E3 2011: Feelings on SWTOR after E3

SWTOR has made numerous impressions on me over the past couple of years.  I’ve gone from loving the idea to hating the idea then back to loving it again.  The key issues for me are always my fear that the game’s playable world area will be limited to just hubs which then send you off into instances.  I’m also fearful that the game will be too much of a WoW clone and fail to live up to its Star Wars heritage.

Bioware brought a few things to E3 this year to show off besides another awesome cinematic.   First, and what I found most enjoyable and informative, is the Tatooine Developer Walkthrough.

The video above shows around 11 minutes of in-game footage of the game being played.  I took a few notes while watching that highlight what I like as well as my concerns.

  • They nailed the look of Tatooine.  It’s gorgeous.
  • UI looks clean, but unattractive. I like the classic Star Wars blue, but the design is very sterile.
  • The area looks fairly large and open.  I hope that there is lots of do and see without the feeling that you have to drive out to a location and back.  I’ve played games that don’t utilize the space but simply create it as filler.  That’s no better than instancing.
  • At times combat looks very fluid and natural but then there are times when it looks horrible.  When the Sith Sorcerer just stands back and “casts” his force abilities I was really disheartened that it felt like casting spells in any other game.  I never consider force abilities something to be “Cast”.  It doesn’t translate well to gameplay, whereas the fluid swinging of the lightsaber does.
  • Multiplayer conversation is handled well.  I like that the players get to randomly be the one to choose the dialog but you aren’t punished for the decisions others make since you are awarded (or penalized) based on your personal intent (What you would have chosen).  This way if Graev wants to kill everyone we see, I can at least feel good knowing I would have done it differently.
  • A random player wandered by and was able to join.  This shows me there’s open world gameplay going on here.

I really want for SWTOR to have big and open planets that I can truly wander off the beaten path and explore.  I have a fear that Tatooine will be a “planet” only in the sense that Durotar (in WoW) is a “zone”.  The video alleviated some of my concern since they actually had to time lapse the video for travel and they have speeders to travel faster.

Now what about the end-game?  Bioware brought along trailer showing an Operation.

I was able to watch several interviews that used this footage and talked about what was going on.  Operations are another word for Raid.  In this particular raid, players are going to an area that has several different climates as well as bosses, puzzles, and scripted encounters.  I’m actually not impressed at all by this trailer.  In fact, I’m quite disappointed by it.  That looked like a typical raid.  I did not see Star Wars in that video nor did I see anything that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  I felt sick to my stomach thinking about raid mechanics.

Bioware will be making a galactic mistake if this is their endgame solution.  These had better be 100% accessible to people.  I’m talking more accessible than WoW raids that are deceptively not accessible to the population since something like 5% ever even finish one.  I want something more from SWTOR.  I sense a great disturbance in the force now and fear it may be too late.

After E3 I am once again having mixed feelings.  SWTOR needs to feel like an amazing RPG you’re playing with friends and other people, not like you’re just sitting in a shell of a world like WoW has created for people to jump around and run content.

What are your thoughts after seeing what Bioware brought to E3?

  • I’m not impressed with anything I’ve really seen from SWTOR… or really BioWare in general at e3.

    SWTOR looks like a generic MMO with some BioWare singleplayer elements added in. The art and world may look wonderful, but what’s the point if I’m playing WoW with new skins and a few different features for quests?

    Mass Effect 3 demo didn’t do anything for me either. I suspect the game will be awesome, but at the same time I fear an even more dumbing down of the franchise. It’s a shame to see how much Mass Effect regressed from 1 to 2, and now probably 3, just to appeal to more people.

    BioWare is really becoming what I feared would happen when EA purchased them – assimilated to the borg. It became as plain as day with DA2. The last great BioWare title was DAO. While it’s not Activision, it’s still bad.

  • The commentary about the sorcerer hoping off his speeder bike made me laugh when the animation was merely the speeder bike vanishing and the player sitting in the air in the same position… then magically standing in place.

    If that is just an early place holder fine, but if that is their level of attention to little details like that I will be spending my time and money elsewhere.

  • Something hit me while I was watching that Tatooine sequence: this looks more like something Cryptic would produce than Bioware.

    The game so far seems to fall the way of the Prequels in making Lightsabres over-abundant and thus trivial, lacking soul and managing to make Star Wars dull.
    Combat remains very plain to me as enemies don’t react much to impacts (especially when cleft in twain by lightsabres!) and are barely animated outside that.

    I did like the clips I saw of the various Class Progressions and because it’s Star Wars / Bioware and an MMO I will almost certainly try it out when it appears.

    I cannot avoid my destiny.

  • I agree that they need the end game to be open to all. They need to make it as open and easy to do with others as Rift does with it’s rifts. If it’s like WoW’s raiding, then it’s not good enough. That’s a pre-2004 design. We are far past that. Time to evolve or die off.

