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

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Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/06
Posts: 188

3/24/10 7:12:24 PM#101

I wouldn't say Blizzard poched people from EQ.  The main three met while playing EQ.  Which would explain why it was simular almost a mirror of EQ.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/10/09
Posts: 186

3/24/10 7:23:15 PM#102

 I agree it's a large bet on EA's pocketbook and bioware's back not to mention a good chunk of the gaming community thats reads and responds to forums don't care for Mystic. I personally think Mystic is only there to provide some detail on combat due to some experience from warhammer, as much as people knock some of it worked and it's still alive. Yet it's not a real good example of a favored system and alot of bad blood player vs. Dev team of mystic.

 With mystic onboard, one could only ask why...what real use are they, pvp game mechanics? they won't say much because if that is true holy batbombs people will slash that up and slew the game with bad bad vibes potentially harming a good launch. To expect to kick the king down the hill that is WoW TBH I never played wow, never will not my style. So wtf cares, make a good game and stick to it....every new game gets compared to it,  and it's lame.

 So the real question is are they creative enough to design a game with as much flex and ability to modify content down the road years and years to provide longevity to SWTOR. Are they planning ahead with expansion possibilities, game design some are worried by the time it is out the engine will be less than par. You need to remember unlike what it is being compared to, if they start screwing the timelines up making a mess of it I doubt LucasArts will like that, as they are a picky group. so that will sorta limit it's flexability to "freehand" new content.

 Launching pre-mature like STO will burn the ip to the ground. The game will need a solid crafting/gathering system, PVE content and expansions to keep it fresh, and a rock solid pvp system that has purpose and don't force it's will on "carebear" types. now that I think as I type this I wonder if Mystic is online to work on a RVR pvp lake system, que pvp matches as that is the only thing people still play it for.

 If they screw any of that up they didn't research other mmo's  from the past on how they failed, why they failed or what made them a sucess/loved. I'll give a good list, and if they ever read it and say oop's forgot about that one......then they got a year to consider it...


SWG= Crafting system was a sucess and well received, Community feel.

Warhammer= RvR lakes, scenario system was well liked

EvE online= World economy, crafting system and sandbox community


Star Trek Online= Money grab shady discounted boxes not even 30d after launch, A horrid crafting system a 5 year old could master, Way to instanced, No community feel, and way way to easy to max out a char. Oh and absolutly no reason to sub after max lvl as no content. Prolly more here but thats a general idea.

Aion= Kinah sellers took too long to crush, Personal stores cluttered the servers  (lag), Investment vs. reward on crafting was horrid, A bad market mostly due to drop rates, crafting costs and ability to gather ( farmers ). PvP end game was sub-par and non-interesting, Raids were annoying due to lvl difference was way to strong and inbalanced.

Warhammer= War buddies abouse of the command code ( still?), Forts were horrid making for a non-fulfilling experience defending/attacking usually sat for a hour and never got jack. Lack of tier balance tier 2-3 was a dead zone that was painful to reroll past. Alot of bugs took way to long to fix, IE the mid pq in LotD could be farmed all day for insane xp per run with the turrets. Crowd control was never a idea at launch resulting in alot of balance issues for a long time.

Knowing what the market needs and wants through surveys, polls, reviews and watching other games come and go is key to success. All said, I have faith in bioware and the team working on it.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/24/10
Posts: 3

3/24/10 7:33:28 PM#103

Look I won't argue in great detail with Scott's numbers, but my gut tells me they're probably a bit larger than what's really the case.  He also hasn't thrown in marketing spend, which I expect will be spectacular for this game.  There's quite a bit of leverage there, both from the visibility of the IP and EA's access to multiple channels of messaging they can work with and coordinate effectively.

But what EVERYONE on this whole thread is missing are a few, very key points:


1. We have a bunch of, no doubt, veteran Bioware developers involved in this project, some of whom, no doubt, have been at the forefront of Bioware's creative success since the inception of the company.  This is one of THE most powerful teams in games development, period, creatively, with, I will argue, the most sustained track record of success in this entire industry.

2.  We also have part of the team that's successfully gone through the ringer of the technical challenges of launching an MMO, MULTIPLE times, with people like Rich Vogel going all the way back to Ultima Online.  In other words: veterans of how to do this right.  Veterans of the technology; veterans of the infrastructure needed; veterans of how to handle CS, community, game design to create a phenomenon that can be sustainable over ten years.  I'm not exaggerating the value of this. At all.

