One the one hand, I feel bad for BioWare since it’s quite clear that EA forced their hand to release the game for the holidays. On the other hand, BioWare knew what they were getting into when they jumped ship. To be a fly in that room when they agreed to sell their soul. Their games were amazing, wholely solid and wide in scope. Maybe they just needed more capital…we’ll never know.
Back on topic. TOR mouthpiece James Ohlen (since Georg is German and some people have trouble with his accent on this side of the ocean) did a piece with Massively. It’s all about selling path 1.2 which is supposed to launch in March. We’re half-way through March and it’s not on the test servers…
Some of the more interesting points I read, my comments in italics:
- huge scope, needed to push date to test more – should have been in launch
- test servers are empty, looking at ways to get people there – character transfers or pre-made 50s
- surprised at the amount of level 50s – really? lots of people hit 50 in the beta, even with multiple wipes
- need a dungeon finder, goes in patch 1.3 – I know a lot of people who won’t bother with this game until this feature is in
- they want to have it as an e-sport – that ranks with some of the dumbest things I have ever read
- going all out in 2012 – yay!
The main thing here is that BW is simply admitting that their game wasn’t ready and won’t be ready for some time. It looks like there’s a struggle of power between the devs who know there are some massive things needed and EA who just wanted money and pushed a game out the door. If you look at the guild summit notes (10 pages of it practically) you can see that many people have the same concerns.
If you want to compete with WoW/Rift and other themeparks MMOs and charge a subscription, then you need:
- dungeon finder
- guild tools
- non-combat content (achievements, pets, mounts, exploration)
- bug-free raids
- max level access to test servers
- working auction house/sales platform
- useful tradeskills
- logical statistical distribution on gear
- progressive, logical structure to level 50 PvE and PvP content
You don’t need 100 raids or dungeons. You don’t need 100 PvP zones either. You need to give people choices of what they want to run. I saw Huttball about 90% of the time because my server was Empire dominated. I saw Voidstar about 3 times total (out of a solid 60-70 matches) and that zone was fun. Choices and specifically logical choices, need to be abound.
It’s not easy and BW is clearly wanting to go down that path. Sadly, they are going down that path 3 months (in 1 week) after the game launched. Here’s hoping patch 1.3 is enough to bring people back.
Oh, and TOR is free to play up to level 15 this weekend.