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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » Gamebreaker talks on TORs problems.

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Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 475

OP  5/30/12 4:07:01 PM#1

[mod edit] is talking TOR woes.

Tin foil hat warning: Media starting to catch up with reality or advertising dollars being cut?

Edit: LOL sorry, left link out.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/04/11
Posts: 568


5/30/12 4:08:54 PM#2

Im confused, there a link or soemthing?

The way mmo's were: Community, Exploration, Character Development, Conquest.

The way mmo's are now : Cut-Scenes,Cut-Scenes, solo Questing, Cut-Scenes...



Joined: 1/03/11
Posts: 2515

5/30/12 4:09:38 PM#3

Could you please link to something specific, otherwise this seems like you're trying to rehash a subject of a closed thread. Also, please do not discuss specific moderation actions on the forums. Email MikeB at the address in my sig if you want to give feedback of any kind.


Update: Thanks for adding the link.

To give feedback on moderation, contact


Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 475

OP  5/30/12 5:11:36 PM#4

Jeez! ~1:10 minutes long

Most honest anything ever from the media I've seen thus far about this game. They didn't touch hardly any of my main issues but it's a good start.

+1 creditability Gamebreaker



Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/10
Posts: 917

5/30/12 8:40:34 PM#5

The episode clocks in at an hour and eleven minutes. Here are the tidbits I found interesting from the episode. I try to match up the comments with the actual time they said as best I could. I would say if you can, watch the video from 2:22 to 41:11 if you don't want to watch it all.

This post is very long so I am breaking it up per comments. Any opinions of mine I give in (). Ones that really stood out I bolded.

Stephen Reid the community manager; some of you may remember was part of Game Breaker at one time. He was let go as well.

Gary: You don't want to get into the numbers?

Justin: The numbers are very very large unfortunately. (This is in reference to the amount of layoffs)

Well they said it was very large. E.A. comments that they would be laying off quite a few.

How many people were working on the team in total? Do we know? What was the total team?

I think the total max was around 450 people.

Ed: At the time around GDC 2012 the number was over 600 people.

There was a time when they had over 1000 people working on game at one point or another. (Meaning not all at the same time)

At the time of the Guild Summit they were sitting around 450 at BioWare, Austin.

How many? (In terms of people "estimate" getting the pink slip)

Ed: *He signals 200*

Justin: It is pretty much what I've heard from the unconfirmed rumors. It’s a human cost. You are talking about people I got to know personally and professionally in the past 2 and a half years. I know more personally than I am willing to share who were let go.

Did anybody see any of these signs early on?

They were expecting it. They mentioned it in the conference call. No one knew they day, it seems they had no warning.

The thing that really shocked me about it; it was companywide, it wasn't just the Q&A team or some other redundant team.

(He comments on one of James Ohlen’s quotes)

"Unlike a lot of other game companies that, once they launch a game, downsize their teams radically, our plan is to keep the team together and continue to focus on building content."

Apparently something changed.

When earning calls come in... they are dealing with people who put the money behind it... the effect of loss of subscribers... people on the inside not being happy... usually what people want to see... the very first thing is... they want to see heads roll. (He jumps around a bit here with all these comments) So they see heads roll and at least they see some form of budget cuts. There is some sort of money being recouped, and that is what usually execs like to see when times are tough.

Agrees to Gary's last statement.

When companies, especially MMOs, once they get past the launch phase there is always a restructuring phase. There is always redundancy and things that shift.

You can understand people from customer service, things like that could have been handled. These would have been the first people to be caught up in the layoff. But in fact, it was really down in the trenches: developers and community managers. Stephen Reid, being part of Game Breaker at one time shocked seeing his name in the mix. He was everywhere, and you kind of associated the game with those guys.

I think that was the one area that was kind of weird from the cuts standpoint, the other areas I kind of understand. There is risk of payroll concerns of higher level people.

Made his face (Stephen Reid) engrained in the community, and once he is gone, who else is left? Is it David Bass or Joe Gonzalez? They lost the PR oomph by this one move alone.

