Five Reasons Why The Old Republic Can’t Touch WoW

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Five Reasons Why The Old Republic Can't Touch WoW

Assaulting a well-fortified and entrenched foe is rarely a wise move.

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Honestly most companies need to realize that MMORPGs aren't worth pursuing. If they want to even come close to bringing in WoW amounts of cash they should just tackle MMO versions of other untapped genres.

I didn't know there was a name for what you called the "Black Hole Effect".

That same effect kept me playing BF2 for years.

I want an MMOFPS

A proper one, not one of those "64 player battles"

There's always the Night Elf Mohawk.

I still think BioWare's best bet is to not even try to beat World of Warcraft. Sadly, they've already failed with constant shows of how different they're trying to be to World of Warcraft, which is a shame, because there's enough market for more than one MMORPG.

And besides, look at that picture on page 2. If you're going to assault a well-fortified and entrenched foe, you need flame throwers, which clearly The Old Republic has...

Jing the Bandit:
There's always the Night Elf Mohawk.

Oh god...the advertisements for that...

And it may never be a wise move, but hell, its a fun one! lol

Ugh, I don't even want to have TOR seen as competition to WoW. I don't want that playerbase in my Star Wars, I don't want them complaining how class X is OP, how class Y needs a buff and how it sucks that they are forced to do something for longer than one nanosecond that doesn't give them top level gear. I just don't want these people there. Don't have more than an hour in a week to play? Don't play MMOs, damnit.

All that said, yes, TOR will be compared to WoW as it will stand during TOR's launch. That is good, but I dearly hope that will not create yet another first month rush after which the game slowly dies out like it has happened with many other MMOs that have come out.

Another set of really good speaking points about TOR vs. WoW. All I hope is there won't be too much discussion of this topic. We're not even out of January yet. I don't want to get sick of hearing about this game before it's even out.

Prophetic Heresy:
Another set of really good speaking points about TOR vs. WoW. All I hope is there won't be too much discussion of this topic. We're not even out of January yet. I don't want to get sick of hearing about this game before it's even out.

Well, I'm certainly done talking about it ... for now, anyway.

Eversor:
Ugh, I don't even want to have TOR seen as competition to WoW. I don't want that playerbase in my Star Wars, I don't want them complaining how class X is OP, how class Y needs a buff and how it sucks that they are forced to do something for longer than one nanosecond that doesn't give them top level gear. I just don't want these people there. Don't have more than an hour in a week to play? Don't play MMOs, damnit.

Hate to tell you this, but it's practically inevitable. Those people were playing MMOs well before WoW and they'll be playing MMOs well after.

dogstile:
I want an MMOFPS

A proper one, not one of those "64 player battles"

There was one big namer (that I know of.) And it did rather poor to average. And you should know by now how gaming works. If a game fails, companies see it as taboo to try to succeed where it stopped short. Thus we see the same rehashed games rather than new content.

The Old Republic will be fine.
Mainly because of 1 thing.

Essentially everyone knows about, and loves Star Wars.

And for every person playing WoW, there are more who aren't playing it, and more who hate it and want something that isn't set in a fantasy.

Whether or not those people will play TOR, well we will find out soon enough.

But there is a huge chance that a big chunk will check it out.

Because if you ask someone what they would want to play more; Boba Fett, or a Paladin, the answer from most people will be Boba Fett.

Nothing short of all the WoW devs getting instant amnesia and a massive power surge that fries all the servers and backup databases will kill it. It may die a slow death, but that is years away.

Knights of the Old will have a first good few months, as will Star Trek, but it won't be the grand battle of the mmorpgs that some people are envisioning.

Actually senior members of WoW's team change all the time, but that's neither here nor there I guess. If you're expecting TOR to take players away from WoW, I'd say you're wrong. They should be aiming for wow players to play TOR in addition, since it isn't hard or time consuming to keep up with WoW.

May I point out that this was also said of EverQuest when WoW came out?

"What, so now Blizzard thinks that just because they did Diablo they can dethrone the undisputed MMO king? Think again."

All those five reasons applied to EverQuest, as well, by the way. Big established fanbase and brand recognition, check; strong support from Sony, a massive multinational behemoth, check; expansions full of endgame content and polish, check again; almost impossible quality and content bar to surpass by a newcomer, yep, that too.

But WoW did all of it, against all odds, and despite the usual launch hiccups.

Whether or not TOR is the game to do that this time is up in the air at this point, but it will happen sooner or later, like it happened not just to Everquest, but to Ultima Online before that.

