“That’s No MMO…”: Kotick On SWTOR

By Jim Rossignol on November 30th, 2011 at 2:27 pm.


Seems like the Activision bossman thinks that Electronic Arts aren’t going to be printing spacebucks with their forthcoming Star Wars MMO, and said as much to his investors. As reported over here by Reuters, Kotick poured scepticism onto the up and coming MMO, saying: “Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars. We’ve been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts.” He went on to say “”If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it’s a small number.” And his company are, of course, one of that number, and must be a little nervous about possibly losing subscribers to the enormous Star Wars project. EA, meanwhile, claim that SWTOR will be a success if it hits just 500k subscribers, a figure that looks to be well within their reach.

__________________

« | »

, , , , , , , .

124 Comments »

  1. radioactivez0r says:

    I got to about level 6 in the beta over the weekend, and stopped playing. I felt like I had done it all before, except it had a shiny coat of Sith paint.

    • GenBanks says:

      Same… It felt generic. I’m still curious how much more interesting it gets beyond the starting areas, but I’d rather play Age of Conan.

      Also, I like the art style but I don’t feel it matches the Star Wars universe that well to me :s
      (Again, these are things that might change if I play the game more)

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Thank god I’m not the only one. The dialog was great, the cutscenes were epic, but the game just fell flat. Combat was boring and clunky, and the MMO trappings of mobs spawning right in front of you over and over, always in the same space, it was just so… mediocre. It’s like they took all the cool parts of a good singleplayer game and slapped them on top of the same old boring WoW gameplay mechanics. (i’ve never enjoyed WoW, always found it too slow. i enjoyed guild wars much more)

      I didn’t even finish out my time in the beta. I would get TOR if it had no subscription but a full retail price, like Guild Wars, but I’m not paying a subscription for what I saw. Sorry. And the entire time I just kept thinking, “it would’ve just been better if they did a KoTOR3. This isn’t a spiritual successor to KoTOR, it’s a bastardized themepark ride version of KoTOR…”

  2. db1331 says:

    I find his lack of faith disturbing.

  3. Zaboomafoozarg says:

    IT’S A SPACE STATION

  4. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Oh great. Will there be a post about EA guy going ‘nu-uh’ as well? And then Kotick again going ‘so too!’ RPS doesn’t need this.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah, I really don’t want RPS to be giving people like Bobby Kotick a platform to trash-talk the games of other companies. You’re posting this crap when you haven’t done WOT for Nitronic Rush yet?

      What a shame.

    • qrter says:

      Is this what I pay my license for!? Etc. etc. etc.

    • MontyTexas says:

      I’d personally like to see more coverage of the business side of games on RPS. Still, I admit a lot of BS does come with the territory.

    • Xerian says:

      Indeed, theres alot of BS in the gaming industry – The major bullshitting-companies being Blizzivision, EA and Ubisoft (EA is kinda like that annoying monkey you always spot in a zoo, throwing feces at the other, nice monkies. Whereas Ubisoft is the one that gives another monkey a banana, but tells them they cant eat it, and Blizzivision gives one banana to someone for free, but’ll afterwards steal two of their bananas) – Etc.
      I like monkies.

  5. Chalky says:

    What does that 500K subscribers figure mean? Do people who buy the game and only play for a single month count? Or is this 500k concurrent subscribers for multiple months at a time?

    • UnravThreads says:

      I think it means the latter, Chalky, which I would guess won’t be too hard for them to do.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I believe that’s the minimum concurrent over time for the project to run profitably, and them not to have to shut it right back down again.

    • Chalky says:

      An average of 500k concurrent subscribers over the first year seems quite impressive to me, given the drop off rates that most MMOs seem to experience after the first few months.

      I guess it is Star Wars after all, so it’s got a premade fanbase – but I always imagine 70% of people who buy MMOs don’t subscribe for more than a few months – maintaining that many players for an extended period of time would require some very healthy sales figures.

      Good luck to them. I wasn’t impressed by the beta myself, I guess being a fan of Star Wars is helpful here.

    • President Weasel says:

      True, 500K concurrent subscribers for any length of time (proper subscribers, not first month free “subscribers”) is more than a tiny handful of MMOs have ever achieved.
      If they’d said they needed 200K to break even and 500K to make massive profits, I’d be a lot more optimistic about their chances.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      … Well, Final Fantasy XI was sitting at 500,000 subscribers for a long time, and even though things have slowly been consolidated, it’s hard to argue that the MMO itself *isn’t* healthy.

      And, of course, the longer they can keep the player base happy, the more they’ll get in terms of subscriptions.

