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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » My [partial] theory why The Secret World and SWTOR failed

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43 posts found
  iamflymolo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/20/11
Posts: 143

9/25/12 10:00:12 PM#21

I played closed beta of TSW almost up to release and have never talked about it - but now that it's pretty much decidedly failed I'll just add my very general 2 cents.

 

I hated it.

 

When I logged in for the first time and played for a couple of hours I thought it was amazing. I honestly thought it might become my favorite mmo. Within a few days I found logging in to be a chore. I seriously hated everything about it.

 

I have reviewed several games on youtube and planned on reviewing TSW but I honestly could find nothing good to say about it. Since I have never had a desire to get into the whole game-bashing thing just for game-bashing's sake, I decided to not review it at all and until this point have said nothing.

 

You might ask me for specifics, but honestly it's pointless. I felt every aspect of the game was ill-conceived starting with the concept which introduces you into this intriguing world of secret societies and then sends you off to kill zombies for many endless hours of grindy gameplay. Hmmm... I guess I just gave a specific.

 

Anyway, my two cents. I know a lot of people said they enjoyed this game, which is another part of the reason I just kept my mouth shut for so long, but while the question of, "why did it fail?" is now being asked over and over again - my question was always, "what did anyone find engaging enough that they thought it would succeed?"

http://www.youtube.com/flymolo

  chryses

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/07
Posts: 1438

9/26/12 12:44:46 AM#22
Originally posted by iamflymolo

I played closed beta of TSW almost up to release and have never talked about it - but now that it's pretty much decidedly failed I'll just add my very general 2 cents.

 

I hated it.

 

When I logged in for the first time and played for a couple of hours I thought it was amazing. I honestly thought it might become my favorite mmo. Within a few days I found logging in to be a chore. I seriously hated everything about it.

 

I have reviewed several games on youtube and planned on reviewing TSW but I honestly could find nothing good to say about it. Since I have never had a desire to get into the whole game-bashing thing just for game-bashing's sake, I decided to not review it at all and until this point have said nothing.

 

You might ask me for specifics, but honestly it's pointless. I felt every aspect of the game was ill-conceived starting with the concept which introduces you into this intriguing world of secret societies and then sends you off to kill zombies for many endless hours of grindy gameplay. Hmmm... I guess I just gave a specific.

 

Anyway, my two cents. I know a lot of people said they enjoyed this game, which is another part of the reason I just kept my mouth shut for so long, but while the question of, "why did it fail?" is now being asked over and over again - my question was always, "what did anyone find engaging enough that they thought it would succeed?"

The biggest issue I have with any type of niche game is well...its niche.  How long can a player stay engaged in a very specific category?  They will always attract a huge amount of interest as they are different and possibly a lot of box sales but inevitably they will fall over after 2 months. 

  Loke666

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16023

9/26/12 12:57:01 AM#23
Originally posted by Rasputin

I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

Both are still using WoW as a model, without much improvement as far as I saw.

Apart from this model dying, there is, however, a deeper lying reason:

It just feels flat to wield a firearm and not being able to actually aim and shoot it. The tab-targeting works just as if it had been with a fantasy game, but because the envrionment is so close to first-person-shooters, the artificiality and the removal of you from your character hits home so much stronger.

You become more aware of the mechanics surrounding tab-targeting than you otherwise would.

The feeling you get is quite flat and one of powerlessness. You don't have that satisfying feeling that you have from an FPS after you shoot and you see the target fall over. Once one piece of the puzzle falls apart, then the players begin noticing the others so much more.
Tab targeting and firearms is a bad combination, that doesn't fall through in the same way in a fantasy styled game. Why? I don't know exactly, but maybe because we got used to the fantasy-style from singleplayer games before the MMO's? In my opinion, it is the inevitable comparison to FPS'es because of the graphical similarities that makes the illusion fall and the game with it.

My theory of course :)

Well, I think you are partially right. TOR really should have used mechanics made for the IP instead of using the standard mechanics. You should either start with a world and create mechanics for it or take a mechanics and create a world that fits it. Just taking 2 premade things and snap them together is a huge misstake.

TORs use of weapons could till have kept autotargetting I think but it should have have had an advanced cover/duck mechanics at minimum.

The combat in that type of game needs to feel faster and more action oriented, but it also needs to keep some of the strategy. 

The trinity system was also a huge misstake, it goes right against the lore. I dont remember Luke tanking or healing in the movies, in fact I remember then replacing his arm instead of healing it and placing him in that bacta bath when he was cooled down. While the old republic had more Jedis it still feels really wrong compared to the movies. Tanking never worked in modern or sci-fi games at all, unless the game actually have panzers.

