E3: Star Wars: The Old Republic

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E3: Star Wars: The Old Republic

The Jundland Wastes are not to be traveled lightly.

I honestly think I could give the Star Wars: The Old Republic demo myself by now. I've seen the game so many times that I can recite the litany of the four pillars in my sleep. I know by heart the beats in the rehearsed claim that this game is Knights of the Old Republic 3...and 4, 5, 6, 7, etc... Story and choice? I know all about it. Fully voiced? Yep, been there and done that. In the end, as much as I'm looking forward to the game, which is a lot, I tend to spend the first ten minutes of each demo waiting to hear some concrete details that prove the game will live up to the claims.

Thankfully, the second half of these demos usually contains a few new bits of information. This time around we finally got some information on the multiplayer dialogue system and the high level raids, which in The Old Republic are called Operations. Along the way, we also got our first look at Alderaan and had a chance to drive the new player vehicles through the Jundland Wastes. At our level, they're not quite like Landspeeders or Speeder Bikes. These are more like intergalactic Rascals or Segways. Still, it's nice to run over Sandpeople.

The mission in the demo takes place in Castle Panteer on the world of Alderaan. As the last of a massive ten-part story arc on the planet, this showdown between the player and the rebellious nobleman Bouris Ulgo, who has seized control of the Castle, is the culmination of hours and hours of play. The party moving in to take him down includes a Jedi Counselor who selected the healing Sage advance class, a gunslinging Smuggler, a Jedi Knight who took the tank-focused Guardian specialization, and a Trooper who has been promoted to the rank of Commando.

The Force powers and cover system and suppression mechanics featured are nothing new, but they do highlight the cinematic, cooperative nature of combat. What really struck my eye was the new multiplayer conversation model. This has been a big unknown in the game, and one that BioWare has struggled to solve. To try to make every player part of the action, each player makes his or her own decision about what should be said during a conversation and a random die roll determines which player's option is actually spoken.

To help prevent players from manipulating each other's Light or Dark Side status, you'll earn Light or Dark Side points based on what you chose to say, even if the player chosen to speak picks a different response. If, for instance, you chose to spare an opponent's life but the party spokesperson at that moment chooses to kill him, you'll still get the Light Side points for wanting to do the right thing.

It'll take multiple groups to take on the game's raids, which are called Operations. These end-game challenges require loads and loads of skilled, powerful players. We saw a bit of one called The Eternity Vault, where players are tasked with protecting the contents of a massive fortress where particularly dangerous enemies and technologies are kept. The in-game movies showed fights against massive walking war machines, races across narrow bridges floating above pits of energy, and an encounter with what must surely be one of the toughest enemies held in the prison. Of course, just before things got good, the demo was over.

I suppose one of the problems is that the things BioWare is promising are hard to demo. If it truly does matter in the long run what your character does or doesn't do, you can't make that apparent with a lot of awkward transitions and some smoke and mirrors. BioWare hinted that a beta might not be far off, so we're hoping we have a chance soon to see if the game lives us to the substantial promises that have been made.

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"Jundland Wastes"
All the times I've watched that film and I never could make out what Obi Wan said called it.

Wait promising a beta? I thought they were already in the beat stage? I'm pretty sure this game will be released in the next couple of months, too.

Not too sure where the article is getting off claiming that the dialog system has not been explained before. I knew this much a couple months back, just by keeping an eye on the official site (which updates every Friday with new information and more often when there's an event like E3 or PAX).

Still, the news of the "speeder bikes" and Operations is new. Or rather the names are. The fact that they were in the game was confirmed a long time ago.

But I'm excited for this game, and have been scouring the forums for all the confirmed information I could. Most of it links to sites like Darth Hater, though. So admittedly, I'm not one of the people that is in the dark about the game.

By the way, there is also a good 11 minute video of gameplay on the site as well. I won't say that it will convince people that this isn't just a WoW clone, but it will at least show some actual gameplay rather than simple trailers. Also, look for the Taral V walk-through as well.

Still, it's nice to run over Sandpeople.

replace 'sandpeople' with 'ewoks' and am sold

Saltyk:

By the way, there is also a good 11 minute video of gameplay on the site as well. I won't say that it will convince people that this isn't just a WoW clone, but it will at least show some actual gameplay rather than simple trailers. Also, look for the Taral V walk-through as well.

