A successful launch could do amazing things for WAR. A not-so-successful launch could push some players over the edge.
The Land of the Dead expansion was green-lit shortly after WAR's launch in September 2008 when everything (and everyone) was on a high. The game became the fastest selling MMO of all time and quickly reached 750,000 registered users.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before cracks started showing, the economy fell out, and perhaps most importantly, Wrath of the Lich King launched.
Mythic reacted in valiant fashion, fixing numerous bugs and adding new content and features at a feverish pace, but by Christmas of 2008, subscriptions had fallen to 300,000.
Three months, a Russian launch, and a number of marketing campaigns later (e.g., Recruit-a-Friend, Call to Arms re-enlistment, and 10-day free trials) that number was holding steady at 300,000.
Forums and fansites were abuzz with players anxiously discussing the release of Land of the Dead. Would it deliver similar elements of danger and epic adventure as Darkness Falls from Dark Age of Camelot? Would the PvE content come out polished and interesting? Would WAR's two realm system be able to mitigate against a potential draining effect on the primary RvR campaign?
Players set foot inside the new zone on June 23rd and began actively battling for control the very next day. Two weeks later Warhammer Alliance and the Warhammer Vault teamed up to poll their communities on the impacts this new zone was having on RvR.
The question was simple: "What type of impact has Land of the Dead had on RvR on your server?" The five choices were Very Positive, Positive, Neutral, Negative, and Very Negative.
Nearly 850 people responded and the results pointed toward a resoundingly negative impact.
Anglakhel, a Warhammer Alliance staff member breaks down the results (as illustrated above): "Voting on both WAR Vault and Warhammer Alliance followed the exact same order on both sites with community members voting that the impact of Land of the Dead was 'Very Negative' being the most popular choice and 'Very Positive' being the least popular choice. All in all, 383 people, a staggering 45%, voted that the impact of LotD was 'Very Negative' for RvR (Vault 103, WA 280). 'Negative' came in second place with nearly 30% of the vote, or 253 total votes (Vault 82, WA 171). In third place with 13% was 'Neutral' which earned 110 votes (Vault 41, WA 69). Forth place went to 'Positive' with 79 votes, for just over 9% (Vault 28, WA 51). Last place fell to 'Very Positive' which received 24 total votes for less than 3% of the total vote (Vault 11, WA 13)."
The analysis is full of player quotes pulled directly from the community and is well worth the read.
Some players felt that Land of the Dead was the straw that broke the camel's back. Others enjoyed the PvE elements but still felt that the zone negatively impacted RvR. A number of players felt that the PvE was now being forced upon them in order to remain competitive in RvR (reminiscent of the Trials of Atlantis expansion for DAOC).
On the other hand, some players felt that a poll of this type would automatically draw a negative result and didn't wish to legitimize it by voting even though they supported Land of the Dead. A number of posters actually thought that Land of the Dead revitalized RvR on their server by adding much needed consequence to zone locks.
We wanted to know what Mythic thought about this poll and its results, so we put forth a couple questions and they were nice enough to respond to Massively quickly and exclusively. Continue reading to find out what they had to say.