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Star Wars Galaxies

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General Discussion  » Time for a F2P Vanilla Pre-NGE server?

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  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 8:56:32 AM#1

Now before anyone jumps all over this to claim that I am an SWG veteran pineing for the old days, you'd be very wrong indeed.

Before you reply, read this OP, consider the facts and think for a moment....

  • It seems that F2P seems to be more and more justifiable as a payment model. 
  • Designing a typical MMO takes a lot of time and resources. 
  • Given the economic climate, it's becoming increasingly harder for MMO companies to take risks with MMO design.  So dev companies need to be sure that their design will be popular.  But they can't be sure until they design and build it.  Thus these companies are trapped in a never ending circle.  And the only solution is to "play it safe" and use tried and tested designs.  Which is understandable.
  • Whilst some may view sandbox MMO's as the pinnacle of "freedom" in terms of MMO design, others find that they lack some elements which are found in themepark MMO's.
  • Themepark MMO's are very popular, but some would claim that they seem a little *too* "samey" and restrictive in gameplay.
  • A percentage of players on these forums did enjoy SWGs "sandbox" design.  Many agree that SWG did indeed have some good elements in it (even some of those who play themepark MMOs).  However SWG pre-NGE didn't appeal to everyone.  That's fair enough.  I found it lacking too. 
  • There is much talk on these forums about moving away from the "themepark" design but the problem remains that sandbox designs may be viewed as popular enough to justify the expenditure and resources to create a new MMO from scratch.
  • Some people believe that neither sandbox nor themepark MMO design is the way forward and that it's possible to combine the best elements from both without losing the flexbility of sandbox design nor the unique immersion elements often provided in the themepark design.

 

Now, this is actually where SOE could have a head start over the rest of the competition......if they still have the original pre-NGE code for SWG......

Now if that is true (after all we're talking about a hyperthetical scenario here), it could be launched on just one server cluster and used as a trial to "test" public reaction to the original design model. They could call the "New Hope" SWG server.  It wouldn't necessarily have to be permanent.  Maybe allow it to run for a couple of months.  It could be F2P (maybe even charge players a one time only small fee for joining the server to cover maintenance costs, with no subscription). 

The advantage of F2P is that there are probably no legal requirements to continuously provide the service longer than the devs want to, unlike a service which the customer subscribes to.  SOE could then get the playerbases feedback via dedicated forums.

The point is, that we know developing MMOs is a very costly business.  However, SWG pre-NGE has already been developed and proven to function.  Therefore it could be used as a "testbed" for a new hybrid design model.  A "prototype" if you want to call it that.

Personally, I've no vested interest in wanting to play SWG Pre-NGE myself.  Although I recognise that the design DID have some good elements that are missing from BOTH sandbox and themepark designs these days. 

We all know how much flak SOE got for changing to the NGE design, they could actually redeem themselves by running a "Vanilla server" again.  Whilst at the same time actually help the rest of the MMO industry progress to the next stage of evolution in MMO design.  They could pioneer it if they played their cards right.

What's everyone think?  Is it time for a pre-NGE F2P server to use as a testbed for developing the sandbox / hybrid design whilst keeping development costs down to a minimum and maximising potential customer feedback?

 

No doubt some will like the idea, and some may not.  But please, if you're going to reply to this thread, try to remain civilised and mature.  No personal attacks please and lets not let this thread descend into a flamewar between sandbox vs themepark fans.

 

EDIT:  It seems that a few people are misunderstanding why I mentioned F2P....

"F2P" is mentioned purely on the grounds that at the moment a lot of "older" games seem to be moving into the "no subscription" area.  And whilst some have employed other methods of getting money from customers,  F2P doesn't automatically mean "Cash Shop" or "microtransactions".  It just means "Free to play", insinuating no subscription fee.  Just as Anarchy Online is free to play.

This means that such a server could be viewed purely as a temporary "test server" to gauge public reaction.  A massive "online survey" if you want to use that phrase.  No cash shop.  No microtransactions.  No huge updates.  No Expansions.  No Customer Service (beyond forums).  No Official Support (beyond forums).  Just the server as it was to be used on a trial basis, the goal of which is to gauge public reaction.

It should be viewed as a Test Server, and a temporary one at that.  Nothing else.

