More on SWTOR’s Length

Good morning all.  Weekends suck.  Catching up on some gaming news this morning and thought I’d quickly point out something that impressed me.  We’ve heard that the SWTOR gameplay per class will be 200+ hours long.  On Darth Hater I just read a translated interview that explains this a bit further.

Daniel Erickson: Of course. Every class has their own trilogy. There are three complete chapters. But before somebody cries that there is not enough play time and a little puppy dies: The first chapter has nearly the length of the whole Knights of the Old Republic, more than 30 hours. And this chapter is then closed with a real ending and an outro, which reflects all your decisions. […]  And then there are the chapters 2 and 3, where your decisions reflect, so that you could see a very different planet than your mate is, because of the decisions. …” [Source]

I just finished both Mass Effect games at ~30 hours each.  That really is a lot of story-driven gameplay.  To think that SWTOR will have that much in just one of three chapters, with the other two adding up to around 200 hours… it’s cool to think about, from a MMO perspective.  Although I’ve made the comparison before, SWTOR hours can’t be thought of the same as WoW hours or hours in, well, any other MMO.  Bioware RPG story and quest gameplay in their previous RPG’s isn’t anything like the now-standard MMO questing.   I haven’t beta tested SWTOR, so I don’t know for sure, but if Bioware sticks to their model it’s going to be quite something.

I’m also interested in the idea that decisions mean you go places your friends may not go because they chose to approach a story differently.  That adds flavor and replay value, despite whether or not you actually decide to go back and experience the other side of the coin.  Graev played Mass Effect 3 or 4 times to see many points of view.  I played it once yet the simple fact of knowing the evil choice is there to make made my decision to be good a meaningful one.

Graev and I have both decided we don’t even care about this being a MMO anymore.  Anything MMO in SWTOR may just be icing on the cake. A very long Bioware RPG that we can play co-op and with friends is enough to justify wanting the game.

  • I like the idea that depending in what choices you make in chaptter one you might end up on different planets!

    I just hope this will be the first mmo where leveling does not end up being a pain in the behind. Even wow that I played for 6+ years ended up boring the hell out of me as I leveled a new character.

  • I read the article this morning and my understanding is that the first of the 3 chapters is longer than the other two. I’m not sure that the 200 hours is comprised of JUST the class quest(s). How cool would that be though? Eight different classes with 200 hours of UNIQUE story/quests, with no overlap? Yes, please. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely excited for the game and will likely stick around a minimum of 3-4 months. I’m sort of veiwing it the same way you are – a story-driven Bioware rpg with optional multiplayer as extra icing on the cake. People like Syncaine calling it SW:sRPG make me laugh. Ok Syncaine, it’s NOT an MMO like you wanna play. (Because of course, Bioware are known for their open-world sandbox style games.) Let’s call it a sandwich instead. I think that’d make him happy. “But it’s not an MMO!!” Fine, but I’m confident that it’s going to be a really fun GAME.

  • “A very long Bioware RPG that we can play co-op and with friends is enough to justify wanting the game.” -Keen

    I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is what I’m looking forward to as well.

  • Exactly what I am saying for some months now. SW:TOR will be a grand success, because it will offer more content than any other RPG. The MMO parts will be bad, but who cares?

    Of course I still look forward for a good MMO to be released within the next few decades .. or so ..

  • I’m going into it the same way. It seems like the best way to walk away satisfied since Bioware has shown how well they do story. If they keep with their track record and we look at the online stuff as a bonus, we’ll hopefully walk away with another positive Bioware experience.

    Side note: Ever since I played the original NWN back in 10th grade and played on their persistent servers, I’ve been waiting for them to make an online game. It may not be exactly what MMO players expect, but I still think it will be a fun, compelling game.

    I found the translation Darth Hater really interesting. Up to now, I didn’t even realize that they were approaching the class stories in a trilogy format. I think that’s a really smart move. Breaking it up into three shorter stories seems like a much better idea to keep people engaged than one really, really long one. Any word on the length of the second and third chapters?

  • You nailed it. I’ve in a great guild in Rift atm…which at lvl 50 is (believe it or not) a great multi-player game…

    I’m looking at SW:ToR as a Bioware rpg in the Star Wars universe. I’m looking forward to experiencing all of the class stories at a relaxed pace.

    I will keep Rift around for when I’m in the mood for Progression Grind, which it does Very well lol.

