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News & Features Discussion  » General: Great Expectations - SW:TOR

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239 posts found
  Fdzzaigl

Elite Member

Joined: 8/22/09
Posts: 2155

3/24/10 1:45:01 PM#61
Originally posted by Czargio
 

For a game that has been running since 2003, has had a growing subscription base since then, and is making a spinoff game, I'd say it's hard to argue that CCP hasn't made 'big numbers.' Long term, maybe, not the explosion onto the scene that TOR wants, but it counts IMO. WoW didn't explode onto the scene, it had to grow from a buggy game with massive downtime to the polished game that it is now. Expecting an MMO to be a massive success right out of the gate that rivals WoW is very wishful thinking.

I know this, and that is why I said I find it unlikely EA is only going to give TOR a year to acquire more than a million subs.
These guys have brains as well.


As for big numbers, I explained what I meant, leave it at that; Eve online can be considered a success in it's own right, happy?

Although CCP is not listed as an Indie dev at this point in time.

 

I'd like to stress the importance of not leaving Lucasarts out of the equasion again though.

Feel free to use my referral link for SW:TOR if you want to test out the game. You'll get some special unlocks!

  shr4pnel

Tipster

Joined: 9/09/08
Posts: 100

3/24/10 1:48:33 PM#62

BioWare has NEVER EVER made a game that flopped so by that logic, SW:TOR is going to be a big hit as well! There are over 2.5 MILLION players combined playing DA:O and ME2 and SW has a bigger fan base...

  GreenLanternFan

Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/08
Posts: 380

3/24/10 2:04:21 PM#63

"It's hard to avoid the conclusion that our industry is quite literally going insane. Either this is a calculated effort by EA to ensure that MMO production is priced at the point that only they and a few of their competitors can compete, or that the arms race of "more stuff, bigger stuff, done faster" production has resulted in production costs that result in what by every right should be one of the most successful MMO projects of our time being judged a failure because it only - it only - brings in $10 million a month in profit."



Or maybe publishers will simply need to find a team of developers willing to live off of Ramen noodles while the game is being produced with incentives/bonuses coming down the road, dependent upon the success of the game.

Unless I misinterpreted what I had read in the past, from a business perspective, it sounded like there might have been some unnecessary spending going on with Mythic's development of Warhammer,
like the spending train they were riding was guaranteed to reach the station of 'success'. I'm sure they are not the only company that may be guilty of such.

It's also my interpretation that several of the heads of these development teams that have been past failures or have been less successful than previously hoped, have all been a bit too optimistic in regards to the future success of their game, which may contribute to some degree, to these obscene production costs we are seeing.

I could be completely off the mark, it's just a thought.

Your fail comment, failed.

  Rakarai

Novice Member

Joined: 5/22/09
Posts: 111

3/24/10 2:05:09 PM#64

I think you guys are seeing this as an argument of oh its EA developing it and not Bioware. I'm not sure where that logic came in, or where you say EA made x game, and x game was terrible. EA didn't make that game, they published and funded it, but the amount of influence in developing said game varies between developer.

As far as I know EA hasn't really touched or changed what Bioware set out to do, so again who is developing it? If its true that EA  has barely touched it, then whats with all the EA  hate I see? People need to learn to read in my opinion, if EA has significantly touched it, then it is a different story, but as far as I can tell from interviews they are just funding it.

If EA is just funding it, then what you have a problem with them adding extra money to spend more time developing features? God forbid there are more features...oh not not more content...anything but more content...How dare those dirty developers give us more content...I never...asked for...wait a minute....yeah..I want more content.

Saying they aren't breaking any new ground...really?  So fully voiced isn't new? EQ only had partial voices that weren't of good quality to begin with and generally sounded the same. Bioware has over 100 voice actors...yeah that isn't a significant change...nope. No classes being a mirror class, yup that isn't a significant change from the post wow era...not at all, you know with all these new games out that have 10 different classes and 20 different factions...oh wait. Dialogue choices that actually matter and create a story...nope thats not new...WoW had something similiar were you can only push a button to say...so clearly Bioware isn't new.

