The Old Republic – Reactions Brain Dump

By Jim Rossignol on October 22nd, 2008 at 12:52 pm.


So the new Star Wars MMO news is pouring in now, and I thought I’d have a little look at what’s known about it so far, and post some thoughts.

The thing that Bioware are most keen to emphasise is that this will be an MM that tells a story. They’re aiming to make this a game in which their classic RPG-creating skills will come to the fore, allowing MMO players to have a solo adventure of the highest standard. This is commendable, I suppose, at least if you set it against the backdrop of World Of Warcraft and the other big, quest-based MMOs. If The Old Republic is able to tell a lengthy, on-going story that encompasses our entire game life, rather than a series of multi-level bursts of questing narrative, then Bioware could be on to something.


What’s perhaps most intriguing about this focus on story is the announcement that players will have “companion characters” accompany them through the game. These are definitely not pets, but sidekicks or party-members, as seen on other full-blown single-player RPGs. Creative designer James Ohlen told Shacknews: “Companion characters–we want them to be more than pets, we want them to be virtual friends. We want you to interact with them and become friends with them. You’re gonna be able to customize your companion character in different ways. Your companion characters are going to be levelling up and getting different equipment.”

I have to admit that this intrigues me. I’ve long argued that NPCs will undergo a slow revolution in games, the point where they essentially become artificial people. Videogames are the one industry driving the commercial need for artificial life, and I suspect that it’s in projects like this that we’ll see advancements made. We’re already seeing signs of the artificial person in Turing Test-beating chatbots, and plot-driving emotive central characters like Alyx in the Half-Life games, but there’a hell of a lot more to come. When these elements all converge on a demand for believable not-people, then we’ll start to see players rating games in similar ways the way they rate friendships and interactions with other people. Of course I don’t believe that The Old Republic’s companion characters will manage more than another foundational fragment of this kind of future, but if they are a success then they will only inspire more work on NPCs in multiplayer games, and nudge us towards more sophisticated artificial people over time. If nothing else, I hope Bioware deck out The Old Republic world with believable, coherent NPCs, rather than the static quest dispensers we put up with elsewhere…

So we can safely assume that these NPCs will be tied into the story which, we are assured, can be played through solo. What many players will be intrigued to hear, however, is how PvP will factor into this. Realm versus realm conflict – between the Republic and the Sith – will also be tied into this big over-arching story that Bioware are so keen on. “This is Star Wars,” they assure us, and that means grand conflict between space empires. We’ll be fighting either as Sith or Jedi for the fate of the universe, and it’d be fun to think that if Bioware are really serious about a story with irreversible consequences, then maybe they’ll allow for the success or failures of RvR combats to actually end up changing something palpable in the world, rather than being a really big, long game of capture the flag.

Of course this notion of there being story-wrapped-PvP is nothing by vague promises for now. What is clear is that “gamers can even play it as a solo game“, which for a multi-player zealot like me is a little disheartening. I’m happy for my single-player and multi-player experiences to converge, but I want big brave MMOs to look at how to make the most of having thousands of people in a single game. If thousands of them are paying subscriptions to play a single player game, then you are doing it wrong. However good the story is, I can’t help feeling like people would rather have a single game that they could play co-op with chums, rather than have to deal with a subscription and an “OMG LoL”-spewing MMO universe.

Finally, as a child who was firmly rooted in the “Star Wars is best” camp, I feel somewhat disconnected from this attempt to make a Star Wars MMO. Whether or not the KoToR games were great RPGs is, for me, meaningless. The attraction of the Star Wars world is not the shiny space fantasy of the Republic, but the grungy dystopia of the Empire vs Alliance conflict. The repeated failure of the original Star Wars MMO was monumental and unforgiveable, but I don’t think the world of the original films should have been so readily discarded. The Old Republic might make a fine science fiction setting, and Bioware might just make a great leap for MMOs, but it’s still not the game that the original, treasured franchise deserves. That, I can’t help thinking, might now never show up.

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106 Comments »

  1. Thiefsie says:

    “The Old Republic might make a fine science fiction setting, and Bioware might just make a great leap for MMOs, but it’s still not the game that the original, treasured franchise deserves. That, I can’t help thinking, might now never show up.”