3. We have the unprecedented backing of one of the biggest interactive publishers on earth, and I don't care what you think about Riccitiello based on all the news and history, I truly believe he's found a way to Open the Door at EA, from an investment point of view, to let Bioware, and the veterans mentioned in number 2. above, succeed, properly.  EA is not about to make the kinds of mistakes they've made in the past, with cutting development short on such a spectacular investment (even if, in overall capitalization terms, it's not that big an investment risk from their point of view).  They've been involved in this with Bioware and the team for how many years now?  The development of TOR is not some sort of mysterious phenomenon to the Board of Directors at EA at this point, I would gently suggest.



Novice Member

Joined: 8/28/05
Posts: 2

3/24/10 7:40:43 PM#104

I find your lack of faith disturbing.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/24/10
Posts: 3

3/24/10 7:43:22 PM#105

continued from above:


5. Bioware's been on a roll lately.  Have you people SEEN Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age? They're phenomenal games!  They have some of the most sophisticated, compelling story telling in the medium.  They're the result of the maturation of a process for storytelling that's been growing at Bioware for what, 15 years now?  Bioware is an absolute master at this at this point.  Do you think they're NOT going to bring all that expertise to bear on TOR?  They sure will!  And imagine a game where you get that, for all the classes advertised, ALONGSIDE a fully matured, fully fleshed-out, fully understood full-scale, content-driven MMO environment, with all the necessary content design and balancing to keep a playerbase for a decade, and no doubt, plans for new content delivery, and effective support of same, post-launch, that will rival anything out there.

People, we're on the cusp of having an entirely new kind of MMO, one where the fantasy of who you are isn't replete with all the massive discontinuities, laughable character conceptualization, narrative juvenilia and on-the-fly invention that WoW suffers from.  I bet even Blizzard, with all its success with WoW, would be desperate to have the level of competency in all these areas that Bioware can bring to the table, IF THEY ONLY HAD ANOTHER DECADE TO CATCH UP.

Imagine playing an MMO surrounded by characters, situations, worlds you can really care about, that are self-consistent.  Ever been there before?  I haven't, and I've played 'em all.  Conan's first twenty levels of single-player game weren't half-bad, once through, but that's like a mini-game totally split out from an MMO compared with what I bet TOR will deliver, eh?

6. Oh and I forgot then there's the SW IP.  We can all laugh about how maybe George hasn't done anything really effective with that since the end of the first trilogy, etc. etc. but of course even with all that epic of what, thirty years of fail, it's still probably one of THE banner IP's of the 20th/21st century.  How much do you bet LucasArts would like to see a creative team as competent and versed in their medium as Bioware is do something effective with that?


Anyways, I could write a novel about this, but I think actually EA is being very conservative about their audience expectations.  The single biggest thing EA has to do right here is recognize the massive value of a well-supported MMO investment, OVER TIME.  I suspect they'll easily make back the initial investment. What EA has to learn, from this team, is how to sustain the investment over the 5-10 years necessary to make it the incredible multiplier it can be for them.

I wish them all luck, and am looking forward to the launch of the game.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/06
Posts: 188

3/24/10 7:53:45 PM#106
Originally posted by Wynternight

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

best response thus far.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/10
Posts: 183

3/24/10 8:24:04 PM#107

What happens if they can't reach that 1 million subscriber mark? Would they close down the game so soon and cut their losses? This whole thing has me feeling very uneasy about the game, to the point where I'm not going to buy it until atleast 5-6 months after it launches to see if it lives up to these expectations. I'm not purchasing another EA MMO that is developed into the ground or cancelled altogether (Earth & Beyond).


Novice Member

Joined: 9/08/08
Posts: 90

3/24/10 8:38:09 PM#108

EA is not an MMO company as such ( nor is Bioware) so they most probably will lack any long term strategy required to make any MMO a success - folks tend to forget most MMO's do not reach their peak subscriber#'s on day one - which doesn't bode well. As someone else asked : what will they do if they fail to reach their goals after first year?? Cancel it and accept the loss ? Or  show real commitment to this franchise and persevere ? It will all depend on that because I honestly do not believe they will in fact reach that goal . I'm even not inclined to believe SW :TOR will be successful for the very simple reason of overhype . It is bound to be a huge dissapointment for most folks "buying the hype " . That's a lot of  potential subscribers lost even well before release :)


I see lots of folks in this very thread believing the hype already ....





I'm inclined to no longer think the huge production scale MMO is the way to go but rather the slow and steady progression: go for long term success and aim for a far lower number of subscribers at  launch even if that means working on it with small team . I think what Fallen earth and especially  EVE are showing is that strategy might be far more prudent . I think publishers should realize there is no such thing as  a "sure win" - witness the Star trek IP - and need to lower expectations significantly . 



Joined: 6/02/04
Posts: 3154

Google is your friend.