Each class has a different story that can play out different, and you can even have a side plot with your npc partner...that isn't new. Guild wars did that, except without the real huge story effect...yup totally not a new innovation.

So gamers cry out for change, they want game worlds to have a little more substance and meaning in a story...then are given that and say they hate it? Awesome or super awesome way of thinking, personally I think its super awesome.

Also please look up the history of Bioware its on youtube, and I saw a post about it. Saying Bioware has never tried a server architecture for mmos or multiplayers..sir or ma'am you are wrong. Please learn video game history and go look over Baldur's gate, and Never Winter Nights to see how they implemented not only the build structure of tool kits, but also of making a nice server architecture to host said game. This is a company that has made innovation after innovation, and now they are trying something new...which clearly by your standards isn't new...somehow...and now you guys are doubting their power after all the years of innovation from two doctors who decided to make games in their basement? What does it take...did they touch you guys in bad places?

Yes I think it is alot of money, but as Jennings said its a really aggresive time frame for a year, and it didn't count in box sales, or the fact that Lucas Arts has a time slot on Cartoon Network that could easily push Tor without much more expense. Throwing money at a game doesn't make it work I concur, but its as if you guys argue about money without taking into account what they are doing with that money, or which developer is using that money to make a game.

Starting a debate without all your facts is a fun show to watch, and with that please do continue your debate about how the mmo genere is failing and how money no matter in whose hands doesn't solve anything.

  AOCtester

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/08
Posts: 445

3/24/10 2:07:23 PM#65

WOW did not get 11 million players over night.  The game built on its success.  Blizzard kept their playerbase (majority of players) and was able to get more playing when with countinued development. 

Now.... as far as EA is conserned - Im really worried about this "breaking even" comment.  MMOs are not about 1 year profit or loss.  It is about LONGTERM development.  My feeling is that EA is talking as a publisher - NOT as a developer (Bioware).

Who cares about subs if you are a publisher of the game ?   Look at WAR and see how EA fired pretty much the entire staff and left the game to rot with no new content for 9 months now.  Personally I would say it looks like SWTOR could go exactly the same way.

  AOCtester

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/08
Posts: 445

3/24/10 2:14:18 PM#66
Originally posted by Rakarai

I think you guys are seeing this as an argument of oh its EA developing it and not Bioware. I'm not sure where that logic came in, or where you say EA made x game, and x game was terrible. EA didn't make that game, they published and funded it, but the amount of influence in developing said game varies between developer.

As far as I know EA hasn't really touched or changed what Bioware set out to do, so again who is developing it? If its true that EA  has barely touched it, then whats with all the EA  hate I see? People need to learn to read in my opinion, if EA has significantly touched it, then it is a different story, but as far as I can tell from interviews they are just funding it.

If EA is just funding it, then what you have a problem with them adding extra money to spend more time developing features? God forbid there are more features...oh not not more content...anything but more content...How dare those dirty developers give us more content...I never...asked for...wait a minute....yeah..I want more content.

Saying they aren't breaking any new ground...really?  So fully voiced isn't new? EQ only had partial voices that weren't of good quality to begin with and generally sounded the same. Bioware has over 100 voice actors...yeah that isn't a significant change...nope. No classes being a mirror class, yup that isn't a significant change from the post wow era...not at all, you know with all these new games out that have 10 different classes and 20 different factions...oh wait. Dialogue choices that actually matter and create a story...nope thats not new...WoW had something similiar were you can only push a button to say...so clearly Bioware isn't new.

Each class has a different story that can play out different, and you can even have a side plot with your npc partner...that isn't new. Guild wars did that, except without the real huge story effect...yup totally not a new innovation.

So gamers cry out for change, they want game worlds to have a little more substance and meaning in a story...then are given that and say they hate it? Awesome or super awesome way of thinking, personally I think its super awesome.

