Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes axed

Free-to-play battle arena game Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes has been in open beta since April 2012, but news from Mythic Entertainment today says that’s as far as it’s going to get. A “paradigm shift” at the studio has meant the upcoming release is no longer a viable option.

[img_big]center,8402,2011-08-26/woh_2011-08_korithpcg.jpg,Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes[/img_big]

James Casey, producer on Wrath of Heroes, explains:

The free-to-play battle arena version of Warhammer Online was a grand experiment. We were able to test new server technology, learn more about the free-to-play market, and engage in endless quick, down and dirty, three-way battles any time of day or night. On all of these fronts, we were able to make great inroads and insights and deliver a fast and frenetic game. As a producer for this game from the start, I am proud of the hard work and effort that made the game possible and I feel sad that it is not able to carry on.

The reasons behind the decision seem to be more complex than the studio will admit to. On the surface, the FAQ says the developer is shifting its focus xclusively to mobile games.

As part of this pivot, we had to make a few changes and reallocate resources to support this new direction. As such, we took a long look at Wrath of Heroes and despite its strong IP, gameplay, and community support, we decided not to continue the service past its Beta and instead concentrate those resources on our new endeavors.

That makes sense, but reports have popped up suggesting that it’s only half the story. It seems the FAQ has been edited after an initial posting, with the document originally stating that Wrath of Heroes “could not meet its financial goals to be sustained”. All references to finances as relating to the game or the developer have now been removed.

The fine print explains that all Gem purchases are final (using real-world money), and these will not be refunded. Gems have not been able to be purchased since February 27th, but until the game ends in late March, you can spend as many as you like.

In fact, in the leadup to the closure, Mythic has a few surprises in store: “Work in Progress” heroes will be released – three or more per week! – because if you’ve done all of that work, you might as well share it. You can use your remaining Gems to unlock the Heroes as soon as they are released, removing the need to earn more Gold.

Another surprise: As a way of rewarding loyal Wrath of Heroes fans (who have played between January 1st 2013 and February 27th, or who have an outstanding balance of Gems as of February 27th), Mythic is handing over a “token of their appreciation” – a promotional code for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The bundle includes a Wrath Chest packed with goodies, and one month of game time with which to enjoy it.

Sure it’s not the game you’ve been looking forward to, but it’s not a terrible compromise, is it?

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes will close down for good on March 29.

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