  • 200 hours / 8 classes isn’t even 30 hours to max level hmmm.

    As I’ve said b4

    It’s 8 single player RPGs with Vent

  • Agree with you Keen and all the comments above. I’ve always approched TOR in such a way that even worst case scenario and its not a great mmorpg, it has a high probabiltiy of being months and months of a very good rpg experience.

  • @IlkRehp: It’s 200 hours PER class. 30 hours just for chapter one of each class. From there, class questing and other gameplay just through the story gets you to 200 hours per class.

  • I def think atleast half of that 200 hours is going to be dialogue/cutscenes which is cool with me.
    Only thing I’m worried about is if I ever do a flashpoint and group members try to pressure you into skipping. I remember in guildwars which had a ton of cutscenes you’d get yelled at and kicked from the group if you didn’t skip cutscenes.

  • SWTOR is a game that I won’t risk playing with idiots. Friends and family only for me in the story missions and important cutscene content.

  • @Nils: “The MMO parts will be bad, but who cares?”

    Pretty sure the suits expecting that $15 a month after the first month or two might.

    From every beta report I’ve seen, going into this as if it was called KOTOR4 is the correct approach. Good for gamers, not great for EA.

  • I’m going to play it as a story-driven MMO, which is what they said it was.

    If the MMO sections are shit I’m not going to go “oh, well, it would’ve been a good SRPG!” If that was the case, they should’ve just made KOTOR 3 and not even gone near MMO territory.

    Just because it’s a BioWare game is absolutely no excuse for the MMO section being lacking, especially considering the reported investment.

  • I’ve gone back and forth on this game, I hated the fact that EA was involved, hell, I hated the fact that EA bought Bioware and screamed at anyone that would listen that EA would slowly kill Bioware with their “money over quality” mantra. And you can see evidence of EA’s handiwork in both DA and ME, both sequels were not as good as the originals and you can see where corners were cut as well as both being dumbed down even further for consoles.

    So, it was with this new skewed view of Bioware that I watched the development of TOR. At first I was almost hostile towards the game knowing EA was involved, I created an account on the TOR forums back in October of 2008, the month they went live. So, I’ve been following this game for a long time.

    But I must say; I am truly excited to play this game now – I have seen several leaked videos on YouTube regarding PVP and it looked amazing, it looked like WoW with light sabers. Which is a poor explanation, but kind of accurate. Those videos have since been yanked due to NDA issues, but the PVP looked tight. The animations, my original beef with the game, looked fluid and acceptable. There were light saber battles going on, people exchanging gun fire, etc., it looked like the 4th of July, the swoosh of the light sabers was there too.

    I’m not concerned with how much play time they claim people will have, I have full confidence that there will be plenty of expansions for this game, people won’t have enough time to exhaust all of the content imo. So, people bitching about only only 200 hours of gameplay amazes me, there will be a ton of shit to do. I’m not worried. Let them get the mechanics right, then I’ll worry about whether or not I have 2,000 hours of gameplay.

    Again, everything I’ve been seeing and reading has me very encouraged/excited and this is coming from an EA-hater and jaded MMO’er.

  • It’s only 200 hours per class because it’s a lot of cut scenes and voice over. It’s a single player RPG in an MMO environment. That’s fine, but it’s not spectacular. Nor is it ground breaking. It’s going to be a lot of pressing escape or whatever the skip button is for a lot of people. Then for a handful it’ll actually be worth it. Just like any other MMO.

  • To be clear, the 200 hours is not just your class story; it includes world story arcs as well. You’ll probably have between 30-40% of the 200 hrs as your unique storyline class story. The only way to get 200hrs of unique story will be to play 1 Empire and then 1 Republic character. Of course you’ll still get to see various changes to world arcs based on choices you make.

  • @Kaybek – I was cruising the forums and the Daniel Erickson had to temper the 200 hour expectation a little bit too. It seems like there will be a ton of story and content — more than enough — but two of the things we know for sure are that each class will have their own trilogy/story arc taking them to the level cap, and that the two factions don’t share content. To expect each class to have 200 hours of class story is buying into the hype in a way that is sure to leave you wanting in the end.

    A couple quotes that stood out to me:

    “On the Origin worlds it’s about 60% Class Quests, dropping to about 40% on the Capital worlds and then even lower for the rest of the game.”

