Between Now And ThenAugust 29, 2008
There’s a lot of info flying about the WAR-webs (I coin that phrase! You must pay royalties or at least a tasty cupcake to use it!) concerning dates and patches and info concerning Warhammer Online. A lot of this will probably be old news to many of you, but it bears repeating because others still are confused about what’s going to happen over the next 20 days.
Currently: Mark Jacobs released a series of notes concerning fixes and tweaks from the Preview Weekend 3.3 patch — presumably, these notes detail a patch that’s currently loaded onto the servers. The notes include: pet pathing fixed and improved, NPC pathing, texture and graphic updates, stability, global cooldown fix, the tier 2 renown gear presumably tweaked so you can’t use it in tier one, and several updates to the widely-lauded Public Quest system, including better loot and more loot winners in general. Good stuff!
Soon: A new major patch — 3.4? — is in the works with several big features we’ve yet to see in WAR, such as player & guild vaults, auction houses (yay!), emotes, and a PQ/regular quest tracker. This should hit in time for September 7. Mark Jacobs has stated that there will be no “miracle patch” (a la Age of Conan’s infamous launch patch), just a few beefy ones between now and the period following launch.
September 7: Open beta. If you’re currently in the closed beta, elder beta or pre-ordered any version of Warhammer Online, you’ll be allowed to join in for a free week of beta preview. Presumably, other players will be allowed in as well. The closed beta client will patch up to this version — in fact, closed beta players won’t need to delete and reinstall the client at all between now and release; it’ll just keep patching up.
September 14 (Sunday): Head start for Collector’s Edition pre-orders only. CE pre-order players can access and play the live game client — for the first time ever — on this date.
September 15 (Monday): Head start for Standard Edition pre-orders (a three-day lead).
September 18 (Thursday): Warhammer Online’s official launch!
All in all, September is going to be a very busy month. Blizzard is trying to counter-program with a World of Warcraft 3.0 patch, so we’ll see if that will hold back a flood of potential defectors.
I do appreciate Mythic’s stance on patches to date. They’re very willing to (a) admit that there are problems in the game, (b) state what they’re working on and in what priority, and (c) keep us in the loop about future patches. Not to keep harping on Blizzard, but whenever Blizzard admitted to a mistake outside of “working as intended”, the world would grind to a halt for a bit as humanity looked on in total awe. MMOs are works in progress — yes, they are, so get over it — and I like that Mythic isn’t going to try to weasel its way under the radar when everyone knows what the problems are and where they are.
Snafzg will back me up on this — throughout all of beta, Mythic became famous for producing enormous patches on a regular basis that would severely upgrade huge chunks of the game, especially complaints from players. I’m sure there are probably bug reports that haven’t been addressed since the beginning of beta, but they have to be in the minority. We get the picture that Mythic is in serious crunch mode, and they’re not going to take half-assed as an excuse for release. They really can’t afford to. On September 18, it really is all on the line — EA’s funding and support of this gigantic project, fans’ multi-year following of the game, and the reputation of Mythic as a company that not only learns from its mistakes, but builds upon its successes.
On September 18, we’re going to see if lightning can strike twice.