Server merges are going to come. When that happens, everybody screams Star Wars is dead! The MMO is dead! It’s crashing! It’s over with! This seems to be 1000 times worse, this looks really really bad. (He is probably talking about doing the layoffs and how it was done first versus doing the server merges)

I have to ask the question: Does anyone think that the numbers are possibly worse than what we are being led on to, and we are not privy to the information?

It is a trailing indicator rather than a leading indicator.

Justin: The company health is an issue. They cut not only from BioWare, but also from other places. It wasn't just these unconfirmed 150-200 people that were cut from BioWare, there are several hundred others cut throughout E.A.

In hindsight, everybody is going to look back and go: Why did BioWare have to make a turn into the MMO space? There is a large part of the community that said don't do this. Make BioWare games. You are amazing at doing these story driven games. They wanted to do something totally different. (As in copy 90% of WOW and slap on the story with voice over aspect)

Ed: Before RIFT people were starting to question whether is it even viable to enter the market because no one was doing well except for World of Warcraft.

(For a long term P2P MMO I would also put EVE Online here and maybe one other MMO that have been able to either maintain a substantial amount of subscriptions or in EVE's case being able to stabilize and grow... compared to every other P2P MMO that has been released post 2005, that either has gone through severe server merges or F2P or closed shop)

Ed: The amount of effort that BioWare expended in the 1-49 experience, which almost everyone would say it was tons of fun. The problem is they spent so much time there, that they didn't spend enough time in endgame. There was not enough endgame content. Because they spent so much time from 1-49, this is probably why they were pushed out the door before they were ready because so much money was going into the vertical game. BioWare might have thought optimistically that the 4th pillar story was sufficient to hold people in the long term. There is not enough stuff at endgame as I would need to stay here indefinitely; this is the feedback I got.

Gary: I don't think anybody disses the leveling process and the story. Everybody seemed to love it. But once you did it... now what?

The biggest misstep that they made early on was not getting a huge patch in time. We sat here wait for 1.2, I mean how many times did we discuss 1.2 in the show. It seemed like it was never going to come out. That fact alone, initially not having enough endgame content; people immediately went away from it. And that is hard to come back especially after the initial drop of players that get disinterested naturally.

Gary: The MMO gamer is much more invested in things that happen behind the scenes versus the average gamer because it is such a long term commitment that you question these things and you go, hey do I want to invest my time here? And I can only think that this will turn off many players who are currently still playing.

Ed: Most games don't recover don't recover from the initial drop. It is really hard to plateau and climb again. The only games that have been able to do this are when they switch their model like Turbine did with LOTRO.

Do they have a sufficiently large team there to improve the existing content and crank out new content to retain or obtain new subscribers that is really the big question.

The biggest question for me is can they do that and follow the story model and the 4th pillar and story is important. There would be nothing more disorienting that new content has nothing to do with story and it has to do with endgame alerts.

I could see them abandoning the 4th pillar of story and just trying to adopt some other mechanics like in World of Warcraft, just put this in, just put this in, just put this in.

To me they have to decide which way they are going. They are either going to put more content for endgame and focus in on that, or decide on story and try to retain the casual players. It is going to be very very hard to continue on like that and try to carry both.

Larry: They have to look at who their core players are.
They give examples on who their core players are.

I think the core of the game is more casual. We have seen the concurrent users drop down drastically as well beyond just subscription numbers. They may play the game a couple of times a week instead of playing every day. It is a bit more casual.

ED: I LEARNED MY LESSON BACK IN WARHAMMER NOT TO BLINDLY HOPE THAT A GAME WILL TURN AROUND EVEN WHEN ALL THE SIGNS ARE THERE THAT IT ISN'T GOING TO COME BACK. (You can say this about 99% of the theme park based MMORPG games post 2005 till present that follow the P2P model and copy 90% or more from EQI/EQII/WOW for Western developers and LineageI/LineageII/Aion for Eastern developers)

Ed: We are not just people that buy games and play for a week or two and put in on a shelf and never play it again. MMO players tend to invest heavily in their characters. By the same token they get involved on the community on their server, stuff that matters to us. I like the feeling of being part of something larger than just my own character.

