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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Lost In Translation

Posted by Teala Monday January 23 2012 at 5:12PM
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Welcome to my blog!  Let's see, what shall I discuss this week? about SWTOR! LOL!   j/k  I think we're all about SWTOR'd out, I know I am.   Oh I could write pages of stuff on this game.   Truly a wonderful game that just oozes stuff to write about.  I haven't had a game like this to write about in ages, but even I can get burned out - I mean there is only so much a hater/troll/person with a diablolical agenda, like me, can produce.  Besides, if I spew to much vitriolic hate, all at once, it could vaporize half the planet.   We don't want that happening.  So today I think I am going to discuss something close to my heart - MMO's and why I blog about them. 

I write about MMO's because they are a hobby of mine.  I do not just play them.  I look at them from the design perspective as well.     I don't just go - cool - new game - let's play!  I find it fascinating that we have the ability to create what is essentially a virtual world within our world.  

Think about this for a second.   We live in the Universe.   A Universe not of our making.    We've lived that way for millions of years.  Then not too long ago, humans technology advanced at an astounding rate.   From making fires on the open plains of the Serengeti to having an orbital space station.   That is so awesome.   It wasn't long ago before the first electronic computer was built.   Of course it wasn't long before someone had the ideal of using computers to play games.   But the coolest thing of all was when a group of people decided to create a virtual world with a computer.   How cool is that?!  A small Universe inside a Universe.  

But I digress, that is not what I wish to discuss today.  I can write pages and pages on the history of computer games and right now...I am just not in the mood.  No today we're discussing the fascination by some people that other people should not voice their opinions about these games or MMO's. 

It seems some people think that we should not be critical of games.  We should just be brainwashed zombies and accept whatever the game designers put on the market.   Not only should we just accept it, but we should put it on a golden pedastal, and worship it as a perfect iteration of gaming "perfection".  

News flash - no game is a 10 - ever.  Well, at least not yet.

I for one will continue to be critical of these games.   I said the main reason I blog about these games is because they are my hobby, that is partly correct.  The other reason is to get these game companies to produce better games.   When I go into a game I expect some degree of polish.  I expect certain basic features.   I expect that a new game is actually as good or better than those that came before it.   I dunno, call me crazy, but I am that way with just about everthing I buy.   I do not go buy a new car and not expect windshield wipers to be gone, or it is missing a glove box.   When I go pick out a new TV I expect it to be as good or better as the one that I currently have.  If not - why buy a new TV?

Same for these games.   Why buy a new MMO if it is not as good or better than the one I am currently playing?  Sorry, I am not going to do that.  I do not care if the game is based on a particular IP I happen to like - if the game is mediocre - it is mediocre and not worth my money or my time.  

Know what I am going to do when a new MMO comes out?  I am going to say just that.   The game is not as good or better than the one I am playing - so I am not going to play it.   I am going to point out why.  I am going to be critical of it.  I am going to continue to be critical of it and all the other games that came before it and continue to be critcial of these games until someone gets it right.  

If I don't, and others like me don't do this, guess what - we get sold the same game over and over again and you know what else - they don't get better, they get worse.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.   Look at the games that have released since WoW.  See anything unusaul about them?  I have.  They are becoming more and more linear.  They have become totally gear driven.  End games consist of PVP BG's and Raids and even the new games have made those areas of the game worse.   They release with missing basic features - even Rift released without a guild bank and other features.    It is getting pathetic and way to many people just turn a blind eye to the fact that these games are not getting better - when they should be!  Just as cars, phones, TV's and other things get better - this genre is getting worse.   That is not acceptable to me. 

See - TV's didn't get worse over the years.  They have always gotten better.   Would you ever buy a TV that was not better than the one you currently have?

Like one reviewer said regarding the game that cannot be named, "no other game I can think of  was designed with such an obvious attitude of HEY WE DON'T GIVE A CRAP".  

More MMO gamers should be raising a huge stink.   These games are not improving.   If you say they are, I want what you are smoking because that is some really good  stuff.   As for me.  I will continue to fight the good fight and hopefully some day the message will finally be heard.    Make us a better game.

