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From a Goldman Analyst Perspective on SWTOR

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
From a Goldman Analyst Perspective on SWTOR

Bodypull's Avatar


Bodypull
01.05.2012 , 06:06 PM | #1
Greetings,

Before I start …

1) I am level 50 (Jedi Knight / Sentinel)

2) I have PvP'd to Valor rank 38

3) I have my professions maxed, all datacrons found and most quests in game completed

With that said …

We all know this game has many bugs and many things that feel / seem unpolished and unfinished. Conversely, what seems unfinished to one person might seem perfectly fine to another (Hardcore vs Casual perspective as one example of contrast.)

My post is about the universal functionality that causes most Western market MMO's to fail. I make a great salary predicting this, as most games are initially supported by VC funds, PE funds and other sources of investment, all of which I consult and broker.

I have a great track record dating back to World of Warcraft (for successful bets,) predicted the demise of Vanguard, Aion, FF14 and Warhammer. (For advising not to invest.) Some of the reasons were, of course, Western gamers “dislike” grinds and Eastern specific functionality inherent in Korean and Japanese titles attempting to monetize Western markets. That which is commonplace in the East is moderately tolerable in the West, but ultimately rejected, when it comes to certain aspects of the gaming culture.

That aside …

As an investor, I look at 3 metrics (in MMO's and MOBA genre titles.)

1: Audience

2: Market Share

3: Long term sustainability (after initial growth.)

Audience: When you lease an automobile, you either return to the dealer 12-36 months later to buy or lease again (or go elsewhere,) this is called "lease loyalty" and is often identified with the Brand, salesperson or financial constraint. The connotations of the first two are positive in nature, the second, neutral and not applicable to this discussion. Companies such as Blizzard (for example) are successful because they "know how to talk to the people." They have an audience and cater to that audience.

What Bioware failed to do was capitalize on there audience and relied on Brand recognition (which is questionable.) This was countered by the negative association of the Electronic Arts brand and clustered by the involvement of Lucas Arts. (a too many Chiefs and not enough Indians syndrome.)

So what was left in this wake were Star Wars fans, KOTOR fans, and people curious to start a new game (MMO) from the on start. Unfortunately, most of these "New" players have played Polished MMO's, and have come from other titles to give this one a chance.

Like the test drive, if you have the money, you need to be sold from the start. (And most have the money to purchase multiple games and pay the subscription for the one they ultimately settle on.) The salesperson, the test drive ... it all needs to make that first impression, or for the most part, people will return to what they know and like, and reject the new endeavor for reasons such as those found all over the SWTOR forums and this post.

We were sold on Star Wars, but the test drive (and lets be honest) is lackluster at best. The audience has spoken on the Forums – about things we dislike and want changed immediately. (Would you settle on a car that had a bad test drive if you could afford something better?) Bioware runs into two problems here

1: Engineer talent (are they talented and efficient enough to overhaul and change what’s needed to be changed?)

2: Budget (Are enough funds committed to make the changes happen, or are they hedging there losses and preparing for the worst case scenario already?)

I suspect it is a bit of both, I advised all my clients to divest of anything to do with EA and Bioware for this vary reason. They needed to attract more talent from the star, BETA test at least another 5-6 months. They should have overstaffed to deal with forum moderation, customer service and bug stomping, among other issues.

These issues, listed above, are only the tip of the iceberg; there are some major flaws in this game that are causing droves of customers to leave.

Some of them, but not limited to …

Combat: In both PVP and PVE, the non fluid ability delay is game breaking in design. It’s workable albeit annoying and needs to be changed. The game will not be successful long term in its current state. The lack of auto attack is one thing, but the ability delay is too much to swallow.

Grind: At 50, HM's, PVP ect all become long grinds ... this will cause some to stop playing or eventually lose interest, not due to the grind, but thru faction imbalance, class imbalance and gear disparity in warzones that get boring fairly quickly. (The same maps can be fun if the issues states are resolved, which all link to root and main caused, such as slow combat.) This issue is further compounded by non 50’s facing 50’s in WZ’s.

Lack of Community: No server forums, sharding and lag in non-sharded areas ... well, this is a problem … a very huge problem. Community is a huge part of any MMO, the excuse of (“we cannot moderate separate server forums” and “we don’t want to build community on the forums,” is a load of BS, and as an investor question the companies availably of resources, fund and confidence in product.)

Lack of Customer support and service: Auto Droid ticket response after 3-4 days is unacceptable. Not being able to speak to a GM, a human being or call into the call center is very problematic, and brings for the concerns of the previous item.

Ambiguity: What abilities do, lack of metrics and logs to analyze what occurs in game, no visibility on the future outside secretive of the cuff comments made by some developers ... sorry, learn to talk to the people please, the current state in this respect again, is not acceptable in today’s MMO market.