I had a chance to play the Tatooine content at E3. I played twice, so a total of about 40 minutes of gameplay. Personally, I wouldn't call it a "WoW clone," but I have a narrow definition of "clone." For me a game like Rift is much much closer to being a clone than TOR is.

I played the Sniper (Imperial Agent) for one session and then the Assassin (Sith Inquisitor) for the other. Naturally they played very differently, but I also took on different content. With the Sniper, I got a taste of soloing and using the cover mechanic. I played through the suggested quest line and watched the conversations. To me, conversations are leagues ahead of the standard quest text window that most other MMOs have used (I also played Tera at E3, which unfortunately used that same old style of questing). The combat for the Sniper was very much focused on preparation like setting up a position and lazing a target before sniping. I can't think of any WoW class that played quite like that.

The Assassin was a whole different challenge. On that session, I played in a group and took on one of the elite questing zones. I realize that we were all new to the classes, but these enemies were HARD. I died a lot and sometimes even incapacitating a target beforehand wasn't quite enough. I can tell these missions will take a lot of coordination. The Assassin was all about stealth and backstabs, so its closest WoW comparison is a Rogue, but I also had other force abilities like a whirlwind that snared a target briefly. My companion, Kehm Val, seemed to be a tank so he helped facilitate the backstabbing by drawing fire.

Cons:
I think they're overselling the dynamism of the combat. I only got a small taste and I'm inexperienced with the game, but even though it was fun, it's pretty much the combat you'd expect from an MMO. This is more of a half-con because it was still fun, it's just traditional.

Companion pathing is still a little weird. I think Scorpio (Agent companion) was facing the wrong way while firing sometimes, along with some weirdness with how they follow. I expect improvement by launch, but it's something I noticed.

Still some jagged shadow edges. Could use some occlusion shadows under characters when in caves and such.

Pros:
Overall a lot of fun and quite challenging. Be prepared to die if you go in recklessly (or forget your companion). A lot better than the cakewalk that is WoW leveling.

Conversations help flesh out the quests, but are skippable if you're in a hurry for some reason (I skipped them on my second playthrough).

Environments are gorgeous. UI is solid and very appealing.

rsvp42:

Saltyk:

By the way, there is also a good 11 minute video of gameplay on the site as well. I won't say that it will convince people that this isn't just a WoW clone, but it will at least show some actual gameplay rather than simple trailers. Also, look for the Taral V walk-through as well.

I had a chance to play the Tatooine content at E3. I played twice, so a total of about 40 minutes of gameplay. Personally, I wouldn't call it a "WoW clone," but I have a narrow definition of "clone." For me a game like Rift is much much closer to being a clone than TOR is.

I played the Sniper (Imperial Agent) for one session and then the Assassin (Sith Inquisitor) for the other. Naturally they played very differently, but I also took on different content. With the Sniper, I got a taste of soloing and using the cover mechanic. I played through the suggested quest line and watched the conversations. To me, conversations are leagues ahead of the standard quest text window that most other MMOs have used (I also played Tera at E3, which unfortunately used that same old style of questing). The combat for the Sniper was very much focused on preparation like setting up a position and lazing a target before sniping. I can't think of any WoW class that played quite like that.

The Assassin was a whole different challenge. On that session, I played in a group and took on one of the elite questing zones. I realize that we were all new to the classes, but these enemies were HARD. I died a lot and sometimes even incapacitating a target beforehand wasn't quite enough. I can tell these missions will take a lot of coordination. The Assassin was all about stealth and backstabs, so its closest WoW comparison is a Rogue, but I also had other force abilities like a whirlwind that snared a target briefly. My companion, Kehm Val, seemed to be a tank so he helped facilitate the backstabbing by drawing fire.

Cons:
I think they're overselling the dynamism of the combat. I only got a small taste and I'm inexperienced with the game, but even though it was fun, it's pretty much the combat you'd expect from an MMO. This is more of a half-con because it was still fun, it's just traditional.

Companion pathing is still a little weird. I think Scorpio (Agent companion) was facing the wrong way while firing sometimes, along with some weirdness with how they follow. I expect improvement by launch, but it's something I noticed.

