Eurogamer recently had the opportunity to grill BioWare Mythic's Eugene Evans and Carrie Gouskos about the past, present, and future of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
Eurogamer: How does Warhammer's current status tally with the expectations the team and EA had before it launched and soon after?
Carrie Gouskos: We've come a long way since the expectations of two years ago. For us it has been about centring the game on the players we have and growing that.
Warhammer is in an interesting place. We have a strong user base that loves the game. We get to interact with them in lots of interesting ways. The group now, I feel very comfortable going to and saying, 'Hey guys, I've got some ideas. What do you think?' and really engaging the player base directly and going, 'Help us to make this game the play space you want to enjoy.'
This year I've seen a lot of positive momentum in that area. The communication's been great. The interaction's been great. It's only going to get better with the European players to be able to interact with devs specifically.
We go through several layers of iteration on features and a lot of it comes early to the players and they can give feedback. There are players who had meaningful impact on the game in that way.
Being able to expand to the European group as well is exciting for us. So for us it's about the growth in the year and how well the game is doing right now. I feel pumped about this game right now.
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.