  • As usual you have echoed my sentiments exactly. I REALLY hope this isn’t WoW with a Star Wars skin.

  • I’m starting to think Bioware should just stick to making the CGI trailers.

    I agree with Keen, “why have a ligtsaber out if your casing lighting bolts.”

    I also can’t shake the feeling that the world is not fully realized yet. It lacks atmosphere. I saw little to no texture in the game.

    If its released like this I say it will be bust or 90 days to FTP.

  • I’m Buying the game for the story.. The end game is going to be raids Nd battlegrounds just like wow, SWTOR only thing it has going for it is the story and I will buy it and sub for a few months just to level my main and some Alts for story.. I’m sure at max level though it will be very boring.

  • @Vort it might be hybrid/f2p at release.. Bioware already said they want to do something diff with the business model they still havent said what there business model is sept they are gonna sell box copies.

    You could buy a box copy and then never have to sub, you only sub I’d you want to go “premium” just like lotro now.. I def think it’s a possibility. SWTOR has not said they are just doing the 15 a month thing.

  • I think you guys are being overly harsh or not realistic in your expectations. I think it will be quite good.

    Also not mentioned, the music is just awesome if you give a good listen, they outdid themselves there.

  • Oh I think level 1 to 50 will be awesome no doubt about that, the best leveling experience of any themepark mmo because of story.. However end game is prob going to be exactly as wow, lotro, eq2 etc.. Battlegrounds and raids.

  • On the note of accessibility, they’ve stated that raids will have multiple difficult levels. What that means however, is left to interpretation. Wow-style normal/hard modes? Or a real casual mode where anyone can jump in, pug a raid, and get decent items.

  • Its important to remember that MMO’s are a genre like FPS and RPG and adventure games. Things like quest hubs and fetch and deliver quests will always be a part of them. Bioware has made a distinct effort to create story arcs that are more than just quests chained one after another with a paper thin story.

    And you MUST be realistic. The industry evolves by bits and pieces. Hardly ever is there a huge jump in gameplay development. Its more introducing or exploring several new ideas in the context of the existing framework.

    So Force powers are now “spells”. It was kind of a given. How else could it be implemented? Again small steps of change within the existing framework. My more immediate concern is that I hope Sith Powers are not all Electric based. Perhaps only one tree is lighting based otherwise I’ll be very disappointed.

    As for end game content, I’m divided. Personally I don’t know what can be done differently to make it accessible to everyone while still challenging. I know that I’m completely over WOW’s raid design, its just too much effort and way way way too technical now. Not to mention having to run the same instance infinite times to get gear for everyone. Still… how else can you hook players and string them along for 2 years till the next expansion?

    PS. To “biophazer242’s” comment, I would rather they do an instant change to a vehicle rather than always having to go to a specific vehicle lot when you want to board a vehicle. Not to mention their time is best spent making the worlds come alive.

    Truth be told, I’m not all roses on The Old Republic. The trailers and such are wowing me but the gameplay footage is … not especially compelling. I guess my expectations are that if it can equal KOTOR’s storytelling as a single player game and maintain that integrity while having multi-player, I’ll be very happy. I’m not sure I need or want another game to last 5 years. 3+ months with occasional renewals till the next expansion sounds like a winner to me.

  • @Emyln

    The MMO genre does not require quest hubs or fetch and deliver quests. This is a misconception and what leads to crappy and boring MMOs.

    There’s a reason why all these MMOs feel empty and lack authenticity…and it’s because they all do the exact same thing. Bioware is really phoning it in on this. Single-player stories have a limited role in MMOs, but when you make the entire thing dependent on developer-created stories… it is doomed to lack content.

  • You need to stop dreaming so much!”

    SW:WTOR will do perfectly fine. It will be fun playing. It won’t make much sense and you will have to suspend disbelieve every step of the way, but it will be fun enough to play, just because it is massive enough.

    Look at it like an indie game and you will find out that it is quite fun. It is not the next generation of MMORPGs.
    It’s a single player game with multiplayer options and a classical end game that is very similar, if not identical, to WoW.

  • I partly agree with Nils assessment, except for me those are reasons not to have any interest in TOR. Of course, not being any kind of Star Wars fan, I wasn’t particularly interested in the first place. I never had any intention of playing it and nothing I’ve seen changes that.

    I think there’s a serious marketing problem in the trend of producing these very high-quality cinematographic trailers for games that end up looking nothing like them in play. It certainly builds up a huge level of interest, excitement and anticipation, but isn’t it almost inevitably creating expectations that cannot be met and inviting disappointment and negativity once the disconnect between the trailer and the actual game becomes apparent?

  • I agree with the Tatooine look and feel. It also look like a decently big open non instanced area.

    The second video is still quite impressive. Have you seen the design of that place? The pit with the rotating bridge things? It reminded me BRD in WoW.