    • glocks4interns says:

      SWTOR is going to have the biggest MMO launch by a huge margin. Keeping 500k shouldn’t be hard when sales will be in the millions. Non-digital preorders are already at 900k http://www.vgchartz.com/charts/preorders.php and will easily top 1m. I’m also pretty sure that a large % of players are doing a digital preorder. I don’t think 2 million players before 2012 is out of the question.

      Couldn’t (easily) find a chart or anything but WoW had 240k day 1 sales. Preorders for SWTOR should be 5-10 times that. http://www.gamershell.com/companies/blizzard_entertainment/188228.html

      We’ve never seen an MMO launch even close to this scale.

    • Kent says:

      It’s fairly clear to any developer with half a brain that WoW’s success nowadays isn’t because of it’s genius base design but because it has a fairly stagnant casual player base.

      Unless these morons are out to steal WoW’s player base then copying WoW is one of the most senseless ideas because like some clever users before me noted: The people who left WoW did so because they’re bored with WoW’s formula.

      Personally I am sick and tired of WoW and Star Wars and I think most real fans of Star Wars are sick of the Phantom Menace image that all of these KotOR and Jedi Knight games are sharing.

      I knew that it were going to be crap from the moment I laid eyes on the very first footage of SWTOR. First because of the graphics, but also because they’re not doing anything new and apparently they’re not even trying to hide it. If I were a developer I would suggest a more exploration based MMO where Sith and Jedi’s were NPCs instead because being a Jedi loses its meaning when ANYONE and their retarded uncle can force choke a bitch. :P

      It is clear by all the negative comments of the Beta that this game is a major disaster and that it’s going to meet the same fate that APB met, or worse.

      I would put my hope on the next KotOR game made by Obsidian or possibly a continuation of the Jedi Knight series, because this MMO is going to kill Star Wars as a respect computer game franchise.

    • Brun says:

      @Kent:

      A while back LucasArts was hiring for a developer experienced with FPS. Fingers crossed for Jedi Knight 3 or Republic Commando 2.

      And I think stealing WoW’s playerbase is exactly what they are trying to do. They’re betting that a significant portion of WoW players only continue to play because it’s the only game in town. I’d say that’s a relatively safe bet to make, but the real issue is whether the people they steal will become long-term subscribers. A lot of those fleeing WoW will be unimpressed with the game precisely because it is so similar, and will return to WoW because they have more time invested in their characters/guilds there.

    • Kent says:

      I don’t think it’s such a safe bet considering there’s dozens of MMOs that currently copy WoWs formula (WoW is therefore far from the only MMO in town). Especially Rift comes to mind. There’s no real way to win because RPGs in computer games are set up so that they only point to them is grinding up a hundred levels and similar equipment. Do this for free and there’s no point to it. Make too much effort and you wont market to these guys anyways.

      Guild Wars did it better by making it all about the PvP and teamwork. The game were more about the challenge and less about the rewards. The leveling and skill system were fun and very well made in it’s own right and for a long time it were the only game that really competed with WoW. From what I’ve heard of what Guild Wars 2 are trying to achieve they’re doing what SWTOR is doing and far better by actually having the players impacting the world around them a little.

      Yeah and fingers crossed for Republic Commando 2, loved that game!

    • Brun says:

      @Kent:

      It’s more than just the WoW formula that makes it the only game in town – it’s the level of polish, amount of content, popularity – there isn’t really another MMO out there that even WoW’s level in a general sense.

    • InternetBatman says:

      This is going to kill Star Wars as a game franchise? Really? Not the reskinned Age of Empires games? Not Star Wars Galaxies? Not Podracer? Not the Force Unleashed games?

      That’s a bit of a stretch at best.

  6. cocoleche says:

    I’ve heard that “it plays like a Korean ‘Wrath of the Lich King’-clone, that got outsourced to China.”

    So, not good I guess.

    • Jumwa says:

      Whoever said that was engaging in hyperbole on a silly scale.

      Gameplay wise, Old Republic plays like a top notch WoW clone. Arguably better than WoW itself–not that I’m trumpeting that as some great achievement, WoW’s been out for ages, WoW-clones should be outdoing it in that department by now.

      If someone’s going to knock Old Republic, at least be genuine and knock it for just being another WoW clone. It’s anything but poorly made.

      Just to toss this out there, I don’t say this in defense of the game because I’m slobbering over the prospect of finally buying it and playing it with a permanent character. I haven’t pre-ordered it, wont be getting it at launch either, if at all. The only thing about it that really “did it” for me was the story centric questlines, that surprised me in how genuinely motivating they were.

      But that was marred by the random grouping requirements they kept throwing at me at the end of quest chains.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      Sorry to be nitpicky here, but when you say “WoW clone” what you should really be saying is “Everquest clone”. That game laid out the formula, after all, and while WoW tweaked it a lot, it didn’t really change it.