But another misstake they made is that the game is too close to a singleplayer game, and they never last that long.

  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 6476

9/26/12 1:01:17 AM#24
Originally posted by Rasputin

I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

 

  Rasputin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/07/03
Posts: 618

 
OP  9/26/12 1:55:54 AM#25
Originally posted by bcbully
Originally posted by Rasputin

I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

 

Briefly for MMOs. I did gather some levels :)

My analysis only gives part of the answer (as my headline states), and I focus on basic game mechanics, not the larger game.

Also, I have not yet tried an MMO that changed significantly from the early game and up to (not including) end game. So from my experience, you will have a good idea of a standard MMO from playing the beginning of it.

  bobfish

Elite Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1590

9/26/12 2:52:25 AM#26

My honest opinion as someone who has worked on MMOs...

 

SWTOR

They went after the elephant in the room. Anyone who works in any consumer industry knows that you don't take on the run away market leader at their own game and win. Whether this is MMOs, FPS, mobile phones or washing machines or anything else. You aim to take a share of the market and you do it by making a product that is similar but different. And different in a way that is appealing to the consumer. BioWare banked too heavily on the Star Wars IP being that different factor.

You can look back to the earliest BioWare Austin interviews, long before they announced the IP to see that they were making a WoW clone because EVERYTHING they said in those early interviews referenced WoW.

Now SWTOR isn't a "bad" game, it just isn't quite as good as WoW at what they do the same and anything it does that is new isn't compelling enough to the MMO consumer to make them want to move to and stick with it. They also completely neglected the need to retain players. This is a mature market, you have to release an MMO with a solid retention feature at launch, you can't add it post launch like you could five years ago.

All in all, BioWare made some bad decision early in the design process and EA, plus a couple of million consumers were fooled by them into thinking that SWTOR was going to be something special. BioWare screwed this one up, not anyone else.

 

TSW

This isn't a bad game, it has a few issues and a few things that some people don't like, but there isn't really anything wrong with how they approached it. It takes the basic MMO formula and does exactly what is needed to step away from the market leader (WoW). The quest system is unique and well done, the setting is different and well thought out and character progression is open and refreshing.

However, TSW is a niche setting. This isn't the FPS market where everyone wants to be a badass US Marine, this is the MMO market where people have grown up on fantasy games. Stepping out of that to something along the lines of Lovecraft, which many MMO gamers have probably never heard of before was a very big risk to take and the sales of the game reflect that. It simply doesn't appeal to enough people.

You can't call out any system within the game for the failing, because the vast majority of MMO gamers never even bothered to try it. They were turned off before that point and the obvious, though probably not sole, reason for this is going to be the setting/theme. It probably doesn't  help them that many remember how bad a state Age of Conan was in when it launched too.

 

You can't paint every failed MMO with the same brush, they haven't all failed for the same reasons.

  Blackbrrd

Novice Member

Joined: 2/24/09
Posts: 812

9/26/12 2:58:55 AM#27
It's actually not the tab-targetting that feels wrong, atleast not in my opinion. What feels wrong is that you have a rifle on full auto, hitting the mob and it just doesn't die. The same goes for the shotgun. I see why they have done it gameplay wise, but it feels wrong.
  Dreskest

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/12
Posts: 71

9/26/12 3:19:04 AM#28
Originally posted by Blackbrrd
It's actually not the tab-targetting that feels wrong, atleast not in my opinion. What feels wrong is that you have a rifle on full auto, hitting the mob and it just doesn't die. The same goes for the shotgun. I see why they have done it gameplay wise, but it feels wrong.

By that logic, it feels totally wrong that in every fantasy game I whack mobs with swords, axes, maces,and all sorts of spells and they just don't die instantly.

 

You realize we're all just playing videogames to have a good time right ?

  Rasputin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/07/03
Posts: 618

 
OP  9/26/12 3:34:43 AM#29
Originally posted by Blackbrrd
It's actually not the tab-targetting that feels wrong, atleast not in my opinion. What feels wrong is that you have a rifle on full auto, hitting the mob and it just doesn't die. The same goes for the shotgun. I see why they have done it gameplay wise, but it feels wrong.

