Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SWTOR is Too-Much/Not-Enough Like WoW

This is a follow up to yesterday's post. Someone I was talking to made a comment that made me think a thought I hadn't thought about before. A lot of people have been complaining that SWTOR is missing features that games that have been out longer already include. I've seen this occur with every new game I've played after World of Warcraft, starting with Star Trek Online almost 2 years ago. They say something like this:
"It doesn't have such-and-such a feature that another game has. C'mon Devs, this is 2011, these are basic features of an MMO."
Are they? One thing that we, as gamers, sometimes forget is that it takes lots of money and man-power to develop and publish an MMO. Every feature that is included before the game actually launches is another uncompensated investment. Blizzard has developed three expansions to WoW since it launched in 2004, each costing the same price as the original game. In between, they have introduced new dungeon content, numerous battlegrounds, and new questing areas for no more than cost of your monthly subscription. How did they pay for that updated content? Through subscription and box revenues, from millions of people, over seven years.

Then we expect a new game, SWTOR, to have a multitude of features that we haven't really paid for. Sure we've paid the initial box price. But that was only a couple of days ago. Prior to that, BioWare and EA had sunk millions into the game based essentially on faith.

The game has a few Warzones, a few Flashpoints. The crafting system is different and seems less tedious than others I've seen. The questing makes sense so far, and fits my characters' stature in the universe from a roleplaying perspective. The space battles are an interesting side game and in-line with both other SW games and the movies.

Sure, make suggestions for development. Constructive criticism is welcome at BioWare, I am sure. But there is a big difference between, "Hey, you know what would be cool? A guild bank system," and "Waaaah! Why no guild bank!?! This game SUCKS!" If I sound sarcastic or condescending, it's because I thought I was done having to listen to whiny children when my daughters got out of elementary school.
More Warzones, more Flashpoints will come. Quality-of-life features like guild banks will come. Let BioWare get this game off the ground, and enjoy it for what it is and what it has. Don't compare it to a game that is years into its redevelopment cycle.

And don't even get me started on the whiners who didn't follow instructions regarding the product keys and subscription plans . . . [EDIT] I'll leave that to AFK.

11 comments:

  1. Nice post... this game is 100x better than vanilla wow was at launch. It will only get better once they iron out the issues.

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  2. They don't add stuff like Guild Banks, LFG tool, more Warzone, more FPs all because they need something to push out the door right away. They need a cusion to fall on if there is a major problem. Rift did exactly the same thing and people praised them for pushing out content so fast. BioWare has all those things. They are just holding them to give people a reason to stay after 1,2,3 ect months. When you bid on a house you don't give the seller the max amount + fun money. You slowly add money till you strike a deal. SWTOR has all this stuff, they just want the paying public to feel like they are hard at work pushing out exactly what they ask for. They're not dumb. These people play MMOs. They know what we want. It's the ignorant people that think their shouts are heard.

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  3. @Rasmus Thanks for the comment. I know the game isn't perfect. Even if it were perfect for some people, others would not be happy.

    @Scary I know have a lot of this is under development. Kinda like the "Match Chest" function, they want stuff to be right before they add it to the live game.

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  4. First of all, I agree. But as the industry is evolving over time, there is now huge pressure on devs of upcoming MMOs to have certain features available at launch. I will argue that the standards have been raised since the days of WoW and some things *should* be in place at launch. It's the same for a lot of industries -- for example, very few smartphones these days would launch without a built in camera. Some things are just, well, expected.

    Still, when I look at the SWTOR forums these days, it seems some people have a serious lack of common sense. Basically, I don't think it's always wrong for people to expect and demand certain features, but to do something like compare the number of warzones and flashpoints in SWTOR (which has been officially out for a grand total of only 3 days!) to WoW's arsenal of instances and battlegrounds when Blizzard has been pumping out that content for the last seven years?!

    And the vitriol! I read a comment from one such whiner that defended his position, saying pretty much that "everyone who doesn't complain is just rolling over and taking it up the ass and that's what is making the world a worse place." Really? I'd like to see anyone take this attitude with their boss and see how far being a QQing bitch takes you. It's easy to be on the other side when you're not the poor CS person taking abuse from unreasonable callers. Some people take the whole "customer is always right" thing way too far (and it's not even always true) and think just because they've bought BioWare's game they're entitled to the world.

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  5. Sorry for going off on a rant. But my point really is, whatever issues and complaints you have, even valid ones, it's still no reason to be a douchebag.

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  6. @MMOGC Got it. Things shouldn't be the same as 2004. Just one example though, of stuff I've seen people rant about: not enough PvP Warzones. WoW launched with exactly zero battlegrounds. If you wanted PvP, you roled on a PvP server, or looked for someone else who had voluntarily flagged. SWTOR has launched with three (3) Warzones, plus a PvP queue interface right on the UI, something I'm not sure WoW has even now. You still have to go to a battle master.

    All that is not good enough for some professional QQers.

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  7. Bioware focused on what they can do, and delivered it in spades. They have the best single player narratives of any MMO I have ever played by a very wide margin. Other features they only delivered up to par. PvP battlegrounds is a good example.

    WoW launched with none, none at all. There are now something like a ten or dozen (I'm not sure), plus the same "whisk you off to a BG at will" feature that WoW currently sports. SWTOR has 3 and a really nice system for queing up for them. However, BGs were not even close to their primary focus. The individual PvE player experience was. They knocked that out of the park, and still get dinged for not having as many BGs as WoW does after 7 years...despite the fact that they have the same mechanics for finding them it took Blizzard 7 yeasr to develop and that they are launching with "infinity%" more battlegrounds than the 0 WoW had at launch.

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  8. @Yeebo Exactly, and the supposed dirth of BGs is not the only silly complaint.

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  9. I had to remind someone yesterday that BW's focus is going to be intrinsically different than Blizzard's. That "this may be a massively single player game" criticism that was leveled some months ago is showing its validity in the lack of guild tools. But, as Scary said most of that stuff is on deck, ready to go...

    Well, let me add a caveat. BioWare thinks its ready to go, and we have seen how many features have fallen flat right out of the gate that they thought were "done." So, while I believe Scary is right, I also believe the delivery will not be the polished airdrop we've come to expect from Rift.

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  10. @hzero I'm not very far along in any of my toons. What features have fallen flat?

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  11. I think part of it is we've really narrowed ourselves into this situation. If we look back at games like Ultima Online and Phantasy Star Online, how much did they have in common? Now do the same with World of Warcraft and The Old Republic. The latter have much more in common. I see arguments of "it's a copy of WoW/no it's different, stop comparing them!" But they're all really running together, in terms of core mechanics.

    Rather than create new games, we've established a formula. And as elements succeed, they become static aspects of that formula. Developers of new MMORPGs ask "what can I improve" or, if we're lucky, "what can I change," but that core template remains. I have multiple friends who say, "I won't play an MMO if my character can't jump." That has become a thing! One of countless things that, as new refinements and polishes are added to this not so mini sub-genre, bloat our expectations and narrow our gaming experiences until they're these mammoth, unmanageable projects all designed to be near identical.

    And now I have a Boba Fett inspired bounty hunter protecting me by shooting me in the head with his healie-pistols, because the game has to have healers. But it's nothing to worry about. He can jump.

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