Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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SWTOR post-mortem

Discussion in 'MMO(RP)G Discussion' started by Morgoth, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Zed RPG Codex Staff

    Zed
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    so Bioware bought a prototype engine without documentation or any real game previously developed on it, and they hoped their engineers would fix it. nice sale for the HeroEngine guys.
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  2. Crispy єҳזּяằ сґїşρٻ™

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    Yeah I thought the comment about the size of the check was quite funny.
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  3. Destroid Arcane

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    So... they stopped making a game and just develop their engine now?
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  4. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I doubt we'll see a mass exodus of subscribers from TOR at the end of the free period. I assume the game has enough content to at least last a few months for the average player. What will happen, though, is that the game's subscriber count will drop. It'll probably only be a small percentage at first, but more and more people will leave as they get bored with the game. Six months from now no one will be talking about TOR, except maybe as the biggest flop in MMO history.
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  5. Morgoth Arcane

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    How many other games are using the HERO engine? Are they still in business? Must have been a very big cheque if BioTard was their only client...
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  6. Stereotypical Villain Arcane

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  7. Gold Scholar Patron

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    Dead State Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    Well, I just cancelled my subscription after 9 days. I have a decent rig and all I got was a slideshow at default settings. This game lacks polish and shows the signs of being rushed out the door.
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  8. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I agree with the 2nd two (and the first, under different circumstances), but what has Gaider got to do with TOR? It's a different division - heck, a different company basically, that used to be Mythic and had the Bioware label put on them. Gaider's never had any involvement with the game.

    Let's stick to rubishing Gaider for the writing in the Dragon Age series. There's enough of that to last us until DA3 - why pretend he's involved with TOR? He isn't even a Bioware high-up, just a lead writer/designer.

    The problem probably isn't even the writers - TOR actually, to my mind, lifts a bit of the flak of Gaider and his writing team in DA. Some Bioware highup, who doesn't have a clue about writing or games, has looked at their games and gone 'oh, people buy our games for the stories and the romance options - ok now ALL bioware games must allow maximum romances with as many NPCs as possible!'. That 3 completely different writing teams are all pushing the same shit, and in a really transparent 'tick these boxes: maximum sex options, alien fetish, player gets betrayed, twist 3/4 of way through story arc, etc' manner, indicates that this shit is coming from the top down, rather than from the writing team up.
    Ogg Brofists this.
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  9. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Different divisions. What we usually think of as Bioware (divided into two independent divisions - forgot the studio names, I just think of them as 'the ME division' and 'the DA division') isn't going to go down because a rebranded Mythic lost money. Unfortunately.
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  10. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    From an online essay talking about the prior failings of the captain of the Titanic: http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanics-captain-had-long-record-high-seas.html

    "Captain Smith began his sea career in 1869, when he shipped as apprentice on board the Senato [sic] Weber, purchased by A. Gibson & Co., of Liverpool. In 1876 he got a commission as fourth officer of the square rigger Lizzie Fennel, and in 1880 was appointed fourth officer of the White Star line's old steamship Celtic, which subsequently was sold to the Thingvalla Company and renamed the America. He attained the rank of captain in 1887, when he took command of the old Republic, later going to the old Baltic."

    :troll:
    Menckenstein and Renegen Brofist this.
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  11. Serious_Business Magister

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    You think so? Wouldn't it be more in the lines of "don't do anything unexpected" - and then they give their approval only when the writers do something that's in accordance with the formula, until they don't even try anymore? Even then, that's a bit forced, I doubt producers and "highups" really give any specifics about the writing. They probably don't know about "story and romance options" - just that Bioware made games that sold, and they must reproduce the formula to get profits. You don't see Bioware - whatever its division may be - struggle with this, they seem fine just bullshitting their way through creativity if it serves how many games they can produce. You don't get that tension between designer and producer you'll get from Obsidian for example - where MCA & co frequently subtly comment about the pragmatic state of the business. If there is that tension with Bioware, I don't see it. They always were glad to make shit, and I bet they hire people who have the same mentality in their ranks
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  12. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I agree with much of what you say. Part of Bioware's problem is that they have a direct fanbase (not enough to reflect their larger success) who rabidly defend all flaws as though they are 'awesome features'. These are the same people that give Bioware the impression that their more successful games sell on romance and story (even though t he games that crash also have ths). They're the same ones who tell Bioware that - having already convinced them that romance and story is the thing to emphasise - inter-alien sex, furry-fetish, collect-them-all sex-quests and EPIC EPIC EPIC (read: absurdly, embarassingly cliched, even by kid's cartoon standards) stories are what will sell.

