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PostSubject: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:15 am

I was on the official TOR forums recently, and a poster was talking about Bioware’s concept of story and making everything heroic and movie-like and he made the comment that this approach misses all the advantages of an online/multiplayer/interactive environment.

I agree with that poster, 110%

The problem is, however, Bioware is convinced of its own genius in SPRPGs (and not without reason as they’re pretty good at them), and wants to shoehorn them into the multiplayer realm “because it’s never been done before” rather than sitting back and thinking, “OK, what makes the multiplayer environment unique and interesting?”

That question would have been, quite honestly, the first thing I wrote on the whiteboard on day one of this project if I was in charge of it, but it seems what was written instead was, “How do we shoehorn our fantastic SPRPG style into the MMO space, so we can say, ‘This is new…’ and people will pay us monthly for it?” And I think TOR will suffer for it, in the long term.

What say you?

cheers
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:28 am

I often think they take the "heroic" thing too far. For an MMO I can imagine other scenarios to work better and it does seem hard to justify your being heroic when you know there are thousands of other heroes just around the corner. Sometimes people don't want to be the world-saver, they like to be just a guy in a big universe that does his thing and maybe is good at it.

That however is just a prejudice, as I cannot really judge how it will transit ingame. I have not played the game yet.
I can see how this could very much work out though. After all, everything I've seen convinced me.

To come back to the thread title: This is not the approach I would have taken. That said, I'm just a gamer and while I may have visions I have nowhere near the possibilities of BW to see how realizable or good they actually are. I trust BW has thought this "be heroic" thing through and if they are convinced it works, then maybe I can be too.

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:34 am

I hear you. But my concern is that there's no longevity in it... and I think we're starting to get a whiff of that when one of Bioware's big selling points continues to be, "You can go back and play other classes!" rather than, "You can have a long term and meaningful experience with your character in the Star Wars universe!"

Because, really, that's what MMOs are best for; not replicating the single player experience, but actually pushing the boundaries in the multiplayer world and seeing what can be done with so many other people around. If it's just a linear story Bioware wants to tell, they should have just done a few single player games.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:44 am

I think that concern has been voiced a lot in the past. Will there really be an MMO experience or is there too much focus on the heroic story thing? I can't answer that obviously.

One thing they have promised, is that they will keep the story coming so you never run out of content. Daniel Erickson has said he wants this to be the never-ending KoTOR. Of course if that is possible to work in an MMO environment we don't know yet.

What is part of the "long-term and meaningful experience with your character in a Star Wars universe" for you? I am having a difficult time to really coin it...

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:46 am

I think the Heroic element of TOR is usually misinterpreted in my opinion. Heroic in TOR context seems to refer to your character being the hero in his very own story, in other words the PvE content. Without the Heroic content, TOR seems like a standard MMORPG so far, of course I could be wrong given the fact that we have only limited knowledge regarding the game so far.

I am not a fanboy but I have faith BW will get it just right.

blur wrote:
I think we're starting to get a whiff of that when one of Bioware's big selling points continues to be, "You can go back and play other classes!"

I understand your concern with such statement, but I assume that statement can be indeed a big selling point considering that, supposedly, you are going to enjoy the whole leveling experience, which does not exclude the possibility for quality end-game content.

*EDIT*
BTW, Heroic is not really what attracts me to this game, I know I wont feel very Heroic when my Jedi Sage has to "kite" that Sith Marauder, running away from him between crowd control cooldowns until I get to kill him. I just want a good Star Wars MMORPG, the fact that it has a story is just a big plus.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 4:00 am

Dresgar wrote:
I am not a fanboy but I have faith BW will get it just right.
Also true for me. I'm having a hard time doubting Bioware lately. In all honesty I think it will be a great MMO with everything you know and will be looking for with a great PvE story on top of that. It's a bonus and it's what makes it more special.