Is this news kind of putting the fear in the panel even... we do a show... 4 people who are really super hyped for SWTOR... one runs a website solely... the other is a writer. Is this scaring the panel? I know Justin won't tell me because he runs DarthHater. He is not going to tell me if he is jumping ship. Even the hardcore players have to be sort of... the thought has to be crossing your mind at this point. Are these the telltale signs of a game that is not going to come back?

Is it a good time for SWTOR to go F2P? Would we be a little bit more forgiving and see where this road takes us?

Ed: If you are going to charge people upfront for the cost of the box and charge them $15 a month, they have tons of opportunity to opt out in that this game isn't worth my money anymore. Developers need to decide how they can make the cost for the game, not to provide too many opportunities for the customer to get frustrated and leave.

You create pressure on yourself to make those people happy because they are going to be extremely demanding and not be patient or forgiving. You need to create a critical mass environment. Whoever logs in, whichever server they are on feels vibrant and active enough. Folks have stopped playing because their server doesn't have critical mass. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE AROUND THEIR SERVER TO FEEL LIKE AN MMO.

We just spent the last 39 minutes discussing the game that has only been out for how many months? Layoffs, how are they going to fix it, will it go F2P, what they need to do to get people back. This is not a good sign.

It could be worse.

Gary: Most of these MMOs didn’t spend this kind of money or this hype and have the Star Wars IP. You have the #1 most iconic IP in the World. How angry are the money people at the top must be. How did you screw this up? (Easy: not learning from the NGE debacle which was the #1 reason SWG went downhill fast. Only this time around copy World of Warcraft and tack on voice overs and story... instead of just copying World of Warcraft for SWG.)

Star Wars and Lucas Arts do not have the best reputation as far as gaming is concerned.

What else is bigger than Star Wars?

Mario MMO.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/06/11
Posts: 602

5/30/12 9:06:59 PM#6
I feel for those who lost their jobs. If there were some objective reporting about this game from its inception, and a team that was open to suggestions from the community and an objective press, perhaps a corrective course could have been taken much earlier.


"Remember, remember - Kakk says 'December.'"


Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/06
Posts: 81

5/30/12 9:17:41 PM#7

Do any of the suits who make all these bad decisions ever get the pink slip?


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Joined: 5/30/12
Posts: 37

5/30/12 9:21:14 PM#8
Originally posted by Amana

Could you please link to something specific, otherwise this seems like you're trying to rehash a subject of a closed thread. Also, please do not discuss specific moderation actions on the forums. Email MikeB at the address in my sig if you want to give feedback of any kind.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/27/04
Posts: 1848

"Pablo Picasso said art is a lie that tells the truth."

5/30/12 9:27:02 PM#9


Thanks for the write up

I have a hard time watching those netcasts....


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/10
Posts: 1860

I cannot fiddle but I can make a great state of a small city.

5/30/12 9:36:04 PM#10
Originally posted by CujoSWAoA


Thanks for the write up


Seconded, thanks.




Elite Member

Joined: 8/31/06
Posts: 994

5/30/12 9:45:11 PM#11
Originally posted by Toolfan

Do any of the suits who make all these bad decisions ever get the pink slip?


No, no they don't.  They always blame other people because failure couldn't possibly be their own fault.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/02/08
Posts: 3762

5/30/12 9:51:20 PM#12

They believe that BW is trying to figure out where they go from here.  Do they continue to do "what they do best", which is story-driven content, or change focus more to traditional MMO staples?

I think BW made the same mistake that almost all themepark developers in the last several years did - they failed to ask themselves "Why is our target audience going to want to play our game long-term?".  As STO found out, and TSW will find out, it's impossible to produce good, story-driven content fast enough to keep a playerbase constantly entertained.  They must have long-term, self-sustaining meaningful gameplay inbedded in the design, in addition to the quality storylines.