You'd think these game companies would do what other companies do when they are competing for a share of the market.   They make a better product!   That is one reason WoW was so successful.   They(Blizzard) took a mishmash of games and said, lets take this from that game, this from that game, and oh yeah this and this, and that.  Then they said, now that we have these things let's make it better.  Tada.  WoW was born.  Blizzard does this and continues to be successful.  Did these other game designers learn anything from Blizzard?  No.  All they knew to do was try to copy what WoW did and produce a knock-off - a psudeo version of the game - a counterfeit. 

In this day and age of products - you have to produce a good product.   Even if Android phones are not Apples iPhone - they are as good and in some instances better than an iPhone!  We get a better product!

Same reason why iPad's are still the best selling tablet.  Nobody has done it better right now than Apple.  

That is why I blog about MMO's.  I have no "hidden agenda".  I am not a paid shill for any game company.  I am not a hater of MMO's.  I am a gamer and I wish to see better games made.    That has always been my single theme of my writing when it comes to this genre.   Some people think I am being critical of these games and bashing them just to be bashing them.   I do not bash a game.   If I was to say bash a game like SWTOR all I would do is go around saying "SWTOR SUCKS!"   That is bashing a game.

Being critical of a game is just that..being critical.  Somehow, some people took being critical to mean the game is being bashed and its fans are being trolled - it's not.   Also, an opinion is just that an opinion.  If you do not agree with it, state why you do not agree with it and let it go.  Do not proceed to then go into some diatribe about the person that holds the opinion that is different than yours - that is not construcitve in the least.  If you continue to do that eventaully everything becomes a nonsensical mess and any message you are trying to convey becomes lost in translation.

Alleneira writes:

Let me start my comment with a quote: "Mathematics is the language of nature. Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers.  If you graph these numbers, patterns emerge. Therefore: There are patterns everywhere in nature." ... PCs work with numbers, programms are pattern of numbers... hence we have a little universe in our own. we just barely grasped what we could do with the new tools: PC to simulate things... may it be an universe to entertain ourself, or an universe at which we simulate the movement of asteroids, planets and universes. It is indeed a very interesting topic and it is fun to see how thing develop further... if they develop.


Maybe some persons are right and Teala overdid it abit with SWTOR... still what else was there to talk about in the big and wide MMO universe? SWTOR is/was a big mark in the MMO genre, alone due to the huge potential the game had... which was left unused. In the end, what drives us back to talk about games? Drives us maybe even back to old games we once played?


its the disappointment... the huge potential we see in that game which was left unused and the hope that the critism we offer "helps" to make that game better, but despite all the hope we often are left alone in the rain... "too risky".... "too expensive"... "not what the player wants" is what they think... well wait, arent we the players who complain about it and want to have it changed?

All the companies repeated the very same mistake over and over. The mistake wasnt to copy from WoW, but it was not to listen to their customers, since I doubt that their customers want yet antoher wow clone.


Look at Bethesda for instance, I played Oblivion... I hated Oblivion and could name tons of flaws in that game. Bethesda listened... hell due to their creation tool the community even made mods themself and these very same mods are the things Bethesda took and build into skyrim, while trying to adress the complainments of Oblivion and so we ended with Skyrim.

Skyrim which has the combat of Deadly Reflex from Skycaptain, different body  weighting, compareable with the different body models in Oblivion, a more living atmosphere... whish was a bit critism in Oblivion, an different Skillsystem, which still isnt good but a nice change to the flawed one in Oblivion.... and the list goes on. Way to go Bethesda!


So why dont other companies try the same and listen to the customers of other MMOs? Or trying to be innovative with their game and bring a different wind into it? Or why dont the companies listen to their customers in the game itself?

