EA on the whole are "figuring out what free-to-play means," how to make a profit off it and to engage players so they're "prepared to accept" the model.
"We often got asked about taking our old games free-to-play, and in the case of Warhammer, we felt there was a different way of doing it," said Eugene Evans.
While a number of MMOs have embraced the free-to-play way of doing things, "there's a whole community that doesn't want that," he continued.
"We decided that there's a lot of things you have to get right about a free-to-play game for it to be successful, everything from the size of the download to the accessibility that lets you quickly get to the fun of the game, and we really wanted to rethink our offering with Wrath of Heroes." The new MMO focuses on competitive PvP arena combat.
They designed it for "very short-session" scenarios which have proved popular in Warhammer's past. "We carved out scenarios, and we're letting people play with iconic characters from Warhammer that you don't have to level up," explained Evans.
Each match consists of three-way combat with teams of six after players choose from a variety of heroes, and each session last around the 15 minute mark. "This is a huge change we put in," he added. "It's now three sides, drawing on what was great about Dark Age of Camelot... it still retains that sense of shifting alliances."
Thanks to the games design the Mythic team are able to better address fan feedback and incorporate changes. "It's a highly iterative process that's very different than creating a big MMO where you're going to be in development for perhaps three-plus years," Evans says. "Here, we're able to move very quickly."
EA has been increasing its online game portfolio steadily. "We're all still figuring out what free-to-play means, what the best way to monetize is, and how to run it as a business and engage players in ways they're prepared to accept," continued the general manager.
Mythic is now BioWare Mythic and they're learning a thing or two having joined Star Wars: The Old Republic. "What we've learned from them is... we've been talking about how you get to quality, and polishing the product, and that's certainly been one thing."
"What it takes to make an emotional connection with your players, and what that means. We've worked together to understand what that means for an MMO, and what that means for a free-to-play game," continued Evans. Are you signed up to a Mythic MMO?