Also please look up the history of Bioware its on youtube, and I saw a post about it. Saying Bioware has never tried a server architecture for mmos or multiplayers..sir or ma'am you are wrong. Please learn video game history and go look over Baldur's gate, and Never Winter Nights to see how they implemented not only the build structure of tool kits, but also of making a nice server architecture to host said game. This is a company that has made innovation after innovation, and now they are trying something new...which clearly by your standards isn't new...somehow...and now you guys are doubting their power after all the years of innovation from two doctors who decided to make games in their basement? What does it take...did they touch you guys in bad places?

Yes I think it is alot of money, but as Jennings said its a really aggresive time frame for a year, and it didn't count in box sales, or the fact that Lucas Arts has a time slot on Cartoon Network that could easily push Tor without much more expense. Throwing money at a game doesn't make it work I concur, but its as if you guys argue about money without taking into account what they are doing with that money, or which developer is using that money to make a game.

Starting a debate without all your facts is a fun show to watch, and with that please do continue your debate about how the mmo genere is failing and how money no matter in whose hands doesn't solve anything.

You said it yourself.  EA is a publisher - not the developer.  But basicly that means BIoware does not have any control over the future of their game.  Just like WAR and Mythic had no say in what happened after the publisher got his money worth through box sales.  MMOs are not a 1 time hit.  They are long term projects AFTER they launch and the success of the game is desided based on the initial launch + the long term support. 


Im sorry but I dont' see EA supporting SWTOR for 5-8 years like Blizzard is doing to WOW.  Bioware might do it.. But EA ... No -  And its EA that makes the disission - Not BIoware. 

  Derrial

Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/05
Posts: 251

3/24/10 2:28:53 PM#67

I tend to agree with Scott Jennings' articles, but I can't agree with his apocalyptic conclusion here. Just because one super high budget game is made doesn't mean smaller developers can't carry on with their projects. Even though he used a lot of guessing and some questionable math in his breakdown of the game's budget, I have no doubt that the budget is indeed enormous. But so what? Compare it to the movie industry: did "Avatar" crush "Precious" out of existence? Can there never be another independent film made now because "Avatar" had such a massive budget and was so successful? Of course not. Comparing smaller budget independent MMO games to SW:TOR is like apples and oranges. There are things that a smaller developer can do that EA could not do with SW:TOR such as create a sandbox MMO or a hardcore PvP MMO.

As others have already pointed out, EA has not shouldered this risk alone. A few people have said that it's a partnership between EA and Bioware, but in fact EA owns Bioware so that's not exactly accurate. But EA does not own LucasArts. That is another huge company that is involved in this project (and one that's maybe a little more well respected than EA), and they are certainly shouldering a large portion if not half of the production budget.

The day I heard about SW:TOR being made by Bioware, my first thought was that this game will be hugely successful on the level of WoW. Obviously, EA and LucasArts think so too so they're making sure that the development team has all the resources they need. When they said that the whole thing would be fully voiced, I realized it would probably be the most expensively produced game ever. Personally, it just makes me more excited to play it when it comes out.

  Derrial

Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/05
Posts: 251

3/24/10 2:30:35 PM#68


Originally posted by AOCtester
Im sorry but I dont' see EA supporting SWTOR for 5-8 years like Blizzard is doing to WOW.  Bioware might do it.. But EA ... No -  And its EA that makes the disission - Not BIoware. 

They will support it as long as it keeps making money.

  Condar

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/04
Posts: 11

3/24/10 2:36:56 PM#69

Wow, comments are growing like crazy... jumped by like 4 pages while I was reading.

Anyway, just a thought I had - and saw it mentioned briefly by a couple others in the first few pages - is that I didn't see box sales figured into the $150M figures for calculating revenue - only subscription fees. Granted, subscription fees will generate steady (hopefully) income over several months, but to reach 'break-even' you don't care where that revenue comes from (steady, burst, whatever).