  Ihmotepp

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/28/08
Posts: 14557

6/27/10 9:07:32 AM#2

I could be wrong, but I think a cash shop would destroy the very things the players of SWG pre-NGE found entertaining.

Cash shop seems like it would appeal more to themepark gamers than the sandbox crowd.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 9:15:36 AM#3
Originally posted by Ihmotepp

I could be wrong, but I think a cash shop would destroy the very things the players of SWG pre-NGE found entertaining.

Cash shop seems like it would appeal more to themepark gamers than the sandbox crowd.

 I didn't mention a "cash shop" ;)  I said F2P, meaning that there is no subscription. No expansion content.  The game would be exactly how it was prior to the implementation of the NGE.

And that's purely because the server would be viewed as a "prototype" for a future hybrid MMO design (or to develop the sandbox design further).  Maybe there could be a one-off "connection cost" to cover maintenance of the servers for the limited peroid that they are running. 

Yes, the pre-NGE version of SWG will have some flaws, but that's the point.  Its primarily being used as a "prototype".  And who knows, the server could end up actually being popular enough to justify keeping it going for longer than originally anticipated.

The beauty is that this version of the game has already been developed and proven to run.  Therefore, no extensive design time or resources are required to design it.  Thus cutting the cost of launching the server down dramatically.  The only costs to contend with would be the setting up and maintenance of a server cluster (which is no doubt quite costly anyhow, but SOE have a large server farm with redundant servers after they merge the servers of their other games).

The point is that in a sense, SWG pre-NGE could be "recycled" to be used as a prototype model for a new sandbox / hybrid design.  It could be used to gauge MMO players reactions to it.  Maybe even tweak it a bit.

Now yes, SWG is showing its age when compared to other games.  Nevertheless, the pre-NGE design still has certain features that even the latest sandbox AND themepark games fail / struggle to implement.

  Ihmotepp

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/28/08
Posts: 14557

6/27/10 9:27:11 AM#4

So you're suggesting SOE run a server for Pre-NGE SWG and pay for all the costs themselves, just because they want to lose money for their stockholders?

Hey guys, let's spend money on expensive bandwidth and servers, so gamers can play for free?

Ok, you know that's not going to work.

If you run a game SOMEONE has to pay for it.

How are you going to pay for it, if not a cash shop?

  Sebali

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/09/06
Posts: 386

6/27/10 9:34:54 AM#5

while i would love to see it happen i doubt it ever will.

 

SOe as said more than once that they no longer have the old code

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 9:40:27 AM#6
Originally posted by Ihmotepp

So you're suggesting SOE run a server for Pre-NGE SWG and pay for all the costs themselves, just because they want to lose money for their stockholders?

Hey guys, let's spend money on expensive bandwidth and servers, so gamers can play for free?

Ok, you know that's not going to work.

If you run a game SOMEONE has to pay for it.

How are you going to pay for it, if not a cash shop?

 You seem to be missing the point.  SOE have a lot to gain by launching an F2P version of SWG Pre-NGE, and not much to lose.  Plus, like I said (which you must have skipped over) SOE could charge a one-off connection fee to assist in the running of the server for a LIMITED TIME ONLY (sorry I had to put that in caps, because you seem to have missed it).

The point is, that some people seem to be emphatic that there is life in the typical sandbox design IF it is done correctly.  Many of those people often point at SWG as being a good example of a product which encompassed many of the sandbox elements that they seek.

However, as we have seen, not many MMO companies are not willing to devote time and resources to developing an MMO which attempts to break from the mould of typical themepark design, simply because they feel that the themepark design is a safer bet and less risky from a financial standpoint.

Now, SOE already launched pre-NGE once.  So its already designed.  Yes, there are costs concerned with launching a server cluster dedicated to pre-NGE SWG, and yes there are maintenance costs involved.  But the fact that in all likelihood, many of the SWG servers in use today are the same ones that housed the original version of SWG, and the fact that SOE's serverfarm probably has redundant server clusters due to server merges, means that SOE are actually in a better position to launch a "trial" of SWG Pre-NGE than any other MMO company has.

The advantage of doing this is the SOE can actually "test the water" concerning the sandbox design because they would be using a "live" and much larger audience that is more indicative of a population who would want to play a sandbox / hybrid design.  Which is far superior than relying on market research and a small "sample" audience. 

