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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Developer Interview
Post by Dan @ 02:49pm 03/02/12 | 55 Comments
In their Q3 2012 Earnings Call for investors yesterday (via: seekingalpha), Electronic Arts' various big wigs were all very chuffed with the successful launch of BioWare's first MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

On the topic of the game's success, The EA Labels President Frank Gibeau confirmed that the game has sold through 2 million units since it's December launch and has "a little over 1.7 million active subscribers", explaining that "the rest have either not started playing yet or have opted out".
This is an outstanding start for an MMO, and the metrics on engagement suggests players are loving the game. Unique log-ins are averaging about 1 million per day, and their average playtime is approximately 4 hours per day.

And throughout the launch, server performance and stability exceeded our expectations, allowing us to accelerate the introduction of new players in December. Outside of scheduled maintenance, our servers have been up and running 99.5% of the time, which is a big win in and of itself. Every major MMO launch has had significant service issues until now. Star Wars: The Old Republic broke that cycle, leading PC Gamer to write, "BioWare hit a homerun with server stability."

I want to take a second to correct the reports, which speculated that a lack of congestion was a sign of slow participation. Shortly after launch, we doubled the efficiency of each server, allowing us to handle twice as many players and remove the waiting lines. The lack of congestion is a function of great engineering.

In the next phase, our goal is to grow the number of subscribers with frequent releases of content that make the game even more exciting. With this in mind, BioWare has just released an extensive game update that provided additional higher-level group missions and new game features to keep players engaged. We plan on delivering another major update even larger than the first in March.
He tantalisingly closed out comments on the game with saying "Going forward, we have an ambitious plan to reach the broader market, the millions of Star Wars fans all over the world. You'll be seeing that very soon.".

Later in a Q&A with some institutional investors -- enquiring about their global launch plans -- Investor Relations VP Peter Ausnit also offered a brief comment on the game's intended arrival Down Under, confirming that they are still on track for the previously mentioned March 1st 2012 launch date.
We recently announced that we're -- on March 1, that we'd be in Australia and New Zealand. It's all about, as you might imagine, server location down there, but we have a very strong demand from all of our consumers in that particular part of the market.
BioWare's original announcement seemed a little open to interpretation, but following these comments, it looks like a certainty that Australian Star Wars: The Old Republic players will be getting a locally-hosted servers to adventure on.

For more details on Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out AusGamers' review.



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Latest Comments
Eorl
Posted 03:22pm 03/2/12
Will be interesting to see if they can keep the subscriber numbers with Tera coming out soon and GW2 being hopefully released this year. I personally have stopped playing and have cancelled my subscription as I grew tired of the linearity of the planets, but that's just me.
BladeRunner
Posted 03:41pm 03/2/12
They really should have made KOTOR 3 instead of SWTOR. That way we know what we are getting and do not have to deal with thr trappings of MMOs.
Hogfather
Posted 03:44pm 03/2/12
You don't know what you're getting with MMOs?
Khel
Posted 03:46pm 03/2/12
I personally have stopped playing and have cancelled my subscription as I grew tired of the linearity of the planets, but that's just me.


Did you ever get a character to max level though? Some of the later planets are the best imo. I dunno about all the classes, but 40 - 50 was probably the best bit of the Sith Warrior storyline.

Yeah, it is very linear though, but I'm not hating the linearity as much as I thought I would, even while levelling up alts
trog
Posted 03:47pm 03/2/12
They really should have made KOTOR 3 instead of SWTOR. That way we know what we are getting and do not have to deal with thr trappings of MMOs.
Without knowing anything about TOR, or MMOs in general, it seems to me that even if you get one good solid month out of an MMO, it is basically on par with almost any other game, right? Like you can hardly look back and think it was a waste of money, unless you really hated all aspects of it.
Trauma
Posted 03:53pm 03/2/12
Will be interesting to see if they can keep the subscriber numbers with Tera coming out soon and GW2 being hopefully released this year. I personally have stopped playing and have cancelled my subscription as I grew tired of the linearity of the planets, but that's just me.

