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Blizzard: Old Republic can grow MMO market “if done right”

Friday, 18th March 2011 09:51 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Blizzard boss Frank Pearce has said BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic can bring in growth to the MMO market, but only if it’s “done right.”

Speaking to MCV, Pearce said the MMO, the biggest competitor so far to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, said that, as it was to Warcraft, building a universe that people hold dear would be a key driver for The Old Republic.

“This is a game that has an opportunity to grow the MMO market if done right and therefore is very important to the industry as a whole, not just EA,” he said.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime added the company hopes to see the title do well.

“It’s certainly a strong franchise and BioWare’s a great developer,” he said.

“We’ve talked about this internally and from our perspective we hope they make an enjoyable game because they’re going to bring in a lot of new players to the MMO genre, and those players’ idea of whether or not they like this type of game is going to be determined by that experience.”

Earlier this week, EA confirmed that 1.5 million users had signed up for the MMO’s beta.

It’ll release later this year, but not before July 1.

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15 Comments

  1. freedoms_stain

    Well, I can tell you right now Bioware, that woman in that there pic does not have big enough exposed cleavage. All MMO women require a minimum of a double D with a plunging neckline that travels dangerously past the navel.

    If you’re going to throw out the book on such a FUNDAMENTAL contemporary MMO feature you’ve failed before you’ve begun. Nobody wants to play an MMO if they can’t have ridiculously big hooters. FACT.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. StolenGlory

    @1

    Haha! Priceless :)

    #2 4 years ago
  3. RockTwist

    Well she isn’t even from The Old Republic MMO, that’s Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic on Xbox so umm yeah.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. frosteternal

    @3

    True although her lightsaber was yellow… Why’d they make it green here?

    Anyway I hope Blizzard is right, I also hope Bioware does this right and HOPEFULLY EA will have little say in the matter… Since it kinda ruined Dragon Age II… I hate EA -_-

    #4 4 years ago
  5. RockTwist

    @4 Not sure, was some concept art released near the time KOTOR came out, probably just changed it due to her class in game.

    Her direct descendant Satele Shan is the leader of the Jedi in Old Republic.

    http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/biographies/jedi-grand-master-satele-shan

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    Spoken like a guy who knows it won’t make a dent in his franchise :P

    @1 Double-D’s? Welcome to the 21st century! We’re talking at least F-cups now.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. RockTwist

    It’s more because competition is good, things have a habbit of getting incredibly stale if only one company controls the entire market. The more people different types of MMO bring in also increases the MMO player base which is win win for all companies – as when a gamers bored of one they often move to another. I highly doubt Blizzard want Old Republic to fail, they’re probably hoping exactly the opposite is true.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Zurtech

    @6

    I think he’s just pointing out the current state of the MMO genre has become quite complacent. And due to that the genre isn’t moving forward. I think he’s more interested in Bioware’s approach of making an MMO built around single player RPG style content.
    Only way to stop complacency is to have competition, and as he said TOR has the roots in place, a franchise people know with a lore they know and like, it already has customers just by being made. I think the “if done right” comment more refers to the tradtional RPG approach. Regardless if the average person doesn’t care for lore or story in an MMO the Devs do, and they want that story to be noted. People just don’t like reading a wall of text that basically says “go kill 8 pigs”.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. DSB

    @8 Really, you aren’t going to win people over by replacing that wall of text with a drawn out cutscene or dialogue interface. That’s just as pointless when you’re still going to be killing 10 rats. Nerds will appreciate that, but a hugely expensive MMO like this will need to bring in nerds, housewives, working fathers, bored gamers and clueless 13 year olds alike if it’s going to be competitive.

    Ultimately it’s going to come down to how fun it is to run around and kill stuff, how well engineered the endgame is going to be, and how much content there is to do both.

    I doubt that Bioware really think they’re going to create a monster simply by adding some voice actors and writing a novel for them to speak.

    I think it’s a little naive to think that Blizzard are going to look to Bioware to bring the genre forward. And all indications thus far are that Bioware are aiming to ape WoW’s gameplay, and just wrap it nicer. Morhaime is just being the bigger man because he’s quite confident that he can afford to.

    A bit like a soccer coach who knows his team is going to demolish the opposing one.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. RockTwist

    If Bioware bring in new people to the MMORPG genre, that’s good for Blizzard in the long run. It expands the market – i’d be suprised if Blizzard are playing the ‘bigger man’. The bigger the genre the more money they make, competition is good. Regardless of what you or I, think of Old Republic, it *does* appeal to people WoW does not.

    Sci-Fi Fans, Star Wars Fans, Bioware Fans – there’s a lot of potential new customers to the genre Blizzard will hope to win over with ‘Titan’.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Zurtech

