Blizzard admits that it saw a “reduction of use” in World of Warcraft when Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning launched, but claims that the majority of people who switched games have already come back.

Blizzard COO Paul Sams told GamesIndustry that the cycle of players leaving and then returning to World of Warcraft has followed every major MMOG release since WoW launched, and Warhammer Online is no exception. “We’ve certainly had some of that happen, which is the same thing we experienced with Age of Conan and each time an MMO has come out we’ve seen some reduction of use,” he said. “The good news is that we’ve seen a significant number of people, well over half, that cited Warhammer as their reason for leaving – they’ve already returned.”

Sams said he wasn’t surprised that Warhammer Online has run into various snags since it launched, although he clarified that he didn’t see it as a failing of Mythic, which he described as “a very good company,” but rather the result of the inherent difficulties of creating and running an MMOG. “We respect those guys over there a lot and certainly wish them well to succeed but having registration troubles, having server troubles, these are things that come with the territory when you’re talking about managing a game as big as World of Warcraft or Warhammer or anything like that,” he said. “So, it’s not a surprise because it is really difficult.”

But he added that Mythic could probably weather the early storms of the Warhammer Online release and ultimately become a major MMOG success story. “I think Warhammer is best positioned to succeed out of the various products that have come out thus far since World of Warcraft has come out,” Sams said. “It seems to be a good game, certainly a great company, Mythic and Mark [Jacobs] over there and his team, they’re very, very talented.”

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