Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 15, 2010
 
Greatest failure in the history of MMOs

Yes, I've seen EA Louse. I didn't find it especially interesting, because the discussion of why a game failed two years ago isn't likely to bring anything new to the table except for office gossip. The only new part is this:
And Bioware? Don’t make me laugh. They’ve spent more money making the Old Republic than James Cameron spent on Avatar. Shit you not. More than $ 300 million! Can you believe that?

And you know what they’re most proud of? This is the kicker. They are most proud of the sound. No seriously. Something like a 20Gig installation, and most of it is voiceover work. That’s the best they have. The rest of the game is a joke. EA knows it and so does George Lucas,they’re panicking , and so most of Mythic has already been cannibalized to work in Austin on it because they can’t keep pushing back launch.

Old Republic will be one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs from EA. Probably at the level of the Sims Online. We all know it too ……
Just for the record, I do believe this. I repeatedly voiced my doubts over the value of the "fourth pillar" of story telling by voice-overs in a MMORPG, seeing how the ability to skip quest texts was one of the first addons programmed for World of Warcraft. Just do a simple thought experiment: Imagine World of Warcraft was patched so that you can't skip quest texts any more, but would be forced to listen to them being read out slowly every time you wanted a quest. Would that want to make you play WoW more, or would you feel a sudden urge to punch your screen?

Everything I've seen from Star Wars: The Old Republic screams "WoW clone with voice-overs" to me. There is no way this game can possibly live up to the hype. In a year we will all be posting "Why SWTOR failed" blog entries.
Comments:
I'm wondering how long it will last with a subscription model. What is the formula for when to go F2P?

If all it is is WoW with voice, then I'd agree with you. I'm hoping it is WoW with Mass Effect. The difference would be enough to make it a good game.

But, if what EA Louse said is true, then we can definitely expect SWTOR to fail.
 
While SWTOR is of course hyped (how could it not be?) I don't think that it is as hyped as WAR was, and in my opinion hype is bad if it is too much. Paul Barnett is funny but he was a part of overhyping the game an enormous amount. When an overhyped game is released it will almost never live up to the expectations of the gamers. WoW was though actually an exception to that rule. Why? I don't know. A lot of polish perhaps?

With SWTOR we see a few trailers now and then but I haven't seen it hyped to the skies yet, so at least I don't think that they've got that against them at the moment. Might it still be a bad game? Certainly, but personally I'll just wait and see. I still think that it has the possibility of working.
 
For me personally, I want MMORPG to be an MMO version of a single player RPG. Voice acting and cutscenes with good storyline are all things that I enjoy. In single player RPGs, I'm willing to sit back and relax, and let the game take me into their world with the characters and environment to wow me.

However, I do realize that MMORPG players don't actually feel the same way as I do. They prefer MMORPG to be an MMO of "Action" RPG with the emphasis of "doing stuff" and not caring much about storylines and character development.

So SWTOR can be a very good quality MMORPG, but that doesn't mean that it'd be successful because what determines whether it's a success or a failure is simply whether people like it or not. KFC is nowhere near providing the best quality chicken in the world, but it's arguably the most successful fried chicken restaurant in the world.
 
means to skipping interactive dialogue and text was the first patch to Age Of Conan too.

when you have the "rat-race"mentality all over your mmo game you cannot simply add "great storytelling" and expect people to prefer it before the presumed "effective" gameplay.

let's just say that Bioware is in deep Bio with this move.
 
I really dont understand the emphasis on the supposedly great voice acting for the SW MMO. To me, voice acting would be a very important part of a single player RPG. As you point out, it will probably not work in an MMO environment. Ironically i would be more interested in a "simple" WOW clone in a SW setting than in what seems to be on offer now.
 
One of the things no-one seems to remember, least of all the people making SW:ToR is the hype over "full voice-acting" that preceded the launch of EQ2.

Here's an example:

http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/everquest-ii/503435p1.html

I played EQ2 from launch. I ran around in groups doing quests, because most quests weren't soloable back then. It was an unusual group that had even one person who wanted to stop and listen to the voiceovers. And if there was such a person they'd quickly be told to switch the voiceovers off and get on with it, or they'd be kicked from the group.

