SWTOR – MMO subscriber numbers “are funny things,” lots of “variables to consider,” says BioWare

Friday, 1st June 2012 21:47 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

BioWare’s Emmanuel Lusinchi has said there are many variables and metrics when it comes to figuring out how many players an MMO such as Star Wars: The Old Republic has; therefore, when a number is provided by the company or a retailer, it’s not the full picture.

Speaking with Spong at MCM London Comic Con, Lusinchi said that while he is no expert when it comes to subscriber numbers, he is given feedback when it comes to gameplay events, such as the Rakghoul Plague.

“Subscriber numbers are funny things. How you count them – the math you use – really matters, and there are lots of variables to consider,” he said. “Such as, people that simply subscribe compared to people that actually buy the box. There are very different numbers out there, and you should be smart about which one you use when you talk to the press.

“All games of this nature, have a set of variables that are constantly changing. You will have a certain number of people that buy the box and never install it. I know it sounds strange, but it happens. There are people that play it, and then decide after ten minutes that it’s not for them – that’s a small percentage, but every game has them. Finally you have people who play for a couple of months, finish the story, and then be done with it.

“All of those are natural things to be expected, and they will all impact the subscriber numbers, depending on how you’re counting them in the first place.

“I do get really good feedback – what we call metrics, or telemetry – that allow me to actually do my job. So it’s more interesting for me to get feedback on how many people played the Rakghoul Plague event, something that happened a few weeks ago. To know if people who hadn’t played for a while came back just to play that… was it so that we had a surge in subscriptions so that maybe people that lapsed came back… I get to know how many people – what percentage of people – participated in it, and how many people finished it. And that’s a number I can work with.”

There have been many analyst reports over the last few months citing drops in subscription numbers for SWTOR. Recently, a SWTOR player took it upon himself to do some server population figuring, and found that the average game server has 344 players online at a given time.



  1. OlderGamer

    Sounds like excuses to me.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    Wow, floundering much?

    Just to help out, here’s how you count subscribers: One, two, three, four, five… etc!

    If you gain one, you add one. If you lose one, you subtract one.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Sini

    this mmo is trash, to say that it thought it could compete with wow, even though im bored of that game by now, just outright insulting.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    Translation: Our numbers sucks. Here’s some excuses as damage control.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. mad1723

    They can add the spin they want, TOR is not doing well (at least not nearly as well as EA had hoped) and now they are trying to constantly justify the losses of subscribers because the game has nothing special over any other MMO apart for the story system.

    They made a big mistake going pay-per-month and I think they are slowly realizing it now.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    I said from the start that this MMORPG will fail at the same level Warhammer Online failed.

    It’s exactly THE same situation. The only difference is that EA used Blizzard marketing campaign that worked for World OF Warcraft 6-7 years ago.

    There is so much hypocrisy.
    Also, game is Crap.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. TheWulf

    The obvious truth is the one I pointed out: WoW clones absolutely cannot work, ever.

    Bioware even went so far as to call those who weren’t trying to make WoW clones idiots, but that was terribly ironic. The reason for this is because WoW fans will never stop playing WoW. They physically can’t from what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a couple of truly terrifying cases of WoW addiction and it’s just something you can’t break.

    WoW fans may claim to be bored and they may look at another game for a month, but they’ll quickly go back to WoW and they’ll wonder why they even left in the first place. There are people who’ve been playing WoW and almost nothing but WoW for almost six years, now, who’re experts at things like raiding.

    You can’t budge these people.

    That it might be a large number of people is somewhat scary, yes, but I prefer not to think about it. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.

    So the only thing you can do if you want to be a success is do what ArenaNet is doing. You target one or more of the other three demographics by making something that’s the stark opposite of WoW. Something that isn’t designed to be addictive or grindy, something that’s just plain fun, and something where it takes a reasonable amount of time to complete a majority of the content in the game (due to a lack of padding).

    So, what are these demographics?

    1. Those who tried WoW and really didn’t like what they saw. (Me!)

    2. Those who’ve played WoW, finally broke the spell, and are now completely sick of that kind of game and never want to play WoW or anything remotely WoW-like ever again. (One or two friends of mine.)

    3. Those who don’t like what MMORPGs are because they just don’t appeal to them, or they’ve had friends who’ve been sucked into MMORPGs and they don’t like that, they’re afraid of the addiction and the grind. (Most of my friends.)

    WoW is a game that can take a good few years to ‘complete’ due to grinding and padding, but even when you get to the end there’s no closure. Blizzard promise that there might be closure somewhere down the line, maybe in three or four expansion packs’ time, but there never is. And the addiction of grinding just keeps people playing until they get that closure.

    This is what keeps those who aren’t already WoW fans away from WoW.

