EA Mythic Defends ‘Warhammer Online’ From ‘World Of Warcraft’ Designer’s Criticism

Earlier today we published an interview with “World of Warcraft” game director Jeff Kaplan where he shared his thoughts on competing MMORPG “Warhammer Online.”

We reached out to EA Mythic head and lead “Warhammer Online” designer Mark Jacobs to clarify about his company’s beta policies. He responded after the story was published.

In doing so, Jacobs also wanted to respond to some of the comments about “Warhammer Online” that Kaplan had made. Here’s his defense via a phone call to MTV Multiplayer this morning:

— Referring to Kaplan’s mention of the 30-45 minute wait times for battlegrounds (called “Scenarios” in “Warhammer Online”), Jacobs said that “World of Warcraft” also had long queues just to get into the servers to play the game when it first launched in 2004.

— Responding to the user interface similarities, Jacobs said that “World of Warcraft” wasn’t the first game to feature customizable interfaces. While he credited them for polishing it, he also said that it should be pointed out that “World of Warcraft” learned from Sony Online’s “EverQuest” and Mythic’s “Dark Age of Camelot.”

— Jacobs explained that while as developers, they evolve games by learning from each other, many design decisions made for “Warhammer Online” were done consciously to differ from the industry leader: “If you look at ’Warhammer,’ there were so many points [where] we consciously made the decision not to be like ’WoW’ and to try to push the envelope. I think you’ll find that if you’re actually going to compare the two products, I would say ’WoW’ is certainly a more polished game now than ’Warhammer is — of course they’ve had four years and billions of dollars — but if you look at the innovations in ’Warhammer,’ you’d be hard-pressed to find as many in ’WoW.'”

— In the end, Jacobs said that this is only the beginning for “Warhammer Online”: “This is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. We are in this for the long haul and the real test of how great ’Warhammer’ and ’WoW’ are will sort themselves out, and that won’t be in the next three months. It’s going to be a lot longer.”

— For now, the Mythic head said that they’re enjoying their current success and see it continuing down the road even past the launch of the “WoW” expansion “Wrath of the Lich King” next month: “In our first three weeks post-launch, we’ve sold more than anyone else. The game stability has been unbelievable and it blows away any other online games. The amount of downtime we’ve had is negligible. The number of crashes we’ve had is almost non-existent. And we’re going to be continuing to be doing a lot for the game over the next six months, or nine months, or six years.”


Obviously both designers have vested interests in their own games. MMO gamers, you’ve now heard from both sides. What do you think of their criticisms?

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