    • Jumwa says:

      Blizzard has never been known for their creative innovations, to be sure. WoW was, as you say, highly derivative of Everquest. However, the one real thing that sets it apart from that game is its focus on questing for leveling, rather than grinding. That one change I think was at the core of its casual-friendliness and the games explosive popularity.

      And if there’s one thing that Old Republic is taking from WoW and running with to a new extreme, it’s quest-centric leveling. It’s the games one real hook. Even the “full voice acting” is just there because the story–represented through quests–is so vital to what little sets it apart from the herd.

      So in this case I will definitely stand by my assertion it’s a WoW-clone. If it were, say, Aion, I could see your argument.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Sorry to be nitpicky here, but when you say “WoW clone” what you should really be saying is “Everquest clone”.

      If you’re going to go back that far, you may as well credit DikuMUD.

      EverQuest was the beginning of current-style graphical MMOs, but WoW is the epitome of it. Nobody’s bothering to reach back even to EQ for ideas, they’re all copying WoW very closely in almost every respect.

    • Jumwa says:

      Not to mention Old Republic’s head designer has gone on record repeatedly to state he’s copying WoW as closely as possible. He even went so far as to call any MMO maker who wasn’t copying WoW foolish.

      So yeah, above and beyond your typical MMO these days, Old Republic is most definitely a WoW-clone.

    • Chalky says:

      It’s a solid game, but it’s incredibly similar to WoW.

      I stopped playing WoW because it bored me after several months. I was therefore immediately bored of SW:TOR as if I’d started playing WoW again.

      I think they are misjudging their market. Their market is “people who aren’t playing WoW for some reason”. The majority of those people either don’t like WoW or are bored of WoW. Making your game like WoW in order to appeal to people who aren’t playing WoW doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

    • Brun says:

      To me it felt very much like WoW with Mass Effect-style story cutscenes. The isolated areas for personal story development were interesting but it’s nothing that WoW hasn’t already done with phasing, or Guild Wars with story instances. My biggest complaint was the UI – the glowing neon blue theme started making my eyes hurt after a while.

      As for EA’s intended market, it isn’t the “people who aren’t playing WoW for some reason” crowd. Their game is WAY too similar to WoW to target that market, as some of you have mentioned. Rather, the game seems designed specifically to steal subscribers from WoW – most likely people who want a fresh MMO but have not stopped playing WoW because there really isn’t anything else of that caliber.

    • innociv says:

      What Jumwa said is spot on.

      If you don’t like how WoW plays, you won’t like SWTOR.
      It doesn’t break the mold. Pretty much every MMO is either a Lineage 2 or WoW clone. SWTOR is a WoW clone.
      But it’s more like WoW a few years into its life, with better story(but not as good as KOTOR story) on top.
      Some of the dialogues and characters are amazing, but lots are junk you just want to skip, sadly. You also quickly find out that completing side quests has no impact on anything at all, and they’re the same for whatever class you play except for some minor dialogue changes, sometimes.

      While being really similar to WoW, it’s the best WoW-but-not-WoW mmo to come out. It’s not a cheap knockoff like WAR. I’d recommend the game to people who like MMOs, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that likes the idea of MMOs but hates their execution.

      They didn’t make the game to get people who don’t like MMOs to play it. They want WoW’s subscribers to leave it for SWTOR, I think.
      I’m not sure why they didn’t make it more like SWG, though. SWG had 300k+ subscribers, it was the 3rd largest mmo, up until they ruined the game with CU And NGE.

    • Brun says:

      Agree with innociv.

      I only had to play it for about two hours to recognize it as a WoW clone. As he said though, it resembles WoW several years post-release, which gives it a significant advantage over other supposed “WoW-killers” like Vanguard, Age of Conan, or WAR.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      After playing the beta for a while, I’d definitely say it’s a WoW clone gameplay-wise, with more engaging storylines; I know that’s not saying a lot, but there you go. Definitely makes it more my speed.
      Weirdly enough, what puts it above other MMOs is player choice. I realized that when at one point the game gave me a choice to be a conscientious objector and oppose the torturing of a prisoner – and realizing that I had the option to join in with the torturers; for all the Bioware Blandness (TM) of the writing, choice (and how irrevocable those choices are in an MMO) made the stories a lot more affecting than they should have been.

      Overall, I’m unconvinced, but my wife loved it – so we’ll probably duo it for a bit, at least until Secret World comes out. I can’t say I feel bad at the prospect at all.

