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My [partial] theory why The Secret World and SWTOR failed

RasputinRasputin gnaf, AKPosts: 604Member Uncommon

I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

Both are still using WoW as a model, without much improvement as far as I saw.

Apart from this model dying, there is, however, a deeper lying reason:

It just feels flat to wield a firearm and not being able to actually aim and shoot it. The tab-targeting works just as if it had been with a fantasy game, but because the envrionment is so close to first-person-shooters, the artificiality and the removal of you from your character hits home so much stronger.

You become more aware of the mechanics surrounding tab-targeting than you otherwise would.

 

The feeling you get is quite flat and one of powerlessness. You don't have that satisfying feeling that you have from an FPS after you shoot and you see the target fall over. Once one piece of the puzzle falls apart, then the players begin noticing the others so much more.


Tab targeting and firearms is a bad combination, that doesn't fall through in the same way in a fantasy styled game. Why? I don't know exactly, but maybe because we got used to the fantasy-style from singleplayer games before the MMO's? In my opinion, it is the inevitable comparison to FPS'es because of the graphical similarities that makes the illusion fall and the game with it.

 

My theory of course :)

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Comments

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    It doesn't have to be an FPS or anything of the sort, but it really bothers me that my character can shoot another character with a shotgun point blank and the other wont keel over. It is absurd. We are too familiar with firearms to buy that kind of "vitality".

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • RasputinRasputin gnaf, AKPosts: 604Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    It doesn't have to be an FPS or anything of the sort, but it really bothers me that my character can shoot another character with a shotgun point blank and the other wont keel over. It is absurd. We are too familiar with firearms to buy that kind of "vitality".

    Yes exactly.

    The illusion falls pretty hard. How can you have tab-targeting and all the rules that come with it, and have it feel satisfying like a gun does in an FPS?

  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 480Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    It doesn't have to be an FPS or anything of the sort, but it really bothers me that my character can shoot another character with a shotgun point blank and the other wont keel over. It is absurd. We are too familiar with firearms to buy that kind of "vitality".

    You cant buy into someone surviving a gun blast but you have no issues believing zombies, mummies, demons and everything supernatural.....interesting.

  • VikingGamerVikingGamer Nowhere, TXPosts: 1,347Member Uncommon

    well sure, TSW does use tab targeting but that is almost where the similarity with WoW ends. The two games are very different. I really don't think tab targeting or how the combat is done in general is the problem although I think most games will be moving toward a more active style of combat.

    It is hard to call SWTOR a failure. It is still a huge title. But based on what EA was hoping for yeah I guess it failed. And that is at least part of the problem. EA wanted to create the next great thing more than they wanted to create a great game. Also, SWTOR simply didn't distinquish itself enough from WoW. Ultimately, once you have played it you are pretty much done. The endgame simply wasn't enough for a lot of people to stay. WoW gives you the same endgame but does it better. So once you are done with the 'story' what is supposed to keep you in that game? WoW also has the advantage of longevity. People already had a deep investment of time in WoW and probably still had friends over there so again once you finish the story in SWTOR why stay? Well there are in fact a lot of people who have stayed. Hardcore star wars fans will stay because you are not going to get lightsabres any where else. A certain amount will also stay because maybe all their friends moved and now they have inertia in that game. Some will have come to MMOs in the first place because it was star wars and they will also probably stay because not only are they fans but this is also their first MMO and that can stick hard with a person.

    I would say that SWTOR is hardly a failure but it failed to to as well as it could of because it was too much like WoW but it didn't improve on it in any real noticeable way so its largest source of potential players , those coming from other game and mostly wow, just didn't have enough reason to stay. Stories are supposed to end. For that reason, creating an MMO primarily around the idea of story and making that your strongest feature was perhaps shortsighted.

     

    The Secret World on the other hand is a completely different thing. I think it is simply an aquired taste that most will not get on board with. First the subject is odd. conspiracy theory. A good idea. An innovative idea, but for most people it proably comes off as odd. Second, not much advertising and hype. A lot of people dont know much or anything about it and are too busy getting into bigger titles that are just releasing or are putting out expansions. I know a bunch of people who have tried it and were blown away with how much better it was than they expected. Third, the mechanics, though well done, are unusual and that change, if they come from another game, can be offputting.

