Has SWToR Tanked? Is that even a balanced question?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

MMO Melting Pot article took a somewhat imprudent view on SWToR’s longevity since the recent server merges – and asked “how’s the SWTOR server transfer experience treating you and your friends?

Responses from comments and community are mixed, although while the fan base is obviously diminished, there is certainly hope.

A view on longevity really depends on how far the owning company wants to stretch, and what is considered a profitable player base. As a market commodity there is probably value in keeping The Old Republic going for as long as possible, as an extension of the franchise. Much of the Star Wars brand strength comes from the many sources of direct connection it has from the fans, and there is a value to having an active MMO, especially if the costs can be curtailed to a moderate profit.

The server merges come along with some seriously large redundancies in the dev staff too. Large sections of the team have been let go, and while that too is initially a worry it actually is to be expected. The dev team size needed for a game once it a few months post-launch are far less than when it is being built. Devs, testers, managers, and all others should expect to either move to new projects, or move on. That is the reality in software development.

It depends on what you consider a failure too. It is fair to say that Conan did not survive, but Rift continues regardless of the fact that a very large number of people have “tanked” the game. Perhaps a few hundred thousand people paying the equivalent of five coffee breaks a month is enough to continue a game franchise. In Jan 2012 the Rift publishers declared that they’d made over $100 Million from the game. Tanked? Not really, and they’re now letting folks play to level 20 for free. That’s the best demo around, and other game creators should take note.

I have friends who were fanatics about the Star Wars game, quit all other gaming aspects, and then have now relinquished their fanaticism. Others still play regularly, and some never even started but still love the brand.

I played while the free weekends were in session, but didn’t subscribe as Blizzard has locked me into the annual pass for a while longer. Nice strategy there by Blizzard, although many forum posts now tell me that their time in the sun has faded too. If they fade like Rift tanked then World of Warcraft will be around for a long time to come.

What is a tanked game anyway? Eve is another game that plays well still, after so many years and expansions; and so many declarations of death by corners of the gaming community. A player-base far smaller that the megalithic World of Warcraft, but still  successful.

The Star Wars dev have started talking about SW-ToR going free to play upto level 15, akin to the free pass for WoW/Rift. I like this idea a lot as I’ll get to play more of the story lore, but it may not be enough to get me to subscribe every month. More likely is that I’ll play each class till level 15 and then stop. Is that really a good idea – well it is if you consider playing the game is the best ad a game can have.

So we won’t know really the game has tanked until the servers shut-off and the podcasts fade. The Old Republic might slowly fade from the MMO market over time. I hope it stays around long enough to add a few more features which get absorbed into the “standard” mmo feature set. It’s focus on story was certainly controversial, and bloody enjoyable.

I’ll leave you with this cartoon by Scott Johnson, on ExtraLife. No Comment. Kek.

7 thoughts on “Has SWToR Tanked? Is that even a balanced question?

  1. I rather foolishly paid in advance for a 6 month subscription of SWTOR. The furthest I have got is a level 13 Jedi Sentinel. The game is not comparable to WoW, but more akin to Diablo III. The landscape is not open, but more like large corridors and the whole feel of the game is a fantastic single-player with options of co-op play.

    I have restarted as an Empire Infiltrator/Assassin which has much more enjoyable gameplay and deeper storylines with serious ethical choices to determine your light/darks sides (do I kill this little boy’s father?). So far, I have not seen any adavntages to the whole light/dark force gains.

    The game is currently suffering from empty servers and mass exodus, which is a shame as I somewhat feel it needs a little more TLC from its developers. I hope to play the game until my Evil Empre Agent reaches end of his storyline, before considering stopping my subscription.

  2. Interesting article!

    I’m curious what you felt we did that was imprudent? I’m not arguing we weren’t – it’s entirely possible we were! I’m just not fully understanding your argument yet.

  3. Imprudent in that on first read I thought the audience was being led (ie the 90% was not confirmed), and that it frustrates me sometimes to hear about the “death on an mmo” as WoW has been declared dead so many times.
    That said, the article is actually calling for comment and was basically neutral…which makes my post a tad imprudent too.

  4. In my personal opinion, WoW has run its course. With the death of the Litch King, I have felt that the story of Warcraft had finished. Catacombes was a bold move by Blizzard to turn the whole world of Azeroth topsy-turvy, but I fear their next expansion will be pale in comparison.
    SWTOR is barely a year old, a juvenile in comparison to the more refined and established Warcrafts and Eve’s of the MMO genre. With age, the game will have matured like a fine (mmmm red) wine…. That is if the developers don’t change the whole mechanics and balls the game up like SW Galaxies. So if you mean that SWTOR is tanked, then I would say it is a tank as it is built to withstand punishment from critisim and hopefully will survive over a long time.

  5. Hey Shaggyd, very interesting that you consider WoW’s end to be Wrath, as that is also where I feel most of their best work was. Elements within Cata were excellent (Rags, Deathwing lore, re-creating the zones) and some areas were pure drivel (Thrall loves Aggra, molten front’s impact on the setting).
    Perhaps what SWTOR needs is the financial backing for the game to mature? If given the time to get old you could be right, I fear that it may not get time and be down-scaled and resource limited so that it stalls. Investors and companies need deep pockets to sustain learning and growth.

  6. Heh – yes, I will admit I was stirring interest with the title, but nothing more. I’m finding SWTOR’s ongoing development fascinating – and you’re absolutely right, it’s far from dead yet.

  7. The subscription numbers were obviously going to be incredible when SWTOR launched. Just like all MMO games. However, new games will never be WOW quality from the get go. Not even WOW was quality when it launched. So 6 month in and Bioware is now getting updates cranked out and providing for a good if not great player experience, I foresee future growth in this game.

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