I’m new here, want to hear my awesome idea?

I’m sure you have seen this a few times, a new blogger is all hyped up and ready to change the world, and they enthusiastically posts about things that have not only been covered hundreds of times, but items that have long been filed away as “nice on paper, terrible in-game”. You like that they are trying, you wished they had done some reading first, but it’s tough not to link a dozen posts from years past to show them, yea, that’s been covered, it’s not going to work.

EA/Bioware is that new blogger. With a small countries economy invested in those ideas.

You go and do your quests, but it feels more like doing a shopping list at times. [Our game] is more about talking to characters, learning what’s going on, investing in it, getting emotionally attached to it,” Gibeau says.

Raise your hand if you think you are going to get emotionally attached to the story in SW:TOR.

Raise your hand if you have heard a dozen devs from a dozen genres tell you that you are going to get emotionally attached.

Success rate of such claims? Yea, slim to none.

Now usually that’s not a major problem and it’s just marketing hype. Whether you thought Fear was scary or tame does not change the fact that it was a pretty solid shooter, with good physics and great graphics (at the time). EA/Bioware is banking, hard, on you getting emotionally attached, and when (err sorry, if…) that 4th pillar comes crumbling down the moment someone hits the cap two days in and starts ranting on the forums, there won’t be much to fall back on. Hell, even if you enjoy yourself through that hard-set story (SW:TOR is likely to be a great single player RPG for a month), what are you going to do month two, three, or four?

“Ignore the story and feel free to focus on X” is not part of the plan here. Lots of MMO players ignore the story. At least the one the devs write up. Player stories are what stick. Gonna be really tough to get great player stories going when the NPCs won’t shut up, and your gameplay options are limited to “enter this instance” and “log out”.

Hope they sell a ton of lifetime subs on the hype.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Mass Media, MMO design, Rant, SW:TOR. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to I’m new here, want to hear my awesome idea?

  1. Snafzg says:

    I like what you did there in that first paragraph. The perfect setup, hah.

    If they get proved wrong though, it will lend some weight to those who argue gamers want nothing more than the next glorified slot machine.

    Personally, I think there’s some truth to that. People can be social engineered. That’s why the sitcom and romcom have been popular for as long as they have… There are forumalae to follow.

    Of course, there’s still that elusive “it factor” creative people are always grasping for…

    • SynCaine says:

      I don’t think it’s asking for a glorified slot machine, it’s asking for a solid virtual world (which is what every MMO should be, but yea).

      Instanced single player voiced story and virtual world don’t mix, so you either stop calling it an MMO and just admit its a monthly paid sRPG, or you ship a game that fails to deliver as an MMO.

      • Pitrelli says:

        I think it worked pretty well in Tortage, it was just the rest of AoC that let it down

        • SynCaine says:

          Torgage was originally planned to be offline.

        • Pitrelli says:

          yes but it wasnt and it worked.

        • SynCaine says:

          You are missing the point, entirely.

          It ‘worked’ because it played like a tightly scripted sRPG for a 20h chunk of time. 1000h of that would have been terrible.

          Not to mention very costly to produce and impossible to sustain, hence SW:TOR being a great 1m sRPG with a monthly fee+cash shop.

        • Pitrelli says:

          Im not missing the point. You said it didnt work I said tortage worked. You said it was originally planned to be offline. It wasnt at launch due to feed back in beta. It launched people liked it then hated the rest of the game. The only criticism I had was it made the rest of the game look like crap.

          You seem to state a lot of your opinion as if its fact. Until someone has done it then we dont really know how the player base will react.

          Will the players who hates RPG games like it? No. Will the players who just run in collect all quests then run out and follow map markers like it? probably not. I dont think those players are the target audience. I think Bioware will gladly take their money for the box then wave goodbye to them.

        • SynCaine says:

          The cost part is fact, not opinion, so regardless of how well received it is, it’s not sustainable. Last I checked, the MMO business was all about retention. NCSoft would have loved to make all of AoC like Tortage, but that was impossible. Throwing a lot more money to extend what Tortage was does not fix the root problem.