  • I think it will be in the same mold as WoW but better. Here’s why: fully voiced, great story, star wars setting, companion characters, can fly ships (although on rails it still looks cool), have your ship as your home, your companion character’s are the ones that craft items for you, etc.

    Will it be the BEST mmorpg EVER? Who knows but I would bet most, if not all, people that read this blog will be buying it, despite what some may say.

  • I’m actually fairly excited for TOR; I like the idea of something like WoW, but without the stat inflation, the cash-grabbing, the severe lack of a definitive design direction and the general mismanagement post-TOC. TOR might be the first game where I truly enjoy levelling, so long as the stories are interesting. Historically, I haven’t liked BioWare RPGs all that much because the voice-acting was jarring and the combat was terribad, but methinks TOR could fix these.

    “These had better be 100% accessible to people.”

    Couldn’t disagree more. I’m rather hoping TOR’s endgame (and TOR in general) requires a significant time and emotional investment to get somewhere, otherwise it’ll just be another shallow MMO like Rift. I’d rather the levelling process be only a part of the build-up to greater things, not the entirety of it. I’d rather the flashpoints take hours as a deep story unfolds, not some hackneyed “LETS STURM TEH IMPERIALZ LULZ, OWAIT IT ONLY TAKES 1 HOUR LETS DO IT FIVE TIEMZ FOR BADGES LUL” that themeparks seem to think is a desirable, accessible endgame.

  • I disagree with keen def on ascebility.. Raids should be super hard and take weeks even months to complete.. Only people that stick it out should be able to do it, to me wow has gotten too easy! Raids should be the hardest thing you ever imagined, if you can’t suck it up then pvp or run flash points.

    Now I also hope the raids and flash points would have traps, puzzles, etc.. Not just trash killing and bosses but still I want the bosses to be hard..

    I think trash should be hard too like Naxx 40 man, if you wernt perfect with trash pulls everyone died.

    Making raiding casual is pretty fail… And if it happens you can do a easy and hard mode but easy rewards should suck compared to hard.

  • Btw did I mention I hate raiding and themepark / gear grind games? ;p but if I was to play a raiding – gear grind game I would want a challenge and a super hard experience.. Wow pre bc a epic was insane like omg you have a purple you are god! It should always be like that, raiding should be hard.

    I ofc will still be playing eve ;p however like I said I will pick up SWTOR just for the bioware storys.

  • @Emyln To give them credit, Tatooine does like wonderful. The dunes and cliffs are crisp and impressive. I am just a fan of the more realistic travel systems such as Fallen Earth. I like the fact that my cycle stays where I put it and I can not just blow thru a crowd without them taking shots at my bike. It is not a game breaking thing for me, I just find the instant cast mount is more to appeal to the fast moving players that want to just get thru content quicker and experience the world even less. Just my personal view on the issue.

  • Fallen Earth is prob going free to play Next week.. Gamersfirst told massively there gonna reveal a new business model next week.. Prob gonna do a hybrid like lotro though.

  • After reading the comments it looks like we’re still looking for next MMO.

    “The MMO is dead, long live the MMO.”

  • @Bartillo: The VAST, VERY VAST majority of MMO players aren’t treating games as a second job. Less that 5% of the player ever saw original Naxx in WoW. If anything is fail, it’s to design that kind of elitist content. The new system in WoW with normal/heroic modes is WAY better.
    So I agree with Keen 200%: raid content should be accessible to everybody with eventually a “hard/heroic/epic/whatever” mode for the leet.

  • They should have easy and hard mode raids. I like this idea because it at least allows other players to finish the story line. I have a wife and a 6 month old and simply do not have the time to raid for 5hrs.

  • I play MMO’s for the story. I’m the player who reads everything, listens to everything and explores every inch of every map. I was glad to see an open world feel with some instancing so players do not have to steal kills to get quests done.

    I was glad to see the speeder disappear when he jumped off. I remember seeing far to many speeders in SWG, in door ways. It added to the games emersion but it also added to the clutter. I did not care for the design of the speeder. I am glad that there will be other speeders available.

    I think this will be a FTP / Monthly sub hybred system upon release. Both systems work well depending on the playing time an individual has. After downloading or buying the box you will get one month of play time. After that you will have to decide.

    Raids just have to be hard. I did not feel any accomplishment doing rifts. Kind of boring, just key smashing without any need for strategy. I hope the raids are 5/10/15/ players with hard and easy mode. Doing the easy mode first allows you to learn the area while still accomplishing something. Hard mode should then provide the best gear in the game.

  • I def agree with @Thomas here.. I’m all for an easy mode jn raids so casuals can Check out the story and content.. However hard mode raids should be insanely hard and give way way way better gear then easy mode.

