BioWare Force Pushes Back Against SWTOR Doubters

By Nathan Grayson on May 2nd, 2012 at 11:00 am.

You probably should've considered firing the gun a little sooner.

Not such a long, long time ago, in galaxy much like this one, only more naive, youthful, and able to pull off those jeans the Milky Way no longer has any business shimmying into, Star Wars: The Old Republic was the Next Big Thing. It was billed as a tale for the ages – or six tales for the ages, really. Some soup-tin-sized lightsaber hilts aside, it could do no wrong. Fast-forwarding to today, however, paints a significantly more disenfranchised picture. Where once the level cap was a mystical thing – like the bell at the top of one of those strongman hammer dealies at fairs – now everyone’s dinging it. The credits have rolled, show’s over, and the theater’s empty aside from an incredibly cute cricket and tumbleweed couple in the throes of deep, eerily silent love, right? Wrong. That, lead designer Daniel Erickson told RPS, is a classic case of the Internet’s peanut gallery making a lightspeed jump to conclusions.

“Although the Internet loves to pronounce the doom of all things, what we’re seeing is a huge increase in activity with [update] 1.2 as people return to see all of the new content,” said Erickson. “The community has generally been excited about the direction the game is going as we finish up our last must-have quality of life features (group finder, etc) and can start concentrating full-time on creative things like the world events.”

The recent, almost completely out-of-the-blue Rakghoul Outbreak world event is the first product of that, Erickson noted, and many more are on the way. Quite obviously inspired by World of Warcraft’s (largely accidental) Corrupted Blood Plague from 2005, the Rakghoul virus spread from player-to-player by making them, er, explode. As such, it came as a rather large mid-storyline surprise in more ways than one.

“Part of the magic of doing something like this is that it feels organic and gives you a sense that the world is changing,” Erickson enthused. “A surprise you’re warned about ahead of time isn’t much of a surprise.”

“We definitely learned a lot of cautionary lessons [from World of Warcraft] about what to watch out for and protect against if you let your players loose with a contagion. We had a pretty good idea players would spread it no matter how hard we tried to stop them, so instead we encouraged it with rewards and quests and then ran every possible scenario we could think of to make sure it didn’t create any unintended consequences.”

Granted, one could argue that dispels a fair bit of the magically emergent madness that made the Corrupted Blood Plague so groundbreaking, but it’s hard to think of a means of bottling that lightning that wouldn’t cheapen it in some way or another. Moreover, for BioWare, this was just one step toward a much larger goal of erasing the lines between SWTOR’s story-rich (though lacking in longevity) PVE and its PVP, which is still slowly limping behind the rest of the pack.

“We never see it as two different sides,” explained Erickson. “Players play their stories together, craft in groups or by themselves. Our philosophy has always been about letting players play the way they want and rewarding them for doing so. There were two things we actively tried to encourage with the event, and those were community involvement in solving the mystery and free-roaming PVP on the PVP servers. Both were successes.”

Even so, he also admitted that this is still very much a learning process. BioWare’s well aware that its massively multiplayer journey through George Lucas’ equal parts loved and hated universe is, well, equal parts loved and hated. But, since day one, it’s been a process of evaluation, addition, and subtraction, and already, SWTOR’s evolved to suit its players.

“There were two big lessons coming out of not just launch but beta testing that impacted development direction,” noted Erickson. “The first was that although we had not originally planned the game to be heavily PVP-focused, the ease of getting in and playing the Warzones combined with their fun design gave us the highest PvP participation of any modern triple-A MMO. At that point we turned a huge amount of our resources to PVP development, but we’re still playing a bit of catch-up, and that is understandably frustrating to our most advanced PVP users.”

“The second was that the better your leveling content, the longer people would play in single sessions, and that when people are playing an average of five-or-six-hours-a-pop, they devour your content at an amazing pace. That meant moving more teams to end game content earlier than we had expected.”

So no, it probably won’t have EVE’s breathtaking breadth of possibilities or TERA’s combat or Guild Wars 2′s PVP any time soon, but it’s making its own way. And, if the Rakghoul Outbreak is any indication, it stands a good chance of at least being interesting – whether or not it sets the world on fire. Or turns its populace into exploding zombie monsters, as it were.

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141 Comments »

  1. f1x says:

    Its fun because the plague could be much more fun if the game was not actually freakin instanced to the bone,

    I mean, much more chances of spread-the-plague-chaos and fun if you are together in the same “open-world”
    but yes its a good initiative, perhaps the game will be fine after a year when they have finally added lots of this stuff

    • Jimmy Z says:

      Unfortunately instancing is the way to go these days. I don’t like it one bit, but there’s no getting away from it. Even GW2 aka. ‘The Next Big Thing After SWTOR’ is heavily instanced, even more so than SWTOR in some ways.

      Guess we just have to face it that the days of the seamless open world, non-instanced MMO are gone and probably not coming back.

      • Sentient Waffle says:

        GW1 was also heavily instanced though, so that’s kinda just carrying on traditions.

        But yes, it sucks, and why WoW is still my favorite MMO.

        Or was. I don’t do MMO’s anymore, not until something truly mindblowing comes a long. Maybe Blizzards next MMO :p

        GW2 has managed to not interest me in the least, Tera seems like more generic asian MMO, now with new combat, and SWTOR got boring really fast and was full of little things that annoyed be because they could have been done so much better.

        • Cerzi says:

          It’s funny, one of my main criticisms of WoW was how it relied on instances so much. Had the same problem with Anarchy Online. I guess this just goes to show how much worse they’ve gotten – and possibly validate, slightly, those who are against them completely – if people are looking back fondly upon WoW for being relatively non-instanced.

          Oh where are you, Everquest Next. I really hope they’ve realized the benefits of going back to the philosophies of the late 90s, like so many other genres are starting to.

          • Sentient Waffle says:

            In Vanilla and BC instances weren’t that big part of it as they are know, where I agree, instances/raids are pretty much all the jazz.

            But the feeling of walking around the vanilla world, discovering new stuff every day, meeting the opposing force for the first time, first quest that took you to the other end of the continent, or to the other continent, World Bosses, raids against the other factions towns and outpost and I could muse on all day.
            It was.. Magical.

            Sadly, that feeling is fleeting and wasn’t going to last, and they had to move on with WoW, to where they are know, I understand, and I had my good times with WoW, and then left it.

          • Phantoon says:

            The induction of “phasing” to replace instances was one step forward, three hundred back. It was another nail in the coffin for world pvp.

      • f1x says:

        I know, and its a shame :(

        Problem is WoW already started the trend, instancing dungeons (or maybe someone before) and finally removing outdoor bosses / outdoor pvp after TBC
        But yes at least WoW does have an open world,

        one of the things I hated the most about SWTOR, as silly as it might sound, every time I have to go to another planet I have to go through lots of loading screens, from the main “city” to the pre-hangar, to the hangar, to the ship, to the hangar in the planet, to the pre-hangar in the planet, to the quest zone

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          Malibu Stacey says:

          An open world isn’t really “open” when it’s limited to a few thousand users per server/realm.

