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Why Class Stories and Companion Arcs Are Dead

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Why Class Stories and Companion Arcs Are Dead

Tsillah's Avatar


Tsillah
12.26.2013 , 07:20 PM | #21
Quote: Originally Posted by JMCA View Post
snip
Right now you make some claims upon which you then build your conclusions, however your claims are at least partially incorrect.

Makeb offered no new romances. Just some flirt options.
Although there were no new class missions there was a story for Makeb and the story of the Dread Masters was more than just random dailies.
The game didn't go F2P. It added F2P options but if you look at the game it's still a sub game with F2P options that have strong limitations and are geared towards bringing people to a sub.

These are the most important mistakes in your reasoning. Class stories and companion arcs are not in the plans as we know, but there is no saying what will happen in the future. At the same time I am not holding my breath.

What I will say though is this. Next year will be a rather crucial year to the game in my view. The first year was clearly a disaster of almost biblical proportions. You may not believe that they were losing money but the massive reduction in servers was not in our imagination. F2P options were added and a cash shop to bring the game back on the rails. Even Makeb was originally at a cost.

This has changed now. Whereas year 1 was about pure survival (and the signs were all there), this second year has been about repositioning the game and making it financially healthy and giving people more content. Galactic Starfighter is an entirely different type of activity for the game. The new operations were not simply rehashse of previous ones either and were indeed part of a larger story arc.

And that brings us to the conclusion of this year and the beginning of the next. The game has a foundation to build on now, but what will they do with that? Currently there is nothing much on the horizon. Sure, GS will be expanded upon shortly but obviously that can't be it.

The current operations won't last forever and people have been voicing their wishes. A clever Bioware will see these opportunities. We shall see. But the reality at the moment is that we have a solid game at the moment that needs to keep growing and to be honest, we don't really have any idea at all what BW are planning next.

My guess is that another digital expansion should be in the make already and come out by April or so, just like RotHC was this year. We had stuff to look forward to during the summer, we got a continuation of that for the winter but at this stage we don't know. Where is this game headed next year?

A very interesting question indeed if I dare say so myself.
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Damask_Rose's Avatar


Damask_Rose
12.26.2013 , 08:48 PM | #22
As a non-raider I find Oricon to be very worrisome. I am very afraid that all story content is going to be locked behind raids since those are easily repeatable and it looks like the only content on the plate is repeatable content. If you just look at the solo story on Oricon it is very short, generic and unfinished. (And I think the NPC is hysterically poorly chosen for his role. He looks like a beatnik, not a scary sadistic sith!)

While I agree that class & companion stories are dead, I don't agree that we should just live with it. If those of us that want more individualized stories shut up about it, the devs will claim we never really wanted it and are perfectly happy with daily terminals. Which is what they did with Makeb. They are big on twisting logic. Makeb succeeded DESPITE not having class & companion stories, so they are claiming it succeeded BECAUSE it had no class and companion stories.

Darth_Wicked's Avatar


Darth_Wicked
12.26.2013 , 08:53 PM | #23
Quote: Originally Posted by Damask_Rose View Post
As a non-raider I find Oricon to be very worrisome. I am very afraid that all story content is going to be locked behind raids since those are easily repeatable and it looks like the only content on the plate is repeatable content. If you just look at the solo story on Oricon it is very short, generic and unfinished. (And I think the NPC is hysterically poorly chosen for his role. He looks like a beatnik, not a scary sadistic sith!)

While I agree that class & companion stories are dead, I don't agree that we should just live with it. If those of us that want more individualized stories shut up about it, the devs will claim we never really wanted it and are perfectly happy with daily terminals. Which is what they did with Makeb. They are big on twisting logic. Makeb succeeded DESPITE not having class & companion stories, so they are claiming it succeeded BECAUSE it had no class and companion stories.
I honestly believe the point behind Lord Hargrev was just to promote one of the new - silly(!) - hairstyles available, plus the Eradicator armor set, sans the body chest, which looks fairly hideous truth be told with that Inquisitor light armor piece.

Also, kind of a disservice to the voice actor himself, having in mind the terrific job he did on other characters, such as Darth Vowrawn or Lord Palladius. Whenever you are supposed to take him seriously, having in mind the fact he got awed by the DM's might, the only thing you can notice is - yet again - the silly hair, plus the poor general appearance of the character.

annabethchase's Avatar


annabethchase
12.26.2013 , 09:46 PM | #24
Talking about opportunity cost without some solid numbers of how much it would cost to make various types of assets is frankly a waste of time.

If we assumed the following would cost about the same to make:
1) a 1, 2 or 3 planet expansion, whichever it actually would be
vs
2) Galactic Starfighter

and we've just seen that 2) did nothing to increase active concurrent users, wheras little old 1 planet expansion of Makeb did at least increase active concurrent users even with a fee to access it, then Bioware did in fact make the wrong expansion content for end of year 2013. However, due to lack of what we actually were asking for in Makeb, that expansion only really brought most players 1 month of happiness.

So Bioware needs to really focus in on what the majority of paying customers are saying. When we say Story, dig deeper and find that most people want stories similar in style to the original class stories, even if they are no longer unique to just your class. But actually acknowledging that your character is a BH as opposed to a Sith would go a long way to making the same story unique enough to pursue 4+ times per faction instead of once per faction. Another example was the mini-games, which I suppose is what the seeker droid/macrobinoculars are called. Those weren't enjoyable and were not the type of mini-games people were asking for. People were asking for card games or racing games, very clearly and honestly those are quite reasonable for the genre.

