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Warhammer Online

Warhammer Online goes free for final weeks

Fantasy, Business Models, Warhammer Online, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

Warhammer Online goes free for final weeks
After years of fans asking for it, Warhammer Online has finally gone free-to-play. Unfortunately, we had to wait until the end of the game's lifespan to see it happen.

Mythic announced that the title would be completely free for those who would like to play before the title sunsets and that subscriptions have been disabled. "To give Warhammer Online a proper sendoff we are opening the game to anyone free of charge that has or had an account in good standing starting October 31st, 2013," the studio wrote. "So please join us and help say goodbye to Warhammer Online in one last big WAAAGH!"

Mythic also said that it is adding power-up NPCs to super-charge characters and other "unique experiences" for returning and loyal players.

WAR will close down on December 18th. You can read some of our recollections of the title's history.

[Thanks to John for the tip!]

The Game Archaeologist: WAR's biggest battle was with itself

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, Warhammer Online, The Game Archaeologist, Anniversaries, Subscription, Sunsets

The Game Archaeologist WAR's biggest battle was with itself
Who would have thought that on WAR's fifth anniversary and just days after I dropped a few favorite things about the game, Mythic would be announcing a closure instead of an exciting celebration? While we can all say it that Warhammer Online's upcoming sunset was expected, nobody predicted that the news would go down on its fifth birthday. Maybe someone over there likes order more than chaos and sees a nice symmetry in this. Personally, I think it felt a little bit mean to do that to the remaining community that was patiently sitting there hoping that the studio would toss them even a small bit of recognition.

But facts are facts, and after December 18th, the game of public quests, the Tome of Knowledge, "bears, bears, bears," Slayers and Marauders, RvR and scenarios, exploding squigs, and drunken Dwarves will be no more.

There are a few months left to experience the game if one so desires, but the end is finally here. It's caused many of us who were invested in the game back in 2008 to take stock of our memories and deal with the last chapter of this strange, wild rollercoaster that started with a strong IP, a studio steeped in PvP MMO development, and a pair of white sunglasses. In the end, WAR's biggest battle was with itself -- and it lost. Today, let's look at the whys, the what ifs, and the community reaction.

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MMO Week in Review: Blood for the blood god

MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

It's been a week of shutdown announcements in the MMO and pseduo-MMO community, but not all shutdowns are bad. EA-Mythic finally admitted the inevitable: that Warhammer Online, on life support for the last few years, will cease operation in December (Merry Christmas?), possibly paving the way for a new MMO set within the same IP. And Blizzard informed Diablo III's PC players that the RMT auction house will be axed next year, just in time for the expansion. Of course, that also means the death of the regular trading hall. You win some; you lose some.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Warhammer Online to close December 18th

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Anniversaries, Sunsets

Warhammer Online to close December 18th
Today is Warhammer Online's fifth anniversary, but instead of getting a celebration, the players are getting a pink slip from Mythic. The studio announced that it will be shutting WAR down as of December 18th because its licensing deal with Games Workshop has come to an end.

The official statement gives the important details: "We here at Mythic have built an amazing relationship working with Games Workshop creating and running Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning over the last 8 years. Unfortunately, as with all licensing deals they do eventually come to end and on December 18th, 2013 we will no longer be operating Warhammer Online. As such we will no longer be selling three-month game time codes or have the ability to auto renew your accounts for three months as of September 18th, 2013. From all of us here at Mythic we thank you again for your dedication and support over the last five years."

Producer Carrie Gouskos also posted her own memories of the game on this somber occasion, including the revelation of a now-cancelled Asian F2P edition of the game and a vampire-themed expansion. "It has been a tremendous honor to work with Games Workshop and even though we may be parting ways, our relationship with them remains strong," she wrote. "And now, hopefully, because this may be the last thing I ever write about Warhammer, I'll be allowed to acknowledge the existence of Chaos Dwarves. Or maybe not."

The Game Archaeologist: What I loved about Warhammer Online

Fantasy, Warhammer Online, Opinion, The Game Archaeologist, Anniversaries, Subscription

The Game Archaeologist What I loved about Warhammer Online
As I got my start in blogging over Warhammer Online, I've become "the guy" everyone on staff goes to whenever WAR hits an anniversary. The problem is, there's precious little good to say about this title's development over the past year. Pretty much all of the news we've gotten has been negative, from the closure of Wrath of Heroes to the elimination of the six-month subscription to the departure of its most vocal developers. TL;DR version of my feelings on the topic: WAR needs F2P or it will die probably much sooner rather than later.

