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General: Great Expectations - SW:TOR

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  • sfc1971sfc1971 UtrechtPosts: 421Member

    To win big, you need to gamble big.

    WoW seems entrenched, but why is this so? What is it about the game that makes 10million people play it today, years after its launch.

    Maybe it was because Blizzard went all out. They really risked their business with it, and they had no replacement single player games ready in the wing to generate some cash in the meantime (Bioware has both Dragon Age and Mass Effect generating cash for them and giving them brandname fans).

    Maybe WoW is so big because it WAS a triple A title with a huge budget nobody else so far had spend on a MMO.

    I do not know how SWTOR is going to end up. Frankly there are only two MMO's I am following and that is SWTOR and TSW but I fear both might be driving so hard for the console/casual game market they might shoot themselves in the foot and pull a Cryptic (Champions Online and Star Trek Online being less then stellar). But cryptic is a cheap and cheerful company. They spend a fraction of what EA is spending, so if the game fails after a few months, they made a profit anyway. 

    Will SWTOR be a success? Barring horrible beta reviews, I think we can assume it will sell like hotcakes. 1 million copies sold should be no problem AoC did that or at least came close and Bioware and Star Wars have far better reps.

    What I worry about is long term appeal. I finished DOA several times in a month. How long can SWTOR keep a player hooked and paying? It is not just about story. I put DOA at its highest difficulty and still breezed through it. Its combat just ain't difficult enough. I replayed for the stories and because RPG's are thin on the ground. But there are PLENTY of MMO's. Will the combat be intresting enough to hold my intrest? So far I heard little to indicate this to be true.

    In fact they seemed to go out of their way to asure me that combat is easy to get into. Uh oh. That sounds like a Cryptic game. Those are simple to. And I got bored with them in the free trial/beta

    So, I don't think SWTOR will have any trouble pulling in the punters unless they screw things up horribly. But will they be able to keep them? I got my doubts. I also fear EA might nicke & dime players to such a degree that few will want to bother.

     

    But mostly, I worry for the combat. From the vid's so far, it just doesn't look intresting enough to last years.

  • toddzetoddze no where, OKPosts: 2,155Member

    I dont see any long term apeal to SW:TOR. Its prime will be 2-3 months past its release date. No doubt that it will sell atleast 1 million copies at release.

    Waiting for:EQ-Next, ArcheAge (not so much anymore)
    Now Playing: N/A
    Worst MMO: FFXIV
    Favorite MMO: FFXI

  • dzikundzikun PoznanPosts: 150Member

    Interesting article!

     

    I look at this problem like that: WoW is something like Myspace. There were social sites before it... even better ones. But Myspace made it to the top... But now its all about Facebook. (or twitter... dosn't really matter to prove my point). I don't see a bit difference between those two... (Maybe i'm just not informed as i don't use any of them).

    What i am waiting for is a Facebook of MMOs. SwTOR might be it... if it plays its cards right.  There are many people playing WoW... Who is to say some of them won't just jump onto the SWTOR wagon like the did with Myspace-->facebook.

    The internet works that way... somehow... Fads.. Impulses.  It would take 1/7 of WoW population to enjoy SWTOR (Which propably will be the same as WoW just.. better.) for it to be succesfull... And they might pull their friends in. :P

     

    Being a clone is not as bad as you think and it works on the world markest... But only if you're a hyped up, very popular and better clone..

     

    And we on this forum are hardly the judges of SWTOR success.  Many here hate WoW, or are seekers after WoW. Taking this into account we look at SWTOR as another clone of WoW... But there are millions of people playing WoW now... They are the ones that will judge SWTOR success. All it has to be to them is better WoW. And with 150milion in it i'm sure EA has a good shot at it.

    I've been uplinked and downloaded, I've been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading.

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    RIP George Carlin.

  • Dread73Dread73 BrisbanePosts: 1Member

    So what EA is saying is that  SW:TOR has 12 months to recoup its development money, sell enough boxes, sell enough subs (well, sell a ridiculous amount of subs that is not even remotely attainable in this saturated market) or EA does another Earth and Beyond and all of us stupid enought o shell out full price end up with another useless box on our shelves and another game we can't play ever again.

