Eurogamer: Was it unfair of players to compare the game to World of Warcraft at launch and subsequently?
Carrie Gouskos: No. It's not unfair. It's what they do.
Eugene Evans: The challenge with releasing any online game is the competitor has the advantage. You're not only up against the game they built and launched, but you're up against the game they ran for a number of years and have grown.
At some point you have to get out there with your product and you have to compete. We were offering a very distinct experience with realm versus realm play. People still love the experience and are coming back now.
People are always looking for the next game they want to play. We've focused on the core players that have discovered what it is that's unique and fun about Warhammer. And that word is getting out there.
Carrie Gouskos: Maybe we attempted too much early on, making sure the player versus environment experience was as meaningful as the RVR experience.
Right now, everything we're doing and where we're going and what the path of the game is is focused on RVR. We know that's our strength. That's what our players who are playing right now want. And that's something we have a pretty good handle on. We know our strengths and we're playing up to those as best we can.
Eurogamer: How many people are currently playing Warhammer?
Eugene Evans: We don't disclose that – the joys of being a public company.
Hands On: Warhammer Online: The Land of the Dead
WAR like an Egyptian.
Hands On: Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
Beta Report Part 1: The early levels.
There's pretty much everything you could conceivably want to know about Warhammer's crafting system in one sitting here, a whole 13 minutes of it, presented by none other than the general manager of EA mythic himself.
Eurogamer: But you mentioned it's profitable, which in this economy is great. You must be delighted.
Eugene Evans: Yeah. The other reality was that we found ourselves releasing the game at the front of one of the biggest financial crises for a long time.
What's the challenge of any new MMO? Taking people away from a community they're enjoying playing with.
A new MMO comes along and they don't want to abandon their old community. They want to try a new experience. If that means they have to subscribe to a couple of games for a while, that's more difficult in this climate.
One of the biggest effects we had on our community was the release earlier this year of our endless trial, where we were able to present a new trial experience that gave people the time to discover what was great about the game. They weren't worried about trying to discover that in 10 or 14 days.
We're still getting tens of thousands of people a month coming through trying that experience.
Eurogamer: Will you go free-to-play?
Eugene Evans: The free-to-play model has huge advantages but my opinion is you either have to design a game from scratch to drive that free-to-play experience, or there is a significant amount of work to re-engineer your game to deliver something that can drive the same amount of revenue.
Carrie Gouskos: We've looked at free-to-play and how that works. One of the biggest problems we have is it's very difficult, especially in Western markets, to monetise RVR-based experiences.
You're basically saying, in order to make it meaningful, you've got to let people pay for power. That feels wrong. You want people to be able to earn it.
We've definitely looked at free-to-play long and hard, but at the moment we don't have a need to.
Eugene Evans: We're happy with the players we have and the level of engagement they have with the game.
Carrie Gouskos: You want to make sure you're not diminishing the value of what people have played and paid for this entire two year period. You want to make sure they feel that it's worth something.
Eurogamer: What did you think on Blizzard's effort to impose Real ID on its forums? Would you ever consider doing that in your forums?
Carrie Gouskos: No. Never. Never. No.
Eugene Evans: We wouldn't do it. I'm surprised they did it, and for a group that is so close to their community, it was amazing that they misread it that poorly.
I'm pleased to see them reacting to the community. We should all learn to listen to our communities.
Carrie Gouskos: I would fight that tooth and nail. I've had some very personal, really bad experiences in online communities with that. Personally, I'm against it.
Eurogamer: Blizzard argued it would improve the quality of their forums. Do you understand that point of view?
Eugene Evans: Their community made it very clear what the right answer is.
Eurogamer: You're running three games at the moment. What's next from BioWare Mythic?
Eugene Evans: We're not ready to talk about that but we will be very soon.
Eurogamer: How soon? gamescom?
Eugene Evans: Probably not gamescom. That's very, very soon.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is out now.