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Teala's Wickedly Cool MMORPG.com Blog For The Masses

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

Author: Teala

5 Reasons Star Wars:The Old Republic Might Be Successful

Posted by Teala Friday August 5 2011 at 2:09PM
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This is going to be one of two write-ups I will ever do of this game.  So enjoy and savor them, they will most likely be my last for this particular game - ever.

This first entry is my list of reasons why this game might actually succeed or do well on the market, and finally break the streak of games that release under the huge hype machine with expectations of drawing in millions of customers, and possibly retaining the majority of them(something no new game has done in the NA and EU markets for years) but failed to do.  Not since WoW has any game done as well.   Most new game releases draw in around a million players with the initial sales of the game and then within months of the games release the game companies are working their arses off to retain even a 1/3 of those players that had started playing the game.  

We've seen it happen in countless games since the release of World of Warcraft; and that list is long and littered with well known IP’s that have millions of pre-made fans.  Some are struggling to remain in operation, some have gone free to play, while others have just outright been shut down.   They were all hyped to heaven as the next best, greatest thing since , and none of them proved to be anything other than just a re-envisioned version of a couple of games we've all ready played.

And...despite people saying, 'Who cares if the game is similar to X game - this game is better and is going to rock!', it didn't save these games from being less than successful.   I can name the games if you like, but I think we’ve heard their names enough to know which ones they are...so no need for people to get salt rubbed into their wounds.  

Successful, however, can be subjective, so playing it safe I am going to say that being successful in this case means they have at a minimum of 300+k players playing the game(that number is less than EQ1 at its peak - so I think that is fair).  Most new games released since WoW barely maintain 150k subscribers and some(as I mentioned have just folded and are no longer in operation).  Another point so some of you understand where I am coming from, I am talking about the NA and EU markets...not the Asian markets.

I’m not here to slam or to promote, I am merely here to point out why I think this game "could" be successful.  Whether it is or not lies solely with the creators of the game - Bioware and Lucas Arts.   If they fail to deliver the goods than no doubt this game can be tossed onto the heap of bad games all ready piling up in your moms basement.  OK I joke...not your moms basement, that was wrong...but probably your step moms.  

Anyway....here are the reasons I think Star Wars: The Old Rebublic might actually be successful.

1) Bioware - the name alone means quality and is synonymous with roleplaying games.   If you call yourself a true gamer, you know who this company is.  They made the first games many of us grew up playing years ago like Bauldur’s Gate Series(crap...my age is showing), and the most recent well know games Dragon Age I & II and Mass Effect 1 & 2.   How can this game possibly fail?  Not sure it can - if I am to be totally honest.  The game is loosely based off their original award winning game series Knights of the Old Republic(and of course the expanded Star Wars Universe), a single player roleplaying game that changed the very way we looked at computer based RPG’s.   To this day KoToR is still considered one of the best computer RPG’s ever made.  BTW KoToR is the only game I have ever played that made me cry at the end.  Seriously...I cried like a baby.    Such a great game.   With that said, like Blizzard before them, Bioware has a huge...and I mean huge fan base with which to draw from...if that alone does not spell out success - nothing will.   Bioware is renown for their games and they have millions of gaming fans around the world.   This just might be all it takes for Bioware to take a large chunk of the MMO market.   For now though we’ll have to wait and see.

2) Star Wars - OK who doesn’t know and love this IP? OK there maybe a few that do not care for this IP - but in a sea of billions of fans, those that do not like Star Wars are so few that we that do like it make no mind of them...they are like that cousin that nobody in the family remembers or even knows their name.   Star Wars without a doubt is one of the best known IP’s on this planet!  OMG...I swear you can travel to the most remote regions of this world and I bet you’ll find someone there that has heard of Star Wars, Obi Wan, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker.   Really...how can this game possibly fail with an IP that is this well known and this big?!  If it does fail...then Bioware will forever in the annals of gaming history be known under various monikers as BioFail, BioCrap, BioPoo, BioTrash, BioDung, BioPoodoo,...let’s face it...they will never be able to show their faces at E3 or any place gaming related without being met by a mob of people ready to chase them out of town with torches and pitchforks.   This is Star Wars...I repeat Star Wars.  The name alone oozes of awesomenoussauce: lightsabers, Jedi’s, Sith’s, spaceships, stormtroopers, and wookies.  

