Random thought: What if the end-game in SW:TOR is awesome?
Most people right now are talking about the leveling experience in SW. The pace, the voice, the story, the mechanics, etc. And rightfully so in many ways. Pre-release, almost all of the SW hype was centered around the 4th pillar, story, and how SW had that BioWare feel. And of course this lead others, myself firmly included, to question just how an MMO is going to profit from producing a sRPG with a monthly fee.
But what if the end-game is awesome?
What if raiding is as good as it was in 2005-6 WoW?
For one, it should solve the whole 6-month-death thing, right? I mean while WoW launched with a great leveling game, it was the end-game that RETAINED people, and that retention in turn lead to growth (people not leaving + people coming in = growth. People leaving + people coming in = stagnation/decline, depending on the rates). So if we assume SW has a great end-game, it should retain people at the level cap, while still being a draw for new people to come in and join in. Pretty basic MMO 101 stuff here.
But SW is not WoW. Well it is, basically, but WoW was not voiced. And that allowed Blizzard to pump out content at a good clip (yes, believe it or not, back in 2004-6 WoW actually got frequent updates that contained new, challenging content that ADDED ON TO THE GAME. How strange that during that time the game also grew. No connection, I’m sure). BioWare will either have to keep spending more cash-per-content and continue voicing everything, or change the formula for the end-game. And honestly, who wants to listen to the same voice acting the 400th time they attempt a raid boss? Why even bother, right? But if you take voice acting out of SW, is it still SW? Is the game good enough in all other areas to still justify the $15 a month?
Another factor: Raiders don’t like leveling. Oh some do, but how many times have we been told that the WoW leveling game got nerfed to allow raiders and arena players to ‘get to the real game’ and skip leveling? If you skip the leveling of SW, what was all that 4th pillar talk about? And, far worse, if you start nerfing the leveling game ala-WoW to cater to that crowd in SW, what does it say about the whole approach BioWare took?
Finally, if the reverse is true, and the end-game sucks because too much focus was put on leveling (4th pillar for life, yo), and the mechanics that made leveling enjoyable are a train wreck for end-game raiding/PvP (tell me if you’ve heard that one before), wtf do you expect people to do once they hear the voice acting? This is a pay-per-month MMO, right?
3-6 months can’t come soon enough!