By John Funk
WarCry: First of all, congratulations!
Mark Jacobs: Thank you very much.
WC: It must feel good to see all this work finally bearing fruit.
MJ: Yes. It's been a very long process, and we're getting there! We're not there yet, but we are getting there.
WC: It's sort of the pitfall of the genre: MMOs are constantly under work. So you're never quite done, are you.
MJ: Noooo. Never. That's one of the beauties of the genre.
WC: So how do you think the launch went so far?
MJ: Smoothest MMO launch in history, so far. I think in all fairness we have to wait until tonight, but if you look at some numbers - you know this from obviously knowing the genre - number of crashes since we launched on Thursday of the entire game, 0. Number of individual server crashes since Sunday, 0.
WC: That's very impressive.
MJ: That alone makes us number one. The only crashes we've had have been of some of the zones, and a very, very, very small amount at that. If you've been playing, you know that we haven't taken down the servers constantly to patch them. The only patches we've put in have been client patches, which don't require the servers going down. We took some of the servers down, obviously, for our new solution to server queues. That's it.
You look at any other MMO launch, including Camelot, and if you want to draw an apples-to-apples comparison you can certainly wait until tomorrow morning, and go "Okay, this is the first official 24 hours." However, one thing I'd like to point out - if you look at the peak concurrent users that were playing our game during these four days ... at the highest number, we have more people during these four days at peak than we had on Day 1 of Camelot's launch, on Day 2 of Camelot's launch.
If you're doing a simple numeric comparison, apples to apples, we were smoother than Camelot. And you do know, of course, that Camelot has been called either the smoothest MMO launch, or certainly one of the smoothest - most people call it the smoothest.
WC: Right. Obviously, you did have experience with this. Do you think the whole Head Start program helped, phasing people in instead of a gigantic rush with everybody?
MJ: Well again, that's the beauty of it! Even with the phasing in - you've got it right - but even with the phasing in? We still had more people playing Warhammer than we did with the non-phasing-in of Dark Age! It's an incredible number! I was watching it last night and the night before, going, "Yep, we just passed Dark Age." So even with the phasing in, we still passed Dark Age.
What we did during Beta, what we did during Head Start, what we did during Open Beta ... was to constantly force people to relog and re-create characters, to all log in at the same time. So we were testing this stuff. We used it, we used that time very carefully, so that it would almost be anti-climactic.
Now, we're not there yet. We have to get through tonight, because if we really want to be fair and say, "Okay, look. Even though the numbers for the Head Start were great, even though obviously, as we announced on Monday, that we had more preorders for this PC title than any other EA PC title in history. Even though we had that, it's not quite the same. Fair enough." But we've been up since 12:01 this morning, so we're now looking at 18 hours - no crashes, no shutdowns, no emergency patches, no maintenance.
We're not there, we've got six more hours - one more night - to go, but, you know, if you want to compare launches, whether it's the first 24 hours of launch, peak concurrent users of launch, whatever numbers you want to apply: we have some great numbers now. I'm watching the board, and they just keep going up, and up, and up.