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Electronic Arts To Aquire Mythic Entertainment 82

Posted by Zonk
from the dark-age-of-ea dept.
Pika writes "According to the Business Wire, Electronic Arts is to acquire Mythic Entertainment, makers of the popular MMORPGs Dark Age of Camelot and the forthcoming Warhammer Online. With EA being well known for killing MMORPGs, even those with loyal and sizable followings, how does this bode for Mythic's titles?"
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Electronic Arts To Aquire Mythic Entertainment

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  • Oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

    by A.K.A_Magnet (860822) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:47PM (#15573326) Homepage
    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of MMORPG players' voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. ... (if you know how EA destroyed Ultima Online, you know we already cried out in terror)
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Wolfen_com (136996) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @08:48PM (#15573331)
      That would be true if they had millions of players :).
      • heheh people were coming back in droves from WoW.... not so sure if that will stay the same now :P
        • DAoC (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dammy (131759) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:59PM (#15573719)
          I seen a couple old Guildies show up from WoW, but the number of guildies leaving or seldom logon is being felt. If DAoC isn't shut down within a year of WAR's relase, I'll be greatly suprised. RVR is sucking on Killibury, battlgrounds are lopsided most of the time, if there is any significant RVR going on. ML/Arty raids are getting fewer, and finding groups for group steps, better have some friendly guildies there to fill in the gaps. I don't know why Mythic is constantly behind the power curve in DAoC. They react to something, usually making it worse by not fixing the problem out right in the first place.

          If Sanya is reading this: It's too late for DAoC, but for WAR, please actually use the Team Lead's input instead of blowing them off when they have a valid point. Especially when the team leads can show you where their class is very weak on. If Mythic is planning to deal with Team Leads like they have with DAoC, scrap the plan entirely. It's not fair to the team leaders to waste their time and efforts.

          dammy
          IceDrakes - Bors - Killibury
          • Re:DAoC (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Nossie (753694) *
            true I guess :-| EA does not listen to the programmers period. Its all about the bottom line and most of the better games in history broke the bank before they made the bank...

            The next expansion appears to be a half assed attempt at getting more money from their current subscribers and/or tempting those bored with thier wow level 60's to come back for a few weeks..

            With EA now taking over Mythic I can now imagine an online LOTR on smack with a model very similar to WoWs...

            look forward to losing your rank
      • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Funny)

        by Duds (100634)
        To be fair, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if 3 MMORPG players' dropped their 5th bag of Cheetos in terror and were suddenly silenced when one got in the PSU fan"

        Doesn't quite scan.
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PB_TPU_40 (135365)
      And to that I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Well SH*T."
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by whitegold (319184)
      Given the success of World of Warcraft EA might see this as more of a cash cow than a sacrificial lamb.
      • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by joystickgenie (913297)
        That doesn't mean they won't end up destroying it anyway. EA doesn't have the right mentality to keep MMOs alive.
        • EA doesn't have the right mentality to keep MMOs alive.

          They have a "screw the players, let's make a buck" mentality.

          So how is this different?
          • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by joystickgenie (913297)
            Because with MMOs the game must be added on to and improved upon to keep people interested. People don't want to play a MMO for a month. MMOs are supposed to have more longevity.

            EA has more of a, put the game out, get all the initial sales you can, then start over with a new game, mentality.
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nossie (753694) *
      mine is certainly one of them !

      *cries* EA hasnt done almost anything right since acquiring bullfrog .... R.I.P
    • Well, they can't be all bad then.
    • UO still has yet to recover from Age of Shadows - With that expansion the entire gameplay style shifted, but without any associated updates/overhauls. The interface and graphics for the 2D client were dated in '97, and the monster of a "3D" client (not even true 3d...) they released was so bad, that the majority of players STILL uses the dated '97 client. The few updates they have managed, have generally served to make things look/feel worse and less immersive. I just don't think EA understands the conce
      • UO was destroyed by UO:Renaissance in 2000. Age of Shadows was the "coup de grace", but the whole Felucca/Trammel thing was a shame. This game has lost everything.
        • From what I recall, subscriptions actually went UP post-Trammel, and the Siege ruleset shard was still there as a non-Trammel alternative. Not to mention, no one *had* to leave Felucca, they chose to.