    TOR reflects this perfectly. All that research, and barely a gameplay or technical improvement in site (and arguably a great step backwards) - with all the emphasis on voice-acting, linear stories and the opportion to shag almost anything regardless of corniness ad absurdity.

    The thing is, this is being done by 3 completely independent writing teams. Gaider has absolutely no input on anything outside of DA - no input on TOR, and no input on ME - yet I can forgive the common error around here, because the writing fits all the same boxes. When 3 completely different teams have the exact same approach, that reeks of 'here's a formula, write it for us'. Don't worry there's plenty of derp with the writers (Jennifer's comment about 'here's our AWESOMELY diverse romance options: a super-slut and a large-breasted-but-otherwise-childlike-virgin'. That's got to be the most anti-feminist attitude by a developer in recent rpg development, and it came from a female writer with no sense of self-awareness or irony. And again, no hope for change, because the Biotards actually LIKE that shit. Similarly, the sheer number of sex options in TOR break the fourth wall and just scream 'someone in marketing told us that these would help sales'.

    So plenty of derp in execution as well as idea. But it really does look like there's a top-down formula that each writing team must meet. And while there may be room for small improvements (e.g. desiging characters with plot-related AND thematic (always overlooked by Bioware) ties to the larger game...and THEN deciding which would make sensible romances, where AGAIN, the romances contribute to the plot and themes in an interesting way, the basic failings of the structure are insurmountable. They promote their games for their writing, but no writing team could create good work when they're being told 'must tick x boxes: romance, twist, etc'.

    (e.g. of tying romances to themes - the slight nastiness/selfishness implied if TNO hooks up with Annah, knowing by then he brings torment onto those who follow him, and that it can only end in misery for Annah, and the final toment: when Ravel points out to your party members the torments you've inflicted on them , she can't come up with a convincing one for FFG. Until the very end...where FFG pledges that she will never stop looking for TNO, returning to the lower planes that she fled from and despises, wasting the rest of her life (which for a succubus could be a LOOOOOONGGGGG time) on a hopeless and meaningless quest that dooms any hope she has to a life of anything but...again...the curse of torment. But none of that would be possible if MCA had to meet a tick-a-box writing style, that is so overwhelming that 3 completely independent teams with no contact with each other still manage to sound identical).

    Fuck, the TOR team isn't even Bioware, as we know them. They are Mythic with the Bioware label whacked on them. And yet Mythic's writers are now sounding exactly like Bioware's writers. That can only be caused by topdown demands.
    Edward_R_Murrow, Seboist, likaq and 2 others Brofist this.
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  13. Infinitron RPG Codex Staff Patron

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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    How about the fact that you need to submit a NWN module written in Gaider-style to even get a writing job at Bioware??

    Also, regarding Mythic, I'm fairly certain Bioware Edmonton has loaned them plenty of manpower. (and, possibly vice versa - notice how the only thing the rushed DA2 didn't skimp on was voice acting. if you've played DA2, are there any familiar-sounding voice actors in SWTOR?)
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  14. Serious_Business Magister

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    Maybe so, but then again I don't think these demands are explicit. The pressure a writer of these companies probably feels must be enough to damper any little fire of creativity they might ignite in a non stressful environment. But then, it's not like there's any drama to it : to accept writing in these conditions shows that you didn't have much to offer in the first place. But the drama is somewhere else : it's not like video game writing needs to be quality to work (or can be quality in the first place). But the extreme mediocrity that's expected of the writers means that even this small dust of quality that's required to have a game with good writing is tossed in the wind.

    I said "these companies" to give you the point, but I still say we just label this shit "Bioware", or Bioshit (YEEEEAAA), as they are the ones who made the formula that is constantly mimicked. Especially Gaider : fuck him. I suppose it's better to have invented a formula than recreating it (BG2 was okay), but then it's all shit. It's not like all the copies pale compared to the original, as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to think that if it was a masterpiece in the first place, then a formula to replicate it wouldn't even be possible. It's clearly not the case with these games. If anything, they even can get better (I think ME2 is far superior to the first one and the DA series), even though they are still comfortably riding the extreme derp train.

    The thematic emptiness is probably what offends me the most in Bioware writing. Since we're between philosophers (I have my degree), we can jerk each others off, so I'll be pompous enough to say that this shit is "not deep". There's just... nothing. Let's say I compare New Vegas (which I'm playing) to that gem, DA2. In New Vegas, you have of course the classic post-apocalyptic theme of man in a "natural" state (such as it is) - it can be about how human decency is surviving in a place where rationality tells us it shouldn't exist. But New Vegas kind of stepped away from that for a more Far West kind of feel with themes that are social in nature. Here it's about civilisation with its benefits, violence and all-encompassing effort to encorporate everything that imposes itself on a world that's not sure if it wants it or not. The Legion is thematically plain, but then it can represent brute will to power if anything at all. House represents paternalism with a face - a romantic throwback to monarchy, perhaps. It's not like the writing is stellar, but it holds itself well enough to make an interesting setting and game.

