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Digesting The Delay

March 26, 2008

Before we do anything else, let’s hear what Mark Jacobs has to say over at the Warhammer Alliance Forums. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back (…i have months of spare time now…).

Massively had a post about the delay as well.

To summarize what Mark and others have said about the new delay:

  • The official quote is that WAR was delayed to “Invest additional time and effort in implementation and polish to make WAR great.
  • “Fall 2008” is the only launch date they’re comfortable in saying at this point.
  • This is not an early April Fool’s joke (I checked).
  • WAR will simultaneously release in NA and Europe.
  • EA is “sad but supportive” toward the decision.
  • No game-breaking reason for the delay, just more time to polish and balance to make a great game. No huge changes needed.
  • Open Beta and the drop of the NDA have been pushed back as well. They hope to do more beta invites.
  • They’d “rather have fans pissed at them now than pissed at them when they released the game”.

Shoving aside emotions, crushed expectations and the elephanty question of “Well, NOW what do I do with my summer?”, it has to be said that if they really and truly need the extra time for more balancing and polish to make a better game, then so be it. It should be done. If this delay means the difference between a good game that won’t really rack up the numbers and contribute to the long-term success of WAR, and a great game that just sucks us all in for a good long while, then that is a smart move.

Mark made the point that WAR’s development time has been relatively short for this industry; they only really started working on the game in 2005, and a three-year cycle is almost the norm for a AAA MMO title. It’s easy to forget that World of Warcraft continually pushed back its expected release window until everything was as polished as they could get it before release — and people were going just as nuts then as they are over WAR now.

It’s also to be said that Mark in particular and Mythic in general get huge doses of respect for being up front about the delay (particularly before everyone started plunking down cash for the CE) and for keeping communication about the delay flowing in the forums.

However… I can’t just shake this off without venting a bit of frustration and concern. Yeah, this bites. It bites hard. Nobody likes to see a delay of a game they’re anticipating, and WAR’s multiple delays at this point seem particularly stinging. What stings me the most is the timing of this announcement: today, of all days, WAR enthusiasts were waking up all excited about the promised “big announcement” of the CE. Instead, it felt like a slap in the face for the first thing to be announced is the delay. A delay on any other day would suck; today it hurt even worse. I asked Mark about this on the forums and he defended the release of this information today due to being able to spread the news further and wider through a public announcement, but I disagree strongly. You simply do NOT build up fan expectations about good news and then turn around and dish out stinky pudding. As mature and honorable their intentions, Mythic did stumble today — make no mistake about it.

Two other major concerns that now arise is the possible flood of disappointed WARites into Age of Conan (a move I’m considering, at least to tide me over) and the very real possibility that WAR’s new autumn release will bump right up against its biggest competitor: WoW’s Wrath of the Lich King. Not to mention LOTRO’s expansion that’s also due this fall.

In any case, the decision is made, and whether we like it or not, that’s how it’s gonna be. So… what now? As for WAAAGH!, I’ll be continuing to bring you updates, news and articles as they occur, but I am worried about the huge chunk of time between now and then — and what to fill it with (don’t worry, I’ll think of something).

As for gaming, I’m having to readjust my perspective this morning. My original plan was to mostly diddle around in WoW with my level 70’s until WAR’s release. With WAR’s delay and the assumed long stretch of time between now and WoW’s next expansion, I’m really going to need something more substantial — whether that be May’s release of AoC or Mass Effect, going back to CoH for an action fix or what have you. I don’t know.

I know that this has overshadowed the other big news of the day (the Collector’s Edition), so I assure you that once I get back on my anti-depressants and pick myself up off the floor, we’ll be covering that soon. Like, tomorrow!

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4 comments

  1. […] going to want to soften the blow with some good news as well. In contrast to Syp over at Waaagh!, I believe that announcing the delay at the same time as releasing details about the […]


  2. This is just annoying. First all the competition at release is going to be ridiculous, not to mention Spore, another EA title will be out around the same time. I know it’s not a MMO but the hype around it will be taking up some peoples time upon release.

    Second, the reasons of polish and iteration are shady at best to me. The continually use these reasons and site WoW as an example of how it’s best to follow along the lines of “make it perfect”. The problem is you can always polish something more, that’s why you set FIRM go live/launch dates. If you don’t you will continue to extend your time table under the auspice of refinement.

    And who posts a countdown to a letdown?? Worst PR/Marketing move I’ve ever witnessed for a game.


  3. […] Steamy, Unrestrained Speculation! Ever since WAR’s 131st delay, announced last month, WARiors have nervously fidgeted and twitched thinking about the new release window — and the […]


  4. […] MARCH’S ISSUE: Warhammer Gets Delayed A Second Time […]



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