     

    Who says history never repeats?

     

    And now I read over on Massively they are looking at letting Kiddy Konsole tards also play the game....

     

    Interest dieing rapidly.......

  • AnubisanAnubisan Boulder, COPosts: 1,801Member

    The countdown is not even on the SWTOR site. I doubt this announcement has anything to do with that game. Its probably DLC for Dragon Age or Mass Effect.

  • DrevarDrevar College Station, TXPosts: 157Member Uncommon

    I haven't read through the entire thread yet so this has probably already been mentioned...

    How much of that $150 million "blockbuster" budget is licensing fees to LucasArts? 

     

    Drev

    “If MMORPG players were around when God said, "Let their be light" they'd have called the light gay, and plunged the universe back into darkness by squatting their nutsacks over it.”
    -Luke McKinney, The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Online Gaming

    "In the end, SWG may have been more potential and promise than fulfilled expectation. But I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."
    -Raph Koster

  • TypeOneTypeOne Brooklyn, NYPosts: 8Member

    1m subscribers to break even? Highly doubt they need that when you are forgetting something huge... box sales. 

  • DargokDargok Nope, OKPosts: 14Member

    Originally posted by Toquio3



    I think my expectations are right on. All I want is to play kotor 3 online. Thats it. So no matter what happens, I'll be as happy as a pig in shit.

    QFT, sir. One major reason they are making this is because so many people wanted to play KOTOR online with their friends, thus ST:TOR is in the works now that BioWare has the budget to make it.

    All your MMOs are belong to me.

  • AshenTemperAshenTemper BioWare Community Mgr. Austin, TXPosts: 68Member

    Dread73, I posted this early in The Old Republic community:



    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=2693460#post2693460

    I know many of you have heard this before but I'll go ahead and reiterate it for those of you who may be new:



    Star Wars: The Old Republic is currently being developed for the personal computer (PC) using the Microsoft® Windows® operating system. While we recognize that there are other operating systems and platforms available for games today, our development is specific to the personal computer using the Windows operating system at this time.



    As to why The Old Republic is on that list, we have no idea but to allay any confusion, we should not be on there.

    Sean "Ashen Temper" Dahlberg
    http://www.seandahlberg.com/

  • PunkrePunkre Chico, CAPosts: 92Member

    Its always hard to read the CEO's statements to investors compared to what they tell the gamers interested in playing the game. 

     

    In some ways we all knew that this is what they were doing, making multiple appearances of hyping up the game, trying to really sell the idea of being the next big mmo with a story as a main focus, and then they announce that everything will be voice acted, which we all knew when we heard this it was a completely unrequired part of any mmo.

     

    If you gained any info from seeing what made WoW such a success and what are its failings, it would be a quality combat system (smooth, instant action, etc.) a very big "world" to really explore and feel around, and that it was the best thing to come out when every other MMO failed.

     

    On the other hand comparing the 80 Million that Blizzard put into WoW initially to the current game is a pretty big difference, and as far as ToR is considered by most people playing WoW that have any interest in playing something else, it has to match if not exceed WoW in just about every way, Thus Bioware/EA is playing catch up to WoW, because if they are planing to gain 2 million subs they certainly are not going to pull them entirely from non WoW subs. 

  • johnnychangsjohnnychangs Rockland, MEPosts: 249Member Uncommon

    $20 a month

  • LivaetLivaet StockholmPosts: 1Member

    In my experience working with indie MMO production, this is spot-on.

    The creativity, energy, momentum, drive and determination are tenfold in indie production studios. What's sinking indies today are the business terms - who you have to get in bed with to get your package out the door.

    A great example is TCoS - a fabulously innovative FPSMMO with great gameplay, a good story, and PVP. All was on-board and level until it landed in the hands of a greedy publishing house that stripped it and pushed it out the door as fast as possible just to make a buck. A small buck at that, considering its potential seen in the beta and attested to by the production team.