    Agreed, and I think I gave up on that game a long time ago.

  2. Maerd says:

    Kinda sounds like some persistent world modules made for NWN, in SW universe.

  3. Calabi says:

    If Alyx is held up as an example for great AI and a precursor for subsequent AI’s then we will still be in the dark ages for some time to come.

    There’s been better AI before her and there is plenty better now, she is nothing but a parrot in a box, in fact thats insulting to a parrot, she’s nothing but a cuckoo clock. There is nothing in her that approaches the words Artificial Intelligence.

  4. Mogs says:

    Playing it as a single player game is pure nonsense. MMOs should be striving towards players actions influencing both the story and the world in fundamental ways. I appreciate the technical challenges involved and that progress towards this end is likely to be very slow, but tailoring it for single player is a step in the WRONG direction.

  5. Dan Milburn says:

    re: Playing MMOs as a single player game. This is exactly how my girlfriend plays WoW. I mean, she talks in guild chat, plays the auction house, does the occasional group quest but mostly has no interest in even doing instances, never mind raiding or PvP.

    I don’t think she’s alone in that, and far from doing it wrong, I think it’s the fact that the game appeals to people who want to play in that way and still pay a subscription which is one of the factors in it’s success (if we define success to mean having lots of people playing and making large quantities of cash). Of course it’s not exploring the full potential of MMOs, but so what?

  6. Sam says:

    Re: artificial people.
    I am a little nervous about how well this can work – Alyx only interacts well with you in HL2 + Episodes because she responds generally to the confined and limited nature of the script. I suspect that it would be considerably harder to generalise this to the kind of open interaction that an MMO would demand.
    As for chatbots almost winning the Turing Prize… have you tried conversing with the “almost winning” entry, Elbot? It seemed little better than Eliza to me, mostly failing to correctly parse my sentences and relying on “so, tell me about X” style responses overly. I’m not convinced we’re that close to reasonably interactive artificial people yet.

    (On the other hand, people get attached to decidedly unintelligent “intelligent” things – there was a study that showed a significant fraction of Roomba owners named their Roomba, and some even made it clothing…)

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    @ Calabi: Alyx is great character design, not AI. It will take both to get good artificial people.

  8. Feet says:

    … in a galaxy far, far away.

    Sorry had to complete the quote. I’m not Star Wars zealot I enjoy the universe, I’ve read some of the books, I loved Tie Fighter and the story of the disintegration of the Empire and most of it’s generals. All this Old Republic stuff does not really conjure any kind of excitement in me.

  9. Trent_Z says:

    I just hope this is more like City of Heores

    and less like World of Warcraft.

    Also, I hope this is nothing like Star Wars Galaxies; that game is a shining example of how not to do a MMO.

  10. Meat Circus says:

    “If The Old Republic is able to tell a lengthy, on-going story that encompasses our entire game life, rather than a series of multi-level bursts of questing narrative, then Bioware could be on to something.”

    Yeah, but it won’t.

    It’ll be a WoW clone with light sabres. Let’s not delude ourselves otherwise.

  11. Ginger Yellow says:

    “The attraction of the Star Wars world is not the shiny space fantasy of the Republic, but the grungy dystopia of the Empire vs Alliance conflict.”

    Really? I mean, in the original films there’s almost no exposition of what daily life is like for most people under the Empire or the Alliance. As dystopias go, it’s remarkably unfleshed out. Compare it to Bladerunner, say, or Firefly-Serenity for the Empire/Rebel dichotomy. And say what you like about the new films, they do cover that angle much more.

  12. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Calabi alyx is a good simulacra from a presentation perspective they AI in her facial animation and body language is the best there is with regards to presenting a human on the surface, her higher level decision making is on rails true but there’s more to work than just I’ve got to move around and shoot and we need both.

  13. Sam says:

    @The Sombrero Kid:
    There is no “AI” in Alyx’s facial animation and body language – that’s mostly scripted or based on keying to the sound files being played. So, she’s a lovely, very much non-AI simulacrum.

