I hope Bioware can survive its community, and I mean this with the sincerest of honesty. I’ve had a full month of experience playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, and although I sent a good amount of feedback to Bioware via their surveys included with the demonstration copy, I want to issue one of my famous ultimatums: Your community is labeling the game the next WoW killer, and that needs to be stomped out faster than the people who expected this game to be Pre-CU Galaxies Part 2. Now, The Old Republic is going to be the biggest release of the year (assuming it isn’t pushed back until January), no doubt about that. Bioware has relatively high expectations for box purchases, and more importantly expectations for subscription retention following month numero uno.
And forget the discussion about the price of the collector’s edition, that is completely irrelevant. The only thing that can cause Bioware to collapse upon itself is when the game launches and all of those fun launch day issues come to light. Lag, server queues, game-breaking bugs, content that isn’t in at launch, etc. Content aside, The Old Republic will have lag, it will have game-breaking bugs that aren’t apparent until launch because they only come to light with said encumbering lag, and it will have server queues. That’s the rope you walk buying early into a game that everyone is buying into early.
1. Yea, I Get It, Expensive Statue…How About Two Free Months?
If I’m going to pay $150 for the collector’s edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic, with a twenty dollar “fee” just to preorder the thing, I think Bioware should bite the bullet and give an extra two months of free game time to Collector’s Edition buyers. A hundred and fifty dollars is an insane price for something that, much like Halo Reach’s massive monster edition, will likely be on the 50% clearance rack at my local Target a few months after launch. Given the high price of the collector’s edition, Bioware should include an extra month or two of subscription.
Think about it this way, someone who pays that much money is likely more susceptible to buyer’s remorse in that first month than someone who paid less. Given a couple extra months to play might be just what that person needs to embrace what the game has to offer, and in the long run that extra time could keep him involved and keep that subscription going when the time comes to renew.
Any good drug dealer knows you give just enough for free to get them hooked, then you open your wallet and let the cash fly in.
2. You People Set Your Expectations Too High When You See Me In-Game
Being the creative soul I am, I name almost all of my characters “Omali.” As a result, and as MMO Fallout has gained popularity over the last two years, I’ve had people recognize my username in various games as being the “Omali from that website” as one person put it. It’s interesting being recognized as the celebrity I am not, and not only because half the people want to know if I can get them free stuff from the developers.
People tend to assume I’m some industry insider and that I keep this website small because I have all these secrets, when the truth is I don’t. MMO Fallout is small because I’m still expanding upon it, and I have limited funds to do so. I’m not even a blip on the radar of most of these companies, that’s why the only guy stupid enough to think I carried the influence to “ruin his reputation” with my opinion articles, and warrant sending me a note through his lawyer was David Allen, the guy who managed to get fired and then publicly humiliated by his own company.
Overall, I know maybe a handful of industry people. At the moment I’m under three nondisclosure agreements. For what I cannot disclose.
3. The Alganon Comic Review Was Real
And to prove it, here is a small image from a page not found in the previews. Remember, the Alganon comic was distributed at Comic Con, so it is publicly available in a print fashion. I, on the other hand, was supplied a digital copy by Quest Online for the purposes of the article, which I noted in the article itself. What I should have noted in that article is that Quest Online didn’t approach me, I asked for it. I contacted Smart initially with a request to purchase the comic (at this point I was unaware of a digital version coming) for the purpose of writing an article, and was supplied with a digital copy. I have a copy of Crimecraft’s comic (that I purchased when it went on sale four months ago) which I will also be writing a review of.
4. Icarus and GamersFirst Sitting In A Tree
Those of you who play Fallen Earth are already aware that you will have to set up a GamersFirst account starting August 1st in order to have continued access to the game. This is the first phase of the system changes that will bring free to play to Fallen Earth, and players who transition early will have the opportunity to net some free G1 tokens for their prompt response.
What you may not be aware of is that Icarus Studios is working on an upcoming MMO based on the UNITY 3D engine called Hailan Rising, to release this fall. The game is billed as a fantasy title focused on PvP, with players choosing from eight classes to battle it out over territory and resources. The game will be stat-based, which for some reason is still billed as non-conventional and “grind-less.”
5. Stat-based Games Are NOT Grind Free!
Going straight from number four to number five, I want to shout this from my rooftop every time I hear it said in a press release: Having stats over traditional levels does not remove the grind, because in most cases rather than grinding a single experience bar for levels, you find yourself grinding many experience bars for levels. Rather than attacking trolls, for example, and obtaining 100 experience each time, I might fight a troll and simultaneously gain endurance while swinging a heavy sword, sword experience for doing damage, stamina for taking damage, and heavy armor experience for fighting in heavy armor. Same grind, but rather than leveling up and seeing +25 health, +3 strength, +5 stamina, +1 intelligence, I gain those levels over a period of time.
With so many more skills, obtaining end-game can take even longer than a traditional level game. Runescape, for instance, takes longer to attain 99 in one skill than many traditional games take to hit end-game overall, and each skill in itself is a heavy grind.