3)  Accessibility - perhaps one of the main reasons World of Warcraft was so successful was the fact that you could play the game on a McGyvered calculator.   The young padawans learned well from the master Blizzard and it appears that SW:ToR will follow suit and be playable on just about any gaming rig - even really old ones - ancient ones...ones made before many of you reading this were barely out of diapers.   When a game company takes the effort to make sure their game can be played on even the lowliest of low gaming systems that is a good sign.  It means that if you can’t spend a ton of cash on a new computer or upgrades, no worries, your old circa 1999 computer should handle this game fairly well(to play it safe though I would be more inclined to think you should have something dated around 2005 - you know - just to play it safe).  

4) Themepark - now I am going to come right out and say I think this is a terrible thing...if I didn’t you’d all be going, “Where is our bitter, jaded, bitchy MMORPG hater Teala, and what have you done to her?”  OK that is out of the way.   Because Bioware seems to think that this is the right model for their game due to the success of another well known themepark based game...well who can really fault them? (Sure I can, I’m just a mean spirited bitch that hates themeparks - lol), No really, who can fault them?  Look at the success of one of the greatest MMORPG’s - World of Warcraft - now tell me one game company that would not like to repeat that success.  Is it playing it safe? Sure it is.  Is it wrong?  Who the frak knows...I can tell you how I feel about it, but I am biased, but one thing is for certain - it appears most gamers prefer to be hand fed their game and led around on a leash and this game, like its many predecessors, does not deviate from that model of game play.   If you think previous games that followed after World of Warcraft was on rails...welcome to more of the same.   Now as I said, this could actually make this game a huge success.  It seems many people prefer this style of game.   I do not understand why people say they like this style of game and yet most newer MMO’s that used the same paradigm crashed and burned(some horribly) due to players finding out that once again the game was just more of the same old, same old and then abandon them within a few months.  Maybe themeparks are the answer - it’s just that nobody has gotten it right since World of Warcraft.   So I am going out on a limb here and say that if there is another reason this game might be successful it will be because Boiware stuck to a model that they knew would work if they manage to give players what they want - a good game that is fun to play - whether it is a themepark or not - if it is fun - people will play it.

5)  Timing - This maybe one of the top reasons this game does succeed when so many other games have failed.   Timing.   Just like when Blizzard released World of Warcraft, one of the major defining factors of this games success was Blizzards timing of its release.   MMORPG players were just as jaded then as they are now.   We were looking for something bigger, something better, something fun to play.   We were tired of our UO’s, EQ’s, AC’s and wanted something fresh, something different, but not so different, something we could really rally around and Blizzard delivered at just the right time when the genre needed something to kick it into high gear.   Bioware is at the right moment in time for just such another kick.   This genre surely needs another successful game to bring it back from the edge of the “Abyss of Doom”.   When Blizzard released World of Warcraft, we were just coming off of years of playing games like EQ and AC and the like.   People were ready for not necessarily something totally new or different, because World of Warcraft was modeled after the games that came before it and took the best of those games and made them better - so we weren’t getting new and different - just better and Blizzard hit a home run in the 9th inning with the bases loaded.   It was partly a matter of timing.   This maybe one of the things that helps make Star Wars: The Old Republic a success - Bioware launches it when we the genre really needed a good kick in the proverbial nether regions.  

There you go...my top 5 reason Star Wars: The Old Republic might just shock us all and be one of the most successful games ever released.   We can all hope and pray it does, because if this game fails...I have a feeling it might be the end of this gaming genre as we know it...so keep your fingers crossed that they have a great batter in the 9th inning, who is strong in force, with the bases loaded.

Amannas writes:

1) and 2) as stated by you,could have applied to SWG as well,and we saw how that went..at a time when Sony was not (in terms of notoriety) the SOE it is today yes? As for 3) and 4),they also apply to most of the non named mmos that had them,yet failed..which is why i'm typing it thus,as a 'tag',even when succesfully put,can no -longer- have the impact it had.

Got it on timing though :) An excellent timing indeed..and a reason number 6),the most prominent of them all..money..timing has been 'here' for some time now,BIO however could capitalise on that..