SoE still voices a few key quests, here and there, and uses voice for atmosphere and flavor like every other MMO, but the concept of all NPCs saying everything outloud was quietly dropped years ago. It's expensive and players in general skip over it or turn it off.

It's a different matter in a single-player game, where you and you alone control the pace and your experience is arguably closer to watching a movie than playign a game. It's just not going to work in a co-operative form based on repetetive action like an MMO.
 
LOL, you picked out the one quote that no one verified (while a great many people verified, and some refuted, the rest of his rant). This person worked nowhere near Bioware or SWTOR, his opinion on this from "what he heard" no more an insider's than yours or mine.
 
There should be always a hype, otherwise it ends up like APB.

Still, we cannot see behind the scenes what they expected from WAR for example. Yes, I do think it did not meet the expectations, but a failure? I doubt that.

The interesting fact is, why DO we want a WOW-killer, the next big thing? Why does the MMO-market have such a thing a killer of all apps. We sure don't have them in the single-players(?)
 
you picked out the one quote that no one verified

I picked the one quote that you and me CAN verify, we just have to wait until SWTOR releases.

The rest is just malicious office gossip. Nobody can verify or refute a rumor that Paul's girlfriend only got her job because of her relationship, or that Rob watches employees pee in the men's room. Somebody else posting a different opinion proves nothing.

Furthermore, even if we could know the truth, would that really help us to comprehend "why WAR failed", as EA Louse claims? I'm sure the same sort of malicious office gossip exists also in companies making successful games.

WAR isn't even remotely relevant any more. SWTOR is still hyped as the "next big thing", and whether it succeeds or flounders is extremely relevant to the MMORPG industry as a whole. If EA blows $300 million to produce a huge failure, who other than Blizzard would still be willing to even TRY to make a big budget MMORPG in the future?
 
"The interesting fact is, why DO we want a WOW-killer, the next big thing?

I think I can answer this.

I play lots of types of games. Sometimes I want to play an RTS, sometimes a solo RPG, sometimes a FPS, and sometimes an MMORPG.

When I get a hankering for a new solo RPG game, I don't go back and play an old one. I find a new one to play through. The last solo RPG I played might have been great, but I already played that game, and there is almost certainly a newer, better solo RPG out for me to try.

When I feel like playing an MMORPG again, I look around the market. 6 years later, the best option before me is still WoW.

Yes, WoW is a great game. But more significantly, I think this is a failure in the market.
 
The projects are getting so elaborate and the budgets so big that this a surge/bust cycle is almost inevitable. If the report about SWTOR's budget is even close to true (and I'm not taking EALouse's word for it,) then Bioware taking a huge bath on the game is almost inevitable, regardless of whether the game proves to be any good or not. And I have deep reservations about the long-term player retention prospects of a game like this looks to be.
 
"I picked the one quote that you and me CAN verify, we just have to wait until SWTOR releases."

That's certainly true, but the quote isn't helpful at all. He doesn't know what the budget for that game is, and he doesn't know who is working on it. He isn't a Bioware insider. Why don't you ask someone from Blizzard what they think the SWTOR budget is?

This guy also says the budget for WAR was $50 million, not the $100 million you have repeatedly estimated/assumed. Will you now use $50 million as your benchmark in discussing "the typical cost for MMORPGs?"
 
I guess I must be a minority. I actually enjoy the voiceover work in EQ2. I enjoyed the voiceover and cut screen quest animation in AoC as well. Even if it were not voiceovers, I wouldn't mind if WoW put some interactive dialogue between you and the quest giver.

I also try to just enjoy the game and not just race to the end, at least with my first character. I've actually turned my XP off multiple times in EQ2 just to enjoy the game and see what it has to offer. The people who rush to end level are those, in my opinion, who care less about the RPG and more about the MMO. I guess I play MMORPG's for the RPG. If not, there are many other MMO's available I could play.

And last, I think more people are interested in server firsts. If you removed these from the game, then people might not mind the voiceovers as much.
 
