A few days ago, on 18th December, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning shut down for good. Those of you who know me know that I haven’t played WAR in years, but it’s still an incredibly sad thing to see happen. Why? Because WAR was the first video game project I worked on. My games industry career started in GOA Games Services Ltd., the European publisher for an MMO that will forever stand out in my memory. I feel very strongly that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for myself taking that chance, and for the company taking a chance on me.
There’s a great post by John Drescher called WAR is (still) everywhere that rings particularly true for me. This quote is what really brought it home:
“If you look around the industry today at pretty much any major MMO being developed in the Western market, you will find WAR there. Sometimes, it will be in the games themselves where concepts and ideas that first showed up in WAR have been “gently borrowed”. Mostly, however, it’s in the people making those games. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a major MMORPG team whose leadership doesn’t feature someone who cut their teeth as a developer on WAR. In some cases, HUGE chunks of the WAR team simply set up shop in a new project – old comrades in a new home.”
The Tome of Knowledge really drove achievements into a mainstream requirement for MMOs, where they weren’t so much before. Titles, too, weren’t so big until WAR came along, and now they’re almost a staple in games. Most importantly, though, was the Public Quest system, which you can see iterations of in games like Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. Were things like these done before? Of course, but not in the same way or on the same scale, and that’s what makes the difference.
Perhaps more importantly, though, you find so many games industry professionals who worked on this game in some shape or form. I was in the customer support team then later the community team. I’ve moved through one additional games industry company before finding myself where I’m at now. Most of the people I work with now are people that worked with me before at GOA, and when I go to conventions like Gamescom, I meet old colleagues frequently just milling about the floor, working or just attending. As mentioned in the post on Josh Drescher’s blog, a lot of us learned skills from working in a tough environment that we’ve carried on to our new roles, and that’s something I’ll always be thankful for.
So thank you, to Mythic, to GOA, and to my fellow WAR coworkers, for what was a great experience and so key in my personal growth. I really do appreciate it, and will never forget it.