    If you want to make a successful MMORPG, you make it without the grinding. Max amount of play time? Somewhere between 60 and 120 hours, around what Skyrim and similar games would last. Remove the padding, remove the grinding, and ramp up the fun. And provide an ending (something ArenaNet plan to do, as they did with their original Guild Wars campaigns) so that people feel they get closure.

    I feel that Guild Wars 2 is going to be amazingly popular with all the people who just won’t touch WoW. But chasing the WoW market as Bioware did is fool’s gold, because you can’t. WoW fans won’t ever stop playing WoW.

    They’re playing it now, they’ll be playing it in a year, they’ll be playing it ten years from now. And the only time they might stop playing is if Blizzard decides to shut down the servers because they feel that they don’t have enough people subscribing to Titan.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight

    Yeah its full of fail yet they are making a major update for September release along with an expansion. Yep, EA just keeps investing into a failed project.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. freedoms_stain

    @8, Like it hasn’t been done before? Final Fantasy 14 anyone?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight


    When WAR failed what did EA do? DId they continue throwing money at it? Oh wait no it didn’t.

    BTW SQuare Enix the developer is not a prime example of anything. They always throw money at something in hopes that it would return a profit. FFXIII-2 anyone?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. facebook

    Here’s how you get the number, Lusinchi: count how many people paid for your game last month. That’s what subscription numbers means.

    Pathetic. This is pretty much proof that
    1) the game is failing
    2) the numbers they have been reporting are total BS and worse than they say (Ricitello admitted as much months ago but people still somehow think they had 1.7 million)
    3) fudging the numbers is hardwired into their mentality

    If the numbers were good, bioware of all companies would be shoving it in people’s faces, being obnoxious about it, and paying off Kotaku and Escapist to report about it constantly. The game is dead.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. facebook

    Square Enix have stated they will fix FFXIV out of duty to the customers who bought such a crappy game, whether or not they make a profit they owe it to the people who bought FFXIV.

    FFXIII-2 was meant to address some of the criticisms people had for FFXIII. It wasn’t meant to be a huge profit maker, or else they’d have worked on something else. You’re pretty clueless, dude.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight

    It took you what 2 seconds come up with that name? How original of you.

    “FFXIII-2 was meant to address some of the criticisms people had for FFXIII. It wasn’t meant to be a huge profit maker, or else they’d have worked on something else. You’re pretty clueless, dude.”

    Yep thats why they took their time and made a game within a year to fix those criticisms when FFXIII took 5 years. Totally shows they want quality, oh wait…

    #13 3 years ago
  14. facebook

    Most of that 5 years time was building the engine and a tortured development. XIII-2 was about 18 months. They addressed issues and criticisms and moved on. Anywho, you contradict yourself when you say they “throw money at something” and yet had a short development time. Short dev time entails a smaller budget. And of course the damn sequel is going to take less time to make.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight


    It took less time because they were using twice the man power then they did for the original which means wasted money especially since the game didn’t make a profit. Wasted investment.

    FFXIV took 3 years to develop that piece of crap and now they are on their 2nd year of development trying to fix the entire game which its not going to be as big of a success as FFXI especially since the game can now be bought for less than 10$.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. facebook

    Now you’re just making shit up.

    Anyway, this article is about bioware being full of shit like they always are.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Phoenixblight

    Yep totally making it up.

    “Development of Final Fantasy XIII-2 began in April 2010 and lasted 18 months. The game was unveiled at the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier in January 2011. tri-Ace was hired to help with the game design, art and programming.”

    #17 3 years ago
  18. facebook

    That means they hired tri-ace. Nowhere does it say they doubled their man power. Christ.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. ambibalent


    Yeah you mean that HUGE update with…….. legacy stuff and one or two dungeons….. HUGE!!!!!

    Sorry but Swtor is already repeating the cycle of many a WoW clone that have come before, we get constsant updates the first months, everything goes steady, then a few months in many players leave, we get slower and slower updates and then the company releases some bad news, a quarter of their staff has been laid off, but this is just regular procedure righ? nothing is going wrong righ?

    WRONG. after the next patch it’ll just go into maintanence mode, EA just leaving it to stagnate and hope everyone forgets it, so they can repeat the process anew and fail again.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Phoenixblight


    Instead of one studio they used two to make a game where the original just took one. That to me means double the man power.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. ambibalent


    I forgot to mention, swtor’s budget was several times bigger than warhammer’s, of course they aren’t gonna let the most expensive game ever dead in the water without fighting for a little more.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Phoenixblight


    It had already made up most its cost in development long before the actual release due to the preordering of the game.

    “quarter of their staff has been laid off,”

    WHere did you get this info, out of your butt? No numbers have been released officially. Nice try though.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. ambibalent


    “It had already made up most its cost in development long before the actual release due to the preordering of the game”
    How delusional can you even be, swtor got 1 million preorders, not even close to paying for the game
    That’s not even counting marketing.