I have no doubt in my mind that the added emphasis on story will be a huge plus for the sales numbers (and especially for keeping players playing). WoW did get a huge boost in players who sticked around through an expansion with not many great dungeons - I think this is credited to the extreme focus on story-line that wrath had. As a player you *wanted* to kill Arthas, you wanted to play through it.

They are focusing even more on this for Cataclysm. I know you have mentioned before that the 12 mill players are a great lie, and they most likely all unsubscribed when there where no new content. But imo the added focus from Blizzard, on the story and the continuity of questing in Cata, says something else.

I think that there are two pillars that will decide whether or not this game will make it, or fail: community and gameplay.
Community; that all depends on who buys the game, but judging from the last star wars mmo, that game is not off to a horrible start.
gameplay; the gamecon reports state that it is still unpolished but have some fun mechanics.

I'll remain optimistic.

- And personally, id much rather listen to two pages of dialog than 15 lines of quest text. Maybe that's just me, but I doubt it.
 
The key is to make all the voiceover work and cutscenes completely mandatory, no way to mod it to be skipped.

The impatience is a cycle. Because SOME people skip it, everyone has to because they don't want to be left behind. If everyone is in the same boat...well, everyone gets used to it.
 
Sorry to veer off topic here, but I'm worried about my sanity (and a bit hung over, admittedly).

Did you move this post up? I have this intense feeling that I read this post and then followed through to EA Louse etc already two days ago. Please tell me I'm not mad!
 
What happened to your policy of 'not commenting of games still in beta'? You've been down on SWTOR from pretty much the moment you heard of it. That is certainly your right, and Bioware is well aware of the concerns. They already have a skip speech button in the game.

Wouldn't it make more sense to simply wait until the game is out and then judge it, especially when you will have the key metric of how many people stayed on past the first free month, rather than a sky is falling declaration 6 MONTHS before the game is Live.
 
Tobold said:

"WAR isn't even remotely relevant any more."

It's the "relevant" part that annoys me. Are you saying a game has to have 1 million subs to be "relevant"? I played WAR for a while and definitely was not a fan. However just because you or I don't like it, doesn't mean it's irrelevant. I have no idea how many subs they have (100,000?), but I imagine they have their fans.

I think people who play WOW always feel the need to downplay other MMOs. Maybe you feel like you need to justify your time spent. I don't know what it is, but it's a strange behavior.

What are your current definition of "relevant" MMOs? Is DDO? LOTRO? Darkfall? Guild Wars? Free Realms?

Remember, just because you love something really popular, doesn't mean everything else is irrelevant. Is American Idol the greatest TV show ever? Does Lady Gaga produce the best music?
 
I agree on the voiceover dilemma. EQ2 offers voice-over "packs" as an extra download and initially it was cool but once you get into your little quest-rat-race routine, you quickly start skipping it.

THAT SAID, i have experienced "voice-overs" or rather "narration" in MMOs where it is done WITHOUT hindering your progress and i believe it works great if done that way.

A game doing this is DDO . The NPCs don't waste your time with endless trivial babble only to give you a quest to kill 10 rats. So the NPC are quiet, but they make up for it by narrating DURING the quest itself (i.e. actually having voice narration when you are near critical spots in the game world [boss fights etc], or simply narrating the dungeon/zone entry to remind you what you are suppose to be doing here).

This narration is not like Guildwars which stops gameplay, it occurs as you fight/move around [so no one in the group have to wait for others who want to hear the stuff] .

but yea, maybe one day someone will learn that MMO-quest-rat-race and a slow,cumbersome quest "handling" does not work well.
 
It's the "relevant" part that annoys me. Are you saying a game has to have 1 million subs to be "relevant"?

Nowhere did I mention subscription numbers here. My point is that the discussion of "Why WAR failed two years ago" isn't relevant, because it is such a dead horse, and EA Louse didn't really add anything new except malicious office gossip to the discussion. If WAR did something exciting and new in a new patch, that would very well be relevant.

Did you move this post up?

No, I didn't. But there WAS a link to EA Louse from a commenter a few days ago.

What happened to your policy of 'not commenting of games still in beta'?