I posted in the Guild Wars 2 thread a while back that ArenaNet confirmed a 2012 release along with beta info.
DM
Posted 03:56pm 03/2/12
Apparently they have only counted sales numbers up until december 31st as part of this 2 million deal. Then they say that 1.7 million are playing actively. That would mean that they lost what? 15% ish of their player base in under a month.
Zapo
Posted 04:01pm 03/2/12
It's still buggy, but they are fixing bugs often, and the server stability is still very good.

End game content is very much like WOW, but more painful due to the lack of a group finder or raid finder. If you have a guild it is a little easier to stomach - a guild really is a requirement if you're going to enjoy end game / non-PVP content.
DocterMoist
Posted 04:14pm 03/2/12
Swtor would have been mega fun if they had a system where empire/ republic could fight each other for control over the planets like in the other star wars MMO.

It would have been insane fun, fighting over massive planets.
Hogfather
Posted 04:23pm 03/2/12
Apparently they have only counted sales numbers up until december 31st as part of this 2 million deal. Then they say that 1.7 million are playing actively. That would mean that they lost what? 15% ish of their player base in under a month.

And another way to look at it is that they have converted 85% of their playerbase to monthly subscriptions.
Sile
Posted 04:56pm 03/2/12
But the game is a bucket of s***... more polished turds under the genre of MMO.
Maybe I'm just sick of rebranded WOW clones.
HurricaneJim
Posted 06:01pm 03/2/12
But the game is a bucket of s***... more polished turds under the genre of MMO.Maybe I'm just sick of rebranded WOW clones.


You do realise that WoW is an EQ clone?

In the case of my WoW experience by this time after release I had run UBRS 40 times and LBRS 50 times. Without either my chest piece or bracers dropping.

ATM there are only to ways to make a fantasy MMORPG, the first being EQ style, the second being much like DarkFall, a sandbox MMORPG or should I call if DarkFail (being made by Greeks it's just as bad as their economy).
Eorl
Posted 07:05pm 03/2/12
I've got a level 26 bounty khel, so I never got to see end game. As I said, my opinion is based on my levelling experience so far, and I just felt it very linear, each planet seems the same, go do quests in this order, then do a class quest here and there for storyline progression. I guess if they had of spent less time on voice acting and more time on making a wider variety of planets in would have stayed longer. Before I quit, I would just space bar quests and maybe listen to a storyline quest here or there.
WirlWind
Posted 08:24pm 03/2/12
"The earlier comment was open to interpretation regarding Australia-based servers"

Not an exact quote, but WTF? How was it open to interpretation?

There was a post on their forum that pretty much stated in as close to black and white as PR can get that we'd be getting servers located here.

The only thing "open" to interpretation was whether or not Aussies already playing would get free transfers to the new servers or not.

And for my 2c, I cancelled my sub in the first month. Waiting for the game to be less 2004 feeling and for the many issues to be fixed. Pretty much just waiting until the March launch, really.
Everlong
Posted 09:14pm 03/2/12
The concern with LFG tool is that it fractures server communities, is the standard response. The reality is that there is so much choice in the market nowadays that if tools like this are not included in games like MMOs then the audience will fall away.

I'm liking the game, it hasn't blown me away, but theres nothing else new and the single players is pretty fun. But the fact that it didn't ship with standard tools like combat log, LFG, guild bank/perks, moveable scaleable UI is utterly retarded.
DM
Posted 09:17pm 03/2/12
I've watched a few area tours for Tera in 1080p and after going back into swtor it's like... jesus it just looks so flat and boring. Where's all the colour. I dunno that game is like sex for your eyes though so not surprising really.
Dan
Posted 09:30pm 03/2/12
Not an exact quote, but WTF? How was it open to interpretation?
This was the original forum post announcement:"For those of you who may have already imported the game, we will be investigating solutions to allow you to continue to play on a local server once they come online in March."