    And as of now the number of layoffs is estimated around 200 people

    But Ill guess we won’t know until EA talks

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight


    That number is not even close as I have two professors that work on the project and they would have mentioned a number that large.

    “How delusional can you even be, swtor got 1 million preorders, not even close to paying for the game”

    When you preordered the game you had to pay a fee to reserve the order guess where that went? THats right to the cost of development and btw the preorder number was in the range of 1.5-2million million. Not sure where you are getting 1 million unless you are using Vgchartz which is moronic.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. GrimRita

    Theres no point debating this with PB. He is a fanboy. The facts speak for themselves – numbers have dropped like a stone because the game is simply shit.

    Nothing to do once you hit lvl 50 – didnt they mention they have ‘years of endgame content’ – where?! Broken PvP – hopefully they lost their jobs because they simply dont deserve to work with MMOs ever again after fucking up both WAR and now SWTOR.

    Sales – 2.4 million
    Those who played at launch – 2million
    ‘active’ subs at Feb – 1.7 million = 300k
    ‘active’ subs at May – 1.3 million = 400k
    ——– Total – 700k loss of players

    These are EA’s figures.

    I saw IGNs review for Tera the other day and I cant believe the fucking cheek those losers have. EA throw huge amounts of cash at IGN to push SWTOR and they score it a 9/10 – LOL. Tera gets a 6.5 without the advertising spend.

    I havent played Tera but 6.5 for SWTOR sounds about right – if not a 5. Its probably one of THE worst triple A MMOs in recent times with about as much creative flair as Eastenders.

    When the next set of figures are released, EA will be shitting themselves because I think this will drop under 1 million. PB doesnt even look at the forums, so he doesnt see the full picture – the players are screaming for server mergers, which like most stuff in this turd is ‘coming soon’!

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Dragon246

    Final Fantasy 13 and 13-2 were great , albeit different from generic JRPGs especially 13. People are scared to try something new, that is why some people gave it a bad name.
    Also from where did you know that 13-2 did not make a profit? Did your professors told that to you?

    #26 3 years ago
  27. silkvg247

    @GrimRita TERA is actually quite good, I’d give it an 8 myself. Nothing ground breakingly new with the questing and stuff, but it’s pretty and the combat is really fun.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. The_Red

    I agree. I don’t like MMOs but the combat in Tera was rather fun. Felt a bit like Kingdoms of Amalur but this is actually an MMO while Amalur was a singleplayer game.
    Also Tera has CRAZY Korean art style. Really different visuals compared to WoW and SWTOR.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. GwynbleiddiuM

    And you know to help the number of subscribers grow we totally IP blocked some regions, that gotta help a lot. pokerface.jpg

    #29 3 years ago
  30. facebook

    “Instead of one studio they used two to make a game where the original just took one. That to me means double the man power.”

    I hope you don’t actually think this. Please tell me you are smarter than this. Give yourself a little credit and don’t act like a total retard just so you can feel like you won an internet argument.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. facebook

    The true numbers are probably even lower, since as we can see Bioware likes to count inactive accounts and such. They apparently have no idea how to count. Ricitello already admitted back in march that the real number of people paying was half of what was reported as “active subscriptions.” 1.7 -> .85 in march, plus a drop of 400k, means they probably have at most about 500k and that’s being generous.

    Bioware/EA does not get the full $60 from the sales. You know nothing.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. Phoenixblight


    #32 3 years ago
  33. Hunam

    All I know is that on a Saturday afternoon in the busiest part of the game of what was once one the busiest servers in europe, there were 19 people. It’s getting grim. Even grimdark.

    #33 3 years ago
  34. GrimRita

    Im kinda pleased that SWTOR bombed. EA’s arrogance has filtered right through Bioware and the attitude of ‘it will sell because its Star Wars and Bioware’ did ring kind of true, but gamers are clearly not prepared to pay for something that isnt worth the money – despite the constant carrots being dangled with their ‘its coming soon’ bull shit.

    Just look at the new trailer for 1.3. Jesus, they make it sound as if they listened to the community, when essentially, they are introducing tools that they were too lazy, or too stupid, to have in place at launch.

    The problem is now, there wont be hardly a soul left to benefit from them.

    From EA’s point of view, this could be very costly in terms of share price and investor trust going forward since that is all EA care about – oh and metacritic but they just use black mail to get high review scores, when essentially this game sucked, added to list of failed MMO attempts. Give up EA, because you simply do not understand the MMO genre

    #34 3 years ago
  35. Phoenixblight


    THe SUb number is still 1.3 million.

    “The Old Republic is in EA’s top 10 franchises in terms of profitability, “but it’s not in our top five”. “So it’s a business contributor, while important, is not as important as Medal of Honor or Battlefield or FIFA or Madden or The Sims or SimCity, but it’s more important than Tiger Woods PGA Golf.”

