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Star Wars Galaxies Forums Turn Player-Only 115

mwbay writes "A note from the Star Wars Galaxies Forums indicates that starting today, SOE will be hiding the PC MMORPG's forums from the non-paying public. Raph Koster submitted this response [on the now-inaccessible forums]: 'It isn't really that we have anything to hide. We spend a lot of time on the boards here talking to you, and I don't think we have been shy about confronting controversial issues... But yeah, publicity is at the heart of it. The heart of the matter is will a game's Internet forums ever be a source of positive publicity post-launch? And I'd suggest to you that the answer is no... Someone who isn't a player has no idea exactly how widespread a given issue is.' It is certainly well within SOE's rights to do what they want with their boards, but isn't this a bit extreme?"
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Star Wars Galaxies Forums Turn Player-Only

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  • by emptybody ( 12341 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:20PM (#6914801) Homepage Journal
    The way i see it they need more people to play. If people Think the game is good they will sign up. If they access the forums and see a lot of nnoise from a few squeeky wheels they may not.

    Of course I can see a new market for public forums to take the place of the official forums.
    In fact...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      it's probably to hide the huge number of issues they are having with the game. stuff like serious known dupe bugs that never got addressed since beta, their inability to fix factories until 2 months after the game was released (all crafters suffered unacceptably low rates of production, the reason for paying dearly for a factory in the first place), their "solution" to their weak database was by making small houses hold 20 items when a player can hold 100, and many, many other instances of their lack of th
    • Personally, I've tried 3 different MMO games over the last couple of years, and would never try another one without looking over the forums a couple of times (over a week or so) to get an idea of how the response is to complaints, and how severe any complaints may be. Sure, forums tend to be filled with more complainers than anything else, and that should be taken into account. However, if there's no public access to the forums most players will be posting on, then you have to depend on forums available for
    • Of course I can see a new market for public forums to take the place of the official forums.
      A market long since filled... Try swg.stratics.com.
  • by SimuAndy ( 549701 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:21PM (#6914807) Homepage
    At Simutronics, we chose to open up our formerly subscriber-only forums to the world, even knowing that the subjects that receive much traffic and attention in forums, nowadays, tends to be complaints or acerbicly worded suggestions, in large majority.
    • Ok, but let me state something here:

      DragonRealms and GSIII are probably the two best fantasy-oriented MMORPGs to date, when it comes to game-play. I'm spoiled absolutely rotten thanks to DR, and nothing I play stacks up. No amount of graphics goodness can replace the simple element of immersiveness, and DR beats EQ, SWG, DAoC, etc hands down- No contest!

      So while you guys might have acerbic comments, suggestions, and even the 'You should do it this way!!' posts, you have the respect of most of those who ha
      • SWG on the other hand is widely considered a 'flop' by everyone, even (especially?) those who haven't ever played it.

        Who is considering it a flop? It can't be Sony. You do know that SWG now has the second largest subscription base (second only to EQ) at over 60k people? Thats a lot of money, especially with the box purchases combined with the subscriptions. From a business standpoint, there is no way SWG can be considered a flop.

        OTOH, the game is/was a let down to most MMORPG gamers. Over the last couple
        • > > SWG on the other hand is widely considered a 'flop' by everyone, even (especially?) those who haven't ever played it.

          > Who is considering it a flop? It can't be Sony.
          > (...)
          > OTOH, the game is/was a let down to most MMORPG gamers.

          I used 'everyone' under the assumption that there are more gamers than game company executives reading slashdot and the SWG forums. :>

          By 'flop' I'm referring to public perception. Public perception, even among those people who have never played SWG, is that
    • Wow... I'm sure there will be very few people reding this, but... wow.

      Gemstone III was/is the only text-based game I played online; I've been hooked since waaaaaaay back in the AOL only days w/multiple characters. I quit a few months ago and have been wanting to come back. Hearing (and checking) this new bit of information has hastened my return to the lands.

      It may not be much from the perspective of 1 former player, but seeing that the forums are now open to non-subscribers, and I spent a while browsin
    • I'm sure I'm not alone when I remember the days back on AOL playing GS3, and making a new character under all of my friends screennames. I even remember when DR started and played that since its infancy. I still have 4 players saved on my account which is on hold to this day. I still pay the fee to keep them, even if I'm not playing because I will someday want to play them again. Now THAT is proof that Simutronics makes quality games. I should really see whats up with DR lately. Hell, that game is mor
    • Full Disclosure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, Simu's forums may have been part of the impetus for Sony's opposite decision.