There is nearly no customer relationship with MMO companies and their customers, so the companies know a jackshit what their community wants, you can see that due to the lack of tools to provide ideas. Browsing the game forum isnt the way how you see what your com likes and what not... I once read a thread on how to do it and seen a link there  

They sell just god damn coffee and have a better customer relationship as an company which develops an MMO which has tons of various possiblities to forge their own universe! But still you have more chances to bring your own coffee with bubblegum taste into star bucks as an good idea into an MMO... and a coffee with bubble gum taste isnt a good idea...


That is also the reason why I like to read Tealas blog. She points out flaws and things the game could have made better, since as she said above "no game is a 10 - ever." which is utterly true in just any aspect, even with Skyrim!


But this blog isnt about single player games, its about MMOs, a stagnant genre out of fear that your expensive MMO project will fail if you try out a new way, but fails even harder since you take the very same way, which everyone else took.


So everything which is left is hope... hope that the fangirls and boys will shut the fuck up, that people start to look with more critism at things and that companies finally start to listen, so that we get an virtual world which we can enjoy.

Mon Jan 23 2012 6:48PM Report
teakbois writes:

I do agree with your general ideas, but its tough to complain about games becoming more and more linear and then praise WoW.


WoW was a streamlining of the MMORPG was easily the least complex game of its kind when it released.  It still had a nice open world, but with every expansion it became more and more linear.  Cataclysm is every bit as linear as Rift or SWTOR.  The most popular game is still WoW, and its current state is certainly no better than Rift or SWToR.  So praising WoW at this point is praising the current MMO trends.  WoW barely resembles its former self right now, its just designed to easily funnel you into the current raid.  You do the latest dngeons for the lastest valor gear to do the latest raid in hard, easy or super ridiculous easy mode.  


Now lots of people dont understand the concept of 'WoW clone' and say 'WoW was just a clone of EQ', whereas anyone with half a brain can see the difference.  WoW, as you said, took a mishmash of games.  Its class structure with trees was *very* loosely based on DAoC for instance.  It started with a clean slate and said 'lets build an MMO with what people like'.  The games after it do no start with a clean slate, they start with WoW and say 'what can we change with this'.  None of the pre-WoW games had the same class structure.  Yet now we have Rift and SWToR in the same year that very obviously took WoWs three tree talent structure.  AT least Rift put a spin on it, SWtoR didnt even try to do that.


Developers are making two big mstakes.  One is not starting with a clean slate, the other is starting with modern WoW and not Vanilla WoW and not realizing what made Vanilla WoW great.  Hint: it had *nothing* to do with endgame especially the grind currency for gear via repeated (and recycled) dungeons and boring dailies.  This was not what WoW is about.  This is 100% what Rift is about, and what SWTOR is about once you go through the story.  


Guild Wars 2 looks to be taking the WoW method of building a game.  Their design philosophy was exactly what WoWs was, to address peoples complaints about what works and what doesnt work.  Guild Wars 2 is the hope for class based MMORPGs.  Sandboxers have to hope one of the indie companys pulls of an EvE caliber game without a heavy focus on PvP and where you control a being and not a ship. 


Teala, you are smarter than some of your posts on SWToR.  And you are attacking the wrong game at this point.  If I recall you posted negatively about Cataclysm when it launched.  You saw, before others did, what a turd it was.  But you let WoW off easy.  You didnt celebrate its loss of subscribers like you do SWToRs.  You didnt celebrate Rift's loss of subscribers ether for that matter.  I can understand cutting Trion some slack, but pretty much everything you hate Bioware for can apply directly to current Blizzard.  11 million subscribers and 2 years and all we get is cataclysm?  Blizzard has become the laziest MMO developer ever and has started trends (like unfinished expansions being doled out over 2 years to pacify people) that have seriously hurt the genre.


So here is my question to you:  Why not put the hate where it really belongs now?  If more developers see that people are *not* happy with the current WoW model maybe the nonsense will end.  

Tue Jan 24 2012 1:06PM Report
Teala writes:


WoW is not the problem, but that is not to say that WoW doesn't have its own problems.  If you go back in my own blog I come down on Blizzard pretty hard for Cataclysm.   Themeparks are not the problem either.   It is the fact that the designers trying to follow Blizzards model for WoW are missing the mark.   I'll say this again, eventually people will start getting the message, "if you are going to copy WoW, you have to do it as good or better than they did - in every way - not just half-baked." 