I don't REVIEW games BEFORE beta. I never said I wouldn't comment on them. In particular this post is a comment on a hot news item, the EA Louse story which is all over the MMO blogosphere. I'm saying that I believe that part of the EA Louse story where he predicts SWTOR's failure, and give my reasons for that. I'd be only too happy if it turns out that EA Louse and me are wrong about this. And I'll certainly try out the game to form a more detailed opinion.

But if you allow some bloggers to spread hype about a new game, you must also allow other bloggers to be sceptical. Otherwise it gets a bit one-sided.
 
I do not worry about voiceovers at all. I think that BioWare knows how to implement them.
Voiceovers are working quite well in Mass Effect. Mass Effect is single-player, and implies a lot more attention to content that MMO. But even in Mass Effect you can SKIP dialogs/voiceoves if you want, and there is in-game tip about that which shows up on loading screens.
So people who enjoy good stories will be pleased by video/voice acting, and the people looking for EPIXX will press a key and run to kill 10 mandalorians ASAP. Everyone is happy.
 
I'm surprised I'm not seeing more reference to the actual SWTOR gameplay videos they've released. It's fricking WoW in space! They have "jedi tanks", "jedi healers", and "jedi DPS". It's a hilariously inappropriate shoehorning of the source material into the old DIKU MUD model. That they thought that gameplay was something to share and not something to hide away from the gaming public bodes very poorly for the game.
 
With reference to Barrista's comment, I'd just like to clarify that I am all in favor of well-written quest DIALOG. I do read all quests all the way through the first time that I do them.

However, the voice-acting in my head is orders of magnitude better than 90% of the voice-overs and I can read the text about five times faster than they ham-act it.
 
I think what people might be overlooking is that ToR sounds more like a single-player RPG with a subscription fee than it does an MMO. They have revealed very little about any sort of end-game, promoted the idea of rolling alts once you play through one character, etc. This makes the voice acting more sensical. Not that it makes me want to play it any more, though.
 
In a year we will all be posting "Why SWTOR failed" blog entries.

This is absolutely true - we can set our calendars. The funny thing is that we'll see such posts even if SWTOR has two million subs by then.
 
Thank you for saving me, Tobold!

Like many others, I'm having a hard time seeing ToR sell, but one can always hope!
 
@Bhagpuss: I don't have voices in my head, so I enjoy the narration. (sorry, couldn't help myself)

And like I said, it wouldn't have to be voiceovers, a good dialog would suffice, but I find that neither WoW or LotRO do this very well. Even in EQ2, when there are no voiceovers, there is at least a dialog. I like that.

@Sine: I agree on the impatience thing. And if you do approach a game in the way I am, just enjoying the quest lines, you basically get treated as if you are doing it "wrong".
 
If the game end sup being a WoW-clone with star wars splashed over it...I would play it...Whats exactly wrong with that? I would love it even.
 
"This is absolutely true - we can set our calendars. The funny thing is that we'll see such posts even if SWTOR has two million subs by then."

This is what I've always found stupid about the blogosphere. SWTOR will be called a failure unless it comes out the gate with 10 million subs, which is of course utter nonsense.
 
I have my doubts about SW:TOR, but I don't think your comparison to WoW's "storytelling" is really valid. Let's face it, story in existing MMOs is quite horrible, and it's not really fair to judge SW:TOR based on the existing failures.
 
As long as the voiceovers are well done and most importantly short as hell, it shouldn't be a problem. If the quests are meaty and take a while, brief voiceovers would be cool. If they try to do the WOW so-many-quests-my-log-is-full model, then yeah it will suck. But there's really no reason to have 30 kill 10 rats quests instead of 5 cool storylines. Quests don't have to be stupid.
 
So will you purchase and try to play it or will you never try it?

If not- is it because it has voice acting or Star Wars is not your cup of tea or it just doesn't look interesting to you?..or?
 
I love it when you mention SWTOR because ever since hearing about it I’ve had doubts. I’ve always been skeptical about BioWare’s actual ability to creatively branch out from the only types of games that they seem able to make and I think TOR will show that.