Its a risk yes, after the "trial" is over, the test of the SWG Pre-NGE design could show that it bombed.  But at that point SOE would have more accurate information as to WHY and HOW, and not have lost as much had they sat down and designed a new sandbox MMO from scratch.  The ends justifies the means.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 9:41:47 AM#7
Originally posted by Sebali

while i would love to see it happen i doubt it ever will.

 

SOe as said more than once that they no longer have the old code

 Well, only SOE know that for sure.  My gut tells me though that they said that to quieten down the voices calling for a rollback of SWG to its pre-NGE state.

  Comnitus

Novice Member

Joined: 6/03/09
Posts: 2509

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

6/27/10 9:43:51 AM#8
Originally posted by Tarka
Originally posted by Sebali

while i would love to see it happen i doubt it ever will.

 

SOe as said more than once that they no longer have the old code

 Well, only SOE know that for sure.  My gut tells me though that they said that to quieten down the voices calling for a rollback of SWG to its pre-NGE state.

Why would they keep the code? To do so would admit that they made a mistake.

Time for DAoC to get a massive graphics/UI overhaul and go F2P so I can relive my Albionian glory days too.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 9:46:20 AM#9
Originally posted by Comnitus
Originally posted by Tarka
Originally posted by Sebali

while i would love to see it happen i doubt it ever will.

 

SOe as said more than once that they no longer have the old code

 Well, only SOE know that for sure.  My gut tells me though that they said that to quieten down the voices calling for a rollback of SWG to its pre-NGE state.

Why would they keep the code? To do so would admit that they made a mistake.

 There's a difference between keeping code locked away and admitting that you have it.  I'm not trying to start a conspiracy or anything, but given the flak that SOE got from the NGE changes, there's nothing stopping them from keeping a copy of the old code, purely for reference purposes if nothing else.  Of course, on the other hand, there's a possibility that SOE don't have the code anymore.  In the end we're talking about a hyperthetical situation.  Maybe I should have made that clear. 

EDIT:  I've emphasised that we're talking about a hyperthetical situation in my OP.

  uquipu

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/14/09
Posts: 1538

6/27/10 9:52:06 AM#10

Why would Sony want to do this?
.
It would cost them money to maintain at least. Bandwidth costs. And then everyone playing would gripe because no new content would ever be added.
.
WoW pretty much destroyed SWG. 10,000 subs a month were lost to WoW. Isn't it time to move on?

Well shave my back and call me an elf! -- Oghren

  Ihmotepp

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/28/08
Posts: 14557

6/27/10 9:57:03 AM#11
Originally posted by Tarka

 You seem to be missing the point.  SOE have a lot to gain by launching an F2P version of SWG Pre-NGE, and not much to lose.  Plus, like I said (which you must have skipped over) SOE could charge a one-off connection fee to assist in the running of the server for a LIMITED TIME ONLY (sorry I had to put that in caps, because you seem to have missed it).

 

No, you're missing the point. SOE has a LOT to lose, it's called money.

Servers cost ............... Money!

And SOE can't just throw away money, they are responsible ot their shareholders, and the shareholders want them to make.....................money!

F2P means CASH SHOP!

You're suggesting what is usually termed now as BUY TO PLAY!

That is the Guild Wars model.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 10:02:18 AM#12
Originally posted by uquipu

Why would Sony want to do this?
.
It would cost them money to maintain at least. Bandwidth costs. And then everyone playing would gripe because no new content would ever be added.
.
WoW pretty much destroyed SWG. 10,000 subs a month were lost to WoW. Isn't it time to move on?

 1)  As a test for a new design model.

2)  Yes it would cost them money, but the benefits gained from using the pre-NGE design as a "testbed" for a future MMO design could possibly point SOE in a better direction than just market research and "fear of the unknown" (i.e. they wouldn't know for sure just how success their design would be until its built, which at that time could be too late).  Of course, there wouldn't necessarily be new content, its a "testbed", a "prototype" if you want.   Of course, there's nothing stopping them from developiing it further IF it became popular enough.  But if it didn't then they could close the servers after a few months, no legal comeback.  No issues concerning cancellation of subs (because there aren't any).