      Other pluses:
      The voice acting and facial expressions.
      Some of the best mustaches I’ve seen recently in gaming.
      Finally, even though you could side with them, the torturers were presented as slimeballs; take that, you torture-happy Wow!

    • Jumwa says:

      @dreadguacamole

      Much of my own sentiments expressed there. Including the bit on torture.

      My partner ended up liking Old Republic a lot more than I did, and so we figure we might pick it up eventually. However, it releasing when it is means we’ll be too busy to get it at launch even if we wanted to. Why game designers are stuck in the mentality that their entire market is children who rely on gifts for their game purchases is beyond me.

      If it were a co-op game, rather than a MMO, I’d say she and I would be all over it like mad.

    • Brun says:

      From what I have heard the good/bad decisions have no real gameplay consequences, they only impact cosmetic things. About par for the course for a post-BG2 BioWare game.

    • qrter says:

      I’ve never played WoW, and I’ve only played SWKOTOR last weekend – I didn’t like it all. I thought the mechanics were clunky (that cover mechanic for the smuggler is dire!) and the story parts felt completely seperate from the game. I’m not under the illusion that this isn’t the case for most games, but other games seem to be better at hiding it.

      Most damning for me personally, it doesn’t convince as a living, breathing world at all. It’s more akin to a theme park, with everybody running around to go on the rides. Which can be fun, but it’s not what I want to see in a Star Wars game.

    • Khory says:

      I thought it played pretty well. As others have said, it is borrows heavily from what WoW has done. That isn’t such a bad thing, WoW did a lot of things right to get as big as it has.

      SWTOR will sell very well at launch. I think the real opportunity lies in the first six months after release. If Bioware can keep interesting storylines coming, refine the systems they have built, and do it quickly enough to meet the demand. Then they will be a contender.

      It won’t hurt that WoW is headed in some odd directions. Pandas and the terrible plans they have for talents might drive people to try SWTOR. I see why they released the annual pass- use Diablo 3 as bait to get people invested for the year and less likely to cancel subs.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It plays like WoW but better, significantly so in my opinion (although they should use phasing more). A lot of non-MMO people are out there just generally hating on it because it plays like its genre. That’s not fair.

    • j3w3l says:

      I’ll probably be playing it when it comes out, after the recent beta it got me interested enough but probably just going to use the free month from purchase and not sub. The story is definitely its best selling point and the voice work is well done although many of the cutscenes are quite glitchy. i was very sceptical about the story as it looked dull when watching playthroughs but it gets you engaged.
      It has many really annoying points though and i’m really dissappointed at it for sticking so close with the wow formulae.
      Qrter has my main criticism, the worlds just don’t feel real not even in the slightest with both of the worlds i played on being really really bland… that may change later on as i only got to coruscant in the beta.
      it also feels like a game (graphics and aesthetic wise) that should have come out like 5 years ago or more, very disappointing that this is what the most well funded mmo can churn out

  7. Kaira- says:

    Those grafics. BioWare has seriously performed better, it looks so lifelike.

  8. DanPryce says:

    You’re kidding; if I buy this Star Wars product, GEORGE LUCAS takes a cut? Are you shitting me?

    • Gnoupi says:

      Well, duh. This product and anything Star-Wars. Though technically it’s not a cut, it was paid up-front, I assume.

      Money then well spent on “remastering” the original trilogy once again

    • Optimaximal says:

      Gnoupi’s sarcasm detector is broken.

    • qrter says:

      Must’ve overloaded and burned out, as DanPryce’s comment is practically pulsing with white hot sarcasm.

  9. Hoaxfish says:

    I don’t know. Which is bigger, EA or Lucas?

  10. Vayl says:

    I sort of agree with Kotick (gasp!), the games does not feel like a mmo, more like a single player RPG with some multiplayer on it.

    While I will play it and will level probably 2 characters, I don’t see how it will retain the players after the first month.

    • Gnoupi says:

      To be honest, after playing it last weekend, it can’t feel any “less” of a MMO.

      - Standing still casting and waiting for cooldowns
      - Fighting with other players to kill the quest NPC before they do
      - Repops, repops, repops
      - You can be in a place to do the exact same thing as others, you still play individually.

      And that’s exactly what makes a MMO. Well, a MMO like delivered by Activision-Blizzard.

    • Sian says:

      From the context given in the actual story, Kotick didn’t really say “That’s no MMO…” That’s just the usual RPS joke in the title, an hommage to the famous line “That’s no moon…” from the first Star Wars film (i.e. Episode IV: A New Hope, not Episode I: The Phantom Menace).

  11. Mordsung says:

    I dislike this open age of communication sometimes.

    It increases the amount of stupid I’m subjected to on a daily basis by several fold.

