Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Old Republic...Not So Old, and Totally Off Point

I watched the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic this morning and my disgust with this title continues to grow. Every time I see Republic Commandos that look exactly like Storm Troopers / Clone Troopers or Sith ships that look exactly like Imperial Star Destroyers a part of me dies inside while screaming "3000 YEARS OLD YOU IDIOTS!". I know the Knights of the Old Republic has never been a franchise of original ideas but I had hoped the MMO would make strides to be visually unique.

Also in that trailer I was put off by the Jedi throwing around energy bolts like characters from Street Fighter (I kept expecting her to yell "Hadouken!"). I always thought Jedi (and to some degree Sith) were more about finesse and not over the top theatrical power-spells. It smells like pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Then you have Bioware coming out and acting all arrogant saying current MMOs have no point and that The Old Republic will fix all that:
Bioware designer and writing director Daniel Erickson told CVG that the Mass Effect studio had been disappointed by the "lack of fun" in other MMO titles on the market.

He said: "In the early days when they first announced that there were MMOs, like the existence of them, I knew in my head what that meant - because I played Role Playing Games. It was just giant Role Playing Games.

"And then MMO [games] showed up, and it wasn't that. It was the ruleset to an RPG: There was combat, and there were areas, but that was all. Someone had left out the module. There was no story, there was no point. You just kind of wandered around. And that hasn't really changed all that much over the years.

"We've always had that thought in the back of our heads: That Old Republic should be all the things we thought an MMO would be in the first place - which is all the parts of an RPG. Which means - and this is the most radical idea - it should just be fun. Like, just fun to play. You shouldn't be trying to ignore all of the content to get to the end as fast as possible."
While he's not entirely wrong that a lot of MMOs have artificial barriers to "fun" its worth noting that he's just slagged every current player of MMOs as idiots that don't know that what they are doing is not fun. He's also dismissing all of the massive amounts of fun players do have in the current generation of games, be it WoW, Everquest, Eve, etc. It seems like he missed the point.

Which makes me wonder what is he making? How can TOR be so much fun as to obsolete all current MMOs? The mind boggles at the possibilities... no wait, it doesn't. They're going to make the same type of game as has been successful, add in lots of voice acting and story that most players don't give to craps about, and still miss the boat on the true fun in MMOs: other players are the ultimate endgame.

Don't give us another grind to raidfest Bioware, no matter how pretty it is. Star Trek Online already demonstrated that pretty only gets you so far.

Bah, its already too late.


  1. Their are MMO's worth playing other than EVE?

    I know, easy joke, but in all honesty not that far off from the truth.

  2. The uniforms are a Republic thing, not a clone trooper thing, but okay

  3. And furthermore, if anybody can do story right, it's Bioware.

  4. "I always thought Jedi (and to some degree Sith) were more about finesse and not over the top theatrical power-spells."

    The old republic is part of the expanded universe (EU). It is normal in EU for things to be more over the top (e.g. exar kun). Also, starwars has this thing going on where the ancient ways were more powerful than the "modern" ways (movies).

    "It smells like pandering to the lowest common denominator."

    Oh, it is. But Bioware did not invent this for SW. The EU writers have been doing it for at least 15 years.

    I guess we will just have to wait... and wait... and see.

  5. Yeah I pretty much gave up the idea of "finesse" in Star Wars sometime around the 'enhanced' original trilogy release, and Phantom of the Penis. You're holding strong, Kirith, if you're expecting to find subtlety or maturity in anything related to Star Wars any more.

    With the fact that I resigned the IP to be as goofy as WoW years ago, my expectations haven't failed yet. I'm actually really excited for this game.

    Agreed with the commenter above… with Bioware at the helm, if nothing else, the story moments are going to blow every other MMO out of the water.

  6. I should note that I definitely agree, Kirith, that I'd be a LOT more excited about the game if they were actually inventing new kinds of gameplay. Feel awfully WoWish.

  7. Playing devil's advocate... that was a complete CGI piece. I seriously doubt that the final game is going to look like that, especially with the Force abilities.

  8. Anonymous6:15 pm

    You say that the ultimate endgame is other players; I disagree. Or perhaps I mean I would go even further. The whole purpose of a massively multiplayer online game is other players.

    I don't understand why you would go out of your way to write a linear storyline for a multiplayer game that players would move along. By definition, unless you have a group that promises to only play together (not possible for working adults with families) your friends are going to be at different places in the story. And once you've finished the storyline, what then? Either they produce (and sell) more stories or the game is done.

    Players make the story. Players are the story. Players are the point.