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The Ugly Truth About Old Republic

Posted by Ozzallos Wednesday March 21 2012 at 12:58PM
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I stumbled upon a fairly bland article on Arstechnica entitled, "Blizzard producer attributes drop in WoW subscriptions to Star Wars: Old Republic." Your first reaction to that article was probably quite a bit like mine; that being, "Duh?". It's not quite as simplistic as that, but as another member put it "In other news, water is wet."

The real story is not, however, the overly obvious headline. It's what you'll find in the reader commentary.

Now I'll readily admit bias when it comes to the topic of Old Republic, namely filed under the header of "300 million dollars and this is the best they can do?". Because let's be honest, it doesn't look particularly impressive and the gameplay is pretty one-dimentional. Its only real selling point is the hours upon hours of voice acted dialogue and the name "Star Wars!" behind it.

Or let's put it another way:

If this game were named some generic name like, say, 'Blue Cloud Odyssey' featuring everything but the lightsabers, I doubt so many would be so willing to play it, let alone rush to its defense because Old Republic is truely mediocre in execution. Sure, that's my opinion, but it's also apparently a truth that's starting to set in.

The reader commentary for this article is particularly enlightening as to why people are even playing Old Republic and potentially its future as a franchise. In fact, if one went by this cross section of independent opinion, you'd almost think people were playing Rift all over again; that is to say they were playing it because they were tired of World of Warcraft and little more. Frankly, it doesn't say anything good about your game when the only attributes to its popularity are "people tired of warcraft" and starwars fanboys. When you can't sell a game on its own merits, there's a problem and that seems to be a truth bearing out in the arstechnica commentary.

Even more telling is the focus of those comment. The story is about Warcraft losing ground to Old Republic and that is certainly reflected in the conversation as Blizzard's MMO management sins are brought to light. But in almost every other posting you see a general disatisfaction with Old Republic commented upon in the same breath. "We're tired of Warcraft dumbing down its gameplay/pets/pandas... And Starwars isn't that exciting either."

That's the last direction you would expect a warcraft fail piece to go, but there it is and it 's perhaps a snapshot into the future of Old Republic if Bioware can't get its act together.

daltanious writes:

Huh? Are we speaking about same swtor mmo? because this crap "Now I'll readily admit bias when it comes to the topic of Old Republic, namely filed under the header of "300 million dollars and this is the best they can do?". Because let's be honest, it doesn't look particularly impressive and the gameplay is pretty one-dimentional. Its only real selling point is the hours upon hours of voice acted dialogue and the name "Star Wars!" behind it." does not make sense. Let's be honest, swtor is best game (probably at par with wow) of all times of this genre and in general (imo). Game is actually impressive in any sense. As for star wars feeling as for incredible, incomparable so far, immersion. And said this must also ad when purchased I did not had any high hopes, have been not following a lot development diaries or anything related to. Just tried and .... get sucked in. I have hard times to decide now which I love more, wow or swtor.

Btw, when playing any game i do not care at all about factor any game being killer of anything. I just play and enjoy. But is true if there would be no swtor I would be playing wow and Rift. If there would be no Rift, I would be playing Wow. Because all the rest does not get not even 1% close to this trio. And I'm close to 50 and have tried really a lot.

Thu Mar 22 2012 4:25AM Report
LionShard writes:

Wut are you talkingabout? The game is a disgrace to Star Wars frachise! Non of the classes works, as it supposed to by lore. As for the gameplay, it is still repetetive and boring, as other casual mmos.

Thu Mar 22 2012 5:28AM Report
eyeswideopen writes:

Best game of all time in the genre.



Daltanious bumped his head HARD!

Thu Mar 22 2012 5:49AM Report
karmath writes:

People are still defending this game?


Thu Mar 22 2012 8:20AM Report
jtcgs writes:

Now this is an article I can get hind for the most part.

I agree with everything but the part about it only being popular because of its name. I think it has everything to do with it being done by have to give credit where its due, Bioware has been making damn good storylines for a decade, it actually COULD be called "blue cloud oddyssey" and have a great story if Bioware is making it.

But it still doesnt make a good MMORPG...and TOR is NOT a good MMORPG.

Thu Mar 22 2012 11:43AM Report
Kost writes:

The amount of personal opinion here, that is being passed on as if it were fact, is quite shocking.

Everyone I started early access with is still playing, we're all adults btw. Not everyone shares the opinions of a few misguided naysayers.


Thu Mar 22 2012 4:20PM Report
Konfess writes:

"partly attributable" is not solely attributable.  The 60.000 - 100.000 subs lost by WoW are not subs lost to other games, but subs lost to gaming.  From 2003 - 2006 I maintained 11 subs.  In 2008 I canceled my WoW subscription. I now only maintain 1 monthly sub.  I was playing SWG when WoW released.  I was the only player to login to my server that first day.  That is the effect of an epic game's release.  I pre-ordered swtor, and participated in the weekend beta events.  I noticed signs of shoddy workmanship then.  But the fanbois insisted there was time for these things to be fixed before release.  When release came and I saw no improvements I knew I had been sold a lemon, so I didn't renew.  I didn't run back to WoW either, but I am more tired of the community than the game.

There may be 600 - 1.000 that left WoW to sub to swtor and other MMOs, because they HATE WoW and all it stands for.  But the rest simply can't afford to keep paying $15 a month if they aren't playing in earnest.

Fri Mar 23 2012 12:55PM Report
MurlockDance writes:

From my free trial experience, it seems to me that ToR is really not that bad of a game. It isn't omgamazing, but it is definitely way better than the average MMO fair. It is above average for an AAA title too. This is in my opinion of course.