  14. aldo_14 says:

    I mean, in the original films there’s almost no exposition of what daily life is like for most people under the Empire or the Alliance. As dystopias go, it’s remarkably unfleshed out. Compare it to Bladerunner, say, or Firefly-Serenity for the Empire/Rebel dichotomy. And say what you like about the new films, they do cover that angle much more.

    Maybe that’s why they’re worse?

  15. Babs says:

    The Old Republic might make a fine science fiction setting, and Bioware might just make a great leap for MMOs, but it’s still not the game that the original, treasured franchise deserves. That, I can’t help thinking, might now never show up.

    You’re talking about X-Wing/Tie Fighter 2 right?

  16. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Sam
    they use a tool to design face states and link them to loads of different triggers but the don’t design the animation just the result and the lip syncing is procedural, the two combine to make a largly automated facial animation system, the most complex in any game to my knowledge.

  17. Dante says:

    @ Meat Circus

    Because that sounds like Bioware *rolls eyes*

    Still, good to know you’re still getting in your daily WoWbash.

  18. schizoslayer says:

    I can’t help but feel that this is heralding a dark age for MMO development. Eve is standing alone in the camp of “What does having thousands of players interacting actually mean?” while everybody else is trying to make MMOs more like Single Player games.

    Having Virtual Companions sounds like an attempt to remove other people from the gameplay experience in order to strengthen “The story”. Something that alot of MMO players happily ignore (I never actually read quest text in WAR I just check the rewards and click accept, complete the objectives and hand it in.)

    Eve and in a wierd way Counterstrike have proved that the key to longevity of product is in fostering the interactions between real people. Having people interacting in interesting and meaningful ways (to them not always to the universe) constantly generates an amount of content that no number of writers could hope to generate that has a far more personal implication for the player.

    To try and further turn an MMO into a Single Player experience (something that was responsible for me cancelling my Age of Conan sub) is to miss the point of the MM part of the genre.

    That’s not to say they won’t make money from it. They might. It’s just it’s taking us further away from what makes MMO’s interesting to me.

  19. Meat Circus says:

    The damage that WoW has done to the nascent arena of virtual worlds is immense. You only have to read Bioware’s wrong-headed ideas of what an MMO is to see that.

  20. Conquests.of. says:

    I agree entirely with Mr Rossignol, there’s something extremely wrong in a MMO that’s entirely played solo, to the point of the paradox… and I also agree on the natural dislike of boring 3.500 years before the GOOD events happen, that’s disappointing too.

    BUT, I don’t think The old Republic is really meant to be a SOLO game, it would be insane… I think the social interaction comes into play when your current “mission” (which I hope you don’t take off NPCS, please God no) conflicts with the other members of the coterie, and the way you have to cope with different scopes… IT’s sort of like Baldur’s gate core concept of relating to the party members, each had an objective and they would leave or fight you if your behaviour, alignment or aims were too contradictorial to theirs.

    I think they’re building around this concept.

  21. Dan Harris says:

    I choose to be optimistic about this, largely because KoToR itself was an excellent game.

    Clearly there are elements which they could introduce which would make this a great game, and still a ‘proper’ MMO, where if the goal is to encourage players to play together, rather than against the game, there needs to be either rewards for doing so, or difficulties introduced by not – that’s a given.

    Reward wise, easy – copy WAR. They’ve said there’s factions, they’re talking about RVR, so they can reward players for participating in RVR battles. I totally agree that this should have a lasting effect on the game world. One of the few flaws I see in WAR is that I’ve not noticed any real difference in my game experience between my faction controlling a zone, and the other guys having it (or neither). Maybe that’s just because I’m not that far into WAR yet…anyway.

    The other hand, introducing difficulty, is more interesting. I can’t help thinking it would lend itself more to co-op play than real, honest to goodness multiplayer. How about you start on your home planet/territory/whatever, and after some story you find you need to go off-world.

    But you have no ship. So you need to get a ship – you can either buy one (good guys) or steal one (bad guys). So make ships prohibitively expensive so that a single player can’t afford one for ages, so players pool their resources and buy a ship together. Bam – crewmates. Or make it tough as nails to steal a ship, meaning you need help. Once again, I say bam – crewmates.