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 4:21 am

What slays me on the Bioware forums, however, is when I point out -- quite fairly, I think -- that the storyline will end and it could be 6-12 months before the next expansion, so we need MEANINGFUL things to do as characters in our own right, not just pawns in a linear story.

And all the Bioware fanboi's cry, "Oh no! They PROMISED the story will never end!" And I honestly think a lot of these fanboi's, and grrls, for that matter, come from SPRPGs and have no real experience of MMOs and genuinely believe this will be a seamless thing.

They think that no matter how fast they go through the content, there's always going to be new content, "Because Daniel Erickson said so..." and, honestly, that's one of the things that slays me: this blind belief in Right Said Daniel, rather than the realities of MMOs.

Right Said Daniel CANNOT produce content that will keep pace with many gamers. And not just gamers who rush through the game -- I can't stand people like that -- I mean a lot of regular, quite ordinary gamers, too. And Bioware will simply tell them to play another class while they wait.

Oh well... a lot of MMO noobs are going to get schooled in this, whether they listen to me now, or not. And it all comes back to tying everything so heavily to the story and being cinematic, rather than mixing in a bit more sandbox, which is really what's needed for in between expansions.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 4:30 am

Yes, it's fairly obvious to me as well that if you play your main during the whole time and if you play somehow regularly you WILL reach a point where you can't properly "progress" your character's story for a while. If BW did actually achieve that endless story I would be utterly amazed.

However I do not expect to get bored, as the story is, while it's a crucial part of the improved BW experience, not the most important point and probably not why people will stick with the game.

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 5:10 am

From what i can tell this game has a high likelyhood to bring otherwise hesitant players into a mmo,and will give mmo vets a game with an actual story this time ,so i'd concider it a win win situation.

and as wel all know (this forum being a prime example) it will eventually be the community that helps determine if players will stick around ,more so then what is behind the next cliffhanger.
Tor will have most if not all of the features other popular mmo's like coh or wow offer,namely : character development,pve,pvp,battlegrounds,crafting,guilds,instance "dungeons" and raids.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that just becouse they advertise the story part that that will be the one and only thing your character will be able to undertake in this game ,they merely emphesise this becouse it is what sets them apart from other games

I do understand you point and opinion on how this will make the game less of a sandbox type,i personaly stopped playing wow when i reached the point of "nothing to do but raid",but i just kind of preffer starwars over warcraft

that and i have verry high hopes for this community cheers
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 5:31 am

I haven't kept up as much recently, but I remember them saying that they weren't ready to announce their endgame plans yet. So I'm holding out hope that there is an ace in Bioware's sleeve in this regard.

One of the interesting things I remember them talking about was that it didn't "feel heroic" to gang up with 39 of your best friends against 1 lonely boss. To me this is interesting because if you move to a paradigm of having more enemies, you get more flexibility in group dynamics. This is due to the scaling of damage on the tank. If there is one boss, and that boss is attacking one target, then that boss needs to do an entire raid's worth of damage which forces a tank to have an entire raid's worth of toughness (Armor, HP, Crit Mitigation, etc...). If the difference between a tank's Toughness and a DPS's toughness is only 20-30%, then it becomes possible for a clever DPS to tangle with a single opponent during a "raid encounter". Meanwhile the tank is locking down 3-5 opponents. I think that there would be more room for tactics and less need for boss gimmicks this way, which could improve player creativity in responding to encounters.

A single example:
Your group enters the main firing chamber of some super-weapon. Instead of a "boss", there are 10 repair droids roaming around the room trying to bring the super weapon online. The objective is to stop the droids from bringing the weapon online and frying the group in the process. Droids can be stunned, but will not attack players... unless you taunt them. Tanks have taunts and are therefore the only ones who can actually make a droid stop working until it is destroyed.

To make this more interesting droids could be creating and repairing environmental hazards along the way. Maybe deploy the occaisional sentry droid into the room so that if DPS or Healer picks up aggro the tank has to burn a very valuable taunt to save the DPS or Healer. This sort of encounter drives group cooperation rather than appealing to artificial stat bars.

