Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mythic Manhandles Next DAOC Expansion

EA Mythic either has one of the brightest futures in the MMORPG market or else one of the darkest. Depending on who you talk to the prediction swings back and forth between the worst and best case scenarios. One thing is for certain though and that is that Mythic's future doesn't seem to include Dark Age of Camelot.

For a long time a new expansion for the aging game has been promised to its remaining faithful subscribers. While not as strong as it once was the game still holds onto over 100,000 people according to www.mmogchart.com numbers. The expansion was originally expected to be announced during this year's E3 tradeshow but Mythic spokespeople say it was put on hold so as not to detract attention from Warhammer Online. As several bloggers have noted already this is ridiculous since Warhammer Online has great reviews and hype surrounding it.

Despite this players still have been strung along with weekly responses that news concerning the expansion was coming soon. But so far no features or details have been revealed to the fans of the game. Recent word from the company blames the delayed announcement of the expansion on budget growth due to the EA merger. Mythic claims that with the larger budget they now wish to include more features in the expansion which is causing the delay. However, those who follow the inner workings of EA doubt that the company would want to promote DAOC when Warhammer Online was on the horizon. This seems to be the crux of the problem within EA Mythic. How do you design a new and better service without killing your old one?

The short answer is that you can't. As more MMORPG game studios are moving away from their first hit title they are finding it impossible to fully support two games. Lineage, Asheron's Call, Everquest, and others are all having problems with sequel games detracting from their own customer base. However, SOE and Cryptic Studios have had some luck by allowing customers to pay one fee to access multiple game titles.

Thus the future of DAOC might depend on how EA Mythic handles the pricing structure of the games that fall under their wing. Three years down the line we could see Ultima Online, DAOC, Warhammer and Ultima Online 2 all under their control. If DAOC players have a chance to pay only 5$ extra to play all four I guarantee that the future would look bright indeed. On the other side if Warhammer fails to gain over 150,000 subscriptions I fully expect EA to gut the studio.


Tide (Adam MacDonald) said...

yeah I think you're right. But I still find that 100k for DAoC hard to believe. I find it hard to accept because having played the games for a few year and gone back for a few days not long ago, you can really tell the population has gone. The servers stats of live users on is one metric (never more than 13k?), but the other one should VNboards and just designs in game. Personally, I am looking forward to WHO and I bet it will get a nice bump from people tired of WoW, but wanting to stick to something similar.

Kinless said...

If Blizzard coincides the release of the *2nd* World of Warcraft expansion with the release of Warhammer who'd jump ship or stay put? This 2nd expansion could bring us Northrend, a 3rd continent to play on. Gilneas and Dalaran and whatever's happened to them. New races to play like the Nerubians. (And a lot of rework to the models and such.) There is so much new material possible only the most jaded WoW player would bail on it. I've got 110 days played, in total, and I'm loving every minute of it still. Don't get me wrong. Warhammer sounds interesting, very, but enough to drag me from WoW? It'd have to be very compelling, and worthy of any time invested.

Relmstein said...

I also have a problem believing the numbers for DAOC but its what www.mmogchart.com is still reporting. Most likely SirBruce hasn't gotten a data point in awhile, probably since Lum the Mad left Mythic.

As for Warhammer Online I give it credit for being the most likely WoW killer out there but it seems too similiar to make much of an impact. I'm predicting about 500,000 users at max with most of them being jaded pvpers from World of Warcraft.

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