Fri Aug 05 2011 5:47PM Report
Amannas writes:

btw did you pre-order? :)

(and yes i did..being desperate is being desperate)

Fri Aug 05 2011 5:50PM Report
Yamota writes:

Themepark is the very reason why this game wont succeed. It for sure will make a profit, I am sure Rift has aswell, but there can only be one big Themepark on the market and that spot is taken.

This game will follow the same path as WAR, AoC, Rift, LotrO etc. It will sell fine and make a profit but will slowly fade into the sea of WoW clone themeparks.

Fri Aug 05 2011 7:27PM Report
lthompson94 writes:

Yes, since Yamota said it will fade it surely will.  He has a firm grasp on the market and the desires of the masses. 

I'm guessing this is a WoW clone because it has an actionbar?  This is KOTOR as an MMO which obviously you have never played.

The game will do fine.

Fri Aug 05 2011 10:14PM Report
Kothoses writes:

Interesting but I think that the sheer momentum this game has built up across the internet and beyond will be another reason for its success.   Commercial and critical success seem almost a given at this point, as to if it will succeed in the eyes of gamers, that is more subjective and as proven on an hour basis on this site, logic does not facter into many gamers view of success.

 

The only thing I would disagree with is the term "might" this game has allready had a hugely successful pre-order and will go on from there with massive momentum.  Long term though it has to stand on its own two feet.

Sat Aug 06 2011 4:47AM Report
daltanious writes:

I agree on 3, 4 and 5. Regarding 1: Look at Square Enix and FF14, regarding 2: AoC and Conan.

Sat Aug 06 2011 4:52AM Report
BadSpock writes:

It is not what makes this game similar that will determine whether or not is succeeds, but rather what makes it different.

Alas, your five points are fairly worthless as the factors you list will allow for greater hype and initial sales but will do nothing for the longevity of the game, and in the MMO business, longevity = success.

More important to longevity/success -

1. Will people fall in love with the Voice Overs and focus on quality Story or simply click through/rush to the end-game like other themepark MMOs?

2. Will the Companion system work or simply be a nuisance?

3. Will the limited Space game/housing be enough to sate players until further expansion/additions to the system?

4. Will there be enough "end-game" PvP and PvE to satisfy players or will re-rolling be the only option at cap?

5. Will there be enough polish and clever design to "feel" right to the experienced MMO player, yet enough support for the MMO noob who is a Bioware/Star Wars fan?

Sat Aug 06 2011 6:22AM Report
Yellowbeardd writes:

funny how people think World of warcraft invented there style of game play only reason why they say that cause well the champion of the mmo world can say that the loser's can't but WoW stole there ideas from other MMO's like all other MMO's do so i don't care what mmo comes out it will be a clone of another clone of another clone and will always be like that so get over it only way a clone can be succesfull is to make every aspect a bit better and of course a good story which bioware is very good at . I could go on but you should get the point and 2hr sold out collectors edition should i say more lol.

Sun Aug 07 2011 1:46AM Report
GroovyFlower writes:

WoW was totally different from games like UO or AC  maybe even EQ, so your TOTALLY wrong there and i saw a article some time ago from  your hand and you where fan of sandbox and deeper better games like AC and now you jump on bandwagon of mediocre themepark games like SWTOR its almost if your payed for this? This avarage themepark for casuals have only one purpose making money. EA and $$$ NUFF SAID. I realy dont see any quality in games bioware release these past few years.

Sun Aug 07 2011 5:30PM Report
Yellowbeardd writes:

not a bandwagon like you to show me that post lol. Also you have no idea of what ur talking about bioware is probly the best story driving game makers in the gaming world hands down others don't even come close.

Sun Aug 07 2011 6:42PM Report
spookydom writes:

 I'm bumping this just for "McGyvered calculator."

Mon Aug 08 2011 9:12AM Report
Suraknar writes:

Nice article, however, for me, only reason #3 actually has value. if Bioware did make SW:TOR with such scalability in mind this is a plus for this game.

I beleive it has happened to all of us numerous times to be so excited about an upcomming game only to be utterly disapointed by it when it ran at 6fps.

So that is a plus.