  • FTP/Monthly sub hybrid?! Thomas have you gone mad!!! Like everything else though 🙂

  • I want more out of SWTOR than an endgame raiding gear grind. The raids can be hard but if they require gear to get gear to raid to get gear then SWTOR might as well be thrown in the garbage right now. It’s time to move on from the raiding treadmill model.

    Boss fights are a staple in gaming, but they have been done without gear grinds for decades. The concept of “best gear in the game” should not be associated with “Beat the hard mode raid”.

    Why not allow the player to embark in an epic quest that takes them weeks to complete with an intricate story, fun boss encounters to obtain an item needed (like a component for a lightsaber or pistol) and then have them be rewarded for having gone through that story arc and gone and seen things? To me, a story being told and an adventure gone through are worth far more “raiding”.

  • Didn’t the devs say crafting gear would be as good as raid gear ? Could be wrong though but thought I read that.

  • @Bartillo: Yeah, and player housing is coming soon to WoW and Rifts are dynamic content. Never going to happen.

  • And keen I’m 99.99% positive SWTOR is going to have a raiding treadmill.

    So are you gonna do a write up of Skyrim? :p

    Oh ya like epic quests in eq 1? That would be very cool.. But again I’m almost positive it will be the story quests level 1 to 50 And at level 50 you’ll do flash points, raids, and battlegrounds..

    [Edited by Keen: Try to respond once instead of four times. Thanks!]

  • There will be a level 50 raid treadmill for 6 months to a year and then a expansion will come out, level 10 more levels of story then back to raiding lol.

    It will be the same as wow end game I’m sure.

    I’m more excited about the secret world.. Has the story elements but it has three factions pvp, puzzles, skill system over classes, etc.. I think tsw end game wi be diff.. I know they said 3 faction territorial control at the center of the earth.. Sure there will be raids too though.

  • I think even the hardest of hardcore believes the levelling experience should be somewhat enjoyable given what we’ve seen and read. Problem at E3 was that was all the info we got. 3 days of ass-kissing softball questions didn’t give us any of the answers we sought. All these gaming sites, bloggers, and hardcore gamers getting some handes-on gametime and not one question about MMO design decisions.

    “Is Blizz romancable?”


    “On PvP servers what incentives, if any, do you have in place to promote either large scale battles and/or smaller group vs. group fights in the open world areas?”

    “Do you have any mechanisms in your PvP battleground matching systems to match organized groups against each other and PUGs vs. PUGs?”

    “Will rewards change in instances based on going thru solo vs. group?

    “Companions mooch XP?”

    There’s a thousand questions I want answered, “what inspired you?” isn’t one of them.

  • Yes, it will be a Star Wars themed WoW. The video of the operation shows a WoW raid right up to the large circular room with the oversized Boss mindlessly waiting in stasis until the guild leader shouts “Now!” over Ventrilo. If it is a bit more like vanilla WoW then I will enjoy it immensely. Let us not forget that unlike most other MMO’s WoW had staying power. I am sure I am not alone in having played WoW multiple nights a week over the course of years, something I have not done to that extent with any other game; now that is staying power. My relationship to my frost mage outlast many real world relationships with non-tusked women.

    Naturally I would like to see them do something revolutionary if it worked, but it is the last part that will make it a slave to the WoW model. No group of investors in a multi-million dollar project wants to hear the words “revolutionary”; they want to hear dependably profitable. Nice dependable blue chips (with the symbols “WoW” embossed onto them) as opposed to some high risk venture that even if successful in creating some wonderfully new game mechanics, might fail in having “accessibility” to the general mainstream remedial mouse clickers out there who are responsible for the lion share of their profits (it is interesting that as gaming has become a major entertainment industry it has left behind its original core group of supporters; mainstream=average=mediocre). In reality the discussion of what SWTOR should be ends there, designing to maximize profitability and not to appease the hardcore gamer aesthetic.

    Nonetheless for the sake of argument Keen, how would your perfect Star Wars game be designed with specific regards to endgame and non-melee force classes (casters by any other name)?

    “…if Graev wants to kill everyone we see, I can at least feel good knowing I would have done it differently.” Sounds like Graev and myself will be following the same leveling guide in SWTOR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1vXztTglyE

  • @iLkReph Agree man. What the $*#&@! are these gaming sites thinking when they go for an interview.

    @Keen I do like that idea over raids but I think the issue is that they can’t dish out that much content, players will burn through it.

    TSW really may be different and I too am looking more forward to it but have no idea when it will launch. I’m looking at SW:TOR as a blast to 50 then I will take a look around and see how the scene looks. I can promise you I will not hit 50 and just raid, raid, raid *vomits in mouth*

  • I don’t mind the speeder vanishing thing; we make much more noticeable suspension of disbelief events in favor of better game play. I hate the stylized get on and get off the mount sequences after riding into a battle. Yes please let the mount vanish and let me do what I came to do! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KtbGcIgbOk

  • End-game would be like I said in comment #30.

