WC: You said that the numbers were higher than that of Dark Age. The world ... ever since 2004, you have more people, there are more people playing MMOs. So I think obviously the numbers were going to be higher. What would you say - say, five months from now - how many subscriptions would it take for you to look at the game and say "This is a success, we've had a successful game"?
MJ: Well, the only thing I can say, and I've been very consistent from the beginning in terms of what would constitute success ... I want to be number two in this space. That's what I want to be, and that's it. I won't talk about actual numbers, I have the issue of being an officer in a publicly traded company, so I can't offer any real guidance there. It'd be a bad thing to do, people would get angry. Secondly, I really don't believe in doing that, and I didn't do that with Camelot either. The only thing I would talk about was "What do we need to be considered a success for Mythic, in terms of what we need to keep the company going" - back when we were independent.
The corollary to that is what I just said. We would like to be number two, and for me, in order for it to be considered a success, we need to be number two.
WC: You mentioned that you had, again, more preorders than any other EA PC title in history. I believe that the announcement was you shipped one and a half million? Obviously, those are great numbers, that puts you in a very solid number two.
WC: Earlier this year, we had Age of Conan, which also started very strong with 1 million, and then ... well, we know how that story ended. WAR has, so far, a very strong start. The numbers are there, are definitely there. Like you said though, you're not "there" yet.
WC: What sort of things are you doing - do you have in mind - over the next three, four months to keep people there, to keep people playing, and to keep those numbers - to not have the Age of Conan meltdown?
MJ: Well if you look at what we did with Camelot, the first thing is: continue to add new content. When you look at the amount of things we gave the players as part of their subscription, whether it's the ongoing content or even the free expansions, that were really large-scale additions to the game ... we're going to follow that exact same pattern. So we're not going to announce in a month that "Oh, we're working on another MMO," or that "The team is moving on to something else," or even that "We're doing the expansion pack."
Our focus right now, and for quite a while, is making this a better game. Adding more stuff to it. Making it even more challenging, we hope, for our friends over at Blizzard. We're also going to focus on fixing any issues - because anyone who says that, you know, these MMOs launch without issues is obviously delusional. WAR is a great game, but it's not a perfect game. We never said it was. No game ever launches that's perfect, unless it's a perfect failure. So we will spend the time, we will spend the money, to do what we need to do - to keep players playing our game. To make their experiences even more enjoyable.
WC: I think that's a very smart goal.
MJ: Thank you.
WC: When it comes to adding more content and then, you know, making sure what's there is very good ... well, one of the things I really do like about the game, that I think is very well done, is that there's no - when you start the game, there's no "Here, take a dinky wooden sword, go kill ten rats."
WC: You're thrust into the middle of the conflict, you're told "Hey, here's your ancient, ancestral enemy, you're in the middle of a war: go kill them." It does a very good job at making a new player feel like, "Oh hey, I'm a badass!" instead of "Oh hey, I suck." I think you have the whole, well, "War" concept down very well. My concern, my question is: if I'm a level 5 Dark Elf, I'm killing High Elves. If I'm a level 20 Dark Elf, I'm still fighting High Elves. Obviously, I can go into the different racial pairings, but the progression is the same.
WC: If, in an expansion or a content patch down the line, if you add more levels (or go the Camelot route with side levels), will it be just more levels of fighting High Elves? How do you go from here to keep it interesting?
MJ: Well, we go a lot of ways. The number one ... well, it's not a goal, but obviously the game is based around racial pairings. So are you going to continue to fight Dark Elves? Yeah, they're your enemy. So if we were to add more content, we would certainly add more Dark Elf content if you're a High Elf: if you're a High Elf, you will be killing Dark Elves ... but that doesn't mean we're going to not add additional content. The focus of each of the pairings is the racial conflict, and that is the High Elves/Dark Elves, the Greenskins/Dwarfs. We're going to continue with that, because that's what - especially for Warhammer fans - they want to do.
On the other hand, we know we have to add a lot of other content as well. So it's going to be a combination, and you'll be seeing our plans - sorry, we'll be talking about our plans - over the next few months. This is all stuff that's going in as content, as subscription content, not as expansion pack content. That's a whole different issue.