A few weeks ago I was saying that the MMORPG blogosphere was quiet.
Ah, I remember those days.
Right now, there are tons of interesting debates to get your teeth into – from the WoW Brawler’s Guild (Cash For Features SCANDAL!) to Guild Wars 2’s wobbling WvWvW populations (PvPers in server desertion SHOCKER!). So, who’s saying what, and do you think they’re right or wrong?
SWTOR Free To Play
- Joe at Corellian Run Radio posts a thorough analysis of the heavy Free To Play restrictions coming in SWTOR, saying that they’re going to force-choke the game – ” I make this prediction – the number of players will jump through the roof next week. The activity will be VERY high for three months. The revenue will roll in. And, just like launch, after those three months revenue will tank as the active player count falls.”
Guild Wars 2 WvWvW Numbers
This one’s a new controversy – with easy server moves and top PvP guilds jumping from one Guild Wars server to another, will the game’s uber-PvP mode cope?
- Jeromai looks into the implications for his own server of some of the most major PvP guilds leaving for distant shores – “Is it unhealthy, in the sense that these multi-game-spanning guilds are more focused on their own communities and less about fostering -server- communities?”
- And Healing The Masses sounds an optimistic note for WvWvW from their own experience – “I think the system in place will do well over the coming months especially after the server populations settle down and guesting is enacted so people can’t bunny hop around to the better servers in WvW. “
Guild Wars 2 One-Time Events
The furore over GW2’s one-time events has mostly subsided, but there are still interesting things to discuss about it…
- Bernard Parsnip responds to the one-time events’ fiercest critic, Azuriel, saying that publicity reasons justify Arena.net’s decision to run one-time gameplay – “Guild Wars 2 is a new game that is not based on a well-known IP. It NEEDS this press coverage. Furthermore, the business model relies on front-loading revenues from players, so continually growing the player base is crucial until the RMT shop can pay for the overheads of the game.”
WoW Dailies And Grinding
- Big Bear Butt complained about dailies and gearing up – but then practical experience has shown him that it’s actually comparatively easy to get raid-geared in MoP – “If you’re a new raider, it does not take that long to get to where you need to be to get started. I just proved it. And once you’re getting drops from the raids that are now being released, you WILL get items of such higher iLevel that the LFR stuff will be massive downgrades.”
- And The Godmother is looking at alts, and how she and other players will level them and prioritise them with all the grinding – “The shift has been subtle, but it has been noticeable. Alts are likely to be left by the wayside by many except those with a huge amount of time and patience. Its not just about the achievements either, there are a lot of choices bound up with the way the current system is being weighted.”
WoW: Brawler’s Guild
- Typhoon Andrew defends the design choices Blizzard are making with the Brawler’s Guild, including their invitation policy – “New gameplay is asked for constantly, so anything which adds options without placing a highly prohibitive barrier is good.”
- And Rohan looks specifically at the Guild’s content gating – high AH prices – arguing that it’s never been tried, and is worth experimenting with – “To my mind, selling the Invitations on the BMAH might not be the best possible idea, but it might be the one with the least side-effects, and thus, the least-worst idea.”
Bullying and Unpleasant Players
So, let us know – what do you think?
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Star Wars: The Old Republic’s developers recently released their “state of the game” summary, and several bloggers have been discussing their statements. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the galaxy, another blogger’s just suffering in the throes of (lack of) romance…
- Njessi is thoroughly confused at a rather odd is-it-isn’t-it same sex romance plot – or not – in SWTOR – “Wait, what? How is this supposed to be tempting to me, when I know full well that same gender romances are not in the game – so what the hell is she offering? Playing a scintillating game of Trivial Pursuit or Parcheesi? “
- Syp looks over the State Of the Game, and feels that it’s a very mixed bag – “If BioWare is keeping its head in the sand over the whole “subscriptions was our main downfall” line, at least it’s not trying to ignore or obfuscate the fact that the studio’s suffered a lot of personnel losses from the very top on down.”