          EVE-Online is an open world. WoW is not.

          • f1x says:

            True, true,
            so EVE is running only in “1 server”? but would that be possible if it had as many players as wow? I mean, I dont really care about different servers, there can be 10.000 people each servers that enough to play with, problem is when you start cutting that pie in more slices, and have 20-30 people in each small place like in SWTOR

          • Wreckdum says:

            Yeah I’m pretty sure the term open-world is used to describe the game world. Being seamless and absent of loading screens. It doesn’t matter how many people play on your server. As long as the game is seamless and you don’t get separated from everyone as you are wandering through the world.

            Not to mention the only reason EVE can do what it does is because it only has to render ships on a blank background with some stars painted on it. There is no geometry or solid ground to render. If wow or any other conventional MMO just had to render characters floating in limbo flying around I’m sure they could have only one server as well.

          • PopeJamal says:

            Population has absolutely noting to do with the word “Open”. You’re taking about server resource management. A dictionary would be a very nice companion in straightening that out.

            As for Eve, all that “time dilation” bull that CCP added into the game wasn’t because they thought it was cool, it was because they couldn’t handle what little traffic they have in comparison to WoW. let’s not pretend that Eve has completely solved the “one universe” problem. Great strides, but far from the end of the race.

            WoW and Eve are pretty much apples and oranges, and I play neither, but let’s not pretend that Eve is running on some advanced, perfect alien computer architecture from the future.

          • HarrietTubgirl says:

            You guys arguing EVE vs WoW aren’t using a very great example. EVE has instances that can hold 1,000 people, they added time dilation because modern technology can’t hold 2,000 people on one chat and game server reliably, just look at IRC. WoW had major lag issues when it was released and could never hold as many people simultaneously as EVE. Maybe they can now after so many years, but comparing the two is quite different unless you just want to show how they differ. Also, I’d like to see 1,000 people in a city in WoW and see how the servers perform.

      • Ertard says:

        GW2 has instanced dungeons, and instanced zones when there are simply too many people in the world for it to function. There is one real zone, and one so called overflow zone. No more. In the beta weekend this was up pretty much all the time due to servers being hammered. Hopefully on release it will have one world with instanced dungeons, which is a competent solution I think.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Slightly wrong, GW2 does have loading screens between open world zones and the capital cities. However, loading times are literally a few seconds long and once you get a quick travel point in a new zone you aren’t required to use the portal ever again. It’s not seamless, but it’s about as close as it can get.

          Compare that to SWtOR, where traveling from the fleet to the Balmora daily quest hub could take almost 10 minutes thanks to the poorly optimised engine, including several loading screens going though completely redundant orbital stations. It made you hate the world.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            I’m not entirely sure the cities are so much instances as require new assets to be loaded. Granted, I haven’t left the first large Charr zone, but if you quicktravel from one place to another within the same area you’ll still see a loading screen (just as is the case in WoW). I wouldn’t be surprised if the capitals were instanced for a reason different than the loading technology (which was the case in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes).

      • f1x says:

        By the way, anyone remembers, back in the early moments of WoW development, when the concept for the game was that the world would randomly generate as players traveled forward? so the world would be just unlimited as long as players keep exploring

        of course the concept was dropped, but ain’t it a cool concept for a MMO?

        • Brun says:

          I don’t think that would have worked well for WoW. A huge part of WoW’s appeal was that it was set in the same world as the RTS games, which already had a well-defined geography.

          • f1x says:

            Yes thats why the dropped the concept probably, and because of being probably technically imposible at the moment (would it be possible now?)
            but I still find it a fascinating idea

          • Brun says:

            There are multiplayer games that utilize procedural technology (Minecraft) but it would require some technical innovation to accomplish that on an enormous scale (scale of players, not map size). Some technical innovation that the industry could certainly use right about now.

          • Phantoon says:

            Except, in fact, it did not have a good grasp of its own geography. Look at how the maps change in each successive game.

            Point of fact: People still aren’t sure where Grand Hamlet was. My guess is it’s now Raven Hill in Duskwood.

          • Brun says:

            By Warcraft III the geography was pretty well-defined. The biggest change in existing geography was between 1 and 2. If you look at the maps in the manuals of Warcraft III and WoW you’ll see that they are very similar. Obviously some liberty was taken in WoW to accommodate design and technical constraints.

        • xephyris says:

          One of the worst things about WoW when it launched was the huge expanses of nothingness in zones like the Barrens, and quests that made you traverse that.

          They will also have find a way to make these procedurally generated areas interesting, perhaps by procedurally populating these areas with events – but procedurally generated events have been tried before, such as in games like Rift, and weren’t very engaging.

      • Wreckdum says:

        GW2 is instanced IN NO WAYS more than SWTOR… SWTOR has 4 instances before you can even get off the space station… GW2 you instance change once every 15 levels or so. You can’t even get from 1-10 in SWTOR without loading 4 different zones.

        Not to mention the maps in GW2 are about 5x the size of an instance in SWTOR. The SWTOR engine is terrible. It can’t support open world environments.

      • methodology says:

        alot of people seem to be misunderstanding the term instance

        • sysdefect says:

          There used to be a time when people understood the difference between a zone and an instance, if that goes to show a trend in a recent mmos where newbies have thought them to be inextricably intertwined or synonymous.

          And for all those people who are positing that WoW is the first to bring instancing, IIRC the MMO that first featured it was Anarchy Online. The instanced mission system was there to give you something to do if you found yourself without a quest, needed quick money, or if you rolled through them (cycled the mission vendor until you found a mission that was giving you specifically what you were looking for, it was kind of like a slot machine), good loot. It was a good idea then and the rest of the content was open.

          • Wreckdum says:

            I’m pretty sure people understand the difference between a zone and an instance. It’s just the two examples being discussed right now (GW2 and SWTOR) use instanced zones… When a zone fills up they create another instance of the same zone.

          • methodology says:

            Maybe this comes back full circle to semantics but I think when arenanet (gw2) talks about instances they talk about it in terms of an overflow server where in it’s something that you really shouldn’t be in unless there’s a major overwhelming crush of people on your specific world server. Basically it’s a replacement for staring at a queue screen, and actually gets you into the game in some way. They do have instanced dungeons, pvp and your personal storyline quests, but everything else seems to have everyone on the same instance, although possibly in different zones gah. Whereas other games deliberately have many instances for every zone and it just feels small and relatively empty as a gameworld.

    • ineffablebob says:

      I don’t really mind instances. I kind of like them, really, to give me the ability to play with my group of friends without worrying about Juke Lysquawker coming by and killing the mobs we need or picking up the item we’ve been looking for. The trick is to make instances accessible to everyone that you want to play with. I’m honestly not all the familiar with SWOTR, but other games like WoW or CoH fall down in this area because of the server-based systems. 8 or 10 or 40 man instances are fine, but when I’ve got four friends on server A and 4 on server B, and we can’t join the same 8-man instance, that sucks.

