Fickle is a bit of an understatement when it comes to the massively multiplayer online gaming community, where unconditional devotion one day can quickly turn to vitriolic criticism the next. Thus far, EA and Mythic Entertainment have successfully navigated these treacherous waters, with the publisher, Mythic, claiming that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was the "fastest-selling new MMO of all time," a clear shot at Blizzard's market leader World of Warcraft.
With the worldwide player base now in excess of 750,000, Mythic said today that it has shifted its focus from squashing postlaunch bugs to rolling out its first major content update, which is due this fall. Headlining this update is the return of two heavy fighter classes that were cut shortly before the game's launch in September: the Dark Elf Black Guard and the Empire Knight of the Blazing Sun. The two classes respectively mirror two currently playable classes, the Dwarven Ironbreaker and Chaos Chosen, and will be available for play in December.
The two returning classes won't be the only changes to arrive with patch 1.1, according to Mythic general manager Mark Jacobs. Realm-versus-realm warfare, better known as the hallmark competitive component of the game, is in for major tweaks. Jacobs promises the patch will include better and more-frequent item drops as well as a new influence system similar to that seen in the oft-praised player-versus-environment public quest system.
Other areas that will see tweaks include the mail and chat system and system performance on lower-end PCs. Jacobs also said that it would continue its effort to evenly distribute the player base across servers by introducing free transfers to and from select gameworlds. Lastly, the Mythic exec confirmed that all classes will see changes as a result of the patch. Jacobs emphasized that the vast majority of the changes will be power enhancements, rather than a reduction in abilities.
For more on Warhammer Online, check out GameSpot's full review.