It was not explicitly stated that this would mean servers physically located in an Australian data centre. It could quite possibly have just been a reference to servers still hosted in US West, only localised with an Australian-friendly timezone and maintenance schedule. it could have also meant servers hosted in South East Asia, Singapore etc, somewhere that is only a little more local latency-wise to Australian players like Blizzard have done with battle.net.

it certainly wasn't "as close to black and white" and it wasn't even official publisher PR from EA, it was a post on their forums by a BioWare Community Manager who forgot that the seasons are different in the the Southern Hemisphere.
ravn0s
Posted 09:33pm 03/2/12
Australian-friendly timezone and maintenance schedule.


imagine the uproar from the EU players if they did that
Eorl
Posted 09:46pm 03/2/12
I've watched a few area tours for Tera in 1080p and after going back into swtor it's like... jesus it just looks so flat and boring. Where's all the colour. I dunno that game is like sex for your eyes though so not surprising really.

I don't think I will be able to go back once the beta starts. Tera is offering way more to begin with then SWTOR has at the moment. That and it's graphics are like porn.
Mephz
Posted 09:49pm 03/2/12
You realise Tera is made by NCSoft yes? NCsoft MMO's are very, very grindy... Like, super grindy.
I played Aion for quite awhile, awesome game. It's let down and why it failed for non-korean market was that it was a huge grind fest from the mid level up to max.
DM
Posted 09:57pm 03/2/12
No it's not. It's made by Bluehole Studios. No mention NCsoft on wiki except for this which is interesting.

In January 2012, NCSoft filed suit against the makers of TERA for allegedly stealing much of the content for Lineage 3 in order to make TERA. The employees had been convicted of stealing trade secrets from NCSoft in 2009 and of a civil complaint made against them in 2011 by NCSoft, but both of these were later overturned


Agreed that once Aion hit 25 it become a grind fest.
arkter
Posted 10:01pm 03/2/12
Can someone link me to some footage that makes tera look like anything more than lineage II with better skins?

The combat looks incredibly static and boring, despite all the hoo har about their 'innovative' combat system... particle effects on your sword doesn't make things 'innovative'

It takes more than shmick environments to make a good mmo...

And Mephz is right about NC Soft...

edit:

this doesn't make me want to pre-order it..

Eorl
Posted 10:08pm 03/2/12
Obviously it isn't the MMO that you like arkter. Nothing wrong with that, and its probably better for you. But the biggest thing going is the no target system. You have to move in real time for combat, and if you are quick enough, you can fully dodge an attack, not taking any damage.
arkter
Posted 10:46pm 03/2/12
Obviously it isn't the MMO that you like arkter. Nothing wrong with that, and its probably better for you. But the biggest thing going is the no target system. You have to move in real time for combat, and if you are quick enough, you can fully dodge an attack, not taking any damage.


yeah man, lineage II was alright, that and MU Online were the only grindy games I ever really enjoyed, but that was a long time ago lol, don't have the patience for grindy games these days. I don't know how this real time movement combat system is going to go with aussie pings lol.
Eorl
Posted 10:58pm 03/2/12
Yeah will be interesting. If it has the pings like SWTOR then it should be fine. There is apparently very little grind, with someone able to get to 60 in a week of full playing. But it looks to be focused quite heavily on end game, with pvp sounding really fleshed out, and about 7 end raids.
WirlWind
Posted 12:01pm 04/2/12
This was the original forum post announcement:"For those of you who may have already imported the game, we will be investigating solutions to allow you to continue to play on a local server once they come online in March."

It was not explicitly stated that this would mean servers physically located in an Australian data centre. It could quite possibly have just been a reference to servers still hosted in US West, only localised with an Australian-friendly timezone and maintenance schedule. it could have also meant servers hosted in South East Asia, Singapore etc, somewhere that is only a little more local latency-wise to Australian players like Blizzard have done with battle.net.

it certainly wasn't "as close to black and white" and it wasn't even official publisher PR from EA, it was a post on their forums by a BioWare Community Manager who forgot that the seasons are different in the the Southern Hemisphere.


He followed up that post with a clarification really soon after writing it stating that the servers would be localized. I think he may have even edited the original post to state as much. It was the only thing I saw that had an official "blue" response on it about the Aussie servers and this was like a month and a half ago.
stinky
Posted 12:38pm 04/2/12
Boy that'd be really swell if BioWare was putting servers in Australia.
Khel
Posted 01:07pm 04/2/12
There is apparently very little grind, with someone able to get to 60 in a week of full playing.


