It’s been 6 months already?
Saddest part is all the wrong people are being laid off, as I’m sure whichever genius came up with the solo-MMO idea is still getting paid (way too much), while the guy trying to get the failed engine to run decently gets the ax. Good luck to all those who received the bad news.
Speaking of Massively:
I’m going to bookmark this post and paste the link anytime they use “paid blogger” as a reason for terrible journalism.
And they will reply with this one:
Or they will pull the “we’re just bloggers” routine. Which ever shoe happens to fit the situation.
The nice thing about SWTOR is it’s the most well documented example of the MORPG community telling a company what they need to do to make it work, and that what they are doing isn’t working. Obviously the result was a company doing exactly what we all begged them not to resulting in a major flop. I love how quickly EA is sweeping SWTOR under the rug.
Hopefully it will stand as a lesson for years to come, then again looking at TES online it isn’t working yet.
I mean yes this is one of the most opinionated communities and yes I read really bad ideas all the time but when you have a very large majority all asking for the same top 5 things on your forums (SWTOR Beta forums I’m looking at you), and telling you the other top 5 things aren’t worth investing in, and you respond with “well we might have some of that in a later update” you have a pretty obvious mistake.
My memory is vague but I’m sure someone is saying what did they ask about. I believe it was people saying (and by people I mean a few hundred to a couple thousand on the forums throughout all of beta) asking for customization for both characters and ships. They were begging for custom armor or an appearance tab or the ability to make unique characters and we all know how pathetic that turned out. The UI was being buried from day one to launch but somehow they did and interview a few days after launch being surprised about people not liking it, amazing. Space combat, housing including decor, end game meaningful PVP and consequences were a few more. The lack of variety in char creation and the races they picked right down to cyborg being a cop out were all 10 pages deep with people not happy and the response they got was ok se might do some of this after launch. WTF, why even have beta forums.
That’s a question we were all asking ourselves on the FFXIV beta forums, when we weren’t asking “why even have a beta?”
The problem is, with the way game development works and the sheer monumental size of that project…
By the time it gets to a testable “beta” state, so many of the high level top down design decisions have already been made that they couldn’t effectively be changed any longer (it would have wrecked the entire culture of the project to go back to the drawing board on key things).
It was a huge lumbering beast of a game, with too much momentum to change its fundamental flaws (no real sense of conflict or pvp, expensive single player story VO content, and an exhausted quest driven progression model with an old combat system driving it).
It’s fate was sealed already at that point. At best it was going to be as good as WoW, and at worst it was going to be as good as WoW, depending on how you felt about the state of mass market MMO’s.
You are nicer than I am. I suppose I should feel sorry for everyone laid off at Bioware, but then I think about all the people laid off when LA pulled the license on SWG and, I admit it, I laugh. Loud and long.
LOL. Was just thinking to myself after reading the Gamasutra article I should check out Syncaine’s blog to see if he commented. You didn’t let me down.
As for the beta suggestions many of us early beta testers telegraphed quite clearly to Bioware exactly what we wanted in the game. Prime points were UI customisation, guild ships, player housing, open form space combat and exploration, and decent PvP.
We eventually got UI customisation.
My guild which numbered 200 at one stage finally called it a day last week and we all (the six of us still left) cancelled our subscriptions.
Eve is always here for you…
This IS the mmo you are looking for…
Been there done that. :) Actually I love EvE Online but can’t devote the amount of attention and time to do it justice. Plus being an Australian player makes it a very lonely existence and I play MMO’s for the group and social element and not just to solo. Additionally Eve’s daily maintenance period always occurred during Australian primetime evenings which used to annoy me constantly (unless this has changed).
Great game… still playing.
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As a thought exercise, under what circumstances would a game seven years in the making, with most of its core features complete and no side tie-in projects planned, be expanding its team five months after launch crunch? I’m no project management professional, but restructuring from development to maintenance seems like standard procedure to me.
With regard to the xfire rickroll, looks like the game’s going to hit zero around mid-June. Makes patch 1.3 a bit of a waste, I suppose.
When you know you need a temp ramp up (pre-launch crunch) you hire contractors. When you don’t need them, you don’t renew the contract, and you avoid all the negative PR of having a layoff.
Not to mention that just after release, EAWare themselves stated that they plan to keep the team around because they believe in SW:TOR and plan to continue expanding it at a good rate.
Maybe I’m reading your comment wrong, but are you suggesting everything is going as planned in SW:TOR land and that this, and the Xfire data, are not indicative of anything?
Its standard practice when a product or company isn’t meeting expectations to downsize after a launch, yes. You are just confused a bit about the particulars because since the mid 2000’s, most every major attempt at a AAA MMO post WoW has been met with goals not quite being met, so they downsize.
Companies that meet and exceed expectations have money for growth. They can hire more to fix and add new features faster. Expand on different projects, and increase the attractiveness of their successful product.
Syn’s point about contractors is also important.
Not true. The only triple AAA MMOs to post “flops” or immediate downturns have been WAR, AoC, AION (only western), RIFT and now SWTOR. Just becuase the past 4 years have been filled with some notable downturns doesn’t mean it is normal.
Lineage I and II, AION Global (IE Asia and NA/EU), WOW, and Runescape, Ultima, DAoC, Second Life, LOTRO, SWG, EVE (being famous for always growing) and yes even CoH are all MMOs that grew steadily in the first 2 years before hitting a climax.
EA not learning a thing from WAR is really really sad.
Things aren’t the stuff of anyone’s wildest hopes but it’s certainly one of the ‘tiers of success’, in Ohlen’s words, that they planned for. You’re right that their early claims of specifically escaping the boom and bust of a normal development cycle were a little too audacious, especially for a company that nearly tripled in size to make SW:TOR alone, but a death knell it isn’t.
The Xfire “data” are entertaining, which in the end is the reason I come here – certainly not for a pat in the back for my MMO of choice.
You need to speak to people “on the ground”. That is people running (or trying to run) guilds in SWTOR. My guild and most others I know have suffered horrible atrrition rates in SWTOR. If that isn’t indicative of a failing MMO then what is? Also look at the low populations of the majority of SWTOR servers during US primetimes. It doesn’t paint a happy picture.
Sorry, Sullas. If this was the success they “planned for” why are so many servers empty? Why, this early in the game, do they need – and by all accounts, need desparately – a dungeon finder for groups? Why have so many of the larger guilds just faded away? Every day, people I have known for years return to EQ2 and WoW bemoaning the disappointment of SWTOR.
Bioware claimed that they had the “biggest MMO innovation” ever, akin to the advent of talking movies. Uh huh. Fast forward 6 months and they have lost 25% of their players (and likely more) and are laying off folks, including, apparently, their community manager.
LucasArts wanted WoW numbers. When they did not get that from SWG, they foisted the NGE on SOE. What do you suppose they have in mind for Bioware?
So I guess it’s the in thing again to hate on TOR.