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 10:07 am

I'll repeat what blur already said, but shorter...

Story ends. Players don't. Other content? Players stay. Only story (rerolling, waiting 6 months)? People go.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 10:19 am

That's not a bad way of putting it Smile
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 1:00 pm

Well for me so long as I don't hear these words.

'Julio Torres had a great idea which we are looking at.....'

Then i am fine, lol, This is Bioware, so I know I will enjoy the story side of it, Its Star Wars so i will be fine with the RP side of life if nothing else, and from what I have seen the combat looks interesting so thats fine too.

End game content, is something we do not yet know about, and I have never been a HUGE alt person, but I will try out all the classes at some point I suspect for the story so even if I have not done it before, it does not mean it won't work in this game?

Bottom line though, is honestly, until we try it, its going to be so hard to make a real justified decision on this game. Saying all that though, I honestly think Bioware are going to pull off something special. I don't know why? I just have that feeling. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 1:13 pm

I am one who likes their emphasis on making it cinematic and story driven. This and choices is why I will choose this game over any other. There are lots of games that offer a fairly similar end game content. Bioware is trying to emphasize their differences so you would have a reason to leave the other games

As far as what to do once the story ends? Well I will wait and see what Bioware has in store for "elder game." Bioware has an opportunity to make endgame more about strategy rather than a dps soak. Really, I haven't enjoyed endgame content in other games all that much. The endless gear treadmill isn't my thing. Repeatable content is not my thing. Once I figure out how to beat a raid it ceases to be that interesting to repeat. (And I loath having to read about how others figured out how to be it instead of getting a chance to figure it out for myself).

As far as needing something once story ends? All I need is a good community. And I think SWG proved this until the developers freaked out and change everything. On the other hand I'm an RPer so I may be a bit of an outlier. (And I'm an Alt aholic)
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 1:55 pm

Like Dres, I think people are misunderstanding BioWare "Heroic" stance. First, most people seems to believe that "heroic" mean "Super extra power of awesomeness epic". When it just mean that you are playing the hero, that you are not the "trash adds" in a fight.

As an example of misunderstanding BioWare:

Dragon Age 2 advertising have been "push a button and something awesome happen". Since that line was said, lots of people were scared than the game was just a button smasher action game and that the first game tactical combat was gone. *buzzzz* The line just meant that they improved the responsiveness of the characters and made the animations more flashy.

Same thing here, BioWare "heroic" is about the character feeling like the hero. Killing 10 rats because Joe the Goblin want to make a rat soup isn't heroic, but saving the captured Joe from the 10 rats is heroic.

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 2:00 pm

azarhal wrote:
Like Dres, I think people are misunderstanding BioWare "Heroic" stance. First, most people seems to believe that "heroic" mean "Super extra power of awesomeness epic". When it just mean that you are playing the hero, that you are not the "trash adds" in a fight.

As an example of misunderstanding BioWare:

Dragon Age 2 advertising have been "push a button and something awesome happen". Since that line was said, lots of people were scared than the game was just a button smasher action game and that the first game tactical combat was gone. *buzzzz* The line just meant that they improved the responsiveness of the characters and made the animations more flashy.

Same thing here, BioWare "heroic" is about the character feeling like the hero. Killing 10 rats because Joe the Goblin want to make a rat soup isn't heroic, but saving the captured Joe from the 10 rats is heroic.

That's why I used the phrase cinematic instead of heroic.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 2:15 pm

I really need to stop doing that lol - I was posting a reply that just kept getting longer and longer until it was becoming an Essay on game design, clever marketing, and WoW's lies. Razz

The relevant part of what I was going to say though is that MMOs need *hooks*.