    @DSB

    Sure TOR is built on the core mechanics of WoW. The player gets a quest, does the taks assigned, receives xp and is award with an item or in game currency too. this is repeated til the player reaches max level. Quests fall into catagories of kill mobs, kill mobs and collect a unique drop or loot items located within the world. That is literally all WoW has tho in terms of PvE level up content. Story segments are few and far between and the player has no impact on the overall story arch or questlines.
    TOR adds more traditional RPG elements to this, a story arch that changes to the player’s actions and/or choices. The voice acting and camera angles add a more immersive cinematic experience, the ability to change these cutscenes with dialog choices also keep replays fresh and give the players differing outcomes, which in turn re-enforces the action and consequence system common in many RPG titles. If anything this makes the experience more dynamic over single player RPGs due to a lack of quicksaving/laoding if something should happen due to a decision the player made. This does add replay value, coupled to the add feature each class has their own story and also has exclusive companions who in turn have their own stories all with varying conclusions.
    Bioware have said several times, they’re not wanting TOR to “take on WoW”, they want it to be alongside it. Bioware have also stated they want a more mature userbase. This was one of the design decisions behind the story cutscenes and conversation choices. The players who play WoW to grind in dungeons at end game and just rush through it all won’t want to sit around and see the story unfold before them, they are not the target audience of TOR and never have been. TOR has been aimed at RPG gamers and people who want to quite simply chill and see a story and have an active part in it. This is exactly what Morhaime is gettin at when he says about “if done right”. This brings new players to the MMO genre, it beings a new experience to current MMO players and it brings competition to Blizzard, which means the genre and potential profits go up. Players will and do try other products within a genre, only fanboys stay to one product and as such they’re the only ones who miss out. It’s all just basic business at the end of the day, competition means a growing consumer base, which in turn means the a healthier market.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. DSB

    Ultimately, if SWTOR gets a million subscribers, those subscribers are still going to be playing the very same stories in the very same world. It might be closer to a classic RPG, but it’s still not going to be anything like the original Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

    They might have a few linear arcs to choose from, but ultimately they’re going to have to end up in the same place. According to what Bioware has shown of that common end so far (basically nothing) it would seem to be with very little real consequence.

    It will certainly be more complex and extensive than WoW, but is that always a good thing? Do you want to go through a neverending web of cutscenes just to level up a different class? WoW might be bare bones, but the simplicity isn’t neccesarily a bad thing to those who play long enough to make that second, third or fourth playthrough.

    The problem with the statements you mention is that they don’t correspond to what they’re actually doing. By all accounts, SWTOR will be the most expensive game in EAs history, and that neccesitates certain expectations, that most certainly have to include WoW as the marketleader to beat.

    They don’t want to be the “cute” or the “intellectual” MMO, they quite obviously want to be “THE” MMO.

    I agree with you on the “if done right”, though. I just strongly doubt that it can be done. At this point the untapped userbase seems fairly limited, and like I state above, you’re going to need everyone and their grandmas to meet expectations.

    That’s not to mention the fact that the limited gameplay SWTOR has shown so far looks just like WoW with lightsabers, which also seems to be Ricitiellos pitch for the game.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. hitnrun

    @10 I’m not sure about Blizzard, necessarily. They’re hardly an “MMO company” – they’ve made one game. Sure, it’s the current undisputed king, but if you’re an MMO veteran you know that doesn’t mean anything. Titan won’t be any more immune to the prejudices of players who prefer their familiar grind than all the other “WoW-killers”, or the aspiring “killers” of previous kings. They’ll have to re-catch the lightning once they let it out of the bottle.

    @10, 11 That’s certainly possible, but the rub lies in the phenomenon of players coming to the genre and promptly leaving once they’re done with their niche. Forums are full, for example, of Japanophiles whose MMO experience is limited to FFXI or Phantasy Star Whatever. (Star Wars nerds who only played SWG are out there too, but in smaller numbers. You’d think Blizzard fans who only ever play WoW will be nonexistent, but I guess we won’t find out until WoW is eventually dethroned.)

    #13 4 years ago
  14. RockTwist

    @13 I’m most definately an MMO fan. I have no preferred company, nor am I under any illusion Blizzard are the be all and end all. I just meant purely from their perspective they’d want the market to expand so the market is ‘tappable’ for their next MMO. As someone else said, if it’s a sci-fi, then TOR will have a base they could advertise to.

    I just truly believe, people are underestimating The Old Republic. As an ex WoW player of 6 years, it and Guild Wars 2 have got my attention as to my next MMO fix – and considering only one has a sub fee i’m free to try and hopefully enjoy both.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Zurtech

    In terms of End story, no-one can say for certain how that will play out except Bioware and I doubt they’re gonna tell people what the end climax is. All we know is that it has to be open ended, so neither of us can really comment properly on that. But I do get where ye’re comin from tho.

    And not at all, simplicity is good, but the amount of times you can replay the same things before they start to get repetitive can and does happen, it’s why WoW is loosing subs as it is, even with the changed low level content in Cata. As ye said about the second third and fourth playthroughs, that is something TOR has been made with in mind, the class specific stories and exclusive companion stories, those do add some variety to each playthrough.

    If you’ve noticed whenever there’s talk about TOR taking on WoW it’s always EA who say that, Bioware always say they want to be along side WoW and talk about the player base they’re aiming for. So sounds to me it’s the normal EA suits not knowing what the target audience is or fully knowing about the product in question.
    Quite simply Bioware seem to want to put the RPG into an MMORPG. There’s only one quest I can think of in WoW that gives the player choice, and that’s the one in Hillsbrad where the player can either play whack-a-mole with farmer’s heads or pluck them out the ground like a Pikmin.

    As for the limited gameplay, I get where ye’re comin from again, but personally I’d have to disagree, companions alone change that imo. The player is no longer force to be a tank, DPS or healer, the companions can take these roles on leaving the player to take a preferred role, it also means dungeons can be played with no need for players to be specific roles. Add to a few small mix ups of what the standard is in terms of ranged tanks and healers that can fight and not just stand in the corner and it’s hardly just “WoW with lightsabres”, it does try to experiment a little.

    #15 4 years ago

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