      Some members of Sony's Planetside team, including the head programmer, used to work at Simutronics. A subset of that group could only be described as "disgruntled"-- they have bitter personal gripes with the management at Simu, for reasons that seemed totally insignificant to me. Those one or two people have pushed to do everything as differently from Simutronics as possible, since the project started. If Simu had open f
      • I'm posting as AC because I'm still covered under my unbelievably strict NDA.

        Which you signed willingly. Whose fault is that?
        Which you are now breaking. Whose fault is that?
        Which makes you no better than the whiners at fatbabies. Whose fault is that?

        What you have just demonstrated is not just the breaking of a legal contract, which you agreed to abide by, but your word - which may or may not have been valuable once, but it isn't worth shit now.

        Loser.
    • Another GSIII fan here - hailing *waaay* back from 1990 (during the ICE age). Actually I was there when GSII went away and GSIII came online on GEnie. Never got beyond level 6 but I loved the game back then and still have very fond memories of it. I'm sure its just as rich and immersive as it used to be (or far more so). Good job guys.
      • I was around during the conversion from GemStone 2 to GemStone III. I played Eukonidor in GS2, and later GS3, and for awhile played the unimaginative 'Andy leChat' - since I worked in/around the GEnie chat lines, and internet/unix areas. Thank you.
  • This is a bad move for people who want to get a better handle on what the game is all about (and whether or not it sucks) before actually paying money for it.

    Surely there are ways to handle trolls (if that is even a problem) without restricting access to paying members only.
    • Re:Bad move (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kethinov ( 636034 )

      This is a bad move for people who want to get a better handle on what the game is all about (and whether or not it sucks) before actually paying money for it.

      A bad move indeed. Ultima Online realized that and dropped their private member only "MyUO" forums in favor of a third party, Stratics. Now Stratics is the recognized official forums of UO and these forums are open for anyone to see. As a result (in addition to many other things as well, mind you) UO account subscriptions have risen. UO continues to

      • Actually, as I stated in a post above, SWG just passed UO in terms of popularity (where popularity is measured by number of subscriptions).

        Although, with the people that play UO, they will be playing it forever, while the SWG people might burnout in 2-3 months.
    • Re:Bad move (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trublaha ( 650819 )

      I disagree. Reviews of the game in magazines, tv, or other forms of media are going to give a more objective overall review of the game, as opposed to forum dedicated to a discussion of the game.

      The forum could be detrimental to their marketing in that only the most vocal forumites make their views clear, and in many cases, these views tend to be impassioned and sometimes irrational.

      • Re:Bad move (Score:3, Informative)

        by PeteyG ( 203921 )
        I originally said: This is a bad move for people who want to get a better handle on what the game is all about (and whether or not it sucks) before actually paying money for it

        You said: The forum could be detrimental to their marketing in that only the most vocal forumites make their views clear, and in many cases, these views tend to be impassioned and sometimes irrational.

        As a person investigating a game for possible purchase, I DON'T care about marketing decisions. I want to know what people who
        • Privatizing the forums hurts me the consumer.

          Nope. If you don't like it, then don't buy the game. If you don't buy the game, then you have not lost a penny. How are you hurt then? Just take the closed forums as a warning to stay away.

          Who IS hurt is possibly the company. Look at it this way -- if you have not paid any money, they don't owe you anything. However, if they close the forums, it could be because they feel that they have something to hide. If they feel that by closing the forums they ar

          • Nope. If you don't like it, then don't buy the game. If you don't buy the game, then you have not lost a penny. How are you hurt then?

            Because I'm not able to make a fully informed decision on whether or not to buy the game. Duh.
    • I disagree. If you went by the forums to decide whether start playing EQ or DAOC you'd be very put off by those games. The rant/content number is very high. Let's put it this way, the people that like the game are playing, not griping online.
  • Sadly, it's par for the course, particularly for SoE games. At least on SW:G you can still actually post in forums developers read. For EverQuest, you have to submit a question, and maybe, if the stars allign, and if they have a good bit of smoke to blow, your question will get posted and answered by a developer, after which there will be no further discussion.
  • I would say that this is a really dumb idea on the part of SOE... With the player population as small as it is compared to what was expected, the last thing they need to do is block any possible curious people from getting questions answered about the game...

    When Unreal 2 came out I was pretty torn about whether or not to buy it after hearing mixed reviews. The members of the infogrames (now atari) forums convinced me it would be worth my money. (truth is, i only moderatley enjoyed the game though...)
    • Re:if you ask me... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Crockerboy ( 611431 )
      Smaller than Expected? The games been out 2 months and they've already had over 275k accounts [yahoo.com]..making it the second largest MMOG in the United States..Second only to SOE's flagship product Everquest.