- And Tobold argues that the State Of The Game does indeed say “Yes, our game failed” – “To me, saying “our game cannot hold subscribers” is a rather frank admission of defeat. It is equivalent to saying that the game on offer just isn’t worth $15 a month to most people. “
What did you think of SWTOR’s State of the Game?
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It’s time, I think, for Random Stuff – the cool, interesting posts or stories that don’t have a specific thread between them. Here we go!
- Chris at Level Capped looks at the Kickstarter for a non-combat MMO called Greed Monger – “In reality, there’ll be a land rush where those who get in early and pay the most set up camp in the most desirable locations, bringing along their friends to circle the wagons around the best resources. Anyone coming in later, or without a support group, will be limited to the dregs of the land, locked out of opportunities controlled by the land barons who are more interested in extortion than in creating a greater community.”
- Keen argues that the price of an MMO subscription is almost never what stops us playing it – ” Blizzard still charges $15 a month for WoW because they are not competing on price. $60 boxes still release every Tuesday, and some sell multiple millions. Be unique, develop a reputation, improve, or find some way to differentiate. “
- Rowan Blaze gives us the tremendously exciting news that an MMORPG player is now a US State Senator in Maine.
- CNN brings us an entertaining story of a man who became inspired to start bodybuilding by his EVE character – “Brand loyalty is one of the reasons Dickinson first decided to shape up. During his trip to the 2009 “EVE Online” FanFest, real life hit him smack in the face. Walking into the convention, he didn’t feel like Roc. He felt like a stereotypical geek, surrounded by other stereotypical geeks.”
- And Zubon cautions us that just because an event was fun with friends, that doesn’t mean that the fun came from the event, rather than the friends – “Just because you had a good time does not mean that it was good. “So bad it’s good” is still bad.”
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The SWTORsphere’s still quiet in expectation of the move to Free To Play this month – but there are still some interesting discussions going on in the blogosphere, plus a fantastic “10-month review” of the game that’s almost required reading if you’re not already playing…
- Rohan looks at some of the restrictions in the Free To Play model, and points out some of the nefarious tricks they’re there to prevent – “Just imagine what someone could do with a thousand accounts all slaved together. Even simple things like the /who command could bring a server to its knees if invoked simultaneously by everyone.”
- Mighty Viking Hamster answers critics of the new F2P model, arguing that it was never intended for everyone – “This model is for those customers who may pay a month here or there because their life schedule affords it or because they want a break from their MMO of choice and want something different for a while. It’s not meant for those people who want to make that galaxy far far away their home away from home.”
- And Shintar writes a review of the game 10 months in – it’s from the perspective of an enthusiast, but nonetheless is really, really useful if you’re thinking of getting into or back into SWTOR – “It’s worth noting that the game has no cross-server functionalities, and while the servers that remain after the merges mostly have a very large population, you’ll still start to recognise some names if you play for a prolonged period of time. “
F2P could happen as soon as this week – when it does, the Galaxy Far Far Away will become a very different place…
Are you planning to return to SWTOR when it goes F2P?
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Many more details on Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Free To Play model have been released today, including a lot of information about the in-game perks purchasable with “Cartel Coins”.
Are they Pay To Win? Are they overpriced, unfair, or awesome? Let’s find out what top SWTOR bloggers thought…
- For a summary of the information released, check either Darth Hater or dulfy.net
- Syp is concerned that many of the unlockable restrictions on F2P players are just too much to play with – “Dudes, why not just make us hop on on leg until we pay up? There are sensible business practices and then there’s just giving noogies to get the rest of our lunch money.”
- Targeter is frankly thrilled by the cartel options, and the way they make F2P Fun To Play – “Bravo, Bioware. You could have gouged us. Instead you chose to make it fun. You chose to take our side. For the first time in a LONG time, I can look at SWTOR and say, “Yes. You are on the right track.””
- Shintar is much less concerned than she thought she’d be, although she’s concerned that the cash shop may make the game feel less real – “Depending on how well the item shop is received, we could soon also see an influx of wannabe Sith speeding around the Republic fleet on mobile thrones and male characters showing off their pecs 24⁄7 while wearing invisible shirts. I don’t want it all to be silly and weird. I still shudder at the memory of Dalaran the day WoW released its “sparkle pony”.”
