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EA: Warhammer Online is "profitable"

We're not giving up, says BioWare Mythic.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning makes money and is here to stay, developer BioWare Mythic has insisted.

"Tens of thousands of players" join the game every month as part of the Endless Trial promotion that allows players to play for free, EA said.

In the run up to its release, Warhammer Online was billed as a World of Warcraft killer.

As of 30th September 2008, WAR, as it's known, had sold 1.2 million copies and had 800,000 registered users.

That number quickly dwindled, dropping to 750,000 a month later and over 300,000 a month after that.

In May 2009 EA said WAR had 300,000 subscribers.

Shortly after the number of servers running the game was drastically reduced in order to consolidate the player population, a move some viewed as evidence that WAR was in trouble.

EA-owned developer Mythic was then re-branded as BioWare Mythic, and began work rejuvenating the game.

"We're coming up to two years since the game was released," BioWare Mythic general manager Eugene Evans told Eurogamer in an interview.

"We're still running it. The game is profitable. We have a team that's engaged in it. We're seeing a great response from the community as they rediscover the game.

"When we launched we were up against the biggest competitor in the business, and arguably one of the biggest franchises in our business, with World of Warcraft. That was a huge challenge.

"We're far from giving up on the game. Here we are two years later, and despite all the naysayers we continue to improve.

"These games are not defined by the product you have at launch. They're defined by what you do with the game and how you respond to the community."

While Evans refused to divulge WAR's current subscriber numbers, he said the recently launched Endless Trial promotion is having the desired effect.

Endless Trial players are limited to Tier 1 of the Empire versus Chaos pairing, among other restrictions.

"We were able to present a new trial experience that gave people the time to discover what was great about the game," Evans said.

"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."

Looking back, producer Carrie Gouskos admitted that Mythic tried to do too much with the game for launch.

"Maybe we attempted too much early on, making sure the player versus environment experience was as meaningful as the realm versus realm experience," she told Eurogamer.

"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 re-reviewed WAR in August last year and awarded it 7/10.