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All Posts by KyBo

All Posts by KyBo

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142 posts found

Normally, people would wonder about a CEO taking a shot at a section of his playerbase.  Since the discussion surrounds John Smedley, however, everyone just sees it as par for the course.  He's been the figurehead in much larger insults to SOE customers over the years.

As for the claims that they need 150-200 servers, even if each server held 500 players (the figure being floated is around 200, but we'll be generous here), then the maximum estimate for early access is ~ 100,000 players (200 servers x 500 players).

Now, I could assume that this estimate is true, but then I'd have to ignore the fact that this is coming from the same individual who's infamous for telling people that everything is sunshine and rainbows when it's clearly raining sh!t.  Ask SWG vets, and then brace yourself as they tell you all about it.

The questions going forward are, how much BS has Smedley baked into this announcement, and, how many early access players can SOE retain, while also attracting new players after the official launch?  Only satisfied gamers will make this game a success, no matter how much John Smedley tries to spin and generate attention for it. 

Originally posted by Deleted User


For the three months ended September 30, 2014 , service and other revenue was $454 million , primarily driven by

FIFA Ultimate Team, Titanfall, and

Battlefield 4 Premium. Service and other revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2014 increased $109 million , or 32 percent, and was driven by a $171 million increase primarily from Titanfall and the FIFA and Plants vs Zombies franchises. This increase was partially offset by a $62 million decrease primarily from the SimCity franchise and Star Wars: The Old Republic.


What is this, 3rd? quarter when they mention revenue increase was offset by decrease in SWTOR. Specifically.

Not good.

Ok, so to break down the investor-business PR speak, here's what's actually being stated.

EA is comparing online gaming service revenue from Q3 2014 to Q2 2014.  There was a 32% increase in revenue ($171 million) over the last 3 months compared to the 3 months before that.  Most of that revenue came from FIFA, which is going like crazy in Europe, Titanfall, which has also been successful, and the ever-reliable Battlefield online revenue, as well as Plants versus Zombies.

"This increase was partially offset by" actually means "we lost money on the following."  Between Sim City and SWTOR, EA took a loss of $62 million.

The bottom line here is that SWTOR is currently costing more money than it is bringing in, and it's losing enough to be named in EA's quarterly earnings statement as being a primary driver of profit loss, along with the Sims.

Now, there would need to be a trend of big losses that lasted for at least 6 months to a year before SWTOR was in any danger of being cancelled, and even then, the licensing agreement for the game likely requires EA to faithfully operate the game and pay royalties for a fixed number of years.  

One thing to consider is that if a major change to the game or content expansion is being developed, that would also lead to the game, with low revenue coming in, to run heavily into the red.

Any way you slice it, something is going to give with SWTOR.  Either resources will be spent in order to boost revenue, or major cutbacks will put the game on undeniable life support until such time that EA can legally pull the plug.  Considering the fortune that's already been spent on the game to end up where it is, I'd bet on the latter.  EA took what should have been a great gamble with the Star Wars IP and managed to lose on it.  Like any company that makes a bad business call, they're going to minimize the damage from that mistake.


SWG was a game built ahead of it's time with some very lofty goals.


  It stretched the limits of what could be done when building an MMO 15 years ago, and opened countless doors for what has been done in terms of coding and game-building since.  It was never a perfect game, nor did it ever run perfectly.  It always had bugs and issues, but that came as a result of being such an ambitious project.


  The sheer size of the game was impressive all by itself.  I've yet to see a game with anywhere near the amount of playable gamespace to explore.  The crafting system will probably stand as the most complex and thorough in MMO history.  The level of character customization is only even approached by very few games if any today.  The space component was the equivalent of adding a second MMO to the original game, even today.  Even the pet system was diverse and complex.


  A lot of factors contributed to the downfall of the game.  Some were simply design flaws that left the game uncompetitive against newer MMO's.  Other design flaws alienated players, or potential players.  Badly planned gambles and even worse public relations by SOE left the game in such a bad state that, try as they might, devs who took over the game in the latter stage of it's lifespan couldn't undo the damage.  LucasArts certainly didn't do the game any favors either.


