1-900-THE-FRCE

Avatar image for ryan
Ryan

2579

Forum Posts

2827

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 1

Edited By Ryan  Staff
I should've bought a better lightsaber!
I should've bought a better lightsaber!
As is apparent to seemingly everyone except the people who actually develop MMOs, you cannot beat Blizzard at its own game. This doesn't mean that there's not room in the market for other subscription-based, fantasty-themed online role-playing game, but they should have no illusions about capturing a significant segment of the market. For all of the considerable time, money, and talent that went into Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning--two perfectly competent fantasy-themed, subscription-based online role-playing games that came out this year--they hardly seem like blips compared to the all-consuming popularity of Wrath of the Lich King. I'll admit that I haven't heard a lot of chatter about any of these games recently, but I suspect that no one's talking about AoC or WaR because no one's playing them, while no one's talking about Lich King because they're all too busy playing it. This is part of what makes MMO development so treacherous--since the experience usually hinges on the communal aspects, the game that's already popular will remain popular, and an MMO that no one's playing can be unplayable.

That said, there's a number of reasons that BioWare and EA's upcoming Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, may have better than average odds of actually giving WoW a decent fight. I consider it being sci-fi instead of fantasy to generally be advantageous, and the fact that it's the most well-known and widely loved sci-fi universe ever doesn't hurt, either. BioWare's not Blizzard, but it's got excellent critical and enthusiast cache, and it's seen great success working with the Star Wars license in the past. Another unique angle that The Old Republic might have, according to a Shacknews report of EA's recent earnings call, is the absence of a recurring subscription fee, something that accounts for much of World of Warcraft's incredible profitability, and the allure of MMOs to publishers in general.

According to EA CEO John Riccitiello, the Old Republic publisher is considering a microtransaction-based model for the upcoming Star Wars MMO, though no further specifics were given. Based on what I've seen of The Old Republic's colorful, somewhat cartoony art style, I've had a sneaking suspicion that they were going more casual than the usual MMO, and an incremental pricing model like this would support such a theory. EA PR has since chalked up these quotes as a “misunderstanding,” though I'm not sure how one misinterprets a quote like this.

Other initiatives we've announced, for example [the] Star Wars online MMO, are mid-session games which are microtransaction-based. You'll be hearing more about those in the February [conference] call.

EA has shown its willingness to experiment with microtransactions and direct-delivery over the past year or so, though its track record has been spotty at best. I love that you can buy Burnout Paradise in its entirety over the PlayStation Network, and I see some great potential in Battlefield Heroes, but EA's practice of encouraging players to pay to unlock content that's already on the disc is unsavory, and the fact that it charges you $6 for the option to re-download PC games purchased through its online store just seems stingy. Hopefully EA's recent financial woes won't force it to be too evil with the pricing structure for The Old Republic.
Avatar image for ryan
Ryan

2579

Forum Posts

2827

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 1

#1  Edited By Ryan  Staff
I should've bought a better lightsaber!
I should've bought a better lightsaber!
As is apparent to seemingly everyone except the people who actually develop MMOs, you cannot beat Blizzard at its own game. This doesn't mean that there's not room in the market for other subscription-based, fantasty-themed online role-playing game, but they should have no illusions about capturing a significant segment of the market. For all of the considerable time, money, and talent that went into Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning--two perfectly competent fantasy-themed, subscription-based online role-playing games that came out this year--they hardly seem like blips compared to the all-consuming popularity of Wrath of the Lich King. I'll admit that I haven't heard a lot of chatter about any of these games recently, but I suspect that no one's talking about AoC or WaR because no one's playing them, while no one's talking about Lich King because they're all too busy playing it. This is part of what makes MMO development so treacherous--since the experience usually hinges on the communal aspects, the game that's already popular will remain popular, and an MMO that no one's playing can be unplayable.

That said, there's a number of reasons that BioWare and EA's upcoming Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, may have better than average odds of actually giving WoW a decent fight. I consider it being sci-fi instead of fantasy to generally be advantageous, and the fact that it's the most well-known and widely loved sci-fi universe ever doesn't hurt, either. BioWare's not Blizzard, but it's got excellent critical and enthusiast cache, and it's seen great success working with the Star Wars license in the past. Another unique angle that The Old Republic might have, according to a Shacknews report of EA's recent earnings call, is the absence of a recurring subscription fee, something that accounts for much of World of Warcraft's incredible profitability, and the allure of MMOs to publishers in general.

According to EA CEO John Riccitiello, the Old Republic publisher is considering a microtransaction-based model for the upcoming Star Wars MMO, though no further specifics were given. Based on what I've seen of The Old Republic's colorful, somewhat cartoony art style, I've had a sneaking suspicion that they were going more casual than the usual MMO, and an incremental pricing model like this would support such a theory. EA PR has since chalked up these quotes as a “misunderstanding,” though I'm not sure how one misinterprets a quote like this.