    I think TSW is going to do fine as a small title though it is turning out to be even smaller than funcom had probably hoped. But as a niche game I think it will have a loyal following if funcom is willing to travel the long road and grow the population slowly over the next few years. It will never be huge however and funcom is going to have to be willing to live with that.

    All die, so die well.

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    It is impossible to stop aimbot on pc.  Unless you going to make a mmorpg exclusively for console, Im' against all sort of fps in mmorpg.

    Listening to my guild mates whine on vent for a month about aimbot made me quit fallen earth.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    I think it is simpler than that. Both of them failed because that they are, or claim to be, MMORPG but focus far too much on single player experience.
  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    I agree with op with swtor, it feels like an even more linear, less polished space wow.

    I disagree partly with tsw. Leveling wise its as different to wow as gw2 is. Unfortunately they sadled it with wow instance grind endgame
  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Oh and tsw while it lacks quantity has better quality dungeons than wow.
  • KingJigglyKingJiggly Simpsonville, SCPosts: 777Member
    Tsw isn't a bad game at all. It just came in at the wrong place and time. 
  • RasputinRasputin gnaf, AKPosts: 604Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Yamota
    I think it is simpler than that. Both of them failed because that they are, or claim to be, MMORPG but focus far too much on single player experience.

    That is definitely true with SWTOR. I didn't play TSW enough to confirm it, but sounds likely, given FunCom's record.

    I think this could also very likely be a part of the explanation.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    I think people either need to stop using the word fail or to define what they mean by it.

    Both of these games to me did not fail, no they did not meet their projected hopes but they did plan for that and had the f2p waiting on the back burner, but they are still going, still getting updates, still have plenty of people playing them.

    They have not failed till the doors are closed IMO. 

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by Yamota
    I think it is simpler than that. Both of them failed because that they are, or claim to be, MMORPG but focus far too much on single player experience.

    This.  +  mmorpg WESTERN playerbase is dwindling and getting more fragmentarized -  and devs still seem to not realize that. 

    They are betting alot on next gen consoles and getting mmorpg's there - you'll see how those consoles will see alot of mmo's. They are though way overestimate.  This market is shallower that they think and will fill up quicklk.  Will be back to square one.

  • chryseschryses LondonPosts: 1,453Member Uncommon

    I have no clue about TSW except I was very interested and watched it until launch and then didn't buy it.  Issue with games like that is there are some incredible single player games that do it much better.  SWTOR is in the same boat as that.  If the MMO isn't a 'massive online' world with free roaming and lots of opportunity to have group interaction via trades, missions, social hubs or whatever....then its hard to pay money for what feels like a laggy, subpar single player game.

    I didn't buy TSW because I look for an MMO that 'may' have longevity so I know my time invested is worth it.  I want to play TSW but it would be for 1-2 months only. So why bother.

    SWTOR breaks my heart.  I am such a fanboy of the original star wars (first movie I ever saw in the cinema), and the MMO was linear two dimensional and zero exploration.  What happened to flying across a vast desert and running into sand people with no one around for miles? 

    Playing GW2 now and even though I am a sandbox player mostly, I am loving the huge world and exploration.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    I wouldn't call either of those games a failure.

  • VirusDancerVirusDancer Brandon, FLPosts: 3,649Member

    My partial theory is always going to come back to two things:

    A) Marketing...failure.  But this can only go so far...

    B) Min System Requirements...too high for the average MMO gamer.  They're in line with the specs for the type of games played by people that would not be interested in TSW.  Comparing the specs to the "major" releases in the past year, if you could play all of those games - that does not mean you could play TSW.  So if you could not play it well, then why pay for it?  The economy's been rough - MMOs have always been a cheaper form of entertainment for many - asking folks to upgrade their machines to play TSW when they can play other games fine...well, that was madness.

    They said during the beta that they believed folks that were gaming enthusiasts would be upgrading their computers frequently - but - while there may be those that do so in the MMO community, it's not like in other gaming communities.  They just did not have the numbers there.  It was mind boggling.

