Mythic’s Mark Jacobs Interview

Mark Jacobs, Mythic’s CEO recently gave an interview about Warhammer Online, MMOs and more. Really nice read if you’re interested in the MMO scene.

Some highlights:

It does seem like a big MMO killer is simply running out of money and having to launch in whatever state the game was in when the money ran out.

MJ: Absolutely

I’ve seen this happen several times, more recently in my memory is Age of Conan’s failure, but another good example was Star Wars Galaxies. I hope BioWare does what it’s known for and waits the right amount of game matureness and stability before releasing their Knights of the Old Republic MMO a few years from now. I’d like a good sci-fi MMO, especially if it’s Star Wars.

It’s the same thing we hope will happen with WoW versus WAR. We’re not saying we’re going to beat them, but we’re not afraid of them. We have our own hook; that’s RvR, and we’re pushing it and we’re pushing it, just as we’re pushing other innovations in the game. Blizzard is number one; we don’t mind being number two, especially if it’s a competitive number two. I can’t worry about that.

Mythic was smart. Instead of aiming to make the WoW-killer game, they decided to go for a niche market, who doesn’t have all their needs fulfilled by World of Warcraft – PvP fans. At the same time they didn’t neglect PvE fans such as myself and made a world, where you can level up by questing.

MJ: Well, you know where the visuals come from. The visuals come from Games Workshop, and if there’s any similarity to the WoW visuals, you need to ask Blizzard where they got their visuals come from. (laughs) We can trace our visuals directly to the Games Workshop IP, which came about before Blizzard was even a company. Just go back and look at the old Games Workshop books.

(…)

So, for the people who look at this and say, “Boy, some of these things are similar,” also keep in mind that we’ve been making MMOs since before Blizzard ever did. A lot of the things in the game, be they RvR or other things, come from Camelot.

But even having said that, knowing that full well, games — MMOs or not — have a tendency to be somewhat derivative of each other.

[ Source: Gamasutra ]

After reading this, I’m getting the sense that Mythic will be more demanding on GOA’s efficiency, and not let months go by where Europe is waiting for patches already out in the US. Today’s MMO reality is not the same as it was five years ago when I was playing Dark Age of Camelot and we accepted it because where else would we go MMO-wise? Mark Jacobs seems to be well aware that things are different now.

So far Warhammer Online managed to impress me. Like MJ says in the interview, I don’t think it will beat World of Warcraft (gimme Universe of StarCraft!). In fact, I’m a firm believer that if there will be an MMO that will beat WoW in numbers, it will be another Blizzard creation, based on WoW’s engine, which has been improved steadly for years.

WAR does manage to have innovations despite the more and more explored area of MMOs. Public Quests are definitely an innovation, the larger amount of things you can do from level one, also is (want to PvP? Go right ahead). I won’t mention Realm versus Realm in this context, because it was already there five years ago, on Mythic’s Dark age of Camelot. While playing it, I’m not looking for a replacement for World of Warcraft, but it is a very nice complimentary game for WoW-players, and a must if you’re more into PvP than PvE.

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