What does that mean?  That means having open world.  That means having rain, snow, night and day cycles.  That means having water.  That means putting  flora and fauna in that water.  That means paying attention to even the smallest of details.   Like when your cahracter runs in the snow it leaves tracks.  Or when in a cold area it breaths steam.   That means when I type /laugh I expect my character to, you know, actually laugh?  Look at Bioware...they praise their voiceovers for the games story...but they leave out the sound of peoples characters laughing?  Seriously? 

I have used xfire in the past to predict a games health and yes I did do it for Rift - and LoTR's, and Aion, and Warhammer and many MMO's.  Maybe not on my blog, but I did on the boards and like now regarding xfire people told me that you cannot use it because it isn't accurate.   ::shrugs::  To each their own.   Xfire has been accurate.  I haven't been wrong about the health of any MMO's I have discussed past and I am not wrong about SWTOR.   It has lost a lot of players and it did it in its first month.

That is not a good sign.   Not even Rift lost this many players that fast.  It took Rift a good 3 months before we saw significant drops.  Not the case with SWTOR. 

Anyway, I have said my piece.  I do hope I am wrong with SWTOR - but I do not think I am, I think blew their chance.  These games live and die on first impressions.   Bioware failed.   How do I know they failed?  Because when the games biggest supporters bail in less than a month -( think about that and let it sink in really good )- in less than a month some of the games biggest supporters bailed.   What does that tell you about the game?

Tue Jan 24 2012 2:20PM Report
teakbois writes:

"if you are going to copy WoW, you have to do it as good or better than they did - in every way - not just half-baked." 


My post was not in defense of Bioware or Trion, I agree with this point.  I think Bioware showed an awful lot of incompetence and they are paying for it.  I disagree with some of the common digs at it (it never failed to feel like an MMO for me, I thought the combat was smooth and responsive overall...but then the bug almost never showed up for me) and the fact that there was some semblance of soul in the game was a nice change from Rift, but theres nowhere near enough and the world design is kind of stupid.  And Bioware doesnt know what its doing with the endgame.  Crafting, a strong point for the game 1-49, became a huge negatve at 50.  they can fix it, but its not *that* hard to make meaningful crafting out of the box.  Maybe its better that their vision was more limited because if they tried something more difficult it would be vanguard all over again.


But i think what Blizzard has done is far worse.  They have taken their big hit, and gotten lazy.  Everything about it was better in Vanilla.  Talent trees were better.  Zones were better.  Things werent as linear.  Open world PvP was frequent and fun even on PvE servers.  Why arent there different dungeons for leveling and endgame? Bosses dumbed down to fit into a 10 man model.  Buffs removed and classes homogenized.


Sad thing is a lot of that list was done so its easier to develop content.  You make over a billion dollar in revenue a year off subs and Cataclysm is the best you can come up with?


Bioware is incompetent.  But not lazy.  AT least it doesnt seem so far.  Blizzard is lazy.  And games are copying the lazy model, not the Vanilla WoW model.


Tue Jan 24 2012 3:05PM Report
Teala writes:

I disagree, I think Bioware is lazy.   I think they just did what they needed to do to get by.   They didn't pay attention to the little things and that reflected on the bigger things.   Like I said, they spent millions on VO's, yet when you do the emote for your character to /laugh - nothing.   That is being lazy and and not caring.   When you build a world and fail to even add background ambient sounds like a waterfall even - that is lazy and not caring.  When you go with static skies, no night and day cycle, no weather - that is lazy and not caring.  

That reflects on the game as a whole.  If they do not care about the little things - they sure as hell do not care about the bigger things.

So no, I completely disagree, Bioware is lazy and they do not care.   They have to change that if they want their game to succeed.   They better stop being lazy and they better start caring or they'll find their game among the many other games in the abyss of bad games.  


