Analyst calls SWTOR a “highly derivative” clone of WoW and likely to miss 2011

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 20:43 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz has hinted in his latest financial letter that BioWare’s long-awaited MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, could miss its expected 2011 launch.

However, BioWare’s Greg Zeshcuk insists that EA’s guided the game “towards this calendar year,” but at the end of the day, “quality also matters, and quality of service just as much as quality of game.”

Development is going well, though, according to what Ray Muzyka told Eurogamer at E3.

“Things are tracking well. We’re progressing well. The fact we’re showing it hands-on on the show floor [at E3] is an indication of our confidence in the quality. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on that.

“We know how critical it is to launch as a solid game and then have really high quality service afterwards, too. We have plans to do follow-on content and things that’ll keep our players engaged and active for years to come.”

Creutz also stated in his analyst note (via GI.biz) that he came away from SWTOR playtime at E3 with the sense that it was a “highly derivative” clone of World of Warcraft, and “competent, but hardly breathtaking.”

“We got hands-on time with the game, and were largely unimpressed,” stated Creutz. “Despite promises from EA/Bioware that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the BioWare RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations.

“Granted, we were playing in a desert area, so other areas may be more impressive-looking… on the other hand we question why EA chose a desert level to showcase the title,” he wrote.

Back at E3, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer that SWTOR content was “getting there,” and that the firm was “pretty happy,” with what it was showing at the event.

“There’s always a lot of refining and polishing,” said Zeschuk of the MMO. “We’ve pretty well announced the whole range of features. There’s such an incredibly large range of things, like crafting, heroic combat, PVP, war zones, end game content – what we call operations, which are basically raids, companion characters, there’s all this stuff.

“All those things all together are looking good. It’s not just enough to make the game great. You have to give great service and you have to be able to support the game on a long-term basis. So we’ve devoted a lot of effort and thinking towards how we do that.

“The beta testing really is a validation of that stuff. At some point we’ll be ready to go.”

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