best going forward," EA said in a statement. "Mark played a major part in the success of Mythic with his contribution as General Manager and Lead Designer of WAR."

Having been acquired by EA in 2007--one year after the publisher bought Mythic--BioWare has quickly ascended to prominence as the publisher's go-to studio in the RPG and MMOG spaces. The heralded Alberta, Canada-headquartered studio plans to ship the long-in-the-making Dragon Age: Origins for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 20, with the sci-fi space opera Mass Effect 2 set for Microsoft's platforms in early 2010.

BioWare is also prepping Star Wars: The Old Republic in collaboration with LucasArts. After years of covert development at BioWare's Austin, Texas-based studio, BioWare's first foray into the MMOG genre was formally announced in October 2008. According to the developer, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a successor to BioWare's critically acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic console RPG.

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97 comments
tiggerlu
tiggerlu

Warhammer Online was good, but not great. Sometimes great, but didn't last. Lastly, loot was cool, but not special. I played WaR for quite a while, and it just wasn't enough to pull many people away from WoW, so the population base wasn't consistently high enough to make it fun. What made it fun, is the insane pvp, which sadly did not happen often enough (in an unscripted way), or if they did had criteria set upon them that made the fighting very contrived. The castle take-overs were very very fun, but 1/20 were actual face-offs between 2 sides, usually it was one side zergging castles to get loot. Everyone pretty much could get the same good loot, unlike WoW the epic gear wasn't very epic, so it was all kind of bland when you got to higher levels, and then wondered why am I playing? I started out in a guild of over 100+, and a few months later, about 5-6 people were on at any given time. So i left, and i won't come back, but i do hope the game reinvents itself for newcomers.

mastersheperd
mastersheperd

the first 1 was hot hope this 1 is hotter! more options

bagehi
bagehi

It looks like same stuff, new name, as far as MMOs go. I keep hearing people say the PVP is good though, so it might be worth a try.

Guardsman485297
Guardsman485297

Well I just hope Warhammer 40k online does better. I only played WAR because it had Warhammer in the title.

ZeerusX
ZeerusX

Continued.. Not to mention, certain order classes (KotBS, BW) had un-deffendable CC's. Hell, the KotBS practically wasn't effected by immunity timers at all, and could run around with impunity, morale rooting entire freaking warbands. All of the things about Chosens that were stated were going to be buffed/fixed with the release of the Knights NEVER happened, they only became a lot worse. Things got better in the original version of 1.3, but then due to Order whining about actually being balanced, they took all the real changes out and basically did absolutely nothing. It was then that I unsubbed, because it was clear to me, that Mythic is a TERRIBLE game company to be giving money.

ZeerusX
ZeerusX

@Mcspaddin See, I've played for longer then that. I've have played Open-beta until now, and there was some glaring class balance issues: 1. They gave Orders 7s AoE stun to there Bright Wizards, wheras they gave it to Destro's main healer. That was my biggest problem with the game. One BW with 1 healer could run into a large group of Destro and kill them without much risk to themselves. This only became worse when destro started leaving my server. 2. Engineers were 100x more powerful then Magi, at any range, at any time. 3. Order tanks were vastly superior to Destro tanks. Class balance was, and will always be the issue until they totally make the classes exact mirrors, but Mythic is to blind or to stupid to realize this.

Melty123
Melty123

Good luck ti BioWare they are making some good games so they'll probably take a good care of Mythic.

mcspaddin
mcspaddin

@ zeerusX..... i dont really agree with you that the class balance was the issue, i played as many of the "evil" characters and enjoyed the pvp on all af them. Though i never made it to end game, i found the game to be really fun.... but therin lies the problem. it was "fun" it just didnt have that little bit extra that kept you playing. I quit the game after 2 weeks simply because the game WAS NOT ADDICTIVE ENOUGH. after having spent countless weeks on mmos like WoW I SIMPLY COULDN'T ENJOY A GAME I COULD EASILY WALK AWAY FROM.

Anteraan
Anteraan

DAoC was destroyed by godawful class balance. Any long-term MMORPG'er could have told you THAT was coming with a Mythic product. As great as The Herald was for DAoC, the gameplay was utterly destroyed by poor class balance. Even when the class TL's (team leaders) presented sound arguments compiled through sound data, it all fell on deaf ears. Sorry, Mark, but this was a LONG time coming. Sit back, watch Bioware, and learn a thing or two.

