Trion’s Butler – SWTOR suffers from lack of “content updates,” Copernicus tried to do “too much”

Wednesday, 6th June 2012 13:37 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Trion CEO Lars Butler is of the opinion 38 Studios’ downfall was caused by more than financial issues, and BioWare’s SWTOR suffers from the lack of content.

Speaking with Gamasutra, Butler said Copernicus suffered from trying to be “too much,” where as SWTOR suffers from having too little.

“38 Studios had a concept they couldn’t deliver on… It was too big of a scope,” he said. “It was too much. It it just went broader and never narrowed. They never even came close to the finish line. I think their fundamental issue was process management.

“In the case of Star Wars, I don’t think the business model was necessarily the issue, but I think it was content updates, and what to do in the game, and how you can play it without it becoming repetitive.”

Butler used Trion’s RIFT as an example of an MMO with frequent updated and content additions, providing players will new, smaller bits of content to hold them over until larger expansions are released.

“You have to be able to keep people interested,” he said.”The key about an online game is that it’s a live service. If you make it more like a packaged goods game, people will stay about as long as they stay with a packaged goods game.”

Butler said such a business and content model is what the “connected game world requires,” and if the developer or publisher isn’t “set up” for it with tech, backend, and the right development teams, “it becomes incredibly difficult to do.”

RIFT’s first major expansion, Storm Legion, launches sometime this fall and will triple the amount of content currently available in the MMO



  1. Ireland Michael

    It’s the pitfall every MMORPG falls into, and it was the one thing that old-school WoW got right. End game content.

    The original two games (Vanilla and Burning Crusade) had the balance perfect. There was always enough to do, and it was challenging enough to keep people coming back. The 10 man setup with Karazhan that led into the more difficult raids was design perfection, because it took a long time to clear it, and it prepared players for the later, bigger content.

    People aren’t getting nessecarilly getting bored of WoW because it’s been around so long. They’re getting bored of it because the end game sucks, and they feel no reason to come back. It’s too easy, and the sense of accomplishment dies as a result.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. TheWulf


    I couldn’t disagree with that more and more vehemently if I wanted to. I can’t be arsed to write up a post about this, though. So I’m just going to point to a thread on the GWI forums which explains a lot of this.

    But endgame is a horrible, evil, nefarious thing. It denies the player closure and finality within the scope of the storyline, and uses a mix of that and peer pressure, that promise (but ultimate lack thereof) of closure, and grind house gameplay to keep them addicted to what is ultimately an incredibly shallow experience.

    I’ve seen WoW endgame addiction first-hand, it’s an ugly business. And it took me a while to get my room-mate to admit that he had a problem. Since he’d abandoned work and his social life in order to grind dailies and do raids. That was all that mattered to him up until I got him to get his life in order.

    You can read more here. But all I want from an MMORPG ultimately is an ending for my character. And I want the MMORPG to have enough content for me to take another character through and enjoy it.

    I don’t want the MMORPG to be around to support me for the entirety of my life. Since I have very little time to play MMORPGs with, anyway.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    @2 It May not be a nice thing, or give “closure” to the player, but the last thing an MMORPG wants is to give its players a reason to stop playing. If you get an ending, you will little to no desire to come back, and they’ll stop making money.

    That’s what traditional RPGs are for.

    I’m not saying its an inherently good thing, morally. I’m not saying its even the best approach on an *individual* basis. I’m saying it’s what works.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. GrimRita

    What amazes me is that when developers decided to drop Sandbox MMOs and create generic piles of shit, is it any wonder subs drop when theres fuck all to do?

    Although Star Wars Galaxies turned into one of these themepark turds, it still had some excellent tools where the playing community could create their own stories and content.

    Players simply wont pay to wait up to 6 months for something ‘new’, especially when theres already more or less sweet FA to do in games like SWTOR, once you ding 50.

    It’s all the developers fault – they created the problem and now they bitch about it.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DSB

    @1 Ironically it’s also what the latter day WoW got completely wrong. Instead of keeping that endgame content as an actual value, they just completely watered it down until there was really very little reason to play, except to fuck around killing mobs and nerfed bosses ad infinitum.

    It was already coming to an end for me towards the close of Burning Crusade, but Lich King was just so starved for content that it pretty much killed the game for me. Recycling Naxx and making you kill everything twice was just the last straw.

    Maybe I’m jaded because I was playing it in the early days, but for me it just robbed it of any kind of magic it had. They made progress a common item, instead of a team achievement.

    I think @2 is just confusing his own narrow preferences with those of everyone else. Again.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @15 Indeeed. They were too busy pandering to the vocal minority to understand what was keeping the quiet majority in the game.

    “But everyone should get to see the content!”

    And by doing so, they gave people nothing else to do once they have.

    They made it so easy that everyone got to “see the content”. You lost all intimacy in the dungeons because they became so brainless that people face-rolled through them. There was no sense of comadre, no sense of team-work, and the worst of it… no sense of accomplishment.

    That’s why subscriptions went down.

    I stuck around until Cataclysm, but the complete lack of anything to do but dailies for half of the Wrath expansion was already starting to wear me thin. By the time I realized that the end game of Cataclysm was going to be exactly the same thing all over, with the same complete lack of challenge, my subscription was already cancelled.

    It’s funny honestly. I kinda miss my character. My Night Elf Hunter, Luthion, with his rare, hard to capture wolf and turtle companions. My ridiculous collection of vanity pets and mounts. My old epic gear that I could transmogrify into current gear now if I wanted to. But I know if I go back to it, it’s just going to be the same boring slog again.

    And again.

    And again.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Kalain

    Not entirely true. Releasing a trickle feed of content will have the same effect as your subscription base waiting for a new patch. Yes, it might be nice, but what happens when your players have gone past the desired level for your trickle fed content? Get them to roll new characters, level up and try it out or use their higher level characters to power through it once and then never go back? Both methods have their pro’s and con’s.

    All MMO’s, even sandbox one’s, suffer from the plague of the Endgame grind and you’ll be kidding yourself if you don’t believe it. All the new MMO’s coming out will have this problem. GW2 will be grinding out WvW. Secret World will be bosses/Investigations. No matter what MMO you play, when you reach max level, you are in the Endgame grind and you’ll carry on playing it, weather you do raids, PvP or, in WoW’s case, Heroic dungeons.

    Until we get MMO’s which has content built by the players themselves, then we will always suffer from the endgame..

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    @7 But the grind in old WoW was actually challenging.

    Now it’s just a drawn out chase for vanity items.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. DSB

    @7 I don’t categorically disagree, but I think the solution is somewhere in between the two.

    I’m pretty sure that the next truly big MMO is going to be the one that sets up a pipeline, that can provide new content every 3-4 months. It’s going to take a lot of expertise and investment to pull that off (really, doing a micro CoD model with multiple teams) but I think that, barring a way to bring entirely new mechanics to the table, the pot of gold is going to go to the people with the most new content.

    @6 Yeah, what I miss is the team really. The e-prestige was always nice, but the experience of joining maybe 50 people working towards the exact same goal really forms a brotherhood.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. GrimRita

    The thing with Sandbox MMOs(SWG in my case) – if you wanted to go and raid an enemy faction planet – you could, if you wanted to rush off to Tatooine and take on Krayt Dragons, you could.

    You always found something to do, because overall, you werent just confined to playing pvp in shame holes, or not being allowed anywhere near enemy faction bases.

    Rift managed to drip feed new content well but also, lets remember, you are paying for a service and if that service sucks, people wont hang around either.

    #10 2 years ago

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