  12. caddyB says:

    Fuck you Kotick, I’m going to be buying and playing SW:TOR just to spite you!
    Not really, but it is STAR WARS. How can I not buy it and play through the story once?

    • Baka says:

      Because you’ve seen more of it’s “story” after the first trilogy?

    • caddyB says:

      I just want Star Wars, from a time when I was a kid so everything was simple and magical. I want that feeling.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      I don’t think this game will deliver that feeling. It’s The Old Republic after all, with Troopers being the good ones and ancient spaceships looking technological more advanced than later (in the time line) developments.

    • Joshua says:

      But this is the OLD OLD republic, right? As in, the Republic back when it was first formed a few thousand years before Star Wars take place, like that singleplayer RPG of Bioware?

    • Strangineer says:

      Get drunk and watch the original trilogy. If I want to act and feel like I did when I was a child, I get drunk. Maybe you can get drunk and play this?

    • qrter says:

      Why not get drunk and then get drunk?

    • Azradesh says:

      It’s set 3500 years before the films and about 100 years after the KOTOR games.

  13. Jnx says:

    I was a sceptic hater on this one but I played the weekend beta and found it actually to be enjoyable. Nothing new there really but it has some of that Kotor magic in it covering all the mmo. Might play a month or two, don’t know if more.

    • Kal says:

      That’s exactly it. It is basically WoW with a Star Wars skin, but it also captures SOME of that good old Bioware KOTOR magic as well. The question for anyone considering it really is whether or not there’s enough of that magic there to allow you to look past the familiar flaws that stem from a WoW-like design.

      How much you enjoy the mildly KOTOR-esque parts and how much you dislike the thoroughly WoW-esque gameplay is really going to be what the decision turns on I think, for most people.

      I thought giving every class a customisable pet was quite interesting and not something I’d seen before either.

  14. povu says:

    It’s like BF3 VS MW3 all over again. Only now on the MMO side instead of military shooters.

    • awickedone says:

      That’s why EA is producing a new Syndicate. When the war turns brutal they will have some practice.

  15. Delixe says:

    Funny comment coming from Activision a company that has grown fat and rich on licensed properties from the likes of Marvel, Hasbro, Dreamworks, Paramount and a bloke called Tony Hawk. Also I believe Guitar Hero made them quite a big wedge and that featured a large amount of licensed songs.

    • Llewyn says:

      I think he might be suggesting that George Lucas is a slightly more brutal negotiator than Tony Hawk.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      If mercenary businessmen like Kotick are bad-mouthing Lucas for beating them at their own game, then you know he’s really bad.
      I have to agree, he will likely come out on top regardless of the game’s success.

    • Mimetic says:

      I think it’s less that Kotick is bad-mouthing Lucas because he’s so bad and more that Kotick is bad-mouthing SWTOR because it’s a competitor. The guy has a history of talking shit about games that compete with his own.

  16. strongfort says:

    I played the weekend beta last week and had an absolute blast. I played WoW for the first 4 years it was out and then gave it up, so I did not know what to expect from this game.

    I played 2 characters. One to level 25, and the other to 11. Not only was this very BioWare style in story, but they did a great job working it into an MMO environment. I thought the multiplayer storyline system was really well done and allowed me to level my character with my friend seamlessly.

    Graphics are not as amazing as I wanted, and the frame-rates had some spikes in some odd places. There were some minor bugs throughout that I saw, but overall I was extremely impressed. Story was excellent, game-play was solid. Don’t expect a brand new experience from WoW, but also don’t expect the exact same. They’ve managed to find a niche of a slightly different style, and it works. For example, no auto-attack. At first I thought that was not a good idea, but after playing for the weekend I think it was one of their greatest decisions. It really gives the game a little more of a “direct control” feel and makes you think a bit more about what your character is going to do, rather than what he is already doing.

    I was impressed, and I will be buying it. I expect to be playing for a number of months simply due to the content. At level 25 I was just barely scratching the surface of the games locations, and felt like I still had most of the world I had not seen. The game is only going to get bigger as well, and I expect it will be quite popular for some time.

    • Eremis77 says:

      Same here. Got to play the two beta weekends, and despite the bugs and issues I loved it. I hope it does keep my interest for more than a couple of months.

      Bobby Kotick is a moron. He’s the CEO of a video game company who has no interest in playing video games. He was full steam ahead in forcing all Battle.Net users to use their real names online so he could make a lucrative deal with Facebook, and only backed down when half the players cried outrage. And now he badmouths SWTOR trying to make him look better when WoW is losing players left and right since Cataclysm. What a total idiot.