  SWG has a legacy of being a game that innovated on the technical side, but is derided on the public side.  As this thread shows, the reasons for its downfall will be debated until the game is such a distant memory that people don't remember or don't care.  The fact that more than 10 years after it launched, 15 years after development started, and 3 years after it closed, SWG is still being talked about shows that, for better or worse, the game had a profound and lasting effect on the genre.


I've recently given this game (and more specifically, SOE) another shot, and I have to say, DCUO itself is humming along fairly well.  SOE is still, well, SOE, but at least the game is decent.  

The patch that brought the "Halls of Power" pre-update, which included the new league features and access to league halls has, of course, created a number of issues that SOE is currently muddling through to fix, so it remains to be seen how long it takes for those issues to be resolved.  The system itself will likely need a few tweaks as well, but overall, players are at least satisfied that the dev team is finally delivering on a long-awaited promise.


With the recent inclusion of weapon mastery, which has given the game mechanics a much-needed boost, and the content that has slowly accumulated over the game's lifespan, DCUO has become a well-rounded MMO.  It's still a gear grind, with the endgame hinging on repetition, but that's really no different than any other MMO.  Most of the game's content is fun and can be completed quickly enough for it to still be enjoyable after the 100th, or even 500th, run.


As with any MMO, finding a good league (guild) to run with is important, and this is a bit of a trouble spot.  Most leagues in DCUO are not worth joining.  They communicate poorly (partially a result of the still-unreliable voice chat system), and the new league system discourages higher-geared players from helping lower-geared players.  Finding a good, active league that communicates well can be a pain, but once one is found, players can really breeze through the gear grind (so long as they have access to all of the content) to the top tiers.


The game is by no means perfect, and there are still plenty of things that SOE could do better or more effectively, but overall, DCUO is now an infinitely better game than it was at launch.     


Yeah, SOE certainly deserves the #1 spot.  Smedley and Co. basically wrote the, "How not to Handle a P.R. Disaster" book for any business.  It wasn't even so much the NGE itself, it was the way in which it was handled from start to finish.  


Rather than implement changes slowly, SOE tried to ram all of them down players' collective throat at once.  The problem was then multiplied by the fact that the NGE was only half-finished, and riddled with game-breaking bugs.  They completely ignored the player base, as the OP stated, and pushed it from test to live over the vehement objections of the community.


After sh!t hit the fan when the NGE launched, SOE than had the audacity to say publicly that the changes were well-received by players, despite every game forum going crazy and Youtube videos popping up of players deleting their characters in protest.  the icing on the cake was that players had to threaten Sony with a class-action lawsuit just to get a refund on The Trails of Obi-Wan expansion, which launched right before the NGE, with players given absolutely no warning that they were coming.


It's hard to even imagine, but SOE customer service has actually gotten worse since then.

A lack of endgame content is emblematic of the real problems that SWTOR has.  First off, it isn't that SWTOR is a bad MMO, but a generic one.  If you removed the "Star Wars" from the game, it may not have even made it this long.  The graphics are OK, the combat is the same as nearly every standard MMO of the past decade, and the progression is the usual quest to max level and then do dailies/instances/PvP content (such as it is) with some space content on the side. Little if anything exists in SWTOR, other than the "Star Wars," that makes this game stand out in any way from other MMO's.


The "Star Wars" may have sold plenty of game boxes at launch, but nothing since then has kept a majority of those now dust-covered box owners playing.  EA, who has a reputation for pulling any extra funding from a game that doesn't meet expectations, isn't likely to bother pouring resources into SWTOR now, and cutbacks that have already been made are causing new content development to proceed at a snail's pace.


I was a launch-day player, with high hopes for the game, despite my better judgement, that content would flow, and changes would be made to make the game more interesting. They never came, so I left.  I've tried the game out a few times since then, but have never stayed for long.  I start doing the endgame content, but I get bored with it quickly, and I'm back to playing other games within a few weeks.  The game just isn't fun enough to be worth my time once the content (again, what there is of it) starts getting monotonous.


With EA in charge of the game, I have no reason to go back again.  SWTOR will trudge on for a couple more years until either the licensing contract ends, or the next SW MMO is ready to be hyped up and launched, at which point the game will be shuttered and forgotten.  Very little in the way of content or meaningful changes will occur in that span.