So a few other things to keep in mind:

* At an average price of $49.99, ~3 million copies (digital / retail) must be sold to 'break even' ($150M). Lets assume they sell 1 million in the first few months - keeping in mind that we all know people who have multiple accounts, and you need the account key to set that up. So already we've reached the first third of our goal - $49.99M. I think 1 million is realistic, worldwide, considering again the IP and developer involved here (although admittedly I haven't followed the game much).

* Given the nature of the IP / publisher and production costs, as well as recent trends, it's safe to say we'll see a collector's edition, somewhere in the $60-70 range. Lets say another 100,000 purchase the collector edition (probably those same people who buy a standard copy for their secondary accounts), and we add an additional $6.5M assuming a $65 average.

* Similarly, cash shops seem to be entering mainstream games more and more. I'm not necessarily opposed to these (unless they become 'required' purchases to allow or significantly improve advancement *in addition to* a subscription fee, but that's another argument), but I'm sure these product a good chunk of money as well. How much? I can't really say - but I know on EQ2, average prices seem to be about $2-5 for appearance items, so lets say 100,000 items are purchased at an average of $5 and we add another $0.5M over 11 months (which assumes roughly 9,000 items a month).

* Already we're at about $57M, and haven't even looked at subscription fees. Speaking of subscription fees, we assumed an average of $15 ($13 when accounting for overhead). Who's to say it wont go up? I remember paying $5-$10 / month for MMOs... and $15 has been the new average for quite some time. Further, we usually have the option of paying 'up front' at a discounted rate for multi-month subscriptions, or even lifetime subscriptions. So let's assume we have 500,000 paying $15/month ($13 * 500,000 = $6.5M) over 11 months and we add another $71.5M, bringing our total to $128.5M. Pretty close to our $150M goal (which is also an admittedly fairly arbitrary number), and relatively conservative in my opinion.

I don't know, but to me, this seems reasonable to reach...

  Comnitus

Novice Member

Joined: 6/03/09
Posts: 2509

Revenge is a dish best served with mayonnaise and those little cheesy things on sticks.

3/24/10 2:43:45 PM#70

To compete with WoW, you either need to offer something that WoW doesn't or take what WoW does and do it one better. To do the latter, you need a polished, smooth game even at launch. And to ensure a polished, fun game even at launch, you need big bucks (and competent developers, but it's BioWare so that's a given).

Looks like this might be the one. No, not the WoW killer, but the first real competitor. I certainly hope so.

  User Deleted
3/24/10 2:50:47 PM#71
Originally posted by maskedweasel

I don't agree with the post at all...  look, it doesn't matter how much you spend on an MMO theres a point in any software, mechanical, game, etc production where you need a certain amount of capital to break even.   So whats the real problem here? The costs, correct?  Because this game will be the most costly MMO of them all it needs the highest revenue stream.

 

This isn't complicated, but heres the thing, if BioWare could have made this game with less money, I'm sure they would have.  BioWare is in a very fortunate position to have a company backing them that isn't shy to dig into their pockets to keep development alive.  Could we have seen a game with one half the content release with half the costs?  Yeah we could have, but thats not the game they wanted to produce, and maybe thats not the game we want to play.  

 

Will it sell millions of copies?  Chances are extremely good that it will.  Will it keep millions of subscribers?  I'm not sure, but if it doesn't I'm sure it will be a tremendous hit to EA financially and nothing more.  Plenty of games -- from FFXI  to WAR to AOC have had their issues and came well under their necessary subscriber mark at one point or another. The MMO world didn't end. If that happens again here, there will be no catastrophic event other than we lose a very expensive game from a very well respected developer.

 I think the problem being discussed was more about what happens if it does hit and keep over 1 million subs.  Then does it start a development war that erases the smaller companies?   Myself, I think that keeping a million subs in the western market for a year or more is not something I would bet the house on.  I also think that this whole issue is just a consequence of the whole Make a WoW killer mentality that seems to be hard-wired now in developer's brains.  Forget Wow-killing.  Make a decent game and the subs will come - spending the gross national profit of a small country is not the answer - good ideas coupled with good implementation and a smooth launch is more helpful than hundreds of millions of dollars.  My opinion.