      I too played WoW for five years, with a couple of breaks. But once I hit level cap in Cataclysm, there was nothing left for me to do. Heroic instances and raids were too damn hard to be any fun. And I have zero interest in playing WoW:Kung Fu Panda.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I loved it as well. I think it will eat up much of the current MMO crowd, but not spread beyond that.

    • Scarves says:

      Hurray, posts that aren’t jaded!

      I liked it a lot too, and I’m looking forward to playing it soon. Sure, perhaps the story is not that amazing in some points, but it definitely surpasses other MMOs for story content. Getting to make choices, even ones that don’t permanently effect the game state, helps you get drawn in to your character.

      Also doing group conversations is a blast, especially when you find that someone in your group is a little more evil (or good) than you were expecting. I was in one of the starter “dungeons” when a trooper suddenly decided it would be more expedient to vent a few dozen engineers into outer space… somewhat unexpected.

      Anyhow, I hope that the people who do end up playing it enjoy it. I did.

  17. westyfield says:

    I don’t really understand… economics” – Bobby Kotick.

  18. Vexing Vision says:

    I have no doubt they have a million subs for the first three months.

    But they will need to carry that 500k subs for a year at leats, and I sincerely doubt they make it past the first three months with that drive.

    Mark my words!

    • Lobotomist says:

      This is most likely what will happen. (It is most probable theory spotted on the web. And business wise most beneficial for EA)

      Month 1-3 : 1 million subs.
      Month 3-6 : 300 thousand subs.
      (GW2, D3 launches)
      Month 6-9: Expansion launched , subs on slight rise
      Month 10-12 : F2P announced , subs on all time low
      1 year : SWTOR goes F2P

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      1 yr, 2 months: SWTOR makes a gajillion dollars after going f2p

    • Brun says:

      Ah, but if TOR goes F2P, it will mean that WoW, in a sense, “wins.” It will mean that TOR was not good enough to generate the number of long-term subs (or steal them from WoW) necessary for it to be profitable on the subscription model. If WoW continues to exist on the subscription model with even half of its current subs, while TOR is forced to go F2P, it could claim a sort of victory over its archnemesis.

  19. Kviki says:

    If you like star wars, like space warfares, you’ll LOVE this: http://www.freeworlds-tow.net/ It is sad however that it doesn’t get any attention.

  20. Roaring Panda says:

    He should realise that him speaking against it will spur people on to play it.

  21. Mungrul says:

    To be fair to Kotick, I think he’s got a point. It’s very hard to be successful in MMOs, and tying yourself down to someone else’ license and a subscription model, which every other MMO is rapidly abandoning at the moment in favour of Free to Play, is suicidal.
    Let alone which, remember that Sony’s recent closure of Star Wars Galaxies wasn’t stated as being due to anything other than revocation of the license.
    If I were to make a new MMO, it’d be based on original intellectual property, wholly owned and immediately Free to Play with aesthetic items available for purchase in an item store at reasonable prices (sub £5).
    I have no doubt that The Old Republic is going to attract a massive influx of day one purchasers, but I’m dubious whether these will convert into subscribers; just look what happened to DC Universe Online. Free to Play has obviously saved their bacon.

  22. Froztwolf says:

    500k is a lot though.
    WoW and Lineage are the only MMOs out there now with that kind of subscriber base. (Not counting browser-based ones)
    Source: http://www.mmodata.net/

    • InternetBatman says:

      That source also listed Aion. Still not that many though.

  23. shadowbadger says:

    One issue that struck me (apart from unimpressive graphics, controls, combat and a over-riding feeling of ‘whats new here?’ ) was with the quest cut-scenes. Some, especially noticeable in the side-quests, are so padded out with pointless gibbering that it took me longer to accept the damn thing than it did to complete the quest itself. That can’t be right.

  24. Dcode says:

    This man has the most irritating face in the galaxy.

  25. inkreis says:

    Kotick has a bad feeling about this . . . best tags ever ;-)

  26. Coins says:

    I must be the only person in the galaxy who doesn’t care about Star Wars. I’m guessing it’ll be successful, but it’s really only targeting people who are invested in this universe.

  27. bleeters says:

    In other news, “please stop unsubscribing in the hundreds of thousands from the mmo I muscled my way in on long after it become popular by itself. It’s no fun to run something into the ground if nobody is around to watch.”

  28. NothingFunny says:

    SWTOR`s budget is HUGE – over 200 mln $, so they`d need those 500k subscribers to spend about 400$ on the game each to break even

    • Chalky says:

      Conveniently, 500k subscribers for two years adds up to $360 each so that’s not terribly outlandish.

  29. Erithtotl says:

    I’m glad the NDA is finally lifted. I was in a beta severa months ago as well as the recent beta but I only got to play for a few minutes this time around.