Based on the data I see today, 12/26/13, I'd have to say the next expansion will be a planet based expansion that extends the PvE solo/group optional game as that was easily the content that netted the most revenue of the 2 expansion ideas so far.

However, sometimes it's better to realize that a full scale expansion with tons of expensive to produce content would actually be able to be sold for a purchase price and drive subscriptions longer than these mini expansions. For evidence, see almost any successful MMO with a revenue base equivalent to 500k or more subscribers (with or without F2P) to see that a large expansion has a predictable and large income associated with it. This runs the gamut from WoW to LOTRO or FFXI.

TLDR - If you build what customers want, they will show up
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Zorvan's Avatar


Zorvan
12.26.2013 , 09:55 PM | #25
.....

annabethchase's Avatar


annabethchase
12.26.2013 , 10:08 PM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by Zorvan View Post
Doctors? Gone.
The writers who wrote all of the original stories, class and otherwise? Gone.
A good chunk of the original coders and artists? Gone.
True, they'd need some additional employees and that costs money, but EA is a major studio with lots of money to allocate to various game projects and they simply have to assess what SWTOR could bring in profit with it's next major expansion. Because without a major expansion, the past few months downward trend in concurrent users will start to become more serious.

So how does a business like EA consider: If they invest X $'s in SWTOR today, will that make them a profit that is worth their time and effort? If so, what would be our expected profit return on that project? That expected profit is typically referred to as ROI, return on investment.

Let's say for an investment of $20 million they could make a major expansion that would be projected to earn 135% of it's cost in 1 year. It also would have upside beyond that 1 year if it contributed to subscribers staying engaged even longer than that.

EA would then compare that cost and ROI with other games they are currently weighing a greenlight for. Obviously they aren't dropping any of their major annual titles, but what do they invest all of those resources that were going to NCAA football now that the franchise had to be cancelled? SWTOR is likely a much safer bet than starting a brand new game they may be considering. Because I assure you, a business like EA could care less if it's making a football game or an MMO, all that speaks to them is how to make the biggest profit with the lowest risk.

Now I'm not saying you reassign a bunch of the employees that were doing NCAA football to move down to Texas. But you do re-allocate that budget to some project, and SWTOR is a likely spot. EA will not choose to make less games in 2014, all major companies tend to constantly strive to expand their size not shrink it. So that budget is going somewhere.

At this point, I think they have some clear and actionable data on SWTOR that shows what would be a low risk way to bring in a lot of cash, and that is a sizable expansion with chapter 5 of the storyline.
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lStillWantMySWG's Avatar


lStillWantMySWG
12.26.2013 , 10:10 PM | #27
this game is an MMOrpg when it laucnhed it was basically 90% rpg and 10% mmo thats why ppl left en masse but good thing bw canned that 4th pillar for the most part

Wishiwas's Avatar


Wishiwas
12.26.2013 , 11:28 PM | #28
Quote: Originally Posted by lStillWantMySWG View Post
this game is an MMOrpg when it laucnhed it was basically 90% rpg and 10% mmo thats why ppl left en masse but good thing bw canned that 4th pillar for the most part
Thought that was what most players came to the game for? I came cause it was gonna be another kotor not cause of it being a mmorpg but cause it was suppose to be kotor 3 4 5 6 7 and so on. The problem they ran into is instead of doing voice acting and cut scenes for just the main story lines and the flashpoints raids they did it everywhere. Was really kinda a waste to do so honestly. Should have taken that out and they would have had alot more money and time to do more important things. The game itself is niether really all that great nor is it all that bad. But to cut out Story line which is what I think bioware has always done best is really stupid.
Daforge Starrider

Everyone Dies, some just cry more....

Phrase's Avatar


Phrase
12.26.2013 , 11:37 PM | #29
Quote: Originally Posted by Sangrar View Post
its an MMORPG, its supposed to have both though, the rp part which is the stories and MMO part which is flashpoints, heroics, ops, warzones, world bosses, and the fact that you can group up with anyone at any time. Besides, they haven't abandoned ship, GSF is proof they did not abandon ship, we have even gotten 2 new companions (before someone starts going "but their not class companions" what would happen if say, only the knight could get HK? The other classes would yell and kick " I want my HK!")
Actually this proves that the remaining (and replacement) dev team got the hint and has moved towards more mmo type gameplay. The stories make for a good leveling experience--the best of any mmo I've played, but it's unsustainable as a growth model or major paradigm (or pillar or w/e) without near constant level cap increases (and the attendant balancing issues, power creep, etc.)

All of the recent content you mention isn't at all related to class specific story content, which is how it should be imo. In fact, I think they should be going more sandboxy and less on rails themepark story.

And as another poster mentioned, all of the previous story team, except Hall Hood are gone and my guess is he writes the major arcs for the dailies, fps and ops.

And both Doctors so grossly miscalculated the heavy reliance on single player story that they've left the gaming industry entirely.

Sixgun
The Bastion

OddballEasyEight's Avatar


OddballEasyEight
12.27.2013 , 12:32 AM | #30
Quote: Originally Posted by lStillWantMySWG View Post
*snip*
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