          In terms of sheer negative impact, Age of Shadows was far more significant. (Combat changes, at-will special moves rather than random, clunky nasty interfaces, etc.)

          While I still think they should have left some shards with regular rulesets non-Trammelized, I think they would've rapidly emptied as "sheep" flock
          • I don't care if the subscriptions went up, the game became dull, and yeah, there was no technical 'obligation' to leave Fel but the game lost its taste (ie: *unexpectedness*, like running into PK's when you don't want to, or being a PK when others don't want you to. I loved it, and *I* often fell victims to PKs as a n00b too...) . I will never understand people who played pre-UO:R and prefer post-UO:R; people who didn't play before UO:R couldn't even start to imagine how different the game was at the time.
            • Granted, the game did change entirely once the PKs had no one to pick on, (I was running on a machine and connection which were way under spec. for the time)

              However, if you look at the larger MMO picture, a game can be a success without non-con PvP/Grief play.

              Maybe it wasn't your particular style (I prefered the sense of adventure of those times myself), but it kept a lot of the "easy mode" players happier longer, and so was hardly the "death" of UO.

              AoS on the other hand was when EA really messed it up, NO
          • > I think they would've rapidly emptied as "sheep" flocked to the safe haven of other shards.

            Oh please...

            Trammel was popular for a reason, not because people were "sheep."

            I don't find it _fun_ getting PK'd. (If I wanted to be f--ing PK'd I'd play a FPS -- where I would actually have some fun, since the game was designed for it.) I have lost friends who quite UO over this exact same issue. If it wasn't for Trammel, I would of quite much sooner too.

            The camped dungeons were bad enough, but when you had P
            • I think you misunderstand my use of the word "sheep".

              I was merely referring to those that would be prey to "wolves" - those out hunting the sheep.
              I don't mean they that were mindless herds so much as vulnerable prey to the jerks out there.

              I'm a farily hardcore Trammie, and I definitely enjoyed the game Post-Trammel (Hell, I'm still playin' ain't I?) but something was definitely lost.

              As I said before, my best known character is a beggar - that sort of thing didn't fly very well for me in Felucca.

              Sheep wasn't
  • by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @09:51PM (#15573508)
    ... unless they were about to go under, this has to be a bad thing for every Mythic employee that wasn't also the owner. Despite claims that the "175 member development team will remain in Fairfax" or somesuch in the article, I cannot imagine any situation where, five years from now, any of the current employees will still work for "EA Mythic" in Fairfax. Either the corporate slavedriver pressures will push them out, or they'll quit or move when a "corporate realignment" moves the jobs to California.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with working for a big company. There's just something inherently wrong with working for EA.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Can you please provide current evidence that EA still has 'slave-driver' attitude towards it's employees?

      I'm an EA employee, at the studio that the infamous blog was about, and I will tell you, that while it had truth to it at the time, 2 years ago, it's not true anymore.

      I've interviewed at other places, and I know other studios are far worse - one Activision studio famous for it's skateboarding series has a mandatory 48 hour weeks, and every 4th week is a mandatory 60 hour workweek. Even during the crunch
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @12:59AM (#15574079)
        Well I worked for EA at a different studio not to long ago and I can tell you that while I was still there those attitudes were still alive and well.

        The only people who got any benefit from the changes made because of the law suites were the people who already had a ton of seniority. All the people who were still there on the lower rungs of the ladder or even worse those still considered "temp" after working there for over a year had no improvement at all. In fact some of the minor benefits they had were taken away.