Still some jagged shadow edges. Could use some occlusion shadows under characters when in caves and such.

Pros:
Overall a lot of fun and quite challenging. Be prepared to die if you go in recklessly (or forget your companion). A lot better than the cakewalk that is WoW leveling.

Conversations help flesh out the quests, but are skippable if you're in a hurry for some reason (I skipped them on my second playthrough).

Environments are gorgeous. UI is solid and very appealing.

Ahhh so the conversations are skippable? Honestly I was kind of worried about that on later playthroughs through content on a different toon. Just seemed like something that could get... boring. But how does that play out? You're suppose to make decisions in the course of a scene. So how do you do that AND skip a scene?

On the other hand, having the scenes just seems like it would make questing more interesting. I'm currently playing WoW and I do ignore the dialog boxes 90% of the time. Usually the summary in the corner (kill X wolves) and the map tells you everything you need to know. When it doesn't you can just skim the quest log. In the most extreme cases, there's always Google.

I've been watching the game play that has been available and your experience sounds about like what I expected to be honest. I wasn't worried about the combat being like WoW. Honestly WoW combat is smooth so as long as it was smooth like WoW but somewhat different, I'd be happy. And from what I've seen, it looks like I'll be happy. I just wanna get my Sith Juggernaut and Bounty Hunter Mercenary action on. Though the Sniper seems cool, too.

Saltyk:
Ahhh so the conversations are skippable? Honestly I was kind of worried about that on later playthroughs through content on a different toon. Just seemed like something that could get... boring. But how does that play out? You're suppose to make decisions in the course of a scene. So how do you do that AND skip a scene?

On the other hand, having the scenes just seems like it would make questing more interesting. I'm currently playing WoW and I do ignore the dialog boxes 90% of the time. Usually the summary in the corner (kill X wolves) and the map tells you everything you need to know. When it doesn't you can just skim the quest log. In the most extreme cases, there's always Google.

It's like Mass Effect, pressing the space bar skips the current line of dialogue the VO is speaking. So if you can read the subtitles faster then you want to listen to the dialogue you can. You can't skip the point where the game needs you to make a choice in the conversation

The impression I get from some of WoW's quests is, at times, it's a test by the writers to see if anyone is actually paying attention to the fluff text. So you sometimes end up with "Mama Celeste's Dirt and Coyote Pie"-quests, or every quest in Champions Online.

Why's it being narrated by Teryn Loghain? Ah well, Simon Templeman is a pretty good voice actor.

So a friend of mine went to GameStop ans asked out of curiosity if he could pre-order TOR...
He could! They said it comes out on October 4th. Not sure if they are bullshitting him or it's an internal mistake. Interesting though.

Back on topic though: Raids are going to be interesting if there is dialog involved. Could you imagine that speech roll?

Tentickles:
So a friend of mine went to GameStop ans asked out of curiosity if he could pre-order TOR...
He could! They said it comes out on October 4th. Not sure if they are bullshitting him or it's an internal mistake. Interesting though.

Back on topic though: Raids are going to be interesting if there is dialog involved. Could you imagine that speech roll?

The usual warning is that all dates are speculation until it's officially announced. There's a rumor that November is the actual date because Razer is releasing some peripherals near the game's launch date and later mentioned November:
http://www.torocast.com/index.php/news/swtor-news/item/563-a-hint-at-the-swtor-release-date

As for story in raids the lead writer said, "no you will not be having raid-group sized multiplayer conversations. That would be terrible, terrible terrible." (http://darthhater.com/2011/06/09/e3-2011-team-interview-with-daniel-erickson/page/1). I think he said that the story and context for raids would be mostly at the beginning and end, not in the middle.

If you pause just right at 1:32 you can see what the prisoner is, atleast the species here is a link, I think you will be intrigued.
http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakata

rsvp42:

Tentickles:
So a friend of mine went to GameStop ans asked out of curiosity if he could pre-order TOR...
He could! They said it comes out on October 4th. Not sure if they are bullshitting him or it's an internal mistake. Interesting though.

Back on topic though: Raids are going to be interesting if there is dialog involved. Could you imagine that speech roll?

