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The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play"

BioWare's Emmanuel Lusinchi, lead designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, tells gamesTM that the quality of some competing MMOGs is more of a factor than how they are free-to-play as something that has caused them to rethink their approach to their MMORPG. Along the way, he does admit that they are "looking at" F2P: "The MMO market is very dynamic and we need to be dynamic as well," he says. "Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations. So we are looking at free-to-play but I canít tell you in much detail. We have to be flexible and adapt to what is going on."

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67. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 18, 2012, 14:30 AnointedSword
 
lol I said this in the beta forums when I was testing this game. "if you do not listen to the beta testers, you will be FTP within a year. Well, there you have it...  
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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66. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 16, 2012, 07:09 Fletch
 
Another one bites the dust. No longer interested.  
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65. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 20:55 Dev
 
Flatline wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 16:12:
So to break even after 2 years, you'd need probably about 2 million dedicated subscribers for that time period (at 400 mil total cost over 2 years, you actually only need like 1 million subscribers, but I figured I'd pad in another 15 million dollars a month in overhead). So conservatively 1.5 million subscribers.
Thats about what I was thinking. Then we had that one guy (I forget who exactly, he up was there, the CEO?) claim they could break even at a couple hundred thousand subs, and that sounded like complete BS. They basically were thinking "if we build it they will come, and in droves and abandon WoW and we will get millions"
Instead of looking at the outlier (WoW) they shoulda been looking at all the other MMO's that are successful with the subscriber model, and they are in the hundreds of thousands. They shoulda scaled down all the voice acting and worked instead on better story and better experience when playing the game.
 
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64. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 16:12 Flatline
 
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:24:
ASeven wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:18:
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:12:
ASeven wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 21:16:
$300M down the drain.

$150-200M according to the Wiki page -- although that is just estimates, the actual cost has not been publicized. And they did have a million subscribers in three days, so I am guessing they didn't actually lose money.

Going by EAlouser's blog since he was right in everything else.

As for them not losing money, of course they did. Costs for marketing and running a MMO are very high. No amount of sold copies could make money, indeed there's not a single subscribe-based MMO out there that made money by selling copies of the games alone.

The rumor is another 80 Million for marketing, launch, and maintaining through April.

So the max I've heard is 380 Million, total... not including May and June operational costs.

That was what I was guesstimating for a 2 year turnaround on the game.

So to break even after 2 years, you'd need probably about 2 million dedicated subscribers for that time period (at 400 mil total cost over 2 years, you actually only need like 1 million subscribers, but I figured I'd pad in another 15 million dollars a month in overhead). So conservatively 1.5 million subscribers. And that doesn't count the 60 bucks you plunk down for the client. Right around that time you release your first major expansion, get another surge of revenue, and your numbers stay high enough long enough that you start making major profit around halfway through year 2.

To break even after 1 year, which is ballsy, would require probably closer to 3 million subscribing customers to stay for a year. Which is bullshit. It took years for WoW to build up to the numbers it had at it's peak.

And let's be honest. WoW succeeded because it encouraged social interaction, but you could level cap on your own without serious grinding. Previously, the grind was all you *could* do to level up, and it generally took *forever*. On top of that, you more or less *had* to play in a party to get anywhere or do anything. WoW was n00b friendly, and that's why it was successful. It perfected the treadmill of rewards/skinner rat reinforcement system, it allowed you to play by yourself if you wanted to, and it gave you things to do if you played as a group.

And even that wasn't something that came up on launch. I remember within a few months of launch the game was almost painful to play. It took a year or two to really smooth the process out.
 
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63. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 15:58 Flatline
 
Tumbler wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 00:15:
I think TOR could do well with a Free to play option. The pvp combat was pretty fun, I enjoyed playing huttball. The SP content...well it's just not that good. The flashpoints might be fun, I wouldn't know, I never got to play them because it was always too hard to find a group. If they simply offered a queue system like the pvp side has I think that could be something to at least check out.

The writing for SP was *highly* uneven. I found the Smuggler's story to be... juvenile for example.

Republic soldier was boring, and I never played a jedi so I couldn't tell you what was up with those storylines. Sith... I barely got into that storyline, I think I was a sith interrogator and it was starting to get a little interesting, but I quit around level 15.

On the other hand, shy of one or two moments early on, the Imperial Agent storyline was almost non-stop awesome straight through to the end. I actually *enjoyed* playing through that storyline. It was generally well written, with some great twists and side plots, and was a high point for me. Sadly, it was my first character, so all the other story lines felt like the volume was turned down.
 
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62. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 15, 2012, 14:23 Steelcamp
 
Im still playing  
-------------------------------------------
3 billion+ men in the world and my sisters keep going back to the idiots...
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61. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 12:47 Ceribaen
 
s1mon75 wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 12:12:
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:06:

You're joking, right? Depth? Substance? Hard to Master??? /ROFLMAO

Tons of content, yes... but those things??? Sorry, I disagree. Wow bored the shit out of me within the first few levels... and I stuck it out through the mid levels.

It was the lack of substance that made me quit, and never look back.