3)  Even as a lover of themepark MMO's, I dont agree that WoW was the cause of SWG pre-NGE's demise.  That was partly SOE's fault for changing the design to NGE and also the fact that it had issues that weren't being addressed. Remember that WoW wasn't the only big name MMO to release in 2004.  EQ2 released 1 month earlier.

Isn't it time to move on?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But one can learn a lot from history.  And one ignores such lessons at ones peril.  A percentage on these forums call for "something new", "something innovative" and "something like SWG"......so why not take advantage of the F2P model and give it to them by recycling an old design whilst at the same time using it as a "testbed" for a new design?

  PyrateLV

Tipster

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 1116

6/27/10 10:06:53 AM#13

SoE can barely manage and update the NGE version correctly. Now how do you expect them to manage a NGE AND Pre-CU versions?

 

You want a Free Pre-CU version of SWG? There is a "Flightless Bird" around if you look hard enough.

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  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 10:09:50 AM#14
Originally posted by Ihmotepp
Originally posted by Tarka

 You seem to be missing the point.  SOE have a lot to gain by launching an F2P version of SWG Pre-NGE, and not much to lose.  Plus, like I said (which you must have skipped over) SOE could charge a one-off connection fee to assist in the running of the server for a LIMITED TIME ONLY (sorry I had to put that in caps, because you seem to have missed it).

 

No, you're missing the point. SOE has a LOT to lose, it's called money.

Servers cost ............... Money!

And SOE can't just throw away money, they are responsible ot their shareholders, and the shareholders want them to make.....................money!

F2P means CASH SHOP!

You're suggesting what is usually termed now as BUY TO PLAY!

That is the Guild Wars model.

Lol, ok, emotions (and the excessive use of caps lock) aside, think about this for a moment:  Everything in life costs money, there's no escaping that.  From employing people to think up design concepts, to evaluating them, to testing them, software, hardware, the list goes on. 

However, there are opportunities whereby a little extra cost can have a big benefit.  Like the saying goes:  You have to speculate to accummulate.

Wouldn't you agree?  So which is the better option?  For an MMO company to spend 5 years developing a completely terrible MMO (because either they didn't do enough research, didn't have the expertise or just didn't listen to the playerbase) or to TEMPORARILY re-launch a previously developed title in the hope that it helps you develop a new design model for a new MMO using a large audience (more than just "friends and family") and getting a lot of feedback?

Yes, servers cost money.  And SOE has better resources to hand than many others, plus SOE was the company who previously designed SWG Pre-NGE.  It is a working product.  Already designed and constructed.  Which means that it fits well into the possibility of being a "prototype" or "testbed".

Yes, actually they CAN throw money around IF there is a good enough justiification for it.  Take the purchase of Sigil for instance.  There was a good justification for buying up Sigil and Vanguard, even though Vanguard was never going to make much money for SOE.  In other words the ends justified the means.

No, F2P doesn't necessarily mean a CASH SHOP.  The two often just ride together.  F2P means FREE TO PLAY.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Cash Shop is something that is implemented to offset the reduction in income that would normally have been made from subs / box sales.  However, not ALL games that are F2P have a cash shop.

Rather than just focus purely on the cost involved, think of the potential long term benefits.  Its possible that the ends MAY justify the means.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 10:13:37 AM#15
Originally posted by PyrateLV

SoE can barely manage and update the NGE version correctly. Now how do you expect them to manage a NGE AND Pre-CU versions?

 

You want a Free Pre-CU version of SWG? There is a "Flightless Bird" around if you look hard enough.

 I'd suggest you read my OP in its entirety.  Note where I said that I found SWG lacking, so why do you think I'm proposing such a hyperthetical scenario IF I didn't actually like the game as much as others did huh?  Its called having objectivity.

I don't WANT anything.  If it never came to pass, I wouldn't be bothered.  However, I'm proposing the re-use of an old design because regardless of my own personal feelings regarding the product, nevertheless I acknowledge that it had its good points.  And thus it could be used in order to prove whether or not there is justification to develop a new sandbox / hybid MMO design based on the original SWG design.

Let me emphasise what I said in my OP:  Its a testbed.  Not permanent.  Just temporary.  Not necessarily intended to be updated like MMOs are, but a Testbed for a future design model.  If SOE wanted they COULD charge for it any way they choose in order to help offset the costs.  However, F2P seems to be at the moment under a lot of focus.  Even WITHOUT cash shops, there are benefits to having a free game that doesn't charge anything at all.  The original design of Anarchy Online is free, so guess how THAT is being supported?  By the expansion purchases and income from its big brother (AOC). 