The usual warning is that all dates are speculation until it's officially announced. There's a rumor that November is the actual date because Razer is releasing some peripherals near the game's launch date and later mentioned November:
http://www.torocast.com/index.php/news/swtor-news/item/563-a-hint-at-the-swtor-release-date

As for story in raids the lead writer said, "no you will not be having raid-group sized multiplayer conversations. That would be terrible, terrible terrible." (http://darthhater.com/2011/06/09/e3-2011-team-interview-with-daniel-erickson/page/1). I think he said that the story and context for raids would be mostly at the beginning and end, not in the middle.

Alrighty. Would be funny though if they did do it... extra DKP for the dude who gets the cutscene!!!

Actually, on the official forums for ORO there are people talking about how at E3 the reps for ORO implied that there wouldn't be an open beta. Apparently they feel there is already enough hype for the game, and with 1.5 million people signed up it's not surprising, since it would be quite the undertaking with those numbers.

Not to mention the rather unsubtle point that has been being made about how Beta Testers are generally not respected anymore, even in the earlier phases. Something I can generally attest to having watched bugs and issues known months before release sometimes last until months after launch. Beta testing is generally viewed as being a sort of free-preview nowadays, and has even been being used that way in pre-order promotions and such. It's not surprising that for a big launch like this EA might decide to take a "why bother" approach, figuring that it will mean more people will pay just to try the product. This isn't to say that the product is bad, just that with the current attitudes this makes a certain degree of financial sense, especially seeing as people have shown they will pay to make a leap of faith. They could very welkl be trying to spearheard a new trend for MMOs.

Now, I can't say this is absolutly right, just that it's something I've read on the forums, and I have never seen anyone working for EA/Bioware contridict the statement. That in of itself is interesting, since it wouldn't exactly be any kind of reveal to have said "this isn't true, we do plan to have an open beta".

Basically, the testers they have now might very well be the testers they plan to stick with until launch.

While it's pure conjecture as opposed to the above which seems to be based on some comments that were made at this point (making it more of a reliable rumor based on hearsay and indirect evidence) it seems that there are some suspicians that EA/Bioware is cribbing from Activision/Blizzard's playbook and is aiming for a pretty quick release... within a couple of weeks of the annoucement.

You know, I've been looking for an MMO to complement WoW and I've went through a lot of mediocre content. Though, to be honest, it may just be my enjoyment of WC3 and a pre-determined affection for the world combined with the several years balancing that put games up to the filter against WoW but none of them have even been as remotely entertaining, to me. Of course, I believe, wholeheartedly, that it's the medieval settings and style that keep them from qualifying, as it's more of the same.

SWTOR, though, is probably going to do the job. I can't wait to try out the Imperial Agent.

In the gameplay videos I've seen so far, it just looks like WoW in space. It actually looks pretty dull. I hoped it would be so much more than that. I guess the only MMOs that are still on my radar now are The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 and Salem.

There's been years of teasers, peeks, release delays, E3's, new teasers, new peeks, footage, comics etc... I just can't bring myself to follow anymore, they've been trying to maintain hype for 4 years now and it's starting to wear thin.

Saltyk:

By the way, there is also a good 11 minute video of gameplay on the site as well. I won't say that it will convince people that this isn't just a WoW clone, but it will at least show some actual gameplay rather than simple trailers. Also, look for the Taral V walk-through as well.

also check this out, its a dev playing and answering questions and all at the E3 demo, 42 minutes I believe
http://corellianrun.com/2011/06/07/daniel-ericksons-presentation/

ryai458:
If you pause just right at 1:32 you can see what the prisoner is, atleast the species here is a link, I think you will be intrigued.
http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakata

I assume the same Rakata from the hidden planet in KOTOR before you attack the Star Forge? Ancient civilization and stuff, would be great if TOR fleshed their backstory out a bit more.

Soo, it's warcraft in star wars?

i just have to laugh at the random dialogue wheel; totally sounds like the ultimate blending of story and choice into an MMO doesnt it?

No offense but it looks really bad IMO.

You have to give it credit for not playing exactly like WoW but I doubt this game will have more than a million subscriptions a year after release, and they must be aiming for more.