        The hours did change at all. In fact the last year I worked there was probably one of the worst.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      bye, bye Mythic...

      Origin Systems in Austin, Texas - acquired in 1992, closed in 2004
      EA Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland - established in 1996 as part of Origin, closed in 2000
      EA Seattle in Seattle, Washington - formerly Manley & Associates, acquired in 1996, closed in 2002
      Maxis in Walnut Creek, California - acquired in 1997, closed in 2004 (moved to Redwood City location)
      Westwood Studios in Las Vegas, Nevada - acquired in 1998, closed in 2003
      EA Pacific (known for a time as Westwood Pacific) in Irvine, C
  • Great. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skynet (37427) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @09:52PM (#15573511) Homepage
    Sure they say they will let Mythic retain all creative direction, but we know how that worked out for Richard Garriot and Origin Systems.

  • by swdunlop (103066) <(swdunlop) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @09:55PM (#15573522) Homepage
    Why would EA buy a company that does nothing but MMORPGs, just to cancel their projects and kill a profitable asset?

    EA isn't dumb, just careless..
    • To clear the floor for their next ill-conceived, developed in house, effort?

      Damn. Mythic seemed to have something of a clue, although I was really looking forward to the game they killed, Imperator.

      I doubt we will ever see Warhammer Online now.
      • Warhammer Online has a powerful license and it covers a market that's shown to be highly profitable by a competitor (if WAR was unlike WoW before that'll be rectified in no time). That ranks it pretty highly in EA's priority list. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if EA attempted to turn Warhammer into one of their pet licenses.
    • Why would EA buy a company that does nothing but MMORPGs, just to cancel their projects and kill a profitable asset?

      Clearly, they just want to change all the battle sound effects to the "Pow! Pow pow!," whistle noises, and Madden commentary featured in one of EA Games' many football hits, Madden '93.

      Imagine these effects accentuating your battle: "Pow! Pow pow! He'll feel that one tomorrow!" *Whistle blows* "That's a way to hit him! Amazing! Pow!" *Whistle Blows over echoes of "Pow pow!" "Where'd that t

    • One word for you: Kesmai [wikipedia.org].

      EA bought a company known for their online games and killed the company and all the games only two years later. Some fine games from Multiplayer Battletech [wikipedia.org] to Islands/Legends of Kesmai are no longer available to be played. You can read about these games, but will probably never be able to enjoy them.

      The sad fate of Kesmai was one of the motivating reasons for my buying and preserving Meridian 59 [meridian59.com]. It may not be the prettiest game, but at least people can go play a game with some h
  • they've learned from their mistakes? Not to be overly optimistic but how many MMORPG's can one company screw up?
    • > Not to be overly optimistic but how many MMORPG's can one company screw up?

      Per year, or lifetime? SOE is able to screw up about 2 MMORPGs per year, however we still have not determined how many they will screw up in the future. Assuming the company lasts for 100 years, that would mean that one company can screw up 200 MMOGs.

      Mythic, on the other hand, has never really screwed up since DAoC, IMHO. The game was not to everyone's tastes, but the fact that we are still talking about it today says someth

  • "With EA being well known for killing MMORPGs..."

    Umm... you mean SOE, don't you?
    • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bieeanda (961632) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:21PM (#15573606)
      No, because SOE has yet to actually kill one. EA had Earth and Beyond, was testing Motor City Online, and for a brief while had a Battletech: 3025 game in widespread beta. In addition to those being killed or canceled, they also canceled Ultima Online 2, another Ultima Online spinoff and fucked the Sims Online hard enough to make Maxis walk funny for years afterward.
      • the only game from that list that I truly miss is Battletech: 3025, I had some serious fun in that beta.
        E&B was trash.
      • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bishiraver (707931) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @12:00AM (#15573895) Homepage
        Multiplayer Battletech was a freaking awesome concept.

        There were territories you had to defend or conquor in matched battletech mech matches.

