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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Innovation in the Old Republic

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,595MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

One of the things that many players clamor for in their games is innovation, something new and never before seen. In today's Player Perspectives, we take a look at several ways that Star Wars: The Old Republic has advanced the MMO genre with innovative features, if only through small touches. Check it out and then let us know what you think.

Over the years, one of the constant mantras of MMO gamers has become “We want something new!” – and I’ll be the first to agree that in many ways the MMO field has been rather stagnant of late. The problem is that it’s not easy to invent something entirely new; and more to the point, it’s usually risky, which in industry terms means that a whole lot of money might be sunk into a project for nothing. People who provide funding don’t usually like that sort of proposition, with good reason, and gamers have an unfortunate tendency to forget that game development takes money – these days, a great deal of money.

Read more Isabelle Parsley's Player Perspectives: Innovation in the Old Republic.


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • Eir_SEir_S Argyle, NYPosts: 4,623Member

    Good points.  I like the companions in SWTOR.  Everyone expects games to pile on innovation, but nice little touches can go a long way, even if the thrill wears off eventually.  Other, future games can only benefit from these new ideas.

  • dead2soondead2soon phoenix, AZPosts: 149Member

    I would disagree that removing auto attacts is an innovation. To me this is more like lack or polish or attention to detail.

  • deadmilkdeadmilk Auburn, INPosts: 173Member

    Each "innovation"  you list is started off by saying that it's not innovative..  *confused*

  • AnolevAnolev Seattle, WAPosts: 265Member

    I agree on all points (plus of course the obvious ones I'd add - adding meaningful story back into the genre, and multi-player conversations during quests... very cool).

    Sometimes I get frustrated with the folks on this site's forums who scream that they want "innovation" and then don't realize it when its staring them right in the face.  What they actually want is a very specific/particular innovation which a game fails to deliver, and suddenly its dubbed a WoW-clone. 

    I'll bet there are lots of companies out there that wish, financially, that they were WoW-clones.  But the only way to get there is to stand on the shoulders of giants (EQ, WoW, etc.) and then find a twist to make your game "just different enough" to not be a carbon copy.  I think that's exactly what SW:TOR has done, at least for me.

  • AnolevAnolev Seattle, WAPosts: 265Member

    Originally posted by dead2soon

    I would disagree that removing auto attacts is an innovation. To me this is more like lack or polish or attention to detail.


     

    I disagree.  Leaving out auto-attack is a concious gameplay decision by developers.  "Lack of polish" and "lack of attention to detail" imply that it was an accident or a bug.

  • AnevAnev Seattle, WAPosts: 11Member

    Perhaps this is one of those articles "looking at the glass half full" thing.  SWTOR has been an utter dissappointment to the MMORPG world.  Sure it's Star Wars, but so was STO - just a name and with only loose references to what we love.  Looks are one thing and some people are more than happy to wear something that looks good above the belt yet never change anything below the belt - it doesn't matter - how often do you actually stand up?



    Combat is a bit fun, I will give it that.  Twirrling your guns, slashing with your saber, jumping, leaping and all those other animations are done well - but it's also very buggy and has a long way to go before it will actually flow.  As for, companions, they are nothing but one more ability to use - they aren't a benefit or a cool addition, you must have them out when alone in most cases and a pain in groups.  In addition, you can't choose who you get but what the story tells you to get, everyone runs around with the same five.  Nothing special and in fact, if you are an older MMORPG player you'll feel like you've just been hit with the dumb down stick.



    SWTOR is nothing but what they wanted it to be, the latest theme park ride and once you are done - move along to another game.  I'm playing it for that fact alone and I hope others find more fun in it but for a serious MMORPG it fails and fails hard.  It's just a single player game that everyone can play together.

    This space reserved for moments of sanity!


    Veteran of: UO, SWG, EQII, COH, LOTRO & RIFT!
  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 2,207Member Uncommon

    Good article! Like many readers, i'm sick of the "rainbows and butterflies allover [insert recent blockbuster game]"- hype that comes with the usual articles on this page and i very much appreciate your approach.

    Your's are among the very few articles on this website that i don't quit reading at about 1/4. that being said, some points i'd like to make:

    -Auto Attack. After the many engine and/or coding related desasters, i don't buy the absence of auto-attack as an innovative feature, but another difficulty Bioware just couldn't overcome within the obvious given technical limits. Key words: ability delay, GCD interfering with animations.

    -Companions: make everyone a pet-class. Not shure if that's innovation, but i would buy it as such if the ways to interact with your companion (esp. in combat) would be more complex. I guess that wouldn't get along with the overall clonewars-kids friendlyness.

    -"Crafting in SWTOR is standard… and it’s not."...in a sense that it is not crafting, but micromanagement of your companion.

    -"The point is: innovations don’t have to be huge.  Get enough of them and sooner or later the general design paradigm of MMOs might actually change." I agree, but SWTOR is not the game that starts the paradigm change with innovations.

    And the innovation it comes with are in no way enough to make up for the 20+ missing basic MMORPG features games released about 10yrs ago had.