The emphasis on story is what’ll really hurt TOR. From what we’ve seen, TOR is primarily a single player game with popular aspects of successful MMORPGs (WoW) pasted on here and there. The single player aspect will be watered down to make way for generic MMORPG features, and who wants to pay a subscription for a storyline that can never reach its full potential? While I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy the story, I doubt there’ll be a very stable community.

The big thing to remember is this is NOT necessarily a WoW clone. WoW can be characterized by having a large open theme park world, lots of endgame content, and very solid controls. BioWare isn’t exactly known for gameplay; the story and world content will be provided by BioWare and the rest (mostly combat and crafting) is foreign to them. MMORPG gameplay is concept that they don’t truly seem to understand so they latch on to whatever is currently successful and stick that somewhere in their BioWare world. They assume that the generic gameplay is simply inherent to MMORPGs so they can focus on the story.

Similar to WAR, I’m guessing TOR will sell a lot of boxes, but the subscriptions will drop dramatically. I think it’ll be more commercially successful than WAR, but only because of more hype and technical polish. The story may be fun for a bit, but MMORPGs are ultimately all about the endgame to most people.

The highly instanced linear feel of the world, generic copy paste gameplay with gimmicky additions, pathetic attempts at re-skinning watered down aspects of MMORPGs and calling it Star Wars, and lack of much to do outside of the story will be what hurts TOR. I get very excited about new MMORPGs but this just seems like a step in the wrong direction for the genre and while I normally don’t wish failure on entire projects, I hope BioWare is humbled by their attempted leap onto the bandwagon.

Now why can’t Valve just announce Half Life 4 Dead Fortress 2 Featuring Hats Online (or HL4DF2FHO for short) so that we can all stop worrying about the quality of the next big MMO?
 
I love it when you mention SWTOR because ever since hearing about it I’ve had doubts. I’ve always been skeptical about BioWare’s actual ability to creatively branch out from the only types of games that they seem able to make and I think TOR will show that.

The emphasis on story is what’ll really hurt TOR. From what we’ve seen, TOR is primarily a single player game with popular aspects of successful MMORPGs (WoW) pasted on here and there. The single player aspect will be watered down to make way for generic MMORPG features, and who wants to pay a subscription for a storyline that can never reach its full potential? While I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy the story, I doubt there’ll be a very stable community.

The big thing to remember is this is NOT necessarily a WoW clone. WoW can be characterized by having a large open theme park world, lots of endgame content, and very solid controls. BioWare isn’t exactly known for gameplay; the story and world content will be provided by BioWare and the rest (mostly combat and crafting) is foreign to them. They assume that the generic gameplay is simply inherent to MMORPGs so they can focus on the story.

Similar to WAR, I’m guessing TOR will sell a lot of boxes, but the subscriptions will drop dramatically. I think it’ll be more commercially successful than WAR, but only because of more hype and technical polish. The story may be fun for a bit, but MMORPGs are ultimately all about the endgame to most people.

The highly instanced linear feel of the world, generic copy paste gameplay with gimmicky additions, pathetic attempts at re-skinning watered down aspects of MMORPGs and calling it Star Wars, and lack of much to do outside of the story will be what hurts TOR. I get very excited about new MMORPGs but this just seems like a step in the wrong direction for the genre and while I normally don’t wish failure on entire projects, I hope BioWare is humbled by their attempted leap onto the bandwagon.

Now why can’t Valve just announce Half Life 4 Dead Fortress 2 Featuring Hats Online (or HL4DF2FHO for short) so that we can all stop worrying about the quality of the next big MMO?
 
Whoa woops, huge double comment. google gave me an error so I posted again. My bad!
 
I think that the appeal of a story driven MMO will be tremendous. The devil will be in the details of how the storyline is driven with the voice-overs in respect to the end game. Right now gamers have fell victim to the "instant gratification" dynamic that is sweeping the MMO space and it is sad to hear people commenting that "patience" might be a factor when experiencing the manner in which Bioware unveils the story.