I think the term 'grind' is being used far too liberally these days, a lot of what you seem to refer to as grind, is the content of the game. Getting to 60 in a week doesn't say to me theres no grind, it just says to me the game doesn't have much levelling content, or the levelling curve is way too easy.

Grind is where you go camp the spawn point of some mobs and kill them over, and over, and over, and over, for hours on end, to get XP. In that other Tera thread theres even a video posted showing someone killing crabs for like 3 or 4 levels because they're fast xp, thats grinding. Or grind is like the old Nessingwary quests in WoW where it was like "Go kill 50 of this.... now go kill 50 of this.... now go kill 50 of this". Grind isn't the process of levelling up, I mean, thats the game ffs, why even bother playing if you don't enjoy that part.
casa
Posted 06:56pm 04/2/12
I expected more from TOR considering how much money they spent on it... there appears to be way too much time and money invested in single player content which completely takes away from the who "MMO" thing.

I am coming up to the end of my free month, I think it's tomorrow? Though I am struggling to find a reason to reactivate. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying the game, but not for a monthly subscription.

last edited by casa at 18:56:10 04/Feb/12
agro
Posted 07:03pm 04/2/12
spent over 4 years on the original everquest when it went live

now that was a grind (but hell fun :))

kids these days are gifted with easy corpse recovery, easy continent navigation, and all kinds of UI mods - not to mention essentially every class can now solo to like mid levels - not a chance in EQ1 hehe
DM
Posted 08:32pm 04/2/12
FF11 was the first MMO I played and my god that was brutal. To level you HAD to have a group unless you were a very skilled beast master. Leveling required 6 people. Usually a tank, 3 dps, support class such as bard and a healer as every monster was strong like a dungeon boss in WoW. Every fight required you to rest as there was no Mp or Hp regen in the game without constant use of consumeables. Max exp you could get per kill was 200, unless you "chained" kills together by doing very very fast kills which then it capped at about 300. On top of that, if you died, you lost exp and could even delevel yourself if you died when too low.

This lead to people being killed, ressed and being killed again who were unlucky enough to be near a griefer as it auto accepted your res request. All that aside though it was such a kick ass feeling being in a well oiled group since the game was built on party exp. Monsters would 2 or 3 hit anyone but the tank if they got loose from bad agro mechanics. Ahh good memories.

Agree with Agro that mmos these days are like cakewalks compaired to the first breed haha.

last edited by DM at 20:32:44 04/Feb/12
agro
Posted 10:19pm 04/2/12
Oh yeah and xp loss when you died in EQ, you would lose tons of xp, you could have grinded for a couple of days, just to die and lose half your progress with no recourse

such fond memories :P
casa
Posted 10:26pm 04/2/12
Oh and have I mentioned that if you like to pvp, that TOR probably has the worst pvp in any mmo ever? Well if I haven't, it has.
ravn0s
Posted 11:49pm 04/2/12
yeah pvp seems like such an after thought atm.

i like the change to champ bags for next patch, but they really need to add more warzones and drastically change ilum.
Khel
Posted 12:16am 05/2/12
Yeah, I don't really bother with pvp at all anymore, just been doing raids and hard modes on my main, and levelling up some alts to see the other stories.
Reverend Evil
Posted 12:36am 05/2/12
Tera is made by NCSoft yes? NCsoft MMO's are very, very grindy... Like, super grindy

Well that's just put me off checking it out. Can't stand grinding. I guess that's why I like playing WoW although I'm bored with that atm. Gonna be a long wait until Pandaria comes out.
DM
Posted 01:26am 05/2/12
I can't find any info that NCSoft made Tera. All there is, is lawsuit info from NC claiming that bluehole took some stuff from Lineage 3 (which was thrown out of court) when they started building the game.
Eorl
Posted 11:36am 05/2/12
Tera is not made by NCSoft at all. Don't know where you are getting that information from, but it is very untrue. Also as I said, there is no grind, so what you are thinking of rev is just what every MMO does, levelling.
Mephz
Posted 01:00pm 05/2/12
Also as I said, there is no grind
That's interesting, have you played it to be making such claims?
Someone just said there's videos of people grinding crabs etc.