LMFAO!  I'd heard of H1Z1, but I didn't realize until I read this article that SOE was stupid enough to try advertising the game as "a game for SWG fans."  Seriously?  

     Does John Smedley honestly believe that after all of the disappointment and alienation many in the SWG community felt because of the poor design decisions, and atrocious customer service from SOE, that somehow any game the company made would bring that population back as customers?  Sure, some will check it out, but most won't touch anything SOE puts out again.

     This is just another instance, in a long line of instances, where John Smedley opened his trap and stuck his foot directly in it, and most of those occurrences were directly tied to SWG.  The smart move for SOE is to simply never utter the phrase "Star Wars Galaxies" ever again, lest you wish for the sh!tstorm that usually follows.


As to the revenue graph, Sony's biggest moneymaker is its insurance arm.  Remember, there is no product requiring raw materials being manufactured, but instead a human service being provided by the insurance arm, so unlike much of the corporation, the insurance arm has significantly lower overhead costs.  

The problem with Sony is two-fold.  First, much of the manufacturing operations are in Japan, where labor laws have made it more expensive to do business, and difficult to shutter and move operations.  While those laws are slowly changing, it still isn't helping Sony cut costs as deeply as they need to.  

The second problem lies with reputation and poor management.  The fact that John Smedley is still a CEO over any portion of the company after a number of terrible failures, and so many alienated former customers, is a clear sign that Sony does a bad job of holding its executives accountable.  The company also tends to cut people from customer service operations every time it has to lay people off, which has also had a negative impact on customer sentiment.  The end result is a bad reputation in the eyes of many consumers who've been wronged by the company.

Can Sony turn it around?  Of course they can.  The question is, will they take the necessary steps to do so?  Becoming a profitable corporation again will mean cutting out some of their unprofitable holdings and a change in management in others.  If Sony doesn't take a proactive approach to solving these issue, however, it will wind up making these decisions through bankruptcy restructuring when it finally runs out of financial reserves.  Considering they had to sell off billions of dollars in real estate to cover losses in 2012, that may be closer than people think.  

It looks decent.  Apparently, the DCUO team has moved into a recurring pattern of using existing environments, like portions of Metropolis and Gotham, for new content.  That isn't a bad idea, as both cities are large play areas, and using old assets for the game eliminates the cost of creating new ones, but for DC fans hoping for new large open areas in DCUO, like Star(ling) City, it doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon, if at all.

Star Wars Galaxies was a decent attempt to do exactly this...for its time.  SWG had plenty of bugs, as well as design and gameplay flaws, that always held the game back.  The attempt to "modernize" the game (the NGE) was a poor attempt at addressing the gameplay issues, and it blew up in SOE's collective face in as spectacular a fashion as any game company has seen to date.

LucasArts, intent on recreating the success that Blizzard had with WoW, pushed SOE to move forward with the NGE over objections from rank and file programmers.  When the NGE failed miserably, LucasArts went to Bioware, who had a great reputation from the KoTOR series, to make a WoW-esque MMO that would succeed where SWG had failed.  EA stepped in and spent over $500 million to buy out Bioware in order to get the lucrative license.  SWG was left to die a long, slow death while Star Wars: The Old Republic was in development.  As soon as SWTOR was ready to launch, SWG was finally ordered closed.

And that is what happened to your open-world Star Wars MMO.

At best, SWTOR was not the smash hit Electronic Arts was expecting.  EA is not likely to drop $200+ million ($700+ million if you factor in the cost of buying out Bioware) to build a Star Wars MMO again anytime soon.  Since Disney gave the company the license to make Star Wars games, no other company will be making an open-world Star Wars MMO either.

There is still some level of hope.  Star Wars: 1313 was originally planned to be a sort of "Grand Theft Star Wars," where players would operate across a large game space like Grand Theft Auto and SWG.  The game morphed a number of times until LucasArts was closed last year.  If a new open-world Star Wars game were to be released in the next 5-7 years at least, this would be the most likely form.

