Thursday 25 February 2010

New WAR Producer's letter which of course means a new producer :p

So here we have a new producers letter from Carrie Gouskos, who has taken over from Bruce MacLean as WAR’s new Franchise Producer. Apparently Carrie’s job, alongside Jeff Hickman, is no less than planning the future and vision of WAR. One must ask why the job seems to have a revolving door, as it seems like Mythic do a management churn every other month… Anyway, good luck to Carrie and now onto this latest producer’s letter…
It’s a mixed start for Carrie. Whilst I like the style of the letter, the background she’s put in and the way it’s written, the problem is that once again it doesn’t tell us much that we’ve not already known for months. Considering the length of the letter I’m a little surprised to see so much of the same old stuff being said. Also despite attempts to do the opposite, it includes a comment that really sticks in the mind, giving off the hideous stench of maintenance mode:
“It’s also important to keep game play fresh. As such we’re finding ways to maximize our content.”
Note that’s not add new content to freshen things up, it’s “maximize our content”, which reads as the existing and old content. Now whilst that “maximising” is actually a good thing, the problem is that WAR gamers desperately want to hear that Mythic will be adding new content to properly freshen things up. Mythic may accuse me of over-analysing their maximise statement, but what do they expect when we’re still not being given any information on anything other than tweaks to existing content and not a single word on anything actually new.
However I don’t want that negative point to dominate this post, nor do I wish to slaughter Carrie’s first letter as she has also given us insight into some cool sounding things that their maximised content will bring.
So what in this letter is actually news?
“The WAR Asia team has been looking at the game with a different and fresh perspective, and we hope to bring that perspective to the live game. This doesn’t mean everything being developed for Asia will be released in the other markets (it doesn’t all translate), but the good news is that nothing is too precious for us to re-examine…carefully!”
Other than the different cutesy character models which I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, I have no idea what’s different for the Asian version of the game. Anyone have any ideas?

”As I said, we want to give you greater insight into the development process. This already happens with dev diaries and videos to an extent, but we’re going to step it up a notch with even more outlets for communication. To start with, you should absolutely expect to hear from me at least once a month via the producer’s letter.”
I’m really pleased to hear this. Reliable and regular information from Mythic is desperately needed, as long as they actually tell us something new! Though Carrie, please keep in mind “we’re making cities more RvR!” is not news now, nor was it news any time Mythic uttered that same thing during the last 6 months. Proper news please.
”We’re also interested in letting you guys have more active participation in the game through some fun contests with unconventional prizes. Not just titles and vanity items, but your own ideas and input into the game with full credit granted. To start with, we’d like to introduce the Loading Screen Tip Contest. We challenge our players to come up with their best Loading Screen help tips (whether genuine or just plain silly). Your tip will be added to the loading screens and immortalized for all eternity.”
Hah! This could be most amusing! I’d love to see items in game that are named after characters. Bootae’s Bloody Bludgeon please :P

”…Weekend Warfronts, a rotating weekend Scenario schedule, featuring a different Scenario each weekend. This might be an old favorite that was removed from the permanent rotation so that we could better concentrate populations, or it might be a new spin on a scenario with improved rule sets. Perhaps it will be something completely silly for a bit of entertainment. “
The Weekend Warfronts is not news of course, but Mythic tinkering with rule sets and adding silly stuff is. I like the sound of this, as not only will it provide some amusement, but it will also give Mythic the ability experiment in a live environment. You never know, this could lead to some excellent improvements or additions to the game.