      That is a hell of a lot of people, making this game a far cry from disapointing.
      • really? i stand corrected then. from the early reviews it wasnt doing well. things to do change.
      • Having played SWG for about a month I quit because the game is horrid. It's uterly pointless.

        The fact that they "HAD" 275k accounts means nothing. It will go the way of AO. AO had at least 300k accounts in the first 3 months but lost about 200k before 6 months were up. And yes, AO also tried the board closing, board moderating and whatnot in hopes of luring customers back in.

        SWG IS a huge flop.
        • Ah, thats what i was thinking people were saying. it's really hard to say at this point whether or not it will make it... MMO games are ALWAYS a huge risk... the problem is 'what if there aren't enough players to keep up with the cost of running the servers?" then they close it down and EVERYONE loses...
      • 275k after one month?

        That's so cute!

        Come talk after one year. You'll notice that MMORPGs that don't do well have dropoffs at (roughly) two month, five month, seven month, and thirteen month intervals. Why? Because that's when subscriptions runs out. It will reach a peak, and it will start to decline. Eventually, equilibrium will be reached.

        To give you an example, Dark Age of Camelot had "more than 220,000 paying subscribers" ( http://mythicentertainment.com/press/atlantis.htm l ) back in May of 200
  • It's not so bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WapoStyle ( 639758 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:22PM (#6914832)
    I have been playing Galaxies since a few days after launch and have had very little problems. Perhaps I am lucky. The forums really do make you want to hate the game though. It's nothing but page after page of whining and screaming funny words like "nerf" and "role-playing"

    If I was on the fence about Galaxies and went to the forums to check things out about it, I would definatly not buy it after reading them. Then again, I'm about to cancel anyway, I don't recommend it. Wait for World of Warcraft.

    • ... I would definatly not buy it after reading them. Then again, I'm about to cancel anyway, I don't recommend it. Wait for World of Warcraft.

      Totally, the forums are a scattered, but complete list of every problem in the game (believe me, this game is still pratically a beta). I cancelled my subscription after viewing problems in my classes in game, and then finding that every class is equally as broken on the forums. SoE wants you to buy without knowing what a worthless product you're getting.
  • Is it just me or does it seem like they are trying to hide something? Of course everyone is going to praise the game pre-launch. Now, post-launch, people have actually gotten a chance to play it. And realized its not what they though.

    It seems like maybe there's been so much negative feedback that they want to close the forums from the public to stop other potential players from getting discouraged. I haven't played the game. But I usually browse a game's forums when I'm deciding to buy a game or not.

    D
    • They're excercising their right to close the forums, and I'm excercising the right to not pay for their game.

      It's sad that Lum the Mad degenerated into a soapbox and drama fest once Lum left, because the idea of shining the light on the dysfunctional world of MMORPGs is a good one.

      The saddest part of all is that I really, really like MMORPGs as a concept. I love muds, mushes, moos, you name it. Sadly, most commercial companies seem unable to reconcile the high cost and the idea of taking risks by includ

      • by Fizzog ( 600837 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @05:18PM (#6915464)
        I bought the game and played it a bunch, but once the free month expired I didn't subscribe. There was just NOTHING interesting to do.

        The problem with Galaxies is that it is NOT a game. It is a 'simulation' of the Star Wars universe, but unfortunately you get to simulate the life of the most bored person in the galaxy...
        • Hell, it's not even the Star Wars universe. The Empire is kind, gentle, and not xenophobic in any way. There's no reason for the Galactic Civil War - the Empire isn't doing anything mean!

          Yeah, I'm leaning towards the fanboy, but you think Lucas would at least MADE THEM STICK TO THE STORYLINE. For example, the Empire views Wookies as barely sentient beasts of burden. They have a blockade around Kashyyyk (the Wookie homeworld), and sell 'em off to work as slave labor. Any Wookie they see roaming free of
        • Okay, I hear this a lot, and the problem I see is that, too many people rely on the game to COMPLETELY entertain them. This is an MMORPG, Massively Multiplayer. MM should not just mean a bunch of people in the game at the same time. It means a bunch of people in the game at the same time interacting. I have a blast playing the game, as I have made cool friends in my guild (and friends outside my guild) and we often do guild activities (killing rebel scum, raiding tuskan fort, placing our houses & cr
        • The problem with Galaxies is that it is NOT a game. It is a 'simulation' of the Star Wars universe, but unfortunately you get to simulate the life of the most bored person in the galaxy...

          Now you know why Luke spent all of his free time fantasizing about being somewhere else... anywhere else...
  • Well this is well within their rights, though i think that moderating the boards and removing offensive posts may have served their purposes more than just telling non-customers to bugger off. Squelching dissent like this just makes the potential customers more likely to not buy the game since they will interpert this as Lucasarts deliberately trying to keep them in the dark as to potential game issues.