    I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, of innovative games with power and expertise behind them that bite the dust simply because they don't want to sell out to the major studios and compete to be the next WoW. 

    Today's business model is simply not maintainable. And who wants to play the exact same rogue as anyone else anyway?

     

  • TarkaTarka LancashirePosts: 1,662Member

    I always laugh when people prattle on about how the MMO industry needs to "break away from the norm", as if its some kind of untapped treasure that no one has attempted to obtain before.  It has been tried before, and it has been proven to not be as successful as people like the OP made it sound.  The same goes for sandbox and "classless" MMO's, yes there is a certain percentage that likes that kind of game, but nowhere near the amount that prefers a more preset story driven experience or the amount that enjoy destinct classes in an MMO.  Now, some could argue that this is because no developer as yet has managed to make a good MMO which incorporates such gameplay styles.  And they maybe correct.  However, note that I said MAYBE.  There is no guarantee that any MMO developer could make a sandbox / classless MMO that would retain the level of subs that we see in the most successful "themepark" MMO's today. 

    Now, whilst it is true that MMO's can survive for a few years on low subs, its a simple fact that many people dont LIKE to play an MMO which has a low sub level.  So, whilst such MMO's may technically be surviving and a certain amount of people enjoying it, it may as well be dead to the majority who found it lacking.  Yes, I know, Eve Online had a small community.  But lets face facts, if Eve Online launched today if the market with greater competition in that area, would it attain the same level of success?  Probably not.

    So why do they find these MMO's that try to "break away" lacking?  Because in general many players look for gameplay elements which they have enjoyed in other games.  Their next MMO needs to match the level of quality of their previous one or else theres no point in them playing it.  People can cry all they like about how WoW has had a huge impact on the MMO industry, but the fact remains that WoW set the standard which all others have to meet.  And when you actually take a good look at it, that standard is not actually very high.  And yet, many MMO devs don't even try to attain it.

    Just look at Funcom, they introduced a "combo" system for only certain classes, only to implement an incomplete quest system, relatively small game environment (albeit a nice looking one), poor itemisation, very little character progression and a crafting/harvesting system that is downright awful.  They failed to even get the basics right before slapping on new "innovations".  Cryptic too have gone the way of trying to encourage subs based solely on its IP alone, whilst foresaking the very essence of what made that IP successful and ignoring the basic elements that are needed in a good MMO.  So the player is left with relatively small amount of character progression,  repetitive quests to fill the gaps in the leveling and a small game environment.

    Both of these companies failed to establish a good foundation for their games (one based on tried and tested formulas and include ALL the elements that players search for in a good MMO),  which is then refined and polished (just like what Blizzard did).  Only THEN after establishing that foundation, can an MMO dev hope to build on top of it, introducing new and interesting concepts that are unique to that game.

    This is why I feel the future of the MMO industry lies in the hands of those individuals who have produced titles before in varying genres and thus have the resources and the money to make a good product:   the single player game development companies.  Bioware + EA may actually succeed in leading the way, showing the other single player game companies that they too can make a good MMO.

  • JamkullJamkull somewhere, ILPosts: 214Member

    considering Bioware sales over 1 million copies of every game they have made, I'd consider that paid pretty quick.  the initial bank you get from the $50 price tag is the biggest chunk of making back that money.  And of course if it turns out to be really good, then they will see even higher sales plus the price will stay higher, longer.

    With a rep like Bioware, EA has nothing to worry about.  That's why they aren't afraid to spend the money.

  • TarkaTarka LancashirePosts: 1,662Member

     


    Originally posted by Jamkull

    considering Bioware sales over 1 million copies of every game they have made, I'd consider that paid pretty quick.  the initial bank you get from the $50 price tag is the biggest chunk of making back that money.  And of course if it turns out to be really good, then they will see even higher sales plus the price will stay higher, longer.

    With a rep like Bioware, EA has nothing to worry about.  That's why they aren't afraid to spend the money.