”… in 1.3.5 we’re going to be giving you new options to increase your inventory space by opening up more bank room for each character and adding another tab to the guild vault. You will have to purchase this additional bank space with in-game currency, but we think they’re worth the cost! Players below Rank 40 will no longer have inventory space grow with leveling, but will be able to purchase the space as soon as they have the money to do so. “
Good news for a horder like me. Too much armour, not enough space.
”Additionally, we’ve added a little boon for guilds; officers with the permission to edit the guild heraldry and/or tactics will now have the ability reset them as well.”
So we can change our guild heraldry? Hmm ours is fine with our uber fist of doom, but I imagine this will be popular.
”And finally, there’s 1.3.6 and even though the minutiae is not yet finalized, one aspect that we’re considering improving is the auction house. We want to foster player-driven interaction and trade, especially as we introduce more and better items to the game, and you can’t do that with an auctionhouse that doesn’t function as it should.”
New improved auction house. Ok, not high on my list of requirements… actually it’s not on my list at all. But maybe this will be popular with others.
Also, by 1.3.6 we will make a decision, one way or another, on the armor set redesign. We’re going to maximize the effectiveness of the armor changes for the most players, without taking development time away from the systems that are most important. 
/sigh… This has been dragging on for ages. The graphics for the new sets were posted by Mythic, we got all excited and then nothing. And it’s still not sodding decided?? Much like the fortress debacle this, without the game breaking results of course, but it was something many people were looking forward to. Just implement the bloody thing.
So in summary… It’s not a bad letter, but it’s lacking body. Mythic are still completely refusing to give us information about proper new content, are doing nothing to reassure us of genuine investment in the game’s future and not even acknowledging this. However on the positive side there are a few small but interesting things coming our way.


  1. Sure, there was much in her letter that we already knew. Let's look at this realistically ...

    I work for a large company and can relate to what has happened over at Mythic (being owned by a large company). Internally they know way more than they will ever let on or share with the community. That's a fact. We will not be privvy. So they need to put on a happy face to keep player perception as upbeat as possible ... even though we read the press, etc.

    Year end came which is typically a slowdown time for many, they announced a new lead who has moved on and now she is in charge. Her first letter reiterates much we already know and throws in some nuggets of other stuff. I think it has taken them since the new year to get their feet back under them and to determine a course to take ... which includes communications with the player base.

    This seems good but consistent and timely communication will be key to continuing this ... and as we know our playerbase is quite fickle. We want to know what's coming and see results. So time will tell.

    I agree with you on the Auction House ... works fine to me. What more can they do to the economy? Perhaps repairable items will start dropping in dungeons and we can buy gear there? That would boost the economy. I dunno.

    I am hopeful that this is the start of something good as the game is so much better now. I see so much action in all tiers, many new players coming to the game, and a slew of old faces returning. All positives.

    Can Mythic take this and turn it into something special? I hope so.

  2. Oh aye mate, I work for a large local authority in the UK and I totally understand about not sharing things with the public. More so than most tbh lol, which is kinda ironic working within in the public sector :P

    However, when Mythic launched Land of the Dead as it's first "live expansion" they gave the impression that wouldn't be a one off. It's a long time since LotD and since then we have had nothing but content removed and not a single word on actual new content, only tinkering with existing content. In fact with the fortresses it was with the impression that they have something planned, only to find out actually they're not sure what to do...

    I understand that Mythic can't give out exact details, but if the game does have a long term future beyond the existing content, then they must be able to give us something. Even if its just vague clues, at least something to start debate that is based on more than total speculation. They could allude to a returning city, a new zone or dungeon, whatever, just a damn hint.

    Right now when someone says the game is going no where and will not get any expansions or new content, what realistically can we say to argue against that?

    Absolutely nothing. Because Mythic are giving us nothing. Believe me, if they give me a shred of proper news I'll hype it to buggery and revel in proving the doubters wrong. I'm desperate for my faith in this game to be repaid. As you know I always blog fairly, praise, hype and criticism where it's deserved. However right now I'm not getting much help from Mythic on the praise or hype front :P

    I am pleased with Carrie's style of letter and the fact that she is promising improved communication, but it was really just more of the same. Personally from the tone of that letter I have a feeling Carrie might be the one to sort shit out, but I've got nothing I can base that on to actually post. Just a bit of instinct, which is not enough.

    I need Mythic to give me hater-piercing ammunition. Instead of just providing me with blanks.

  3. I totally agree with you Bootae. I thought the whole letter was a waste of time to even read.

    I dissected it, and ran it through my shredder on steroids, and it isn't looking pretty.

    I keep wanting this game to get better, but it seems they really don't know what to do. Why they don't ask players for good constructive ideas I will never know. Oh wait, they are too busy thinking of loading tips to add to the game.

    I really think I am done with WAR, but I do get bored every few months, and play for a week or two.


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