  KyngBills

Novice Member

Joined: 6/13/06
Posts: 452

3/24/10 3:05:27 PM#72
Originally posted by Azerin

Yes, it's always a risk and a toss of the dice, a high one too if your rough estimates are close. However, if you weigh the odds and consider what they're doing and with whom, it's definitely a well calculated risk.

You have:

- One of the most popular, well recognized, and highest grossing IP's/Franchises in history: Star Wars

- One of the biggest rising stars in game development, well respected and renowned for quality games: Bioware. I think it's
   safe to say that Bioware's reputation and following are on par with Blizzards, and I see Bioware taking more and more of
   the spotlight.

- One of the most well recieved "eras" of the SW universe: The Old Republic. The games and the lore behind this era have
  been well recieved, some even like it better than the Luke/Darth Vader era.

- The backing of EA and Lucasarts ( for whatever that's worth to some )

- Some new, never-before seen features in an MMORPG, like fully voiced NPC's/dialouge for the WHOLE game, choice & consequence system for quests, etc.


Yes, I have high hopes for SWTOR, as I am a fan of both the IP and the developer. But, all games have a chance of failure, I just think SWTOR has a fairly good shot at coming out succesfully.

 Exactly...

Truth is as crazy as it sounds with the SW IP and Lucas' full backing the risk is not nearly what it is on other, much less expensive MMO Projects...

This Game will completely blow up wit HUGE Sub numbers at Launch...After that it's anyones guess...They'll have a few Month to show Folks if it's really the best thing since sliced bread or not...But mark my words the initial numbers will be massive...

  Rhaeldric

Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 28

3/24/10 3:20:23 PM#73

It's pretty obvious that a conceptual shift needs to happen in MMOs. When every single game released in the last 5 years "fails" because it doesn't capture and hold 1 million subs, that's an indication that it's the expectations that are wrong, not the market. MMO companies, the MMO press and most especially MMO gamers need to recognise that 50K-100K is going to be the norm for playerbases from now on, and that as long as this keeps the servers up, it's perfectly OK.

 

EA's obviously making some pretty wild assumptions about what they think this game can do, but those assumptions need to be taken in the wider context of the skewed perceptions in the industry as a whole. Are they probably banking on 1 million subs? Definately. Will they take and hold that? Not bloody likely. Will it mean that SW:TOR is a failure if they don't? No.

 

And just because I haven't had a chance to type this anywhere else this week, I'll reiterate my list of reasons why I wish people would stop hyping SW:TOR until they actually play it for a month on live servers. I'm the biggest Bioware fanboy out there and I've played every RPG they've released, and I am going to buy SW:TOR and do my damned best to love it, but there are some pretty obvious conclusions we can draw from their current performance with those games that should be a real concern for prospective SW:TOR players:

* Bioware's post-release support is awful. Always has been. Patches take months or never appear, bugs are simply never fixed, tech support is always minimal.

* Bioware's game design is pedestrian and conservative. It's exactly the same game structure every single time, along with those bloody Towers of Hanoi.

* By promising 100% voice acting, they're either limiting post-release content to a level significantly lower than any other MMO (because it costs a boatload to get talent back into the studio) or they're setting themselves up to disappoint when they have to start publishing randomly generated flavour-text quests to keep players in the game.

And those are just off the top of my head.

  ThomasN7

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6672

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

3/24/10 3:23:37 PM#74

Articles like these are a part of the reason why mmos fail. The media raises the expectations so high that when a game doesn'r reach that expectation it is considered a failure by the players.

  fyerwall

Elite Member

Joined: 6/01/04
Posts: 3203

3/24/10 3:26:54 PM#75
Originally posted by SaintViktor

Articles like these are a part of the reason why mmos fail. The media raises the expectations so high that when a game doesn'r reach that expectation it is considered a failure by the players.