For sandbox games, such as pre-NGE SW:G, the hooks are in the "down-time" activities (house decorating, community via entertainers, as two examples), and in the very fabric of the game design -- you could re-alocate your skills, grind out FS boxes, get materials for weapons/armor, the list is virtually endless.

For Themepark games like WoW, the "hooks" are in the gear. (I really don't like that, btw).
For "hardcore" gamers, even once you've beaten the content, you need to keep doing it to "finish gearing out" your character. The droprates are low enough that at a once-a-week clear rate, it requires (25ppl * 17slots / 12bosses * 3 items) => 12 weeks (three months) to completely gear out a raid. And that is the absolute fastest -- there are likely 7 or 8 guilds in the EU/NA market that could achieve that.

For the casual gamer, that timeframe goes much, much longer.

There are no "down-time" activities in WoW.

How's this relevant...?
SW:tOR is a gear-centric game, just like WoW. As far as we're aware, they have included very limited down-time activities (customizing your ship has been insinuated to include interior decorating, but not confirmed in any relevant way), but for the most part, the best they've had to tell us is that they will have end-game raid content.

Of course, this doesn't include the PvP aspects of the game, but even there, the principles (for both WoW and SW:tOR) hold the same --> you do your PvP, you get some (limited #) of tokens+"honor points", you trade it in for gear. The rate at which you can do that depends on how much you PvP, how good you are personally, and how good the rest of your group is collectively. Which, once again, results in a significant time investment for the average player (even hardcore) to get seriously kitted out.

The system is so ridiculously simple, the hooks so transparent -- and the tOR team has stated over and over that they've created SO MUCH GEAR.... it's quite obvious that they will have a viable end-game.

Or at least, as viable as WoW's end-game.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:15 pm

Velaxi wrote:
SW:tOR is a gear-centric game, just like WoW.

And this is the first thing I would change if I was in charge of SWTOR. Statted gear just isn't very Star Wars-y. WWDVD? I don't recall Darth Vader trading in his armor in each movie.

As for downtime activity. Bioware has a chance to do a lot here with mini games. Swoop-racing, pazaak, pod-racing, djarek, ect. and I would love to see them institute at least some of thee. I know my smuggler (and possibly my jedi) could spend plenty of time playing pazaak.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 3:20 pm

Godric_Barbarosa wrote:
Velaxi wrote:
SW:tOR is a gear-centric game, just like WoW.

And this is the first thing I would change if I was in charge of SWTOR. Statted gear just isn't very Star Wars-y. WWDVD? I don't recall Darth Vader trading in his armor in each movie.

As for downtime activity. Bioware has a chance to do a lot here with mini games. Swoop-racing, pazaak, pod-racing, djarek, ect. and I would love to see them institute at least some of thee. I know my smuggler (and possibly my jedi) could spend plenty of time playing pazaak.
perhaps Vader had an appearance tab like in LotRO and changed gear but liked that look? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 4:12 pm

Mongo wrote:
perhaps Vader had an appearance tab like in LotRO and changed gear but liked that look? Smile
Possibly, but that would still not explain the heavy breathing?

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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 4:13 pm

He's using the IG voice chat instead of vent.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 7:13 pm

Velaxi wrote:
I really need to stop doing that lol - I was posting a reply that just kept getting longer and longer until it was becoming an Essay on game design, clever marketing, and WoW's lies.
In a small community like ours long, epic posts are appreciated!

I havent considered the process of gearing up my character as the hook. My opinion is that such process is just a consequence of doing the things I want to do, PvP and/or PvE, I simply happen to get new gear in the process.

That process can be frustrating when it becomes a grind, which is what I think you stated in your post. I do not want to feel the need to complete daily PvP/PvE quests.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 7:22 pm

Oh, the things I'd like to change! Multiplayer in space ... choosing lightsaber styles regardless of Force class ... play as a Mon Cal ...

But ... if I were in charge at this stage of TOR... I'd have to keep going with whatever the plans have been.