        A few things that would have made it cooler:
        -earning cash through wins and holding territories in order to customize the weapons / armor loadout of your mechs
        -micropayments for this cash to subsidize the game and the servers (a la Bang! Howdy, or Gunbound)
        -better graphics, more varied maps. Unfortunately, it looked fairly pre-mechwarrior4. The user interface for the lobbies was damn nice, though.
        -people in leadership positions being able to set waypoints, like you can in single player mechwarrior games
        -people in higher leadership positions being able to set daily goals, etc. ...The game was a freaking blast when it was in beta, but it wasn't at a point where I would pay money for it. Unfortunately, this is true of every EA game I've ever played.
        • I think we'd have to hope for Microsoft to act if we want another Battletech MMO attempt. Micropayments are right up their alley.
        • I too was in the BT:3025 beta, but there's really only truly one thing that kept it from being great: it only allowed 4 versus 4 multiplay. What the heck kind of MMO was that supposed to be if it ever got finished? I was already enjoying 8 vs 8 multiplay on Mechwarrior 4. As fun as 3025 was they really needed more of a planetside touch to it.
          • Rumor has it that the design doc for MPBT:3025 called for increasing the possible players in a battle to 16v16, as well as fun stuff like a much larger galaxy (kind of a duh, once it's out of beta) and missions more complicated than "wipe out the other 'mechs" as well as more advanced chain-of-command and supply line stuff.

            Would have been so sweet... I miss MPBT forever.
        • The metagame needed some work even at the late stage where the cancelled it. It was good enough, but might eventually have lost its appeal without more work. More maps and mission objectives would have been nice. They really did nail the 4v4 team-shooter-with-mechs concept though, the action was phenomenal. And they got the BattleTech parts down as well, all the mechanics were straight out of the basic set and the 3025 sourcebook. I'd have played that for years. I might still be a subscriber. And yes, I'm s
      • No, because SOE has yet to actually kill one. EA had Earth and Beyond, was testing Motor City Online, and for a brief while had a Battletech: 3025 game in widespread beta. In addition to those being killed or canceled, they also canceled Ultima Online 2, another Ultima Online spinoff and fucked the Sims Online hard enough to make Maxis walk funny for years afterward.

        The sad thing about that is that Ultima X: Oddessy (the "another Ultima Online spinoff) visually, and in feature sets, looked a lot like Wor
    • Uhhhh... no. Earth and Beyond, MCO, UO, The Sims Online... AAAAAAND they've generally fucked up more franchises than FOX.
  • Big deal. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:21PM (#15573605)
    Mythic is doing a right fine job of killing their own titles. DAoC was originally a creatively designed, well-balanced game. Since the TOA expansion, it's become little more than a twitch game, where zerging is rewarded far more than strategy and mindless determination to gain levels is rewarded more than any kind of real skill. And lately, Mythic has busied themselves copying the worst ideas from WoW instead of trying to fix their past mistakes -- all the while paying lip service to making the necessary changes. (A 2% increased cast time here, a 0.5% damage reduction there... several orders of magnitude smaller than the fixes that are called for.)
    • And lately, Mythic has busied themselves copying the worst ideas from WoW instead of trying to fix their past mistakes

      Just like everyone else, then? The same has happened to pretty much every single SOE game too, for example. Maybe with the exception of Planetside, where it's hard to squeeze in too many WoW ideas since it's a MMO-FPS. I mean, seriously, it's UT-2004 in a persistent world. Though I wouldn't be surprised one bit if anyone tried anyway.

      And some WoW ideas aren't even bad, or at least they worke

  • by Behrooz (302401) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:22PM (#15573612)
    To be honest, for a minute I was in favor of EA acquiring and killing lots of MMOs, simply because I can't stand the current paradigms that most of the MMORPG genre are based on, like level treadmills and timesinks.

