Mythic staff facing Reckoning?

Source: See below. What we heard: Electronic Arts may be one of the biggest third-party publishers in the gaming industry, but that fact hasn't saved it from the worsening global economic crisis. Reporting on its financial performance during the July-September quarter in October, EA announced...

Source: See below.

What we heard: Electronic Arts may be one of the biggest third-party publishers in the gaming industry, but that fact hasn't saved it from the worsening global economic crisis. Reporting on its financial performance during the July-September quarter in October, EA announced plans to reduce its workforce by 6 percent as a cost-cutting measure. By December, the publisher had expanded those layoffs to a full 10 percent of its global head count.

Rather than targetting specific groups with the layoffs, EA was clear in saying that the effort to trim costs would encompass all sectors of its global operations. Ostensibly true to the company's word, this week delivers news indicating that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning developer Mythic Entertainment was the focus of the publisher's latest round of layoffs.

Yesterday, Internet reports indicated that the Fairfax, Virginia-based game maker was enacting a round of layoffs targeted at many of the support staff surrounding its online products. According to reports, Mythic broke the news to 21 staffers hailing from its customer service, quality assurance, and play-testing departments. The reports did not indicate whether the personnel were devoted to Warhammer Online or the developer's other online properties such as Dark Age of Camelot or Ultima Online.

Although Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft remains the undisputed champion of the massively multiplayer online gaming realm, Mythic scored a measure of success with Warhammer Online last year. Three weeks after the game launched, Mythic announced a global player base of 750,000 subscribers. As part of a gloomy earnings revision in December, EA CEO John Riccitiello called out the game's success, noting that he expects the game to "continue to perform very, very well."

Nevertheless, the game has likely not hit the cash-cow status of its Activision Blizzard-owned rival. After the MMOG's strong debut, server populations have taken a decided skid. Mythic Entertainment has since enacted a number of free character transfers that allow gamers on dwindling realms to join those with healthier player populations.

The official story: EA had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. However, Mythic general manager Mark Jacobs did address the spate of rumors surrounding layoffs at his studio, downplaying any tangible impact that head-count reductions may entail.

"Two things to keep in mind," Jacobs commented on Warhammer Online's semi-official message boards. "1) Our CEO [John Riccitiello] has publicly stated the need to cut costs across all of EA. This statement is old news and applies all throughout EA. 2) As part of EA, all studios are expected to do their fair share to meet the expectations of our CEO."

"It isn't any more complicated than that, other than to say that we have a very large studio and pretty much every person there has been and will continue to work on WAR for quite a while (meaning we haven't started work on another game yet)," he continued. "When we launched, we had over 400 people working on the game in one capacity or another, so it's not like we had a small team at launch or even a small team now."

Bogus or not bogus?: Jacobs' comments appear to indicate some staff reductions have occurred at his studio. However, it's impossible to peg the extent of the head-count reduction, or what impact, if any, it will have on Warhammer Online.

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45 comments
Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

That's what you get for selling out to Electronic Aggrivation!

Raventhorn
Raventhorn

I warned so many people that Mythic was making a mistake by joining EA...I was right. I would imagine they will get canned as will more and more as the year continues. Lets stop calling this an economic downturn and call it what it is...a new era Depression.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

crazymoose99 "Lots of people I know play mmo's. I played WoW for 4 years and I had no problem with it wasting my life" --so you've played mmo's for the last 4-5 years. I guess everyone you know would play an MMO! and I'm glad you have no problem with it wasting your life, it's only time after all. "Also... "Just close warhammer down?" Oh yeah, that's a swell idea. Mythic/ea only spent a couple million developing it, lets just close it down 3 months after it" --my whole point is that developers need to drop the whole MMO mentality, then they wouldn't have wasted all those millions developing a pos flop aka aoc, vanguard, tabula rasa, warhammer, and countless more. "And I don't know where your idea of "WoW 2" came from but... *shakes head* I'm just gonna stop before I get to angry." --Hmm, let's see. Blizzard just milked billions from people that are still bending over, and you think they won't make a WoW2 or WoW clone when the time arises?? Do you always turn retarded before you get angry? "Your comment is the same reason I hate most of my own race." --So that's why you spend your life in MMO's, so you can be a sexy female nightelf! No you're not wasting your life at all.

