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Are Voice Overs destined to be the new "must have" feature, or just a gimmick?

SethiusXSethiusX Toronto, ONPosts: 171Member

The title sums it up. There is no doubt that Voice Overs in SW are a hotly anticipated feature, but do you think they will become a required feature for future mmo's? Ten years ago, voice overs in single player games were rare, but were quickly becoming a hot new feature as storage space went up, and costs to produce went down.

Really, the question boils down to "How important is single player immersion in an MMO?". Are the features of single player games merging with the features of mmo games to make a new and more advanced hybrid? Or, shoudl the two types of games remain separate and distinct? Clearly, Bioware is trying to merge the two, but is this something that you think will become a standard in the industry, or is it just an expensive gimmick?

I think that Voice Overs and the questing system of SWTOR is one of the most distinct features of the game. We see that big, revolutionary features tend to spread like wildfire in the mmo community. An example of this would be the public quests of Warhammer that were then implemented in some form or another to great effect in other games.

But, this is a feature that is unique to the mmo world. Will the same hold true for a feature that is considered the norm in single player games (and is very expensive and difficult to implement), and what other types of features do you think mmo's could benefit from by borrowing from the single player experience?

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Comments

  • KenzeKenze Posts: 1,214Member Uncommon

    just a gimmick. I doubt even Bioware will continue with full VO's in futre content.

    Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    Watch your words; they become actions.
    Watch your actions; they become habits.
    Watch your habits; they become character.
    Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
    —Lao-Tze

  • PuremallacePuremallace Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,856Member

    It depends honestly. If they slow content down to a crawl people will call it a gimick that can not be realistically done. If Bioware proves they can turn a profit and push out content, then it changes the genre.

     

    It is just like free transfers in Rift. If EA/Bioware charges for them the very first comment in that thread will be "why you charging when they are free in Rift?"

     

    If it is one of those things just simply added and they make it look easy expect a CRAPPPP ton of preasure of Blizzard and other devs to do it.

     

  • stealthbrstealthbr BrasiliaPosts: 1,053Member

    I personally can never go back. It's that good.

  • NaqajNaqaj Frankfurt am MainPosts: 1,673Member

    Voice-Over has always been a substantial improvement over just text-based story delivery. If TORs success turns it from a "we'll do it if we have budget left" to "we need to have this", then I'm all for it. 

    Please note though that I'm not talking about cutscenes, just VO. Cutscenes can actually go to hell for all I care. 

  • dreamscaperdreamscaper Somewhere, NCPosts: 1,582Member Uncommon

    It's a gimmick.

     

    Is it nice to have? Certainly. But when we have an industry whose number one problem is pushing titles out the door before they're ready, adding voiceovers to the list is only going to exacerbate the problem. What we need is refined and improved gameplay, not more ways to try to treat a MMO as a single-player game. They're different types of games and should be treated as such.

    <3

  • ltankltank Fort Myers, FLPosts: 288Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by stealthbr

    I personally can never go back. It's that good.

    Same.

  • KooshdinKooshdin Hemel HempsteadPosts: 217Member

    Voice overs are awesome. End off :P

     

     

  • Wharg0ulWharg0ul Colorado Springs, COPosts: 4,183Member

    I personally think it's a great step forward for themepark games. It takes the "grind" out of leveling, and adds a whole new dimension of entertainment.

    I don't know if it will become a standard, at least for a good while, due to the costs of implementing it.

    But hey....we have graphics, and sound, and voip, and all kinds of things that we did not have back in the day...each of them added over time, and each time debated over weather they were "needed" or not.

     

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  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Beaverton, ORPosts: 867Member

    Well considering there's a number of games now that have done it / do it currently it'll probably stay around in some measure.

    SWTOR is hardly the first game to do it. 

