I started as a volunteer moderator for Warhammer Online in May 2010. We started out on a Lithium-based forum software which was cut about 1 month after I started. Looking back on this, mid-2010 really was the beginning of an end. That month, they’d cut the forum software and every paid moderator would follow shortly after. This is really where the EA cuts stopped and the Mythic cuts began.
We moved to the BioWare Social Network, because Mythic was part of BioWare at the time. The BioWare merger was reported as a move to allow the two companies to work together on their projects and benefit from the expertise of both teams. I am not aware of this ever happening, and never saw BioWare put any interest in Mythic’s assets. Several of the management positions at Mythic moved over to BioWare and are still there today. From the few I know of, we certainly never lost anything of value. I would like to note that I to this day have not heard of the “BioWare Doctors” putting any level of interest or enthusiasm into Mythic. If you were to ask me, it was a way to siphon assets without breaking contracts.
This is about where EA-Louse came into play. I am unable to say that he was actually wrong about anything. I stayed quiet about it at the time, and we were told to hush any forum threads about it. He said a lot relevant to the BioWare-Mythic relations which I think are true and relevant. He also said a lot about EA itself which I won’t comment on or validate.
From here on, development was incredibly slow and getting even slower, and employment changes were constant. We lost Andy Belford, followed in 2011 by the loss of James Nichols. The next guy that came in, Kai Schober, was terribly overworked and spread out over every Mythic project. He eventually quit on his own terms, to move on with his life. Replacing Kai was Tim Chappell. Tim was wildly overworked as well though I got to have a slightly closer relationship with him. Tim was laid off in April 2013 and was not replaced. My repeated requests for the hiring of new volunteer moderators spanned from 2011-2013 and were never answered.
WAR’s community management was never great, but it wasn’t horrible either. I know a lot of these guys were simply overworked and spread across more products than what I’d call industry standard. If you really want a measure of how people are affected by working at Mythic, just take a look at the CMs. Andy Belford was, I’ll be honest, a bit of a dick. I never liked the guy. He moved onto communities who love him now. James Nichols always, to me, seemed a bit depressed… certainly not cheery. A vast difference compared to what I see in him these days.
I want to touch a little bit on Keaven Freeman. Although severely limited in his capacities due to the development setup of WAR, he was a damn hard worker. Sometimes I feel sorry for how much time and heart he poured into the game, only to get shit on in the end. He’d spend more time with the community than our CMs were able to manage, by far. He’d be on IRC every day interacting with the Core Testers and moderators. He was given so little to work with, but certainly gave us as much as he could, and maybe more than he should have. In the end I’m not sure if Keaven was laid off or quit. I’m glad he’s in a better place now (not dead).
Over my 3 years volunteering for Mythic, I was never in contact with any management personnel. I honestly can’t say many poor things about them because I just was never afforded that sort of contact with my own superiors. Even when they were my next in superiority while between CMs, they never got in contact with me and I still have no contacts for them. I wanted to make one thing clear, though: Carrie Gouskos is in no way affiliated with Warhammer Online. I’ve never spoken to her, I’ve never heard of any commands coming from her office, and she abandoned us long ago for other projects. She has had a continuing snarky attitude towards our community over the years, publicly laughing about any negative feedback on her performance. I had her removed from the list of moderators months ago because she was no longer on the project, and now she has the nerve to write WAR’s community a goodbye letter as though she’s been here the whole time? I can’t properly express how upsetting that was.
As the news came in this week of the closure of Warhammer Online, I made it known that I was going to be leaving my position as Lead Moderator. Not even 2 days later, every volunteer moderator had their privileges removed. Even the ones who had not given their statement of resignation. Our forums are now sitting there, without moderators, filling up with violent hardcore pornography. I guess that’s no longer our problem.
I don’t regret my time spent as a moderator for WAR. I don’t even really dislike Mythic, and I enjoyed having EA above my head, they treated us well. I hope to have shed some light on why Warhammer Online didn’t make it. It wasn’t lack of player interest, it wasn’t unskilled developers. I firmly believe it was mismanaged to the highest degree possible. I really hope the gaming media will take notice of that.