jbar27
jbar27

I'm with crazymoose99 on that one. Don't make him angry - you wouldn't like him when he's angry ;-)

crazymoose99
crazymoose99

Nightrain, that's a pretty stupid generalization. Lots of people I know play mmo's. I played WoW for 4 years and I had no problem with it wasting my life. Now I play war, and yeah sometimes I can log like 5 hours on it, but that's only once in awhile. Most of the people I know who play will come on daily, but only for the same time most American's watch TV (which requires no thought processes at all, making them more of "Zombies" than anyone.) For me and most of my guild its just a way to kick back, relax and play a fun game. Also... "Just close warhammer down?" Oh yeah, that's a swell idea. Mythic/ea only spent a couple million developing it, lets just close it down 3 months after it. Just because it doesn't have a gargantuan user base like WoW doesn't mean it should be shut down. Look at Ever Quest, it never got to popular but its still going strong after 10 years. And I don't know where your idea of "WoW 2" came from but... *shakes head* I'm just gonna stop before I get to angry. Your comment is the same reason I hate most of my own race.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

Just close Warhammer down. MMO's have fail written all over it, yet they won't learn. There are only so many people willing to pay monthly and devote their life to one game. These zombies have spent years playing WoW and are not about to give up their precious characters for any game regardless the quality. WoW is nothing special, it was just luck that the game arrived on the scene when it did. These people are hooked, if they leave now they feel they've wasted years of their life(which they have) and they don't want to face that reality. So until WoW servers go down, mmo's are doomed to fail. Now if WoW 2 comes out and characters aren't transferred over, there's a chance to grab the idiots because they have no attachment to WoW 2.

VexedLucifer
VexedLucifer

I was so excited about WAR. Like seriously I signed up for the beta in the first months of 07. Then it just lost it luster and became generic.

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

There's noway Warhammer could beat WOW! :(

enoslives7
enoslives7

Looks like WOW is kicking the crap out of Warhammer Online. Anything EA makes seems doomed to fail.

sirkel28
sirkel28

I doubt them few staff cuts will make much of a difference other than maybe slowing things down for patches, not that they test them that well anyways. WAR is fun for a while, but then the further you get into the game is just seems to get worse as you go.

metabolic_youth
metabolic_youth

If Mythic had made an actual PVP game instead of a WOW clone with better PVP, the PVP crowd would have stayed with the game and the DOC crowd would have embraced it. As it is now, the PVP people they still have, are getting pissed off with PVE grinds and are abandoning the game. The PVE crowd on the other hand will never play another game until WOW closes shop. R.I.P Warhmmer Online.

StillWingless
StillWingless

I've enjoyed WAR: lower population than WoW, with a stronger community. True, it depends on the server, and if you have friends with you or not, but I've found it much easier to accomplish more on WAR in a shorter amount of time than I was ever able to manage on WoW. Plus, PvP combat is better for those who favor casters, as your survivability is... more than two hits. As such, you can probably tell that while I'm sad for the employees that were let go, I'm more concerned about seeing WAR continuing in the future. (Because if it doesn't keep going, no one will do anything about those op witch elves. Lol.)

ChaosStar
ChaosStar

They should all be fired for making this game. They tried to out-WoW WoW.

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

it's weird how things change. Back in the glory days of DaoC the one thing that 'killed' the game was the launch of Trials of Atlantis. Basically a raid type of expansion where the gear and ablilites granted for completing the trails were ... overpowered in a sense. Fast forward ahead 6 years and enter WoW, where raid grinding is required to remain competitive.. and people love it (250,000 daoc peak subscribers vs 12 million peak and still growing wow subscribers)

swisdwag
swisdwag

Mythic should die imo. They killed their own game in DAoC long before the recession so they can just go away as far as I'm concerned!

cpfkauai
cpfkauai

$12 a month?! Here I was paying $15 a month and now I'm being told it's only $12. Man, do I feel like a fool.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@Templar_Bladema: If all you got was the impression that WoW was a 3D Diablo, then you really didn't play the game much. It's a lot more than that, you just have to play long enough to see it. And WoW and Diablo are hardly the only games with loot sets. Even WAR and AoC had varying degrees of loot systems. If you can't see the difference between paying to play WoW or being able to play Diablo 2 for free, well then I can only assume you didn't play the trial much.