    And off you go adventuring through the galaxy.

    What’s that, a distress call I hear? Land on planet. Save the scientists! (A la Mass Effect). With a bunch of other players who were also in the area, in some sort of ‘public quest’ format. That might catch on. Especially if you’re saving the scientists from players in the other faction – proper, integrated, PVP/RVR combat. And all because you stumbled across a planet.

    Ace.

  22. Meat Circus says:

    The last thing the MMO-space needs is another godawful massively single player WoWGrind of shitty doom.

    So why are Bioware talking about creating one?

  23. Calabi says:

    I admit visually she has the second best facial animations I’ve seen, first being Jeanette from Bloodlines. As a character though she’s a bit…. I cant think of the word but she panders to the player. She doesnt appear to have much character of her own.

  24. Conquests.of. says:

    Having said that, I also agree on blaming WoW for the damage it made in MMO’ing, something they obviously didn’t expect, and have no fault o’course. Their extreme success stagnated gameplay evolution, now (since 2004) every SH starts building their own games off the (sure, solid) basis of WoW, nobody makes a MMO that’s really unique and is the entire product of their vision, instead it has to obey certain rules. Entering a town, searching quests, doing quests, get the reward, move on to another zone, so on. This is unarguably the very foundation of RPGs, but

    1) It’s been repeated NOT in a generic acceptable way, but in the EXACT same way throughout every MMO.
    2) It’s gotten old and smelly… it’s high time someone altered this dingy system.

  25. Dolphan says:

    I technically have a Guild Wars account (Factions free with a magazine subscription) although I’ve played it once, so this may be just confusion – but didn’t they already do the everpresent NPC companions bit?

  26. Dan Harris says:

    @ Dolphan:

    Yup, Heroes.

  27. Fox1 says:

    There’s actually a large population of MMO players who enjoy playing within a populated world full of other entities going about their business, doing unexpected things, creating an economy to be exploited and so on, but they don’t really want to pal around with other internet-folk or have their playing time dependent on others. It’s not about “playing like it’s a single player game,” it’s about being a lone adventurer within a multi-player game. For obvious reasons, they may not be well represented on online fora.

    I’m willing to bet it’s a substantially larger group than you might think, and so I see nothing wrong with building portions of your MMO with those players in mind. If they’re ruling out major group-play features because they’re focusing on the loner demographic, that’s something that might be worth moaning about, but it seems premature at this point.

    Also, Eve is a successful niche product, but it is still a niche product, and for good reason.

  28. kyrieee says:

    Did you mean the turing test?
    I certainly hope people’s future social interactions aren’t with chatbots. People should reevaluate what they want from games

  29. Radiant says:

    ““The Old Republic might make a fine science fiction setting, and Bioware might just make a great leap for MMOs, but it’s still not the game that the original, treasured franchise deserves. That, I can’t help thinking, might now never show up.”

    Agreed, and I think I gave up on that game a long time ago.”
    Thing is Star Wars’ base is so broad it is a lot of things to a lot of people.
    The old films, the books, the new films, the cartoons and the direction they have taken the franchise.
    I doubt there will be one thing that hits it all; the base is too broad.

  30. Rath says:

    “However good the story is, I can’t help feeling like people would rather have a single game that they could play co-op with chums, rather than have to deal with a subscription and an “OMG LoL”-spewing MMO universe.”

    That right there pretty much sums me up. I like my single player games, I want to know what happens next in the KotoR universe, I don’t want to have to put up with a bunch of crap from people so eager to out-run death itself that they justify “lol!!11! noob” with “It’s faster”, but there are a certain select number of people I know would be playing who I’d like to chat and trade with, possibly even in a role playing fashion, but in our circumstances there is no way a LAN would be possisible for this.

  31. schizoslayer says:

    @ Dolphan

    They did and the result was people forming groups asking who had the highest level version of a character so they could use it to fill the inevitably missing Healer they hadn’t managed to find as a player because nobody wants to be a healer.