But instead of going maudlin and piling on the obvious, I want to go down a different road today for the sake of those who loved and perhaps still love Warhammer Online. Obviously, people continue to play it even though its day in the spotlight is long gone, and I'd like to chime in with some positivity for a change. After all, WAR's celebrating its fifth anniversary, and that's pretty cool.

So in honor of that, here's a list of seven things that I loved about WAR from my time playing it and why it wasn't quite the abysmal failure that revisionist history has made it out to be.

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The Game Archaeologist: Classic MMOs in July

Anarchy Online, Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, News Items, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, RuneScape, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

The Game Archaeologist Classic MMOs in July 20
It's been over a month since our last round-up of news, events, and community features covering the classic MMOs we know and love. You wouldn't think that a lazy summer month would contain a lot of new information regarding these older titles, but these past few weeks have been absolutely hopping.

We've had several anniversaries, patches, player celebrations, mobile adaptations, and more. I'm constantly encouraged to see how players keep the memories of deceased games and the spirit of currently running ones alive throughout the blogging community as well, so we'll look into that today too.

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Some Assembly Required: Five ways MMOs should support player events

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Aion, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Vanguard, RuneScape, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required Five ways all games should support player events and why
Over the course of Some Assembly Required, we've covered a few player-run events out there that haven't been highlighted in their respective game columns. After all, we're all about PGC here, and you can't really get content more player-generated than that! But with all the the possible events across the whole gamut of games, there's no possible way to attend them all, let alone cover them here; there is only so much time in the day and space in the column. Of course, that won't stop me from trying!

From Age of Conan to Warhammer Online, a few of the events I've been able to catch are festivals, races, plays, fishing contests, tavern storytelling nights, quests (yes, quests), treasure/scavenger hunts, trivia contests, arena duels, gambling nights, musical concerts, war games, horse races, weddings, dance-offs, terraforming challenges, auctions, jousts, fashion shows, tournaments, funerals, crafter fairs, and more contests than can even be mentioned. These examples aren't restricted to any one genre, either; creatively concocted events run the gamut and include themeparks like Aion, MOBAs like SMITE, and more -- and not just sandboxes.

As you might have noticed, that's quite a bit of content, content that comes at no cost to the the studio! So why is it these events can be so hard to find? With so much free content at their fingertips, it would behoove studios to make it the norm to support and promote these events. And the tools they need to do so are already at their disposal.

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Jukebox Heroes: Warhammer Online's soundtrack

Fantasy, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Warhammer Online's soundtrack
Even though it's fashionable to bash Warhammer Online these days (or every day since 2008, I guess), I still have a lot of affection for this particular game. It was the MMO that got me into blogging, connected me with many of my current online friends, and provided exciting experiences for well over a year. So when I hear the music, there's a rush of nostalgia that floods my brain and runs down to my extremities.

That's not to say it's a particularly terrific score. I'd probably classify Warhammer Online's soundtrack as slightly below average; it does the job it needed to do, but it doesn't provide any stellar breakout tracks that will endure long after I've logged out. Still, it's worth examining.

The score was handled by Mythic in-house composer Brad Derrick (who also helped to make an amusing Dwarf ballad while he was there). What did he come up with to represent this savagely twisted world? Let's find out!

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The Daily Grind: What obscure fluff feature would you like to see in other games?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Opinion, The Daily Grind

You probably can't see this Bright Wizard's medals, but he has some, trust me
The other day I was thinking about Warhammer Online. I've no idea why. I haven't played the game in ages and to be perfectly frank, I didn't much care for it when I was playing. One thing I fondly recall, though, was that nifty feature that let you display medals and assorted military-style decorations on your avatar.