    Then I remembered that just five short years ago, EA killed my MMO dreams when they shut down Multiplayer Battletech: 3025 [mpogd.com]. I place much of the blame for the tepid and weak pool of current MMO offerings on the axing of MPBT:3025, which was bar none the finest multiplayer 'mech experience I've seen.

    Damn you, EA. Damn you to hell for continually working to make MMO games suck forever.

  • by Runefox (905204) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:37PM (#15573660) Homepage
    Yep. EA has destroyed some good companies in their time. Jane's used to make the absolute best military simulations on the market (unless you count DID) before being sunk and long-forgotten by EA, and Westwood, well... Westwood doesn't even exist any more. At least with Red Alert 2, they let them keep the name. Now it's all EA. Maxis survived, I guess (their logo is plastered all over The Sims), but Bullfrog and Origin are, AFAIK, gone, too.

    I remember when EA used to present these brands and logos with pride, as though it were simply a representative of them. That was a long, long time ago. I think I was still using my P166 back then, and Jane's Combat.net was still up. Those were the days.
    • EA has ruined more of my childhood memories than George Lucas. People should be boycotting them until they change their business tactics. If we sit around and do nothing, maybe one day EA will be the only game company and then what will we do.
  • by superid (46543) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @10:42PM (#15573681) Homepage
    I know jack about EA, but I've been playing DaoC for 4.5 years. It has been fun as well as frustrating. At times I complain just as much about ToA, the well intentioned patched that is now blamed for pretty much every problem in the game. They've tweaked and rebalanced and patched enough that it shares very little with the original game. But I don't really think that matters even a bit. Did EA buy Mythic to get the DaoC cash cow? I don't think so. I just logged off a few minutes ago because we couldn't find any players to engage. The population has been on a very steady decline, punctuated by blips of interesting new content or events but thats about it. Some time ago they consolidated individual servers into clusters and the next obvious step is to make a super-server to shore up player interest...but even that is a bandAid.

    I LOVE DaoC and I wish I could plan to play with my good friends for 4 more years but I will be VERY surprised if I'm still playing in a year.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @01:34AM (#15574193) Journal
    They purchased the publisher of my favorite game series of all time (Bullfrog and the Syndicate franchise) and then let it rot. They are worse than Microsoft and Symantec when it comes to buying up the competition and then craptasticizing the product line.
    • EA pretty much bought and killed all my favourite childhood game companies.

      Bullfrog, Maxis, Interplay, Westwood, Origin Systems, I believe they also now own Blizzard. I'm sure there's others that I have forgotten about, lost to the 800lbs gorilla that is EA. May they rest in piece.

  • the old days (Score:4, Informative)

    by NuShrike (561140) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:45AM (#15574371)
    I remember when Electronic Arts was EOA and stood for Electronic Arts. Arts such as Deluxe Paint *, Pinball Construction Set, Chuck Yeager's Flight Simulator..

    Now it's nothing more than Electronic Sports and goddamn if it has anything that tries to be anything else.
    • You can trace the decline to the nanosecond Trip left.

      Bizzarely though there was massive resistence to doing the first Madden game. Trip, an american football nut, bascially had to lead the entire thing himself.
    • Electronic Arts was never EOA. Why would they abbreviate their name "ElectrOnic Arts"? The EOA thing was a total misconception based on the fact that the early EA logo was a cube, a sphere, and a cone.
      • We're saying the same thing here. Back when the logo looked like EOA, not the corporate name was EOA.
        • >> I remember when Electronic Arts was EOA and stood for Electronic Arts >> We're saying the same thing here >> Back when the logo looked like EOA No we're not saying the same thing. You're changing your statements. There's a difference.
          • You're the only person who's actually said it was ElectrOnic Arts. I distinctly said Electronic Arts.

            Let's step over this again: "I remember was Electronic Arts was EOA ..." It could've looked like EoA, same thing.