    However Guild Wars has a versy distinct difference between itself and other MMOs.

    It has no subscription fee. You can play it as a single player game if you want and don’t have to worry about paying a tenner a month for playing on your own. Or you can play it with other people you know or against other people.

    Much like any other regular non mmo that happens to have co-op and multiplayer.

    It does tend to strike me that Bioware have figured that they end up building as much content as an MMO for their single player games with co-op and could do exactly the same thing again but this time charge a subscription.

  32. Malagate says:

    @Dolphan, I was thinking that as well, but I would imagine that Bioware’s intent is to take them further than Guild Wars did. What they propose does sound neat…for a single player game with a co-op mode, for a MMO that’s not so interesting. I can imagine it being a system for getting around everyone wanting to be Jedi/Sith, as in if there was no companions then people would be forced to play as something without a lightsaber just to fill a much needed role in a group (i.e. a dedicated healer/hacker/pilot/Etiquette droid/whatever). With companions, everyone can happily run around hacking off each others limbs whilst still having their much needed group support. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.

    I much prefer Dan Harris’ idea, that would be quite sweet, but it also includes part of the problem of having a Star Wars MMO: multi-genre. To make a full Star Wars game, you really need a combination of exploration, action, diplomacy, pitched battles and space flight sim/shooter. I doubt they could manage all that, just like no game has yet managed the freedom to play as a Sith Wookie.
    Yes I won’t shut up about them, I just want to force lightning someone whilst gargling like a choking bear dammit. I would settle for a different creature as long as it was small and annoying, such as an Ewok with any class (as I would imagine asking for a Sith Ewok would be a step too far, but should still be totally possible).

  33. Premium User Badge

    Morph says:

    Not sure why people are immediately shouting ‘WoW clone!’. I mean there are so little details how can you tell? ‘Someone’s announced an MMO – it must be a WoW clone! Booo get some new ideas!’

    If anything, this intrigues me far more than WoW (which I have no intention of ever playing) by the talk of the single player campaign. I’ve often quite wanted to play in a world where other people are going about their business around me, but without the hassle of actually interacting with these people, because this is the internet so a large number will be idiots. In other games it seems you have to band with others to progress, if you can do it alone I’m much more interested.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Richard Beer says:

    I was about to say what JR said further up this thread: Alyx is a triumph of writing and characterisation, not AI. Actually it’s a tribute to her creators that she could be mistaken for AI. Score one for Valve.

    I think Bioware’s companions are a very interesting idea and, in fact, the issue goes to the heart of what makes an MMO. What really comprises a Massively Multiplayer Experience? Is it about sharing your gaming time with people doing the same thing? Is it about competing with these people and killing them? Is about being able to socialise while you game?

    Ultimately, who are we to dictate how people should play? Why is a pure PVP-fest better than one that allows people to compete co-operatively against an AI and socialise all the while? Why should a dynamic, player-created environment be better than the ‘you’re the hero’ storyline and character development of an offline RPG like KOTOR or Mass Effect?

    One of the reasons games like KOTOR and, to a lesser extent, Mass Effect strike such a chord is because they make us care about the ‘people’ playing the game with us, our quest companions. We invest emotionally in these characters and, when it’s done right, it’s as good an example of story-telling as in any genre.

    Can you get this kind of creative immersion whilst raiding with Leroy Jenkins? Doesn’t the very nature of gaming with teenagers across the world break the spell and serve as a constant reminder of the fact that, actually, you’re not saving the universe, you’re sat in front of your computer in your pants playing a game with people young enough to be your children?

    In summary, let’s not destroy too early what Bioware are trying to create. From the sounds of it they are melding the emotional attachment of a lifelong companion with the multiplayer experience and allowing people the license to play the game how they see fit, whether that’s imagining you’re a real Jedi fighting the evil Sith tide or slicing up countless n00bs with your lightsabre, kthx lol!

    I’m interested to see where this one goes. And as some one who wasted weeks, nay months, of my life playing Star Wars: Galaxies when it was in beta, trying desperately to tell them where they were going wrong, I’m fascinated to see whether Bioware can actually make it feel like Star Wars. That’s really the most important thing of all.