    EQ2 started with most of it's vanilla content voice acted to some degree. DDO has some good voice over work, probably one of it's few shining features. DCUO has a great voice cast. Hell even Wizards 101 has all of the text in the game voice acted with some great Saturday Morning Cartoon quality talent.

    So, I'd expect it to stick around.

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • KuinnKuinn MestaPosts: 2,093Member

    There will propably be more semi voiced AAA mmorpgs, but I doubt every game will be fully voiced because it requires so much work to add voice for everyone.

     

    Voiced or not, there's no chance in future that I could go back to the wall of text style questing. In TOR it works for me because of the voice over gives a really nice feeling to the quests, or if you dont have voice overs then change the questing style to something else, but no walls of text anymore please.

     

    I personally like the VO's very much, I often liked to hear in TOR beta what some side quest characters wanted to say even if I was going to decline the quest, or if I didnt care for the actual quest, I just wanted to hear what the story around these parts here is.

     

    I do understand there are people also who could care less for immersion or story, and I think every quest should have some quick way to accept for people like those. I understand VO's are a lot of work and devs like to show them off, but giving more options means more satisfied customers and more succees and less whine.

  • TalthanysTalthanys Millersville, MDPosts: 458Member

    Here's why I think they will be, and I will present two reasons:

    1) For people like me who enjoy story and the immersion it brings, it is a no brainer. It will bring people who have those preferences into the fold. AoC's Tortage got huge, rave reviews, but it ultimately underscored how lifeless the rest of the world felt in comparison. While that is a loss for AoC, it was a win for VOs.

     

    2) And this is the big one...it reduces one's perception of the grind. Simply put, it makes the grind more bearable, and I think many, many companies will be, or are,  interested in masking what can become, at least in the Western markets, anathema. I say mask because the grind is still there, of course. It's simply a little more gauzy and indistinct behind a translucent veil of storytelling.

     

    It can be both a gimmick and a 'must have', honestly.

     

    edit: spacing

    image

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Originally posted by SethiusX

    "How important is single player immersion in an MMO?".

     

    Immersion is very important for me in all games, mmorpg's included BUT game does NOT have to have Voice Over to be immersive.

    There are far more important things that create immersion than voice over imo.

     

    Actually sometimes voice over even destroy immersion for me - like for example awful and irritating  cutscenes in Dragon Age 2.

     

    Dialogues are very good idea in mmorpg's, much better than "accept or refuse" that normally is, BUT imho it does NOT have to be voiced.

     

    Voice is very costly and in mmoprg's where you have alot of quests much more than in single player games - costs are astronomical.

    Voice Over in all mmorpg's would mean:

    a) lack of features and / or quality or polish in other game areas (graphics, world size, quests content themself, combat, non-combat parts of game, etc)

    and / or

    b) slow content updates especially if game is not made by behemoth like EA or Activision becasue of costs

    and / or

    c) bad voice over quality - if game is not made by big producer and / or is not one of 2-3 biggest mmorpg on the market

     

    So I think that full VO while nice, it not most important. There are many things that can build immersion - it does not have to be VO. 

    Not to mention that dialogues dont have to be fully VO.

    Imho it would be better if money was used to make f.e. quests themself more interesting ( like less quests but make them more in-depth, complex and some of them longer ) instead of only putting story behind "kill 10 rats" quest.

     

     

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,643Member Uncommon

    Gimmick.

    A bit of VO will be the norm but full VO, in the long term, will prove to not be worth the cost to the game as a whole imo.

  • SethiusXSethiusX Toronto, ONPosts: 171Member

    Originally posted by Puremallace

    It depends honestly. If they slow content down to a crawl people will call it a gimick that can not be realistically done. If Bioware proves they can turn a profit and push out content, then it changes the genre.

     

    It is just like free transfers in Rift. If EA/Bioware charges for them the very first comment in that thread will be "why you charging when they are free in Rift?"

     

    If it is one of those things just simply added and they make it look easy expect a CRAPPPP ton of preasure of Blizzard and other devs to do it.

