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BioWare feels MMO comparisons to WoW are “inevitable” with SWTOR

Thursday, 19th May 2011 21:58 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

BioWare’s Greg Zeschuk has said it’s “inevitable,” for a new large-scale MMO coming out to be compared to World of Warcraft, and Star Wars: The Old Republic is no exception. However, the co-founder of the RPG studio believes that since its MMO is “using the biggest license in the world,” SWTOR is a different kettle of fish.

Zeschuk, speaking with Gamasutra, said that while the comparisons were inevitable, the key focus for the team is to innovate and make the player feel special through their hero instead of just one of a million others.

“The key thing for us is to also innovate in that new stuff,” he said. “I try to use the word “carefully” in touchstone in that. You can go too far. … WoW in particular, one thing is, it has set consumer expectations. It also set a set of conventions of gameplay that have been experienced by millions of people. So, you know, you pay attention to those things, but while you’re paying attention, you’re doing your own thing.

“I think that’s actually one thing I’m excited about, particularly, with TOR. It is a very different experience. I think that anybody who plays it for any length of time, it’s pretty remarkable, because they actually come away [impressed]… I think it’s the strong, individualized heroic element is so powerful in the game.

“It’s obviously a BioWare game. Then you think of that in an MMO space, people have trouble conceiving it until they actually play it, and they go, “‘Oh, now this makes sense.’ It’s very, very compelling. I think it’s different. I think WoW and all the other MMOs, they have the same sort of challenge… there are thousands and thousands of heroes. You don’t really feel special. It’s an amazing experience, and it’s really rewarding and fun, but you just don’t feel special. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Ray Muzyka, also part of the interview, said that the common reaction BioWare gets from fans when they play it, is that “frankly once you’ve tried it, you just can’t go back,” he said.

“You don’t want to try other MMOs anymore. I think that’s what imbuing the game with a sense of heroic purpose and identity achieves. We’ve got the best-of-breed features from other MMOs, progression, exploration, customization, combat, and trying to use the conventions that make sense to players for accessibility wherever possible.

“We’ve layered on an amazing Star Wars story that’s set thousands of years before the movies, so there are a lot of opportunitie — [you can] have like Sith and Jedi, galactic conflict and all kinds of cool shit. It’s a really exciting time to be in the Star Wars universe. And then we’ve imbued it with that sense of heroic purpose. Once you’ve tried it, there’s no looking back. You really want to keep playing that new approach to MMOs, I think that is really refreshing.”

The full interview is through the link, and it’s worth the read, especially if you are interested in The Old Republic.

SWTOR is expected to release before year’s end, with the “outside chance” it could slip into January 2012.

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6 Comments

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  1. TheWulf

    They’re inevitable because Bioware went out of their way to make the game as WoW-like and as welcoming to WoW fans as bloody possible. They literally went out on a limb to do so. Extra effort was put into combining WoW with Star Wars, in regards to everything from the horrible visuals, to the grind, to the pointless feel of it all.

    Sorry Bioware, that 90 minute video was a tell all.

    And Bioware? That’s no excuse. You can’t compare Guild Wars 2 to WoW and they’re of the same bloody genre – they’re both fantasy. But you can’t even begin to say that GW2 is like WoW, as each game there does its own thing which is very different from the other. I’d even go so far as to say that aside form genre, GW2 is the antithesis of WoW.

    No, comparisons to WoW are inevitable because it looks and plays like WoW.

    If you didn’t want that Bioware, you should’ve developed the game differently. Right now I can’t understand why Bioware aren’t embracing this and saying that yes, they made it like WoW so that it would be welcoming to WoW fans. Corporate logic is baffling to me.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    I watched the hours worth of leaked gameplay of TOR and I can honestly saay after seeing it I can’t wait to play this game.

    Haters gonna hate.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Hunam

    We all know you’re nicer to Bioware than the rest of us though…

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight

    @3

    I wasn’t going to get this MMO from all the videos and info that has been trickling out nothing screamed “SOLD” until I watched those videos.

    Well they put out quality games, I have yet to be disappointed by Bioware games even with DA2 and it being tushed by EA they still put out a game I enjoyed even more so than the original.

    SO yes I am nicer to Bioware because I have enjoyed their games, the same goes for any company that has put out quality games. I am not by any means a fan boy I know Bioware has faults just like any other company does. But I have enjoyed Bioware games still even with their faults.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Hunam

    I like what I’ve read about the game too. Mostly how the story and universe are still there. Even if the PvP and MMO stylings are kinda broken because I don’t care about that so much.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. RockTwist

    Don’t get the hate for the game personally, I don’t see anything wrong with going the ‘theme park’ route – some people like it some don’t. I’m looking forward to it, as are my friends and some of my family. I’m also looking forward to Guild Wars 2 – being free to play means I can try both (when time permits). Whatever floats your boat, i’ll personally enjoy beheading someone and delivering his head to his wife as my Bounty Hunter when the games finally released.

    #6 3 years ago