Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Insert Pop Culture Quote Here: SW:TOR

Star Wars: The Old Republic. Flavor of the month. Launch of the Year (last year but let's not quibble). Generator of hype and hatred in not at all equal measures. I'm not playing it and I don't really have any plans to. I don't rule it out, of course. When there's a free trial I might take a look, although since I never bothered with the beta I couldn't honestly claim cost was the barrier to entry in my case. If I see a cheap copy I'll probably pick it up, but whether it will ever get installed is another matter. My 99p copy of Age of Conan is still sitting on the bookcase with its pristine shrinkwrap intact.

Not Actual Copy
Despite my general lack of interest in all things Star Wars and TOR (I'm going to go with TOR. For months I've been typing "SW:tOR" and there's really no reason for it. No-one else does and it's not even the correct capitalization. I don't know now why I ever thought it was). That sentence got away from me. Let me start again. In fact, let's have a new paragraph and pretend this one never happened.

Despite my my general lack of interest in all things Star Wars and TOR in particular, I've read an awful lot about it. Hard not to when you have MMOs as a hobby. Just about every blogger I read has had something to say on the subject, even the ones who aren't playing it. Wilhelm and Potshot tried the beta and didn't like it enough to buy the game. Wilhelm actually cancelled his pre-order on the basis of what he saw when he lifted the velvet rope. SynCaine's been agin it from the start, naturally. Keen, Spinks and Syp are still playing with a mix of enthusiasm and enervation. Gordon's still playing but he thinks he won't be in a couple of months.

This week I noticed the first two drop-outs in my Reader. Melmoth at Killed In A Smiling Accident decided he'd already had his money's worth before the free 30 days were up and Kaozz at ECTmmo cancelled her account mostly because of technical issues getting the game to recognize that she had an account in the first place.

Back when the fire still burned

Not being a TOR player I hadn't been keeping count but I guess this is the week the first credit card payments go out. That's always a decision point. When Mrs Bhagpuss and I got Rift last year we went for the six-month subscription. First time I've ever done that in a new MMO. The deal on the 6 month sub was so good it seemed worth the risk and it was. We played nothing else until the end of the summer.

I'm not sure I can foresee that happening again. I'm not at all against the idea of recurring subscriptions but they do seem mighty inflexible now we've seen so many other options and the MMOs most likely to take collateral damage from the launch of new subscription MMOs would seem to be existing subscription MMOs. WoW took a visible hit from Rift, although it probably amounted more to a scratch in the paintwork than structural damage. Rift itself looks to have been holed beneath the waterline by TOR.

EQ2's move to an optional subscription model right at the time TOR launched is beginning to look more and more like a rare example of SoE getting a marketing decision right. The population boom on Freeport continues unabated. The door is wide open for anyone who left to pop right back in any time they like. As I noted the other day Trion appear to be gearing up for some kind of repopulation drive, putting the best face on things by  freeing up "trial servers" rather than calling it a server merge (which it is).

I hope it goes well for them. They had a very good run for a while there but as Keen points out, patience is in short supply among MMO players nowadays. I wonder how long TOR's moment in the sun will last?

1 comment:

  1. For months I've been typing "SW:tOR" and there's really no reason for it. No-one else does and it's not even the correct capitalization.

    I use "SWtOR" without the colon. It is the proper capitalization because you don't capitalize "the" in a title. Although one could argue that the colon makes that a subtitle, and the first word should be capitalized. But, enough about the nuances of English capitalization for acronyms. :)

    From my reading on the blogosphere, it seems that SWtOR will peak fast. Caveat: I'm not playing the game myself, but have some friends playing it. A lot of people seem to really love the story, but a lot of the people who have burned through the content faster have said that once the story content is done, they lose interest. It seems that EA/Bioware will need to churn out a lot of content to keep people playing. Given that they've shoehorned themselves into requiring fully voiced work for all content, that means any new content will be expensive to add. Maybe they have an ace up their sleeves and will wow everyone with some unforseen genius plan. Barring that, I don't see it growing continuously like WoW did in the early days. We'll see, though.


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