I can't recall seeing that in another MMO, and it's one of those quirky quality-of-life things that I wish every game would implement. What about you, Massively readers? Is there an obscure fluff feature out there you're particularly fond of and that you'd like to see become a standard?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Mythic community manager bids a sorrowful farewell

Dark Age of Camelot, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, News Items, Ultima Online, Free-to-Play

It looks as if yesterday's EA layoffs are hitting MMO gamers closer to home than originally thought. In a post today on BioWare's Warhammer Online forums, Mythic's Timothy Chappell announced that he has been let go. Chappell was the community manager for Warhammer Online, Ultima Online, and Dark Age of Camelot.
I am very sorry to say that I was informed that my position was no longer needed. Though I had many titles I was handling for Mythic, I grew to love and appreciate all the communities and only wish I could have had more time or resources to get more involved with them. Though I had only been in the position for a little over a year, I will miss a great many of you and hope that you keep in touch.
The news is of particular concern for Warhammer, which also lost its lead developer earlier this week. Ultima Online, by contrast, assured players of its continuing operation in a producer's letter last week.

[Thanks to Fozee for the tip!]

Warhammer Online's Keaven Freeman leaves Mythic

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, Warhammer Online, Subscription

Warhammer Online's Keaven Freeman leaves Mythic
Lead Developer Keaven Freeman is no longer heading up Warhammer Online. Freeman wrote a goodbye post on his personal blog stating that he is leaving Mythic Entertainment to "explore new growth and new career possibilities."

"It is with heavy heart I report I am leaving Mythic Entertainment. I have worked with Mythic since 2007, and it quickly became my family," he said.

Freeman expressed his gratitude to the company and fans, saying that his time with WAR was rewarding: "I'm by no means saying everything was perfect -- there was a lot I could have done better, in hindsight, but I think we really managed to take some giant steps forward as well, as non-perfect as those steps may have been."

EA named 'Worst Company in America' second year in a row

Dark Age of Camelot, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Ultima Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous

EA named the worst company in America second year in a row
Gamers aren't letting up on Electronic Arts for its record and attitude. The games publisher was voted "Worst Company in America" for a second year in a row in The Consumerist's poll. EA trounced the other finalist, Bank of America, with 78% of the tallies.

The Consumerist provided commentary as to why EA earned that reputation with customers and what it could be doing to not earn this title next year. The site identified EA's three main problems as failing to provide a product people want and like, failing to sell products at reasonable prices, and failing to support its products.

EA COO Peter Moore posted a letter last week responding to the probable second win, admitting mistakes while attempting to refute popular complaints. His response to the poll? "We can do better. We will do better."

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes goes down swinging today

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Warhammer Online, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Sunsets

Warhammer Online Wrath of Heroes goes down swinging today
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes' final month is up and the game is scheduled to be closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT today.

That doesn't mean the title will be going down without one heckuva fight! According to Wrath of Heroes' Facebook page, the developers are spending the last few hours in battle with the players. The team has also added a chance for killers to transform into vampire chickens or bloodthirsters.

If you're just now finding out about the sunset and want more information, check out EA's FAQ on the closure.

[Thanks to Adam for the tip!]

WAR weathers difficult weekend, compensates players

Fantasy, Bugs, Warhammer Online

WAR weathers difficult weekend, compensates players
Warhammer Online certainly has seen better weekends than this past one. Because of a nasty bug that caused immense amounts of lag spikes and zone crashes, Mythic was forced to take WAR's servers down while the team worked to isolate and fix the problem. The good news is that the issue has been fixed via a new build and the studio is working on a "compensation package" for those affected.

The goodie package includes 10 days of game time, a golden writ, a seven-day XP and RP booster, a special title, and 10 lesser bone wards. The team is still checking some details in regard to the compensation period but will be letting players know when and for whom this package will be available.

Reminiscing about Warhammer Online with Mark Jacobs

Fantasy, Interviews, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Interviews (Massively's)

Reminiscing about Warhammer Online with Mark Jacobs
When it comes to the 2008 phenomenon of Warhammer Online and the story of its rise and fall, there's one obvious source for the full dish: Mark Jacobs. The former big kahuna of Mythic Entertainment is now CEO of City State Entertainment, and while Jacobs is no longer in the WAR business, he's still passionate about making games and talking about his past experiences.

We sat down with Jacobs to look at WAR and what he thought went right and wrong with the title. Even today, many gamers are passionately divided on the game's build-up to release and design decisions. Some lay the blame at Jacobs' doorstep, while others admire the passion and vision of this MMO creator. So what does Jacobs have to say when put to the question about WAR's outcome? Find out in this exclusive interview!

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