 Well that and the companies making the MMO should learn when to remain silent on certain things (such as talking about how many players the game could potentially get or how many are needed to break even).

Because the press will remember those words and the players will hold those statements against the company.

There are 3 types of people in the world.
1.) Those who make things happen
2.) Those who watch things happen
3.) And those who wonder "What the %#*& just happened?!"


  ThomasN7

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6672

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

3/24/10 3:32:33 PM#76

Couldn't agree more fyerwall. Hype it up when it is a proven success not before.

  GamerAeon

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/06
Posts: 567

3/24/10 3:36:41 PM#77

my concern about this whole Ordeal is that when the time comes due when EA is demanding this of BioWare and they're not able to deliver 100% EA will drag them through the mud and try to get their filthy claws into a great RPG company that I've long since had respect for unlike EA who are currently 50/50 in my book.

  fyerwall

Elite Member

Joined: 6/01/04
Posts: 3203

3/24/10 3:41:33 PM#78
Originally posted by GamerAeon

my concern about this whole Ordeal is that when the time comes due when EA is demanding this of BioWare and they're not able to deliver 100% EA will drag them through the mud and try to get their filthy claws into a great RPG company that I've long since had respect for unlike EA who are currently 50/50 in my book.

 Yup.

If TOR does any less than what EA is expecting (say less than that 1million players to break even number) you can bet EA will hold Bioware accountable. Soon after you will see the downsizing of BW and Ray and whatshisname being 'let go'.

And that will be a sad day... a very sad day....

There are 3 types of people in the world.
1.) Those who make things happen
2.) Those who watch things happen
3.) And those who wonder "What the %#*& just happened?!"


  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6911

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

3/24/10 3:48:45 PM#79
Originally posted by MarlonB

I understand it's a column .... but to my taste there are to many "if's" and "assume" in the calculations ...

 

Also keep in mind that as MMORPG's have become much more popular and the old-school MMO-ers have "seen it all" ... expectations have gone up .. a LOT. I think the enormous budgets are needed to be able to produce products that can rise up to the expectations of the 1 million players they need :)

 

I agree it is MUCH too early to really draw any conclusions,but i have a simple question...

What "IF" this ends up being nothing more than a copy of KOTOR turned into a MMO?I really have a distinct gut feeling,that is exactly what this game is going to be.Will players tha tare true SW fans and have already done all that KOTOR gaming over and over,be satisifed with the same thing different skin?

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

  Khalathwyr

Tipster

Joined: 6/02/04
Posts: 3151

Google is your friend.

3/24/10 3:59:13 PM#80

I hear what you're saying Mr. J. If true I'm not really worried and this may indeed be a GOOD thing for the industry as from what has been talked about as far as being done with TOR it's not a direction I personally want to see MMOs develop. What gives me more conviction that your estimates and the subsequent happenings may indeed unfold is that EA/Bioware has hired two individuals who were in lock step with one of the groups who have grown this skepticism toward MMO games in Gordon Walton and Richard Vogel. Both are former SOE employees that were with the company well into 2005 and thus I find it hard to believe they didn't know about the NGE coming down the pipe. I have a belief, and if I'm proven wrong by the final results of the game so be it, that their positions and thus influence on the project will generate in reproducing the same old tired game mechanic in total (granted the dialogue and "story" will be at new levels/lengths than seen before) that vogel was evidently behind at SOE with the NGE (he stayed at SOE longer than Walton I believe) and that Walton has praised WoW for and all but legitimized it as a MMO developing bible.

That above makes me believe that reaching the 2 million subscribers point won't happen (concurrently) and the 1 million is most improbable (again, concurrently). As these AAA companies seem content to make more of the same, grab some box sales and start on the next box sale getter I can say that I certainly don't feel badly if they start failing here and there. I have a good friend that, within the last year was hired on by Bioware. I don't want to see him lose his job, sure. But if TOR taking a good swift kick in the teeth resets some thinking about how MMOs are made and we step away from this currently monoploly on design and implementation, then he can crash at my place until another job comes about.

"Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

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