The Warhammer IP has quite a following among both tabletop and video gamers thanks to the variety of options available for role-playing fans to dive into the universe created by Games Workshop. For the last half decade, one of those options has been the PC MMO Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Starting this December, fans of the fantasy series will no longer be able to scratch the Warhammer itch by logging onto Age of Reckoning.
It was a bit of a bittersweet celebration of Warhammer Online’s five-year anniversary yesterday when Mythic producer Carrie Gouskos announced that the game’s servers will be shutting down December 18, 2013. Gouskos expressed Mythic’s gratitude for having had the opportunity to play in the Games Workshop’s world class universe for nearly the last decade.
“Both Games Workshop and Mythic agreed to part ways, despite how hard it is emotionally on us to let the game go. It has been a tremendous honor to work with Games Workshop and even though we may be parting ways, our relationship with them remains strong.”
Rumors had been bouncing around this summer that the MMO would attempt to make a jump to free-to-play, but apparently the game will never get the chance to attempt the F2P model. As of yesterday, players no longer have the opportunity to auto-renew their accounts for the three month option and Mythic is no longer selling three month game time codes.
Warhammer Online received mostly positive reviews when it was published by Electronic Arts back in 2008 and the game still holds an 86 on Metacritic. The combination of critical approval and respectable subscription numbers (around 750,000 a month after the game’s launch) had many MMO enthusiasts believing that Warhammer Online was on track to be the next World of Warcraft.
Instead, subscribers left the game shortly after the initial buzz faded and Mythic started shutting down servers within the first year to account for the dwindling population. The diminishing player base offered enough revenue in subscription fees to keep the remaining servers open for another four years.
With the death of such a critically endorsed MMO, fans of the genre are bound to continue debating whether or not the subscription model can still work. World of Warcraft saw a significant drop in revenue earlier this year, but is still sticking to the classic subscription model. The Elder Scrolls Online should provide some interesting data on whether or not consumers are still interested in jumping into a game that runs retail price plus fifteen bucks a month.
Hopefully, one of EA’s upcoming ‘completely new’ IPs will be able to replace the void left by Warhammer Online’s absense.
Warhammer Online is available on Mac and PC until December 18, 2013.
Source: Warhammer Online
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