Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Bioware Slightly More Optimistic Than I Am

I haven’t hidden my doubts about Bioware’s upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic. The gameplay video I linked to on Tuesday (and which has since been removed) looks rather boring and run-off-the-mill to me. In a pretty detailed interview over at Gamasutra, Bioware founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk show a somewhat more optimistic attitude:

[ToR] “is a very different experience. I think that anybody who plays it for any length of time, it’s pretty remarkable, because they actually come away [impressed]…” – Greg Zeschuk, Bioware, via Gamasutra

They go on talking about how individual players will get a feeling of heroism in the game that they do not get in other MMOs in which everyone is a hero and therefore nobody feels special. I for one would absolutely love if that was the case, but I’m really quite curios as to how Bioware intends to accomplish it. So far it seemed to me, that a massively multiplayer model is completely incompatible with large-scale individuality. Either everyone is a hero (which is bad) or not everyone is (which is doomed to cause problems.) What other solution could there be?

There is a lot of sense in most of the interview, including the part about not drifting too far away from the World of Warcraft model. As Greg Zeschuk said, WoW has set player expectations and gameplay conventions that can’t just be abandoned if a game wants to be successful. The question is pretty much just whether or not they are going to manage to find a balance between keeping all that’s good in World of Warcraft and adding their own twist to it. If RIFT is any indication, unique selling points will slowly be removed in the testing process for more mass-market compatibility. Maybe not though. Here’s to hoping!

Either way, have a good look at the interview even if you don’t care much about ToR. There are quite a few interesting tidbits in there about the future of Bioware games and the possibility of a new non-SF non-fantasy IP.

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