computer games games design marketing

How not to market an MMO: EA/Mythic Entertainment

Mythic Entertainment – End of Subscription

(subtitle: EA/Mythic forces themselves into commercial failure)

8 months ago, I tried to play Warhammer Online.

Tried, and failed, because EA Mythic told me – in no uncertain terms – that it was completely impossible for me to play.

This was after releasing press announcements and running a big campaign trying to get people like me to play. They’d been too lazy / stupid to remove the “you cannot play this game” message from their own website, even several days after the marketing campaign started.

Net result: I never got around to playing. They made it such a pain in the ass that even when offered this *for free*, I never got that far.

So, I got this message today. And this just double-underlines my previous point. Read this message, and ask yourself: does it entice me into the game?

Throwing away money, one customer at a time

End of Subscription Notification

Your subscription for Mythic Entertainment Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning for Game Account [username] has ended for the following reason:

* Subscription is not set to renew

If you did not authorize this, please contact support at (650) 628-1001. Phone support hours are 10:00 am – 10:00 pm eastern time, Monday through Friday. You can find further information on account security at

Thank you!

This is an automated email from the Account Management site for Mythic Entertainment.

Games Workshop, Warhammer, Warhammer Online, Age of Reckoning, and all associated marks, names, races, race insignia, characters, vehicles, locations, units, illustrations and images from the Warhammer world are either ®, ™ and/or © Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2009. Used under license by Electronic Arts Inc

Let’s do a quick analysis. Here you have a DIRECT contact with the consumer – moreover a consumer who isn’t yet paying you any money, and who you know has NEVER logged-in to the game.

  1. 36% of the message is an IRRELEVANT copyright notice that shouldn’t be there
  2. 30% of the message is an INCORRECT security advisory
  3. 12% of the message is “this is an automated email”
  4. …leaving a mere 22% of actual content

Let’s look at the content, as any good marketing person would.

  1. What’s the Call To Action? (we’re talking to a customer; what are we asking them to do?)
  2. How easy do we make it to respond to the CTA? (the easier we make it, the more people will do it)
  3. Where’s the Appeal – a.k.a. what do we do to make the CTA attractive? (the more attractive it is, NOT ONLY will more people do it, but a great percentage will follow-through by paying money / engaging after the CTA)

Hmm. Respectively:

  1. None
  2. Make a international phone call – at cost! – to an unrelated department
  3. Technical language with no hint of “game”, or welcome. Wording is both appallingly bad English ( “is not set to renew”), and also fundamentally negative (implies that I *shouldn’t* want to renew, even if I do want to)

As I said 8 months ago, someone ought to deploy the PlayFish folks onto the smoking remains of Mythic. I very much doubt they’d allow such terrible excuse for marketing to go on…

2 replies on “How not to market an MMO: EA/Mythic Entertainment”

I’ve gotten one of these because I subscribed to their newsletter back when WAR was in beta. I’ve never even downloaded the client, let alone played the game or subscribed.

I believe that when BioWare Mythic (there is no Mythic Entertainment anymore, and there are odds that Mythic may disappear entirely in the not too distant future) took WAR off GOA, its European operator, every single WAR account of any type got offered a free play period to help get players back to WAR Europe.

However, they didn’t actually tell those players such an offer existed, and the first any of them are (vaguely) hearing about it is the email you’ve discussed.

So, not only have they not attracted new players, their first contact with a lot of them is a message that they still can’t play.

Comments are closed.