  • by neglige ( 641101 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:38PM (#6914989)
    ...will a game's Internet forums ever be a source of positive publicity post-launch?

    With the internet being what it is, do the producers really think that closing the forum is a good move? I assume that problems and negative opinions will be voiced in other forums, wikis, product sites, ./, game reviews... On their forum, they have at least some form of control over it (I assume).

    The truth is out there and everyone will know it, eventually :)
    • On the official forums, they not only have control, but the ability to respond to negative threads with hundreds of replies. I never played EQ, so I have no prior experience with SOE, but so far I'm not impressed with their customer service.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:41PM (#6915018)
    It's a good decision for exactly the reason stated.

    Anyone going to a game's forum will find countless complaints and very little positivity, an unbalanced ratio that is of course NOT representative of the majority of players. It creates an inaccurate impression of what people think of the game, which in turn may discourage other people from playing it.

    Now you may say that it's also 'hiding' the legitimate complaints from potential customers, and of course that's true. However, it has only come about after many years of openness from all (or nearly all?) games companies.

    The reason is has got to this stage is that the vast majority of people posting on a game's forum will be very angry, very vocal, very rude and somewhat-obsessive. If you want to blame someone for this decision then blame them, because they have created the situation that is now being addressed.

    To be clear: I don't *like* the decision, but I understand and agree with it.
    • its just that age old thing that says that the people that are unhappy with the product endlessly whinge, while the people that are happy are too busy playing it to say anything, so all the forums are filled with the whingers, while all the people that are loving it are currently out playing it.

      so someone who doesnt own the game will see all the complainers and think the game is crap, because they rarely see people there to praise the game, cause all those people have got no reason to go to the forums.
      • Not necessarily true. Offtime (time spent unable to play or not really wanting to play within the environment) holds an interest for people to actually talk about what they've seen, what they've done and experienced, see if this meshes with others, and improve upon the game by improving their ability to play it as well as weeding out the simple little things that maybe are overlooked.

        Yes, there are probably going to be a high ratio of noise in there, however a good game has quite a bit of healthy discussio
    • Nonsense!

      "...the vast majority of people posting on a game's forum will be very angry, very vocal, very rude and somewhat-obsessive."

      Then why host forums at all? If they are the negative situation you proclaim them to be, what are the positive reasons for having one?

      Very simply put, there *must* be a good reason for having these forums, or else they wouldn't exist. If it's about image management, then it's about "keeping things quiet" by not letting the public in. Is that a smart business decision? P
  • by Snowmit ( 704081 )
    I don't play SW: G but I can tell you from the point of view of a regular member of the Neverwinter Nights community that the community members at SWG are probably breathing a sigh of relief. The BioBoards [bioware.com] are divided into both 'registered owner-only' and 'open to the public' forums. The open forums tend to be a morass of bad threads, off-topic posts and people making wild complaints, sometimes about a game they HAVEN'T EVEN PLAYED.

    The registered owner forums are much more civilized. Which is not to say th
    • The above post is flat out wrong. The SWG forums always required a valid account to POST, but they allowed anyone to read them. In other words, all the off-topic flames and various floatsam the poster is saying would be removed by making it subscriber only were in fact never there. The only negative posts came from active subscribers unhappy with the trail of broken promises and expectations. Sony now wants to sweep it under the rug as best possible, and is closing the forums from being readable unless you
    • Previously non-members could view the official SWG boards but they still couldn't post to them.
      Only SWG members could post before and after change.
      All they have done is shut off viewing access to non-members.
    • I DO PLAY SWG. (I think that I'm the second or third REAL PLAYER to post on this topic, fwiw.) Snowmit's point is well taken, and having had experience with both open and member forums, I think he's right. One thing about SWG is that there is an in-game trouble-ticketing system that gives a player a first place to go for problem resolution. The forums can be a great place for advice or ordinary gameplay questions. It's come in handy for me, and I've had my issues dealt with -- not quickly, but dealt with.
      • Screw Jedi.

        Give me manning a turret on a MonCal cruiser attacking an enemy player-driven Star Destroyer.

        Give me getting 15 friends and forming a lance of Tie Fighter to lead that attack.

        Give me piloting a dropship to drop off AT-ATs to attack a rebel base.

        Give me piloting a snowspeeder to attack said AT-AT.

        Give me taking over bases and planets to achive an ultimate winning goal and resetting the game.

        Give me making illegal cargo runs for the rebels for profit.