  35. Bobsy says:

    @Fox1:

    I think this ideal works better in an environment where the players have had input in the world being built. If it’s static like Azeroth you may as well be playing an offline World of Warcraft. All you’d be missing out on is the auction house.

    On the other hand there is a certain niche for the lone player in a more dynamic, community-built game world. The best example of this I think is actually Second Life. As a lone player you can interact with large groups and the things they have built without having to ‘party up’ yourself.

  36. Dinger says:

    Wow guys. First, Meat Circus: every year, there’s more than a billion answers to your question.

    Now, bringing up Counterstrike and Eve as examples of MP longevity: yes, multiplayer interactions add depth. They also end up excluding people. This is a natural social function, but one that screams inefficiency to the bean counters.

    The winning MMO formula is: extremely simple mechanic based around operant conditioning (usually where elements of a story are used as a reward) + a social environment where the players legitimize and encourage their addictive behavior (usually by giving social value to the rewards doled out by the game mechanic).
    If you’re putting $100M on the table for development, that’s what you’re going to want in a game: something that captures the imagination, sure, but also something that drives huge subscriptions.

    When you have a bunch of humans playing a game, some are going to be better than others (in some way or another), and they will use this skill to differentiate themselves. Good for them, bad for the losers (think Counterstrike and Eve). Now, consider that one of the reasons MMOs are attractive to people with socialization issues is that they’re not losers there. That’s why the successful games are simple and reward time invested. Put enough time in, and you’re not a loser, at least not there. Sidekicks fit into this system very well. What makes Alyx so effective is that she’s never a burden, and she keeps reminding the Gordon of his greatness. A good NPC will do those two things (in one way or another), whereas a real human needs to establish a position in the hierarchy.

    So, yes, it’s the kindergarten science fair: everyone gets a prize, and everyone is special. People will pay good money for that.

  37. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    @Morph
    I think people are screaming WoW-clone because essentially WoW can be played single player, and because of that a lot of people hate it. Personally, I can think of literally nothing better than having a world so fundemntally player driven that I get my missions from players who are higher up on the food chain than me. I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. I want a dynamic play environment where everything I do makes a difference, no matter how small. And in that, WoW fails dramatically.

    I’m going to wait for World of Darkness with baited breath. Please CCP, apply what you learned in EvE to something not quite so hard to get into.

  38. Fox1 says:

    @Bobsy

    I agree, wholeheartedly, with your opinion of what “works” best, but there’s still a whole lot of people playing WoW this way, even on non-PvP servers (where “All you’d be missing out on is the auction house” gets as close to 100% accurate as it probably can).

    There are still a lot of intangibles that are being accounted for, as far as what people “get” out of playing a game like WoW this way. For one, it does provide a more living feel to the world than any offline game has managed, thus far. Also, there’s the fact that your accomplishments (gear, titles or whatever carrots are being doled out at that time) will be viewed by others in the course of day-to-day gaming. Even if they may not be at the heights or raid play, imagining a new player walking out of a starting area and seeing you on a mount or with a particle effect on your weapon, even base-level versions of these things, can be a powerful one.

    Then, of course, on PvP servers, there are any number of more easily understood reasons to play, even if WoW doesn’t provide the most compelling head-to-head combat.

  39. Tuor says:

    With all this talk about Alyx and what’s the greatest AI to date, I’m astonished no one has yet brought up the real winner among AIs. The one that you instantly formed a close and deep relationship with. The one that protected you from death more than once. Yes, the one that couldn’t be at your party because you murdered it.

    I’m talking, of course, about the Weighted Companion Cube: the greatest AI ever made… and then thrown into an incinerator.

  40. schizoslayer says:

    @ Dinger

    That doesn’t mean I have to like it though does it?

    I understand WHY such things exist and come to be and that people out there like it. I’m just laying down my position which is: “This is not a game I want to play and it seems like nobody wants to make the game I want to play”.

  41. TooNu says:

    I said it before but, how will having every player with their NPCs afect the game? Surely there can not be plans to have every player use the same NPCs or do they mean fully customisable NPCs forming your own party?