Tue Jan 24 2012 3:23PM Report
NameWasTaken writes:

So true! MMO games are mutating into the one click button wonder. Soon all we will have to play is an interface with a single "I WIN!" button, that randomly places "phat lewt" into a virtual inventory. I hate where this genre is going.

Tue Jan 24 2012 8:52PM Report
Thorqemada writes:

I disagree - there be games that can be rated 10:

Vampire: Bloodlines


Ultima VII - Black Gate

A few more i know but dont have in mind yet ;)


I disagree that WoW is not part of the way the mmos go since its relase - even having existing games changed bcs of WoW.

Not all of this WoW-problem is a Blactivisionizzard thing but the expectiation from other Publishers and Developers that a "similar" mmo will make tons of money bcs they misjudge the broad success has all to do with the design and nothing with the fame of Blizzard as online gaming pioneer with its sagas Diablo and Warcraft and the that was the breedign ground for millions of loyal fans which gave them a superior huge advantage from the very start compared to any competition!

The design of WoW only made it easy for the fans to join in and bring other friends by.

Nothing of this can happen again bcs there is no other and no other onlinegamingpioneer in the mmo-market.

And now the market is overcompeted with mmos abundand.


SWTOR is still ten times bigger then number 3 in the mmo list and the player numbers be down by 25% which is quite low of a loss and the real benchmark be 3, 6 and 12 months.

I think the production cost is grossly overexaggerated but even if it is 150 or 200 million it will make its money.

Age of Conan sold ~1.050.000 Copies and had ~280.000 avg. sub. the first year and made a 100 million revenue (To be read in the q3 report of 2011 in the TWS forecast where the AoC numbers be stated as example for revenue).

Will SWTOR make the same shitloads of money than WoW?

Probably not and that is good so bcs it will make the prime example that WoW is more a fluke than a planned success and that copys wont repeat that!

But its pretty much possible to beat games like AoC or Aion, War, whatever...


I agree:

Its time to bring back Virtual Worlds!

To make the gameplay the ruling factor!

To do this high quality and with modern technics!

To take the good things out of all games and brainstorm what works together and what not or even offer different gameplay in the same world bcs of different environments.

Possibilities be countless!

Tue Jan 24 2012 11:05PM Report
Yamota writes:

Im in love ;)

Joking aside, this article more or less exactly explains how I feel about games and MMORPGs in general. They promised to be the next step in the evolution of video games but lately they just turned out to be cash cows with zero vision and innovation.

It has become so bad that MMORPGs has become more and more like single player games which they were originally evolved from.

Wed Jan 25 2012 6:59AM Report
Kickaxe writes:

I guess all of us that appreciate and enjoy TOR are just plain dumb, too easily pleased, or plainly and simply don't factor.  The cognoscenti is irreproachable.

Thu Jan 26 2012 5:43AM Report
Crepitus writes:

Thanks for this article, good stuff as ever.

Thu Jan 26 2012 9:22AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Might want to swing by here Teala.

Thu Jan 26 2012 10:35AM Report
Rommie10-284 writes:

It's semi-related to the post, but I remember now the exact moment I had the "oh no" feeling in the Beta.

In the Warhammer Beta, it was when they pulled the Elf and Dwarf Capitals from release.  Doing that so close to the end of the Beta was a Red Mainsail of Bad Management, Inc. Incoming, and it proved all too true.

For TOR, it was when they turned off your outfit matching your chestpiece colors deep into the Beta.  And it wasn't because of the option itself  - switch on, switch off, NBD - but from the reasons given by Bioware for doing it.  Or lack thereof, and the "Because SHUT UP that's why" vibe it caused.

It started the We're Pro attitude that BW's kept hand-waving in front of the players repeatedly.  Fluffing the customers with "We know what we are doing, trust us (but thanks again for your patience)" only works if YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  Earn your reputation, then brag about it, not the reverse, unless you want to spincrashburn just like so many other developers have.