But you see, it is tab-targeting. At least in-directly. Because with tab-targeting goes the standard formula, where everything is calculated. This weapon is that level and will give this damage to a lvl-that monster. You can have a badass looking lvl1 shotgun being unable to take down a higher level monster. DPS, DoT and all the other mechanics that go with mathematical-formula combat systems like those of standard MMO's (WoW-clones if you like) are like that, and are heavily tied in with tab-targeting. Tab-targeting is anti-playerskill, and needs another way to resolve combat, and that "other way" makes guns feel wrong.

  Rasputin

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/07/03
Posts: 618

 
OP  9/26/12 3:43:38 AM#30
Originally posted by Dreskest
Originally posted by Blackbrrd
It's actually not the tab-targetting that feels wrong, atleast not in my opinion. What feels wrong is that you have a rifle on full auto, hitting the mob and it just doesn't die. The same goes for the shotgun. I see why they have done it gameplay wise, but it feels wrong.

By that logic, it feels totally wrong that in every fantasy game I whack mobs with swords, axes, maces,and all sorts of spells and they just don't die instantly.

 

You realize we're all just playing videogames to have a good time right ?

This is what I addressed in my OP, when I said, that I wasn't sure why we accept it in fantasy MMOs. Maybe we are just used to it from decades of fantasy games, that resolved combat that way. Or we don't really know how potent medieval weapons are, because we have no experience with them, so we accept what we are being presented with. Also, it is not unusual to see movies where a sword fight takes a while and inflicts several wounds on the combatants (even if that may be unlikely in a r/l situation - I don't know if it is). On that background, it is easier for players to accept a sword fight that takes a longer time and deals several blows to the opponent before he dies.

Everyone has one-shotted soldiers in CoD or BF, everyone has mass-slaughtered zombies in Left for Dead and everyone has seen what guns do in countless movies.

It is really hard to accept, when it does not react as we expect - even if those expectations are based on false premises.

  worldalpha

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/11
Posts: 401

Working hard on WorldAlpha

9/26/12 3:44:19 AM#31
I was surprised as a big SW fan that I just couldn't get into SWTOR.  It didn't captivate me.

Thanks,
Mike
Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  Agent_Joseph

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/11/06
Posts: 654

9/26/12 3:52:03 AM#32

TSW is not fail ,that game is not atractive for  childish action based  mmorpg  players,comunity is ok,now with nice number active players.TSW not need milions players.

I hate fps action targeting  mode in an mmorpg games , look STO ,it is crap in fps mode.

Go play  shooters,rpg games are diferent concept.You know ME serial  is not an rpg it is shooter.

 

 

only EVE is real MMO...but I am impressive with TSW

  Scot

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 4732

9/26/12 3:56:47 AM#33

AoC had twitch melee but tab target ranged if I remember right. I have seen various MMO's struggle with this one and come down on the fully twitched side myself. But the issue there is player ability comes to the fore and MMO's do not want any player to feel they are failing somehow.

The industry thinks that players will not feel bad and leave B3 because they are not so good, but will in a MMO. I am not sure the industry is right here, as long as players are not getting ganked I think they will still play in MMO's even if they are not as good as the next guy.

Make sure it is zoned PvP and most players would accept it. Problem is they are not after most players, they want every player so it is easymode play once again.

  Beermangler

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/28/09
Posts: 390

9/26/12 3:58:55 AM#34

The only reason why I haven't continued playing TSW after the trial is that ranged combad didn't feel ranged at all.

I was running around with an M4 machine gun but I still had to kill every mob at point blank range. 

This is how TSW failed me personally as a range player. 

 

As for SWTOR... what can I say. They took a huge dynamic universe and crammed into tiny instanced playgrounds. What good to have 8 planets when your total game area is the size of my pool...

Better to be crazy, provided you know what sane is...

  nyxium

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/15/09
Posts: 1198

Tumbling down the rabbit hole?

9/26/12 3:59:25 AM#35
My own theory is the world economy was pants after collapsing and people were more cautious with their penny's than they might have been in more plentiful times. F2P, especially games like LOTRO, is popular now, teeming even. Price drove people away. It will be WoW next, I feel, with their business model taking a bigger hit in the future unless they change their ways and go freemium, f2p or b2p without a sub.

  fonoi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/27/11
Posts: 54

9/26/12 5:11:05 AM#36
SWTOR for me was all about when you got to 50 it felt like a differnt game, and not an enjoyable one.

The secret world on the other hand I don't think it was a failure, funcom just overestimated the market for the niche and still had a poor rep from AoC.
  VirusDancer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/04
Posts: 3684

Heroes are about character - not gear.

9/26/12 5:32:14 PM#37
Originally posted by ShakyMo
Tsw specs aren't that different to gw2. It requires a level or two higher video card, but its actually a bit lighter on processor requirements.