ZeerusX
ZeerusX

Please, stop blaming WoW for WAR's demise. It is totally Mythics fault. There is a reason that the game dropped from 1 mil subscribers to 300,000 in less then 2 months. It was basically attributed to lolwut class balance? And totally knee-jerk reactions when they actually did attempt to balance things. I'd easily still be playing if they did maybe, 3 simple fixes.

Thrallia
Thrallia

trmpt: its actually as low as $3.5 a month if you buy the 12 months for $40 deal that MS has.

Meises
Meises

@fiskefyren How could you? I play WoW occasionally and I think I have a danm good life :D You should stop making bogus assumptions XD

Sniper
Sniper

Why does everyone on this planet have to say, "going forward"? EA said, "We thank Mark for his contributions at Mythic and wish him the very best going forward." As opposed to wishing him the very best going backward? How about sideways, or diagonally? Everyone, everywhere, all the time, is going forward. That is how existence works.

Trmpt
Trmpt

People will pay 15 dollars per month to play ONE game online but will not pay 7 dollars a month for xbox live. Makes sense. (sarcasm)

Tekkor
Tekkor

Not to start up another flame fest here but to be honest at this point Im not sure anything will put a dent in Wow including TOR. Over the last several years there has been several MMO's that people were sure would take a huge chunk. AoC in particular looked to have everything lined up. Incredible graphics, rich story background, massive combat, innovative features, city building and on and on. We saw what happen. Same thing on Warhammer to a degree. People thought...Ok here is a game with comparible graphic style to wow, rich background, fun PvP...it will at least take a big chunk of those 11 million subscribers.... 750k at its peek...yeah. AoC had the best chance...it sold like 4 million copies or something I thought I read..then bombed in spectacular fashion. TOR's only chance is really to just be dead on perfect. It doesnt matter about the license or any of that other stuff as shown. It has to be perfect day one AND have some innovative features that you cant get in wow that make people say "Not sure I could go back to wow after playing with this ..." I refuse to go back to Wow again...did it twice. Right now Im not subscribed to any MMO's. Just hoping something interesting comes eventually. Im a huge Stargate fan so I was hoping the Stargate Worlds game would pan out (I mean how easy is it to build a game where you go through a stargate to different planets "zones" that dont have to have any theme flow to them.) but not sure it will ever be finished.

fiskefyren
fiskefyren

meh... im never going to play a MMORPG so i dont really care at all. maybe some of those ****** would stop playing and go get a life instead? *cough* mostly the wow players here *cough*

cowmaster2k3
cowmaster2k3

Ahh I had such a great time with this game for the first couple months... then server population died... :(

Lucius_Scipio
Lucius_Scipio

The thing that worries me about this change is that Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will become so involved in other large scale projects, that they won't deliver the oversight needed for future games such as: Mass Effect 3, other Dragon Age titles and even SW: TOR that is a year or two away from release. I worry that without their oversight, these games will lose the great Bioware quality that I've grown so accustomed to.

Crazyeye78
Crazyeye78

"After realizing with SW galaxies that I had to be able to stay online for 3+ hours to get anywhere in the game...and more importantly that I HATE being charged monthly for a game I already paid for....I'm done with MMORPGs (with the exception of Guild Wars). I pretty much don't even bother looking at them...one of my rules is "no games with monthly bills attached"." I always laugh when someone complains about a small 15 dollar monthly payment. I thought I was cheap.

skratchmasta
skratchmasta

"I pretty much don't even bother looking at them...one of my rules is "no games with monthly bills attached"." Get a job man. 15 bucks a month is pocket change.

Delston
Delston

After realizing with SW galaxies that I had to be able to stay online for 3+ hours to get anywhere in the game...and more importantly that I HATE being charged monthly for a game I already paid for....I'm done with MMORPGs (with the exception of Guild Wars). I pretty much don't even bother looking at them...one of my rules is "no games with monthly bills attached".

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I don't care where the industry is headed. I will never never never buy another MMO game of any kind. I think they all S_CK.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

EA is like the Borg, they will assimilate any developer they buy into the fold. I had held out hope that Bioware could maintain some degree of independence. That hope is now gone.

RockySquirrel
RockySquirrel

Thanks Mark for the original DAoC + DarknessFalls + Foundations combo... the most fun I ever had in an MMO. Too bad that formula is lost to time. Too many DAoC expansions were junk and too many changes were made to accomodate lazy players. Warhammer was too rough around the edges to shine... sorry Mark.

ag_04
ag_04

The same company sustaining 2 mmorpgs?? no.