3/24/10 9:06:41 PM#109
Originally posted by Wynternight

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Considering they have ex- SOE guys in the key positions running this show I'd say his lack of faith is well placed, lol!

"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..."

Kickstarter 2 / Naysayers 0


Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 2668

Some folks are like Slinkies, totally useless but great fun to watch when pushed down stairs

3/24/10 9:07:41 PM#110

SWG had 1 million subs at one point.  You under estimate the SW frachise and fan base.  Go surf some of the large SW sites and notice the millions of users.  I can assure you over 80% will be trying this game.  They all want to live the star wars life, its every SW geeks wet dream.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/24/10
Posts: 3

3/24/10 9:11:22 PM#111

A large-scale MMO takes a level of creative talent; a level of architectural and infrastructural knowledge; and an understanding of how to design for retention, for CRM, that is generally unprecedented in the games industry.

Why do most MMOs fail? Because they don't have all of the above.  Almost every single one, except WoW and a very few others, are profoundly lacking in one of these three areas.

The Star Trek IP's not even worth mentioning in the same breath.  The scale of commitment to doing that game was a tiny fraction of what it is for SW: TOR, and, no insult to those involved, but the scale of talent on all three levels mentioned above for STO was C+, at best. Sorry, but true.

Not to mention the fact that not a single game has broken the curse of, "if it's Star Trek, it will fail" in games development since the first effort ever to make a Star Trek game, what was that, Interplay? :) Ever.  I don't think it can be broken.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/04/09
Posts: 523

3/24/10 9:15:20 PM#112


Mr Jennings and those who agree with the article are not making an ounce of sense.


The criticisms for newly released MMOs have in recent years invariably been that it is "clunky", "unpolished", "still in beta". How often have I read that a new game isn't great but it has potential? And then how often have I read that you only have one shot at launch? One "reasonable" solution is to have a "quiet" launch, have fundamentally interesting ideas and grow (e.g. EVE, Fallen Earth). This is the path of the independents and whatever happens to SW:ToR that path wont change and certainly wont dissapear. All too often it is a loud launch for a shallow gaming experience (e.g. STO), followed by a massive drop in subscriptions and harsh criticism. This is what we want to see the end of.


The other solution is to have the kind of investment backing that SW:ToR does, which until SW:ToR came along was missing (except perhaps for Blizzard's next gen MMO). A large investment means that the scope, ambitions and development time of an MMO can be, well, exciting.


That's what it is people. It is exciting. From what I've read (on sites like Darth Hater) it is a considered and thoughtful bid to make a very succesful MMO. The doom and gloom are misplaced in my opinion.


My feelings about SW:ToR are a lot like the Lord of the Rings films before I saw the first one. I'm a little nervous about the end product, but it is a good nervousness, if you know what I mean. :)



Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7386

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

3/24/10 9:39:22 PM#113
Originally posted by Strap


Mr Jennings and those who agree with the article are not making an ounce of sense.


The criticisms for newly released MMOs have in recent years invariably been that it is "clunky", "unpolished", "still in beta". How often have I read that a new game isn't great but it has potential? And then how often have I read that you only have one shot at launch? One "reasonable" solution is to have a "quiet" launch, have fundamentally interesting ideas and grow (e.g. EVE, Fallen Earth). This is the path of the independents and whatever happens to SW:ToR that path wont change and certainly wont dissapear. All too often it is a loud launch for a shallow gaming experience (e.g. STO), followed by a massive drop in subscriptions and harsh criticism. This is what we want to see the end of.


The other solution is to have the kind of investment backing that SW:ToR does, which until SW:ToR came along was missing (except perhaps for Blizzard's next gen MMO). A large investment means that the scope, ambitions and development time of an MMO can be, well, exciting.


That's what it is people. It is exciting. From what I've read (on sites like Darth Hater) it is a considered and thoughtful bid to make a very succesful MMO. The doom and gloom are misplaced in my opinion.


My feelings about SW:ToR are a lot like the Lord of the Rings films before I saw the first one. I'm a little nervous about the end product, but it is a good nervousness, if you know what I mean. :)


I'd have to agree with this post here. Lets go back to a year before Blizzard launched WoW and write this same article.  Many people wouldn't dream that WoW would have the impact it did.  You could argue about the cost difference, etc. if you really want to, but the fact is, noone can predict success... and in the same avenue, under no circumstance should we be predicting failure before this game has even come into beta.


So they need 1 million subs to break even... its unprecedented now, but in the future, we may see more companies doing this same thing.

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


Novice Member

Joined: 8/28/05
Posts: 2

3/24/10 9:39:23 PM#114

Sinjin? Did you play EQ, by chance?