    Selling boxes doesn't cover the entire cost of developing and maintaing an MMO.  Funcom allegedly sold 800,000 copies.  WAR allegedly sold 1.2 million copies.  Both of these games experienced a large drop in sub levels a few months later.  And did these titles "break even" after 1 year?  Probably not. 

    Bear in mind that the projected income for an MMO is largely based on the amount of money generated from subs because the income needs to not only cover the amount spent during development but also the re-occuring overheads such as wages etc.

    Using the OPs figures, if EA came to the conclusion that 1 million subs are needed, and that figure includes the income from box sales, then that implies the game needs to generate $100 million in income from other avenues (e.g. subs).  Which itself implies that the game would need to sustain 1 million players for approximately 8 months in order to attain that amount.

    So, whilst its definately possible for 1 million copies of SWTOR to be sold, the question still remains as to whether SWTOR can retain 1 million+ subs for a long enough period in order to generate enough income to recoup costs within the pre-determined timescale.

  • JamkullJamkull somewhere, ILPosts: 214Member

    Originally posted by Tarka



     


    Originally posted by Jamkull

    considering Bioware sales over 1 million copies of every game they have made, I'd consider that paid pretty quick.  the initial bank you get from the $50 price tag is the biggest chunk of making back that money.  And of course if it turns out to be really good, then they will see even higher sales plus the price will stay higher, longer.

    With a rep like Bioware, EA has nothing to worry about.  That's why they aren't afraid to spend the money.

    Selling boxes doesn't cover the entire cost of developing and maintaing an MMO.  Funcom allegedly sold 800,000 copies.  WAR sold allegedly 1.2 million copies.  Both of these games experienced a large drop in sub levels a few months later.  And have these titles "broke even" yet?

    Bear in mind that the projected income for an MMO is largely based on the amount of money generated from subs because the income needs to not only cover the amount spent during development but also the re-occuring overheads such as wages etc.

    Using the OPs figures, if EA came to the conclusion that 1 million subs are needed, and that figure includes the income from box sales, then that implies the game needs to generate $100 million in income from other avenues (e.g. subs).  Which itself implies that the game would need to sustain 1 million players for approximately 8 months in order to attain that amount.

    So, whilst its definately possible for 1 million copies of SWTOR to be sold, the question still remains as to whether SWTOR can retain 1 million+ subs for a long enough period in order to generate enough income to recoup costs within the pre-determined timescale.

    is that so? how is it that Guild Wars stays running?  they have sold over 5 million copies of their game but it has made them enough money to take their time working on GW2.  They of course don't add content for free, so they come out with expansions that you have to pay full MSRP for. You can gain money from other things other than just box sales as well, like T-shirts and collectables.

    you can make plenty of money on box sales, and it is the biggest initial chunk to get back what you've invested.  Plus i'm underestimating considerably, because i'm sure EA is seeing sales of over 2 to 3 million.  The amount of subs it takes to maintain the game is relative.  I'm sure bioware will be able to maintain plenty of subs for that too.  plus make plenty for development of newer titles.  it's really almost trivial for a company like bioware.

  • TarkaTarka LancashirePosts: 1,662Member

    So what's your point Jamkull?  That just because F2P games can exist is enough argument to suggest that all MMOs actually dont need subs, because on the whole box sales + other revenues cover all costs?    Don't be so naive.  Sorry, but you're jumping to conclusions that the development and maintenance costs of an MMO such as SWTOR are the same as those for GW.  The differences between the two games are quite obvious.  And those differences imply cost. 

    Now, we know that:

    a)  SWTOR has a very high development cost.

    b)  SWTOR will "be more of the traditional business model with maybe some twists as well."  

    c)  EA have said they need 1 millions SUBS to break even, no mention was made in that original article about revenue from other sources, just subs. 

    Therefore, its not possible for SWTOR to be a F2P game, because the above implies that the F2P business model just won't generate enough income to recoup costs within the acceptable timescale.  In the timescale of 1 year, box sales are a fraction compared to the total revenue generated from subs.  Do the maths are you'll see.