  2. Spinks says:

    “So no, it probably won’t have EVE’s breathtaking breadth of possibilities or TERA’s combat or Guild Wars 2′s PVP any time soon, but it’s making its own way”

    On the other hand, they don’t have the really solid single player storytelling, morality wheels, or voice acting that SWTOR does (and since GW2 won’t be out for months, that’s an offbeat comparison). The holocron hunting and space game are good fun also, and a bit different from what other MMOs offer. I enjoy it as a game, but I think you have to judge these things on what they are, not what they aren’t.

    They really could have predicted people would chew up content quickly though.

    And as for the emergent stuff, staff have to learn the types of things that players are going to do so that they can head off mass griefing sessions at the pass (not including EVE here, where that’s not so much emergent as expected play). I’d see this as more successful from a player pov than the WoW plague, although maybe less thrilling to write about.

    • Dante says:

      Shame more people don’t talk about the holocron hunting, since it’s basically done Wildstar’s ‘big thing’, the exploration gameplay, almost as an afterthought.

      • fionny says:

        ANNND… WAR did it ages before swtor, with special items and Tome entries etc… to collect by exploring… its nothing new. Im sure someone else did it before WAR also.

    • Cerzi says:

      I always found the Space Missions to be the perfect analogy of the modern MMO experience. A series of short, on-rails experiences in which you have no control of your direction, and with zero continuity tying together multiple runs of the same mission (or in explaining seeing your whole ship blast into bits of debris and then finding yourself standing healthy in the bridge of that very ship).

      Really, it’s not much different from the rest of the SWTOR experience, or that of many, many “MMOs”.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      On the other hand, they don’t have the really solid single player storytelling, morality wheels, or voice acting that SWTOR does

      Oh wow, just what I’ve always wanted from a massively multiplayer game.

      In fairness I would hate this shit in a single player game too.

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        Malibu Stacey says:

        Shooting Angry Men in the face 2012 is that way ->

      • Spinks says:

        Well if you buy a Bioware game and don’t want a Bioware game, what do you expect?

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Don’t worry, I didn’t buy it.

          • Coriolis says:

            So you neither bought it nor are interested in playing such games, but do feel the need to complain about… what exactly? That someone, somewhere, is making a game that has features you don’t like?

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            Not ‘someone’. Bioware. Considering the power they wield with their fan army of weirdos.

          • Vagrant Zero says:

            In commenting so vehemently on a game you don’t like made by a developer you’ve never cared for, I’d say you’ve rather effectively outed yourself as a “weirdo”. Cheers.

    • Phantoon says:

      No single player storytelling?

      So you didn’t play the GW2 weekend, then?

      Unlike Bioware, I was never once confused at why people were acting like they were from the frickin’ moon because of moon logic. Everyone made sense. Chekhov’s Gun equals blam in this instance. Chekhov’s Gun from Bioware is thrown away at the last second to introduce a potato gun that automatically hits innocent children.

      • Spinks says:

        Nope, didn’t fancy paying £50 up front for a game that doesn’t have a release date yet. I’ve heard from friends that the personal storylines in GW2 aren’t very good though. Certainly they’re not going to be the main draw, surely.

    • Alceste007 says:

      I would count the Rakghoul plague as a success. If you wanted to participate, you can. If not, the plague was entirely avoidable through the vaccines. This world event allowed your choice to be the deciding factor regarding participation. I had a pretty good time participating in the event.

    • Xerian says:

      Fiiiiiiirst off; The player-story of Guildwars 2 is quite alot better than that of SWTOR, sorry. and so is the PVP. (However, GW2 really does have some of the best PVP I’ve ever tried in this kind of fantasy, PvE-ish oriented game, it being beaten only by rather… “Hardcore” PvP-oriented MMOS)
      Sorry ta’ burst yer’ bubble, but the GW2 beta was a-mazing. Noone here is denying that SWTOR is a good game – It is, however, hardly the best out there at alotta things. But its a game thats well-balanced between the things its doing… Except for the end-game content. It really lacks that bit, due to, as you said, them not realizing, or expecting, how fast people churn through the content of MMO’s..

  3. Simon Hawthorne says:

    Yes, the internet can be overly pessimistic. It can also be overly optimistic. I’m always sceptical about what I read on the internet.

    However, I have even more scepticism for a Lead Designer who is saying that his game is going “very well thank you very much”. There doesn’t seem to be this scepticism in this piece or analysis or questioning – I’d be interested to know whether RPS or RPS readers believe the picture is quite as rosy as the lead designer says or whether, like me, they think it’s more marketing fluff.

    • caddyB says:

      I think it’s not as good as Bioware wants you to believe and not as bad as people in the internet say it is.
      You know, as usual.

    • Dowson says:

      Considering everything I know about the game, I think the reality is closer to internet doom and gloom than anything BioWare say.

      • caddyB says:

        Sad thing is the game isn’t actually bad, it’s just 2 years late to the party.

        • aliksy says:

          This would have impressed me a lot more 6 years ago. As is, the gameplay is so-so in that generic MMO way, and the single player content is weighed down by crap mmo traditions.

          It doesn’t bring anything new to the table, so I don’t expect it to have very long term viability.

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      cairbre says:

      I am still playing it but I am no MMO veteran in fact I have a few characters and they are all around the level 12 mark. Still I am having fun and taking my time. I have no plans to cancel my sub at this stage.

    • derbefrier says:

      i just cancelled in preparation for D3. To be honest for me, SWTOR was always just a distraction until D3 was released anyway. Its a good game though and i enjoyed my time with it. my biggest complaints are buggy end game content which is taking them forever to fix (some of it still there from launch) and we lost a lot of good raiders simply because it became to frustrating for them.Tthe biggest is a game population that is spread too thin. most servers feel pretty empty and a lot of people have either left or re-rolled to the few heavily populated servers already. the good news though is that server transfers are coming sometime this summer, the bad new is by then it may be too late.

    • caliwyrm says:

      I think this quote says a lot more about the state of the playerbase than he meant..

      “what we’re seeing is a huge increase in activity with [update] 1.2 as people return to see all of the new content”

      How can you have a ‘huge increase’ unless you had a huge decrease between 1.0 and 1.2? only two patches* in and you’ve lost enough playerbase to have a ‘huge increase’ ? Ouch. (*obviously not counting minor sub-revisions/hot fixes, etc)

      • Highstorm says:

        Also “activity” does not mean subscriptions as they gave every level 50 a free month when 1.2 hit. I logged in to check out the Legacy stuff for all of 10 minutes, then quit again. No desire to re-sub here.

      • Scurvymcgee says:

        The reply is largely meant more in reference to concurrent activity and not overall activity. By the numbers, TOR’s actually retained a population that’s above what EA and BioWare need for profit. It’s harder to tell because the population is spread over so many servers but consolidation is coming.

        Erickson’s commented in the past however and the major change the game is seeing post 1.2 is an increase in players playing concurrently. Less scattered activity and more consistent hours in which the player population is interacting.