Other initiatives we've announced, for example [the] Star Wars online MMO, are mid-session games which are microtransaction-based. You'll be hearing more about those in the February [conference] call.

EA has shown its willingness to experiment with microtransactions and direct-delivery over the past year or so, though its track record has been spotty at best. I love that you can buy Burnout Paradise in its entirety over the PlayStation Network, and I see some great potential in Battlefield Heroes, but EA's practice of encouraging players to pay to unlock content that's already on the disc is unsavory, and the fact that it charges you $6 for the option to re-download PC games purchased through its online store just seems stingy. Hopefully EA's recent financial woes won't force it to be too evil with the pricing structure for The Old Republic.
Avatar image for natural_deadhead
natural_deadhead

292

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

#2  Edited By natural_deadhead
Avatar image for darthzew
darthzew

342

Forum Posts

17

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

#3  Edited By darthzew

Not too sure about this one. I hate MMOs to death and then the art style is really throwing me off, but I loved KOTOR 1 and 2 so Im keeping my ear to the ground...

Avatar image for andrew
Andrew

154

Forum Posts

139

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#4  Edited By Andrew
natural_deadhead said:
"

I'm leaving wow for this

"
No one leaves WoW, they take short breaks...  :)
Avatar image for rowr
Rowr

5861

Forum Posts

249

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 3

#5  Edited By Rowr

I will likely play the fuck out of this!

Avatar image for justicecovert
JusticeCovert

25

Forum Posts

158

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#6  Edited By JusticeCovert

Provided the micro-transactions don't include batteries to power the lightsabers, I'm in!

Avatar image for scottefresh
ScottEFresh

122

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

#7  Edited By ScottEFresh

DC Universe...

Avatar image for deactivated-5ffc9b0923f9f
deactivated-5ffc9b0923f9f

2527

Forum Posts

4764

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Although I do occasionally play WoW, I would love seeing a great supported MMO without a monthly fee. This all depends on how much they cash in on these microtransactions though. But I have faith they'll do it sensibly...I hope. I don't care much for the simple style of the screenshots I've seen so far either, but I like Bioware a lot and the game probably has a long way to go yet.

Avatar image for fade2gray
Fade2Gray

181

Forum Posts

3302

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 5

#9  Edited By Fade2Gray

I MIGHT be willing to consider this one if it is microtransaction based. The biggest thing that has always kept me away from MMO's has been the idea of mixing something I love, games, with something I despise, monthly bills. For whatever reason Guild Wars never managed to rope me in, but a KOTOR game definately has a better shot with me than anything so far.

Avatar image for hamz
Hamz

6899

Forum Posts

25432

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

#10  Edited By Hamz

I think too many new MMO's fall to the "we must aim to beat WoW!" feeling and in so doing they ultimately fail at what they attempt to achieve. The way to beat WoW is to bring out an MMO that ISN'T a carbon copy but something that improves and adds onto the features WoW already has. By that i mean, make a damn new game thats more fun to play and doesn't make players want to return to WoW because you've essentially copied it but made a bad copy thats inferior to WoW. There is also the fact most MMO's seem to go for the fantasy theme and setting which is now so over done i think.

SWOR looks to be fun because A.) Its Star Wars and thats not going to have the usual Elves, Orcs or Dwarves with magic hammers etc and B.) Its a KOTOR setting in the Star Wars universe which i think a lot of people will find refreshing and new compared to the same old Galactic Civil War setting most SW games follow.

However i don't like the idea of microtransaction MMO's....i think it becomes an elitist community where people will splash out lots of money to buy all the extra content available and i imagine that will cost more than the usual £10 monthly fee most other MMO's have where you have the same content available for everyone. You will end up having one part of the community unable to perhaps take part in certain quests or areas because they haven't paid to access it. Or they won't have the same items and such like as others because they can't afford to buy them. Atleast with a set monthly fee everyone gets the same chance of gaining items, skills, areas and content.

EA fail once again i think. Sorry but an MMO community tends to be horrid at best, turning it into an elitist one would be a bad move. Give SWOR a monthly fee and keep it like that please!

Avatar image for tekmojo
tekmojo

2365

Forum Posts

104

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

#11  Edited By tekmojo

Universe of Starcraft.

Avatar image for dsplayer1010
dsplayer1010

2331

Forum Posts

8344

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 6

#12  Edited By dsplayer1010

Damn. And I was excited for this.

Avatar image for scooper
Scooper

7920

Forum Posts

1107

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#13  Edited By Scooper

I was very excited to play this but I'm not going to if it's micro-transaction based. Give me a monthly subscription or even better give me Guildwars and make me pay for exapnsions only.

Avatar image for biggerbomb
BiggerBomb

7011

Forum Posts

-1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 4

#14  Edited By BiggerBomb
Hamz said:
"I think too many new MMO's fall to the "we must aim to beat WoW!" feeling and in so doing they ultimately fail at what they attempt to achieve. The way to beat WoW is to bring out an MMO that ISN'T a carbon copy but something that improves and adds onto the features WoW already has. By that i mean, make a damn new game thats more fun to play and doesn't make players want to return to WoW because you've essentially copied it but made a bad copy thats inferior to WoW. There is also the fact most MMO's seem to go for the fantasy theme and setting which is now so over done i think.