    “Countering this, though, was what Gibeau described as “very good retention” of “core MMO users”, resulting in a “solid” base of around 1.3 million subscribers.”

    “EA boss John Riccitiello weighed in on the Star Wars: The Old Republic success debate, saying the game was “very much in line with our original assumptions”.”

    #35 3 years ago
  36. DSB

    @34 I don’t have any warm feelings for EA or Bioware, but I think it’s kinda tragic. It can’t be very fun to work at a place like that. Or going to press conferences, and having to deflect questions like that.

    It’s a case of the safe bet being the worst bet. SWTOR just wasn’t new. Making WoW with lightsabers just isn’t enough to caper subscriptions away from anyone, which is really the requirement at this point.

    I’m sure that some part of the market has transitioned into F2P, but the vast majority still belongs to WoW. Clones like Rift can work if you don’t sink 500 million dollars into it, but then you’re also deliberately settling for less.

    Someone needs to put their dare-pants on when they get up in the morning, and make an honest attempt at moving that genre forward. You can’t expect to be successful doing what everybody else is doing, when that demand is already being met.

    #36 3 years ago
  37. Hunam

    It was just the same thing that happened to Warhammer. Great launch, first 4 months with busy servers as everyone works through the content then everyone get top level and top gear and realises nothing is coming any time soon and buggers off back to WoW.

    #37 3 years ago
  38. Hybridpsycho


    You must have been playing a different game. WAR wasn’t at all busy the first 4 months. They had far to many servers and the amount of players you ran into in-game was OK at lvl 1-20 (I was on one of the “busiest” servers). After level 30 there was hardly anyone to play with, took ages for the not-so-hardcore players to get to the same level as the more hardcore ones and they hardcore players quit.

    Anyways, tried SWTOR it sux and it’s a WoW clone. You can’t replace a game that’s been out for 5+ years with a copy of it. They should’ve done something new.

    I hoped Blizzard doesn’t copy their own game with their Project Titan, but instead does something completely new MMO-wise.

    #38 3 years ago
  39. Dragon246

    The sales were lower than 13, but it means it does not give a profit? It was one of the most profitable games for SE in fy 2011-12.
    Get your facts right.

    #39 3 years ago
  40. TheWulf


    Unless you realise that subscriptions are a notion of pure folly and thus go with a different transactional model. Like League of Legends did, in an ethical way, much like Guild Wars 2 plans to do.

    If you do that then you don’t need to steal subscriptions away from anyone. And if you market the game at people who’re sick of the MMORPG standard, then they won’t be subscribing to anyone, anyway. As much as you seem to get that SWTOR is bad because it’s WoW with lightsabers, you’re still a bit of a part of the problem, and I hope you understand that.

    A clever developer won’t be looking to steal subscriptions away from anyone, but will be looking for a new financial market that involves a new demographic. This is what makes me think that GW2 will be tremendously successful, in part because it’s a really fun to play game that avoids the grind and padding of traditional MMORPGs like WoW, but also because it avoids the massive con that is the subscription. A massive con that people are finally waking up to.

    A subscription doesn’t do anything other than help execs and shareholders buy their expensive luxuries, anyway. Very, very little of it goes back into the game, we’re talking like under 1% if I remember SOE’s numbers, and I can’t imagine that Blizzard is any different.

    I just think that the subscription model is dying because people are finally twigging that it’s not buying them anything.

    I mean, one can pay a subscription of $15 for six months ($90) and get maybe a dungeon out of the deal. Or, for $5-10 you can get a dungeon or mission pack of the same length as DLC. This just shows how cheaply that content is produced, because the quality of the Guild Wars mission packs were frequently on par (and beyond) the quality of their competitors.

    Furthermore, with that model, you get an expansion pack for around the $60 mark which includes new zones, new playable races, completely new forms of content, and likely an entirely new world landmass. As was the case with the Factions, Nightfall, and Eye of the North expansions for the original Guild Wars. That’s still $30 less than paying for that subscription for six months.

    Subscriptions are an artefact of traditional MMORPGs, and to move away from the horror of traditional MMORPGs, it’s also a good idea to move away from subscriptions too.

    #40 3 years ago
  41. TheWulf

    Also, on the topic of TERA…

    It’s an interesting beast, that’s for sure. But I’m not a fan, personally. Part of the reason is that whilst, yes, the combat is really interesting, it’s still got the same tried and tired old questing system that WoW had (and that’s the part I hate the most about MMORPGs). It’s still so much of the ‘go and kill 20 critters who’ve raped my daughter but are now innocently standing around in a field’ kind of thing. That’s what bugged me about it.

    The other thing is that whilst, yes, the combat is kind of fun, it’s also not very tactical. It’s button smashing combo stuffs, it feels like God of War and thus it’s more of a pure reflex test, and one that reminds me of the old ZX Spectrum Track ‘N’ Field, where you’d spam A and D (I think it was?). It looks flashing, and sure, smashing buttons fast does feel good, but there’s very little tactical depth, just as there wasn’t very much in Amalur (as Yahtzee points out in his video review of it).

    This is why I prefer Guild Wars – you can’t button-mash and stunlock your way to victory. I know this from the beta weekend, if you don’t keep your wits about you, dodge, and work with other people doing clever ground-targeted area heals and cross profession combos, you’ll die quickly. That’s the weird thing with Guild Wars 2 – you can’t zerg it, you can’t button-smash it. If you do, you just fall over and die. DAT SHAMAN proved this, and he was relentless.

    And you have to dodge in GW2 too, if you see an incoming attack and you don’t dodge it, it’ll very likely either kill or nearly kill you. There are a hell of a lot of attacks in Guild Wars 2 that can take away 50% or more of your health in just one hit. It’s all about understanding the battlefield, spatial awareness, being observant, and working with other people.

    Plus, it avoids the usual trinity system, which TERA still has.

    I kind of liked where TERA was going, but once you scratch the surface of the button-spammy combat, there’s a hell of a lot of the usual MMORPG trappings that all traditional MMORPGs have had. Quests especially. But in playing the beta weekend of Guild Wars 2, I honestly can’t say the same about that. GW2 is the first MMORPG I’ve had fun with in a long time.

    Again, all of this is why I expect it to be really successful. It’s not going to be successful with the people who expect to smash buttons, stand in one place, and win, of course, but you can’t please everyone.

    #41 3 years ago
  42. DSB

    @40 That’s like comparing grinding in an indian casino on a holiday, to playing high stakes poker for a living.

    The profits you see with micro-transactions are infinitely smaller than those of a subscription, and if nothing else, that’s because the model is so much more inefficient. A pure subscription model monetizes 100% of your userbase, whereas a micro-transaction model targets maybe 30% at most, and this will generally be in the form of smaller transactions.

    Something like an optional online newspaper subscription targets 15% of the userbase, so putting it at 30% is really just for kicks.

    Obviously ArenaNet aren’t willing to risk people not buying their stuff, or using their real money auction house, which is really the only way to explain the Activision-level pricetag that they’ve adopted.

    It ensures that every user provides some kind of profit, even if he drops out after a few hours, and never buys anything.

    It’s the same reason why subscription MMOs do it, and I think that’s a pretty idiosyncratic way of looking at your business. Both are making money based on the number of users, so wouldn’t it make sense to let absolutely everybody play, without putting down 60 bucks?

    The only logical explanation is that they fear they might lose money, by people leaving the game early in the subscription, or not buying the goods.

    You’re really just mistaking one kind of greed for another. That’s sycophantic bliss.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. Grimspiller

    Swtor has only lost so many subs for two reasons.

    1- They opened way too many servers at launch to make everyone happy because too many were complaining about server wait times. Then making the horrible mistake of not having a way to merge servers when the rush calmed. I would say 75% of subs lost were players refusing to reroll after spending too much time making their mains. We will see how many come back after 1.3 patch

    2- The ASA factor (Anti Swtor Factor) I have been a gamer since cassette drives on old atari computers. I have NEVER seen so many people ever spam hate threads about a game. Its like all the WoW,D3,Tera and GW2 fans all made a union to get on the hater club about one game. Of course it would effect the games subs. People that never played the game are taking advice from so many(which never even played it)

    Personally i played WoW for 6 years..i just simply got bored of the WoW theme. I like Swtor. Yes its alot like WoW, but its not 6 years old..its still fresh to me. I don’t care if it isn’t around in a few years..cause it will probably get boring to me by then as well and hopefully a new game holds my appeal.

    I stopped playing Swtor a few weeks ago because i made 2 lvl 50′s and my server lost alot of numbers. I couldn’t stand waiting so long for PvP q’s and playing the exact same teams. So i bought Diablo 3 to hold me off till maybe merges or GW2.

    D3 i played for 2 weeks..I doubt i will ever play it again. Its so simplified..kite and 2 buttons 10000 times.

    I ended up rerolling a toon on Swtor on a populated server. Its like a whole new game again. I love it. So i guess I will be playing it till GW2 comes out..then ill probably give it a i said im a gamer. I try alot of games.

    My biggest worries with GW2 is the lack of abilities you have in your arsenal. Think its 8 at one given time. Also the fact there isn’t a Trinity. Im sorry..but with out Trinity your just another number on the field. I find there to be a place of belonging having a certain purpose on a team and guild.(Tank,Dps,or Healer)

    Summing up the post. Hopefully gamers start to let games actually speak for themselves and people stop just trying to troll games to be part of the in crowd..i really do hope success in all games that come out because each appeal to certain players and it isn’t fair to those consumers to have their games destroyed by opinions of many who haven’t even played it. Just people that are bored trying to bully fanbois lol.

    #43 3 years ago
  44. facebook

    Only those two reasons? Really? Because they opened too many servers, and because of the “ASA” factor?

    Ever thought that maybe it’s just a shitty game that didn’t deserve it’s praise or the hype or the sales?

    #44 3 years ago
  45. GrimRita

    @42 The failure of SWTOR isnt just two reasons – the 2nd one being plain daft. Its about endgame. There simply isnt any. Despite the Bioclowns stating that they have ‘years of endgame content planned’ – where?

    When I called SWTOR – SWTWoW, I meant it because I knew that essentially thats what it would be and as others have pointed out – if you’ve sunk 5 years into WoW, you simply wont go to another MMO and sink more time in to doing the same kind of crap you’ve already done before.

    Anyone brave enough to take part in the trials wont stay because theres no one around, nothing to do and its all but impossible to get a group going.

    If EA/Biofail are serious about saving this game, then a Summer relaunch with free to play is the only option they have because as it stands, patch 1.3 isnt the Cavalry and given their track record thus far of lying, they will probably pull the plug on stuff the night before.

    If you look at the link PB posted @34 – that kind of arrogance from the Biofail dev team demonstrates how out of touch they really are. Casual leavers, what utter bull shit.

    #45 3 years ago
  46. Kalain

    How can the game have failed when there are still, reported, 1.3million subs? Since Rift has less subs than SWTOR, is that a failure as well? Going by your logic, it is.

    The only people who know the true number of subs are the people who are running the game and not random Joe.

    IS SWTOR good, it is in it’s own way. Will it ever have huge acclaim? Probably not since it was hyped way too much. Are there problems? yes, all MMO’s have issues depending on who you speak too.

    I wish most, no, all MMO’s would follow Turbine’s lead and allow free-to-play, in-game currency microtransactions and subs. DDO and LOTRO have, last time I read, quadrupled their player base due to their system. You give the players the choice of the way they want to play and what to pay for. It brilliant, in my eyes anyway.

    #46 3 years ago
  47. GrimRita

    @46 – Rift isnt a huge triple A MMO gunning for WoW like SWTOR was. And 1.3million subs currently, wait until its been out 12 months – like Rift and lets see just how many are still playing. Either way, to lose 700k of subs inside your first few months is a huge slap in the face. And as another sub period draws to a close, more and more and leaving.

    Sure, any developer/publisher can run a successful MMO with small numbers – no arguements there – but when EA took on SWTOR, they wanted to topple WoW, despite what bull shit EA said in the media.

    SWTOR is a frustrating experience. I did enjoy some elements of combat but the rest of it was way below average. Had this been released in 2003 in replace of Star Wars Galaxies, then probably things wouldnt have felt so out of date.

    F2P is the ONLY way forward for any new MMO imo, thus allowing players to pick and choose how they spend their money(if they wish). But you have to give credit with GW2 – making people pre-PURCHASE the game to get into beta, giving them a small cash boost – very clever indeed.

    As I said earlier – if SWTOR is to regain some credit, Summer relaunch – F2P, server merge/transfers (Daniel Erickson said they could have a super server – LOL what a prick. The game engine is too clunky to have 50 people on the screen at any given time, let alone 51!)and it might just be able to claw back some numbers – apart from that, its free fall all the way….

    #47 3 years ago
  48. DSB

    @46 Making Rift cost roughly a 10th of SWTOR.

    #48 3 years ago
  49. Kalain


    I agree that EA did want to topple WoW and I knew they wouldn’t due to the amount of backwards look they were doing. When you look at how many subs were lost, it’s generally best to compare as a Percentage and not as a whole number. Saying 700k makes people go ‘Woah, Fail’ like you do, but when you have that as a percentage it’s still over 50% of the player base.

    How many subs did WoW/Rift/ST:O/Conan lose as a percentage? I’m going to guess that it’s going to be around 30-40% mark, otherwise they would struggle. At least in my opinion anyway. Now, I’m not defending what they are saying about subs, but you really do need to take things like this with a pinch of salt. Subs do not make a game good.

    I didn’t enjoy RIFT. I thought it was a blatant copy of WoW and, if it had come out at the same time as wow, I would’ve played it instead. Rift was dull, uninspiring, boring, head-bangingly crap and felt like I had just wasted my time on it. It has the same gameplay as Swtor and WoW, and please don’t deny that it doesn’t because it uses the same MMO mechanics. To me, Rift should’ve done something more unique, but it doesn’t.

    I agree with your F2P statement, but, as I said in my previous post, if others followed what Turbine has done, then I’m sure they will see an increase in profits as players.

    If Rift is to gain credit with me, it should go F2P straight away. That’s my opinion.

    @48 Yup, I agree, it more than likely did.

    #49 3 years ago
  50. Bobbo

    This article, like many articles Ive seen popping up, totally misses the major points as to the huge drop off of this brand. The latest bean counter version is that 40% of their exit interviews (which I took one, very poorly designed) say the monthly fee was the issue. In less then one year, EA and TOR’s senior management continue the spin machines and sadly, the media continues to buy it, unchallenged, hook-line- and sinker. The issues are absolutely NOT that they over reached on the use of the SW brand but rather, they did not leverage the SW brand anywhere near what the could have and should have, given their lead up marketing. The issues are not around some quick turn monetization model, the latest of which is F2P. Im sure some MMO F2P types will save this brand on a basic level. But there is a VAST difference between saving your butt financially and an MMO truly becoming all it could be.

    The bottom line, EA just doesnt get it on a multitude of levels and I see no sign that will ever change. If I had more time, I would take the recent interview that Ohlen (TOR) gave and rip it to shreds piece by piece. Why? Because he stated they always wanted to be an MMO first. Really? Is that why about 60-70% of the assumption a player can make about what they will experience as “standard” among all MMO’s is still nowhere to be found? And, frankly, I blame Lucas Arts who twice now, has surrendered the Star Wars MMO licensing to firms that that are notorious for horrible service; SOE and EA. Bioware was a great call, but for whatever reasons, that was not enough.

    Article after article by BEAN COUNTERS cite stat after stat, or make the issues about things that never address the CORE GAME MECHANICS and the GLOBAL ATTITUDE which better define the real truths behind the massive failure of this MMO. I cant imagine what all these hard working (many of them now laid off) devs and visionary managers must feel like to have something they cared so much about, shattered into pieces after years of work. So lets look at just SOME of those bottom line issues, randomly presented, as I did not have time to prepare for this article.

    #1- The current mentality is to INVENT Star Wars content versus truly giving players/fans the Star Wars we know. When you constantly invent outside of a powerfully established context, you’re asking people to learn about and embrace your version of the cannon versus offering players the ability to enjoy fully, the SW experiences they want to play. The story arcs that Ive played, three in total, are very good and very iconic. Some of the side quests score decently well, in this regard. But for the most part, this game is KOTOR on steroids and not even close to an MMO experience. Once you make it to 50 to include end game content, the game just falls flat on its face in terms of it being a SW license and as an MMO. And slapping up some typical MMO end game raid, one that has all the huge monsters they swore they would not delve into, makes no sense.

    A very good example of this mentality is what appears to be an invented planet that they are choosing to launch, which is being marketing as an all PvP planet. They are obviously playing to the quick fix, heavy PvP crowd from which F2P will bode well with (for minimal cost), which has nothing to do with truly offering the Opus of Star Wars experiences. Put another way, they way they have chosen to “fix” the game is a TOTAL FAILURE TO TRULY DOUBLE DOWN ON OFFERING A SUSTAINABLE STAR WARS EXPERIENCE that keeps a core base coming back for more. Had they launched Endor or Dathomir as planets, well known and mysterious, highly desirable locations to explore and to “experience iconic Star Wars moments”- that alone, just launching one of those planets, would have immediately resulted in more players and more revenue. Typical of EA, they’ve made about the statistics of MMO trends and very poorly structured exit surveys. They say 40% wanted F2P, essentially, As I know a lot about this area, how to mine this data, that means the real number is more like 30%, assuming we have clear data at all. That means that there is 70% of their base (or former base) that felt another way. Again, Ive taken several of these so called surveys and they simply were not structured in a way to get to the REAL issues. Rather, they were structured very superficially around how to quickly monetize. Like I said, they just dont get it.

    #2- If Im a Bounty Hunter and Im a level 50, I want to Bounty Hunt. Not gonna happen in TOR. If I am a Level 50 Smuggler, I want to smuggle, a Jedi Master- I want to work with the Jedi Council to go on important missions. NONE OF THIS IS AVAILABLE once your turn 50 in TOR, which is a HUGE oversight and has resulted in TOR leaving a ton of money on the table. A moment ago, I stated that had they launched a more iconic planet and opened up the gameplay framework, to allow for more exploration, they would have had a boon in return customers. Now lets add to that, Level 50′s that can Bounty Hunt, be Spys, run missions for the Jedi Council, so on and so forth- and that number of people, the core TOR population rises yet again. IS EA IN TOUCH WITH THESE TRUTH ON ANY LEVEL? The answer as evidenced by all of their actions, is no.

