Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Interview

Ten Ton Hammer had the opportunity to fire over some post-launch Warhammer Online questions to Mythic’s Mark Jacobs. A taste:

Ten Ton Hammer: How are you planning to equalize server populations? I know that’s been the thing that’s…..

Mark: Always! That’s always going to come up. That’s always going to be a pain in the butt. I mean one of the things that we did already that no one else has done was the server clone idea. I can’t believe that it took so long for anyone to think of it. Now, I’m glad I was the one who thought of it!

But we are going to take other steps as well. I’ve already announced that we’re going to have free character transfers if the servers don’t even out over the next week or so. What’s funny is that if you look back at WoW’s launch, people had horrendous queues. While people weren’t very understanding, they were more understanding.

After two days – just two days – people are going “Oh my god! What are you going to do about the server queues!? It’s an epic fail!” I’m like – it’s been two days! Two days since we launched! Then the population started evening out some more, and they’re going to continue to even out. We’re going to wait before we do anything drastic, like people putting in transfers. It doesn’t really make the problem better, necessarily.

It’s pretty humorous, really. If you go back four years and compare the two games, we have far less problems than Blizzard had in terms of their queuing. And yet, we get blown out of proportion. We’re going to do whatever we need to do.

In terms of ongoing balance, it’s important for people to understand that just because you’re outnumbered on a server, doesn’t mean that the other guys are going to win. That’s the beauty of this; you can have Destruction have 20% more people than you, but in scenarios you can still kick their butt. Even in open RvR; if you go back to the Camelot days, how many times did the underpowered realm – in terms of numbers – win? It was all the time! For a lot of the people that are always complaining about their being more Destruction people, it just means that you get into a scenario faster. And for those Destruction people complaining about their not being enough Order players, within 24 hours, people should have moved to a different server.

It’s not like people can go “Oh my god, it took us six months to get our characters to level gazillion and now I need to move because there’s nobody online to play with.” When we tell people that this is what we’re going to do and we have plenty of servers up, and they choose to go to the crowded server….

Y’know we put warning after awrning up telling people not to choose the crowded servers, and yet I get to watch a board that shows how many people are logging in and creating characters and new people keep going to the crowded servers. So what can we do, right? If we shut of character creation there, then the guilds will get pissed. So we can’t do that. If we give people a bonus for growing to the less crowded servers, then the guilds still bitch because we gave a (hypothetical) 10% leveling bonus if they would move to that server.

Since we’re not past week one of our initial launch, we’re not going to overreact. We learned our lesson from the years of DAOC.

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