Other than that, you can wait for either the Pre-CU or post NGE SWG emulators to be finished.  The Pre-CU version is playable now, and progress is moving along at a decent pace.  You can log into the post-NGE emu, but there is no combat or transportation at this point. 


Stellar article, Bill!  This is seriously one of the best articles I've seen on MMORPG in quite some time.


It goes to show just how on target you are when most of the dissenting arguments in the comments section have nothing to do with the game itself, and the ones that do focus on the game criticize the storyline or genre, not the actual gameplay or detail the article was actually about.


Since GTA 3, the series has been a massive success built on exploration of a sandbox environment.  That very premise alone has been abandoned by most MMO's, to their detriment.  The story in GTA has always taken a backseat to the world you could explore.  You could choose to do, or not do, basically anything you wanted in these games, and your deviant actions come with consequences.


The shining piece of content in the series hasn't been the main story mode, but the mini-games and side missions like stealing a cop car and responding to calls, or stealing a list of cars ala "Gone In 60 Seconds."  These missions are found by exploring the world, not by being led to them as players are in most MMO's.


The world detail described in this article is what makes a player WANT to go exploring in GTA.  The feeling of immersion created in GTA games through the sheer level of detail surpasses anything that's been seen in MMO's, period.  A few earlier MMO's like SWG have explored this level of detail, and a few newer MMO's like DCUO showed some promise early on, but those advances were abandoned in favor of the themepark/e-sport model before they were explored any further.  GTA offers a world that feels alive, with NPC's that have their unique mannerisms and react to circumstances.  Few MMO's have ever even attempted this level of detail, none have achieved it. 


What sets GTA games apart from MMO's the most, however, is that there's no gear grind.  There's an entire game to be explored, and at no time is there a barrier to entry based on what you're wearing.  You don't have to repeat the same content over and over just to advance to the next level of repetitive content.  This fact alone has been destroying the MMO genre since 2004, while GTA has become a crown jewel of the gaming industry.  In GTA, a shotgun is a shotgun.  You never have to repeat missions for the hope of getting "the shotgun of destiny" for a whopping 5% more damage in order to "be viable" for the next mission.


If the MMO industry had spent the last decade trying to utilize what made the GTA series an amazing success instead of what made WoW a hit, there wouldn't be such a long list of failed MMO's over that time period.



After leaving the game shortly after launch, I returned about two weeks ago to see what was different.  I was satisfied enough with the advances the game has made to stick around.  I subbed up, and bought RotHC two days ago. 

Being someone who falls into the "free title and coins" timeframe, I'm satisfied with the items given.  I'd have been a little irritated if they suddenly made RotCH free to subscribers without any announcement two days after I purchased it, and given me no compensation for that purchase. 

What's being offered is perfectly fair to me, but I do think that they should give subscribers who purchased the X-pac something as well.  Give them the title or a few hundred extra cartel coins for supporting the game.  While server population seems fairly stable and healthy, good customer service will go a long way toward keeping it that way.   

The problem isn't that new content is designed for high level players, it's that the design philosophy in general over the last year has been to make the game more of a grind-fest.  In addition to the PVE/PVP gear grind, they've implemented a rent-an-ability system, where extra items and specials must be repurchased each month with marks. 

Clearly, the goal is to get more players to subscribe to the game in order to remove the content restrictions that hinder player progression, but what it's really going to accomplish is pushing the more casual players out the door. 

It's just another example of bad design decisions by SOE.  Increasing the grindfest to force players to keep repeating content will eventually remind players that what they're doing is becoming more of a job and less of an enjoyable game. 

"Out of respect for our employees, we request that you do not discuss personnel matters on our forums."

So, after publicly announcing that employees were losing their jobs, SOE thinks it's disrespectful to the employees they just laid off to discuss that announcement on SOE forums. 

How about, "As it is an embarrassment to SOE and yet another PR black eye, we ask that you not discuss the fact that our poor management ability has cost people their jobs on our forums, and embarrass us even further."  I think that more accurately describes SOE's position.

 It's disconcerting to anyone that people are losing their jobs, especially when it was through no fault of their own.  Poor management at SOE (yes, that means John Smedley and those immediately beneath him), and at Sony in general, are the reason for this job loss.