Templar_Bladema
Templar_Bladema

To add to my comment, I feel like Age of Conan did the most in the way of innovation and breaking the mold. However, post-WoW MMO market is a wrong time to make new MMOs, unless you can find a way to hook people and release the game as bug free as possible.

Templar_Bladema
Templar_Bladema

I can admit WoW is in a class of its own, with 12 million subscribers at $12 a month, that is hundred million a month, and Blizzard is probably going to sit through the economic downtimes quite comfortably in their gold and diamond encrusted office chairs on their high powered alienware desktops. However, I played the trial, and I feel it played like a 3d MMO Diablo, with item drops almost the same in terms of class (normal, magic, rare, unique, set) that made Diablo Loot drops so fun to fight over. So I decided, "Why pay $50-80 for the game and its two expansions, then pay $12 a month, when I could just pay $30 outright for the Diablo battlechest."

atopp399
atopp399

Mythic's CS sucked anyway.

baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

i liked WAR its just i got sick of PVP id hate to see it go its such a great game.

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

people really need to stop comparing other games to WoW. Nothing will ever beat or come close to WoW. At it's peak the #2 MMO of all time was Korean based Lineage with it's almost 2 million subcriber base at it's peak several years ago. 2 million vs 12 million. Wow is in a class of it's own and has no peers.

Rhubarb9
Rhubarb9

aww man poor mythic, WAR is a great fun game, anybody interested in team pvp/raid vs raid should give it a go :/

Nerkcon
Nerkcon

Wow... they had a 'hands off' policy that EA would not have a say in anything they do, and they were doing well, but they have to lose staff because the rest of the company is doing poorly. I'll likely be independent or at least, never join a giant screwy publisher like EA. Never join M$ either, they'll shut your studio down if they don't feel like you're making them enough money.

LordCrispin
LordCrispin

Mythic has had about 4 months to fix all the release issues and add content. Instead, subscribers are subjected to "fluff" hotfixes almost daily. I stopped playing WAR when Mines of Moria was released. I had played from launched and experienced stuttering/performance issues. If you look on Warhammer Alliance, there is a topic with over 1,700+ replies about the issue. Mythic has yet to patch anything to the game relating to client performance issues. No fixes, no money. Plain and simple. Warhammer had potential.

lensig24
lensig24

Im from Asia and just got started on WAR, this is my first MMO(can't afford WOW yet with all its expansion packs) , I hope WAR gets better and has servers near my location( oceanic has too much lag for my taste). Getting my comment on the rumors, hope this won't really affect the game, I know WAR is just beginning but cutting staff now may not be the most intelligent decision, maybe they should just cut the staff at EA LA, because RA3 was not really that good in my opinion.

Zoldaire
Zoldaire

Well WAR has seen the bad and the VERY bad days in it's life so far. I have come close to stopping WAR several times but everytime I give it another go, it always makes it worthwhile. The server I play in has much PvP going on on every Tier, from 1 to 4 and all lands. The most busiest nights are when some of the major guilds make a premade event to take a fortress or just flip some zones. At those times we might see about 200 vs 200 people fighting against each other. But WAR still has much to develop on. Server crasher are becoming more and more common on fortress sieges due to overpopulation (especially Butcher's Pass, 3 crashes there in 1 go) and release the final classes for the Dwarves and Orcs. Hopefully within the next few months the servers will become more stable and more people will decide to give it another go and probably be suprised by how well it has grown since the release of the game.

