In light of my post from a few days ago I think it necessary to expound of my viewpoint a little more. I think it’s a valid point that someone reading that and nothing else I’ve written about SWTOR might assume that I believe it’s going to be a terrible game. Let me be clear–I do not. Bioware is a very mature and well respected company with a long track record of award winning games under their belt. They’re renowned for the quality of their games, like another certain game developer called Blizzard. Like Blizzard, Bioware had no previous MMO experience when they announced their MMO, and as we know, Blizzard went on to dominate the MMO landscape. I believe a good part of how an MMO prospers is rooted in its lore, which is something The Old Republic obviously has troves of. It’s also an intellectual property that people can easily invest themselves in.
So the door is there, and quite inviting. But as Mythic, Funcom and Turbine found, lore simply isn’t enough to keep you once you enter. They also have to build an engrossing and entertaining game that delivers well enough on the tenants of player desire. Deliver on those to one degree or another and your MMO will become just one among many others in the market. Deliver well on them all and you become the market leader. It would be foolish to assume that timing doesn’t have it’s place in this discussion, because very clearly it does. It’s no longer 2003 when Blizzard had just a handful of competition from which it needed to differentiate itself. It’s now 2009 when the market is flooded with competition, and to make it worse, you have to compete against other games that have had years of polish and content added. In other words, any game that comes out now has a higher hurdle to overcome if they wish to grow beyond the glut into a truly upper tier game.
The devil is in the details, and that is entirely what we’re all waiting for with baited breath. It’s not enough to simply know that PVP, or crafting, or an economy will be present. But it is hopeful when we see statements from Bioware that they understand what has been released thus far looks surprisingly like a first person game, instead of an MMO. It means they are fully aware of the criticism, the expectations, and the desires of their community members (and the market) and should be working diligently to ensure a truly entertaining and original game is developed.
That is fully my expectation, and I have no reason as of yet to believe that won’t carry it out. I have my concerns, and we have only to wait to see them addressed.