Speaking of story, long ago in development years the storytelling for this game was set. TOR's foundational story is set in buried stone with all of Coruscant's skyscrapers on top.

Unfortunately, that story will have a character's personality play to stereotype. In Mass Effect, Sheperd can be compassionate or insulting. Want to play Shepard as a constantly smiling prankster? No can do. However, compassionate or insulting is still better than no option at all.

What BioWare is doing with TOR is a necessary first step. Want to wisecrack a lot? Better be a Smuggler. Maybe later there can be a full range of personalities with consequences to come about in this or another future MMO. For now be glad a story -- any story -- with meaningful choices has stepped cautiously into the MMO kiddie pool. Be glad a computer game company puts an effort into a story, even if it isn't your story.

Can't have a compelling story in any medium without attention to detail in its proper places. If BioWare writers didn't do that they would be bad writers telling bad stories. The more specific the story, the more universal the reach.

Some people want to make their own details. Right now, MMO gaming hasn't evolved enough to allow RPers and the game writers to both have meaningful impacting details on the same story. Be patient. For now be glad a game company likes storytelling, and stand on that effort to push for your next step with the next game.

Play the story BioWare wants. Nothing now will toss aside TOR's design approach. The forums opened 3 years after game work started -- that's long enough to bring out two or three Cryptic games! Has anyone outside of EA/BioWare or LucasArts ever had any chance to change anything of significance?

Ten, twelve years from now ... maybe then this or another game will have created more options in a game to really play any chosen personality types with any profession type. Gaming evolves.

How will I stop from running out of TOR's story into a bleak end? Two ways: progress so slowly through it that I will always be a few story expansions behind. I'll also explore every possible side nook and cranny at the same rate.

And if that doesn't work? No worries; it's only a game. All I expect is an enjoyable somewhat interactive entertainment.

Happy Holidays to all!
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SandsS

SandsS

Posts : 80
Join date : 2010-11-07
Location : Ogden, UT

Ingame Characters
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Class: Smuggler
Guild: Odium

If I was in charge of the TOR project... Empty
PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 22, 2010 11:18 pm

I would almost count playing through alts' stories as a downtime activity, partly because I'm such a sucker for story.

Speaking about MMO game expectations: my first MMO was FFXI. Not at all the friendliest sort of game for a beginner. It took me roughly two years to get my first character to max level. Along the way I did nothing but explore/enjoy the world and get to know people. The surprising thing about this was that, by the time I had a character at max level, I had an extraordinary number of people on my friendslist and could coordinate small pickup groups with members from a variety of endgame guilds.

I kept playing XI because I enjoyed raiding (even repeating raids) with the people I met. Our motives weren't necessarily "geargeargear!" but "gear for this person, today."

I must have spent two or three months camping a particular worldspawn so our tanks would have a shot at an item with an absurdly low drop rate (as in you would be lucky to see one or two drops, on the entire server, in a month). It was a lot of fun, gearing up the group and reaping the benefits of our new ability. And not just with the "adequate" stuff -- sometimes the best available and rarest possible stuff.

--

It was fun in its time, but I have to admit I'm thrilled by the "hook" of even mildly player-driven scripted story. XI could really be a grindy chore. TOR's grind has the possibility of being not-much-grindy-at-all. Or at least story heavy enough to the point where you no longer notice the grind.

Having never played SWG, I can't comment on the crafting system ... but I'm hoping TOR's will at least be fun. Crafting and mining in XI became downtime activities for me, for one. I spent time chatting with other players in the zone and swapping crafting tips with fellow crafters. I made a full set of signed gear for one of my guild members. Other guildies helped me farm materials when I couldn't do it alone, etc.

Worst case scenario: BW doesn't have as many downtime activities as we like, and we go about creating a few ourselves. Hee.
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PostSubject: Re: If I was in charge of the TOR project...   If I was in charge of the TOR project... I_icon_minitime

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