Electronic Arts, the publisher of the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, has chosen BitTorrent for the distribution of the closed Beta client. Included in the documentation is a recommendation to use a TorrentFreak ‘speed up’ guide.
Developed by Mythic Entertainment, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is a long-awaited WoW competitor, due for general release on September 18th this year. As with many games of this type, the developer is beta testing the software, helped by players in the US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
To become a tester in the beta, many people were selected via applications, contests and prize draws. The first stage of testing was over in the final quarter of 2007 and during February 2008, invites to test were sent out to lucky recipients. July this year saw the activation of so-called ‘Guild beta’ keys which signaled the start of the next stage of testing and on August 10th, keys were sent out for Beta 3.
The Warhammer Online beta gaming client is quite a size, weighing in at over 9.3GB. Providing a download of this size for testers could turn into a needlessly expensive exercise for the publisher, Electronic Arts, and the developer, Mythic, so they have made the decision to utilize BitTorrent instead, dramatically reducing distribution costs.
There is no other way to download the client, indicating that EA/Mythic are completely confident that their target market will have no trouble using torrents but just in case, they provide a comprehensive BitTorrent guide which covers basics like client selection, up to more advanced techniques such as port forwarding. An eagle-eyed reader who is involved in the beta testing pointed out that the guide also includes advice to follow a TorrentFreak guide to speed up transfers.
The Mythic tracker is located at http://torrent2.eamythic.com and currently reports around 1300 seeds and over 7000 leechers. A search on the hash value of the torrent, reveals the beta is (unsurprisingly) being tracked by other torrent sites too.
The Warhammer Beta team was contacted for a response, but hasn’t responded before publication.