What I want to see for the smaller groups (4 people-ish) is each player getting to make their own decision independently of the others. For example, if your ship is under attack because of a passenger and the 4 of you are standing around trying to decide what to do about it, any player could decide to quickly shoot the passenger before the others could react. This way all 4 players would need to agree to spare the passenger for him to live. Another example would be the game separating the players and leaving 1 in the cockpit, who for a brief time needs to make decisions for the whole group. This way the players would actually have a reason to care about what the others do. I can imagine players actually feeling upset at one another for their in-game decisions.

Grinderbilly:

Saltyk:
Wait promising a beta? I thought they were already in the beat stage? I'm pretty sure this game will be released in the next couple of months, too.

Beat stage indeed. More fan wanking Lucas's meat for what will inevitably be a shitty game. Yay.

Obvious typo is obvious.

I maybe a fanboy, but I think there's plenty of reason to doubt that this game will be shitty. Actually, I'm pretty confident that it'll be pretty good. But whatever. To each his own.

saxa:
Soo, it's warcraft in star wars?

Have faith in Bioware. They don't make bad games, and they have everything hanging on this one. Besides, a ton of people got to play it at PAX and had all good things to say about it.

saxa:
Soo, it's warcraft in star wars?

It's an MMO with Star Wars setting, story and lore. WoW is also an MMO.

Reminds me of WoW, except that all the swords are going to look the same.
Color me "meh." If it comes out and it's better than I expect it to be, I might give it a shot. Till then...
Well...
Meh.

The problem I'm having with this game is the more I see of it the less excited I become. First off it's becoming clearer as time goes on that this is a Star Wars world that more closely resembles the prequels and not so much the original trilogy. That makes me very sad. It looks a lot like a futuristic circus set in space quite honestly. I'm just not feel the world.

Secondly, I'm sorry but it looks and seems to play like WoW in space. The more Bioware keeps hammering how different it will be than WoW the more it keeps resembling WoW. I won't go as far as to say WoW clone just yet but it's approaching that at a pretty break neck pace.

Thirdly, I think they are totally overselling the combat. It looks like your typical MMO combat. Not that that's a bad thing but when you are out banging a drum telling people how different and engaging it's supposed to be it just makes you look like a jackass when it combat turns out to be just like every other MMO out there.

Fourthly, I just don't know how well your typical Bioware gameplay is going to translate over into the realm of MMOs. I get they want to focus on story and what not but I can very easily see this coming off as awkward and unseemly when adapted for an MMO.

Finally, this isn't the same Bioware that brought us KOTOR and KOTOR 2. This is the Bioware that was bought by EA and reused the same dungeon for the entire game in Dragon Age 2. This is the same Bioware that has chosen to "streamline" (read: dumbed down) their games lately to cater to the masses rather than keep them to the same standard as the games that made people love them to begin with. I wouldn't trust this Bioware to check my email without EA meddling and buggering things up somehow.

I know a few guys in the testing right now and I hear a lot more good things then bad things. Of course the game has bugs (its in testing phase) but they tell me the story is as much if not more then what they are advertising and the versatility of the classes is phenomenal.

I will be buying it and playing it for a long time. Been waiting 7 years for a Star Wars MMO (RIP SWG). It will have it's good parts and it's parts that need refining.

but arnt all MMOs like that?

pwnsore:

saxa:
Soo, it's warcraft in star wars?

Have faith in Bioware. They don't make bad games, and they have everything hanging on this one. Besides, a ton of people got to play it at PAX and had all good things to say about it.

The team making SWTOR, BioWare Austin, was made from scratch using people already in the MMO business. The only true BioWare employees working on this game are the writters and a couple of producers and project leads.

Long story short: The only "BioWare" in the title is the logo and the writting. That's why the game is going to have top-notch storytelling with copy/pasted mechanics and gameplay from WoW and other EQ-like MMO's.

fundayz:

pwnsore:

saxa:
Soo, it's warcraft in star wars?

Have faith in Bioware. They don't make bad games, and they have everything hanging on this one. Besides, a ton of people got to play it at PAX and had all good things to say about it.

The team making SWTOR, BioWare Austin, was made from scratch using people already in the MMO business. The only true BioWare employees working on this game are the writters and a couple of producers and project leads.