  4. caddyB says:

    I should give that TERA a try, I liked the combat from what I’ve seen of TB’s splendid mailbox videos.

    • Dowson says:

      When I played the beta, I had a blast with it.
      Its probably worth playing for the free month if you don’t plan on getting Diablo 3 in a few days time.

      • caddyB says:

        I do get a free diablo, but we’re only raiding 1 day a week now ( gah heroic ds farm ) and diablo I’ll play only with my friends at nights anyway. I’m not too excited about it, hoping to see the story.

  5. GamerOS says:

    Well, they at least didn’t crash and burn like many other ambitious MMO’s, but I doubt they will keep a large audience.
    Good patches and updates might increase interest once in a while but I don’t see the game having much staying power.

    The only thing that SWOTOR seems to have above current and upcoming MMO’s is a good single player story, everything else seems to be forgettable.
    And people don’t play MMO games for the single player.

    Then again, that’s just my cynical viewpoint.

  6. Gormongous says:

    I really really hate to be the guy to act as if game design is purely common sense, but shouldn’t Bioware of all people have anticipated that quality content encourages more intensive play? They had the metrics from the Dragon Age series and Mass Effect 2, after all.

    • GamerOS says:

      Mind you, these are the same people who made the Mass effect 3 ending and defended it rigorously as being artistic and deep.
      I think they are as much in the dark as everyone else.

  7. Jimbo says:

    “Although the Internet loves to pronounce the doom of all things…”

    Yep, it’s almost as meaningless as when lead designers tell you their game is doing great. Almost.

    • f1x says:

      You mean like when they say things like “immersive gameplay” and “stunning visuals”?

    • xephyris says:

      Or when they say things like “highest PvP participation of any modern triple-A MMO.”?

      I mean, everyone knows there’s a Modern Triple-A MMO Mailing List ™ you can mail to get statistics like that easily if you’re a Modern Triple-A MMO Developer like this guy, right?

  8. JD Ogre says:

    “The recent, almost completely out-of-the-blue Rakghoul Outbreak world event is the first product of that, Erickson noted, and many more are on the way. Quite obviously inspired by World of Warcraft’s (largely accidental) Corrupted Blood Plague from 2005, the Rakghoul virus spread from player-to-player by making them, er, explode. As such, it came as a rather large mid-storyline surprise in more ways than one.”

    Ah, so they don’t want me to play, eh? Absolutely loathe world events disrupt normal play. Special events should be segregated from the rest of the world.

    • TormDK says:

      You could go to any medical droid and get a serum that also made you immune to the outbreak.

      So it’s a non-issue. I didn’t get into the event much, but the people in the General chat seemed to be having a good time following the story and doing the dailies.

      • JD Ogre says:

        What can I say? I’m not a fan of MMORPGs deliberately setting up world events to allow griefers to have free reign… (WoW, for example, was unplayable for a week or more at WotLK launch because they decided to let griefers run wild even on PvE servers)

        • Coriolis says:

          You can buy a vaccine for practically nothing that lasts 6 hours and makes you immune to the plague. There is no griefing, if you don’t like it, you can stop participating.

    • Phantoon says:

      That’s the wrong complaint. The real complaint should be twofold:

      1: How would this fit into Star Wars, a setting all about space adventure and the struggle of good VS evil, and
      2: How the hell do they want people to accept it’s the “same thing” when the blood plague was incidental, and this was completely intentional, down to making vaccines to protect those that don’t want to take part?

      Blood plague was incidental fun that resulted in spontaneous response. This was planned, and from everyone I’ve talked to, the reception has been a lukewarm “that’s neat” rather than what we had of “OH FUCKING HELL LET’S FORM THE CDC”.

      For instance, a better comparison would be the undead plague before Wrath launched. Except it wouldn’t be, because that was better thought out than this. It ramped up, had a conclusion, and no one could just “become immune”, so it had high stakes even though once you died as undead you could just resurrect. It also allowed us to talk to the enemy faction, leading to better camaraderie in-server than we’d had since vanilla.

      What is going on here? A gimmick. Sure, some people will complain, but they will always complain. Bioware is always taking the easy road out- and this is going to kill their game unless they pave their own road. Or should I say EA- the head of development of Bioware has said Bioware and EA are one in the same.

      Retroactively, I bemoan all the time I lost to wow, but even Blizzard thought this out better.

      • Baines says:

        Comments like “Our philosophy has always been about letting players play the way they want and rewarding them for doing so.” combined with “We had a pretty good idea players would spread it no matter how hard we tried to stop them, so instead we encouraged it with rewards and quests and then ran every possible scenario we could think of to make sure it didn’t create any unintended consequences.”

        SWTOR wants to let people play the way that they want, as long as the way they want happens to be the way that SWTOR wants them to play. (And that way will be carefully sanitized, no less.)

    • gritz says:

      Ugh. The static and routine worlds of most MMORPG’s are one of the biggest things to put me off of them.

      Any company that can do regular global updates (like Asheron’s Call did in 1999) is helping move things forward, IMO.

  9. andytizer says:

    I have been thinking about playing this recently as a co-op game with some friends.. but so many other games, which don’t require subscriptions, are on the horizon.. Diablo III, GW2..

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      Durkonkell says:

      It’s actually quite fun when played through as a co-op game. You do have to bring your own friends though – there weren’t enough people levelling even during the free week for me to bother with group missions.

      • Alceste007 says:

        Coop in The Old Republic has been a lot of fun. I play The Old Republic primarily with my brother in law and some friends. We have had a great time playing through the game. I was hoping for ranked Warzones to try out, but I am still having a good time.

    • Coriolis says:

      I’ve always leveled with a friend and it is quite a bit of fun. Although a bit too easy, outside of doing 4 man missions with 2 people+companions. That and PVP are really the highlights of the game, the raiding/dungeoning is fun, but because they have relatively little trash and drop alot of loot, you end up doing much less of it then in games like WoW. Which, come to think of it, isn’t such a bad thing.

    • methodology says:

      Wait till it goes f2p cause it WILL go f2p probably before the end of the year.

  10. abhishek says:

    That huge increase in activity couldn’t possibly be because they have been having free weekends every other week and have been handing out a free month of playing time to lapsed subscribers now would it?

    No, of course not.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      That would be my thought too… Of course my other thought is that he might as well just be lying while he shoves handfuls of office stationary into his bags.

    • Phantoon says:

      On that note, when is their stockholder’s meeting?

  11. remover says:

    I waited for years for SWTOR and was excited to be one of the first people to play it.

    Finally when it was launching, I had the opportunity to try it. However, it would not function properly with my system/vid card. Every other game is fine, but for some reason, it had a screwed up aspect ratio and it was impossible for me to play it. No settings would fix it.

    Support kept giving me the run around, clearly staffed by underqualified MORONS who kept saying things like “uh… the game doesn’t support a resolution that high” (despite it being modest and being able to confirm plenty of users playing it at practically DOUBLE the resolution I was running).

