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Role Playing (Games) Star Wars Prequels Games

Why BioWare's Star Wars MMO May Already Be Too Late 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-find-your-lack-of-faith-disturbing dept.
Since the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic, many gamers have been hopeful that its high budget, respected development team and rich universe will be enough to provide a real challenge to the WoW juggernaut. An opinion piece at 1Up makes the case that BioWare's opportunity to do so may have already passed. Quoting: "While EA and BioWare Austin have the horsepower needed to at least draw even with World of Warcraft though, what we've seen so far has been worryingly conventional — even generic — given the millions being poured into development. Take the opening areas around Tython, which Mike Nelson describes in his most recent preview as being 'rudimentary,' owing to their somewhat generic, grind-driven quest design. Running around killing a set number of 'Flesh Raiders' in a relatively quiet village doesn't seem particularly epic, but that's the route BioWare Austin seems to be taking with the opening areas for the Jedi — what will surely be the most popular classes when The Old Republic is released. ... the real concern, though, is not so much in the quest design as in BioWare Austin's apparent willingness to play follow the leader. Whenever something becomes a big hit — be it a movie, game or book — there's always a mad scramble to replicate the formula; in World of Warcraft's case, that mad scramble has been going for six years now. "
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Why BioWare's Star Wars MMO May Already Be Too Late

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  • Tabula Rasa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bensam123 (1340765) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @06:45AM (#34763698)
    This is why Tabula Rasa was so amazing when it came out, but suffered from poor advertisement and development direction. Even the team for it didn't know where they were going to go with it and openly admitted it.

    Everyone wants to be the next big hit to take down WoW so if they go that path they're going to be compared and scrutinized against something that is entrenched and has an army of people backing it. It's quite sad that one of the best games as far as MMOs go was killed off early and left for dead (by politics between NCsoft and Richard Gariott no less). Whoever thinks sending themselves into space is a good advertisement for a game should at the very least have their motives questioned.

    CEOs point at a metric and say 'make it earn money like that game', developers just 'baaah' and follow suit because they just want their paycheck and their name on a product no matter what it is. Unfortunately the gaming industry is a chicken and the egg. You can't get money without a name, you can't get a name without a good title, and you can't make really hit titles without money. Either the old generation needs to die off and the internet savy need to take over or someone with really good business sense needs to step into the video game industry or things will die more so then they already are (I wonder if Google wants to start a gaming business...).
  • by Tei (520358) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @06:45AM (#34763704) Journal

    Could you imagine a universe, where successive Pacman clones are more expensive, so the last one will cost 150 million dollars?
    Thats the MMORPG business for you. Cloning a formula that seems to work, in a very expensive way, for a public that is progressively more bored of the formula.

    What make that hurt here even more, is that we don't want BioWare to die. Did a lot of great games, and we are really pleased of his work. These people really got talent and the exact formula of RPG fun.

    To be honest, we don't know at this point if the game will be a success or not.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @07:03AM (#34763764) Homepage Journal
    no surprise, a megacorp doesnt want to risk even a dime in new concepts or originality. rehash, serve. make how much you can make. this is what happens when big companies with stockholders get innovative small outfits like bioware in their grip.
  • "Too late" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @07:11AM (#34763798)

    Why do so many people think that every new entrant into the market has to take down the top dog?

    The SWTOR MMO only needs to make money. It doesn't need to beat anyone. This obsession with beating the 'best' is unhealthy and does not drive development well.

    I seriously doubt that WoW devs had the thought 'We need to beat Everquest' running through their heads. Instead, they were thinking 'We need to make a great game'. Beating Everquest came as a by-product of the real goal.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @07:42AM (#34763930)

    Could you imagine a universe, where successive Pacman clones are more expensive, so the last one will cost 150 million dollars?
    Thats the MMORPG business for you. Cloning a formula that seems to work, in a very expensive way, for a public that is progressively more bored of the formula.

    Well, that's the real problem. Storylines were added to provide some context to the play mechanic itself. Doom2 was the last storyless shooter I enjoyed. I didn't find another shooter that sparked my interest until Half-Life and it was that addition of story that sucked me in. I'd compare it to what happened with movies -- people used to be satisfied watching kinescopes of simple activities and were amazed by a train coming out of a tunnel on the big screen. After the novelty wore off they started having to supply storylines to give those moving pictures meaning. The exception to that rule, of course, are the casual games, the ones that are basically where coin-op arcade games were at in the early 80's. Something like Angry Birds has as rudimentary a storyline as Donkey Kong but the play mechanics keep people coming back. But something huge and complex like an RPG, it had better have a good storyline to provide context to everything or I'm completely bored. Dragon Age bored the snot out of me. I know I'm the minority opinion here.

    The thing is, there's only so much storyline in even a poorly done single player RPG. You play, you grind, you reach the end, you move on to the next game. The insidious thing with MMORPG's is they have you play the same bits over and over and over and over. Which might be fine if those sections were fun games in and of themselves but that's just it, they're not fun. That's why people pay gold farmers so they can get new gear and go back to the fun stuff.

    Honestly, I don't see where people find the time for this sort of thing. People enjoy MMORPG's, there's even successful web comedies about that sort of thing. [] But I'll tell you what, it's depressing. I just find it like watching a show all about alcoholics drinking themselves to death. There are really people who live like this.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe