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BioWare: The Old Republic is not premium MMORPG model swansong

Thursday, 29th September 2011 07:15 GMT By Brenna Hillier

While flattered by the suggestion, BioWare doesn’t believe Star Wars: The Old Republic will be the last major MMORPG to succeed with a subscription business model.

“Those are very kind words in a way,” BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told IndustryGamers when asked about Sony Online Eentertainment president John Smedley’s claim that The Old Republic will be the last big subscription MMORPG.

“I think there will always be a place for premium content at a premium price and that’s one of the differences. Free to play is very much about trial, about ‘Hey, I don’t know what this is, I don’t have confidence that it’s any good, but I’m willing to take a look at it,’ versus ‘I know this is good, from a trusted source, and it’s the biggest license in the world.’ So it’s a different value proposition.”

Fellow brand lead Ray Muzyka voiced his agreement, adding that premium titles need to “merit” the price tag.

“They have to earn that from a consumer trust perspective and delivering and exceeding expectations,” he said.

“It’s too early to call any business model dead. It’s like the line, ‘Oh single-player games are dead.’ They’ve morphed and they’ve changed into something different, but they’re still there,” Zeschuk continued.

BioWare and EA obviously believe in the premium MMORPG space, or they wouldn’t be launching The Old Republic, but Zeshuk said the companies have research to back it up.

“We think the market is ready for it. There’s a lack of something new and fresh and really powerful; we have research that shows that a lot of people have been waiting for this game,” he said.

“We’re seeing huge demand for it, and we plan to support it long term.”

Star Wars: The Old republic launches for PC in December.

Thanks, CVG.

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22 Comments

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  1. hives

    What about Guild Wars 2, dear BioWare? It’s not free 2 play, it won’t have subscription. And it is 100% proper MMO game with all it’s features. It’s even got MORE than TOR… (WorldvsWorldvsWorld PvP with FORTRESS SIEGES anyone?).

    #1 3 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    Proof will be in the eating when this goes F2P in under 12 months. Or offers free trials to try and lure players in. Free trials have their place and has nothing to do with ‘I dont have confidence that its any good’.

    Just because a studio has a big licence doesnt mean that its final product will be any good. Just look at the amount of shit movie driven games out there – most of them being Star Wars!

    If it wasnt for the free trial, I wouldnt have played Rift AND paid for 6 months to play it.

    I agree on price – which is probably why this is charging the same as WoW because clearly to use his words they cant ‘merit’ asking for more?

    Many MMOs that have gone F2P have seen a huge increase in their revenue because if players believe in the product – free or not, they will pay to play in it, be it a monthly sub or for additional goodies.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. hives

    @2 – It won’t go F2P. It already has broken EA pre-order record. And it is BioWare. And it is Star Wars. This will help it live long and prosper.

    It’s basically traditional MMO, it’s taking a lot of things from WoW… But well, seems to me that people prefer new games similar to other old games.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. GrimRita

    Breaking pre-order sales doesnt mean that folk will pay to play this once their first 30 days expires that comes with the game itself.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. viralshag

    Good lord you lot… it’s taken a lot of things from EVERY MMO OUT THERE. Just like any MMO, WoW wasn’t the first MMO in history. Please, once and for all, someone explain what it has “copied that isn’t an expected feature in an MMO.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. GrimRita

    Generic combat, clown costumes, raids, auction houses(!), class system, rogues(Smugglers/Agents with stealth!)WoW graphics, Taxi system(like WoWs flying mounts), entire themepark approach – I could go on.. ;)

    WoW was the first MMO to really bring some order to the complex MMO space. Im not saying that MMOs need to be complex but since its arrival, almost every single MMO have tried to copy the WoW formula.

    Bioware has done the same thing. I mean come on, 6 years in development to bring out something that isnt ground breaking or a real game changer. I’ve said it before, if you want to draw WoW players away from WoW, you need to offer something more than just ‘story’!

    Just to add.
    By creating their own ‘content’, players will become bored very quickly. The same happens with WoW. They release ‘another dungeon but with a different colour, rehashing the same ol’ mob’ and players will quickly complete it.

    MMO’s should be about also allowing players to do what they want without adding restrictions. Personally in SWTWoW, its sad that if you are say an Imperial, you cant visit certain planets and vice versa.

