The big news yesterday was the dropping of the Press NDA for Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. I read all the press reviews I could find; I’ll point to some of those later on, but almost all of them credited the storyline for pulling them deeper into the game. The game mechanics may be old hat, and the standard roles, dungeons and raids are present, but the story, by all accounts, is worth the price of admission.
I still fondly remember the story from the original Knights of the Old Republic. I played the game twice, once good and once evil, and the story didn’t change that much, but that was okay because it was a good story.
That’s really the job of an MMO, isn’t it? To give you something that gets you to log in again each day, and then when you shut the game down one last time, to leave you with some memories.
I don’t HAVE a screenshot of SWTOR, so up there is a shot of my DDO rogue with a Favored Soul hireling. We’ve destroyed a generation of kobolds and I made two new discoveries in the Sands of Menechtarum, but in a few minutes, I and my hireling would be dead. Stupid swarm of revenge-minded kobolds and their named chief…
News? We have that.
SWTOR vs WoW
Well, there’s just not going to be any way of getting around SWTOR for awhile. Not until June, anyway.
After reading all the SWTOR articles, Google Plusser Tasha Schmidt had this to say (unfortunately, I can’t link to it because it wasn’t public (until now)):
Going through all the new SWTOR articles after the embargo drop, I kept seeing the same question in the comments: “Why should I pay $15 a month for essentially a single player game?”
Simply, for a persistent world. Even if you play it mostly single player there is still something to be gained just from it being a persistent world. It can stop being just a game and start to feel like a real RPG where your character matters to you. Even if you decide not to participate in any group content, you will still have experiences with other characters who are not NPCs. This brings a certain level of unpredictability into the game that is just not possible with actual single player games. You can find a social guild and meet other people to share your experiences with even if you choose not to PVP or raid. People who can help you find that last elusive datacron, or suggest a fun path for your next alt.
She’s not wrong. Most MMOs these days are single player games played with other people. Especially toward the beginning. But I just imagine how boring the original Star Wars movie would be if Luke had to do everything alone. (Well, in SWTOR, everyone but Luke would be a scripted NPC).
Over at Player vs Developer, the Chartreuse Cingulata notes the suspiciously suspicious timing that puts Blizzcon just a couple days after SWTOR makes its grab for publicity. Will Blizzard announce their next-gen MMO, Titan, and push SWTOR news back to the dusty digital archives?
The Ancient Gaming Noob hopes so. He’s still reeling from the Cataclysm that killed his interest in WoW. A new expansion might do it… a new MMO, definitely.
Syp over at Bio Break has a good roundup of the SWTOR press coverage.
Tobold has done SCIENCE! to discover just exactly at what rate the global interest in MMORPGs has declined. But we must always remember that there are not “MMORPGs” to most people, there is only “WoW” and “games that just want to be WoW”. The genre went mainstream with WoW, and will become niche again as WoW fades away.
Then again, people are paying up to $180 on eBay for a single Blizzcon ticket… It can’t be doing that bad.
Millions and Millions
SOE announced that 20 million accounts have been created in Free Realms, which is by any measure pretty damn impressive. For comparison, Wizard101 made that milestone in July, which is cool, too. RuneScape, on the other hand, hit the 156 million account mark way back in 2009.
I appreciate that these are great milestones, but the only figure I’m really interested in, in a free to play game, is how much money they take in per user. Subscription games make $10-$15/month/user. We know F2P players pay MUCH less. If they can get away with it, they pay nothing at all. It’s the “Whales” that splurge on F2P games that keep these games running.
So, F2P games — how many whales swim in your oceans?
The Secret World
Funcom has been teasing us with news and forum games about their conspiracy-laden MMO, “The Secret World”. Ars Technica got a chance to see it in action at the New York Comic Con last week. People have been begging for a horror-themed MMO for years; will Funcom be able to deliver? High-profile misses like Anarchy Online and Age of Conan have made people understandably wary of Funcom’s ability to make a game as good as the hype. Ars thinks the lore might possibly be enough to make people overlook the wooden characterizations.
Well, people said that about Age of Conan, too.
MMOSite blurbs forthcoming Korean MMO “Bless”. According to the article,
“BLESS” aims to surpass not just the limits of current MMORPGs, but games as a whole.
Judge for yourself. Included in the “Bless” trailer, which in the grand old MMO tradition, contains no hint of what the actual game is like.
In this as in so many other things, EverQuest was a leader. After seeing the opening video below, people loudly wondered in Verant’s hearing why the GAME wasn’t like this?