Monday, August 20, 2012

Curiosity Killed the Sith

Ok. The Curiosity Rover now has an open invitation to the Dark Council. "Interrogatingmartian rocks via laser fire? Deliberately targeting Coronation? You'll fit in just fine.

Alas, that isn't my posting topic.

In my last post, I noted that I was taking a couple weeks of vacation from the SWTOR news cycle. I was worried about my enthusiasm for the game... particulary given that my guildmates have been Eeyore to my Pooh. (At least, I hope I'm Pooh? I'll settle for Owl. Please don't let me be Rabbit.)

Well, I goofed on that. Ended up reading the news. D'oh.

So I've completely returned to the land of Telara. I'd been playing Rift on the side for a month. Now I'm swapping to it completely. (Its the season, I think - Honor's Code did a similar return to Azeroth.)

So. Much. To. Do!

Unsurprisingly - this is Rift, after all - a ridiculously large amount of content has been released since I left in December. Two raids, instant adventures, Conquest (a giant PVP deathzerg), a mobile ap (?!), a PVP revamp, fishing(!!!), mentoring, ... . I'm sure I missed stuff.

Oh so much to learn. So much gear to get. I'm psyched.

I've found a new high-pop home (yay Faeblight! horray for free server transfers!) and have a great guild. I've got myself back to raid-ready and am rolling in gear. Time for a new world of myths to bust.

Defiant aren't big on superstition.

PS: To those still serving on the Dark Council: can someone get Curiosity to cover my quota of Jedi killing while I'm gone? Jedi spawn like rabbits without regular culling. And even then, some come back. Which causes problems with the EPA over ghost storage. Messy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Inquisition Roadshow

I've resolved to take a two-week break from reading gaming news. I'm hopeful that everything will be puppies, kittens and rainbows once I get back. (What is the Star Wars equivalent of that?  Wookies, Ewoks and Lightsabers? Hm, as a sith, I guess I should go for lightening, lightning and more lightning.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[SWTOR]: F2P, A New Hope

Well, my feedreader just exploded like Alderaan.*

By now, I'm guessing most folks have seen the announcement that SWTOR is going Freemium and taken a look at the subscription vs free features of the game.

Not enough verbage?  Don't worry, the blogosphere has you covered. Inquisitor's Roadhouse, Sprinksville, SWTOR face, Moon Over Endor, SWTOR commando, Blessing of Kings, Hawtpants of the Old Republic, Fynralyl, Aggronaut.  (Who'd I miss? My reader is moving at Kessel-record-breaking speeds.)

Alright, now everyone use the force, turn off your targetting computers, and just say to yourself "I'm alright".**

At this point, its probably a great idea to mention what SWTOR's F2P announcement isn't:
  • The death of MMO gaming.
  • The death of subscription models.
  • TORpocalyse Now.
  • Evil incarnate.

What this is:
  • A good time to wish SWTOR well.
  • A ton of potential.

I've always viewed SWTOR as a first-rate RPG just finding its footing as an MMO. Setting up a persistent RPG story with regular continuations via patches and expansions seems to be the most promising selling point of SWTOR.

Problem is, most RPG gamers I know are skeptical of subscription models.  This keeps them out of the MMO market. If Bioware can now attract these players to the MMO market, they can escape from the mentality that the "mmo market is zero-sum". They can use their solid RPG - for a box price - to hook players on MMO elements - for a subscription. They'll have found a sustainable niche.

Obligatory EA hedge: don't get me wrong, they could blaster-to-the-foot this design in the details. They could nickel-and-dime the fun right out of it. They could market it to the wrong crowd. If they are shooting for an RPG crowd, they need better tutorials to adjust folks into MMO gaming.

Side note: I don't think this move is being made because they currently have between 500k-1m subscribers. Those numbers, if sustainable, would make everyone happy. I think they're doing it because they see a WoW expansion, Rift expansion, GW2,... and wonder what would happen to those numbers unless they do something big.

But the potential of this change... I find impressive.

EDIT:  MMO melting pot posts links to yet more posts on the topic.

* Video added for soothing effect.
** Optional step: at this point, find a Sith to shoot your ship droid. I'm happy to volunteer, so long as you aren't grouped with a smuggler.