    So frustrating. Shitty support means no sales/subscription from me.

    • Phantoon says:

      Hero engine, dude.

      I can’t remember if it’s ATI or Nvidia that Bioware hates, but they hate one of them and just don’t care because herp derp 774 million dollar marketing budget.

      • zeekthegeek says:

        Not even really Hero Engine’s fault, it’s Bioware’s. They refused to update to a more capable version of the engine when it became available years ago. Plenty of other games are using the engine and not having any of the same problems – like Sandbox game The Repopulation.

    • fish99 says:

      What res?

  12. Flakfizer says:

    I take it this was from a Press Release so you couldn’t ask about the hated PVP changes, empty servers and exactly where those Xfire users are going http://i48.tinypic.com/f86di.png

    Remember that this isn’t just another asian import. A massive amount of money was spent developing this and they need it to be a huge success for years to even start getting a return on that investment. They sold a lot of boxes on the back of the IP and the once revered Bioware name but it’s long term paying subscriptions they require.

    Cruel but apt http://i.imgur.com/qBWxB.png

  13. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    When Bioware recently invited subscribers to return for a week for free, I decided to jump back onto my smuggler and have a look at the state of the game. I levelled a smuggler nearly to the end of the starting area during the open beta weekend, and made a video about it. When the game went live, I got my smuggler to the end of Taris (And levelled a Consular to the beginning of Taris) before I eventually stopped playing and desubbed.

    In the 7 free days, I managed to get my smuggler all the way to the end of Act I, through Nar Shaddar, Tatooine and Alderaan. On Tatooine, some Rakghouls popped up and attacked me, but I slaughtered them all and didn’t contract the exploding plague. I did notice that medical droids sold a vaccine, and there were news broadcasts at the republic fleet warning people of the outbreak, but I didn’t see anybody at all with the plague, nor did I hear anything about it in chat.

    What I found was this: The class story missions were compelling and enjoyable, and I really wanted to progress through those. Unfortunately, post level 25 or so the game seems to get hard as all hell – you have to regenerate health after every single pull, strong enemies will nearly kill your companion and elite enemies WILL kill you both if you make even the slightest mistake, and sometimes even if you don’t. You’re on edge all the time. You have to be super-careful all the time, because if you pull two groups of (normal!) enemies, you’ll be killed.

    It’s like the bad old days of levelling a WoW mage – kill something, eat and drink, kill something, eat and drink.

    The level requirement goes up for every class mission you complete, so you have to do some of the side quests and generic planetary missions to keep up. Regrettably, most of the side quests are poor quality, dull and served only to use up my time between class missions. Kill 20 of these! Drop bombs in 5 of these, but when you do enemies appear and you’ll have to waste time killing them. Take this squad of soldiers and train them by shooting 20 sand people, and to make sure that we don’t accidentally make this mission any fun, they won’t regenerate health. Ever. And they don’t have much health to start with. And if they die, you’ll have to restart the mission from the beginning.

    I should point out that the class missions almost made up for the teeth-grinding grinding. Almost. I haven’t resubbed.

  14. Lemming says:

    Bioware (and Blizzard are guilty of this) just develop in a total vacuum then when it all blows up in their face they ‘learn lessons’. These lessons, however were concerns that were pointed out to them during the game’s development by gamers and posed as questions to them by media interviews.

    What an utter waste of time and money.

    I’ve really got less and less time for these so called AAA developers.

  15. Adjudicator says:

    This was actually much more obviously inspired by WoW’s zombie plague event before Wrath of the Lich King launched. The two events are almost completely identical, except in Bioware’s version you can earn rewards by doing it and also opt out by inoculating yourself. The WOTLK one was a purely for fun “before the expansion” event.

    Not the completely emergent blood plague from ZG.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yes, which as I said in another post, was better thought out. It had a lead up, and lead to serious RP on RP servers.

      At one point, we lost the main part of Stormwind and were down to just the Cathedral (plus the throne room of course) when an abomination crashed through the ceiling. Once that was done, zombies started noticing where we were, and began streaming in. I think we fought for hours before getting any help.

      It was probably the most fun I’d ever had in that game, and that’s because it had stakes for once, even if they weren’t all that high since you could just run back after dying as a zombie.

  16. BooleanBob says:

    “Part of the magic of doing something like this is that it feels organic and gives you a sense that the world is changing… we encouraged it with rewards and quests and then ran every possible scenario we could think of to make sure it didn’t create any unintended consequences.”

    :/

    That third screenshot is a golden opportunity for a caption competition, if ever I saw one.

  17. DogKiller says:

    This game didn’t even feel like Star Wars when I played it. In fact, it might be the first Star Wars branded game I’ve ever played that didn’t feel like Star Wars. Maybe it’s the graphics and visual design of the game. The KoTOR games had so much atmosphere. Wandering the plains of Dantooine, the peaceful ocean vibe that Manaan carried and the jungles of Dxun. It was great, and I think it was the atmosphere and feelings the worlds evoked in my mind that stayed with me more than anything else from the games, save for perhaps the music.

  18. Kem0sabe says:

    I´m sure the increase in activity has nothing to do with them offering a free month to every player, with a level 50 character, that had canceled their subscription.

    Bioware and their half truths…

  19. Danny says:

    After playing the Guild Wars 2 beta event last weekend, I’m afraid I can’t go back to SWTOR anymore. It just feels that much more ‘fresh’ and after seeing the WvWvW gameplay in action it should offer more longevity as well.

  20. Morcane says:

    Sorry but all this hogwash about learning lessons…get real. How many MMORPGs have been released in the past decade? Quite a bit. All offered….erm…’lessons’.
    Beta went on for ages and they didn’t listen to a single thing the testers threw up.

    And yea, I’ll be playing GW2. First game since DAoC that pulls me in DAoC style.

    • Phantoon says:

      I like how some of the defenses for this game are “well the collect ten bear asses quests are good!” even though Guild Wars 2 completely sidesteps meaningless kill and collect quests by just letting you join in at any time, giving you multiple objectives, and rewarding you for participating rather than being the first to hit the enemy so you can loot it.

      I think it’s finally doing away with the Everquest mindset of “me me all for me”.

  21. Premium User Badge

    tumbleworld says:

    Really, the best thing about SW:TOR is that there’s a chance it might make some other big Devs think twice about churning out another pointless, drawn-out grind.

    If even Bioware stories and the SW universe can’t make the same old Holy Trinity rotation-mash and a heap of Fed-Ex and Kill quests palatable, then with a bit of luck, everyone will see that nothing can.

    Ragnar Tornquist, I’m looking at you here. Rush the Secret World out to market like that, and it too will collapse horribly, no matter how clever your Google-questing bolt-on is.

    • mondomau says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Jimbo says:

      Pretty much. I gave it a shot and played about the first ten hours of a couple of different classes (Imp Agent, Soldier), but it was just mindnumbing. The gameplay was still at a level of complexity that it should have moved past in a ten minute tutorial. It just felt like padding with more padding to pad it out.