        Give me upgrading my cargo running ship.
  • by swdunlop ( 103066 ) <swdunlop@gmail.cLISPom minus language> on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:47PM (#6915078) Homepage
    "The heart of the matter is will a game's Internet forums ever be a source of positive publicity post-launch?" -- Raph Koster

    Also, just as important, would a designer's desire to close off forums to the public be a sign of a worthwhile game? While it is true that most forums are plagued by trolls and screaming, petulant adolescents, hiding behind anonymity while they snipe at anything anyone holds dear, it's also the one of very few places to find an honest opinon about a given game.
    • I just got out of this trainwreck of a game....account ran out two days ago. I would dearly love to get my money back as it was a total waste. The $65 dollars spent would have been better placed in buying 21 copies of Diakatana. But hey....buyer beware right? Anyway, having experienced this game, I can only laugh at this decision. Yes, I can understand it, but it also smacks of trying to hide the condition this game is in. Mmmmmm...sour grapes.
    • While it is true that most forums are plagued by trolls and screaming, petulant adolescents, hiding behind anonymity while they snipe at anything anyone holds dear, it's also the one of very few places to find an honest opinon about a given game.

      I agree with the first part of what you said, but the bit I've marked in bold doesn't make sense to me. How can all that sniping be an "honest" opinion about a game?

      Maybe I'm just midunderstanding you, but there seems to be a common feeling that negativity equat

      • non-players couldn't post anyways(should take care of most of the trolls).

        it's a place though where you can find the most common problems with the game and find more about the features without buying the game(sure, you could find them in a review but with the state of reviewers nowadays they aren't worth shit).

        anyways, now i just got the feeling that there's some really bad flaws with the game they're trying to hide, so bad flaws that they would be very obvious if reading the forums(like having to watch j
      • Here's the problem, as I see it; your average board is infested with trolls, astroturfers, prima donnas, moderators and other pestilences, but, somewhere in there you can find people who are actually enjoying the game, or people having actual problems with the game, or both. These people are giving their honest opinions of the situation, and from there, I can get a glimpse of how well a game has been put together. If you compare the overall tone of the forums to other forums, sometimes you can also get a
        • Here's the problem, as I see it; your average board is infested with trolls, astroturfers, prima donnas, moderators and other pestilences, but, somewhere in there you can find people who are actually enjoying the game, or people having actual problems with the game, or both. These people are giving their honest opinions of the situation, and from there, I can get a glimpse of how well a game has been put together.

          And therein lies the problem.

          Yes, some people -- you, me, anyone else with experience of ga

          • It's unfortunate that we need to do this kind of research at all; I definately understand their position for doing this, but it does not endear their game to me. I was planning to give SWG a try, once the usual MMORPG birthing pains were over.
  • But Bioware makes something similar with the BioForums, only owners of the game can post, everyone can read it.. and you have the generic forum where everyone can post.

    The Bioware thing is right IMHO, only owners can post I see the number of trolls decrease, but hiding the forums from the community? It's insane..
  • Everyone keeps saying "It is certainly well within SOE's rights to do what they want with their boards". While technically this is true, owning the forum and/or the equipment it runs on should not be used as an excuse to behave like a dicatator.

    People get so caught up in their petty power struggles that they lose sight of the bigger picture. It's just like a business -- you may own the building and equipment, but your customers own you, because without customers you have no business. The same applies
    • It's just like a business -- you may own the building and equipment, but your customers own you, because without customers you have no business. The same applies to on-line forums: Without users you have no forum.

      Customers can use the forums just like they could before. Nothing, in that regards, has changed.

      All it means is that those who don't pay for the SWG service don't get to use the SWG official boards.

      It makes perfect sense to me.

      And, as far as I can recall, you couldn't EVER post on the foru

      • **And, as far as I can recall, you couldn't EVER post on the forums unless you were an SWG subscriber once the game went live. So it's not like anyone's being silenced.**

        exactly, so what are they hiding there? paying customers complaining that it is boring as hell? that's the feeling you get it from now.

        -
      • So it's not like anyone's being silenced.

        That's an incomplete way of thinking about it. It doesn't matter if you prevent someone from writing something, or just preventing anyone else from reading it: either way, you're stopping a potential communication between writer and reader. So in a sense, the voice of the subscribers talking to non-subscribers has been silenced. Of course, these subscribers can just move to another forum to share views with non-subscribers -- indeed, I expect that to happen to

  • Oh yeah... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by u-238 ( 515248 )
    they're utter, total complete nazis.

    i remember i was in the digital cantina, a place where many come to rest and revive wounds and form hunting parties and such, and a player by the name of "Stud," yeah, Stud, was doing a provocative dance for another male player and blowing kisses (theres actually a command to blow a kiss to a certain player).

    after this, he used a bug in the game to simulate willingful participation of sodomy.

    there is no collision detection detection in the game for players, so if for e
  • Bad move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @04:59PM (#6915215)
    SWG is a pretty expensive proposition for a game. $50 up front, plus $15 a month. So I for one wanted to do a little research before putting down the money. To do that, I went to the boards to see what the game experience sounded like from the people who actually play it.

