World War II Online turns 20, tweaks sub, plans Steam launch and UE4 conversion

    
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Cornered Rat Software’s MMO World War II Online is 20 years old, believe it or not, and still under development “so as the create the next 20 years,” the team says. Over the weekend, the studio made several announcements about the future of the game, including plans for integrated voice comms, a monetization clean-up, a Steam release, and a major tech upgrade.

Let’s tackle monetization first. Essentially, the team is flattening several of the subscription plans into one $9.99 sub, leaving the free-to-play option as it is, and offering annual plans to boot. Weirdly, the team asks people subbing at the $18 rate to keep subbing at that rate, offering a discount for the annual pass in exchange.

“[W]e’re taking a big risk here,” CRS says. “We really need players to maintain their current subscription rate to continue supporting the game. Our primary objective of doing this is to bring more players into WWII Online, and remove any reason for why they may not want to get in. We also make the game more accessible to many more people. If there’s a big shift in players abandoning their plans, we will have to abort this initiative and go back to our premium rate. Thanks for holding the line.”

Cornered Rat says that the new incomes will go to upgrading the game to UE4 and then UE5, which will take “years” to accomplish, but of course putting all the devs on WWII Online 2.0 means pulling them off of content development for the live game. The studio also acquired mod-maker Talos Interactive to develop and maintain mod WWII Online: Chokepoint as a full-fledged title alongside the original game and its sub.

“We’re hoping that by being this transparent and putting all the cards on the table that you have a renewed commitment – and stick with it long term,” Matt “Xoom” Callahan says. “This will take years, it will not be simple and it comes at a cost as outlined above. But it IS the right call to make and we need to make the move, NOW.”

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Costanius

Congratulations for 20 years CRS! This is still a very unique and special MMO despite of the old graphics. It has been one of the first zoneless open-world MMOs with a huge playfield and its still a WWII virtual online world where tanks, planes, ships and infantry all fight together and against each other with tactical and strategic leadership of the players. Players and their actions can really make a difference and define the outcome of each campaign. Thats a level of freedom and player actions having an impact on the game not seen in many MMOs so far.
But, a graphics update has long been overdue in my opinion! I hope You guys can pull this off und make WWIIOL shine again in UE4 soon!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Looks pretty good for 20 years old game. I might check it out. I loved Operation Flashpoint back in the days, and this game is like OF Online

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Xoom

Hey Bree / Massively OP – I’d like to thank you for the coverage. The accuracy of the article is pretty on point, with one slight mention to make: The users who we’ve asked to stay at $17.99/mo are actually receiving an upgrade (for free) to what would normally be our $29.99/mo builder plan. Essentially what that means is to encourage them to stay where they are, we’re going to be unlocking new recognition features and game access in the form of new vehicles that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

So far the reception for folks doing this has been pretty welcome, as all of our fans are keen on exploring the future of the game. Once again, thank you so much for the mention, it really is a significant time here!

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styopa

Wow, glad to hear stuff’s happening at CRS and WW2OL. It came out really before computers were ready for it, so I hope they’ve got the resources to take what’s still a nearly unique concept and bring it to fruition.
And guys, I know the desire to get a UE4 version out the door will put a lot of pressure on you to just port the world from current engine to UE but…don’t do it. Rivers and roads that curve naturally will make a HUGE difference to the immersion. It will take a TON of time but if you can make Europe look like that Chokepoint video you have a hell of a game to sell. If it looks like WW2OL with nicer textures, I don’t know if that’s going to cut it in 2021.

I’d warn the infantry in the Chokepoint video at 4:37 that a haystack is not going to provide much cover, lol.

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Connor

” If there’s a big shift in players abandoning their plans, we will have to abort this initiative and go back to our premium rate.”

Cornered Rat Software is a toxic developer that uses guilt and nostalgia to turn its player base into welfare revenue and free labor. It’s fitting that they’d bring on a mod team to commercialize a free mod made from volunteer labor, that had to change its name because they don’t have permission from the person who owns it to use it.

I don’t know who Talos Interactive thinks CRS is going to help them reach. I could walk outside with a bullhorn and shout about their game and it’ll hit more ears than a CRS newsletter.

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styopa

“…uses guilt and nostalgia to turn its player base into welfare revenue and free labor…”
Bitter, party of one? Tell us where the bad man touched you?

AFAIK R&L couldn’t continue that name basically because they couldn’t reach the original guy, that’s it. If you want to step up from wankers writing halflife mods to something professional, you have to at least own your IP.

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Xoom

Hey Connor, actually we’re trying to be about as upfront and transparent with the players as possible. We’re taking a bold step here and we know the community is interested in the longevity of the project – celebrating our 20th anniversary here proves that. So we aren’t trying to guilt folks, but we are trying to say – hey give us some time to build up our base on this new rate, and here’s an added bonus (new vehicles and access) for doing so.

The acquisition of Talos Interactive is mutually beneficial and no one forced them – and no it wasn’t free :). We’re very excited to have them onboard and we’re going to do great things together at CRS.

We think all of these announcements outlining our future indicate that with new leadership at Playnet (the IP owner of WWII Online) as of November 2020, big things are happening that previously were unable to occur. We hope to win you back through these efforts – best wishes. S! (salute as we say)