BioWare designer and writing director, Daniel Erickson, has said that most MMOs on offer today are lacking in the fun department, and this is something that the firm hopes to change with Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Speaking with CVG, Erickson said when MMOs were first announced he was expecting “giant role-playing games” and quickly found that most were not.
“In the early days when they first announced that there were MMOs, like the existence of them, I knew in my head what that meant – because I played role-playing games, i was just giant Role Playing Games,” he said. And then MMOs showed up, and it wasn’t that.
“It was the ruleset to an RPG: There was combat, and there were areas, but that was all. Someone had left out the module. There was no story, there was no point. You just kind of wandered around, and that hasn’t really changed all that much over the years.
“We’ve always had that thought in the back of our heads: That Old Republic should be all the things we thought an MMO would be in the first place – which is all the parts of an RPG. Which means – and this is the most radical idea – it should just be fun. Like, just fun to play. You shouldn’t be trying to ignore all of the content to get to the end as fast as possible.”
Erickson goes on to say that with SWTOR, BioWare wanted to give the genre a shot in the arm by not focusing so much on grinding like a lot of MMOs do, and by not setting any limitations on what could be done with it.
“I don’t think that [MMO creators] set out in the beginning to say: ‘Hey, let’s make this a grind. Let’s not have any interesting content here’”, he said. “A lot of the better ones more recently have interesting content for the first few levels, you know – and some of them for the first 20 levels, whatever. But it’s still not the interesting content you’d expect in a single-player game.
“The thing that has been a challenge for us on Old Republic is that people tried to convince us these limitations were canon – that they were to be respected, you know? That you could not, in fact, put interesting bits in an MMO because that was now sacrilege.”