     

    I think there is a good point here that I hadn't thought about. Will it slow content production down to a crawl? (obviously we can't answer this yet). If it does slow it down too much, then SWTOR might have a hard time lasting because players will get bored of the themepark style without constant new content. I wonder if Bioware is up to the challenge. If Bioware can do it fast, it could be a game changer, no?

    Edit: Does anyone know how long SWTOR has been in development so far? That could give us some insight into how fast Bioware can produce tons of voice over.

  • caremuchlesscaremuchless Crestline, CAPosts: 603Member

     

     I am tempted to say Gimmick but SWTOR isnt the only upcomming AAA title with voice overs. Guild Wars 2 also has voice overs.

     

     I would say it depends on the game and it really depends on how well these two games do.

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  • Grotar89Grotar89 beograd, CAPosts: 343Member

    I skipped 90% of VO while playing TOR, most of them are unnecessary...

  • Wharg0ulWharg0ul Colorado Springs, COPosts: 4,183Member

    Originally posted by SethiusX

    Originally posted by Puremallace

    It depends honestly. If they slow content down to a crawl people will call it a gimick that can not be realistically done. If Bioware proves they can turn a profit and push out content, then it changes the genre.

     

    It is just like free transfers in Rift. If EA/Bioware charges for them the very first comment in that thread will be "why you charging when they are free in Rift?"

     

    If it is one of those things just simply added and they make it look easy expect a CRAPPPP ton of preasure of Blizzard and other devs to do it.

     

    I think there is a good point here that I hadn't thought about. Will it slow content production down to a crawl? (obviously we can't answer this yet). If it does slow it down too much, then SWTOR might have a hard time lasting because players will get bored of the themepark style without constant new content. I wonder if Bioware is up to the challenge. If Bioware can do it fast, it could be a game changer, no?

    How much time can it possibly take to have an actor read lines off from a piece of paper?? Certainly not more time than it takes to actually code the new content. And since one can be done while the other is taking place, I doubt it will slow things down too much.

    image

  • Bob_BlawblawBob_Blawblaw Montreal, QCPosts: 1,278Member

    Voice overs are awesome... when done well.

    BW did a decent job with their VO. Congrats to their audio and scripting staff!

    The problem with VO, is that it's expensive and is consumed quickly, then becomes a burdon on the player during subsequent run-throughs.

    BW is facing a big risk by going the fully-voiced route. People are going to be clamouring for new content FAST. Voiced content takes time (and money). I have a feeling we're going to be paying a heavy premium for frequent content updates.

    Nutshell: VO is great, but I just don't think BW will be able to keep up.   

  • AdamTMAdamTM Frankfurt Am MainPosts: 1,376Member

    VO yes, cutscenes no.

     

    I find cutscenes to be highly irritating.

    image
  • PuremallacePuremallace Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,856Member

    Originally posted by SethiusX

    I think there is a good point here that I hadn't thought about. Will it slow content production down to a crawl? (obviously we can't answer this yet). If it does slow it down too much, then SWTOR might have a hard time lasting because players will get bored of the themepark style without constant new content. I wonder if Bioware is up to the challenge. If Bioware can do it fast, it could be a game changer, no?

    Well not sure if you know, but there is a 2010 Blizzcon interview with the Blizzard guy where they ask him about voice over being put in WoW like they have in SWTOR and he says "we had considered it, but it would slow content down too much" ...cough cough like it is not slow enough right...

     

    This was before Rift came along and proved most of what Blizzard says is pure BS anyways, but if Bioware has the technology to simply add it in, then that is a game changer and completely calls BS on Blizzard saying it could not be done.

  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Beaverton, ORPosts: 867Member

    Originally posted by SethiusX

    Originally posted by Puremallace

    It depends honestly. If they slow content down to a crawl people will call it a gimick that can not be realistically done. If Bioware proves they can turn a profit and push out content, then it changes the genre.