If SWTOR can manage to bring in its hardcore fanbase, just like WoW did with its Warcraft fanbase, then I see no reason why it cannot be just as successful. No one knew just exactly how WoW was going to be when it was released, but Blizzards QA, polish and experience allowed it to flourish. Right now we simply dont know enough about the game(SWTOR) to say either way, so saying the game will fail based on the fact that it is using "voiceovers" is a bit premature..IMHO.
 
@ Chris

I have to disagree that a story-based MMO would have tremendous appeal. Certainly many people are interested, but for the majority of MMORPG players, gameplay is what it comes down to. And one cannot simply hope that these players change their stance. Like you, I’m also against the instant gratification models but I don’t think BioWare has the answer to that. I can’t say for sure obviously, but I’ll almost guarantee you that TOR will be throwing new items at you left and right. The way to really combat a lack of patience is to allow the players to move at their own pace in a dynamic world that doesn’t inherently support specific endgame goals. As it is now, finishing the story is the goal, and people will be overwhelmingly driven to finish it. Then what?

I also don’t think it’s really fair to say that if BioWare brings its core fanbase over it could be as successful as Blizzard. Before WoW, Blizzard made games with multiplayer endgame as their replayability. Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft all had active communities that thoroughly and consistently enjoyed the multiplayer. BioWare has lots of single player games, whose replayability center entirely around starting over by oneself. The Blizzard model automatically lent itself to a fanbase that would appreciate an MMORPG, whereas I think the BioWare fanbase will be split by the schizophrenic features.
 
Tobild I agree with allot of your points of view on MMO’s and gaming in general but on this one you couldn’t be more wrong.

I really think SWTOR is going to set the bar another notch higher for the MMO genre.

First up, if this guy is a legitimate EA employee 300M comment is obviously sour grapes water cooler gossip. You have a bunch of young 3d artists out having a smoke pissed about there pending lay off and lack of funding from EA and the 300 mil. Number is just one of those things that gets invented.

Second, He’s an artist, does anyone really think he has anything credible to say about SWTOR’s budget or what George Lucus thinks about the game….LOL

Third, to simply say “And you know what they’re most proud of? This is the kicker. They are most proud of the sound. No seriously. Something like a 20Gig installation, and most of it is voiceover work.” …I’m sorry this person is a twit, to sum up the Bioware interactive story player choice driven quest system as sound and VO is pathetic for anyone in the gaming industry.

I can understand your average forum poster not getting it or seeing the value in it but someone that is suppose to be in the industry being this blind to current trends in gaming …not so much. …Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 1 &2, Dragon Age all sold 3 million copies or more …what do they have in common …yup you guest it.

In later posts EAlouse admits to knowing nothing about TOR and also admits that only a rare few in his office even have access to the beta.

Your WoW analogy doesn’t quite work because again it’s more, much more, then just adding VO to WoW like text and quest system. I barely read a lick of text in WoW but I didn’t skip a second of VO in ME2 or Red Dead Redemption.
 
Here's the deal guys: Bioware is running way over-budget right now. A 3rd-party developer has been hired by EA to help fix the situation because currently SW:TOR has some great voice acting without a game to go with it. If things don't get sorted out soon (miraculously), EA is going to drop the hammer and force SW:TOR out the door whether it is ready or not. And when that happens you'll see the game fail in a spectacular fashion. EA will get some ROI from all the boxed copies sold due to the hype machine surrounding this game, but everyone expecting a "AAA" MMORPG will walk away severely disappointed.
 
Doesn't George Lucas closely monitor his properties? If a consultant tells him that the game is not ready wouldn't he step in and force EA/Bioware to take the time that is needed?
 
Hound,

I'm not saying anything about who's rushing what, but really... when in the last 30 years did George Lucas ever shy away from shipping anything that had the potential of making him another buck, regardless of quality?
 
One thing I havent seen anyone say: It is wow with voiceovers AND LIGHTSABERS. Personally, I prefer single player RPGs, the fact it is an mmo is almost a detractor, but it allows them to offer more content. Even if it is a wow clone, 4 jedi classes should keep me happy for at least a year.
 
@ Hobonicus

We can agree to disagree about the appeal of how they plan on pulling off the story implementation.