/shrug

Remember mate, the game has been around for what almost 8 years now? I was comparing Vanilla Wow to SW:TOR, only to be fair. If you really did play the game, then in Vanilla what was the percentage of users who completed Nax? If I remember correctly the stat was less than 1%. Do you still think Wow was hard to Master? Wow over the years has been dumbed down a significant amount to make it more accessible. Yes it was easy to learn and hard to Master, but also MMO's aren't for everyone and Wow allowed people who would have never played EQ, DOAC or a MUD for than matter to experience them. Unfortunately the market is going in the direction of micro-transactions which means any style of game can be a money maker not just MMO's.

Didn't play as far as Naxx... did AQ40 and BWL in Vanilla though, and a lot of the 'hard to master' was more just hoping you got the 'easy' combination enough times to get the gear to allow you manage the harder combinations. Or just generally gear progression in general being the thing holding you up (or one or two hunters being more idjit than normal).

Individually there was nothing hard to master about WoW - just learn your sequence of attacks, and play simon says with raid alerts. The only difficulty came from finding 40 people who could all pay attention long enough to not have a couple being too stoned/asleep by the end to finish things off.

Basically WOW has always just been the best at the carrot on a stick game.
 
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60. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 12:12 s1mon75
 
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:06:

You're joking, right? Depth? Substance? Hard to Master??? /ROFLMAO

Tons of content, yes... but those things??? Sorry, I disagree. Wow bored the shit out of me within the first few levels... and I stuck it out through the mid levels.

It was the lack of substance that made me quit, and never look back.

/shrug
Remember mate, the game has been around for what almost 8 years now? I was comparing Vanilla Wow to SW:TOR, only to be fair. If you really did play the game, then in Vanilla what was the percentage of users who completed Nax? If I remember correctly the stat was less than 1%. Do you still think Wow was hard to Master? Wow over the years has been dumbed down a significant amount to make it more accessible. Yes it was easy to learn and hard to Master, but also MMO's aren't for everyone and Wow allowed people who would have never played EQ, DOAC or a MUD for than matter to experience them. Unfortunately the market is going in the direction of micro-transactions which means any style of game can be a money maker not just MMO's.
 
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59. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 15, 2012, 11:21 Alamar
 
omg... I just realized this thread is likely filled with a bunch of 'I told you so's'... By the same people that say the same thing with every new massive...

-Alamar
 
Avatar 22996
 
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58. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 11:04 ASeven
 
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:24:
ASeven wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:18:
Going by EAlouser's blog since he was right in everything else.

As for them not losing money, of course they did. Costs for marketing and running a MMO are very high. No amount of sold copies could make money, indeed there's not a single subscribe-based MMO out there that made money by selling copies of the games alone.

The rumor is another 80 Million for marketing, launch, and maintaining through April.

So the max I've heard is 380 Million, total... not including May and June operational costs.

Damn. This is becoming the perfect definition of a sinkhole. What a fucking disaster.
 
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57. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 15, 2012, 10:18 Ceribaen
 
Unless people are happy with what they have, they are constantly demanding updates, new modes and situations.

From the article snippet there - sounds like someone isn't familiar at all with the MMO genre, if that came as a surprise. Which seems like it did since they have to adapt to this response.

Pretty much since AC, regular (free) content updates have been expected by customers.
Larger paid expansions to keep retail shelf space are fine and dandy too - but for your monthly fee people will ask a lot.
 
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56. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 10:12 Ceribaen
 
OldTimber wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:40:
I really wish Turbine got a SW license as I'd like to see what they could do with it as they have a good track record with running/developing MMO's.

I'd say Turbine was about 50/50... Though they have been pretty good about bringing something new to the table generally with each game.

AC1 - great for its time, think its still going on. First to do monthly story/content updates. Also first to have a single world you could run across without zones.
AC2 - had potential, but they failed to realise it (should have been one of the first major world building MMOs really... had the three factions, with pvp-centric areas... but no way to exert control/change over the landscape as a result). First I can recall with cinematic story quest lines.
DDO - was a failure until Turbine basically pioneered the Western style F2P, and has been pretty solid commercial success for them
LOTRO - did well for while, hit a lull - then they converted it to DDO-style F2P and gained some new life. Not sure if LOTRO brought anything really new to the mmo scene though. I always thought monster play could have been expanded significantly and was failed potential there (rather than a separate instance, I think it should have been a high level quest zone -- obviously nothing required as that wasn't the style of the game, but at least part of the real game world).

Probably their biggest benefit/failing is the fact that they've almost always focused on providing a PVE-centric game.
 
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55. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:51 Slashman
 
Jonny wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:33:
That just means you didn't enjoy it, it doesn't say a thing about it's depth or complexity since you missed a good 90% of the game.

There is no depth or complexity to WoW. That's what people who play it tell themselves its got because it makes them feel better.

For crying out loud, I had a friend who couldn't even play City of Heroes properly switch to WoW and then start trash talking me about how 1337 she was. Blizzard made a game for the dumb masses and they came like ants to an open sugar bowl. WoW makes dumb people feel good. It's what Blizzard does. Well unless you're playing Starcraft...then it makes Koreans feel good.
 