    From my experience a few months ago, it was obvious the game needed a lot of work to make it something new or special. All the classic WoW tropes existed, massive repetition, grindy, new areas just old areas with new skins, etc. One of the interesting things was that the game is really fun until about lvl 15, and then basically nothing new ever happens after that. As I leveled I was getting few new abilities, and the upgrades on the ones I had were extremely costly for essentially a %1.2 improvement. The space combat was a joke. I was unfortunately unable to play enough of the recent beta to see how much had changed (though it did seem they had included some minor improvements)

    What is interesting is when I attended the focus group for my beta, nearly everyone had nothing but criticism and disappointment, and yet almost everyone (But me) was going to pre-order, or had already done so. The faith people have in Star Wars is strong, and also I think gamers are desperate for a really big alternative to Wow that they can play with their friends, and I think the hope is Bioware will eventually come through.

    But expect some disappointment after the initial glow wears off for most people when release comes.

  30. pretty fiendish says:

    You know, Kotick could have been making sense with these comments. Personally I have no idea as I taught myself to tune out when he talks. I just hear white noise now.

    Warhammer Online settled down to 300k subscribers fairly quickly I think. After the first year that went down again, but considering the problems people had with that game, I’m sure Star Wars can bring in a little more. One way it does seem to resemble WOW is in the number of arguments it generates online and it’s not even out yet.

  31. magnus says:

    He still looks like Chico and Harpo Marx’s lovechild. Twatto perhaps?

  32. GenBanks says:

    I can’t really take anything Kotick says as a serious insightful point. Anyway, just because you’re licensing a theme doesn’t mean EA won’t make money.

  33. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Why is this news? So he doesn’t know the inner-workings of the financial deal surrounding TOR. How is that not completely obvious? He works for Activision, not EA, who gives a shit what he thinks about an economic plan he has no fucking clue of?

  34. bfandreas says:

    I’m done with MMOs. Grind, next gear tier, grind, next gear tier….

    Especially WoW has become an ungame.

    Worst thing is you can’t do anything on your own once you are maxed out.

    Also other people are the worst unsolvable problem. They constantly break the fourth wall. I’d honestly pay a premium for a heavily moderated MMO rpg where I can group together with a couple of people at random and have adventures directed by a real DM who has fun and earns his way through a very decent life. That’d be cool. Very costly(which is actually a plus as it keeps the punters out) but cool.

    Honestly, ask a montly fee of about 100 quid, hire an awful lot of DMs and you’ve got at least one buyer. Shouldn’t be Star Wars, tho, because we all know that one is a bit flat and silly and has been killed by Lucas and the silly novelists he allowed near that franchise.

  35. Puppetmast0r says:

    test

  36. weizur says:

    There is absolutely no way they’re successful at 500k subscribers. They must be calculating thinking the average subscriber length will be more than 2 years.

  37. aircool says:

    Who cares what he thinks? Game sounds just fine to me. Nothing particularly revolutionary, but I kinda like the standard MMO template anyway.

    I’ll apologise on behalf of all of the MMO crowd who are happy with the progress that MMO’s are making (bit by bit, little by little). Sorry SWTOR isn’t a revolution – dun’t bother me nun :))

  38. thegreatcaligula says:

    All I want is an official Pokemon MMO so I can show off my Pokemon Master skills to everyone on the internet, and they will have to believe it because there will be a leaderboard. Then once the ladies catch wind of it, they will start sending me love letters sealed with lipsticks and perfumes.

    Then I will organize an event in which I round up the top 10 most beautiful of them all and ask them a series of silly and sometimes deeply profound questions from topics ranging from Pokemon Husbandry to the Fermi Paradox. The one who most swoons me will be my lover.

    Flash forward to the honeymoon on my yacht provided to me by Club Nintendo when I cash in all my points. I am feeding her all sorts of berries and jams. We giggle and talk about the feelings we feel in our soul about feelings.

    Suddenly, without warning, I get knocked down, but I get up again, because your never gonna keep me down- but I see Team Rocket standing at the front of my Yacht holding my beautiful lady friend.

    They ask me for my Pickachu- but I tell them, I need to go into town to a Poke Center to retrieve it out of the PC System since I keep him stored there since he is a fairly unimpressive Pokemon stat wise.
    They yell at me while my pasta angel cries in their grasp. I cry because I am powerless to stop them.

    They tell me to meet them at Mt. Moon with the Pickachu if I ever want to see her again. Then, they jump off the side of the boat with her. I panic and begin running to the side they jumped off of but then see their submarine-plane leave the water and fly to the silhouette of Mt. Moon off the coastline.

    I know what I got to do now.