    Players reach the max level and the 1-50 experience does not stop. Everyone seems in agreement that 1-50 is going to be a great story being told full of adventure. Why should it stop at 50 and then transition to raiding? Why not have the content be just as abundant?

    At 50 I would have

    – Multistage epic adventures that play out with 100% fleshed out storylines. These would have consequences (read: decisions) based on how you decide to go about them. If you killed an NPC you might close one door but open another that ultimately grants you something. Perhaps even your character’s appearance would change. They would be long enough that maybe they take 2 weeks or a month to complete but you’re rewarded along the way.

    – As part of these, when players reach certain step there would be difficult group encounters. This would encourage level 50 team play. Say you’re working on building a lightsaber worthy of where you’ve come to in the game, you would need a crystal from the caves of whatever and need friends to help you get it. In turn, others needing their could come or you could help them with their quests.

    – Sandbox elements. Establish a shop on a planet of your choice. EQ2 style housing works fine. Hunt for rare Krayt Dragons or other rare spawns in places like the vast deserts of Tatooine to obtain rare crafting materials.

    – Explore planets that are vast and full of dynamic change. Perhaps update them weekly so that one week Dantooine might have a reason for players to want to congregate there.

    – Have DUNGEONS (I don’t say raids b/c of the stigma) with cosmetic rewards, epic adventure quest items for quests, and crafting materials.

    – Allow players to build ships and claim quadrants of space to be fought over for the Republic or Sith. The ships could play into the sandbox crafting and your ship can actually be destroyed. Maybe some players will choose to live in space and have their ship be a cantina.

    – Simply lots of content. Whatever was experienced from 1-50 have it continue at the end and let the rewards and story continue.

    All of that sounds a lot more fun to me than “Welcome to level 50. You have the Belsavis raid first. Once you have T1 gear you can go to Hoth for T2 gear, if your raid of 20 people is good enough. If you don’t want to raid, there are battlegrounds.” I’d rather rip out my eyes, thanks. Let me LIVE the Star Wars experience. Don’t lock me in a box where the only thing I worry about is how good my DPS is and how to best avoid standing in fire.

    Force Mechanics:
    Force “casting” would probably be best done using a focus bar similar similar to the force limitations imposed upon players in The Force Unleashed or a Hunter in WoW. You’re limited on what you can do, but you don’t sit there winding up a spell. It’s instant cast. This seems to fit the jedi feel more than a casting bar.

  • I agree with Keen @39 on the force mechanics. Most force powers should be instant cast or channeled, it’s right effing there when you look at them in the movies: The emperor zaps Luke, and then channels (concentrates, focuses) his anger and power into it over time. So just make the force lightening a bloody channeled attack that taps into a resource; hold it for a long time and do more damage, but remain vulnerable and deplete your reserves more. Fits the fluff better, and is much more interesting to use.

    In contrast, a telekinetic projectile attack (picking up a piece of metal scrap and tossing it around) would be a good use for a casting bar; we’ve mostly seen at least some delay between “grabbing” the object via the force and employing it in some way. But you can still innovate: Try this ability as a compound cast – 1.5 seconds to pick up the object, then you can move it around by clicking target spots and having it fly to them and do AoE damage when it lands, with each move taking some additional “cast time”, and using escalating amounts of “focus” resource.

    There is simply no excuse for using these generic, thoughtless mechanics with no care for whether they fit or feel good. I understand these expensive games are inherently conservative, but this just looks careless.

    I do want to say some positive things: The world design looks excellent, animations look quite good for the most part, and a lot of the story stuff seems very solid. It just doesn’t make up for the combat (the vast majority of the actual game) being so tired and uninteresting – at least for me.

  • Hey I don’t mind instant casts at all; infinite DPS ftw! I bet there would be some melee classes that feel otherwise though…

  • The epic story is exactly what you’re going to get from SWtOR. You’re just not going to get enough of it, fast enough. Everyone knows we’ll chew thru it faster then they can make it, that’s why they put those gear grinds in. Make 4 dungeons or make 1 with a 25% drop rate? Easy choice for EA.

    My problem is that I’m such a SW fanboi that I’ll play it even tho’ I know it is 100% not designed for me. There’s 8 classes, 8 storylines, I’ll proably roll all 8 then movre to GW2 heh. SWtOR is really just 8 single player games that use the same engine. The MMO parts of SWtOR are same ol’ stuff and at E3 nobody even bothered to ask about those MMO parts.

    We can all come up with great ideas of how it could be, but until all you guys quit your WoW accounts we aren’t going to get them

  • “We can all come up with great ideas of how it could be, but until all you guys quit your WoW accounts we aren’t going to get them”


  • Of course then the next biggest remaining gaming model would leave us with “Moisture Farmville”…

  • Even if WoW failed today, you will still see people trying to do what WoW DID. It will never go away, be undone, or be unseen regardless of people subscribing or not. Such thinking can not be a deterrence to change.