    I read about EQ-style time sinks, lots of walking. Content like lore and quests sounded rather sparse. Aside from humans and wookies, most of the races sounded like "random guy from the cantina" -- not gungans or jawas or things like that which would at least be recognizable as a Star Wars creature. No spaceships, though supposedly they're coming in a future expansion. Lots of going out to hunt random creatures to build up one's character.

    It sounded like something that a lot of people were enjoying, but not really very "Star Wars"-ish in terms of the roleplay possibilities, and not something for me. By reading over the boards, I was able to determine before having to buy anything that I would be dissatisfied with this title, based on my own tastes and expectations.

    You might look at this and think, "Sony lost a sale because you read the boards, closing them is a good move". But it's not. Sure, if I had bought the game and hated it, they might have made $50 more, but I would have been much more wary of buying anything from them in the future. After being burned, Sony would have a much higher burden of convincing me to buy their product next time around, and in the long run would lose much more money than they made.

    • not gungans or jawas or things like that which would at least be recognizable as a Star Wars creature

      Not that this means the boards were necissarily a great deal of misinformation, but Gungans and Jawas are in the game. Indeed there are several Gungan camps littered about Naboo, an area of static Gungan quests in or near the "sacred place" or something like that. There is also a static Jawa camp of some sort (I've never been there so I can't describe it). While it doesn't have any missions associated w
      • Sorry, I probably wasn't specific enough, but I was when I was lamenting the lack of Jawas and Gungans, I meant in terms of playable races, rather than as NPCs/MOBs/whatever. I think such races are much more recognizable parts of the Star Wars universe that players looking for a character to choose from than a "Bothian", "Zebrak", or "Trandoshan". I mean really, wouldn't a Jawa be more fun than those things? The short and cute appeal of EQ Gnomes, but with cloaks and glowing eyes...
        • Part of the reasoning behind the player races was how the target audience reacted when they were asked about which races they'd like to play. A bunch of polls were at swg.station.sony.com during development, and most of the races that did well are represented as PCs.

          Also, part of the race's popularity in the myriad of books helped. Bothans, for example, feature heavily in the Star Wars universe, but they're never on screen in any of the movies. Trandoshans and Zabraks are only feature briefly in the mov
      • Ok, so you play the game - maybe you can answer me something:

        Where the hell did the Star Wars universe go, and what is being represented in SWG?

        After beta testing and playing during the stress test, I was so sick of how VI totally ignored the basic foundation of the Star Wars universe and "dumbed down" all of the gritty important stuff, I just couldn't fathom *anyone* wanting to play this game.

        I guess my questions are more like this: are you a Star Wars fan? How big of a fan would you rate yourself? Do
        • Do I know obscure Star Wars trivia? Look at my user name. Does Sullust ring any bells?

          Vader: My Lord, what of the rebel fleet mounting near Sullust.

          Anyway, yeah I'm a big fan of the episodes IV-VI. My question to you is what Star Wars do you find lacking? Lets start with the ones everybody mentions: No space ships and limited (essentially no) Jedi. The first one is completely unacceptable, and if you refuse to play a star wars game until there are space ships in it then wait for the expansion. It
          • First off, thanks a whole lot for your reply - this is the first time I've gotten a well written and clearly thought out reply to any of my SWG questions.

            Yeah, Sullust rings a bell =) I didn't pick up on the '|'s at first - and a great little trivia thing, I can only think of one Sullustian in the classic Trilogy (Nien Nunb [sp?]), and Vader's quote doesn't even link him to that planet.

            Well, I'll just jump right in. I was thrilled when I got into the beta earlier this year, but was really disappointed b
  • One of the things I like to do before buying a game is go cruise the support forums and see how things are going. If you see lots of "Broken", "Wont Run" "Crashs" threads, gives a clue to wait till they patch.

    After being burned by Anarchy online and its patches, the only reason to lock forums is to hide problems. And dont even start with Tribes2 and its whole patch fiasco.

    Tired of wasting my time on 50 dollar games, that have these huge amount of bugs. Time is starting to be more valuable to me these days
  • Low self-esteem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @05:25PM (#6915527)
    This move just shows what a low self-esteem SoE has. They are aware that the forums are full of complaints, yet instead of dealing with these complaints they decide to hide them from people who consider buying the game. With this move, SOE simply admits that SW:G is being sold on the basis of positive propaganda, not the qualities of the game.