Long story short: The only "BioWare" in the title is the logo and the writting. That's why the game is going to have top-notch storytelling with copy/pasted mechanics and gameplay from WoW and other EQ-like MMO's.

Still, this is Bioware's first attempt at an mmo (that they made themselves, Bioware Mythic is running a couple that they bought after release), they have sunk a massive fortune into it, and they have hyped up ridiculously. I'm sure Bioware HQ is keeping their eye on the game and making sure it lives up to expectations. If this fails, it would be completely devastating to them. (Also, it's not just Austin. I know that a handful of people working on it at Mythic)

Gotta agree with lots of other posters here. It's getting less and less interesting. Now people are playing the game and terms like 'tank' are turning up it just reminds me of Star Trek - a copy of a fantasy MMO dressed up in Star Wars clothes.

And from what I'm hear the development costs are soaring. If they really are hitting well over the 100 million dollar line then they'd surely need this to actually be a real, huge, Warcraft level success. And clearly it isn't going to be that.

Xanthious:
snip

I'd say just play it, if you get the chance or they have a trial. Combat is in the traditional MMO style (similar to games like EQ, WoW, AoC, LotRO, Rift etc.), but I noticed a distinct difference in how I approached fights. Whereas modern WoW is basically a kill ,rinse, repeat sort of game for most of its combat, TOR was significantly more challenging and required players to be on their toes with how they used abilities. It's not a revolution, but it was satisfying. I've played so-called "action" combat that was visually flashier, but tactically shallower.

jarowdowsky:
And from what I'm hear the development costs are soaring. If they really are hitting well over the 100 million dollar line then they'd surely need this to actually be a real, huge, Warcraft level success. And clearly it isn't going to be that.

They won't need WoW's number of subscribers to survive. They've stated that 500,000 is enough to turn a profit, and they apparently have well over a million signed up for testing. Based on what I've seen and played, I think they could easily maintain at least a million and be very profitable.

pwnsore:
Have faith in Bioware.

I'll keep my faith to religion, thank you very much, I'm not part of The Church Of Bioware.

rsvp42:

I'd say just play it, if you get the chance or they have a trial. Combat is in the traditional MMO style (similar to games like EQ, WoW, AoC, LotRO, Rift etc.), but I noticed a distinct difference in how I approached fights. Whereas modern WoW is basically a kill ,rinse, repeat sort of game for most of its combat, TOR was significantly more challenging and required players to be on their toes with how they used abilities. It's not a revolution, but it was satisfying. I've played so-called "action" combat that was visually flashier, but tactically shallower.

Could it be that the feel of the combat being "challenging" stemmed from the fact that its the first time you had exposure to the game-mechanics and game yourself? I.e. the skills etc are unfamiliar. I found the combat of WoW quite challenging the first time i played it (and that was 2006 when BC launched) because of "wtf i have a cooldown on potions" for example. Today i breeze any new content in WoW because i know the mechanics. Its only when Blizz changes the mechanics significantly it becomes "hard/challenging" for a little while (like with Cata some of the core stats/Spells for Mages got changed and i needed to get used to the fact that my elitistjerks knowledge needed to be re-learned).

I also remember that one video at a gameshow (wasnt it GDC?) where first the devs played a 10-man raid and said its one of the hardest contents in the game, and then let some people from the audience play it in which they breezed through it like it was WotLK Patchwerk...

rsvp42:

They won't need WoW's number of subscribers to survive. They've stated that 500,000 is enough to turn a profit, and they apparently have well over a million signed up for testing. Based on what I've seen and played, I think they could easily maintain at least a million and be very profitable.

Wasn't that debunked as spin for the shareholders by an analyst?

I know most of the time "common sense" is placed badly if speculating about profitability of MMOs but looking at TOR and the content it presents im VERY skeptical that 500.000 subs are all they need.

Of course i will take the 300M$ estimate by EALouse as bunk but i dont see how the development could have cost anything less than 100M$ with the voice-acting, promised content, license and development time (just an educated guess from me as a designer close to game development). Im emphasizing here that this is an estimate based on -promised- content and -promised- quality (if the promised quality lacks at release we will understand the 500k subs statement)
I think that 500.000 subs would get them their money back only if they pump in cash from other projects initially and letting it run for 10 years (which was their assumption in that statement afaik) then they might start turning a profit (at year 11).