    “I was speaking of the a single average first time playthrough of a single class’s Chapter 1 being more than twice the length of a single average first time playthrough of the entirety of the original Knights of the Old Republic. Chapter 2 and 3 are each somewhat shorter than Chapter 1 (which are extended by the Origin and Capitol worlds experience) but still pretty darn big.”

    So big, but less so for your experienced MMO player and even more for those who have already played through to cap before. The bigger question is, if the majority of your content is in faction-shared world arcs, how many of those hundreds of hours will be worth replaying?

  • Seems that there are some contradictions flying around, even among the Bioware devs. One place they say Chapter 1 is 30 hours and in another they say it’s TWICE the length of a first play-through of the -entirety- of Kotor (Graev spent 36 hours on his first play-through). So is it 30 hours or 60+ for Chapter 1?

    I think what they’re doing is trying not to let people pin them to a single number. Obviously if you don’t read anything or skip stuff you’ll go faster. They don’t want someone beating it in 150 hours coming back to say “Wtf you promised me 200!”

    A second play-through will be faster and I don’t expect it to be 100% unique. I think it’s safe to say though that the ~200 hours per class of play is easily attainable as they originally stated.

  • I don’t trust devs self-assessing content length. It’s pure puffery to get players in. DCUO had “there’s 80 hours worth of content for each character” that turned into “you can get to max level in a weekend”.

  • Still doesnt derail the fact the game will feature the holy trinity and raiding as the sole means of PvE endgame content. Ill be passing and waiting on a bit more sandboxish endgame.

  • I like and fully agree with Keen’s POV on this.

    …oh and btw welcome to the ranks of the BioWare Defense Force!

  • I think the game will be fun regardless. I hope it’s a good MMO, but if it’s just a BioWare RPG with online aspects… that works just fine for me too.

    For the price of the game, if it can keep me entertained for at least a few months, it will be more than worth the money.

  • Just reading through the comments and other blogs and discovering lots of similar op!

    Maybe we’re all just burnt out on mmorpg’s and just want an old fashioned story game we can play online with friends?

    I want Elder Scrolls that way too please!

  • I actually think SWTOR will beat WoW, because blizzard got very greedy.
    Nice blog, bro i wish mine were the same

  • I wish they would up the difficulty, the cutscenes and story really do improve the levelling experience but the on-rails questing and ease of co-op levelling mean that this could be a 3 month MMO. Those expecting 8 unique levelling experiences will be dissapointed. It really is like Dragon age with origin stories and then fall into usual themepark questing. Imps and Republic have different paths through the themepark but still an on-rails (but fun!) experience.
    Class quests seemed about 5 minutes out of every hour after origin worlds, works out fine especially if you are levelling in a group. I guess they wanted to avoid the ‘..hey guys I cant heal you on this quest I need to report back to the Jedi council for a 10 minute cutscene and chat…’)

  • Keen you said you won’t risk your enjoyment of the game by grouping with idiots? Does that mean princesslayya and Markhamilsux wont be in your guild?

  • I simply hope the game and story will be good enough, with enough re playability, to keep me busy until GW2 is released.

  • I have been say this for ages to people the worse case scenario is this that even if it is not very good mmo( aka player interactions is not that good) that it will still be a very good single player rpg that you can group up with friends.Which sounds bad to some people but this

    If you could play Mass effect or Dragon Age with your friends in missions and if they would update game with content every 3 or 4 months would you play that game?

    I am sure that 95% people would say yes to that.Only question is the sub model which you can’t really justify for ToR if that case.You would love to see the Guild Wars Buy to play model for the game which ideal set up for single player game “pretending to be a mmo”.I will leave with this question.

    Let say ToR is great single player rpg Bioware game like Mass effect,Kotor and Dragon Age is worth 15 dollars a month to optional group up with friends on quests,do warzones/arena and raids and have update content frequently in mostly single player rpg game?

  • You have a class quest, then on each world a… world arc quest (can be played solo), then normal quests and a ton of group quests.

    What you choose to play will allow you to get equipment for the next planet, with group play giving the best, then world quest, then normal questing

    Group quests are along WoW “vanilla” group. Very hard if you don’t understand the basics of group dynamics (CC, no AoE, healing, etc…). Normal if you do. A lot of trash mobs groups. These are different to the scripted “dungeon” like the Esseles shown on the web site.

    If you like ME, you’ll like the TOR stories. But the game will be more fun playing with friends. It’s a real MMO.