      The ‘story elements’ that I saw were also only good by MMO standards. Most of it was still typical MMO trash, it was just voiced MMO trash. I did enjoy the first group Flashpoint thing I got to, but then it went straight back to grind afterwards and I had no intention of sitting through more of that.

      I think the industry needs to get over this thing of making MMOs work as single player games, because all they end up making are bad single player games. GW2 sounded interesting in this regard, with its ‘automatic cooperation’ thing going on, but I totally lost interest in that game when they started talking about microtransactions.

    • Phantoon says:

      I want to be wrong about SWTOR at some point. I want them to put in a patch that’ll fix everything. But it’s fundamentally flawed.

      Also I didn’t know The Secret World was just more of that. Good thing I wasn’t really paying attention to it, then.

  22. Hydian says:

    “The first was that although we had not originally planned the game to be heavily PVP-focused, the ease of getting in and playing the Warzones combined with their fun design gave us the highest PvP participation of any modern triple-A MMO.”

    I find this hard to believe. They may, possibly, have more total people in PvP than Warhammer does currently, but they certainly don’t have a higher participation rate nor are their raw numbers likely to be higher than Warhammer’s numbers were when it was still strong.

    You’d think that he’d be a bit more aware of the game whose warzone/scenario matching system they liked enough to reuse.

    • Vorphalack says:

      SwtOR did have an unusually high PvP participation rate, but not for the reasons they listed.

      PvP was populated because once you hit 50, after finishing the last planet, there was fuck all else to do. It was genuinely bad PvP, but the crafting was all automated, both Ops could be cleared in under 2 hours, hard mode flashpoints were redundant because Ops were so easy, and the daily’s were both monotonous and short lived. Oh yeah, and the PvP daily often bugged out and didn’t count wins, forcing you to PvP for longer than necessary.

      I’m sure they are very aware of the real reason for high PvP participation, but that wont stop them from twisting the numbers to cast the game in a positive light.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Hydian said:

      “I find this hard to believe. They may, possibly, have more total people in PvP than Warhammer does currently, but they certainly don’t have a higher participation rate nor are their raw numbers likely to be higher than Warhammer’s numbers were when it was still strong.”

      I’m curious; what do you base this belief on?

      • methodology says:

        Cause there really wasn’t much to do but pvp in warhammer.

      • xephyris says:

        One of the major selling points of Warhammer was the PVP, and it drew in players attracted to that, including many former DAoC players.

        The instanced PvP was a blast at the early levels but the game was unfortunately let down by terrible balancing issues, server performance problems, and a poorly designed open-world PvP system.

  23. Chiller says:

    “what we’re seeing is a huge increase in activity with [update] 1.2 as people return to see all of the new content”

    Oh, and I’m sure that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with giving away free time to lvl 50 players.
    Guess what’s going to happen once they go through the new content as well?

    The simple truth is that the game’s strengths lie in the levelling storytelling. That part is very good, but it stops at max level. It’s not doomsaying if you figure out that the way the game is built will not lead to long-term player retention.

    Any game built on the same model as WoW can’t possibly compete with WoW once the initial rush is over. MMO devs like to delude themselves, but that doesn’t make it true.

    • Chiller says:

      Also:

      “they devour your content at an amazing pace. That meant moving more teams to end game content earlier than we had expected”.

      Facepalm.

      Seriously, after 10 years of MMO developement, the fact that players go through content faster than predicted should be consider FACT, not supposition.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Somewhat more amazing if the idea that MMOs don’t seem to build a lot of heavily replayable content based on that obvious prediction. As if we will all get distracted by general socialising (rather than playing the game) so that we spend months to complete pre-endgame single-player/PvE content and barely even touch PvP content.

        There’s barely any movement in the MMO industry to actually take on board that they’re going to need to break some singleplayer RPG conventions to actually make a good slab of replayable MMO stuff.

        • thegooseking says:

          MMOs can’t rely on scripted stuff (because you have to produce a lot of it to satisfy players) or procedurally generated stuff (because that’s been tried and wasn’t as interesting as you’d think). But that’s looking at scripting and procedural generation as a binary. There are, in fact, approaches in between (suffice to say it’s down to at what level of abstraction you do your scripting and let the procedural stuff fill in the blanks). Anyone who strikes the right balance will make a good MMO, I think.

          (As a side note, I’m not entirely sold on user-generated content: the quality is just too inconsistent.)

  24. wuwul says:

    It is now official. RPS has confirmed: SWTOR is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered SWTOR community when RPS confirmed that SWTOR market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all players. Coming on the heels of a recent IGN survey which plainly states that SWTOR has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we’ve known all along. SWTOR is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent PCGamer comprehensive gaming test.

    You don’t need to be the Amazing Kreskin to predict SWTOR’s future. The hand writing is on the wall: SWTOR faces a bleak future. In fact there won’t be any future at all for SWTOR because SWTOR is dying. Things are looking very bad for SWTOR. As many of us are already aware, SWTOR continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    All major surveys show that SWTOR has steadily declined in market share. SWTOR is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If SWTOR is to survive at all it will be among MMO dilettante dabblers. SWTOR continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, SWTOR is dead.

    Fact: SWTOR is dead.

    • RakeShark says:

      In other alarmist news, protests rising against the recent trend of dogs and cats living together. Dogs say public acceptance of this lifestyle will be ruff going. Cats declined to comment.

      This just in, the hills of Los Angeles are burning.

    • methodology says:

      More bad news for SWTOR as game journal RPS quotes industry insider wuwul as confirming that Bioware’s beloved new game has infact died today. Speculation runs rampant about the cause, that possibly blizzard/activision were last seen in the vicinity. Wuwul is believed to have very trustworthy sources within the games industry.

      • Phantoon says:

        And if facts with numbers were posted to support his position, you’d still naysay it.

        Alarmists are fine, because there’s always rabid defenders to counterbalance them.

        • methodology says:

          bah wuwul’s brilliant post was a great example of old timey yellow journalism, mine was more about the circle jerk sourcing in the industry (not that RPS does that mind you). But go on with your anti bioware crusade?

  25. Coriolis says:

    In reality, the fundamental problem with the game is that it requires a bit too much skill. In most games in the genre, the difference between an excellent player and a mediocre one is minor. In this game I actually have to bind somewhere around 20-25 skills/usable items/long cooldown defensive abilities , and actually use them intelligently as opposed to having a simple rotation. A game like Rift in contrast can be played with 1-2 macros + ~4-5 other more situational keybinds that you only hit rarely. WoW/LOTRO you could still get by with 10-15 depending on class, at least back when I used to play them.

    This is even more of an issue in class stories which actually have hard fights in them – ones where you’ll be required to control, kite, and interrupt enemies. The vast majority of WoW’s population was incapable of that.