    You have a game that does a great job of drawing you in through their story arcs and BAM, your reward for turning 50 is ALL OF THAT goes away. Your companions have nothing else to say to you, at least the ones you’ve maxed out, thats it- your relationship with the NPC is, for all practical purposes, done. TOR wants you to (in fact, forces you too if you want to enjoy companion perks) max out all your companion XP. So if you had a blast with Kira, ALL THIS BUILD UP with her, you’re gonna get married, you secretly broke Jedi rules and then level 50 hits or whenever you max out her storyline, then nothing. Your reward us that from that point on, she will only give you route, basic responses; basically, you have a talking test dummy.

    How did this happen? How do you make those kinds of decisions? How do create a game so built orotund key story lines and companions and then abandon all of that once a person hits 50? Again, this is a failure to NOT LEVERAGE THE BRAND ENOUGH versus leveraging it too much or relying upon it too much. This has nothing to do with the crap statistics Ohlen and others are feeding us. If they truly wanted to fix this game, they would be passionately dealing with these issues, instead we get more KOTOR (HK whatever assassin droid), a PvP planet and F2P.

    #3- Its friggin’ Star Wars! I want to explore and fully experience this cool world. Not going to happen in TOR. Ohlen stated in his article that they never meant to change the MMO experience, only to add story. Every MMO Ive played and I’ve played all the big ones to include Galaxies – WoW – LOTR – Rift and others, let you truly explore the world you’re in. Rift even has a solid reward system for such desires with some fun perks. TOR greatly limits this to almost nothing. The zones, with a very few exceptions, are vanilla, small and full of restrictions as to where I can and cannot explore. For example, I can’t just fly out to my Republic Tattoine outpost and just walk out into the desert to explore. There are no really unique areas that blew my mind that I could also explore. I thought Nar Shadda was rather impressive, but you can’t interact with anything and as stated, nothing to explore.

    A buddy and I were talking about the old days of early Galaxies. I shared a story about one day when I was zooming along, minding my own business as a high level toon riding my speeder on the high level planet (it TRULY felt like a planet) of Endor, on a shoreline of a lake, when out of the blue I get knocked off my bike- which then blows up and I hear Stormtroopers telling me to halt. I look behind me and see two ships full of stormies unloading and coming after me. I popped up my chat for my guild and said, “you won’t believe this”. Seconds later, I was in a fight for my life. Folks, this was a random encounter that made my experience feel rather over the top real! I was on a SW high for days. No exploring. No iconic Star Wars world events. Nothing meaningfully Star Wars after 50. Very narrow control on skill trees, Next to no interaction with our Star Wars environments. But sure, the real issue is people having to pay a monthly fee. NOT!!!

    #4-Rhakghouls- my word, seriously? Fine, its a call back to KOTOR, so a little bit here and there. But to make that such a huge deal throughout? In operations? In your one world event? Do you people even understand what the attraction of Star Wars is all about- because it aint Rhakghouls. And although KOTOR has some great merits, people didn’t sign up for a KOTOR MMO NOR WAS IT MARKETING AS SUCH, they signed up for a SW experience! Give me a world event where Sith Masters or Jedi Masters suddenly appear on the opposing factions Capital Ships. Have a Call To Arms world event where I see twenty of my fellow players called back to the Jedi temple because its under attack. Give me iconic breathtaking and wide open SW worlds to not just fight in, but also to explore. THATS Star Wars!

    #5- The general perception that Bioware and EA could care less has been a huge issue, regardless of all their press saying otherwise. They launched an economy that was utterly ridiculous in terms of all the costs for healing, repairs, transaction fees, etc.. They added and still have crazy costs for getting Legacy perks. Some I have a Legacy XP bar for perks I need to buy, but somehow that supposed to feel like something I earned? If your bought the Collectors Edition, you really felt a deep sense of betrayal, of Bait and Switch. Sure, the shipped items with the CE were nice, but VERY CLEARLY STATED IN THE RAMP UP is that we would get a vendor that would updated regularly with new items and content. Never happened. The in game benefit to having a security key was dramatically better then having bought the CE. When this was brought up endlessly, we kept on hearing the same, tired response. Yes, we realize this but its low down on the list in terms of our priorities. In other words, we already nailed you for all that extra money so deal with it. That was a very dumb, short sighted business move.

    I could go on and on. Side quests, once Ive level to 50, I still have waste my time on all the dialog when Im leveling a toon? I get that for your new toon’s core quests, but the side ones? So leveling 3 toons MANDATES dredging through the same side content again? STOP spitting out statistics and STOP throwing quick fixes that will create a more superficial, less Star Wars experience. Give us the experience we paid for, the SW experience you marketed; give is Dathomir and bounties to hunt, things to smuggle, Jedi council meetings to attend that spark great adventures; give us back the companions WE WANT TO PLAY versus forcing us to level companions we could care less about. And in spite of what the so called data says- the game will turnaround.

    #50 2 years ago

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