Also, betting for Wow in an article is... kind of dishonest. It's like betting a rock will fall down instead of up. Of course, nobody remembers all the boring guys who predicted the rock would fall down, but if one ever falls up the analyst who saw that coming has a very legitimate claim to fame. Just saying.

I agree with many of your points, but I have to say that you're forgetting some of the most arguments for the toppling of Blizzard's massive tower. Now, granted, WoW is a much more well-established MMO than any of the other big names to date, but that can also work against it, I think.

The problem has been, thus far, that the companies trying to "out-perform" Blizzard have stumbled over their own feet at every turn (at least that's the way it seems from my end). Warhammer had an opportunity, but in its effort to crank out the title before the holiday rush, the game suffered from bugs galore, and had relatively ineffective game managers at the time (again, from my experience). And by the way, bravo to whatever executive at Mythic that wasn't watching the release date for WotLK. Excellent business move there, rushing a title to completion only to release it alongside the more polished tyrant you're trying to bring down.

My experience with Aion (again, in theory, another contender for the throne at first glance) has proven to me two things. First, that Aion is very pretty. Second, that Aion is very pretty because resources were put into the art department after being pulled from the desk of the person responsible for developing the combat system.

You've already included Champions in your article, and my exposure to it was very limited anyway, so I can't really make a value judgment there.

And what else is there in the market? EVE? The only MMO that actually rewards you for not playing it.

I agree, EA's got to do some major polish if they want TOR to sell well against World of Warcraft, but I also don't think Blizzard is the stalwart titan you paint them to be. Their player base is full of people, like me, who have gotten bored with the same old encounters (giving old abilities and "tricks" from past instances to the new raid bosses). A fair amount may be tired of being "ignored" by the developers when certain imbalances and exploits remain unresolved for months (or worse, you finally see a development message on the subject to the effect of "Yeah, it's broken. But we're just going to design the game around it being broken.").

Or, and I guarantee this comprises the larger group, the people who wouldn't mind starting fresh somewhere else if it meant we wouldn't have to play the style of MMO to which we've grown accustomed in that damnable fantasy setting anymore. I mean really, from 1999 (launch of EQ) to now (with WoW's utter dominance), in order to play a halfway-decent MMO, you're forced to play with ELVES!!!

I cannot emphasize this enough. I would pay twice what it will cost to join TOR if it means no more elves.

John Funk:
John Funk wants to know why he can't just play a Night Elf Jedi.

Are you daft man? No game could handle such awesomeness.

LockeDown:
Their player base is full of people, like me, who have gotten bored with the same old encounters

This...

If an MMO comes out that is interesting and polished enough, then I think you might be suprised how many people will switch. I bet most wow players have tried a lot of other MMO's searching for one that is good enough I know I have.

Most have bits which would work if the rest wasn't so lame, WARs PvP settings, LOTROs atomosphere, AIONs graphics. But they just aren't the complete package. It's going to be hard to break into the MMO section in a big way simply because it has to be polished straight away.

I'm mostly concerned with reason 4 honestly.

If I can actually play it on my system (and I fully intend to make liberal use of any trial account opportunities to determine that), then I will be playing TOR, from the get-go.

My loyalties are squarely with Bioware.

Blizzard is great, my first big social gamingsphere was old lan parties with warcraft 2.. and I loved Diablo, Diablo 2, Starcraft, and to a lesser extent Warcraft 3, and I have been an on-and-off (mostly on) wow player for 4 years.

That being said, Bioware sold me my 3 xbox consoles (KOTOR for the first one, Mass Effect for the 360, and when my 360 died, I bought another one to play Dragon Age and soon Mass Effect 2). They brought me some of my most cherished social gaming stories.

Playing a 4 player Baldur's Gate 2 game is actually more fun then playing a whole mess of Raids in WoW, as fun as they can be. Raiding in WoW has a lot of commitment requirements, and once you get the content down, you're bored with it and are forced to continue to run it to stay competitive.

WoW brought me back into the MMO-space after I crashed and burned on Asheron's Call and Everquest, but TOR will hopefully keep me playing MMOs for the next 5 years.

Noelveiga:
May I point out that this was also said of EverQuest when WoW came out?

"What, so now Blizzard thinks that just because they did Diablo they can dethrone the undisputed MMO king? Think again."

All those five reasons applied to EverQuest, as well, by the way. Big established fanbase and brand recognition, check; strong support from Sony, a massive multinational behemoth, check; expansions full of endgame content and polish, check again; almost impossible quality and content bar to surpass by a newcomer, yep, that too.