    In Galaxies, players could do what they wanted to do, make their own content – raid bases on planets without the need to be instanced away to some shame hole to capture a fucking flag!

    For a company like Bioware who prides themselves on being creative, I am left wondering if they left the word ‘creative’ at the door when designing this. When you play it, you will see for yourself

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    someone breaked preorder sales?

    Oh my god. WARHAMMER breaked preorder record so what? A HUGE failure on the giant brand from electronic arts.

    someone believe in this shit? Give me a break son. SW:TOR looks like a World Of Warcraft with lightsabers and you can’t do something about it. It looks generic, even more generic than world Of warcraft which is polished to death.

    Besides, if i want my WOW fix i will get my WOW or… i will wait for This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5e2OX9FUk

    which is going to be huge + it makes WOW mechanic much better (you can now shoot stuff using crosshair, dynamic combat system and huge Warhammer universe which people wanted for like 15 years already.)

    What is SW:TOR? Visuals that are worse than in 5-6 year old game… same mechanics and… Mass Effect dialogs. such a big deal for MMORPG.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. viralshag

    Yeah so you have pretty much described any MMO under the sun? Rift, WAR, Aion, AoC all had mounts, auction houses, clown costumes(?), classes, races, some form of taxi system… Next thing I guess will be to say an MMO that uses a LFG system is copying WoW.

    There is a difference between copying a game and simply using features that should be there anyway. If you don’t want any of what you listed above, then perhaps MMOs are not your thing.

    GW2 has pretty much all of the above too yet people don’t seem to get on about that.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @7, Aren’t you the one that’s always banging on about graphics not being the most important thing in RPGs? And that it doesn’t need FPS quality graphics?

    Or are you leaving the RPG out of MMORPG for the sake of this argument?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. viralshag

    @6, Well you can talk about how great Galaxies was and that was a really great dfining game of the MMO genre but really, where is it now?

    Don’t you think that if that was really what everyone wanted it would have managed to be more than a niche MMO that never really got off the ground?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    “Yeah so you have pretty much described any MMO under the sun? ”

    Absolutely not. Not every MMO out there is going by that road.

    Guild Wars 2 the most anticipated MMORPG of this generation is it’s own thing.
    TERA
    Runescape
    The Secret World
    Firefall
    TRIBES:Acscend
    Planetside 2
    World of Tanks

    are all different from your World Of Warcraft not to mention about interesting korean experiments.

    If you really are interested in different mmos check out this site: http://www.mmorpg.com/

    you can find so much mmo’s that have an absolutely different mechanic than WOW or WOW Rip Offs and they are more popular than all mmos you described

    “Aren’t you the one that’s always banging on about graphics not being the most important thing in RPGs? And that it doesn’t need FPS quality graphics?”

    you are absolutely correct and thats how it should be. But come on. Next Generation MMO that looks worse than 5-6 year old game is just ugghh… Besides even if WOW is outdated it’s art style is still unique and beautiful.
    SW:TOR art style is a WOW copy paste in most cases.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. viralshag

    And what is so radically different about GW2? Because from what I have seen, it looks very MMOish to me?

    And how in one sentence can you deisregard one MMOs art style even though it is out-dated and then compalain about another art style for being out-dated?

    Edit: Further to the above, after seeing the game in action, this looks so much better than WoW it’s not even worth making such a comment. What is the other option, to go a route like Rift and look more realistic?

    And yeah, ok, I will accept that there are different MMOs on the market. That’s fine and I don’t have any issue with that fact. But I still don’t think that just because one MMO has similarities to another, but also has some of it’s own unique ideas included, that it can be called a copy.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. GrimRita

    Galaxies did well. 250k players at launch – a record back in 2003. Before the dark times, before Julio Torres and his pissing WoW addiction. Thats what destroyed the game.

    As you’ve pointed out Viral, this is Star Wars – unlike the other MMOs youve mentioned(outside of WAR/AoC) and as the Dr’s themselves have said – this is a universe briming with adventure, planets, characters etc so there really wasnt a need to copy another MMO.

    Sure, there’s no harm in taking some aspects from other games(like every games company does) and improving on it. But this just hasnt improved. I’ve said in several posts before, combat could have been the game changer here since Star Wars is unique with its lightsabers and the use of ‘the force’ but instead copied the WoW formula.