    I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

    Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  • moguy2moguy2 Saint Peters, MOPosts: 337Member
    Originally posted by Jaedor

    I wouldn't call either of those games a failure.

    No, you do have to call SWTOR a failure.I mean, it really is in so many aspects. There is a handful of people that are clinging onto the game but in all reality it is a FPS with a smidge of  neatness to it with a dabble of coolness and then a BUCKETLOAD OF LONELINESS. If I ever wanted to get away from people irl I would log into SWTOR or ride my Harley. Love ya!

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Tsw specs aren't that different to gw2. It requires a level or two higher video card, but its actually a bit lighter on processor requirements.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,750Member Uncommon
           Yeah there was something major wrong with the combat in TSW...I think the OP may be onto something....Even AO's combat was more enjoyable than TSW.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,750Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Jaedor

    I wouldn't call either of those games a failure.

          TSW is a failure even by its own company's standards...They expected to sell 750k+ boxes and didn't even hit 1/3 of that.....They've lost alot of money on TSW and are reeling......SOme of you guys may really like the game and thats great, but TSW failed miserably for FUncom.

  • iamflymoloiamflymolo Hampton, TNPosts: 152Member

    I played closed beta of TSW almost up to release and have never talked about it - but now that it's pretty much decidedly failed I'll just add my very general 2 cents.

     

    I hated it.

     

    When I logged in for the first time and played for a couple of hours I thought it was amazing. I honestly thought it might become my favorite mmo. Within a few days I found logging in to be a chore. I seriously hated everything about it.

     

    I have reviewed several games on youtube and planned on reviewing TSW but I honestly could find nothing good to say about it. Since I have never had a desire to get into the whole game-bashing thing just for game-bashing's sake, I decided to not review it at all and until this point have said nothing.

     

    You might ask me for specifics, but honestly it's pointless. I felt every aspect of the game was ill-conceived starting with the concept which introduces you into this intriguing world of secret societies and then sends you off to kill zombies for many endless hours of grindy gameplay. Hmmm... I guess I just gave a specific.

     

    Anyway, my two cents. I know a lot of people said they enjoyed this game, which is another part of the reason I just kept my mouth shut for so long, but while the question of, "why did it fail?" is now being asked over and over again - my question was always, "what did anyone find engaging enough that they thought it would succeed?"

  • chryseschryses LondonPosts: 1,453Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by iamflymolo

    I played closed beta of TSW almost up to release and have never talked about it - but now that it's pretty much decidedly failed I'll just add my very general 2 cents.

     

    I hated it.

     

    When I logged in for the first time and played for a couple of hours I thought it was amazing. I honestly thought it might become my favorite mmo. Within a few days I found logging in to be a chore. I seriously hated everything about it.

     

    I have reviewed several games on youtube and planned on reviewing TSW but I honestly could find nothing good to say about it. Since I have never had a desire to get into the whole game-bashing thing just for game-bashing's sake, I decided to not review it at all and until this point have said nothing.

     

    You might ask me for specifics, but honestly it's pointless. I felt every aspect of the game was ill-conceived starting with the concept which introduces you into this intriguing world of secret societies and then sends you off to kill zombies for many endless hours of grindy gameplay. Hmmm... I guess I just gave a specific.

     

    Anyway, my two cents. I know a lot of people said they enjoyed this game, which is another part of the reason I just kept my mouth shut for so long, but while the question of, "why did it fail?" is now being asked over and over again - my question was always, "what did anyone find engaging enough that they thought it would succeed?"

    The biggest issue I have with any type of niche game is well...its niche.  How long can a player stay engaged in a very specific category?  They will always attract a huge amount of interest as they are different and possibly a lot of box sales but inevitably they will fall over after 2 months. 

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,990Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rasputin

    I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

    Both are still using WoW as a model, without much improvement as far as I saw.

    Apart from this model dying, there is, however, a deeper lying reason:

    It just feels flat to wield a firearm and not being able to actually aim and shoot it. The tab-targeting works just as if it had been with a fantasy game, but because the envrionment is so close to first-person-shooters, the artificiality and the removal of you from your character hits home so much stronger.

    You become more aware of the mechanics surrounding tab-targeting than you otherwise would.

