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Who is to blame for the train wreck SWG became with the NGE?
Everyone! Lucas Arts, Sony Online Entertainment and the Star Wars Galaxies Players.
LEC is to blame because when the people involved with SWG on their end changed, their core goal philosophies for the game changed with them. The original people involved understood the potential of Raph Koster's design vision and were willing to work with him to see that it came together as best as possible, technical limitations notwithstanding. But the new people, who have no clue as to why the original SWG vision worked, are only interested in the BUSINESS of game development, not the ART of it. And so, they looked at the success of games like WoW and no doubt thought: "THAT game must really be fun if it is drawing in numbers like that. Star Wars is one of the biggest IPs on the face of the planet. It should be drawing that many and more. We need to talk to SOE and see what can be done about it."
Sony Online Entertainment:
SOE is to blame because when LEC talked to them about ways to make the game more fun, and therefore, in theory, more profitable, the key people involved in the development of the new more fun system were personally more into WoW than their own product. To that end, they no doubt reasoned that "since LEC wants SWG to be as fun or more than WoW, then we need to make it work like WoW. There's no way we can do that. There's no way we SHOULD do that. But MAN, this is fun!" And the NGE was born.
The Star Wars Galaxies Players:
The SWG players are to blame because at no point in the games history have we collectively been satisfied with ANYTHING. Nothing SOE has done in any of the game's three incarnations has managed to appease the crybabies in the community who want the game THEIR way, nevermind that there are (or were) several thousand other players. The general concensus was that the Pre-CU combat system sucked. So we got the CU. Many people left and in the six months that passed, the general concensus was that the CU system sucked. So when LEC told SOE that they wanted to see the game become as fun as (or more fun than) WoW, SOE no doubt felt justified in going ahead. After all, most people hated the game anyway, so why not? A new audience might be more forgiving. But the thing is, though, the majority MMO players suffer from the "It's My Game" syndrome because they feel that apying a monthly fee entitles them to tell the developers how to do their job and expect them to toe the line. How many times have we seen it (I even threw it out a few times myself before I opened my eyes):
"SOE You need to do what we want because WE pay your salary with out subscriptions"
And yet, the truth of the matter is that we pay for a SERVICE, that is the privilage to access the content on their servers. Beyond that, what we are entitled to is very limited. And every time we have clicked that "I agree" button we are acknowledging that SOE has the right to do whatever they want with the game, with or without notice. Do we have to like it? Absolutely not! Do we have to suffer through it? No, and many of us are here because we chose not to.
And for those who subscribed for the 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions and felt victimized when the game changed? Boo Hoo Hoo! That clause in the ToS that clearly stated that SOE reserves the right to change or discontinue services as they see fit should have thrown up all sorts of red flags and made you think, "Jeez. That means I could log in tomorrow and not be playing the same game as I am today," or, "Jeez... that meand I may not even be able to log in tomorrow or ever again."
SOE has warned us from the very beginning that they could change the game on us. We agreed that they had the right to when we subscribed, AND every time we played thereafter. We knew (or should have known) that it could happen. Yet when it did, we blamed THEM
IS SWG currently the game we originally wanted to play? For many of us, no. Was SOE within their rights to do what they did. Yes. Was LEC within their rights to expect SWG to be at least as successful as WoW? Based on the world-wide fan base of the Star Wars IP as a whole, Yes. Did what SOE designed and LEC signed off on for the NGE result in that success? Based on the bad press, empty servers and general discontent (nothing really new there) of the participants on the official forums, I would have to say, no.
Can SWG still achieve great success? Yes. But just as everyone was involved in the SWG disaster, it is going to take everyone to clean up the mess. SOE has come as close as any of us can expect of a corporation to come in apologizing for what happened. LEC has remained silent since Nancy McIntyre opened her mouth and issued her "The players to be Luke Skywalker and not Uncle Owen" statement. But then, really, they have pretty much been silent towards the player community from the start.
Now the player community has a responsibility to stop with all the "I want it, I pay for it, You better do it" demands, actually play the game and take their issues with it to the developers. The Developers have now stated that they intend to actually start listening, so they have the responsibility to listen to the issues brought to them by the players. And LEC? Well. They chose SOE to develop and host this game based on their experience in the MMO industry. LEC has the responsibility to sit back, shut up and trust SOE to do what they hired them to do. If all three groups would do these things, then yes, SWG can enjoy success once again.
/emote hops off the soap box.
DarthOlomew hops off the soap box.