  39. Snuffy the Evil says:

    I find his lack of faith disturbing.

  40. Shooop says:

    The one thing Kotick is good at is exploiting licenses until they’re mummified and he’s rich enough to buy another house on the moon. And with the boom of free to play MMOs he does have a point.

  41. DickSocrates says:

    I suddenly want SWTOR to become insanely popular. And I don’t like Star Wars. That’s the kind of power Kotick has.

  42. JerreyRough says:

    Fun fact: there is an incredibly high amount of console-only friends of mine that are getting SW:TOR. And since I haven’t played MMO’s to death like what seems like everyone else around here, I really enjoyed SW:TOR. I absolutely loved TOR but I only got to level 40 in WoW over the course of a year. The story aspect of this game alone makes it worthwhile.

  43. FecesOfDeath says:

    Selling 1 millions copies at the $60 base price plus collector’s editions is $60+ million before subscription fees kick in, so I don’t think EA will have trouble hitting the black with SWTOR.

  44. remoteDefecator says:

    Personally I think it will be a success. I’ve played WoW off and on from when it was released until as recently as a month ago. While I’m burned out on it, at the same time I still kinda crave that style of gameplay. Most people had their one or two hardcore WoW phases and then walked away, usually jaded and pissed off at the game. But there is a large minority of players like me, who go through the endless cycle of getting back into it, playing for a while, getting bored, and then staying away for a few months. TOR will just be a new option for people in that cycle, and will get a lot of subscribers just because it’s something different that is of comparable quality to WoW.

    TOR will definitely be my new main MMO for awhile, but I have no illusions about its quality. Honestly there are a lot of things about it (at least in the recent beta) that are downright inferior to their WoW counterparts, and the game as a whole just fails to impress the way WoW did. But a game doesn’t have to be revolutionary to be a lot of fun. There are lots of examples of highly successful and fun games that really didn’t bring anything new to the table.

  45. mollemannen says:

    he’s just sad he didn’t get a beta key.

  46. InternetBatman says:

    I think it will be profitable, no problem. It plays like a fun MMO, and I liked it better than my WoW stints. The writing is certainly more plentiful, usually better.

    Also, I doubt their relationship with Lucas is more harmful than Blizzard’s relationship with Activision.

  47. Ace McAwesome says:

    Beta tester here. TOR is like KOTOR and WoW had a mutant three-headed baby. If you like KOTOR and/or WoW you’ll probably like TOR. If not, well…

    The graphics are a strange hybrid of great and dogshit. The animations look fantastic, the facial expressions and lip synching, all very good especially given the sheer amount of content. Each ability is separately animated, even across mirror classes. For example, while Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior are exactly the same class with differently named abilities, they animated the fuckers differently. Sith animations are distinctly more aggressive while Knight animations are more fluid and precise. And that’s for just about every single swingin ability.

    But on the other side of the coin, the textures look like somebody vomited all over my screen. They are so, so bad. The character’s hair features also look atrocious. They look like they’re made from plastic bits and glued to the toons.

    But if you can see past that, the game is FUN. It’s addictive and for an ex-WoW addict like myself, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Will it last me 6 years like WoW did? Can’t say that right now. But for now, it’s what’s on the menu.

  48. Kaiji says:

    Never thought I’d agree with Kotick, but he’s right.

    When you make the most expensive MMO ever, with EA, Bioware, Star Wars and KoTOR on the box, you’d better release something that amazes people.

    Bioware have instead decided to release a throwback to 2006 with voiceovers, linear leveling, dull combat, a soulless world, no day/night cycle, no combat log, no UI customization, crappy graphics and subpar animations.

    TOR is a disaster waiting to happen.

  49. Fade to black says:

    I had the chance to play in beta weekends twice but only played once. I only got to level 17 or so. I have been playing WoW for pretty much 4-5 years with small breaks but finally quit over half a year ago because playing the same thing is boring(also because the game got progressively less fun since TBC).

    The game is quite fun as far as I play even though I don’t like how quests are focused on you being “special” and not just a pawn. Overall I have to say it was better than expected but some things are a bit ugly. Now the real debate is the problem with all the MMO “wow-killers”. That, in my opinion, is end-game. Many other MMOs had amazing level, questing and whatever else to keep people happy while leveling and when you reached maximum level you’d have more fun playing Exreme Barbie 3D 2010 Deluxe. Developers generally put too much effort to give a nice experience while you level, and when you get to the point to actually do something then there are some lazy raids an dungeons and you just get bored. If SWTOR has decent end-game I might give it a try.

  50. stupid_mcgee says:

    I can’t wait for Baldur’s Gate:Online.

    Pre-order now and receive a Boo mini-pet!