Granted, it seems like the output of so many production dollars is a little low. The game should have been omgamazing. However, it isn't the flop that a lot of haters make it out to be.

I do take what a lot of players say anymore about games outside of game-breaking bugs and serious game hampering experiences with a grain of salt. I find that a lot of gamers do not know what they really want.

Also, I think people were just waiting for polished AAA titles to release to leave WoW simply because if they have played that for a long time, they are probably sick of it by now. There was a minor exodus with Rift, there is another one with ToR, there will be more with TERA and GW2, etc. There haven't been that many AAAs released since WoW with any real quality before Rift's last year. VG, WAR, and AoC had terrible problems. The only AAA title before Rift that seemed to do well was LotRO. Before Rift and ToR, people were saying the same thing: they were sick of WoW and wanted to play something different. I see people saying something similar about GW2.

So I guess, it is a factor that AAA titles will have to live with post-WoW since it is still the big kid on the block and probably will remain so reputation-wise in the industry. At least, BW did not advertize ToR as an Azeroth killer like Trion did with Rift.

Sat Mar 24 2012 4:10AM Report
Ataaka writes:

'Name Recognition Matters'

No matter what name you give it, however, I will always be able to recognize a Big Mac over a Whopper. 

You cannot call the game, 'Grind and Sell' if it has light sabers in it..people are smarter than you think.


Sun Mar 25 2012 12:08AM Report
rx8993 writes:

There isnt any game out there that makes OMGAMAZING reaction for enough amaunt of people, why? Because they dont care about making a good game, they care about making game that makes them money. Until that is changed we wont have good/great games to play. I just hope enough of "good" games go free to play so we have something to play without paying...

Sun Mar 25 2012 10:20AM Report
Ryowulf writes:

ToR went for the money. The devs looked around at what 'worked' five years ago when they started this game and based it around those common themes.

Now you have a game that isn't bad, just outdated. Look at GW2, maybe it will be a bad game, but no one can say they took the safest route.

As has been said, if this wasn't Star Wars/Bioware, it would have flopped.

Tue Mar 27 2012 8:04AM Report
Gravarg writes:

The only thing great about this game is that it's Star Wars.  Everything else is ok, just ok.  There's nothing that really jumps out and makes you say "omg!"...except when you hit a skill and it takes 2-3 seconds to actually fire...if it fires at all XD

Tue Mar 27 2012 12:22PM Report
dadown writes:

SWTOR is nice for a change of pace (I played beta and the free weekend), but its not something that I'd pay a monthly subscription for. I'm waiting for it to go F2P when they have to start consolidating servers.

Tue Mar 27 2012 7:05PM Report
Hexipox writes: SWTOR is good fun for the stroy,rest of the game, Raids, PVP .. boring as hell and nothing new at all .. Wed Mar 28 2012 5:17AM Report
Silmas writes: Sadly i felt bored after playing ToR for 14 days. I cancelled the sub and never returned. But it is the first game for which i write forum comments. Wed Mar 28 2012 6:41AM Report
Tyratops writes:

Don't forget that the subscriber loss for WoW is a net figure,  so it's quite possible they lost more than 100k to SW:TOR (not saying that they did) but in turn gained some completely new subscribers.

Wed Mar 28 2012 7:58AM Report
Selynar writes:

Well I know I got suckered pretty hard with this game. I played the Beta, realized my computer was crappy and couldn't play it well, so I revamped my whole computer, bought SWTOR about a month ago, and haven't touched it in 2 weeks. Why because its boring. Its the same crap over and over. Graphics are okay, nothing special, and yeah its just boring.

I had a helluva lot more fun playing 12 Sky, and 12 Sky 2. And it was free to play. The pvp was better, the grinding felt a whole lot more rewarding, until 112 on 12Sky2, and anyone that did that level knows. :P

This I'm paying per month for a game that stops at lv50... to me seems pointless. When I play this I felt more like I was playing WoW with a "Star Wars(tm)" on it. If they wanted a bigger and better mmo they should've stuck with their old ktor games style levelling, and gone from there. That at least would have made some wicked "Custom" characters. Here's 5 stats each level, Do with them what you will. Then dump on the masteries, skills, and powers.

In the end I found this game to be another clone, and its great for people that haven't played a lot of MMO's, and for a few other reasons, but its just not good enough for me to pay for. Despite the fact that I had to buy the game AND a 2 month game card just to play the damned thing. That was a sick joke in order to make money you cheap bastards.

Wed Mar 28 2012 10:40AM Report
Azrile writes:

A lot of the disappointment really is that SWTOR did nothing different.  It is absolutely no better or different than RIFT despite the fact that it had a HUGE budget and was created by one of the best developers in the gaming industry.

For me it was an awakening.. maybe WOW really is that good. Despite its dated graphics, it still has better gameplay and is more fun than all the competitors that came after it.  We can almost make a laundry list of WOW-killers that have come and gone into obscurity..  Warhammer and AOC.. both had IPs and developers that should have been good enough to compete.  Both are gone.   Rift is a solid game, but you cannot be so similar to WOW without having improvments over wow.. there is a thing called inertia..  players are not going to leave wow for a game that is so similar to wow unless it is at least marginally better.

But SWTOR had all the pieces..  the big budget, the powerhouse developer.. the time and restraint not to rush release...  But in the end.. it is wow with lightsabres.  They seem to have spent all their budget on voice-overs and no technology improvements.   Like Rift, it is a solid, if somewhat boring game...  But really, most of the disappointment is just a collective ´please.. please.. improve upon wow´... once again, going unanswered.

Wed Mar 28 2012 1:59PM Report writes:
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