But WoW did all of it, against all odds, and despite the usual launch hiccups.

Whether or not TOR is the game to do that this time is up in the air at this point, but it will happen sooner or later, like it happened not just to Everquest, but to Ultima Online before that.

Also, betting for Wow in an article is... kind of dishonest. It's like betting a rock will fall down instead of up. Of course, nobody remembers all the boring guys who predicted the rock would fall down, but if one ever falls up the analyst who saw that coming has a very legitimate claim to fame. Just saying.

Yes, I'm well aware. But you have to understand that what WoW did to EQ wasn't just "Oh, it took all of it's players," but it created millions of NEW MMOG players. TOR would have to expand the market even further, and while I'm certain it's possible it's very, very hard to do given that the total WoW subscription count is 25+ million (not current, total). EverQuest was still very much a 'fringe' game, because MMOGs were a 'fringe' genre. WoW is as mainstream as they get.

Also, you and ...

LockeDown:

I agree, EA's got to do some major polish if they want TOR to sell well against World of Warcraft, but I also don't think Blizzard is the stalwart titan you paint them to be. Their player base is full of people, like me, who have gotten bored with the same old encounters (giving old abilities and "tricks" from past instances to the new raid bosses). A fair amount may be tired of being "ignored" by the developers when certain imbalances and exploits remain unresolved for months (or worse, you finally see a development message on the subject to the effect of "Yeah, it's broken. But we're just going to design the game around it being broken.").

...should read last week's column, where I talked about the things that TOR has in its favor while taking on WoW :P I'm trying to be as even-handed as possible.

Very good points all around. I appreciate your insight and clarity. The only thing I think you missed was that two games can coexist. Guild Wars, which is far less popular than WoW, is still around and thriving. I think ToR will likely follow in GW's footsteps.

John Funk wants to know why he can't just play a Night Elf Jedi.

Because everyone will say that Night Elves banned the use of the Force 10,000 years ago, and got on quite well, why should they start using it again?

anyone rember Warhammer Online? wasen't the situation pretty mutch the same then whit WAR and WOW as it is now whit TOR and WOW?

John Funk:

Yes, I'm well aware. But you have to understand that what WoW did to EQ wasn't just "Oh, it took all of it's players," but it created millions of NEW MMOG players. TOR would have to expand the market even further, and while I'm certain it's possible it's very, very hard to do given that the total WoW subscription count is 25+ million (not current, total). EverQuest was still very much a 'fringe' game, because MMOGs were a 'fringe' genre. WoW is as mainstream as they get.

Fair enough. Although it's worth pointing out that Gran Turismo and Modern Warfare 2 have sold over 10 million copies each, and New Super Mario Bros DS and Wii Fit have sold more than 20 million each.

My point being that those 25 million total accounts (which I'm sure include every single two week trial that didn't get extended, as these kinds of stats generally do) are by no means the hard cap of the MMO genre and that WoW is known to bleed players whenever another big MMO opens, meaning the hard part is keeping the ex-WoWers, not getting them to try your game. Keep the ex-WoWers and their friends will come following because, as you said, we're talking about a very, very old MMO at this point.

So while you have a point, I do think both things are possible. New players can be brought to the MMO camp and WoW can lose a significant chunk of the more hardcore players, who are willing to experiment with other MMOs and might drive a casual flow if they decide to stick with something different rather than return to their old guilds. Again, it's not a question of "if" rather than of "when".

as for this:

Also, you ... should read last week's column, where I talked about the things that TOR has in its favor while taking on WoW :P I'm trying to be as even-handed as possible.

Yeah, yeah, sure. But you still go for the very obvious, very safe middle ground there at the end. "The Old Republic will not fail, but it will not be a WoW killer". With all due respect, that barely qualifies as an actual opinion. A well argumented statement of obvious facts, sure, but I would have been more interested in a more committed view. For instance, what do you think would have happened if the strong first weeks of Age of Conan, which was seeing WoW-like numbers early on, had not met with absolutely boring mid-game content and bad level and quest design? What if a game, TOS or not, manages to hold on to that kind of starting spike? Do you think that would draw the casuals away to follow the hardcores? More to the point, do you think TOS is in a position to do that? And if not, is it just because of the foreseeable early-MMO lack of polish and content or do you think there will be design reasons for that?

TOR is gonna win I can sense it in the.... OH you should have seen your face!

Taco of flames:

John Funk wants to know why he can't just play a Night Elf Jedi.