    I don’t believe in there being some conspiracy that the mighty investors run the world. That’s crap. So many indie games make people millionaires overnight. Good ideas make money. Good games set trends.

  • @Keen your space ship is going to work as your player housing.. Where your crew crafts for you and stuff.. I’m sure you’ll be able to customize ship interior too in some way.

    And I’d love player owned shops but I’m sure it’s going to be a auction house instead.

  • Oh btw as far as raiding again.. Your npc companion needs gear too and they use the same gear that players use.. You’ll have to grind dungeons twice as much here so you can deck out your self and your companion.

  • Indie games are different, same goes for movies, music, and every other mainstream entertainment industry. It is not a conspiracy to realize the big money funds big projects and seeks big returns; conversely in a capitalistic economy it is naive to think otherwise. Games with millions of dollars of investments don’t run on rainbows and idealistic “hardcore” gamers’ wishes. Bioware is less interested if a consumer knows the difference between a womp rat and tribble, than whether they create a familiar game that is easily accessible and not too difficult for the average Joe. Why would they want to go towards a more risky unique model when WoW is proven to be so profitable?

    By following your posts over the last year you came back to WoW because you like it, it has staying power, and gladly gave them your cash. Bioware wants some of your cash too, and what do you think their largest target demographic will comprise, people like you Keen, WoW players; no mystery or conspiracy needed there as depressing as that is likely to be for most of us here…

  • @Keen:

    I don’t see how your comments relate to being accessible as you said in the article. I’m totally with you, I want a lot of choice and intricacy in the endgame of TOR rather than, as I said earlier, a shallow copy of WoW which ends up being just as heartless and dull as Rift. But what I don’t want is raiding to be something you immediately hop into.

    Hell, for all I care, the raiding itself could be quite easy, but as I said, I think hitting 50 (or 40, or whatever the cap is) should be the beginning, not the end. You should have to go through a hell of a lot of everything, soloing quests, group quests, dungeons, space battles, exploration and whatnot to be able to raid, not just hop into the flashpoint finder until you hit X of stat Y.

    What I think of when people say “accessible” is not so much easy to complete, but it requires little time investment to get started and/or do; and for some games that’s fine. But I think that would be a massive mistake for TOR. Raiding should be the pinnacle (but not the only end) of most of the storylines, and a lot of those storylines should be things you have an emotional attachment to, and in order for that to occur, you have to have spent some time with them. Raiding should be a *reward*, not the route *to* rewards. What would be more epic than being sent on the final mission to kill the final boss of your story arc, the ultimate end to a presence you’ve been battling for over 200 hours (at least) of ingame time at the level cap? You have to gather a large party and go take down the bastard, and, hey you get some funky stuff, but not so that you can then got more funky stuff. Rather, so that you can say “look, I did this. I killed blah, and that took a damn lot of doing. And you know what? I’m proud of that, and it was worth it.”

    That’s the kind of feeling that drew me to raiding in WoW (and that feeling is totally gone now.) Do I think TOR will do this? Probably not. I think TOR’s endgame will be pretty shit, to be honest, and will just be a dungeon grind for the sake of a dungeon grind. But it would be a real, real shame.

  • I actually really liked the first vid. Story, the appearance of choice (even if it ends up with the same conclusion) and how they made it work with groups all appealed to me!

    It don’t show enough of actual combat mechanics to make a call on that, but the worlds appeared big which is also a bonus.

    As far as endgame goes no MMO has ever really done it well, at least not since games stopped being social, however if they do wow style raids then that would be a good start, as long as they don’t nerf them to oblivion. Keep it challenging, if they want it to be all encompassing make easy modes that don’t drop quality loot and keep something for the best of the best/nolifers/hardcore/uberguilds.

    The biggest flaw with wow is that they nerf content to cater to the ‘casual’s’ when they should be creating easy modes instaid a’la DDO

  • It isn’t about WoW failing per se, it’s about why. It’s capitalism, if WoW quits making a buck you have a better shot at seeing new ideas and genre changes, but as long as it’s successful. . .why rock the boat?

    I know going into SWtOR that I’m not going to get what I want, my problem is two-fold:

    1) I’m so SW crazy I’ll play no matter how much they design it opposite of what I want.

    2) The industry and genre as a whole doesn’t seem to have any desire to service MMO gamers like me.

    When it comes to SW I’m my own worst enemy, capitalistically speaking.

    Keen, I think I need you to get in there and land an interview with a SWtOR dev, I bet you’d ask some actual questions I’d actually want to hear the answers to.

  • Plenty of game journalists have wanted to ask the hard questions, but Bioware has been very upfront about what the devs can’t talk about at each media event.

    Games Journo – “Can we talk about design decision X?”

    Bioware Sock Puppet – “We’re not talking about X at this time, BUT LOOK AT THESE SHINIES!”

