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Community Spotlight: What's in the News?

Managing Editor Jon Wood fills in for the Community Spotlight today, taking a look at two of the hottest topics on our boards, the indefinite hold of Gods & Heroes and the rumored confirmation that BioWare's new MMO will be based on the Knights of the Old Republic franchise.

What's in the News?

For this week’s forum spotlight, I thought that where I was filling in for our Community Manager, Laura Genender, that I would take some time to address a number of things that are being discussed on our forums. It’s been a pretty exciting couple of weeks in the MMO world, I’m going to focus on two: the indefinite hold put on Gods & Heroes and the recent slew of “confirmations” that Bioware will be making their MMO based on the Knights of the Old Republic license.

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Let’s start back at the beginning. All the way back, in fact, to Ancient Rome for a discussion about Gods & Heroes. I know that at this point, it’s almost like beating a dead horse, but I wanted to give my own impressions of the hold announcement.

MMORPG.com user Arawon recently started a thread titled, “Why are people still talking about this game?” The title is pretty self-explanatory as far as the contents of the post go, so I’m not going to repeat it. I am, however, going to try my hand at answering the question.

There are a number of reasons that people are still talking about this game. Have you ever slowed down to watch the aftermath of a car accident? Ever heard the expression, “it’s like watching a train-wreck”? The fact of the matter is that some people are just drawn toward this kind of tragedy. Now, I’m not trying to say that an indefinite hold on a game is in the same league as either of those things, but the sentiment is the same.

Another explanation for the continued interest in this game is the fact that to many people, this game had become very much a real thing. Whether people were beta testing this game and had already had a taste of it, or whether they had simply been following along at home, monitoring the game’s progress on news sites and forums, the result is the same. It’s not always as easy as all that to just shove something out of your mind.

Then, there’s the armchair analysts. When something goes wrong in this industry, it’s fun to try to pick it apart and try to figure out what happened. The events leading up to the announcement (Perpetual layoffs), the relative suddenness of the announcement (there it was, gone) and the timing (pre-orders were and by some accounts still are available in stores) all of these things make it easy to sit at home and speculate about the hows, the whys, and even the future of Star Trek Online.

What do I think? Well, I’m not going to start pointing fingers without evidence and a good idea of what the future holds. I will say this though. It’s certainly not unheard of in this industry for a game to be canned in beta. The example that pops into my head first was Wish (probably because I was one of the people working there when it was shut down in beta). I can’t say much about it, as I was new to the industry at the time, but I will say that for the people who were working on the game, it sucks. There is nothing more horrible in the workplace than to have something that you worked on, that you invested your time and ideas into (no one works a 9-5 at an MMO company, it’s more than just a job), die at the last minute. If you don’t want to take my word for it, read this article from former G&H writer Michael Fiegel.

Ok, moving on from the dearly departed to the maybe a possibility, I’m going to do something that we don’t often do here at MMORPG.com. I’m going to address a rumor. It all started with an article over at Primotech that cites an anonymous source “close to” BioWare that confirms that they are indeed making a Knights of the Old Republic MMO. Ok, I’m going to start this section of the article by saying that I think it’s completely plausible and not at all out of the realm of possibility that this is indeed the case. That being said, I was a little bit surprised by the reactions to this news. Within moments, threads started to appear on our forums, including one titled, “KOTOR MMO confirmed by Bioware”.

Not to take anything away from the folks over at Primotech, but after reading their article, I was left less than convinced. Really, it was the very first line of the article that cited “sources close to BioWare” that put me off. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve run anonymous sources before, I think everyone has, they make great fuel for the fire and certainly more evidence mounting in favor of the rumor. All I’m saying is that we should take this with a grain of salt. Confirmation (assuming this is true) will come, it’s just a matter of time.

It really says something that a friend of mine messaged me while I was writing that paragraph to ask me if I had heard that it had been confirmed. I told her what I just told you. It’s a rumor. Is it a rumor that’s getting stronger? Yes. Is it a rumor that fits? Yes. Is it cold, hard fact? No.