It would seem that this will all revolve around the end game and how it is coupled with the storyline/lore on the back end. I simply dont have enough information at this point to know if the races/classes will develope on a vertical level, or horizontally, but if the lore is appropriate and maintains a cognizant connection and distinction between the races/classes, then replayability will be a simple matter of whether or not there is seperate lore/story/voiceovers for each one. If there is, then it will be worth it to experience it. If there isnt, then one would at least think that Bioware would allow a player to skip past the same content for different characters.
 
I think voice over work does actually add a huge amount of immersion to a MMO. I thoroughly enjoyed it in EQ2 and it was something that set it apart from the crowd, especially when it was suffering from so many bugs in the begining.

Having said that though, I do agree that in itself is not enough to make a poor game good. I also think BioWare are over selling their 4th pillar concept. I guess time will tell though.
 
The gameplay videos look like the single player version of KOTOR I & II. If that's true, then what makes this game so compelling that it needs to be MMO? (since KOTOR worked great as a single player game)

This thing has a big potential to be a dud. The skills, [crafting] professions, mechanics had better be GREAT to draw people in. Art and voice over gets old after a while.
 
"Doesn't George Lucas closely monitor his properties?"

That explains Jar Jar.
 
I think Bioware is going to have to work harder on screwing things up if they plan to create a bigger failure than FFXIV. The bar for what it takes to suck in this industry has been raise a considerable bit.
 
Slightly off topic...

Greatest future failure in the history of MMO's... Warner Bros, who recently purchased Turbine... Leaning on Codemasters to cancal all lifetime subscriptions or loose EU rights to publish LotRo... Which ends early next year.

(no facts yet, but the bloke down the pub says it's true.)

The skinny is that Codemasters sold far too many life subscriptions... as a result have scuppered the F2P business model in the EU.

I believe there is news due at the end of the week.

If true, I'd think EU LotRo will become a dead MMO.
 
The emphasis on cinematic aspect in video gaming is counter productive, video games cannot out cinema cinema, so all this focus on voice acting, narrative and other cinematic effect is pointless.

They should go back to the time of Deus Ex, GTA San Andreas, Fallout 2 & 3 ... the keyword is Agency, as Clint Hocking pointed it out:

http://videogamecanon.com/post/1337028851/aside-from-the-interactive-system-or-for-our#disqus_thread

300 million ... jesus!
 
I thinking one of the biggest OMG moments in WoW was the Wrathgate quest, particularly the cut scene at the end (was anyone else screaming at Bolvar to bubble hearth?)

Having said that, guild first LK kill, did we watch the cut scene? No, we wanted to see what dropped LOL.

My point is that a having strong single player RPG style elements with cutscenes and voice acting would really set the game apart from WoW. Of course it can be over done - imagine cutscenes and voice acting every time you have to kill ten rats :) But if well used, they can turn a good quest line into an epic one (image Wrathgate with just text).

One of way they can deal with groups telling people to hurry up is to have cutscenes unlock so you can go to a journal type interface and watch them at your leisure. How cool would it be if the scenes you unlock follow on from each other, kind of like a movie that you unlock scene by scene as you play through the game.

Let me make it clear, that the above is more in the category of nice touch/awesome fluff. The game play needs to stand on its own.
 
I think voice overs in MMOs have a really big problem. I've completed more than 7000 quests in WoW on my main alone, counting daily quests. The test for each of those quests might have taken 30 seconds to read. That would mean around 60 hours spent listening to voice overs.

But I've played on that character for over 300 days. That would make listening to voice overs only a tiny fraction of what I actually did while I was playing the game; and a fraction I would have found annoying and would have wanted to skip.

Voice overs and story are great, but they only keep people playing a game for a hundred hours, tops. To be really successful, MMOs have to build a fan base that wants to play for thousands of hours, or tens of thousands of hours. Voice overs can never be a critical component of that, and they are the wrong place to sink your budget into when you are trying to enter the market.
 
"Imagine World of Warcraft was patched so that you can't skip quest texts any more, but would be forced to listen to them being read out slowly every time you wanted a quest."

Depends. If they had Deckard Caine doing the reading I probably wouldn't mind.
 
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