    GW survives for a myriad of reasons.  But just because an F2P MMO can exist, doesn't mean that SWTOR (or any other monthly subbed MMO for that matter) can launch as an F2P game and survive solely based on box sales + other revenues. 

  • GrömGröm LisbonPosts: 303Member

    Very interesting article, but to be honest I loved to read the first pages of this thread, answered by those following not only SW:TOR but the general mmo gaming industry. Pitty I cba to read full 11 pages specially when it becomes dull, repetitive and a bit trollish... as always.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Bioware has a great history for making games.  EA has a horrible reputation at running games/franchises.  It will be interesting to see which of these two forces wins out.

    I'll come back and look at it in five years and decide whether to play - I feed no need to rush out and log into MMOs on day one.

  • calranthecalranthe stoke on trentPosts: 356Member

    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf



    I've said before and I'll say it again. ToR will never hit 2 millions subs, guaranteed.

     

    Yes it is a Star Wars game, yes it has computer game fanatics who are fans of Bioware (but guess what most non involved gamers don't know who game companies are at all, don't forget that being on these types of forums makes you the minority of customers). But it also has things going against it.

     

    It is being released on PC only correct? Bioware gets a ton of sales from console, so this is immediately a huge hit in numbers. Second it's an MMO. There are still a lot of people out there who won't touch a game if it's an MMO. It's different enough from the MMO genre to lose many MMO fans with it's extremely linear, extremely solo based design.

     

    It is completely unrealistic to ever expect an MMO released in the west to get 2 million subscribers, let alone 2 million in sales.

     

    This game might sell a million copies out the door (preorder and first month), this game might have 500k subscribers by the end of month 2. But to expect anything above that is insane.

     

    EA has been killing itself lately, they don't know how to manage their business. So to spend this much on an MMO and to expect 2 million or more subscribers shows how out of touch they are with the markets. It is also why Activision/Blizzard (Vivendi) are taking over the monster that was once EA. They are now the company to beat and EA is the example of what not to do.

     

    I would put money on the fact this game will not hit 2 million subs or even come close.

    Okay first up i'll take you up on this how much money do you want to put on this so well informed wager ?

     

    I believe this game will have an appeal beyond any other mmo out there

    Mass effect, Mass effect 2, Dragon age origins, Dragon age awakening, Jade empire, the amount of copies sold on the pc alone haveto be above 10m and you know what, most people who play bioware games replay them.

    We are told that there is for each profession in TOR a completey seperate storyline, with emotion and signature bioware moral ambiguaty (sp) Both me, wife, and our 4 closest friends are going to buy/subscribe and play this game.

    I still play through Jade Empire and I can't say the amount of times i've completed mass effect and mass effect 2.

    Add to that the idea of not only soloing but joining friends and its a no brainer.

     

    Yes maybe purity mmo players won't like it, maybe power gamers won't like it but this is a new idea a new chance and we are really looking forward to it.

    msg me with your wager on this and i'll take it up.

  • HerodesHerodes DannenbergPosts: 1,494Member

    at Calranthe:
    You need an exact timeframe for this bet, ie "hit 2mio subs 90 days after release" and you need the info at this time, how many subscriptions this game actually has. If this is possible, I would bet 50 euro or something which wouldn´t hurt both of us much.
    ---
    I know nothing about this game, so I am curious, what kind of fun formula this game is going to have. Longevity? Replayability?
    I myself planned to buy GW2 blindly, because Arenanets first game had an interesting setting.
    All I played from Bioware was Dragon Age (DLC) and Planescape:Torment (was it Bioware?)

    I just hope, that Mythic goes back to the roots and implements 3 factions of PvP into a solid PvE game.