The rest of the reasons 1,2,,4,5, again for me, play no role in my choice of a game and have no bearing in my choice to play a given game.

I do not really care who makes the game, I do not really care on what IP it is based on either, the timing has been good for many years now as far as I am concerned because since UO and later SWG I have been roamming from game to game looking for the one that will give me fun for a longer than 3-6 months term.

And lastly the fact that it is a themepark, is actually a deterent for me to play it. I am fed up of themeparks, this design simply is not capable of being fun to me, as it consists of repetitive, redundant, and in the longer term boring gameplay. It does not challenge my senses or immagination and is usually devoid of social emphasis, the interaction is between the player and the ride.

But that is me.

Hope it works for SW:TOR as you lay it down here, they put lots of work in to it nevertheless would be a shame it goes down the drain.

Mon Aug 08 2011 7:32PM Report
eugam writes:

Themepark isnt the problem. The problem seems to be the lack of money, time or sane senses to implement an alternative "progression".

The game will have its chance, just as all others in the past years. I think the biggest enemy of the game is its IP. Its old and worn and very static.  Especially static, because its bound to IP and expectations. See LotRO for example.

A more generic but very well designed space mmo would have been better, more open for ideas and mechanics.

 

Top IP bound games make me think they try to sell me an illusion and not a game...

Tue Aug 09 2011 3:19AM Report
Isturi writes:

Ive heard it time and angain that ToR will be WoW in space. Many gamers are hoping for such. I know I am.

Tue Aug 09 2011 9:38AM Report
Yaruna writes:

I'm a bit confused that you brought up these reasons why the game would succeed. I'd have thought they'd had more to do with the qualities of the game than with the height of the hype. If these are the 5 reasons why SWTOR will succeed then WoW will rule eternal.

Wed Aug 10 2011 2:58PM Report
Anolev writes:

I agree with everything above, and would add an important 6th (related to #1, i.e. BioWare is known for this in their games already)...

6)  RPG/Story - unlike just about every predecessor in the MMORPG industry, BioWare adds something new back into the formula, which is a impactful story.  Lots of folks started playing MMORPG's in the first place because they seemed the logical evolution to single-player RPG's.  But what was lost in the shuffle of inventing the "MMORPG" genre was, in fact, the RPG portion.  Sure games that have come before SW:TOR have been massive and online, but have they really been roleplaying games in the traditional sense of the word?  When I say "traditional" I mean PnP tabletop games, like D&D.  Just about every MMO has quests, but do they have quests that you care about... that really suck you into the world?... or are the quests just a rapid mechanism for gaining XP, that most players click through?  By adding story back into the mix, BioWare will hopefully reinvigorate what this entire genre was supposed to be about from the start.

Wed Aug 10 2011 4:04PM Report
Gardavsshade writes:

I agree with you Teala about SW:TOR. As much as I want it to fail I know it will do the exact opposite and may be the nutcracker everyone had on their christmans lists for years.

Now my favorite bit of the article....

"(Sure I can, I’m just a mean spirited bitch that hates themeparks - lol),"

Damn, too bad I suck worse than Daniel Jackson, I guess dreams will have to do...

Thanks for the Blog, I liked it.

 

Wed Aug 10 2011 10:13PM Report
Richijefe writes:

With Blizzard already running an Alpha version of Diablo 3 (according to a swedish gaming site), Blizzard might try to release Diablo 3 closely to the SWTOR release, and this could be seriously damaging to both SWTOR initial sales and retention...

We shall see!

Fri Aug 12 2011 7:10AM Report
Xondar123 writes:

"This is going to be one of two write-ups I will ever do of this game.  So enjoy and savor them, they will most likely be my last for this particular game - ever."

 

looks at the sea of WoW articles Teala has written

Famous last words.

Also <3 "McGyvered calculator!"

Sat Aug 13 2011 11:34PM Report
ArcheusCross writes:

Just to let you all know, friend betaed ToR. Just another wow with voice overs instead of wall of text.. and even that gets repetative... this isnt the game you are looking for *waves hand*

Mon Sep 26 2011 1:57AM Report
ArcheusCross writes:

Oh and space combat IS on rails.. ala starfox, but far less exciting. The game will do good... for a short time.. then fall flat.

Mon Sep 26 2011 1:58AM Report

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