Blizzad's move to beef up open-world player-versus-player combat in World of Warcraft is "absolutely a reaction to Warhammer," according to Mythic boss Mark Jacobs.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Jacobs talked about the latest PVP features to be included in the World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, many of which, he claims, are based on Warhammer Online.
These include a new zone dedicated to open-world PVP called Lake Wintergrasp. Warhammer Online specialises in such zones. It also allows players to level their characters through PVP combat, something Blizzard is considering implementing.
"Oh absolutely," responded Jacobs, when asked if this was a move by Blizzard to position World of Warcraft against Warhammer Online. "I think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
"You have a game that's been out for four years, they've never put in world PVP like ours, they've never been able to level through PVP like in ours. I think it's absolutely a reaction to Warhammer," Jacobs said. "It wasn't like all of a sudden the idea of open-world PVP or levelling through PVP came into their heads and they went 'nobody's ever done this before'."
"I don't think it was accidental that they're talking about doing it when Warhammer comes out. Four years and suddenly, miraculously, at the same time Warhammer comes out that's when they start talking about these things... I think it was Jeff Kaplan who said they like to look at other games and learn from them - well, I'm flattered."
It's worth noting that WOW has had organised open-world PVP features for some time - since before first expansion The Burning Crusade, in fact. But they have never been located in dedicated areas, and have traditionally struggled to attract much interest from players.
Jacobs went on to discuss the uncertainty involved in predicting how many of the currently registered users will be converted into paying subscribers, following the end of the 30-day free trial that comes packaged with the boxed product.
"If we're successful, we'll have a high conversion rate and we'll keep the vast majority of our subs," he explained, adding: "No one has been billed yet, so we won't know this really for at least several months, in terms of how well we're doing, unless we start off horribly."
"Everything we've done internally, in terms of looking at internal polls, people posting on forums, emails from people, all we've seen so far is that we're well on track."
For more, check out Mark Jacobs' full interview with GamesIndustry.biz.