There’s a hype all over the gamer scene on the Internet regarding BioWare’s MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic mostly caused by the very awesome cinematic trailer that was revealed in E3 a couple of days ago.
I’ve been excited with the prospect of a fresh Star Wars MMO being made by BioWare, but not nearly close to what one would expect, from someone who, like myself, is a huge Star Wars fan and a huge BioWare fan. Having been disappointed with Star Wars Galaxies when it came out a few years ago, makes me more cautious this time around.
Obviously I have big expectations regarding the game, given BioWare’s history of producing great story-driven RPGs, but I’m not having the whole ‘clouded judgment’ thing enough to make me overlook obvious flaws it may have. There are less positive things, like BioWare’s inexperience in producing MMOs, and the rumoured possibility of it being a micro-transactions based game.
I’m still used to the monthly fee model, as every MMO I’ve played and enjoyed, since Dark Age of Camelot, has used that model. A micro-transactions-based model will have to be nicely done so I accept it enough to want to play.
I liked the trailer, and unlike Tobold I don’t think it was badly-timed, not do I think BioWare will make you sit through every spoken sentence each NPC spills out. In fact, anyone who has knowledge of BioWare’s latest games, such as Mass Effect, would know you can almost always ‘fast forward’ through dialogues. And Mass Effect had a *lot* of spoken NPC lines. Although I agree with part of his ‘hopes’ for SW:TOR, it seems like a bit of misinformed knit-picking on Tobold’s part. I don’t think SW:TOR is the second coming of Christ, I don’t believe it will have as many subscribers as WoW has (though it’s supposedly their goal to overthrow WoW), I don’t think it will revolutionize MMOs a lot (it will a bit, yes).
I do believe this has the potential to be one of the best MMOs out there. And let me remind you that before WoW, the subscriber numbers of what was considered a nicely populated MMO weren’t in the millions scale, but in the hundreds of thousands scale. Most of the World of Warcraft population these days weren’t even aware about MMOs until WoW came to the scene.
One of the downsides of WoW’s popularity? Because everyone plus their respective pets plays it, the number of idiot players is a lot higher than what you’d find in previous MMOs. When I dabbled a bit on LOTRO, the difference of maturity in the general chat was astounding. When I look at my sweetie’s screen and he’s playing EVE Online, the general chat also has a lot more quality (and let’s remember this is a free-for-all PvP game, where one would think we’d get more piss talk :P) and less idiocy than WoW.
But WoW’s popularity is not a bad thing, really. It gave MMOs some publicity, set a higher standard for product quality and such. But WoW also *did* eat away some of the market for single player games (mostly PC I’m guessing) by sucking people in to do the same crap over and over again for months.
Seeing my own situation, only now that I’ve taken a ‘sabbatical leave’ of WoW, am I playing other games, and urging to play other games. Sure, part of it has to do with me being burned out of WoW itself, and especially of the incredible amount of idiots who populate it, but also because I realize once more how much stuff I was missing by occupying a lot of my indoors time with WoW. I’d done the same when I’d quit the game after months of The Burning Crusade – and much like WoW’s content, it’s a cyclical deal.
Following that train of thought, here’s what I hope SW:TOR will give us: less in-game time required to get stuff done. Blizzard has taken some steps toward that in WotLK (and a bit before), but it’s still not perfect.
Getting back to the timing for the SWTOR cinematic trailer, Tobold should know that MMO developing companies often need to release such ‘delicious crumbs’ to the public, in order to show investors it’s a good thing to give them more money for development because of the build up hype. And if there’s something SWTOR will need more than what it already has guaranteed (which is an already proven good development house and the large target audience that are Star Wars fans) it’s money to develop and polish the game until it shines.
People don’t want another wonderful Tortuga followed by horribly bugged rest of the game, like what we got in Age of Conan.The initial SWTOR will need to be awesome and I mean awesome to the point where after you reach the level cap, you’ll want to keep playing.
I can only hope that BioWare keeps doing what it’s done best in the last few years and doesn’t succumb to probable external pressures to release the game before its ready. If there’s another company, other than Blizzard, who’s known for postponing games a lot but then delivering marvelous products, that’s BioWare.
I’m hoping for this because to be honest (and feel free to call me ‘causal’ :P), whenever I ‘come up for air’ from World of Warcraft I realize I’m missing out on a lot of stuff, games-wise or not. WoW has basically become worn out chewing gum for me.
The initial months after WotLK were quite nice (the quests were visibly improved) but it quickly became ‘more of the same’. I don’t want to be stuck chewing an endless chewing gum. I don’t want to be stuck doing the same over and over in an endless pattern. I want SWTOR to be designed in a way that I can enjoy it slowly, and through a lot of time without getting sick of it.
That’s my hope for SWTOR.