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54. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:44 wtf_man
 
Jonny wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:33:
That just means you didn't enjoy it, it doesn't say a thing about it's depth or complexity since you missed a good 90% of the game.

That said, when I first tried WoW I quit by level 40 as well, because a couple of months of dragging around on foot doing mindless shitty grind quests bored the hell out of me too. It's only been since the "casualisation" and "ez-mode" that's so horrified the hardcore MMO player that I tried it again and started to enjoy it.

Actually, I made it to level 60 something, but I digress.

because a couple of months of dragging around on foot doing mindless shitty grind quests bored the hell out of me too

That's the point. They don't even QUALIFY as quests. THERE IS NO DEPTH IN THE CONTENT. The same menial tasks, over and over. Boring as fucking hell. The grind changed from the old-school way of camping mobs / playing "whack-a-mole" for xp, to being an "errand boy" doing the same menial shit over and over again. You don't even have to do any exploring or investigating... just look for the assholes with the exclamation points over their heads!!! The grind changed, that's all. It's still a grind, and due to the lack of depth to these so called "quests", it was friendly enough for noobs and disguised the grind for a lot of folks. It certainly didn't disguise the grind for me. ...And to call those things "quests", makes me want to vomit.

This comment was edited on Jun 15, 2012, 09:50.
 
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53. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 15, 2012, 09:40 OldTimber
 
The game setting is okay but the engine is a bloated horrible piece of crap that was made to compete when WoW launched.
On a quad core with 16 gigs this is the game: AA in the game looks horrible. It's choppy on some planets where I'm the only one around. Some quest events bring the system to a slideshow as it is so horribly done. Every 3rd npc is a fat bloated rush limbaugh wannabee so it's no wonder the Old Republic fell, couldn't move to do anything.
It's great playing overnight when I'm the only one on a planet or fleet at times. But hey they're folding probably 75% of the servers into the remaining 25% to get the populations up.

I really wish Turbine got a SW license as I'd like to see what they could do with it as they have a good track record with running/developing MMO's.

 
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52. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:33 Jonny
 
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:18:
Blackhawk wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:14:
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:06:
Tons of content, yes... but those things??? Sorry, I disagree. Wow bored the shit out of me within the first few levels... and I stuck it out through the mid levels.

You only stuck it out through the mid levels, and yet you speak authoritatively about its content and depth?

Yeah... I suppose a couple months of being bored to death isn't enough time to make a judgement, or form an opinion, about a game's content and depth. Rolleyes

That just means you didn't enjoy it, it doesn't say a thing about it's depth or complexity since you missed a good 90% of the game.

That said, when I first tried WoW I quit by level 40 as well, because a couple of months of dragging around on foot doing mindless shitty grind quests bored the hell out of me too. It's only been since the "casualisation" and "ez-mode" that's so horrified the hardcore MMO player that I tried it again and started to enjoy it.
 
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51. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:24 wtf_man
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:18:
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:12:
ASeven wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 21:16:
$300M down the drain.

$150-200M according to the Wiki page -- although that is just estimates, the actual cost has not been publicized. And they did have a million subscribers in three days, so I am guessing they didn't actually lose money.

Going by EAlouser's blog since he was right in everything else.

As for them not losing money, of course they did. Costs for marketing and running a MMO are very high. No amount of sold copies could make money, indeed there's not a single subscribe-based MMO out there that made money by selling copies of the games alone.

The rumor is another 80 Million for marketing, launch, and maintaining through April.

So the max I've heard is 380 Million, total... not including May and June operational costs.
 
Avatar 19499
 
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50. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: "We Are Looking At Free-to-Play" Jun 15, 2012, 09:19 Verno
 
Less than a year, wow. I knew this game was light on content but man, F2P in less than a year from a traditional publisher, sheesh.  
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Infamous Second Son, Madden
Watching: Spartan, Possible Worlds, The Changeling
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49. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:18 wtf_man
 
Blackhawk wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:14:
wtf_man wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:06:
Tons of content, yes... but those things??? Sorry, I disagree. Wow bored the shit out of me within the first few levels... and I stuck it out through the mid levels.

You only stuck it out through the mid levels, and yet you speak authoritatively about its content and depth?

Yeah... I suppose a couple months of being bored to death isn't enough time to make a judgement, or form an opinion, about a game's content and depth. Rolleyes
 
Avatar 19499
 
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48. Re: The Old Republic Lead Designer: Jun 15, 2012, 09:18 ASeven
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 15, 2012, 09:12:
ASeven wrote on Jun 14, 2012, 21:16:
$300M down the drain.

$150-200M according to the Wiki page -- although that is just estimates, the actual cost has not been publicized. And they did have a million subscribers in three days, so I am guessing they didn't actually lose money.

Going by EAlouser's blog since he was right in everything else.

As for them not losing money, of course they did. Costs for marketing and running a MMO are very high. No amount of sold copies could make money, indeed there's not a single subscribe-based MMO out there that made money by selling copies of the games alone.
 
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