Pacing is a critical part of MMO game design, which most devs do not do well at incorporating.  SWTOR did not pace the game well, and I believe focusing on story is an untenable position for the long-term, unless the game has a wide variety of other meaningful activities integrated into the game as well.

Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/24/09
Posts: 23

5/30/12 9:52:18 PM#13

BW made huge mistake for using Hero engine on multi server setup.  For Hero engine to work, a single world server is a must.  Otherwise, the game world will be empty.  Things such as server transfer, cross server pvp/lfg tool must be in place before anything.  This is 2012 not 1998 EQ time.  The features stated above should be standardrized in any decent online game.  

The dev. team needs to make up their mind on the core game play design.  If focus is on storyline based during level up, then the leve speed cannot be fast.  Otherwise, people will burn through the levels and ended up nothing to do at the max level.  BW made level speed way too fast and never had a plan B for release enough end game contents. 

Combine all the mistakes together, we servers with lots of people maxed out in less than a week.  Worse, people quit rather quickly and that killed the "MM" part of MMOG.  That led to even more people quitting.  I'm not sure if BW/EA will be able to turn the game around at this point.  SWTOR has a critical problem that BW cannot fix, that is their multi server design on top of Hero engine.   If this game was created as single world server, it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as it is now.


Not the best, but always the first.


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Joined: 2/23/09
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

5/30/12 10:02:13 PM#14
Originally posted by killion81
Originally posted by Toolfan

Do any of the suits who make all these bad decisions ever get the pink slip?


No, no they don't.  They always blame other people because failure couldn't possibly be their own fault.


It's called capitalism suh. The American dream!

"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
~Lord George Gordon Byron


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Joined: 6/01/05
Posts: 867

5/30/12 10:08:14 PM#15
Originally posted by Amana

Could you please link to something specific, otherwise this seems like you're trying to rehash a subject of a closed thread. Also, please do not discuss specific moderation actions on the forums. Email MikeB at the address in my sig if you want to give feedback of any kind.


Update: Thanks for adding the link.


Amana, it was clear his post was no threat to the staff here - It seems you are overly sensative to any and all discussions regarding REVIEWS of Star Wars.  Last I checked reviews of online games were a fair subject to discuss, or is it only mmorpg reviews that are sacred to criticism?

I don't understand why you are so quick to jump on any implication that the gaming media (which includes this website) overly hyped and reviewed this game.


You have personally closed at least 2 threads today that were civil in their discourse for discussing over-hypeing of this game.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/21/07
Posts: 567

5/30/12 10:08:46 PM#16

Nothing can stop the total failure of SWTOR.  Nothing.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/10
Posts: 1860

I cannot fiddle but I can make a great state of a small city.

5/30/12 10:34:59 PM#17
Originally posted by Rohn

Pacing is a critical part of MMO game design, which most devs do not do well at incorporating.  SWTOR did not pace the game well, and I believe focusing on story is an untenable position for the long-term, unless the game has a wide variety of other meaningful activities integrated into the game as well.


I'm still blown away at how quickly they allowed us to level.  This was a major failure on their part in not understanding exactly what kind of game they actually had.  They should have made the leveling process so much longer than it was.  I think that would have lengthened the re-subs substantially.

Of course the problems of not enough content at 50 and gear being way too easy to acquire would still be there.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/12/07
Posts: 481

5/30/12 10:46:14 PM#18

Gary had to work hard keeping those Star Wars geeks honest, but it was fun listening to him call them out on their crap.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/16/12
Posts: 23

5/30/12 10:50:34 PM#19

Shocker.  All the non-credibile reviews and dishonesty had always been searchable on; just look at any score greater than 85.  Those sites that did give this game a B or B+ shine in the editorial misconduct category; either that or those reviewers are really in need of a reality-check.  


Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/04
Posts: 123

5/30/12 11:08:13 PM#20

Hey Ambrosia

Thanks a bunch for taking the time...

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