    Not that I’ll deny that the game is in trouble, and that there were (most have been fixed now) far more bugs then was acceptable, but basically for a non-blizzard game, it was as good as I expected. Once people deal with the reality of GW2 and not their fantasy of it, I think the hatred for SWTOR will shift.

    • xephyris says:

      What would you say the reality of GW2 is?

      • Coriolis says:

        I don’t have the slightest idea. But the reality of almost anything tends to be worse then the fantasy, and the beauty of GW2′s visuals makes it alot easier to not worry about the mechanics while you’re just looking and not playing. Simply put they have promised alot, and their fans expect alot, and that rarely turns out well. In particular while I do like the idea of no normal quests and everything being like WAR PQ’s, I doubt that this is anymore of a game-changer then SWTOR’s story has proven to be. The more action-ish gameplay is the sort of thing that sounds good on paper but will probably end up being much harder to balance – you’re already seeing this with people complaining that melee is not worth playing compared to ranged. It’s not an insurmountable challenge, but it’s a challenge, and until we’ve played it we have no idea how well these details really fit together. For example, in SWTOR the classes are suprisingly well balanced, while the targetting (tab and click) is suprisingly annoying. Little details like that can make quite a difference.

        Don’t misunderstand, I don’t doubt that it will be a good enough game to play for a few months and I plan on doing just that. But a lot of the commentary of the game is as relentlessly positive as SWTOR’s is relentlessly negative. In reality I imagine I’ll enjoy both about as much, and neither one will be as good as WoW, Diablo or Dwarf Fortress were for me hehe.

        • Phantoon says:

          Well balanced? Hold up a sec.

          You’re telling me the “expertise” stat, that increases damage and healing you do to players, while reducing damage from players, is balanced and doesn’t make healers insanely overpowered?

          Because it does. I have screenshots. Would you like me to go get them?

          • Brun says:

            They’re following the Blizzard PvP balance philosophy of intentionally making healers more powerful.

          • Coriolis says:

            If you think healers are OP in this game, you must have never played WoW (or WoW has changed radically from when I played it in TBC). At least in SWTOR there is no mana leech/burn of any sort, but at it’s base the difference between hps of a healer and dps of a dps player is much more even then it was in WoW. Also, every class (but one) has a free, off-gcd (for some very long range) interrupt, that can completely destroy a healer, if people were smart enough to use it (I’ll grant you, few are).

            It’s balanced somewhat more like WAR, where healers were also relatively weak. I’m not sure what screenshots you have and what you think they prove but I play both a dps jugg and a healing OP with similar gear, and basically in the current patch my damage tends to be in the 300-450k range per full pvp game, my healing in the 350-550K range (more variable). That to me is quite reasonable, and generally I find that my DPS juggernaut can carry a team moreso then my operative. This is exactly the opposite of my WoW experience.

            In any case, by balance I mean that all classes do roughly as well in their role as any other. The differences in dps/healing of people who know what they are doing in pve are on the order of ~10%, which is pretty good.

      • Spinks says:

        I’ve heard from friends in the closed beta that difficulty is currently quite an issue with it. You can’t overlevel an event because it will automatically level you back down and you can’t bring friends because events scale to the number of people around.

        So GW2 may give people a bit of a surprise if they wanted an easy MMO. Although it’s still in beta so you never know.

        • methodology says:

          it’s not difficult really, just when compared to most mmo’s that have been released. You’re not going to be coasting through the events and most fights will require you to be engaged and paying attention. I say this is a welcome change.

        • Coriolis says:

          Like I said I haven’t played GW2 so I can only comment based on what I’ve read but people seem to be saying that the difficulty is because you have to avoid enemy attacks, not because you have many abilities of your own that you have to learn to use well. This is rather different from SWTOR where the difficulty is both in using the right attacks, but also in using CCs/interrupts/stuns of your own effectively, but there is very little dodging/moving out of stuff. It’s different, and both are interesting, or at least will be if they aren’t nerfed, I’m suprised SWTOR didn’t nerf class quest difficulty and I’ll be suprised if GW2 doesn’t make melee more forgiving.

          There are many people in this thread complaining about how difficult the game is past lvl 20, and that is in large part because at that point you have all your CCs/interrupts and the game expects you to use them.

        • xephyris says:

          Although the events do scale I found that having a friend along does make it considerably easier, if only because if only one of us went down, the other could run away and then come back for a quick resurrection later, instead of me having to run back from the waypoint.

        • Khory says:

          I don’t know that I’d say it’s overly difficult. You will need to be willing to unlearn some of the habits you have from other MMOs. Tactics and quicker reflexes are necessary to excel. A lot of times charging in, or just standing and casting will get you killed even against average mobs. It can be very challenging if you have a hard time adapting.

          I kind of liked that most enemies can stomp you in the dirt if you aren’t on your toes. Others may not like it.

  26. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m just going to put this in the pile along side Bioware Dr think making MMOs is easy

    • Jimbo says:

      “The success of The Old Republic was only part of the current Bioware story, however. Mass Effect 3 is on the way, and it has much to live up to after the first two games. Does the game have any chance of sticking the landing? Will it offer a conclusion that satisfies the fans? “I just finished an end to end playthrough, for me the ending was the most satisfying of any game I’ve ever played… the decisions you make in this game are epic,” Dr. Muzyka promised. “The team has been planning for this for years, since the beginning of the Mass Effect franchise. Largely the same team, most of the same leads have worked on this for years and years. They’ve thought about [the ending] for years and years. It’s not something they’ve had to solve in a week or a month even, but over the course of five or ten years.””

      lol

      • GamerOS says:

        Was that a press release or some actual journalism?
        It seemed to praise Bioware into the high heavens, and I think anyone can agree they are not worth that.

        • Phantoon says:

          “Same people!” save for the head writers, the handful of your best creative and skilled people, and those that remain just not caring anymore (looking at you, Dragon Age 2).

          Also, most “journalism” regarding Bioware is just endless praising now anywhere, anyways. To get a completely unbiased review of their stuff, I can’t go here. I have to go to Forbes. Do you know how weird that is?

  27. Brun says:

    I’ve said this in other SWTOR threads, but the biggest problem with the game was that its progression was paced very poorly.

    When WoW was first released in 2004, reaching the level cap was much more of a grind than it is today (both in SWTOR and in WoW). The RPG market was different back then and a grindier approach was more acceptable than it is today. Don’t get me wrong – WoW was still less grindy than things like Everquest (especially since it was solo-friendly), but it ended up taking most people several months to reach the level cap. During these several months Blizzard had ample time to work on new content, so that additional endgame content was ready by the time most people were hitting 60 (and were geared enough to attempt it).

    BioWare was correct in noting that the grindy leveling curve of vanilla WoW would not be acceptable by modern MMORPG standards. It may not have even been feasible for them to prolong the leveling experience due to the considerable design constraints imposed by the need to voice-act everything. That said, they failed to realize that the shortening of the leveling experience would mean that players would be running out of things to do within one or two months of release.