    The feeling you get is quite flat and one of powerlessness. You don't have that satisfying feeling that you have from an FPS after you shoot and you see the target fall over. Once one piece of the puzzle falls apart, then the players begin noticing the others so much more.
    Tab targeting and firearms is a bad combination, that doesn't fall through in the same way in a fantasy styled game. Why? I don't know exactly, but maybe because we got used to the fantasy-style from singleplayer games before the MMO's? In my opinion, it is the inevitable comparison to FPS'es because of the graphical similarities that makes the illusion fall and the game with it.

    My theory of course :)

    Well, I think you are partially right. TOR really should have used mechanics made for the IP instead of using the standard mechanics. You should either start with a world and create mechanics for it or take a mechanics and create a world that fits it. Just taking 2 premade things and snap them together is a huge misstake.

    TORs use of weapons could till have kept autotargetting I think but it should have have had an advanced cover/duck mechanics at minimum.

    The combat in that type of game needs to feel faster and more action oriented, but it also needs to keep some of the strategy. 

    The trinity system was also a huge misstake, it goes right against the lore. I dont remember Luke tanking or healing in the movies, in fact I remember then replacing his arm instead of healing it and placing him in that bacta bath when he was cooled down. While the old republic had more Jedis it still feels really wrong compared to the movies. Tanking never worked in modern or sci-fi games at all, unless the game actually have panzers.

    But another misstake they made is that the game is too close to a singleplayer game, and they never last that long.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,278Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rasputin

    I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

     

    image

  • RasputinRasputin gnaf, AKPosts: 604Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bcbully
    Originally posted by Rasputin

    I think I have part of the answer, after having tested them both very briefly.

     

    image

    Briefly for MMOs. I did gather some levels :)

    My analysis only gives part of the answer (as my headline states), and I focus on basic game mechanics, not the larger game.

    Also, I have not yet tried an MMO that changed significantly from the early game and up to (not including) end game. So from my experience, you will have a good idea of a standard MMO from playing the beginning of it.

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    My honest opinion as someone who has worked on MMOs...

     

    SWTOR

    They went after the elephant in the room. Anyone who works in any consumer industry knows that you don't take on the run away market leader at their own game and win. Whether this is MMOs, FPS, mobile phones or washing machines or anything else. You aim to take a share of the market and you do it by making a product that is similar but different. And different in a way that is appealing to the consumer. BioWare banked too heavily on the Star Wars IP being that different factor.

    You can look back to the earliest BioWare Austin interviews, long before they announced the IP to see that they were making a WoW clone because EVERYTHING they said in those early interviews referenced WoW.

    Now SWTOR isn't a "bad" game, it just isn't quite as good as WoW at what they do the same and anything it does that is new isn't compelling enough to the MMO consumer to make them want to move to and stick with it. They also completely neglected the need to retain players. This is a mature market, you have to release an MMO with a solid retention feature at launch, you can't add it post launch like you could five years ago.

    All in all, BioWare made some bad decision early in the design process and EA, plus a couple of million consumers were fooled by them into thinking that SWTOR was going to be something special. BioWare screwed this one up, not anyone else.

     

    TSW

    This isn't a bad game, it has a few issues and a few things that some people don't like, but there isn't really anything wrong with how they approached it. It takes the basic MMO formula and does exactly what is needed to step away from the market leader (WoW). The quest system is unique and well done, the setting is different and well thought out and character progression is open and refreshing.

    However, TSW is a niche setting. This isn't the FPS market where everyone wants to be a badass US Marine, this is the MMO market where people have grown up on fantasy games. Stepping out of that to something along the lines of Lovecraft, which many MMO gamers have probably never heard of before was a very big risk to take and the sales of the game reflect that. It simply doesn't appeal to enough people.

    You can't call out any system within the game for the failing, because the vast majority of MMO gamers never even bothered to try it. They were turned off before that point and the obvious, though probably not sole, reason for this is going to be the setting/theme. It probably doesn't  help them that many remember how bad a state Age of Conan was in when it launched too.

     

    You can't paint every failed MMO with the same brush, they haven't all failed for the same reasons.

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