    In DA2, what did we get? It was one of the few Bioware game which actually attempted to create a theme. Which was it? The "war on terror". It was either about killing off a dangerous element, or trying to live with it despite how heterogenous this element (the mages) was with the status quo. Sounds decent right? I guess so, but then I was quite bored on how it played with modern, banal sensibilities. This shit came straight out of newspapers. It didn't resonate with the human condition - it was about terrorists and racism in 21th century society. It was about being goddamn PC! Fucking horrible. That's what they could think of - all they could think of is how modern states need to manage multiculturalism. Jesus christ, how profound. My critique isn't meant to be smart here, I just find it incredibly boring. Not to mention, the way it was presented already sold what was the writers' position - the right choice was obviously to try to deal with the heterogenous element in a reasonable (non aggressively violent) manner. If someone tries to tell me "oh that's how you interpreted it, see it's good writing because other people interpreted it otherwise" I'll cut your balls off, shave them myself, and eat your pubes. Not my goddamn fault if some weren't perceptive enough to see that the setting was two dimensional and the issue hammered on so much until argluahgluahgluahgluah

    Anyway man, here's my main point : darkspawn aren't orcs
    Seboist, CrustyBot, anus_pounder and 3 others Brofist this.
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  15. Roguey Magister

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    Just wanted to let you know there are a few exceptions here. TOR has James Ohlen (longtime Bioware designer since Shattered Steel) as a lead designer, Georg Zoeller (systems lead from DA:O) as lead combat designer, and Drew Karpyshyn, Daniel Erickson, Mary Kirby, and Chris and Jennifer Hepler as writers (though a lot of new people too, I got the list from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1320395/fullcredits). There are likely others.
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  16. Cassidy Arcane

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    I think this alone explains everything anyone needs to know to have an idea of what to expect of the quality of writing and the why of such quality in this PoS that already went total EA sheeple scamming with its unsubscribe button removed from the beta as a "glitch" to force all beta-testers to pay for it.
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  17. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Jennifer Hepler. Fuck that explains a lot.
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  18. Morgoth Arcane

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    Bioware Austin != Mythic.
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  19. Matt7895 Magister Patron

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    Codex 2014 Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    I like TOR. It should have been a lot better, and some of the planets are awful grinds, but overall it kept me interested and entertained. I've already completed the Sith Warrior story, levelled to 50, and I tried doing the same with Jedi Knight but got bored once I got to Nar Shaddaa. I'm on a break from it right now but will go back soon.

    I wonder how many of you saying "TOR will fail, Bioware suck" etc have actually played the game.
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  20. SerratedBiz Augur

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    Sounds good.
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  21. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I haven't played the game, but I have seen the rise and fall of several MMORPGs and the pattern is pretty self evident.
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  22. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    I played the Beta, with Grand Admiral Thrawn a Chiss Imperial Agent. Got annoyed at the game bland design and dead world at lv 12, but rushed up to lv 16 so I could try space combat. And if IA is "de bestest of all storylines" as Biodrones say, this game is even shittier than I though.
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  23. Cowboy Moment Arcane

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    Funnily enough, your post is a great demonstration of why ToR fails as an MMO, and will fall.

    Unless you're still paying for it while on your "break", then I suppose you're the target audience.
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  24. Sergiu64 Liturgist

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    You haven't seen that much of the storyline at lvl 16. One of the nice things SWToR does have going for it is that for the first time in a MMO there's a storyline of your character becoming more powerful and more prominent as it moves along to higher levels. In fact even the side quest's characters treat you appropriately to your level of power according to the planet you're on. As a Sith Warrior I moved from a clueless acolyte that outlasted his peers, to a promising Sith that kept surviving and exceeding expectations, to a Sith Lord that defeated several powerful Jedi Masters, to someone who manages to defeat a member of the Dark Council, to someone who attracts the attention of Emperor's chosen agents, to someone who becomes essentially Emperor's chief enforcer and finally to someone who gets acknowledged as such by the Dark Council and receives the Darth title.

    This is unique in an MMO world, I've never felt such power progression for my character. Not even when I was killing gods in Planes of Power expansion in EQ. So like it or not, Bioware did introduce something special here. Whether that something special really ends up being financially worth it remains to be seen, but I am glad they did it as I now know that a good story in an MMO is actually possible.
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  25. SerratedBiz Augur

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    It must feel special sharing the Darth title with all the other 10,000 Sith Warriors.
    Menckenstein Brofists this.
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