  • @Keen

    “Yeah, and player housing is coming soon to WoW and Rifts are dynamic content. Never going to happen.”

    This actually happened at least once in “Theme Park MMO” history. “Vanilla” LOTRO. In LOTRO pre-Moria, crafted gear was of comparable quality to raid gear, often even better.
    And then Turbine fell to the “WoW-Lure” of “raid or die” design with Moria and further expansions, and crafting became almost total crap.

  • I must be the only one here that will be happy if it is WoW.

    I quit wow because it was old, not because it was a bad game. If they took all the lessons that WoW learned the hard way to heart, add on star wars and some of bioware’s single player stuff…I’m more than happy.

    Getting delayed for so long may be the best thing that could have happened to SWTOR. It could set itself up to be the new wow while wow is in the most vulnerable state it has ever been.

  • I was already turned off by this game from a previous video where they showed gameplay footage of a group questing. The whole, smuggler as my healer, just took out all the drive I had to even try this game.

    Then I saw these vids and they did nothing to change my mind. I’m so tired of the level 1-x = nothing because the real game starts at max level.

    Count me out.

  • ToR will be a buy for me. I don’t know if it will be a sub. I don’t know if I even want to spend years of my life in a single game anymore. But ToR will be fun; the only question is how many hours it will be fun.

  • At this point it’s a given for me as well that I will be buying the game. How long I stick with it will be entirely up to how well Bioware does at creating a living breathing star wars universe that keeps me wanting to log back in.

  • If TOR goes with some type of hybrid model, then I will definitely give the game a try in the future. F2P is what I play nowadays, even if some games are too in your face with the cash shop. I did like the older video of the ranged trooper tanking the boss, that was at least something I had not seen before.

  • 60 posts already and some long posts at that. NIce!!!

    @Keen I want the raids to be tough like I said @ 27. However I do not want the gear to be a requirement for future raiding. That best gear I talked about would just make you life easier.

    LOTRO basically closed off raid areas with radiance gear requirements. That was a huge mistake on their part. The average player could not raid at all. It made it hard to find a replacement when a guild member did not show. That and having one week raid locks.

    A quest chain that includes some epic conflict based on who you killed, upset or wronged along could be epic. Your other ideas sound good as well Keen.

    I had an idea for large scale event for level 50’s. A large planet that was covered in ice, thawed due to some atmospheric condition. You would have a time period to search the green, open tundra. Anything that dropped or you found behind a rock would be totally random. Then the entire planet would be destroyed.

  • I plan on picking up the game unless GW2 or TSW are out first but my instincts tell me SWToR will be out first. I plan on only playing for a month or 2 and only for the storyline elements.

    Everything ive seen, everything ive read just screams WoW in space. I have had enough of themepark, hand holding, raid or die mentality for MMO’s.

    Although the game looks pretty decent I can not see myself playing it long term for the very same reason why I quit WoW and Rift. Both of those games are very good but im just done with this style of gameplay.

    I recently went back to Asherons Call after a 6 year hiatus, and it being my very first MMO back in 1999 I still find the elements and the gameplay style so much more compelling for my entertainment dollar. I am hoping that GW2 and TPW can live up to some of those style games. God what I wouldnt give for an AC3 in a modern setting with the same elements and very little changed from what made the original so fun to play but with all the bells and whistles that make a modern MMO look good. Production Quality in a Modern Asherons Call 3 would be amazing and amass a huge following.

  • I don’t think SWTOR is the game I have been looking for all this time but I will play it for a while because I am thinking that it has some exciting additions to the MMO genre.

    In essence, todays MMO are just multiplayer versions of really really bad single player RPGs. When I played some of the single player Bioware games I was always thinking that this type of a storyline and presentation should be in MMOs IF the MMO is focusing on a non-sandbox environment where a (comparable really really crappy) storyline is presented anyway. Otherwise, I just get this low quality content but I happen to be able to play it (often by myself) in an environment with other people together.

    SWTOR may bring new high quality story content to the MMO world which is ok since it is a game which like most of the modern MMOs focuses on a themepark driven story quest line. I would still prefer a more sandbox type of approach but if we are stuck with theme park type games then we might as well get to enjoy them as much as we would enjoy a single player version of such a game.

  • The sad thing is games are to afraid to implement semi sandbox elements into endgame because they do not have full control over them.

    Both DCUO and Rift recently could of easily made themselves stand out from the pack and increase retention if they had a worthy semi standbox open world fighting that was worth a damn.

    Swtor i think will go the same way. Instead they will rely on battlegrounds and other shit forms of PvP so they don’t “loose control”.

  • Not sure what to think after E3 myself. I did like a few things like Tatooine that looked very nice and the social point system for doing things together such as questing was smart. I also believe there are some nice armor for those with social points.