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/09/10
Posts: 202

3/24/10 10:52:24 PM#115
Originally posted by Nilenya

Blizzard also hired gamers to develop quests and storylines. They poached players from Everquest and then had those poach entire guilds off that game. They probably saved millions on that strategy alone. Blizzard was totally grassroot when it developed wow, and was very smart about getting the word out there about their game. Back then they had much less competition due to the lack of mainstream mmo's back in 2004-2005. EQ, L2 and I supposed swg followed shortly after, but compared with today, not the same competition at all. And Blizzard still went to the players, hired players, spread the words through the communities and got people involved.

I see none of that in Swtor, and havent for that matter in any other mmo since wow. It seems like a huge resource that is laying dormant and being overlooked by all these companies, simply because they havent researched or werent around to witness gaming forums in 2004-2005 where all the zomg wow betainvited my guild and poached all my raider dramas occured.

Sure you want beta testers who are hardcore and experienced, but rather than earning a little commercial space on fileplanet, ftlog, visit all the major serverforums for all major mmos, contact all the guildleaders and extend beta invites to as many people as your beta servers can carry. Thats how you do it, a little time an effort and you probably poached a good chunk of the "bored-of-the-same-old" wow players. Get with the times and stop treating Beta invites like an elitist good. Treat it like a way to poach players off the competition.

Mythic actually did do this for Warhammer. They invited a lot of DAoC players and very early in the beta invited guilds that had been setup prior to release. They attempted to get the gamers who were already interested in the game 2 years pre-release in on their beta stages. It was just a shame that the beta was actually one of the most narrow focused and rigidly structured betas which ignored about 90% of the feedback they were receiving (maybe not ignoring but a lot of what they were being told simply could not be changed at that late a stage so it was basically worthless to have the majority of the beta at all).

Someone mentioned that SW:TOR needs to be attracting the core gamers to make this 1 million subscriber figure in the first few months. And yet the majority of people who I see posting on forums (here and elsewhere) say that they will never pre-order another MMO, nor will they play it for the first 6 months because they NEED to see it once it settles down as they expect (and rightly so) a debacle of a launch.

The failed launchs of the AAA MMOs for the past few years will hurt all future MMO launches as the core gaming public become more and more wary of investing in a failure or paying to play a beta. What Bioware needs to do is ensure all this money they are getting is used to display pre-launch, to the core gaming public that their launch is going to be different - they are not only doing something different design-wise but they are putting out a finished product.

That will be the one true innovation they need to bring to the MMO industry. They need to show everyone that MMOs don't have to be horribly buggy and glitchy with masses of missing content at launch - because this paradigm is ultimately the most destructive to the industry.


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/30/07
Posts: 283

3/24/10 10:59:26 PM#116
Originally posted by sinjin

SWG had 1 million subs at one point.  You under estimate the SW frachise and fan base.  Go surf some of the large SW sites and notice the millions of users.  I can assure you over 80% will be trying this game.  They all want to live the star wars life, its every SW geeks wet dream.

SWG never had 1 million subs ,SOE would kill for 1 million subs  .You are mixing /confusing with box sales . And guess which mmos done better  in past ?Companies with their own IP (wow/lineage /eve etc ) not a licenced ip



Advanced Member

Joined: 12/02/09
Posts: 1123

3/24/10 11:05:01 PM#117

I know this is a horrible and cynical thing to say but I actually half hope EA loses their gamble here. If EA can't make a successful MMO with even $150 million it might finally prove to the industry that money is not the answer, the investors do not have a clue what they're doing (i.e. leave the development to the devs) and that these games need to start targetting niche audiences. I just hope to see the evil corporations that are running this industry into the ground get scared away when they realise that soulless money grabs are not going to succeed any more.

Of course the other half of me wants to see it succeed for Bioware's sake... but that desire to see EA lose their money is growing.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/27/06
Posts: 948

3/25/10 12:37:11 AM#118

What's the source of that $8 million figure for EverQuest? I'd always read $30 million.

Favorites: EVE, VG, LotRO | Playing: None | Anticipating: SC, ED, TD, EQN, CU


Novice Member

Joined: 4/13/09
Posts: 91

3/25/10 12:41:38 AM#119

Thanks for another great article. Maybe its the grey in your beard, but I think the good-natured doom of these stories really resonates with me.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/22/05
Posts: 1301

3/25/10 1:57:37 AM#120

Star Wars is a diffrent beast.  On top of that, Bioware has not made a bad game yet.  The only bad thing that has ever happened to Bioware was EA (with the exception for the tons of cash EA has given Bioware).

Here are my predictions:

1.5 million boxes sold within the first month

1.5 million subscribers in 6 months minimum (40% retention rate plus more sales, based on industry standards).

3 million subscribers by the end of the year.

The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

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