I already own a decent PC, which negates any reason why I'd want or need a console that is inferior to what I already own the day it hits store shelves.

I also don't have to pay a monthly service fee on top of the costs for internet and subscriptions to online games on a PC.  Since I don't have to pay that extra cost, I won't have to bitch about the price of that unnecessary service increasing every year, which it no doubt will.

Almost every game that looks interesting to me will be released on the PC, usually at a lower price.  Most of those games will allow me to optimize settings to take advantage of the higher graphics and processing power of my PC for a richer game experience.  In a couple of years, I'll upgrade my PC for even better performance, which I can't do with a console. 

Originally posted by maphreal
It's fine with me. I mean honestly, when is the last time you played a WoW-styled sandwich combat MMO where you had a gazillion abilities on your GUI and actually used them all constantly? You typically only have a 4-6 button rotation, and everything else was either a buff or utility you rarely used. I'd rather have interesting choices that I can change whenever I want, rather than having hotbar diarrhea hogging my screen.

I agree, and according to the poll at this point, so do the majority of people that voted.  If the 8 skills system will deliver engaging combat, I think it will be more appealing to players than having 25 weak or highly situational skills that are hardly worth putting on your hotbar. 

Make no mistake, the 8 key hotbar is a design decision based on the PS4, as it was in DCUO for the PS3.  As long as they improve some of the shortcomings of the DCUO combat system, such as duplicative specials and "clipping" as a design choice (when they either could not or would not bother to fix the bug that caused clipping), then combat should be exciting for those that enjoy twitch-based combat.

If you HAVE to have two hotbars filled with abilities, or you are not a fan of more twitch oriented combat, then this game will most likely not be for you.  I'm in favor of this kind of combat.  Unfortunately, I'm not into the whole fantasy scene, and I'm definitely not into anything related to SOE, so I'm out.  That said, I hope this game succeeds.  It shows that SOE may have finally realized that some of the qualities of yesteryear from games like SWG should not have been so quickly abandoned in favor of trying to copy the WoW model.  If the game is successful, it will prompt other companies to again consider things like true open-world environments and exploration, along with newer features.     

Now, I'm usually pretty critical of $OE, especially when it comes to treatment of their customers, but this is an idea that I'm surprised hasn't gone mainstream sooner, and even more surprised that $OE is taking the lead on it.  Kudos to them for giving people with the talent to make items for their games the opportunity to make some money off that skill, while increasing player individuality.

I think the 60-40 split is a bit much, 70-30 would have been fine, but hey, it's $OE we're talking about here.  What else would you expect?  I mean let's be honest here, this is a way for $OE to make money while using very little resources.  Nonetheless, if you're a graphic designer that's out of work, or just needs some extra cash on the side, here's an opportunity.

Again, hats off to $OE for bringing this idea to the forefront.  It stuns me a little to be stating this,but hopefully other companies that I will actually do business with take a cue from $OE here, because it is a good idea.

Originally posted by titanofdoom
Hodor...WOW first MMO


Anyway, I tend to find that when a F2P game starts boasting its "registered users" or "total accounts," the game has little else to market for that sales pitch.  Stating registered user numbers for a free game is as pointless as McDonald's putting "Billions Served" on the sign.  

LMAO!  It literally says "Boring PvP...Over and Over" right in the trailer!  Classic!

This review is spot on.  The biggest issue with this game is depth.  There isn't any.  Everything about this game is bland, boring, and shallow.  I was hoping to enjoy it, as I'm a Marvel fan, but this couldn't hold my attention for more than a couple of hours.  The only redeeming quality about the game is that it didn't cost me anything more than time to be completely underwhelmed by it.


That was actually the point of this game from the beginning. Gazillion was contracted to produce a game on the cheap that could capitalize on the popularity of the Marvel Universe, using the Diablo gameplay mechanics.  If you can get 100 million people worldwide to drop $10 or $20 to buy their favorite hero and costume, and casually play a game with low overhead expenses, you'll make a pretty nice profit, and they'll likely exceed those numbers.


Marvel Heroes is not about making a great online Marvel game, it's about using a license to quickly turn a big profit. 

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