dennisheadley
dennisheadley

Don't usually comment on many things, but one thing that really burns me up is when people refer to other MMO's as half completed and then compare them to WoW. Either they never played WoW the entire first year it was out, or they are complete liars. WoW had one of the worst releases I have ever seen for a MMO. constant server crashes and restarts, absolutely NO end game content, unfinnished content everywhere, and they have never to this day actually finnished a single class, ability tree, reward system, or any other part of the game. Everything gets tossed out and started again from scratch on a regular basis. I and my teen age son play WoW every day but the game today is a watered down mess compared to when it was released. The latest expansion has had the easy mode switch set so high it may be easier to play now than my wifes favorite game The Sims. In terms of a finnished product, no MMO that I have ever played has even come close to the release of LoTRO, which we play also and it is actually a superior game to WoW atm. as is Everquest II these days after its expansions, although the launch was a real crapper. We have tried just about every MMO out there and while WoW is a major cash cow because it apeals to people that want to play a social game but are far more casual minded than the "old' MMO crowd, easy does not equate to better, and neither does subcribers, it just equates to easier and more accessable to the masses. Mostly very young kids, more than in any other MMO i have ever played.

Targzissian
Targzissian

Whoa!!! Mythic owns Ultima Online now? Well, I haven't played since the beta in summer 1997, but it's interesting how things change. Richard Garriott appears to have left the world of game development and his Tabula Rasa only has a month or so to go before they close the servers. I wonder if UO will ever have a true sequel. Britannia is a great world, and I like a world where they don't force a linear progression path on character development. At some point, I'm going to play WAR. I bought the CE for the fantastic artbook, but I'm sure the game will be around for a while so no urgency to install it.

Erebus
Erebus

WAR can be really, really good. Oh, and it isn't going anywhere. As someone who has poured countless hours into WoW, Everquest, Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and more, you might want to take notice when I say there is definitely something very special about WAR that you cannot get from any of the aforementioned games.

MXVIII
MXVIII

IXIWhistIXI I dunno dude, the new star wars MMO is shapin up pretty good. SWTOR.com, I love the art direction too, kinda mixes the old clone wars series style with the 3d clone wars style, so its not WoW cartoony, but its not SWG polygonal either. Plus its a sci-fi MMO, so Im hoping the way it plays will be different than wow and its fantasy clones, but not overly lame like tabula rasa's UI. And to nail it in its being developed by Bioware, whch has a pretty amazing track record, I think if any company can compete with the quality of blizzard, its Bioware

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

If war closes I'm going to lol. A lot of people here are saying stuff like "maybe if they released a finished game first." you need to understand that with the current height blizzard has set the bar for MMOS, there is no possible way a company can create a mmo that can compete with wow from the get-go. There is so much money and time needed to develop mmos, there is no possible way a company other than blizzard can beat wow with out releasing the game before it's 100% "complete." They need the income to be able to afford continuing game production. The only way a mmo will be able to beat wow within a year of its release will be if it is cheaper per month and it also has some amazingly innovative features that help cover up the fact it's not even 1/4 the game wow is. The biggest problem is the monthly fee system. Not many people are willing to switch mmos where they pay the same price per month but get a LOT less content.

Burin077
Burin077

I wonder if Mythic would consider rebuilding some of their older titles that were once part of Mythic Realms. Seeing a new Magestorm with wider capabilities would be a real hot seller methinks.

Tsunami_pt
Tsunami_pt

WoW and War player here: as I said in the begining, and being bashed for it, Warhammer is very poor compared to WoW. It had it's moments, and it is a fun alternative for WoW. But it should be much, much better. A few more months in development would have make wonders for it. Instead, Mythic and EA rushed a clearlt unfinished product to the shelves. Ppl played it, loved it in the begining, but the inicial feeling was lost to fast. I, for instance, had more fun with the pre-WotLK patch then with the initial release of War. The fact that it was so buggy in the beggining, made it that many ppl, like me, turned away from the game after the 1st month. If the game would be released as it is now, it would perform much better (though it still needs improving). By acting this way, the potential subscribers turned away from the game and got back to WoW, or even other mmo's. EA/Mythic has no one to blame but themselves. Should have waited for WotLK to be released and give the game another 6 months before releasing Warhammer. Now, I got back to War, but I'm just playing it ocasionally. And the fact is that most servers are dead, no one plays at night and the world pvp is rare (at least in Europe). I hope I'm wrong, but... is any future for this game?