     

    image
  • edmarkleedmarkle Litchfield, ILPosts: 11Member

    What upsets me is everytime a game does try to be different, think a little outside the box and have an unique feature, you get hordes of people decrying the fact that this is not the way it is done in WOW. I hope SW:TOR sticks to its guns and only adds or mofify feature that makes sense for SW:TOR and not because some players refuse to learn and or adapt. /rant_off

  • sgelsgel HeraklionPosts: 1,081Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by edmarkle

    What upsets me is everytime a game does try to be different, think a little outside the box and have an unique feature, you get hordes of people decrying the fact that this is not the way it is done in WOW. I hope SW:TOR sticks to its guns and only adds or mofify feature that makes sense for SW:TOR and not because some players refuse to learn and or adapt. /rant_off

    What does this have to do with SW:TOR?... I think most people who didn't like it was because it was too similar to WoW?

    ..Cake..

  • lthompson94lthompson94 Memphis, TNPosts: 194Member

    Originally posted by dead2soon

    I would disagree that removing auto attacts is an innovation. To me this is more like lack or polish or attention to detail.


     

    I'm so sick of auto attack in MMOs... this was a great way to improve combat subtely without reinventing the wheel.

     

    No other game in the history of games besides MMOs (maybe something I don't know about) have it.  It's not necessary.  Say what you want about 1,1,2,3,1,1 etc.  Every game ever does it.  Hell, FPS games are just click, click, click, right click, click click... and they are fun as hell.

     

    I'm glad they moved away from auto-attack.  And lack of polish?  In what way?  That implies they intended to do auto-attack but didn't make it in time.  Nonsense...

  • lthompson94lthompson94 Memphis, TNPosts: 194Member

    Originally posted by sgel

    Originally posted by edmarkle

    What upsets me is everytime a game does try to be different, think a little outside the box and have an unique feature, you get hordes of people decrying the fact that this is not the way it is done in WOW. I hope SW:TOR sticks to its guns and only adds or mofify feature that makes sense for SW:TOR and not because some players refuse to learn and or adapt. /rant_off

    What does this have to do with SW:TOR?... I think most people who didn't like it was because it was too similar to WoW?


     

    Yeah... people SAY they want something different to WoW.... then they turn around and complain that the games don't have all of the WoW features... have my cake... eat it too.... bleh bleh bleh.  Happens with most games that have something different going for them.

  • DarkPonyDarkPony RotterdamPosts: 5,566Member

    Very nice to read this from you Isabelle <3

     

  • StruggsStruggs Cincinnati, OHPosts: 205Member


    Originally posted by dead2soon
    I would disagree that removing auto attacts is an innovation. To me this is more like lack or polish or attention to detail.

    Why?

    I think they did it bc it fit there combat style and how they wanted it to work. Please please tell us why you think it is lack of polish or attention to detail?

    After adjusting to it, I enjoy it. I am more in tune with my energy bar and what moves I am using and when. I would'nt necessarily say its innovative, but it is a change from the norm and it does fit the game.

    imageimage

  • StruggsStruggs Cincinnati, OHPosts: 205Member


    Originally posted by lthompson94
    Originally posted by sgel Originally posted by edmarkle What upsets me is everytime a game does try to be different, think a little outside the box and have an unique feature, you get hordes of people decrying the fact that this is not the way it is done in WOW. I hope SW:TOR sticks to its guns and only adds or mofify feature that makes sense for SW:TOR and not because some players refuse to learn and or adapt. /rant_off
    What does this have to do with SW:TOR?... I think most people who didn't like it was because it was too similar to WoW?  
    Yeah... people SAY they want something different to WoW.... then they turn around and complain that the games don't have all of the WoW features... have my cake... eat it too.... bleh bleh bleh.  Happens with most games that have something different going for them.

    Anothe example of damned it you do damned it you don't.

    I have seen people in game and in vent complain how it is not enough like WoW. And then I think back to this site where most complain its a clone. I enjoy it for the game it is. I played WoW and when I play it I don't really think oh this should've been like WoW or this is too WoW like. I just play and enjoy myself. Do I think its all roses no, there are things I hope happen as the game progresses but they are things I don't control. I enjoy the game for what it is as simple as that. I will play until ot is no longer fun, WoW clone or not enough WoW in it doesn't matter to me.

    imageimage

  • VolkonVolkon Sterling, VAPosts: 3,788Member

    Guild Wars 2 is designed with no auto-attack either by intent... the idea is to help make combat more interactive and actiony. I didn't know SWTOR went that route as well, kudos for them! The "rez anyone" thing... also in GW2. However GW2 takes it further... you can do so in combat and when "downed" (not dead yet...) you can fight to survive and rally if you manage to kill an opponent. I understand they got this idea from a different game altogether, can't remember which... so hardly innovative on Bioware's part, but again, great job to implement that. If they only had the cojones to innovate away from the archaic "holy trinity" and gear-grind end-game paradigm I might have had greater interest in the game.

    Oderint, dum metuant.
    image

  • AutemOxAutemOx Fullerton, CAPosts: 1,704Member

    I am getting sick and tired of all the SWTOR BS that I see this site post.  Most are easy to ignore but ones like this are just like.... .... >_< 

    This article is stretching, big time.