            Did I say logo? did I say company name? No, so you assumed. Everybody who's been around immediately knows what era that is from without any misconception. I didn't have to draw any ascii text to represent what EOA looks like, and to immediately invoke my point.
  • But apparently you can buy up all the naive CIS grads...

    There's something about a company laying people off and then making aquisitions, makes one hunger for unions.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:15AM (#15574557)
    Look at their acquisition history and realize it. EA does not build. They only buy a successful idea, milk it dry, toss it away, then buy the next one. They don't know jack about production values, and they don't give jack about their customers.

    Examples wanted?

    The "Sims" series of games. Maxis created a lot of interesting "Sim XXX" games before the Sims, and even The Sims was a very entertaining game. It was games without a "goal", granted, but that was part of the entertainment value. They were made entertaining by their "what if" factor. You could tinker with parts of it and create new scenarios that way. You could even for most of them create some kind of add ons yourself.
    This changed with EA's involvement. Now we get petty little add-on boxes every few months that don't really add jack to the game (save a few new toys that we used to get for free). The Sims Online bombed in a way that you could see the crater from the moon. Since, well, who's want to pay monthly for what is essentially an IRC client (or MUSH/talker) with graphics?

    Westwood acquisition and the C&C line? Do I need to say more?

    What personally hit me in the Westwood merger was Westwood's MMORPG Earth and Beyond, and how it changed after EA scooped it up. It had issues. It was still very young when EA got its milking hands onto it, and a LOT of effort would have been needed to make it soar. Balancing was still in the making, WW has made a lot of mistakes (understandably, being their first MMORPG pitted against a very experienced player base), but that could have worked out. EaB was one of the few MMORPGs with a VERY good and well developed storyline, that was its strong point, and its selling point.

    The first thing EA did when they grabbed it was to strip the voice acting which was "too expensive". Unfortunately, a lot of players considered it critical for the involvement and the "feel" of the game. And it was. Balancing would have been very necessary and critical, and it would not have been easy, but it could have been done. It wasn't done. The Jenquai Explorer and even more the Progen Sentinel were until the very end very useless classes. Aggro management was NEVER fixed (the healer invariably had aggro, no matter what the warriors did). And a lot of other issues that simply were never fixed. EA milked it, without giving back to it. And the worse the game did, and the more player quitted because of it, the less EA was inclined to fix it. They simply let it die. Slowly and painfully.

    I switched over to DAoC. And the game rocked back then. That was before the ToA expansion (which is still, IMO, the worst expansion in MMORPG history). But Mythic had the guts and smarts to realize it stinks and opened up new servers without it. Would it have happened with EA? Most likely not. They would've gone and milked the game dry, then toss it.

    And my fear is, they will.

    Now I'm playing EVE. Should EA decide to ackquire CCP, it will be a sad day in MMORPG history.
    • I agree, Microsoft is definitely aquiring these companies to remove the competition and get some bucks out of it. I hope all the Mythic developers quit and start Mythic_haha_buy_us_again nextdoor (or Mythic_unbuyable, if possible). And hope they won't get a lawsuit because the content in their brains they stole from EA.
      Ok, they have a lot of work ahead if they need to start again, but at least they have the knowhow.
    • Maxis created a lot of interesting "Sim XXX" games before the Sims, and even The Sims was a very entertaining game
      Sims XXX? Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
    • At least CCP is privately held and so is slightly more difficult to aquire. I have faith that the people who started CCP and who have built it up love it enough to want to keep it themselves. My evidence for this is that CCP actually seems to give a damn about customer relations and the player experience.

      Keep in mind that the guys at the top of CCP are the same guys who as MMO enthusiasts decided to make their own back in the day so they have a very real sense of personal ownership. With a very stable
  • I guess it was getting on a bit, still it's sad to see it go.

    Why EA do this I don't know, but they're renowned for acquiring online games and shutting them down (sure to happen with this) - too much competition for them perhaps?
  • When are EA gonna rename themselves to GS, like, Game Sematary?

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