In general i see it like this, to deliver a quality gaming experience you have to invest a certain amount of money, thats why korean f2p mmos are dime a dozen and are "profitable". They take copy-paste MMO concepts and release them with additional black hair-dye for 10$ in their stores, ie. their development cost is minimal, they can turn a profit on 50.000 subs just fine because of that.

Where is the difference between Runes Of Magic and World of Warcraft and why can one be f2p and the other one p2p? And theres hundreds of those all with a "gimmick" to not seem like they are ripping WoW off too much.
How does TOR stand out in that crowd in any way?

As much as I hate playing EVE Online and think that someone needs to be a masochist to fully enjoy it, I have a fond RESPECT for it. EVE did something new and exciting in the midst of mediocrity. For all the shitty decisions that made Darkfall Online a failure, I also respect it, at least they tried. I am skeptical about TSW too, it sounds too good to be true, but they are also trying.

I think its largely well-known on these forums how I feel towards TOR.

I want it to fail.
No, I'm not apologetic about it in any shape or form.
I want it to fail as a warning to other developers/publishers/gamers that its -NOT OK- to develop mediocre, uninspired, cardboard-cutout, clone-MMOs propped up by a gimmick and a bloated dying IP.

Disclaimer: In no way shape or form do i deny others enjoyment, excitement or anticipation for the title. Neither do i say that someone is stupid for liking the game or that the game is or will be --inherently-- bad.

adamtm:
I think that 500.000 subs would get them their money back only if they pump in cash from other projects initially and letting it run for 10 years (which was their assumption in that statement afaik) then they might start turning a profit (at year 11).

You make some good points, many of which I fully agree with, but this right here is down right BS and makes your argument lose all it's credibility.

Box sales revenue: 500 000 * 60 = 30 000 000
Annual subscription revenue: 500 000 * 15 * 11 = 82 500 000

30 mil + 80 mil = 110 million IN THE FIRST YEAR.

Even with $100m+ developing costs, SWTOR WILL be profitable within a year or two if they maintain a 500k userbase. 500k subscribers is an easy target for SWTOR even if it is just a WoW/EQ clone in Star Wars clothes.

This is why BioWare is jumping on the MMO bandwagon: it's easy money. Why try to innovate actual gameplay when all they have to do is emulate WoW's gameplay and let the Star Wars IP and their BioWare logo carry the game?

However, SWTOR doesn't just need to be profitable, it needs to be profitable in accordance to the amount invested. The $100m+ EA had to dish out to fund SWTOR could've funded multiple other projects that would have given faster and more direct profits while at the same time reducing risk(by not putting all your eggs in one basket).

This brings me to my next point: SWTOR is already outdated.

The ONLY new thing SWTOR is bringing to the table is improved storytelling. While this might be able to differentiate it other games, how long will this last? Other games on the horizon, such as GW2 and TSW, are also putting more emphasis on Story AS WELL as innovatign gameplay aspects.

When a good story becomes the norm in MMOs, which is already happening, SWTOR will be left looking as outdated as the games it's using as templates(i.e. mainly WoW).

This game is sticking to the same old boring gameplay at a time when MMOs are finally moving forward and its long-term viability will hurt because of it.

adamtm:

Could it be that the feel of the combat being "challenging" stemmed from the fact that its the first time you had exposure to the game-mechanics and game yourself? I.e. the skills etc are unfamiliar. I found the combat of WoW quite challenging the first time i played it (and that was 2006 when BC launched) because of "wtf i have a cooldown on potions" for example. Today i breeze any new content in WoW because i know the mechanics. Its only when Blizz changes the mechanics significantly it becomes "hard/challenging" for a little while (like with Cata some of the core stats/Spells for Mages got changed and i needed to get used to the fact that my elitistjerks knowledge needed to be re-learned).