- And talking of frivolity, Njessi gives us her overview of the less serious parts of the Cartel market – “More bikinis. OK, I lied, I don’t love this. I opposite of love this. We totally need more idiots dressing their companions in bikinis. But that’s ok, because finally, sweet revenge…”
What do you think of the way SWTOR’s F2P is shaping up?
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SWTOR players are still in a pretty tough place this week, staring down the barrel of the upcoming Free To Play system. Will it kill the game or save it?
But that’s not all that’s being talked about in the galaxy far, far away – and we’ve got another great post looking at the identity of SWTOR’s classes, too…
- Rohan’s at his analytical best looking at the various ways in which F2P can be implemented, and what needs to be done to save SWTOR – “At the end of the day, someone has to hand money over to the devs so that they can eat. One would assume this is obvious, but judging by a lot of the forum rhetoric, it isn’t.”
- Larry Everett at Massively takes an overview of the Free To Play story so far – “Two factors weigh against SWTOR in its quest for F2P salvation, and two factors might help it succeed. “
- And Njessi writes a really great, lengthy look at the personalities of the various SWTOR classes, and how they help or hinder her playing the game – “I feel like my complete discomfort with both my consular toon and her companions makes me ambivalent about the playstyle – which, admittedly, has nothing to do with the story, voice, or crew. If I think about it, sage, has a lot of aspects I like, specifically a resource system that doesn’t penalize you for dropping below 60%. Still, I am seriously struggling to find the will to level.”
The last point is an interesting one in the context of the F2P discussion, actually. Most people who played SWTOR, I suspect, wanted to play either Sith or Jedi. Now, the Sith storylines are pretty good, but I know very few people who liked the Jedi characters – I know I hated mine and gave her up as soon as possible.
Was that, I wonder, more of a factor in the game’s failure than we’ve given credit for?
Do you think F2P’s going to save SWTOR’s future?
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And elsewhere in the MMORPG world, things are still very lively indeed. From positive feedback for RIFT from a very unexpected quarter to an EVE player saying “no thanks” to the tears of his foes, here’s the cream of this weekend’s crop:
- Random Average looks at the reasons he fights in EVE – and surprisingly, delicious tears aren’t amongst them – ” I wouldn’t have undocked if I didn’t accept some risk, and if I didn’t want the risk, I’d play Wizard101.”
- I don’t often link to awesome MMORPG in-game outfits, but when I do, I do it right – this one’s fantastic
- Who is running Syncaine’s blog, and what has he done with the real Syncaine? This weekend, he’s positively enthusiastic about a sneak peak he got of “themepark” game RIFT’s new expansion – “If themeparks are your thing, I’d say the way Trion handles Rift is how you’d want your themepark handled, and I’m actually curious to see just what players eventually do with the housing system. I think Rift players and general themepark fans will be very happy with Storm Legion, and the general direction Rift is moving in.”
- Shintar considers the lively atmosphere of SWTOR’s starting zones, and for the first time starts to think that F2P could be a good thing – ” Star Wars is an incredibly popular IP – the problem is that only a small fraction of those Star Wars fans are traditional MMO players. Maybe Bioware isn’t completely crazy with their reasoning that too many of them don’t want to pay a mandatory sub these days, when you can access so many online games and services for free.”
- And at the same time, Jason at Conveniently Placed Exhaust Port looks at the way that SWTOR’s F2P is being implemented, and believes EA is learning more from Farmville than other MMOs – “Based on what we know so far, it’s looking like EA trusts their players as much as a creepy uncle who just got out of prison for the second time. “
- Syp makes a great point about MMOs – that maybe they should be judged more on the extent to which they produce magical, brilliant moments of gameplay – “A good memorable moment, whether it’s a great story, a funny aside, something interesting another player does, or a spontaneous event, usually makes me far more affectionate toward a title than before.”
- And finally, A Ding World looks at how City of Heroes players are reacting to their game’s last days – “On the other hand there are people who just move on at this stage. Perhaps that works as a better closure, with all good memories and move on right away, now that the end has been given a specific time.”