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

Well first, WAR was half decent. Second... I'm sorry EA but you don't put out great games. Sometimes good games but not great games a large source of cash flow are games that you release rather rapidly (Maddenish titles). Those are the first games to fall when nobody can afford anything. Quality over Quantity.

Inconnux
Inconnux

Like all over hyped mmo's coming out, they start out strong and then when people realize that they bought a half baked product they quit. Perhaps when a developer releases a finished product that is playable on the majority of systems out there then WoW will have a real competitor. No surprises here.

watercandle
watercandle

EA hate must have been toned down, in the past people will come and shout 'EA sucks'. Well Mythic is already a huge developer, so I guess that some cut wouldn't hurt the game.

RavageGT
RavageGT

Damn EA holding my MMO down :(

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

I hope the WAR developer stays strong

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

How can a game with 1990 gameplay and graphics not make a profit?

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

Hopefully a few upper-management types are let go at EA. You know, just to spread the pain over all sectors of the company, not just the people who actually develop and support the games.

msudude211
msudude211

Seems like every studio is cutting back.

Ketaros
Ketaros

omg! OMG! ECONOMIC CRISIS will start to affect the virtual worlds... omg omg.. so that Crisis is TRUE!!! hehe... :)

Magrino
Magrino

Source: See below.

What we heard: Electronic Arts may be one of the biggest third-party publishers in the gaming industry, but that fact hasn't saved it from the worsening global economic crisis. Reporting on its financial performance during the July-September quarter in October, EA announced plans to reduce its workforce by 6 percent as a cost-cutting measure. By December, the publisher had expanded those layoffs to a full 10 percent of its global head count.

Rather than targetting specific groups with the layoffs, EA was clear in saying that the effort to trim costs would encompass all sectors of its global operations. Ostensibly true to the company's word, this week delivers news indicating that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning developer Mythic Entertainment was the focus of the publisher's latest round of layoffs.

Yesterday, Internet reports indicated that the Fairfax, Virginia-based game maker was enacting a round of layoffs targeted at many of the support staff surrounding its online products. According to reports, Mythic broke the news to 21 staffers hailing from its customer service, quality assurance, and play-testing departments. The reports did not indicate whether the personnel were devoted to Warhammer Online or the developer's other online properties such as Dark Age of Camelot or Ultima Online.

Although Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft remains the undisputed champion of the massively multiplayer online gaming realm, Mythic scored a measure of success with Warhammer Online last year. Three weeks after the game launched, Mythic announced a global player base of 750,000 subscribers. As part of a gloomy earnings revision in December, EA CEO John Riccitiello called out the game's success, noting that he expects the game to "continue to perform very, very well."

Nevertheless, the game has likely not hit the cash-cow status of its Activision Blizzard-owned rival. After the MMOG's strong debut, server populations have taken a decided skid. Mythic Entertainment has since enacted a number of free character transfers that allow gamers on dwindling realms to join those with healthier player populations.

The official story: EA had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. However, Mythic general manager Mark Jacobs did address the spate of rumors surrounding layoffs at his studio, downplaying any tangible impact that head-count reductions may entail.

"Two things to keep in mind," Jacobs commented on Warhammer Online's semi-official message boards. "1) Our CEO [John Riccitiello] has publicly stated the need to cut costs across all of EA. This statement is old news and applies all throughout EA. 2) As part of EA, all studios are expected to do their fair share to meet the expectations of our CEO."

"It isn't any more complicated than that, other than to say that we have a very large studio and pretty much every person there has been and will continue to work on WAR for quite a while (meaning we haven't started work on another game yet)," he continued. "When we launched, we had over 400 people working on the game in one capacity or another, so it's not like we had a small team at launch or even a small team now."

Bogus or not bogus?: Jacobs' comments appear to indicate some staff reductions have occurred at his studio. However, it's impossible to peg the extent of the head-count reduction, or what impact, if any, it will have on Warhammer Online.