    Once you look through the PR bullshit, you will see for yourself. And, I just wonder how long it will be before we have a (insert name of class here) revamp?!

    #13 3 years ago
  14. viralshag

    @ Grim, The thing is I don’t need to look past the PR nonsense. I’m honestly pretty sure I know exactly what I’m going to get. And I don’t even think that Bioware and EA are making this out to be something it’s not.

    The difference, it seems, between me and everyone else that seems to have a problem with the game is that they are looking for something completely new and innovative where as I’m looking for a decent solid “classic-MMO” experience.

    And SWTOR seems to have that, and more (story, companions, interactive dialog), so I don’t know why people feel the need to bash it for what it is.

    As Erth pointed out, there are new (and old), innovative and different MMOs out there for people to play. And it comes down to the fact that if there is really nothing here that is floating your boat, then maybe just give it a miss completely and wait for something like GW2 or The Secret World.

    I just don’t think it’s fair for people to bash a game for choosing to use a tried and tested formula. Let’s say for instance they choose to do something completely different and it failed, people would probably be complaining about the fact they chose the wrong art style or wasted the IP. Which can happen, just look at DCUO for an example. That wasn’t a run of the mill MMO and that flopped terribly.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. GrimRita

    I love teasing you viral :-p haha

    Bioware might not want to make a big deal out of this, but EA will.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. viralshag

    Haha, I don’t mind it. I love talking games and I probably do it a little more than I should at this time of day. Considering I’m supposed to be at work… >.>

    You’re playing Empire anyway, right? We’ll settle everything in game, when I stab you in the face with my lightsaber…

    #16 3 years ago
  17. GrimRita

    Yeah Im Empire. And it might take you a few tries, you know, what with lightsabers being like WoW wands in the game :-p

    I like the name Darth Rita haha

    #17 3 years ago
  18. viralshag

    I’m just going to ignore you now… haha

    #18 3 years ago
  19. hives

    @viralshag – But you surely see, that TOR is more “WoWish” than Guild Wars 2. The same PvP system (with the same award system – Valor points or some crap, same PVP items system etc), the same raid concept, the same skill concept etc. I am not saying that is wrong, I’m gonna play it for story, because it will be very good for sure… Yea, yea – it has space ships. But I’m talking about basic mechanics. Basic things like PvP, fighting with mobs or economy system.

    But on the other hand we have Guild Wars 2 with so many elements that aren’t in WoW. Massive PvP battles with sieges, unique skill system, underwater combat system, world chain dynamic events that really affect the world around you, big boss fights right from the start at level 1, awesome races to choose from with cool racial abilities (and in TOR we have… wow, greenskin humans and humans with horns!)… And all this without subs.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. viralshag

    @ Hives, Yeah you’re probably right and TOR is more WoWish but as I said, that’s not really something that’s a bad thing. I think there will be enough for it to stand strongly apart from WoW but obviously I will need to play the final product to be sure of it. I just think speculating that this is WoW with lightsabers is silly at this point.

    I also have no problem with GW2, I’m also looking forward to it. The only thing about that is from what I played, it didn’t strike me as anything new either. I mean, underwater combat isn’t anything new, I mean if you’re talking about copying things, just look at Cata and the entire area that’s underwater.

    Another thing I like about the classic style IS classes. I like playing as a healer, that’s my thing. The fact there is no dedicated healer class in GW2 is a little sad for me. It’s cool that there is clearly a focus on combat but that’s not always the main thing I’m interested in.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Klaxusprime

    The real frontier is about putting more freedom back into those games, like the freedom you had in Ultima Online and that got lost since the first Everquest, which put the basis Wow and all the other mmorpgs are still being built on. Mechanics have become boring and developers have not enough time to bring new content, so the only solution might be to inject the most creative ingredient possibile, human freedom.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. viralshag

    @21, While there is some truth to that I would agree with, it would definitely come down to how it is handled. I am very much a gamer that’s happy with final retial products that’s given to me by the devs.

    I’m not a big MOD fan and I’m not really a huge player-created fan either. While I’m not denying that their are people out there with amazing skill, it’s just not really my thing. A lot of the time I like games as they are.

    As I said earlier, agreeing with Erth, there are games out there that offer a lot of the things people are looking for in an MMO. I’m just happy with to try it regardless of what’s new and what’s not. If the game is good, the game is good.

    #22 3 years ago