What do you think? Are MMOs more than memorable moments? And is Alternate Universe Syncaine in charge over there?
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It’s the end of another game-changing week in MMOs, and there are some big discussions going on on a meta level in the MMOSphere – let’s go!
- Syncaine has an interesting idea about the future of MMORPGs – that there are two entirely separate strands to the MMO market – “What does matter is that the two groups are looking for very different experiences, yet are being lumped into one group (MMO players). Worse still, studios are designing games with the impression that they can design content for the short-term group, and expect long-term retention.”
- Klepsacovic writes a fascinating piece about the role of home base in games, and how they can work to give your tired brain a break – “When I return to a town there are the mailbox and vendor, inviting me to empty my bags and free myself of the worry of those. There is the inn, inviting me to log out for a while. The town is safe and there are usually no quests within the town itself. “
- Tobold delivers a lecture in mathematics for anyone looking at the graph of WoW subscribers – “But even if you did the scientifically worst possible extrapolation and projected a linear decline on the slope of the end of Cataclysm, you’d still end up with another 4 years and more than $1 billion more in revenue for Blizzard. “
- And Joe at Corellian Run Radio looks at the likelihood of F2P meaning “Pay To Win” in SWTOR, given Bioware’s previous history with downloadable content – “Because history often repeats itself, because BioWare may still, even after free-to-play comes to the game, need the revenue, and because temptation is so very hard to resist (two words: Chocolate. Bacon.), there are very good reasons to be doubtful of what’s said about pay-to-win being avoided in SWTOR.”
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Meanwhile, things continue to go badly for Star Wars: The Old Republic, with the announcement of server consolidations, and that the founders of Bioware are leaving the company. But many bloggers are still hanging on, and it may even be that the server consolidations aren’t all bad…
- Mikro of SWTOR Life has decided to close his SWTOR site down, and as a last post spends some time looking at why things went the way they did for SWTOR – ” We now learned that the good doctors gave notice in April and in May we had the first wave of layoffs in SWTOR studio in Austin, TX. This means that EA pronounced SWTOR a failure 4 months after launch and I think consequently Greg Zeschuck gave notice and Ray followed. “
- Njessi looks at the server consolidations, and is far from happy – “As my 4-year-old is fond of saying “BUT WHY?” I don’t have a good answer. The destination server of Canderous Ordo was already plenty damn populated. It was easy to get a group. There were 2-3 instances of the fleet on most nights. How many more roommates do I need for a good “population?””
- And Shintar comments on the server consolidations too, arguing that there are both ups and downs in the decision – “I’m glad that the locked servers are gone now. I’ll always remember Luka Sene with fondness, but we’ve got to look to the future now.”
Are you still playing SWTOR? How are you feeling about it?
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We’ve had economics and heroism so far today – but we’ve still got escapism, lore and more to go…
- The Gold Queen writes a short but interesting piece on her feelings about having bought an 800,000g mount – which dropped 300,000g in price shortly after she bought it – “Yes I really did spend 800,000g on a swift spectral tiger. At the time that I bought it, it was a steal, 200,000g less than the usual price. Since then, the prices have fallen very low due to Trading Card Game item duping, which has flooded the market.”
- The Ancient Gaming Noob asks whether SWTOR’s setting away from the characters of the Star Wars films was partially responsible for its downfall – “Just being original trilogy focused obviously doesn’t make a bad game good, but it certainly seemed to make some mediocre games more popular than they might have managed otherwise.”
- Doone discusses escapism and power fantasies, asking to what extent male characters are depicted as power fantasies because that’s what men are socialised to believe they should want – “Any examination of men’s power fantasies reveals a desire for domination, for achievement, for high social status.”
- And Syl considers the label “MMO Tourist”, as she feels the “generation gap” of being new to the Guild Wars universe – “it might sound bizarre but a part of me feels like I have no right to be here. I’m the newbie in Tyria and not just that, I am the player who didn’t support the first game, now showing up for its shinier, more mass-market successor. YIKES!”
Enjoyed today’s posts? Please share them with your fellow players!
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