          If you think there is a huge (1m+) market for people looking to play a sRPG for 1000+hrs, cool. Because we know there is a 12m market for people who do the quest-grab stuff that have zero interest in lore or a story (space goats). If that’s not the target market, good luck to EA on making back the cost of SW. Selling a few million copies and having most of those buyers leave a few months in won’t do it.

        • Pitrelli says:

          As I said we will have to wait and see. Final figures, initial sub numbers, rentention is for talk after launch.

          Indeed, its nice to see you are now part of that 12 million base after decrying it for so long.

          I’ll need to call you a Darkfall tourist

        • SynCaine says:

          Now now, don’t use terms you don’t understand. Makes you look silly.

  2. Jezebeau says:

    Oh you’re going to be emotionally attached, alright. Didn’t you hear? SW:TOR comes with an IV drip of MDMA.

  3. bonedead says:

    I wonder when we’re going to lose the hype BS (oh wait, never, right). Thats all it is, hype, bullshit, which means its a fuckin lie that we all eat up because we’re retarded even though the last 20 fuckin guys to come through said the same fuckin thing.

    The reason I started playing WoW was because zomg Blizzard was branching out into MMOs and if its half as good as D2 I could play it for a year at least! One of the main reasons imo that it got so big was due to word of mouth, not hype.

    The reason I’m playing Rift right now is not because I followed it, it’s not because I knew a damn thing about it, and it’s not because I saw 2000 banner ads for it everywhere I went. I’m playing it because even though I was trying to avoid everything that said Rift in it, I still couldn’t stop hearing about it. I don’t remember ever reading one opinion from someone who came off to me as a like minded person that was negative. Next thing I know zomg early launch shit day and I’m buying this shit online without knowing 1 damn thing about the game. I had online and RL friends asking me if I was gonna play, am I in beta? Do I want to be?

    I had a VIP beta account (who didnt) that I tried to give away (and failed).

    Anyways. Let’s see what hype has done for games.

    May as well start at the top (imo) with Tabula Rasa. Yeah, the game they sent a motherfucker into space to promote. That one did really good, huh? To be 100% honest, I didn’t even get to try the game, and I kinda wanted to (I hear there is a emu project going for it).

    We’ve got WAR of course, who could forget that gayness. HI IM SOME GUY THATS WHACKY AND ZANY ZOMGZ VIDEO ON THE INTERNET LOLOLOL PIE IN THE FACE SLIP ON A BANANA PEEL LOLOLOL BUY THE GAME SRSLY. Yeah those were good times huh?

    Hype is ftl, word of mouth (DUE TO QUALITY – THIS IS THE BIG DEAL HERE) is ftw.

    Am I declaring Rift to possibly be on par with WoW? No. Do I think it has the potential to last just as long, have just as many expansions, and have a visible fraction of the subs? Yes.

    • bonedead says:

      Oh yeah, but fuck Torzorz. I wanted that game to be the shit and I just know its gonna suck. That last video they put out showed me the WoW that Lucas Arts originally wanted when they redid SWG, and I get it, but I fuckin hate it too.

  4. theJexster says:

    This marketing spin makes me sick. Scripted dialogue does not make me emotional. Investing my time, earning my characters power, making my character truly unique, and most importantly, forming relationships with other players along the way make me emotionally attached to a game.

    This is something WOW never got right. They never realized it was the little custom things that make many players form bonds to characters and stick around longer, in fact, they encouraged multiple characters which made me even less connected.

    In SWG the gameplay was crap, but the character customization (cloths and accessories), guild/community tools (houses, vendors, towns) kept me coming back for years.

    I know that doesn’t apply to all MMOers. It looks like most players like the carrot on a stick approach that Blizz has had mega success with, but for gamers like me, I hit 60, hit 60 a few more times, was done and left, never to return, because I had no emotional connection to that game, and I’m too smart to chase carrots I can never catch.

  5. Saucelah says:

    I’m a sucker for a (good) Star Wars story. I’ll be giving it a try.

    I will not be pre-ordering. I will not sign up for a lifetime sub. I will not be surprised if I max out a couple of characters and quit.

    I’d like it to be worth playing for longer than that. But I’m not going to bet on it.

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