Questions?

How do we get white and purple crystal fragments? Are they in game? Do we need to reverse engineer for them? Questions like these should have answers, even if the answer is "sorry, they are not implemented in game yet."

End game Ops bugged, Heroic FP's (some encounters) overturned for 2 weeks now - this is unacceptable, sorry. These are the initial OPS, not newly implemented expansions or patches. No excuse.

I could go on about the negative niche and non universal things, but that becomes somewhat ideological in essence. The point here is that, this game has potential that is being squandered daily, and people are responding by leaving the game. Most will not return, and this is proven by 10 years of MMO's failing and the habitual patterns of the market / MMO audience, which is about 24-28 million world over.

On a personal note; I am willing to give the game a chance, I am staying to see / hope they make these changes and improvements.

On a professional note: The damage has already been done, and the chance to monetize on this game / company is long gone.

I think Bioware knows this, and it wouldn’t be justified by a company / business to allocate funds to a project that doesn’t have long term growth and sustainability.

WOW grew to 11 million. It started at much less. Aion started with 3.5 million, shrunk to under 350k. SWTOR 4-5 million, and is shrinking daily. This shift alone is problematic and often spells doom and gloom for an MMO title. (Just something else to also keep in mind.)

The number of subs that are required to sustain this title and the number of subs required to allocate funds for further development is unknown. I assume they will make a profit, but at the cost of quality in customer service and support, delaying game changes and fixes and also delays in other areas.

This wasn't as "bad" a launch as many other titles that have been released, but they didn’t get it right either. There are plenty of other options for current customers and even more on the horizon. I hope other companions look at what happened with this game and learn from the errors. Bioware needs to stick to games they do reasonably well, such as Dragon Age. This game would have been better if they consulted with Aion's engine / combat team and hired some folks from Blizzard or other like companies. The current talent pool and experience level of key people it seems is lacking, and the management team pushed the game in a direction that many dislike.

If Bioware decides to make another MMO, I hope they base it off ME or DA. If they think they can save the game, then they need to allocate the funds, take the game off line for 1-2 months and relaunch it. Otherwise, we all need to learn to enjoy mediocrity and a game that might have been.

Good day and see you all later.

Sinius

Bodypull's Avatar


Bodypull
01.05.2012 , 06:09 PM | #2
The forums here move too fast ... too furious :-)

Concede's Avatar


Concede
01.05.2012 , 06:15 PM | #3
actually it makes a lot of sense. if i were an investor i wouldnt look at especially the sustainability of this game were i to invest. also like he said bioware knows the game is shrinking therefore preparing for the worst and by cutting support they can still make a profit from the game

Tenceriker's Avatar


Tenceriker
01.05.2012 , 06:16 PM | #4
Oh great another know-it-all OP. This is surely new and original.
Relabeling future patches as Expansions, just like EA Louse said a year ago. Who got the last laugh?

Concede's Avatar


Concede
01.05.2012 , 06:17 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Tenceriker View Post
Oh great another know-it-all OP. This is surely new and original.
if you were a investor would you invest in this game?

DarthBiz's Avatar


DarthBiz
01.05.2012 , 06:17 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Concede View Post
if you were a investor would you invest in this game?
yeah.

DarthBiz's Avatar


DarthBiz
01.05.2012 , 06:18 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Concede View Post
actually it makes a lot of sense. if i were an investor i wouldnt look at especially the sustainability of this game were i to invest. also like he said bioware knows the game is shrinking therefore preparing for the worst and by cutting support they can still make a profit from the game
I'd be surprised to learn that the game is shrinking already.

Xugos's Avatar


Xugos
01.05.2012 , 06:18 PM | #8
Good post, and great to see someone with a grasp of market knowledge posting on the possibility or lack thereof of SW:TOR to succeed long-term for once.
Vorps
The SW:TOR Fanboy:
"EVERYONE, BACK THE !@$# UP! MY OPINION IS FACT!"

Concede's Avatar


Concede
01.05.2012 , 06:20 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthBiz View Post
yeah.
care to tell why? pretend you are a consultant and i come to you asking should i invest in swtor how can you win me over also know that you are competing with tc who is another consultant i consulted before i come to you. (pretend)

what tc typed out cant be done by someone without market investing experiance.

Xugos's Avatar


Xugos
01.05.2012 , 06:20 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthBiz View Post
tl;dr

guy thinks he knows urrythang
He knows more than the proponents of the success of this game combined. I wouldn't be so dismissing.
Vorps
The SW:TOR Fanboy:
"EVERYONE, BACK THE !@$# UP! MY OPINION IS FACT!"