    They keep touting these “quality-of-life” fixes that they’re working on, but realistically, those are some of the last things the game needs right now. People would be willing to put up with the clunky interface, lack of group finder, etc. if there were actually fun and engaging things to do every week. There are two major things the game needs right now. The first is more content, period. And by more content, I mean more operations (raids). It’s nice that they keep adding new flashpoints every patch, but those are mostly redundant at 50. The legacy system is interesting but unfortunately, the story for every player is exactly the same outside of their class quest, which makes leveling alts boring as hell after maybe the first time. The other thing the game needs is bug and balance fixes, especially in PvP. I normally participate in both PvE and PvP but in SWTOR the PvP balance is bad enough that I just can’t bring myself to play Warzones anymore.

    P.S. I see a lot of people saying “oh GW2 and WoW don’t have the voice acting and morality wheels, etc.” Those are a nice touch to questing, but they add nothing for max-level characters.

    • Phantoon says:

      GW2 DOES have voice acting.

      Who told you it didn’t?

      • Brun says:

        Someone up earlier in the thread, but I think they were referring to the morality wheels or whatever, pretty sure GW2 doesn’t have those.

        That wasn’t really the point though – the point was that the voice acting in SWTOR is nice but it adds nothing to the most important part of the game (endgame).

    • xephyris says:

      While not immediately obvious like SWTOR’s morality wheels, I noticed choices that I could make in GW2 that would affect my personal story. I was also able to affect my character’s stance on things by making choices that would increase certain non-combat stats – I believe they were Ferocity, Charm, and Dignity.

      Edit: I noticed that I had completely not responded to the point of the post – while I do agree that these things are all “RP!” and contribute only to immersion, they are very nice to have and make me feel a lot more attached to my in-game persona. In that sense SWTOR did make a genuine attempt at improving the genre.

  28. TwwIX says:

    The game is really fun for the first 20 levels or so. The combat becomes really tedious and grindy half way through. Everything has a cost attached to it and the credits you earn through questing all get sucked up just by basic functions like training, traveling and crafting alone. It’s ridiculous how much everything costs. It encourages nothing but farming. Especially in the later levels. The economy, in general, is very poorly balanced. I beta tested the game from 2010 and i had a blast playing the game during that period. BioWare managed to suck out that fun factor once the game came out. It’s been nothing but nerfs since the game’s release. Cryptic did the same mistake with Champions Online and look what happened to them. Also, lets not kid ourselves about this being a MMO. It’s not. It’s a heavily instanced RPG with a chat box attached to it. Socializing and grouping are practically non existent in this game. Even if BioWare were to reverse the numerous nerfs they introduced to the game. It’s still would not warrant a subscription fee.

    • Phantoon says:

      How’d you get away with farming? That’s against the TOS of the game, and is a bannable offense.

      (Yes, my brain did a backflip too when I read a Bioware CM say that. I like to imagine there was an angry END OF RINE after it. There wasn’t. It was just more “that word doesn’t exist in Star Wars. Thread closed.)

    • ScubaMonster says:

      What made the combat (and therfore the game) suck for me was how the enemies were handled. It was so cookie cutter copy and paste. A little group of humanoid or droid soldiers with blasters, with a couple melee staff/saber guys thrown in. All sitting still in there nice little pockets. I could picture the devs going through the world editor and plopping them down. At least other games try to make it a bit more random and with more wandering mobs. There was an extreme lack of variety in the enemies and enemy encounters. Flashpoints don’t count as you’re spending an awful lot of time in the game running around questing in the main worlds.

      • TwwIX says:

        Yeah, the planets, in general, feel very static and lifeless. Traveling also gets quite tedious because of the poor layouts and pathways on some of the planets. Having to push through the same crowds of mobs every couple of minutes gets boring very quickly. This would be less of a problem if the combat didn’t feel so god damn grindy. They did themselves a disservice by not implementing a more dynamic combat system and world.

  29. Cik says:

    A single-player rpg for $15/month masqueraded as a mmorpg; rich. mmo enthusiasts arent playing this game, and it shows by SW:TOR’s drastically declining sub numbers and ‘the’ lowest metacritic consumer score of any supposed mainstream mmorpg in the past 8-years; 57/100 http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/star-wars-the-old-republic

    But dont tell Mike_B of mmorpg.com that. . .they need to continue with their campaign that TOR is a massively-multiplayer game with unending mmo content providing an ‘A’-rated replayability experience. Fools.

  30. Pointless Puppies says:

    Ah yes, the classic BioWare Denial Extravaganza. I was wondering when it was going to be performed again after its nice showing in the Mass Effect 3 Theater.

    So BioWare lead designers say their game is totally awesome. Surprise. Shock. Because I completely expect you to say your own game is failing, this close to launch, as you’re struggling to keep up the activity. Just like it was a “shocker” how blindly ME3 and DA2 were defended when they both came out.

    I’m starting to take the Denial Extravaganza as part of the entertainment package that BioWare releases with each game. It’s not just the sub-par experience, it’s all the hilarious antics of BioWare spokespeople trying hard to cover their ears and go “LALALALALALA!”

  31. ScubaMonster says:

    “Although the Internet loves to pronounce the doom of all things, what we’re seeing is a huge increase in activity with [update] 1.2 as people return to see all of the new content,”

    But… they recently reactivated old accounts for like a week with the update. A bit misleading. Of course people are going to check it out for free, I know I did. Then didn’t resub.

  32. zipposurelite says:

    By, “what we’re seeing is a huge increase in activity with [update] 1.2 as people return to see all of the new content”, does he mean the free game time that they gave everyone?

  33. HaVoK308 says:

    Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Tera, ect. Those games do not have the ridiculous licensing fees SWTOR does. EA will be hemorrhaging money soon enough. They wont be able to keep updates like 1.2 coming fast enough to keep players paying their monthly fees. And with GW2 you only have to buy the game and your done. You get to play it for as long as you like without paying additional money. Imagine that! EA is also notorious for shutting down games leaving their customers without a product they paid for. Hell, they just did that for an iOS title.

  34. Obc says:

    btw, even more awesome than the Blood Plague Glitch in WoW was the Zombie Apocalypse Event by the end of TBC. (it was the event that lead to the Wrath). Way more mayhem and carnage to the point that the whole world wasn’t safe anymore. It started simple but escalated quite fast that it lead so many people to whine while i had soo much fun.

    btw i gave up SWTOR after only a month and they have developed nothing so far that would get me back. its boring, bland (especially the landscapes) and tedious.

  35. Khory says:

    SWTOR just has too many things hastily slapped together for my taste. For example, I hope whoever was in charge of the GTNs design was fired. It is absolutely terrible. The PvP was poorly implemented and balanced from the start. There’s plenty more small issues (and a few big ones) here and there that would be minor by themselves but after enough of them I just can’t stand it anymore. I just have a hard time understanding how some of the core systems in the game got so little attention. Especially considering how long the game was in development.

    To their credit BW is trying to make the fixes, changes, and add the features that are missing. The cold fact is though, there are too many games out there vying for my time for me to wait around for BW to catch up.