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Lord_of_Mu's Avatar

09.26.2012 , 07:06 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by shava View Post
Actually upon thinking on it further, I had to respond to this more thoughtfully.

The sites you are talking about are, I think except for DarthHater (which is Curse, Inc. which is a multi-national dotcom, 19mil hits a month) all at best semi-pro and mostly all fan sites. Fan sites are ephemeral in many games.

SWTOR is in the news every day by the professional games press, for good or ill.

If the games press were an old-style journalism sort of thing, without comment streams, SWTOR's coverage would probably look much better than it does. However, comment streams make every AAA game out there look like crap, particularly the ones that don't have very crafty and clever social media folks who are both very adept and close to the fans. EA/Bioware seem to just have money at the corporate level, and do neither of those other things all that well.

But the current fashion in MMORPGs is that a vocal minority of gamers who love to guild up and raid -- let's call them the Piranhas -- dominate the social media metagame of the online world of MMOs. They spend all their free time that they are not gaming on Twitter, in comment streams, filing scathing reviews on Metacritic, you name it. Their hobby is to be gaming hipsters, essentially -- to see how snarkily and cuttingly they can shred a game to show off how sophisticated a gamer they are among their leet peers.

These are the armchair generals of MMOs.

So as a game emerges from pre-beta, these guys (and they are by vast majority male IRL) are scoping it like Fantasy Football dudes evaluating draft picks. They start talking about how it is or isn't like WOW, how it's prospects are to be F2P or why it will suck before the company publishes any terms at all. A cinematic trailer at E3 will erupt a crapstorm of vitriol. A change of devs will start doomsaying avalanches. A choice of distribution channels. From a bunch of idiots who really at root know zip about running a business. They mostly just like to listen to each other mouth off wise.

So when head start comes or beta or pre-beta, these guys descend like the school of piranha. They will get in as soon as possible. They will insist on top of the art graphics, performance, story, content, support -- but they will SKIP all of the two years of content that the devs put into the game.

Within two days, they have raced each other to level cap, where they will be ************ to the universe about how:
  1. It's too easy to get to level cap
  2. there weren't enough side quests even though they didn't stop to smell the npcs along the way
  3. the story (which they didn't read) sucked
  4. the end game is grindy and too much *and* not enough like WOW

And at this point, with all the variations on the theme (I'm sure you can come up with all the rest) they will call on the producers and the devs to have a summit with all the guild leaders to fix the doomed game, because only they can save the game. They will travel to Iceland or Austin or something, drink themselves silly, insult the female gender in any way they can in the majority, further confuse and ruin the game for crafters, roleplayers, people who like story, people who *do* spend time on content and so on, and then upon returning to the game and the forums, say no one listened to them....

And leave to destroy the next game.

I am tired of it. SWTOR did not fail the players. EA and a segment of players failed SWTOR. And that segment of players is failing the industry and will be making it impossible for a AAA game to get VC money within two years, I suspect. It's not a pretty picture in the industry right now.

/* retired game CEO and VP Marketing/Bizdev */
While I certainly agree with you on many of your points I don't entirely agree with you on everything.

Mostly this

Quote: Originally Posted by shava View Post
SWTOR did not fail the players. EA and a segment of players failed SWTOR. And that segment of players is failing the industry and will be making it impossible for a AAA game to get VC money within two years, I suspect. It's not a pretty picture in the industry right now.
As a gamer who has spent a few years playing games. Not trying to armchair this but from my own personal perspective. I'm seeing more of the same with a lot of games. AAA MMO is more of a marketing buzzword to get the kiddies drooling all over the new product. And very little variation in terms of game design, features and content is being produced.

Now, I understand that the industry would have to have certain standards and from a business perspective you want to take what your greatest competitor does and do that same thing yourself. The issue arises when your greatest competitor isn't exactly performing that well. When the target audience is starting to become bored and disinterested in what is being produced.

This is where innovation comes in. The idea isn't so much as to reinvent the wheel as it is to add some hot mags to it. Make it look cool and flashy and everyone wants that. More specifically, you need hooks.

SWTOR has one major Hook. Story. Now you could say, well it's got the Star Wars IP. That's a hook too right? It is, but unless you're a hardcore Star Wars fan that will pay for it because it has the name Star Wars. You're not likely going to hang around once you've consumed the main hook.

A bit like going fishing with a hook that disappears once the fish has had a few bites of the bait. You could say, well there is endgame and pvp. Sure they're also hooks but they rarely hold people's attention for long.

Pvpers tend to complain about pvp being unbalanced and flavor of the month classes before leaving for the next big pvp game (GW2) and PvErs tend to stop raiding once they've all got their top of the line gear.

In the end you've gone fishing in the hopes of catching a lot of fish. But sadly most of the fish ate the bait and got away. The solution, better hooks and more of them.