    Raids though looked just like wow raids. Then again don´t change something that got millions of wow players getting online every week for. I do hope they bring the difficulty way way down from what wow has gone to lately. Some boss fights in wow especially the heroic modes have become just silly with all the abilities and phases etc.

    Anyway still looking forward to playing swtor later this year!

  • I believe I remember the Bioware Dev’s speaking on how they want more to endgame than just raiding. I’m 90% sure that Daniel Erickson can be quoted saying that they weren’t exactly sure what they were doing for endgame for a while( this is years ago) because they didn’t know what endgame their game would call for. They weren’t going to just shove in raiding or what not as it might not be apply the same way it does in WoW. They have also spoken that they want multiple types of endgame hinting that the story part will continue past 50.

    Keen, I enjoy your idea of quests that continue after 50 in lieu of raids. However, I don’t think there is a reason why raids couldn’t be like this or even flashpoints. Luckily as they’ve shown in Taral V the flashpoints won’t be just go to a single area and beat up on some things, they will be interactive stories. Hopefully they will release these for 50+ and continue to offer them.

    I personally want to see their offering for raids and the story(solo) endgame separated a bit. I want to be have both raids and a solo experience past 50 that isn’t just daily quests like what WoW has.

    On a totally different subject: I have no problem with the casting of lightning from the Sith inquisitor. I personally dislike channeled abilities as an actual spellcaster player, I would much rather have abilities that are either instant cast or have a cast timer with other spells in between.

  • On the topic of quests and solo experience past 50 – how would people feel about the old Asheron’s Call model?

    AC didn’t stop at level 50 but kept going to some ridiculous number which was so far out there that it was ridiculous to wanting to reach it. Also, the benefit of getting there weren’t that great. People could easily be competitive at level 70 or so while others were like 200+

    This would be a soft level cap which allows for continuing progression with little but some benefits. In a system like this I can see how it would be worthwhile to continue the solo experience, questing, experiencing content etc.

  • Off topic: Now that E3 is over just wanted to congratulate you guys on the brilliant coverage. Certainly the best in the blogosphere, but also better than the mainstream “journalism”
    sites I visit as well.

    You guys hit everything I was curious about with the facts I wanted and a gamer’s opinion. Way to raise the bar.

  • @Argorius
    Ive been saying this for years. Alot of people never gave AC a chance since it came out a few months after EQ1 and UQ was still in its prime. But I have yet to see 1 person who played AC longer then a few months to come out agaisnt its style.

    Imagine a game where the level cap is an arbitrary number say 126 in AC’s early infancy (its currently 275) but all your stats and skills cost XP to raise and as you go higher up the tree the next point is exponaentially more expensive. Each stat and skill has a soft cap but no hard cap. In reality with this sort of system a player level 80 was jsut slightly less powerful then someone level 126 (in todays current AC climate that level threshold is 150) At no time in the game did I ever feel I msut be a higher level to tackle content (within reason) I as a leve 90 could successfully hunt in level 100+ areas as long as I was skillful and my gear was properly suited to my level.

    Plus their is no such thing as an endgame because the whole game is endgame, which is partly the reason why I am looking forward to GW2 and TSW since they share the same philosophy. Raids or high level content that is released can be done with as few members as you want (try to solo the Aerlinthe Questline at 117 like I did which was fun as hell) or as many as you need but the reward of doing those sort of dungeons is not in the gear but in the spirit of tackling tough content, sure you’re rewarded with sometimes decent items but for the most part people do them for the huge chucnk of XP bonuses, the titles, the rare recall scrolls, and the chance of adventure.

    My ideal game would carry on with those 2 approaches of game philosophy, that is EXP and/or dynamic Alternate Advancement beyond a level cap and the adventure. I feel strongly the ‘Raid or Die’ mentality of modern MMO themeparks are a detriment to the genre becasue they foster elitism and loot whoring. Seriously having to come up with an alternate way to divy up rewards such as GDP or DKP is ludacris and shows the endgame emntality of raiding for loot to be outdated and silly.

  • Keen, how is ‘anything’ a ‘WoW clone’?

    World of Warcraft didn’t invent a single thing – the game is a clone of MMO’s before it.

    You as an opinionated commentator of the gaming world, should know this.

  • ‘Bartillo Says:
    June 10th, 2011 at 10:58 am
    Didn’t the devs say crafting gear would be as good as raid gear ? Could be wrong though but thought I read that.’

    And how much do you want to bet, that the important materials to craft said items are dropped from raid bosses?

    Nobody should be forced to raid to compete on a gear basis. I hope I am wrong in my opening sentence, and I also hope that PvP provides competitive stuff as well.

    MMO’s should be about choice.

  • One other thing – I really hope that Tor is moddable from the start, because that UI is fooking hideous.

  • I was surprised the Sith Sorc invited the guy to group after he added on his mob. That is just unacceptable behavior in any MMO. In making that video, they should of shown a better way of two players meeting in game and grouping.