Because everyone will say that Night Elves banned the use of the Force 10,000 years ago, and got on quite well, why should they start using it again?

isn't cataclysm changing that...

John Funk:
John Funk wants to know why he can't just play a Night Elf Jedi.

Really? Huh, I had you down as a Sullustan Warlock...

Noelveiga:

Fair enough. Although it's worth pointing out that Gran Turismo and Modern Warfare 2 have sold over 10 million copies each, and New Super Mario Bros DS and Wii Fit have sold more than 20 million each.

My point being that those 25 million total accounts (which I'm sure include every single two week trial that didn't get extended, as these kinds of stats generally do) are by no means the hard cap of the MMO genre and that WoW is known to bleed players whenever another big MMO opens, meaning the hard part is keeping the ex-WoWers, not getting them to try your game. Keep the ex-WoWers and their friends will come following because, as you said, we're talking about a very, very old MMO at this point.

So while you have a point, I do think both things are possible. New players can be brought to the MMO camp and WoW can lose a significant chunk of the more hardcore players, who are willing to experiment with other MMOs and might drive a casual flow if they decide to stick with something different rather than return to their old guilds. Again, it's not a question of "if" rather than of "when".

Absolutely correct - I don't think WoW has reached a theoretical maximum at all; just look at the number of people playing Mafia Wars and Fishville on Facebook. I just think that to do so you're going to have to have a broad mass market appeal that we can't even conceive of. (And I believe the 'total' number of 24-36 million was subscriptions, not including trials, but I could be wrong (to quote, "2 to 3 times the current subscription base").

The trick is to keep them, you're correct there, too. But even a game with a million subscribers is merely a fraction of WoW's playerbase - is it a success? Absolutely. Is that the 'critical mass' that will keep them from going back to WoW? I don't know.

Yeah, yeah, sure. But you still go for the very obvious, very safe middle ground there at the end. "The Old Republic will not fail, but it will not be a WoW killer". With all due respect, that barely qualifies as an actual opinion. A well argumented statement of obvious facts, sure, but I would have been more interested in a more committed view. For instance, what do you think would have happened if the strong first weeks of Age of Conan, which was seeing WoW-like numbers early on, had not met with absolutely boring mid-game content and bad level and quest design? What if a game, TOS or not, manages to hold on to that kind of starting spike? Do you think that would draw the casuals away to follow the hardcores? More to the point, do you think TOS is in a position to do that? And if not, is it just because of the foreseeable early-MMO lack of polish and content or do you think there will be design reasons for that?

I'm sorry, that IS an actual opinion because that's what I absolutely think will happen barring a sudden shift. I think TOR has the potential to outperform every game from WAR and Conan onward to be a very solid second place, but I personally can't see it toppling WoW at all. It's interesting to speculate (hence these two pieces) but when my actual educated guess lies in the middle it's difficult to say "Well, I think THIS will happen" when I ... don't :/

I think TOR already has a potential casual base well beyond that of, say, WAR, yes. It may even appeal to casuals *more* than hardcore, considering that Blizzard does PvE very, very well, and BioWare is going to have to up their game to provide the same kind of endgame that WoW has (just because the vast majority of WoWers who might try TOR never got the "you just go here and chill in a virtual world" endgame like SWG or EQ, so they're expecting it).

John Funk:

I'm sorry, that IS an actual opinion because that's what I absolutely think will happen barring a sudden shift. I think TOR has the potential to outperform every game from WAR and Conan onward to be a very solid second place, but I personally can't see it toppling WoW at all. It's interesting to speculate (hence these two pieces) but when my actual educated guess lies in the middle it's difficult to say "Well, I think THIS will happen" when I ... don't :/

I think TOR already has a potential casual base well beyond that of, say, WAR, yes. It may even appeal to casuals *more* than hardcore, considering that Blizzard does PvE very, very well, and BioWare is going to have to up their game to provide the same kind of endgame that WoW has (just because the vast majority of WoWers who might try TOR never got the "you just go here and chill in a virtual world" endgame like SWG or EQ, so they're expecting it).

For the record, I think the Star Wars brand may actually prove to be a challenge down the road, since the geeky aura of the franchise may scare off some of the WoW crowd. Ironically, the fact that WoW is, let's face it, rather generic, may be helping them in that area. The same goes for the "stoy based MMO" approach, which makes me giggle with excitement, but is arguably not what the fanbase of WoW really enjoys. They're not playing an RPG, they're passing time with friends playing a videogame. We'll see how that goes.