Anyway, when the BW developers started removing features from the game with little to no justification for doing so, that was the warning I should have heeded.  Past experience tells me that developers rarely change their spots, so the current crew are primed to make a big set of changes Soon(tm) that will backfire on them, even though they think they know what they are doing.  I truly hope they avoid doing so, but I'm not sticking around to see if they do or not.  This time, I'll let someone else pay for the ride :)

Thu Jan 26 2012 12:05PM Report
Adiaris writes:

Not sure how I missed your blog before but... I like your thinking! Wish more people thought about games and their development like this. 

Thu Jan 26 2012 3:54PM Report
MurlockDance writes:

I can't agree more with this blog. A definite big bump from me! I have been feeling this way more and more since the industry has progressed (or digressed rather).

I would like to also add to this discussion the whole microtransaction phenomenon in light of the fact that it seems to me that game devs are becoming more and more engrossed in development of their rather lame item stores and less and less interested in the overall game content. This is I think a very bad way for this industry to evolve. They are becoming too involved in money-making and not enough in gaming itself. This in particular pertains to the subscription-based hybrid games! It is quickly becoming not good value for quite a bit of money spent for this hobby.

For the first time in a long time, I am more attracted to single player or smaller multiplayer games than anything coming out in the MMORPG market. I am sort of interested in GW2, but my main gaming fixes are coming from older games. I have no interest in picking up ToR, which is sort of a benchmark moment for me because since 2001 I have picked up every AAA title either at or soon after release.

I hope the gaming community stops being stooges for poorly thought-out pseudo-single player RPGs that demand a subscription. But I guess it is just a hope that will never be realized.

Sun Jan 29 2012 4:23AM Report
sanosukex writes:

had to comment because my favorite overall sum-up of SWTOR was by the video reviewer you quoted

"no other game I can think of  was designed with such an obvious attitude of HEY WE DON'T GIVE A CRAP". 

i never played a game before with this sort of budget that felt like the developers just did not care about the game they were creating. It was the most bland and unispired worlds I have ever seen in a big name game like this. That video reviewer showed these points the best but everything from the clones everywhere, to the static filler npcs, to the reused dialog, to the set of 3 placed npc's everywhere, to the overall feel of nothing really going on in the worlds.


I just recently reinstalled rift ot give it a whirl again and first thing you see in the starter area for guardian is the npcs wandering around killing things, the cannon blast that light up the sky as the mystical cannon balls hit the ground, the world feels alive and they honestly did very little to achieve this effect. I just cant understand how a game liek story wars that is supposed to be story centered decided to not include any sort of immersion into the worlds it just makes me want to pull my hair out. 

Anyway just wanted to add my two cents of frustration and I think everyone has heard it enough in the swtor forums anyway:)

Sat Feb 04 2012 8:23PM Report
Meltdown writes:

Teala I'm usually on the fence with your blogs, some I agree with, some I do not. And as per usual I mostly agree with your blog this time. During your discussions of "Universes" being created after the invention of the computer I took a mental note and kept going. That note being that film, television, books, and art have all offered up the same (albeit passive instead of active) idea of a universe inside a universe. 


But my concerns are not so much the exclusion of these mediums in your blog, but what they are considered. These mediums are art, and I also believe that games are also art. Art does not follow the typical timeline one would expect with televisons as your picture demonstrates. Stories, music, or artwork... there are those which are hundreds if not thousands of years old that still are held in higher regard than any "new" stories coming out nowadays.


Isn't this analogy so much cleaner? We see the same thing happening in our beloved interactive virtual worlds as the rest of the world has been complaining about in our passive virtual worlds. How many complaints of unoriginal movies, books, television shows has there been of late? How many times have you heard people talking about the 1 billionth reality TV spin off. 


When the majority of "artistic releases" are sequels or prequels the art medium is in a "polishing" phase and ideas tend to be reused and "improved" upon. That is until an innovative leap in thinking and their approach to that art form is achieved giving the critics (anyone viewing said art) a new look into their own humanity and souls (not to get too deep on you).


But this is perfectly normal. You say that we should be taking offense to these repeated forms and ideas that occasionally get polished up and spit back as an even more "polished turd". But its sort of a neccessary evil. It's tough to say how long a phase like this would last, but its true for all art periods and we are currently in the "themepark", or "WoW-clone" or whatever phrase one would like to coin.