Sideras
Sideras

Well there goes every hope of DAoC:Origins to hell.

Mograine
Mograine

It's not true that Warhammer wasn't aimed towards stealing people from WoW. It has been stated so by Mark Jacobs himself during a TGM interview. I don't remember which number it was so I can't check and post it, but he stated something like "We want to develop a game very similar to WoW, so Warhammer fans can have a chance to play something else rather than Blizzard's MMO without having to change habits too much". I think The Old Republic will turn out the same way. If it isn't almost perfectly flawless and very fun (it hasn't a solid background as many may think, so people won't join just because of that) it's simply gonna rot by people trying it for a month and then getting back to WoW. Too much people says "They didn't even give it a chance", but doesn't realize that there is no reasing to give something different a chance when you already have your high-end character somewhere else and are so used to it. It's just too sad that they keep trying to milk every franchise out there just to start from a somehow solid background and then making a crap game. These developers also forgot that WoW had WC2 and WC3 plus their expansions to build one heck of a background. There's no chance they'll have real success if they don't get this.

thingta42
thingta42

Hmm does EA own Bioware then?

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

BioWare CEO is in charge of Mythic, not the other way around, so its no big deal. BioWare fans should stop worrying, EA has been allowing BioWare to work autonomously. Remember how everybody was worried that EA will force BioWare to launch a new Mass Effect sequel every year? Looks like EA isnt that bad.

cu_be_cie
cu_be_cie

I actually like that screenshot.

mystery323x
mystery323x

I would have to agree that "Warhammer Online" isnt that great, its an OK game. But Dark Age of Camelot was a great game, it did make some steps in the MMORPG world.

ekisom
ekisom

and for MMOG companies to say that their i.p. is not meant to compete against WoW is only an admission that they are incapable of doing so.(PERIOD)

ekisom
ekisom

mmorpg games are full of stupid - first off mythic made lousy mmog's so i didnt understand initially why EA contracted mythic to create a mmog game with the Warhammer license. Gamesworkshop is stupid - warhammer i.p. is such a rich, intruiging, fun, solid and mature franchise, it has been operating table top gaming with tons of lore for decades, even starcraft and warcraft games are pretty much a ripoff of the warhammer i.p.; if only gamesworkshop got somebody useful to create their mmog game, someone who actually played the table top series and knew the lore and gameplay system.. it would have turned out to be a super mmog because in reality only the warhammer i.p. can take blizzard down but instead they wasted all that resource to create stale sh!t, so stale you couldnt even use it as fertilizer and no dung beattle would ever go near it.. what a shame...

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

I was a late comer to WAR, I only bought the game 2 months ago, I didn't renew my subscription simply because I was not having fun.. I found some of the PVE quests difficult on my own and rather boring as there was no one around at my level. I soon lost interest.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

I really really wanted to enjoy WAR, and spent 2 months in it, but I just couldn't. Parts of it were really well done and fun, but for me the major downside was that it was really developed for 1 and only 1 play style. The PvE side was around mostly for leveling and some story. I've played in Warhammer FRP and it is the deep storylines and intrigue that I enjoyed. Don't get me wrong, I like PVP, but I don't want it to be the only real part of the game. Perhaps next time they will cater to more people by offering many different sides to be enjoyed rather than forcing everyone to play the same way.

dewwy
dewwy

Warhammer online never had the momentum to put a dent in the WoW sphere imo. However, Bioware, who're owned by EA, could certainly put a hell of a dent into WoW with TOR - once again imo. I'd be willing to bet that Mythic continues supporting the game until TOR launches (which will be like... 2 more years), at which point the staff supporting Warhammer will be completely rolled into Bioware/Lucasarts (don't know exactly who will support the game once it launches) to aid with TOR and Warhammer servers will be taken offline. That seems like the logical (read: financially sound) idea.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Uhh, RussionRAGE? You lose if you don't have more subscribers than WoW? That's not even remotely true. You lose if your costs are higher than your income. City of Heroes has been cruising along at aroune 100,000 users for over five years now, longer than WoW has been around. Ultima Online has lasted even longer. 300,000 people is certainly enough to be profitable. The question now is, would it be even more profitable to pull a bunch of Mythic developers over to The Old Republic?