But, on the other hand, KOTOR sold two million copies on the Xbox alone, so did Mass Effect and Dragon Age must be around that mark already. Star Wars Galaxies actually had a community for a while, too. There is definitely a market. Sure, not a 25 million market, or even a 10 to 15 million market, which is probably what they WoW actually has at any given time, but at this point my question is whether or not that market, if it stabilizes, will draw more people by word of mouth, which is what WoW did.

Also, you're spot on when you mention endgame content as the big success of WoW. They managed not just to bring in a high number of players, but to keep them playing after hitting the level cap. That is not an easy feat, and it's the reason why it's hard to say whether an MMO has succeeded or not until several months have passed.

And, of course, I was half joking with the not an opinion bit. I'm just saying that your educated guess is likely to be accurate, but something has to come around at some point that will shatter all those safe predictions. Whatever takes the MMO crown from WoW will likely be predicted to be "not a failure but not a WoW killer" as well, and for the same reasons. And they will be good reasons then, too. And, if we accept this, if we accept that the WoW killer must, by definition, be a surprise hit, then approaching the issue like a reasoned, analytical prediction might not be the best way to address it. We surely must be able to talk about MMOs without getting caught up in WoW comparisons at this point.

John Funk:
I just think that to do so you're going to have to have a broad mass market appeal that we can't even conceive of.

And really, if anything would have that, wouldn't it be a Star Wars MMO? You have 3 groups The Old Republic is more or less targeted at. First off, you have the obvious Star Wars fanbase, one that in and of itself could blow the fanbase for Warcraft clean out of the water. Secondly, you have Bioware's existing fanbase, who likely will be willing to give TOR a try, and if they are already fans of Bioware's work, they will in all likelihood stick with it. And thirdly, as Noelveiga indicated in his posts above, you have the existing WoW base that may be tiring of the fantasy setting and looking for a fresh start in a new world.

In short, can TOR knock WoW off it's golden pedestal? Maybe. Is it wise to discount it? Hardly.

To be honest, I'm not particularly interested in WoW vs TOR. WoW will be dethroned sooner or later, but the way things are looking now, it'll be later, not sooner. The thing with WoW is that it's become pretty much an entire segment of the market on it's own. There's WoW players, and there's people who play other MMOs. The WoW players won't move away from their Warcrack en masse anytime soon, so it's those other people who determine which games become 'best of the rest'.

Because of that, I'm far more interested in The Old Republic vs Star Trek Online. Two promising-looking new sci-fi MMOs, both based on world-famous fan-favourite franchises, it'd seem that they're going to be fighting over pretty much the same group of players.

Just don't tell any Trekkies or Warsies that I just lumped them together in one group. They might not approve. :P

I agree with his opinon in the article, that it will do well but not as good as WOW, which is all I care about anyway. It could have the bare minimum players to survive or have everyone in the word playing for all I care, as long its still around for me to play.

We can't make the comparison of WoW to EQ next to TOR with WoW. EQ, at its height, had a fraction of the playerbase that WoW has now. WoW introduced millions to the MMORPG experience. If WoW is what you are used to, then you are used to a relatively relaxed/casual game with very few glitches and a consistently populated world. I think that when ex-WoW players (where WoW was their first MMO) who try out other games often quit within a couple of months either because of difficulty or because of polish. If you are expecting a game to be as polished as WoW in the beginning, you are going to be disappointed. Let's face it: playing a brand new game that constantly bugs or crashes with too-small servers is just not fun. You can tell yourself that it is not fair to the company to expect the game to be as well made as WoW quite yet, but it all comes down to whether or not you are having fun. Fair is not really an issue.

Also, while there is a huge market out there for Star Wars related games, a lot of people feel comfortable with the fantasy/magic of the majority of the MMO market. If you are used to the rogue/caster DPS, the warrior tank, and the priest/cleric/druid healer, then you may not want to get into the whole new system of which class does what. I know this seems like a minor point, but the basic fantasy class role stuff has been around a lot longer than WoW and EQ. People like to play what they know. Yes, we all say we are looking for new ideas, but I don't personally think that the failure of the new MMO's of the past few years is due entirely to lack of innovation. It's more attributed to an unfinished game with not enough content.

Basically, I hope that TOR only comes out when it is truly finished. Even if it has minimal bugs in its release, lack of content (IE not enough quests/tasks to do while leveling up) is a serious issue in new games. I have played a long list of MMO's, and I am so bored of WoW. I trust Bioware to make me proud, though. I will probably try TOR upon release.

This is the most painfully obvious thread ever.

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