SWOR looks to be fun because A.) Its Star Wars and thats not going to have the usual Elves, Orcs or Dwarves with magic hammers etc and B.) Its a KOTOR setting in the Star Wars universe which i think a lot of people will find refreshing and new compared to the same old Galactic Civil War setting most SW games follow.

However i don't like the idea of microtransaction MMO's....i think it becomes an elitist community where people will splash out lots of money to buy all the extra content available and i imagine that will cost more than the usual £10 monthly fee most other MMO's have where you have the same content available for everyone. You will end up having one part of the community unable to perhaps take part in certain quests or areas because they haven't paid to access it. Or they won't have the same items and such like as others because they can't afford to buy them. Atleast with a set monthly fee everyone gets the same chance of gaining items, skills, areas and content.

EA fail once again i think. Sorry but an MMO community tends to be horrid at best, turning it into an elitist one would be a bad move. Give SWOR a monthly fee and keep it like that please!"

From footage that I have seen, Lord of the Rings Online seems to be a much better game than World of Warcraft. That aside, I'm not happy with a KOTOR MMO. Mainly because it isn't a KOTOR game. That and an attempt to use microtransactions as the economic driving force behind this game, really turns me off. EA rubs me the wrong way, I hope they don't fuck this up.
Avatar image for rawshark
RawShark

234

Forum Posts

777

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#15  Edited By RawShark

Art style is fine, just why do they have to have such massive lightsabres? I think Bioware's making up for something.

Avatar image for anderson
Anderson

76

Forum Posts

15

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#16  Edited By Anderson

"But I have faith they'll do it sensibly...I hope."

Best sentence I've seen in a while.

Avatar image for andrewb
AndrewB

7816

Forum Posts

82

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 16

#17  Edited By AndrewB

And I hope EA remembers this moment when the game fails and they blame Bioware for everything. Or maybe I'm wrong... but surely there must be more people out there who feel as I do and won't touch a microtransaction game with a 10 foot pole?

Avatar image for voodooterror
voodooterror

617

Forum Posts

67

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#18  Edited By voodooterror

I'd be happy with a monthly payment option, its easy to do and keep track of, " mid-session games which are microtransaction-based" sound a lot like a loooooooong list of payments to go on my bank statement that i dont really want, it's long enough as it is

also:

Avatar image for isaiah
isaiah

182

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#19  Edited By isaiah

microtransaction = strike one.

Avatar image for dryker
Dryker

1208

Forum Posts

64

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

#20  Edited By Dryker

Microtransactions are not completely evil. I don't agree with essential game content being sold as microtransactions. If there is no game to be enjoyed before the micro-purchase, the content should have been included or free. On the other hand, I feel microtransactions are a great way to show true support for your favorite developers. If you really like the type of game and want to help ensure another one is made, you have the option to give the developer more of your money in increments not quite as demanding as buying extra copies of their game; and getting a little something extra for it. Of course this perspective only applies to games that are not mainstream or well recieved, whereas games like Gears of War and Halo need no such support to ensure sequels. 

Avatar image for mjdailey
mjdailey

25

Forum Posts

16

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#21  Edited By mjdailey

Hmm idk how to feel about this... EA can be really greedy when it comes to stuff with micro transactions. I hope they are not to bad cuz it could ruin whats one of my most anticipated games. And hopefully it isnt casual, i mean MMOs are not games for causal fans. They need to just stick to the diehard MMO fans and the legions of us diehard Star Wars fans.

Avatar image for brackynews
Brackynews

4385

Forum Posts

27681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 48

#22  Edited By Brackynews

I thought Guild Wars was doing alright.  I'd play it if I had the time between marathon sessions of Single Player Console Experiences.

Avatar image for media_master
Media_Master

3259

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#23  Edited By Media_Master

MICROTRANSACTIONS SUCK!!!

Avatar image for fatfoogoo
fatfoogoo

2

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#24  Edited By fatfoogoo

Shacknews actually got a response from EA stating:

"no statements have been made about the Star Wars business model," and attributing Mr. Riccitiello's comments to a misunderstanding."

Whether this was/is a misunderstanding or not, it certainly opens up a whole new range of possibilities (and thinking) for EA.  Clearly, they're very interested in the topic (think Battlefield Heroes), and it wouldn't be a surprise if Riccitello simply threw the idea out there to measure consumer response.  I'm not sure there'll be a mass exodus from WoW, but having an alternative to the daily grind might be welcome. 

The western market has yet to seen a blockbuster microtransaction based game, and if EA and BioWare can get this right, it could be the pebble that sends off thousands of ripples.  Here's to hoping - and agreeing - don't microtrans me for batteries for my lightsaber.  Now...a super slick jedi outfit I'd be more up for.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.