    As a game reviewer, I always check message boards dealing with a game I'm reviewing, mainly for reports on technical difficulties. So far I've been lucky, and most of the games I've played were very stable. However, sometimes (most recently with Republic: The Revolution), there is a widespread technical problem that's significant enough for me to take notice and mention it in my review. Over the course of my reviewing career I've nocised some interesting patterns:

    1. The smaller the company the more positive the board. While this is not always the case, very often games from small publishers receive more praise. In addition, the developers tend to follow these boards more closely and are ready to answer any question or solve problems. Especially the Dramcatcher/Adventure Company and JoWooD boards are great examples of how game forums can have positive spin. In fact, as long as the developers sound helpful, I tend to buy games with known technical problems, because I'm confident that I'll be helped.

    2. Scam and deception works, too. Remember Command & Conquer: Renegade? It was not a perfect game. In fact, it was piss-poor, deserving a fraction of sales it ultimatelly achieved. The reason for such high sales was that EA was censoring out all posts that mentioned technical and gameplay problems. Those who recognized this practice were booted off the forums, and those who came to check other players' reactions found only positive posts. SW:G falls into this category. While not as deceptive as EA, SOE is still trying to create the impression that the game is better than it really is. Most likely, the strategy will work.

  • This makes sense.

    I'm sure they're under some pressure from management who are skiming the boards and seeing bad things.

    This is probably the reason that the board admins have lately been cracking down a little too hard, IMHO.

    Now that the boards are private, the admins will be able to lighten up. Information will again flow freely within the community, without bringing down the hammer of the skittish management types.

    It is an unfortunately thing to have to do, however. I can only assume that Raph's wish
    • You seem to agree that they think the forums reflect a poor game experience quality overall. True? If so, why are you wasting time with this game? I'm not trolling here, but I am curious why people spend more perfectly good time playing a game that seems to suck so bad. I mean, yeah, you spent the $50+ and nothing can be done about that. But why dump more time into it anyway?
  • by voice of unreason ( 231784 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @05:27PM (#6915547)
    Personally, I decided I wasn't interested when the developers said that being a Jedi was going to be next to impossible. Now, I understand why they did this. It's tough to have a universe where everyones a Jedi, and there's a risk that that would've happened. But... Jedi are a pretty big thing in the Star Wars universe, and they're what everyone wants to be. No one's going to pay $15 a month to be a baker or a dancer. Add to that the fact that so far there are no spaceships to fly around in (Yes, I know they're supposed to be added in later; but they're asking me to pay them now, not later), and you have very little Star Wars in your Star Wars game, as quite a bit of the movies are Jedi and people flying around in spaceships! As a result, I think the game is a tough sell, and the people running the forums are sensing that, and are getting worried. Hence the desire to eliminate bad PR.
  • The first thing I do when looking at buying a MMOG is go to the community forums.
    The REAL story of the game is in there. I realise most of the posters are inflammatory, but I look past that to the facts they present: what kind of bugs, how bad are they and is the game any fun.
    I have seen the bad posts and decided to buy anyway, an well informed decision. No MMOG is without bugs and the ones I seen were not fatal. (As with Shadowbane for example)
    And you know what? The forums, taken in this light, were
  • There is a LOT of subjective reasoning for locking threads in teh SWG message forums. Anything that criticizes SOE, SWG, the Developers, CSR's, or Moderators is promply locked to be buried in the multitude of posts from disgruntled players. There is no such thing as freedom of expression or pointing out flaws in the game, management's mistakes, CSR's shortfalls, or moderator's prejudice (by prejudice I mean they give their "pet" posters a lot of leway in their subject matter, but those that have valid poin
    • Anything that criticizes SOE, SWG, the Developers, CSR's, or Moderators is promply locked to be buried in the multitude of posts from disgruntled players.

      If this was true, then they wouldnt have much of a problem with the forums being so bad. If every negative post was locked and buried, that would make the game look awfully nice to prospective buyers, wouldnt it?

      The truth is, there is a lot of complaining. And for the most part they dont care. They're glad to have people expressing their opinions, as
  • by anser ( 224618 ) * on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @07:11PM (#6916304) Homepage
    For broader discussion of the game - without worrying about Sony's moderators deleting or locking threads or banning posters - there are some other choices that will probably be more heavily used from now on.

    There is a Yahoo! Group [yahoo.com], the Allakhazam forum [allakhazam.com], SWG Warcry [warcry.com], the Stratics SWG board [stratics.com], and even the Lucasforums boards [swgalaxies.net], among quite a few others. If you're thinking of learning more about the game, don't let Sony stiff-arm you, visit one of the other forums and start reading.