Of course, this is all theoretical, unlikely, but nevetheless possible and could actually turn out in SOE's favour if it was tried.

I really hope that I've made this clear now :)

  bstripp

Novice Member

Joined: 8/12/04
Posts: 238

6/27/10 10:32:00 AM#16

No offense, but Sony would have absolutely nothing to gain by doing this.  They are still running SWG.  Why would they ever want to release a F2P version of the same game with an old code base.

Mind you this is a version of they game that by every measure "failed".  It would be like Ford bringing back the Edsel as a discount car.  It failed when it was released, and there is no indication that it would be any better now.

This is not to say that there was not a certain population that didn't like the game.  Obviously there was, since we are still talking about it today.  However, one of Sony's talking heads said it very well when they talked about having the #1 IP for a gaming populace, and absolutely dropping the ball.

I can't see anything Sony would have to gain by this and the fact that it would cost them makes it a bad idea.

Edit: They don't need it as a testbed.  They saw what kind of numbers that it pulled.  The market for this game is already known.

  Tarka

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/07
Posts: 1673

Free speech is a right, common sense is a duty.

 
OP  6/27/10 10:39:17 AM#17
Originally posted by bstripp

No offense, but Sony would have absolutely nothing to gain by doing this.  They are still running SWG.  Why would they ever want to release a F2P version of the same game with an old code base.

Mind you this is a version of they game that by every measure "failed".  It would be like Ford bringing back the Edsel as a discount car.  It failed when it was released, and there is no indication that it would be any better now.

This is not to say that there was not a certain population that didn't like the game.  Obviously there was, since we are still talking about it today.  However, one of Sony's talking heads said it very well when they talked about having the #1 IP for a gaming populace, and absolutely dropping the ball.

I can't see anything Sony would have to gain by this and the fact that it would cost them makes it a bad idea.

I realise that the cost involved plays a big part in the decision, after all, costs always do.  However, SOE admitted they failed mainly because of changing to the NGE design, not purely because of the original design.  Yes, I am the first in the queue to point out where SWG Pre-NGE failed for me, but I don't class myself as being necessarily indicative of the whole of the MMO population.  And so, I try to look at things objectively.  Assessing the good and the bad regardless of my own personal bias.

I just think that perhaps SOE have a possible opportunity to "test the waters" in terms of developing a new sandbox design by utilising an old one as a "prototype" model.  They've not got anything to lose but some cost in running the servers for a few months to test the theory.  But they've got a lot to gain from finding out exactly WHAT sandbox players want without having to dedicate 5 years worth of resources and time in the wrong area.

After all, how many times have we seen MMOs get developed and turn out to be terrible products?

  Mud_Monster

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/04
Posts: 223

6/27/10 10:53:38 AM#18

What exactly is it you are wanting them to test?  The sandbox model?  They ran probably the 2nd most successful sandbox game ever(after EVE), so they already have experience with that.  You then mentioned F2P model but said they wouldn't be testing a Cash Shop?  Based on some of the points you mentioned in your OP, it sounds like you are wanting them to test a merge of sandbox and themepark.  They already tested that.  Its called NGE.

  rusrec

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/11/04
Posts: 51

Played: EQ1, EQ2, SWG(both ver.), COH, WOW, DDO, Vanguard, Warhammer Online, Champions Online.

6/27/10 11:20:05 AM#19

Yeah me too.  I miss pre NGE too.  Its ok you dont have to hide behind a post about sandboxes.  We all mourne in our own way and you too will be ok.

But seriously, they dont need or have a benfit to doing what you suggest.  They dont need to test anything, they did that already and bringing it back would provide no such "test ground" for them.

They could release a pre NGE SWG on one server and they would have plenty of old SWG players standgin in line with their credit cards.  But SOE would rather be able to say they did it their way.

 

And Sage is right, what you are suggesting is in fact what they did with NGE

  laokoko

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1874

6/27/10 7:31:16 PM#20

lol, you just want free entertainment.

What makes you think sony ieven want to develop a new sandbox game. 

It's probably not a bad idea to though,  but it surely weren't be free.

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