What A Difference Four Days Make

August 29, 2008

Way back when, in the yonder days of early 2007, I pre-ordered Lord of the Rings Online and got into their “founding fathers” program or whatever they called it. The biggest incentive for me to do so was their promise that founders would be granted early access to the live game client, a head start of a week or more (I forget exactly how many days). There was a level cap of 15 put into place for that time period, but it was one of the most exciting opening days of a MMO I’ve ever experienced, and yes, I include WoW’s launch day in that.

The joy of it all was that, for that period of time, I felt like I was bumped up to the first class cabin — I got a bit of extra legroom, some more space between me and my neighbor, and the privilege to sample the goodies before anyone else. Guilds used that time to form, players started earning some money by gathering and crafting, and the level 15 cap made for a very interesting “end game”, which also encouraged you to try several alts in that time period.

Ever since they first announced the Collector’s Edition, I’ve been buzzed at the thought of the promised head start program. Having seen Warhammer Online’s newbie areas just swamped with players during the preview weekend, I’m looking forward to a short breather where it isn’t quite so nuts. Today, it looks like Mythic (or at least GOA) has announced the two head start dates: September 14 for Collector’s Edition pre-orders, and the 15th for Standard Edition pre-orders. Everyone else, including those who pick up the game off the shelf, will have to wait until the 18th to play.

Four days doesn’t seem like a lot, and in truth, it isn’t. I guess if you’re a mad, mad gamer, you could push yourself to getting to a decent level (I’ve yet to hear concrete “to level” times, so I’m not going to even speculate on how high a person might rank in four days), but for most people, it’s going to spread a good chunk of the initial playerbase between tier 1 and 2 zones, and get some good open world RvR going by that Thursday.

For me, the head start is important for two reasons. One, I want to reserve my favorite names, and I know I’m not alone in this. I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks had pre-ordered for the sole purpose of reserving names and nothing else. The CE head start is on a Sunday, which is a pretty heavy work day for me — I’m going to log on, snag names, and log off. The second reason is that I’m a completionist, and I like to explore and complete a zone before moving on. This’ll be easier to do in tier 1 without a million other players running all willy nilly all over the place.

And to be honest, I feel like I’ve been waiting on Warhammer for so very long that I hardly remember back when I wasn’t anticipating the title. Four days might not be much, but it’s four days sooner than it would otherwise be.

The only question I’m left to deal with is whether I’m going to take that Monday off work, or just wait until my typical day off — Thursday, WAR’s launch day.


  1. I get Mondays off =)

  2. Thankfully, they are letting me in on Sunday so I can reserve some names because I’m out of town for work Mon-Wed.

    As for getting in ahead of everyone else, I only really want to be able to keep pace with my guild. Beyond that, I’ve come to realize this game will be around for a few years, so what’s the rush? 😛

  3. I’m going to be at Games Day on the sunday, at Spinks’ on the monday (ie. away from MY computer) and travelling home all day on tuesday, so I’ll play a bit on monday from Spinks’ while she’s out at work, then will be back on tuesday night. Bad timing for me, but then if I will be silly enough to go to Games Day what can I expect!

  4. snagging names… sheer genius!!! I still don’t see why nobody can have the same name in these games. They need some other unique identifier. Like an SSN or whatever, that way there can be duplicate names like in real life. I mean, so what if someone thought of a name before me. I like the name I thought up, I should be able to use it too!

  5. I’m taking the whole week off of work for this monumental event!

    I don’t think I’ve anticipated a game launch as highly as this one.

  6. I’m kinda bummed that the Open Beta starts 3 days after my holiday ends and back to school. If it wasn’t so early in the year I’d be “ill” for a couple of days during the Early access, but methinks it wouldn’t go down well generally.

  7. Im in the same boat as Arb and Spinks. I’ll be at Games Day.

    However I get two bonuses. One, I took the Monday off because I knew Id be wrecked from the travel.
    Two, US servers. So when I get home, my friends should be ready to roll.

  8. *coughs* he means THREE bonuses cos he gets to meet us too!

  9. Bonus… or a curse?

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