  • isn't this a bit extreme?

    no.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just got banned for posting in the SWG forums linking this article.

    I posted the link, they locked it saying I was repoting. I checked, noone else has posted about article. I included my own view at the bottom.

    I post saying there was none. I am locked, they say they want only "one thread" on the topic. Still no threads on the fact that slashdot is running an article on our community.

    I repost without my own viewpoint (thinking this was the problem). Just the link, and my reasons for doing this and why I th
    • Its pretty obvious that you didnt get banned for posting about the slashdot article. No one in your thread even mentioned the slashdot article, it was just anothing place for people to whine. They've already got a 16 page thread for people to whine, why do they need more?
      • After a polite email to the forum admin, I have been reinstated.

        I checked and all my posts are there with the article linked as expected. You sir, are either an incompetent forum user or are telling bald-faced lies.

        I could not care less which.
  • I think if they really wanted to accomplish something meaningful here they could have easily segregated the subscribers and the visitors with a simple icon. That way you could tell who was just talking out their ass and who was actually talking form experience. It would have also been an easy way to filter posts as well.

    The way I see it, they just sealed off a huge publicity source. Most companies I know like word of mouth promotion if their product is any good.
  • As a paying PlanetSide subscriber (a MMOG FPS), I find SOE distinctly user hostile and not to be trusted.

    I'm not by any streach of the imagination a 'whinger' on the boards, but they constantly give misinformation, are not aware of bugs that virtually every user knows about and has been aware of for months (like doors that don't open [makeing capturing a base impossible, which is kind of the point of the game], your character being killed for no reason if you jump in certain areas of the game world [and th
    • I was fortunate enough to get in on Planetside's beta. While sparse, I thought the dev's comments in the forums were somewhat informative and helpful.

      However, the game itself lacked any depth. There were about 20 or so of us coming from Infantry, another (not good, IMO) SoE game, and by the release date we had had enough. We formed an outfit a month or so before release, had 50 members, a fairly active message board with 6 or so people on most of the time, and after release, exactly nobody bought the ga
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There have also been posts from people trying to get the game working with WineX. SOE have actually posted this is a violation of the AUP (and you can have your account canceled if you try it)

      This is because the head Planetside programmer, John Ratcliff, has a very low opinion of non-Windows users. His view is that all Linux users are code thieves and software pirates, because anyone who uses a free operating system is unwilling to pay for any other software either. (As near as I can remember those were h
      • This is because the head Planetside programmer, John Ratcliff, has a very low opinion of non-Windows users. His view is that all Linux users are code thieves and software pirates, because anyone who uses a free operating system is unwilling to pay for any other software either. (As near as I can remember those were his exact words.)

        Interesting post all round, cheers.

  • It seems like a good option for the (pre)consumers would be to leave the forums open to the public but require a registered paying account to post messages. This should help get rid of unwarranted claims made by idiots while still letting the public see what the players think.

    Or maybe they just don't want the public to know about the inner workings of the game until after they get some money.
  • Interestingly enough, not only does this move practically enrich the forum's discussions, but also hides the vast amounts of dissatisfaction floating around in the community. It's precisely a marketing move, imho. Being selected for one of the first 100 beta phase 1 participants, I can tell you I watched the game build up from get go to gold - and not much built up. The problem was that the Devs underestimated the dark side of the force, see... When I compare what the devs invisaged at the start of beta
  • I think SOE should have taken a more balanced approach to this new policy. As an SWG player, I read the forums and see the negative postings etc. But I also see the forums being used as a communication platform for the players (ie vendors "advertise" on the forums).

    Non-players might have an interest in some of the content and to get a better impression of the game but do not need to see the discussions about games changes, recommendations and the intra-game communication mentioned above.

    So maybe SOE shoul
  • I'm glad to see so many PlanetSiders speak the truth when it comes to SOE's aggressive, unfriendly and annoying tactics when it comes to community building on their forums and web site.

    I was banned from PlanetSide for harassing their technical support. Despite harassing them so much that it warranted my removal from the game completely, SOE Tech Support NEVER responded to any of my problems, issues or posts until the day they told my they were cancelling my account.

    SOE Tech Support won't talk to you unle
  • SoE is known for not being too good in the area of customer relations. You can see that with EQ, PlanetSide, and now SW:G - the devs do talk, and often they mean well when they come and post things.

    Their customer support, on the other hand, is mostly comprised of a bunch of clueless sacks of sand, who can't do anything but read from a script, and ban you if anything deviates. Generalised, but true.

    SW:G has often had notices in the patcher posted if users could -please- delete their open trouble tickets (y

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