Um... no.

GW2 Aug 2012:

  • Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or better
  • Intel® Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3 OR AMD Athlon 64 X2, or better
  • 2 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800, ATI X1800, Intel HD 3000, or better (256 MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better)
  • 25 GB available HDD space
  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Keyboard and mouse

TSW Jul 2012:

  • Internet Connection: 512 KBPS or faster
  • OS: Windows XP (SP 1)/Vista (SP 1)/Windows 7 (SP 1)
  • DVD-ROM: 8X or faster DVD drive
  • Processor: 2.6 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent AMD CPU
  • Memory: At least 2GB RAM for Windows XP / 3GB RAM for Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • Hard Drive: At least 30GB of free space
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA 8800 series 512 VRAM or better
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse
The min specs for TSW require both a faster CPU and a better GPU.  You could have a machine capable of running GW2 and you could not run TSW.
 
I copied that from another thread where we were discussing the min specs for PS2 - which - make the TSW specs not look so bad...lol.  But then again, PS2 is a MMOFPS and one could say it would be expected that FPS players are going to upgrade their machines more frequently than MMO players.  So one can cut SOE some slack, while just doing a /facepalm at Funcom.
 

I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  tupodawg999

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 569

9/27/12 4:10:52 AM#38
Originally posted by VirusDancer

My partial theory is always going to come back to two things:

A) Marketing...failure.  But this can only go so far...

B) Min System Requirements...too high for the average MMO gamer.  They're in line with the specs for the type of games played by people that would not be interested in TSW.  Comparing the specs to the "major" releases in the past year, if you could play all of those games - that does not mean you could play TSW.  So if you could not play it well, then why pay for it?  The economy's been rough - MMOs have always been a cheaper form of entertainment for many - asking folks to upgrade their machines to play TSW when they can play other games fine...well, that was madness.

They said during the beta that they believed folks that were gaming enthusiasts would be upgrading their computers frequently - but - while there may be those that do so in the MMO community, it's not like in other gaming communities.  They just did not have the numbers there.  It was mind boggling.

 

I definitely agree on the system requirements. I know some people constantly upgrade their puters for games but are the sort of people who do this the sort of people who'd particularly like a game like TSW? If i had to guess the sort of person who'd most like a game like TSW i'd imagine they would be more likely to spend spare cash on a collection of Poe stories than a new video card.

 

  Felheart5

Novice Member

Joined: 4/01/12
Posts: 34

9/27/12 4:40:35 AM#39
Originally posted by Rasputin
This is what I addressed in my OP, when I said, that I wasn't sure why we accept it in fantasy MMOs. Maybe we are just used to it from decades of fantasy games, that resolved combat that way. Or we don't really know how potent medieval weapons are, because we have no experience with them, so we accept what we are being presented with. Also, it is not unusual to see movies where a sword fight takes a while and inflicts several wounds on the combatants (even if that may be unlikely in a r/l situation - I don't know if it is). On that background, it is easier for players to accept a sword fight that takes a longer time and deals several blows to the opponent before he dies.

Everyone has one-shotted soldiers in CoD or BF, everyone has mass-slaughtered zombies in Left for Dead and everyone has seen what guns do in countless movies.

It is really hard to accept, when it does not react as we expect - even if those expectations are based on false premises.

There are plenty of popular modern/sci-fi games where guns don't act realistically at all, so no, I don't think thats much of an argument on its own. 

  thorwood

Novice Member

Joined: 10/04/07
Posts: 485

9/27/12 5:56:21 AM#40

I am currently playing Secret World.

I enjoyed the game initially.  Having the potential to learn all skill sets is an interesting variation on leveling/skills used in other games.

The video sequences for missions added to the immersiveness.

However, there were a number of features I disliked:

  •  When I moved to the second area of the game, the scenery was grey and drab .  The monsters blended in with the grey background.  Some areas  such as the carnival was blurry due to a mist effect.  All of this was done to create atmosphere and it did added to the difficulty. However, I like pretty graphics and do not enjoy eyestrain from drab or blurry landscapes.
  • The mission log  is primitive compared to other current games such as Rift.
  •  The game was repetitive.  As a solo player, I found myself repeating the same missions daily until I was strong enough to move to a new area.  More missions would have helped.
  • Video sequences run by default when you accept a mission, even when you have already watched a particular sequence in its entirety .  You could skip a video by hitting "esc" after the video started to load.  This was annoying.
The drab landscapes remind me of Hellgate London when it was released.
 
The Secret World has potential.   
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