Warhammer Online’s “Secret” Content.

A comment I made in the post before this one deserves some explanation. This is what I was referring to, from an interview with Paul Barnett.

“I was in charge of hiding all the crazy things around the world for people to find,” Paul confirmed. “I can safely say that no one has come anywhere near finding even two percent of them. There are years and years of finding all the nonsensical gags that are hidden within the game!”

There are two possibilities.

A. Large amounts of content was created that is so impossibly hard to find, that 98% of it has been completely invisible to even the most hardcore player, 2 months after release. This is apparently a good thing, as it allows the developers to think how jolly clever they are in hiding it. I disagree. Content that is that hard to find may as well not exist, and was a complete waste of development time that could have been used to flesh out the parts of the game that normal people do in fact experience. It was especially useless in persuading people to stay on after their first month.

In fact, how does Paul even know that “no one has come anywhere near finding even two percent of them”. Did they not only waste dev time creating this stuff, but then also spend time creating some method to track how many of them we’d found?

B. That the claims are untrue, or at best, wildly exaggerated. This may seem an unkind suggestion, but I have been here before. When EQ2 was released, one of the races that was supposed to be in the game was the Froglok, but upon trying to choose that race you would be confronted by this sight:


The depths of the deceit can be seen in a post I did back at that time. Suffice it to say, the race did not in fact exist in a playable form, and the suggestion we could find and unlock them was not true. A great many people wasted a whole lot of time trying to find something that did not exist. I did, uncharacteristically for me, eventually forgive them and go back, mostly because deep down I do love Everquest 2.

My point is, when an MMO developer says that something is in the game, but we, the players, just haven’t been smart enough to find it yet, I am filled with suspicion. It is true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it’s a whole lot easier to say something exists than to make it so. It is a great delaying tactic.

So we have a choice between A) An awful display of time-management, wasting precious developer resources that could have been used to improve the game in tangible ways, or B) A claim designed to make us think that something exists, when it does not.

I do not know whether A or B is correct, but I find neither possibility particularly admirable. I am genuinely perplexed that anyone would be boasting about it. Or perhaps I’m just a cynical old bastard who doesn’t understand.

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