I wouldn't hold my hopes up for Tera tbh.
I'm interested and keep an eye on it, but I'm not going to jump into it early that's for sure.


last edited by Mephz at 13:00:48 05/Feb/12
Eorl
Posted 01:04pm 05/2/12
There is no grind like what others have referred to. You seem to be getting "grind" mixed up with normal levelling and questing. That isn't grinding, that is playing the game. And I have actually played it, the Asian version had a free week last week, and I was able to get in and try my hand out. It was laggy, but it definitely showed me what to expect. It has elements from your typical MMO, but it definitely has a few things that make it feel different.

The video of the person grinding crabs was merely to show off combat I believe. Any MMO you can choose to sit there and kill 200 wolves or whatever. In WoW I could if I wanted to kill 1000 wolves at the start of the Human area if I was really eager. That is what is considered grind. What I'm saying is there is no level grind, it doesn't feel like a chore. It's been very balanced from the Asian release to the Western release to make it feel more like what we would expect from an MMO. Things are made somewhat easier in certain parts and harder in other.
casa
Posted 01:28pm 05/2/12
Also, TERA doesnt have stealth... like... someone buy me this friggen game!!

So awesome "pvping" in TOR and 1 stealther being able to hold back an entire team from progressing, or defending.
DM
Posted 02:13pm 05/2/12
The videos posted are of the Japanese/Korean version which does have some grind in it. The US/EU version has had something like 1800 more quests added so that there is no grind, or as little as possible.

The video I posted though was really just to show combat and how tanking worked in that if you blocked a hit at the right moment you took no damage. Still, until the 10th when the 1st beta starts no one knows how grindless the US version is.
Eorl
Posted 02:33pm 05/2/12
Yeah stealth classes can really make or break PVP for me. That and bloody stun locks. God those were horrible days in vanilla WoW PVP.
Hogfather
Posted 02:36pm 05/2/12
Boy that'd be really swell if BioWare was putting servers in Australia.

Oh f***, stinky :(
stinky
Posted 10:16am 06/2/12
haha that comment was just for s**** and giggles ... it was neither confirming nor denying wether or not servers are going into Australia.

but I'm not here on vacation ;)
Hogfather
Posted 10:18am 06/2/12
You're a jerk!
ravn0s
Posted 11:16am 06/2/12
So awesome "pvping" in TOR and 1 stealther being able to hold back an entire team from progressing, or defending.


well that group's full of noobs then
Hogfather
Posted 12:14pm 06/2/12
How can one stealther stop a whole group?!
BladeRunner
Posted 12:39pm 06/2/12
I don't mind grinding. Quests are just solicited grinding. "hey you, I need some boar guts, hop to it."

Why share you're boar guts with some lazy old farmer/weird guy when you can keep them.
Keato
Posted 01:44pm 06/2/12
Tera looks crap imo.

Oh and have I mentioned that if you like to pvp, that TOR probably has the worst pvp in any mmo ever? Well if I haven't, it has.


Really, Rift was better ? What about EQ / EQ2 ?, Anarchy Online ? Final Fantasy Online ?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot of what you say, I loved DAOC PVP, and I miss a "point" to PVP. But TOR is hardly the worst ever, my Sorc does fine.
Keato
Posted 01:46pm 06/2/12
How can one stealther stop a whole group?!


Head to Alb mile gate and group up with 4 other stealther's ?
DM
Posted 01:51pm 06/2/12
But TOR is hardly the worst ever, my Sorc does fine.

Anyone in guild when i've been pvping knows my thoughts on this. Course you're doing ok.
Keato
Posted 01:57pm 06/2/12
DM /tears in guildchat ?
DM
Posted 01:59pm 06/2/12
Tears? No. Rage? Yes. Unbalanced as f***.
Hogfather
Posted 02:01pm 06/2/12
He gets a little upset from time to time, I think he's quitting :P

The real problem with PVP balance in TOR imo is the lack of solid respec options. People expect to be able to be able to solo, run instances and PVP with the same char these days.
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