NeoTaintedAngel
NeoTaintedAngel

WoW managed to do a lot of things right, and then it turned around and dumbed it all down over the course of four years. A word to future MMO designers, if you create an MMO that is even remotely complicated, prepare to be less populated than WoW.

bigjones0578
bigjones0578

WARHAMMER IS TRASH AND IT WONT CHANGE..... RECOMMIT TO DARK AGE OF CAMELOT and u wont be saddened

RussianRAGE
RussianRAGE

This is following a trend after Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. This reminds me of the time that Gaute Goofballenstein of Age of Conan resigned after witnessing in SURPRISE AND HORROR that as a few months passed after the launch of the game, people started leaving the servers on a massive scale, all because the douchebag released Age of Conan in a completely Beta, unborn and Fetal stage. As Redness19 said below me, "If you release a MMO you better well make sure it's more fun to play then WoW from day one or you've already lost." Well said Sir! MMO gamers have been spoiled by WoW so they expect games to be in near flawless form in terms of bugs, client crashes, and PVP balance. Which is completely understandable: i was one of them! New MMOs coming to the current game market have to be like an expert-cut, polished diamond and not like a sludgy lump of coal. I bought the Collector's Edition of AoC about 2 months before the release date, and HAD I KNOWN what was in store for me i would have saved my 80$ and the subsequent 50 or so dollars for online subsciption fees. But with all the RAAAAGEE... put behind, the collectiors edition is pretty cool, with all the books, soundtrack cd's, comic books and extra goodies. I just sometimes feel the boxset is actually better than the game! I think i went off topic...

Stiler
Stiler

[quote]redness19 Posted Jun 24, 2009 8:06 pm PT Please, no one blame WoW for WARs failings. It's not that WoW is the end all, be all of MMO's, it's just no MMO since WoW has been as good. If you release a MMO you better well make sure it's more fun to play then WoW from day one or you've already lost. WAR was not ready to compete with WoW and it's no surprise it's in the situation it is now.[/quote] WAR was never meant to compete against WoW. Mark said that long before the game was out. The games are not real similar at all. I wish WAR did better. I feel that it had some things in it that were done far better then any other mmo. Such as having pvp that tier's up the lower lv plyers so you can enjoy pvp from lv 1 and on instead of having to make a mad rush to the end game in order to pvp so you won't get steamrolled by the higher lv's. WoW to me is a success not because of the actual game, b ut because of the company behind it. Blizzard is in a unique position when it comes to developers because it has a large fanbase in both the West and East markets, which no other studio has (but wishes they did). The game itself, to me at least, was just like almost any other mmo post-EQ. It followed the same basic formula as EQ, it just streamlined things mor eand had Blizzard's polish and style to it. I played it a bit and just got so bored. Had more fun plying WAR and pvp'ing, just more my cup of tea.

redness19
redness19

Please, no one blame WoW for WARs failings. It's not that WoW is the end all, be all of MMO's, it's just no MMO since WoW has been as good. If you release a MMO you better well make sure it's more fun to play then WoW from day one or you've already lost. WAR was not ready to compete with WoW and it's no surprise it's in the situation it is now.

UbdU
UbdU

I think that's the last chance of getting Magestorm back online...not good.

alexkn64
alexkn64

I am so pissed off right now that they're merging Bioware and Mythic. Are they folding Bioware and turning into some group solely devoted to MMOs? If so, I am seething with anger.

RossRichard
RossRichard

Maybe that DAoC Origins server will finally happen now.

B_ond
B_ond

Warhammer did not fail to keep players interest because it wasn't world of warcraft. Warhammer did not reach a successful player base because of the fact that world of warcraft was still popular and it was released to compete directly with Lichking. The game was developed not because mythic wanted to make another successful mmo, but because they wanted to specifically steal some of world of warcrafts players. Developing a game to steal another games thunder directly instead of developing a game because they themselves thought it would be fun to play is the main reason why they failed to create their own market share. The game was also a derivative of a game that was still popular they themselves made.

ZeerusX
ZeerusX

@Dunn Dude, I used to rally behind Mythic for SO LONG, so don't even go there man. Maybe if you actually had a 40/40+ toon on Ironfist, you might actually, you know, not look like you have no idea what your talking about? Considering Mythic pretty much refused to balance the BW and the Engineer with the rest of the games classes (not to mention all the other BS op classed they have) Our server turned from having a balanced pop, to Order pushing the city EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you think I'm whining for no reason when my realm CAN'T EVEN FILL A FORT DEFENSE POP CAP, then you sir, are rediculous. Stop being a Mythic fanboy.