     

    It is just like free transfers in Rift. If EA/Bioware charges for them the very first comment in that thread will be "why you charging when they are free in Rift?"

     

    If it is one of those things just simply added and they make it look easy expect a CRAPPPP ton of preasure of Blizzard and other devs to do it.

     

    I think there is a good point here that I hadn't thought about. Will it slow content production down to a crawl? (obviously we can't answer this yet). If it does slow it down too much, then SWTOR might have a hard time lasting because players will get bored of the themepark style without constant new content. I wonder if Bioware is up to the challenge. If Bioware can do it fast, it could be a game changer, no?

    Well knowing EA they've probably made sure there's an abundance of workable voice work saved for modular content to be added to seem like they're ahead. I mean updates every 3 months seems reasonable for a themepark game, throw in token grinding for gear at the end and people won't pay much mind.

    Considering how easy it is to obtain and direct voice work now; and I don't know if anyone has ever played around with some of the content creator tools for Dragon Age but I'm certain TOR uses this weird talking animation program that sorta auto syncs. That's why some of the side quest stuff seems less in quality (uncanny valley) in my opinion to the main story that was more hands on crafted.

    So I'd suspect quality VO and animation to show up once a year, and there to be enough of the lesser quality stuff added in time to make it seem normal.

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • mrxennonmrxennon JarrowPosts: 209Member

    I think its a way forward and welcomed by many both by players and Developers, will we see it more often?, i think we will with the bigger developer houses but not so much with the f2p model.  I personaly would like an option to switch between text and VO mode, that for me would be a big way forward.

    I liked the VO for I didnt need to read but I found myself hitting the spacebar to sskip the long dialogues of voice chats.  Be interesting to see if BW gets lazy and or cut down costs by not including VO in expansions, I'm not a developer so i'm not sure how much easier or harder it is for them to do VO over the text dialogue  Its going to be interesting to watch development of MMO's over the next few years, and with Blizzard constantly taking on everybody elses ideas, I'm wondering how much delay this will put on their next MMO, as I have no doubt they will be watching Biowares latest venture with interest.

  • Bob_BlawblawBob_Blawblaw Montreal, QCPosts: 1,278Member

    Originally posted by Wharg0ul

    Originally posted by SethiusX

    Originally posted by Puremallace

    It depends honestly. If they slow content down to a crawl people will call it a gimick that can not be realistically done. If Bioware proves they can turn a profit and push out content, then it changes the genre.

     

    It is just like free transfers in Rift. If EA/Bioware charges for them the very first comment in that thread will be "why you charging when they are free in Rift?"

     

    If it is one of those things just simply added and they make it look easy expect a CRAPPPP ton of preasure of Blizzard and other devs to do it.

     

    I think there is a good point here that I hadn't thought about. Will it slow content production down to a crawl? (obviously we can't answer this yet). If it does slow it down too much, then SWTOR might have a hard time lasting because players will get bored of the themepark style without constant new content. I wonder if Bioware is up to the challenge. If Bioware can do it fast, it could be a game changer, no?

    How much time can it possibly take to have an actor read lines off from a piece of paper?? Certainly not more time than it takes to actually code the new content. And since one can be done while the other is taking place, I doubt it will slow things down too much.

    Adding VO is vastly more complicated than text. The actual actor is just a small part of the process.

  • JimmydeanJimmydean Ypsilanti, MIPosts: 1,270Member

    Voice Overs are wonderful.  However, I'd much rather see EQ2 style voiceovers where NPCs interact with you while you are still in control.   These cutscene voiceovers are irritating to say the least.

  • Grotar89Grotar89 beograd, CAPosts: 343Member

    Originally posted by AdamTM

    VO yes, cutscenes no.

     

    I find cutscenes to be highly irritating.

    Yup this ^^ cutscenes are main reason for skipping VO it just slows down the game.

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