    Imagine if every player in WoW was running around Orgrimmar with their own Thrall and Kairne, the lag would be incredible and it would look absurd and would remove players from the immersion that Developers are always talking about.

    So if you can customize everything about your own NPCs names/hair color/clothing etc would that all fit perfectly with every mission and story arc that you partake in? What if the NPC names you want are all taken? Would there be some random name feature? can other players interact with your NPCs? Can you interact with theirs? Can your NPCs interact with their NPCs? Do you keep your NPCs in the bank when you don’t need them out? Will NPCs clip into the scenary? Does having a 5 man instance mean just yourself and your NPCs? is a 5man the new 25 man?

    This will be interesting to see their plan for the NPCs.

  42. Dinger says:

    schizoslayer: I’d even suggest that building a game on such a model is morally reprehensible. Well, I would, but Mr. Blow beat me to it, so I’ll let him take the flak.

  43. aerisdead says:

    Jim, you have hit the nail on the head so hard it’s shot right through the wall into the next room and killed your neighbour’s dog.

    My hat is off to you.

  44. Sam says:

    @The Sombrero Kid:
    Indeed, the facial animation is awesome. But it ain’t AI. ;)

  45. Jim Rossignol says:

    I certainly hope people’s future social interactions aren’t with chatbots.

    That’s kind off off the point. What I’m suggesting is that believably “human” NPCs will make games far more engrossing, and it’ll be particularly interesting when they’re part of a multi-player world.

  46. andy says:

    its all relative mr jim.

    the singleplayer/solo aspect of this game is almost a guarantee that i will buy the game to at least try it out.

    if all it had to offer is more of the same “mmo”, i’d pass, as i do on almost every mmo released.

    the point he makes is that the player has the CHOICE to play the game either of the two ways, that HE prefers, not how people like YOU, THINK, everyone else should play.

  47. Bobsy says:

    @andy:

    That choice comes before the purchase, not during play. If you don’t want to play with other people, why are you playing a Massively Multiplayer game? It’s like playing Total War and complaining you don’t get to play as an individual soldier.

  48. andy says:

    bottom line, the developers are in the biz of making games that SELL, to the widest possible audience.

    when a dev releases an MMO that promises both great multiplayer/pvp/etc AND the prospect of being able to solo the vast majority of the game (aside from the pvp/etc parts), their potential audience automatically doubles.

  49. elias says:

    “The repeated failure of the original Star Wars MMO was monumental and unforgiveable, but I don’t think the world of the original films should have been so readily discarded. The Old Republic might make a fine science fiction setting, and Bioware might just make a great leap for MMOs, but it’s still not the game that the original, treasured franchise deserves. That, I can’t help thinking, might now never show up.”
    I think it’s because players want to be heroes (Jedi), and there aren’t enough of those in the setting of the original films to let people be that without breaking the setting (similar problem to the DC MMO–do people really want to only meet the characters they love rather than playing as them?–but worse here, since for the most part non-Jedi shouldn’t have comparable powers at all). For now, I think it’s just easier to go with the Old Republic setting, which appeases everyone’s desires to play as Jedi.

    Also, even with a strong focus on multiplayer, soloability is important for the pick-up-and-play factor rather than having to wait half an hour to get a group together.

    I wonder what they have planned for the endgame? When everyone has finished the storyline and hit max level, why will they keep their subscription?

  50. andy says:

    @Bobsy:

    your argument is exactly the shortsightedness that Bioware here is stepping over (probably the only dev to do so if they deliver).

    the choice should ABSOLUTELY come during gameplay, NOT before the purchase. especially if you look at it from the standpoint of the developer/publisher.

    you want to attract a larger audience, not just a segment of the whole.

    the problem with “massively multiplayer” is that thanks to the oldies/goodies like Everquest, everyone thinks that the term automatically should forever imply “forced socializing for advancement/enjoyment”.

    i want to play in a MMO where i have the OPTION to interact with real people, whether for trade/sales/help/etc.

    The option should NEVER be between: forced to group in order to progress in the game, or worthless grinding of mobs in solo to ding and move on down the line to the next grind spot.