I'm sure at some point during the Classical period someone uttered a phrase similar to "Ugh this music sucks, its just the same thing as Beethovan. Why can't anyone be original!" AND GOOD FOR THEM!!! It was their distaste for more of the same that brought out the next, and the next, and the next phases of music. One could argue that the original was still the best, but art progresses in such a different way than technology.


I think the recent exposure of indie gaming is helping us a lot move away from the polishing phase and back into a phase filled with explosive new ideas. Successes like Minecraft, the Humble Bundles, the F2P model, and the exposure of independent "artists" via the internet is setting us up for success... and lets keep pushing!!!


tl;dr I agree. Although I think if you looked at games like art you would see the technology comparisons are difficult to follow. It is a much more complex path that art must take.

Mon Feb 06 2012 2:12PM Report
Liquidcurse writes:

I guess the F2P market mmos are more niche yet make more sense financially? Bioware could have done alot of things bettet with SWTOR, and I say that because of the mountains of cash they spent on it. But video games aren't smartphones, TVs, or Japanese automated toilets. The engineering behind the games is only one component that counts towards the quality of the game. Design choices and game systems are another. The way it all comes together is like an artform. And nowadays its the result of a whole lot of people, The idea of a lead designer seems to be just a figurehead upon closer examination.

WoW came out first, yes, it did cool stuff, alot of people like it. Now.. people want something better. Not a shock. You read on the internet from various people all sorts of things. I won't get into it here, I'm sure we don't want that. Ideas aren't that easy to come by, let alone express to people, so doing something different is risky in the game industry. WIth that mentality its hard to get something different out.

When I was at the NYCC 2011 I had a feeling SWTOR would copy World of Warcraft. (Notice I've omitted some rhetoric.) It was a big budget MMO, huge stakes, lots of risk. I was under the impression the game underwent alot of polish, but aside from Voidstar and Huttball gameplay footage and mention of quest design I didn't see much I haven't seen before (I did read something on companions before NYCC.)

When the game came out I'll admit I was overwhelmed, certainly after its been months since I played RIFT and longer in multitude regarding my last playtime with WoW then. OK lots to do, huge universe, so much stuff to know to get around. It was different feel, that's for sure. ELEMENTS WERE SIMILAR TO RIFT AND WOW, YES. But hey when it comes to TVs and smartphones what different innovation can there be besides using your fingers to manipulate things? Later, as days passed and I continued to play the game I did feel a disconnect between my gunslinger and I rerolled to the "mage with a glowstick" Jedi Sage. Certainly, past criticisms have merit, but the story behind the Consular was solid, the VO certainly added immersion, personal critiques aside. And I went farther with my consular's levels and story. Eventually I was motivated to join a guild, fortunately I joined a guild that was around for 15 years, one with a solid reputation maintained throughout various past MMOs including Ultima Online, Age of Conan and World of Warcraft. There are inguild discussions on strategy and organization like in other guilds. There were appointments of people to serve as guild banks in lieu of the absence of more popular guild functions. (Progression is an abstract thing here at best, repuations as a guild and people who wear the guild tag act the way they do in such a manner to best represent the guild and what the GM has set forth. I haven't asked them what made them move from game to game. I could safely assume they all act based on the best interests of their guild, though I speculate their stay in AoC and Rift were very brief.

Communities are there. I've seen familiar guildnames from Rift and World of Warcraft playing SWTOR. People complain about bugs and glitches, but it doesn't stop them from having fun with SWTOR, circumstances (timing, competition) aside. Longevity and versatility is certainly there (level progression through PvP and/or PvE is possible). And there is enough focus to detail that people don't compalin that much.

I think its really cool WoW has great worldwide appeal especially in markets in Asia. I do hope this game takes off worldwide too. Yes, I hope future MMOs also pique my interest but that means there's more quality games worth my time. Including SWTOR.


Tue Feb 07 2012 3:02AM Report writes:
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