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • KarahandrasKarahandras Sible HedinghamPosts: 1,673Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by wormywyrm

    I am getting sick and tired of all the SWTOR BS that I see this site post.  Most are easy to ignore but ones like this are just like.... .... >_< 

    This article is stretching, big time.

    image seems more a case of :


     Star Wars: The Old Republic: Desperation in the Old Republic

  • SkillCosbySkillCosby Trenton, MIPosts: 684Member

    The fully voiced story in SWTOR is VERY INNOVATIVE and a BIG POSITIVE for the genre if you ask me. I've never experienced a more entertaining leveling process or "grind".

    The problem is that there isn't any SOCIAL INNOVATION. Everything is so linear, static, redundant, solo, and expected.

    There has to be an optional something outside of combat.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Well those things are just small changes , it is those few small things that differentiate most standard themeparks. 

    I don't see much innovation here or maybe diffrent I see innovation in small lesser important things and lack of innovation in CORE of a genre which is same since WoW.  (some would say EQ but I don't really agree as WoW is evolved EQ but all other themeparks based it design on WoW rather than on original EQ).

     

     

  • CeridithCeridith Toronto, ONPosts: 2,980Member

    The real question... is are these 'innovations' important/good enough to keep players interested in the long term?

    Rift was a very innovative game, but it unfortunately failed to keep many players interested as the core mechanics and playstyle was very similar to what's already been around for several years.

    Will SWTOR encounter the same issues once the novelty of the 'new' features wear off?


  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon

    There are two definition for innovate. Introducing something new, what most are saying SWTOR doesn't do, or taking what has been done before and making it work differently, which SWTOR does well at with what is covered in the article. A common thing I see is people say if it's been done before then it isn't innovation- which is untrue.




    I think Isabelle is right to say that BW choose correctly by having several small incremental innovations instead of a big flashy invention.









     




     

  • NewfrNewfr MoscowPosts: 130Member

    I'm sorry but i totally disagree with this optimistic article.



    1) No auto attack? Innovative? You kidding, right? Even in WoW clones if you auto attacking as a caster (100% at end game content) means you suck hard. And no auto attack on melee classes in my point of view is a bad move really.



    2) Companions is what ruined this game for me as a MMO. You just don't need anyone and ok playing with yourself. Is that good? Not for a MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER game in my point of view. This and SWTOR quest system that actually force people to be more solo oriented. I heard from a lot of ppl thing like "why the hell i need to group that will only ruin my experience with story line and quests". And i must admit they have a point. It's very irritating sometime to wait for a guy that read subtitles in quest dialogue to advance or something. So for me levelling in SWTOR till 50 lvl (Sith Inquisitor Sorcerer) was a mediocre KOTOR experience and worst MMORPG experience ever. And companions played a major role in that. Like why the hell i want to party with dudes when i can solo everything including most heroic 2+ quests as a healer (screw that heroic 4 - with so much troubles to get a party they don't worth that).



    3) Crafting. It's actually ok since in theme park games (or WoW clones) end game crafting is almost useless for most of professions because gear from raids/hard modes >> crafted. That sucks, but as in WoW only 3 professions are ok end game wise.



    All in all SWTOR is an another theme park and it's worth than most of current theme park MMORPGs like WoW, Rift or even Aion. But don't get me wrong - It was great experience to level up a Sith and a Jedi but after that this game can't offer you something interesting. At all! So thank you BioWare next time please do a great single player game like you (almost) always do (not a crap as DA2) and everyone will be happy. As it is now, i'm disappointed in SWTOR and cancelled my subscription.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I did not notice the missing auto attack, but I tend to play classes that don't have auto attacks (more the priests/mages/casters). That's a good point though...you're always thinking a bit about what your character is doing. Agreed.

    Companions are a cool aspect of the game. Agreed.

    On crafting, there are some new aspects to it (sending companions, crafting missions coming from other crafting missions, etc.) but it's fundamentally the same as in other games. It's really isolated to the player, and at max level it seems to lose most of the utility. So, Disagree, even if I think it has potential.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by lthompson94

     

     

    No other game in the history of games besides MMOs (maybe something I don't know about) have it.  It's not necessary.  Say what you want about 1,1,2,3,1,1 etc.  Every game ever does it.  Hell, FPS games are just click, click, click, right click, click click... and they are fun as hell.

    more like the highlighted part. There are games that have had auto-attack.

    The neverwitner nights games, actually Dragaon Age,

    Baldur's gate and I would imagine all the games in that series

    summoner had auto attack.

    If I went through my old games collection I believe I could find more.

    you have to know that there are people who don't like click, click click, click.

     

  • NildenNilden null, NBPosts: 1,284Member Uncommon

    This is blowing my mind. The combat is not innovative. City of heroes had no auto-attack and everyone could rez in city of heroes too just pass your groupmate an awaken inspiration. The crafting is just automated and doesn't require any player attention. It's like training skills in EVE Online. The companion idea just came from KOTOR. Heck the most innovative feature they did you completely missed. Fully voiced story. There must be a page 2 that I missed where you talk about the fully voiced stories...

    How to post links.

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon
    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer

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