I'm sure there's a certain amount of that. But I'm comparing my playtime to modern WoW leveling which has been ridiculously easy in the open world, and also to my relatively brief time with TERA at E3. Seeing as how TERA is propping itself up on the dynamism of its combat, I noticed a curious lack of actual tactics on those open-world fights. All I can tell you about my TERA rotation is that it was LMB, LMB, LMB, RMB, Spacebar, Spacebar, LMB, etc. It kind of fills in combos for you. It wasn't bad, it was just different and in the end, I preferred the tactical thinking I did while playing TOR: on-the-fly stuff like choosing who to Snipe and who to grenade to avoid getting into close combat. TOR wasn't as visually flashy, but I distinctly remember thinking in terms of what moves to use when, not in terms of button numbers or cooldown timers. It was refreshing for me. And I'll say again, it was without a doubt more challenging than WoW is. Especially the elite mobs, which were tough even for three of us in a group. Another thing was that groups of enemies attacked together. You couldn't game the system and try to carefully pull one and somehow have the rest not notice. You engage one of the group, you basically engage them all.

adamtm:

I also remember that one video at a gameshow (wasnt it GDC?) where first the devs played a 10-man raid and said its one of the hardest contents in the game, and then let some people from the audience play it in which they breezed through it like it was WotLK Patchwerk...

I don't think they revealed raids of any sort until this past week at E3, so I'm not sure what you're remembering. They're aware that some players are more skilled and other less so. One mechanic that Daniel Erickson mentioned in an interview is that when your group enters a story instance, the difficulty scales based on your numbers. Another thing to keep in mind are the metrics they've revealed, things like heat maps for character death. They're keeping an eye on the challenge and based on what I played, it was solid in terms of difficulty. I died more than I would if I were more experienced, but that's to be expected.

adamtm:

Where is the difference between Runes Of Magic and World of Warcraft and why can one be f2p and the other one p2p? And theres hundreds of those all with a "gimmick" to not seem like they are ripping WoW off too much.
How does TOR stand out in that crowd in any way?

As much as I hate playing EVE Online and think that someone needs to be a masochist to fully enjoy it, I have a fond RESPECT for it. EVE did something new and exciting in the midst of mediocrity. For all the shitty decisions that made Darkfall Online a failure, I also respect it, at least they tried. I am skeptical about TSW too, it sounds too good to be true, but they are also trying.

I think TOR stands out by being massive and having a more developed and fully-integrated story. Their whole design philosophy is based around context and meaningful story choices. That to me is a significant departure from the typical tired questing of games like WoW, Rift, LotRO, etc. Even TERA has it. It's not the sort of thing whose impact can be fully conveyed with a few videos, I think. When the entire story is presented in a way that isn't just text and quest trackers I think the end result is something more memorable and satisfying.

One could also say it stands out by being Star Wars and having a sci-fi setting, but that's inherent in the IP.

adamtm:

I think its largely well-known on these forums how I feel towards TOR.

I want it to fail.
No, I'm not apologetic about it in any shape or form.
I want it to fail as a warning to other developers/publishers/gamers that its -NOT OK- to develop mediocre, uninspired, cardboard-cutout, clone-MMOs propped up by a gimmick and a bloated dying IP.

Disclaimer: In no way shape or form do i deny others enjoyment, excitement or anticipation for the title. Neither do i say that someone is stupid for liking the game or that the game is or will be --inherently-- bad.

But there are millions of people who won't see it the same way as you do. People like me that enjoy the setting and the story. People who like the classes, the way combat plays out, the way PvP is designed. People who want to call a new game home and are sick of all the high fantasy IPs with no history and little context. Random races designed by a committee and thrown into a world designed by pulling biomes out of a hat.

I'm a little confused by your disclaimer though. I realize you don't want to pass judgment on fans of the game, but

Neither do i say that someone is stupid for liking the game or that the game is or will be --inherently-- bad

kind of contradicts

its -NOT OK- to develop mediocre, uninspired, cardboard-cutout, clone-MMOs propped up by a gimmick and a bloated dying IP.

But whatever. Few games are universally beloved. WoW has had vehement haters since its inception, and has even more now. Not saying TOR will see the same success, but I should probably stop being concerned about folks that simply don't like it. I just like to be vigilant for misinformation. Fortunately, you've said nothing blatantly misinformed, which is more than I can say for some people that troll the main TOR forums.

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