Published on September 12, 2008 By Asmodean_dk In MMORPG

So, Sunday marked the start of the eagerly anticipated start of the Open Beta for EA/Mythic's huge MMO Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

But all is not well in the kingdom of Denmark. In fact, things are downright rotten. While the start of the beta went almost without hitches in the U.S. and Oceania, the European beta start has become an ongoing nightmare for developer Mythic and their European customers.

To maintain the server infrastructure and handle the accounts and billing for the European market, EA/mythic has partnered with french based GOA - as they did for another succesful Mythic title: Dark Age of Camelot. Many European MMO fans believe that GOA dropped the ball even then, and a lot of people were surprised that GOA were given the chance once again, but I think that even the most apprehensive players were shocked by yesterdays and todays events.

Upwards of 100,000 beta registrations codes have been sold and/or given out in Europe alone. And the server infrastructure to handle all those account registrations was brought online yesterday morning at 8:30 AM CET. Only 3½ hours prior to the start of the open beta. Needless to say that the servers were swamped, and quickly buckled under the pressure. Forums were flooded with angry messages from fans, wanting to know when they could expect the system to validate their beta codes, so that they could start playing. We had to wait 8 hours for an official update from GOA. 8!!. Then things started to move, it seemed. Mythic CEO Mark Jacobs started his attempts to reassure his European customers, and GOA CEO Ghislaine le Rhun also did her best to assuage people's feelings.

During the night, statements were released that promised a new beta key validation system and account registration system to come online sometime during the late morning, European time. Morning came and went. Nothing happened, except for more and more posts by GOA saying that they were working on the situation. Fans got angrier and angrier. Threats were made. Then GOA community manager IanC decided that enough was enough, and in a post made on, he called the European fanbase borderline sociopaths. He were quickly (and we are talking 1 minute tops) edited his post to say "there is something wrong with them" ( but the damage was already done.

Mythic CEO, Mark Jacobs has commented on this turn of events in his blog where he said:

"I have read IanC’s post on the situation and I have just communicated to GOA my thoughts on it.  I’ll simply say this, I do not agree with what he said, I do not support what he said and his comments were, in my opinion, way out of line." (Full blog here:

He later ammended his position:

"There is a fine line between what is acceptable and not acceptable in dealing with customers and potential customers. What is unacceptable for anyone to say when they represent a company is that the customers comments are “borderline sociopathic”. That sort of comment, especially when delivered by a representative of a company (especially when that company caused the problems that led to the remark) is equally as bad as some of the comments made by a small percentage of the community. What made it worse was those comments were part of a message that he delivered to the community as both part of the company he represents (GOA) and by reflection, Mythic.

The bottom line is that those comments and frankly his entire update did nothing but further inflame a community that was already upset by what happened at GOA.

Oh, and the whole “I hope Ian won’t be made a scapegoat thing” is quite frankly, nonsense. Ian made those comments and for better or worse, he has to live with them. What he should have done is had the post taken down and apologized for writing it if he believed his comments were out of line.

BTW, I do not share the sentiment that some of the comments were “borderline sociopathic” that is a very, very strong term and one that should not be bandied about lightly."

The status now? European customers are crying for GOA to be sacked, as they are clearly not up to the task. EA/Mythic are defending them, and I expect that once things cool down, GOA might just do a good job of handling the European fort for Mythic. The new account validation system seems to work for some, but not for others - but hey...that is a half success, isn't it? I myself gave up after 3 days, and got hold of a US beta key instead. I am now enjoying the beta on the US servers. And I must say the game is great. Entirely different "feel" than all other MMOs I have played (those are WoW, Vanguard, LotRO and D&D Online by the way).

I just wish things were better on this side of the pond. What a way to release an MMO


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