  • CreolemanCreoleman Monrovia, CAPosts: 72Member

    Holy Mother of All That Is Good and Wholesome, Scott.  That is something verging on the edge of insanity there but I find that I agree with it one hundred and fifty percent.  The fact that everyone and their imaginary girlfriend is betting that SWTOR is going to beat the pants off anything else out there and no one has put hands onto the game yet, just taking EA/Bioware's word for it and their risking a lot on just word of mouth hype

    I can easily see EA playing with fire here, investing more than most Uwe Bol features in producing a video game...let me repeat that...A VIDEO GAME!!!!  Even if they get lucky and get their minimum 1 MIL subs, retention is going to be the tricky fulcrum there, because if enough of the die hards get into the game, you're going to lose the casual subscriber who is not out to out duel everyone, or be the baddest Jedi/Sith around, but the Luke Skywalker/Starkiller/Darth Whoevers out there are going to make sure to keep those casuals playing the solo game and not even interacting with the rest of the SW community online.

    I'm happy that EA feels that SWTOR is worth $150 MIL but the danger there is setting themselves up to fail and then blaming the MMO community for having too high an expectation which is a megalithic company's response when the community complains that the game has failed to meet their expectations and I can tell you from previous experience with other MMO's I've had the honor to Beta test in the past, the minute they remove one cool feature or fail to bring that one cool feature to the game universe, they naysayers will be out in Force (hehe) and calling the devs liars and thieves for ruining the IP and messing up the game, which always tends to happen no matter how much the devs try and reassure the community of its earnest intentions with the IP.

    EA, Blizzard and Sony might be the last ones standing after they outspend the smaller independent companies under the table but the question is how long can the MMO industry last under a such limited development pool, when your meager $1 MIL investment pool is just chicken scratch to the Big Guns and you have to rush your product to market before they unless their Uber Massive WoW-Trek-Wars game to crush yours like a little girly man.

    Lets hope that SWTOR doesn't disappoint because there is more than EA rep at stake here, there's all those developers who worked hard to try and bring it to fruition here that will pay the ultimate price here and shoulder all of the blame if things don't go as their EA Overlords wanted it to go.

  • illanadanillanadan Cedar City, UTPosts: 314Member

    Ahh the Hype engine.

    Remember the lessons learned from STO, WAR, AoC, Aion, etc.. etc... etc......

    One day people will learn.

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  • LizanteLizante Midcoast, MEPosts: 182Member

    I find it truly sad how for some, their vision, and yes their passion barely extends to the end of their nose.

    As daddy used to say, it takes money to make money.

    What would have happened to Vanguard: Saga of Heros had Microsoft not walked out on Sigil Games barely half way through development?  (Microsoft had spent $30M but none of the MS Team could had any idea what a good MMO is, much less what they wanted Vanguard it to be).

    What could have Tabula Rasa's potential been with proper management, passion, support and marketing?   Unfortunatley, NCSoft thought little of doing any of these things and simply pulled the plug.

    With EA/LucasArts/BioWare, all the peices are there -- the right team with the expertise in all facets and all the money they need to produce and deliver the biggest and best MMO ever.  They're also thinking out of that box  -- That $150M will be well over $200M -- The Old Republic offers opportunities beyond "just"  the new MMO -- it's a unique part of the Star Wars IP and work is already underway to develop, market and sell card games, books, miniatures, clothing, ad nauseum and yes, likely a new series of movies. 

    I remember Microsoft with more money that many Countries worried about how much V:SoH was costing and how much more should they "sink" into "gaming" while at the same time, they were focusing so much time, money and effort on the XBox  ...

    HAH! I can still see the MS suits with frowning brows wringing their hands over  Sigil ... much the same as Mr. Jennings is doing here in his Blog over EA.

    Give me the passionate people with the big ideas, the courage and the money to back it up -- that will spell success for SW:TOR.

    edited for typos

  • Vagrant_ZeroVagrant_Zero Van Nuys, CAPosts: 1,190Member


    Originally posted by illanadan
    Ahh the Hype engine.
    Remember the lessons learned from STO, WAR, AoC, Aion, etc.. etc... etc......
    One day people will learn.

    Because Cryptic, Mythic, Funcom, and NCSoft are in fact the same company as Bioware with the same street creed.

    oh wait...

    One day people will think.

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