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BioWare Founders Announce Retirement

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the thanks-for-all-the-fish dept.

Games 113

hypnosec writes "BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk announced their retirement from the gaming company as well as the video game industry. In two separate blog posts, the founders announced their decision and their future plans. Muzyka writes, 'After nearly two decades in videogames, I've decided to move on to pursue an entirely different set of challenges.' Zeschuk writes, 'I've reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation.'"

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yup... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383391)

"I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation."

I would lose all my passion as well if I sold my soul to Electronic Arts...

Killed Westwood Studios and C&C / C&C:RA, now working on the final edges for BioWare!

Re:yup... (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383495)

I would lose all my passion as well if I sold my soul to Electronic Arts...

and now had enough cash I didn't need to work and could actually enjoy games as a player rather than as a developer.

And their studio catastrophically fucked up with SWTOR, and that means heads have to roll.

It's very unlikely that it's a coincidence they're going out at the same time. I suspect between the furore over the ME3 ending and the financial disaster that is SWTOR EA told them 'you have your millions, GTFO, oh, and you have a retention agreement for at least 5 more years, so you can leave, but you can't work for anyone else without losing a boatload of money in shares'. Or it told one of them (Zeschuk, who is ultimately responsible for SWTOR) to leave and the other tried to salvage the situation and said 'if he goes, I go' and EA said 'if you're going to stand with someone who lost us easily 100 million dollars, you go too then'.

None of what is wrong with SWTOR is really an EA issue. It's a game design issue at a basic level (how do you travel around the world, what quests are there to do every day, are they interesting to do more than a couple of times, can players understand how to level up and raid etc.), and that means whomever was in charge of that studio (Zeschuk) hired the wrong people, or trained the ones he hired wrong, or didn't get the right feedback during testing (which they definitely didn't, I was in a lot of the testing and they didn't really understand anything past the first 200 hours of play time, which is the first month for an MMO). If he was still an owner at a private corporation (and Bioware pandemic had been owned by someone else than just the founders for a while I believe) it might have survived as an expensive learning experience, but at a public company when you report to someone else, you don't make mistakes like that and keep your job.

Killed Westwood Studios and C&C / C&C:RA

The list of studios destroyed by EA is a lot longer than just westwood. But, ironically, they are resuscitating the C&C franchise with BioWare montreal. Though I suspect EA has forced a change of direction on that title because they didn't seem to be planning what they say they're doing now.

Re:yup... (4, Insightful)

constpointertoconst (1979236) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384367)

and now had enough cash I didn't need to work and could actually enjoy games as a player rather than as a developer.

Personally, as a player-turned-developer, I find it difficult to enjoy games past a certain point without the opportunity to participate in their creation.

Re:yup... (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385481)

I keep telling my son (9yrs old, don't know if he believes me) that building games much more fun than playing them.

Re:yup... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387263)

I speak from experience on that one as well. I'm finishing up my PhD in game development.

Re:yup... (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387883)

and now had enough cash I didn't need to work and could actually enjoy games as a player rather than as a developer.

Personally, as a player-turned-developer, I find it difficult to enjoy games past a certain point without the opportunity to participate in their creation.

Agreed. Only a cynical person would view not working on games as freedom. I absolutely love working on games, playing them, and sharing them.

Re:yup... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389859)

Being on the budgeting side can take a lot of fun out of it. Especially if you have to lay people off in cycles.

It really depends on what you do, I'm a graphics and AI guy, so I can get a fair bit of enjoyment out of development. But if you're in charge of the studio and looking at things like monthly churn, profit margins etc. it can sap all of the fun out of it. These guys were the studio directors, and that generally entails a lot of meetings, a lot of budgets and a lot of HR type stuff. Most of which is generically business regardless of your industry.

Re:yup... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385975)

None of what is wrong with SWTOR is really an EA issue. It's a game design issue at a basic level

What's basically wrong with SWTOR is that everyone really just wanted KOTOR3.

Re:yup... (2)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#41386121)

No no, Everyone wanted KotoR 3 with co-op mode.

AKA you're supposed to be overpowered depending on the difficulty level you choose. You're not supposed to be balanced but all classes should be playable... etc. Sort of like Vanilla WoW. All classes had SOMETHING to make at least one of that class desirable in a raid but beyond that nothing was very terribly balanced. This is where Blizzard got it right. They made it FUN first, and balanced afterwards. So much feedback from so-called "elite" players espousing that "balanced" IS fun has destroyed that game. They did the same thing to SWTOR.

Sadly they spent so much time balancing that PVP was pretty good at first (in beta) and still the most popular feature at release, then turned thier backs on it entirely without taking enough time to properly fix PVE first.

Essentially, you can't have it all. Either your game needs to be PVP focused or PVE focused, and the other thing is going to be bolted on and should stay that way.

Re:yup... (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41386973)

No, I certainly did not want KOTOR with co-op. I want to be the protagonist of the story. That can't happen in multiplayer RPGs.

Re:yup... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387283)

Sure it can. It did in SWTOR even. The suspension of disbelief that comes when everyone else is also the hero of a story isn't really a problem, surprisingly.

Re:yup... (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387905)

No, I certainly did not want KOTOR with co-op. I want to be the protagonist of the story. That can't happen in multiplayer RPGs.

I'm supposing you never played Guild Wars.

Re:yup... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387337)

Sadly they spent so much time balancing that PVP was pretty good at first (in beta) and still the most popular feature at release, then turned thier backs on it entirely without taking enough time to properly fix PVE first.

PVP balance is tricky. But the core problem with PVP was more things like Ilum and the progression from battlemaster to War Hero. Lots of people don't want to invest 100 hours of gameplay to be competitive.

In terms of play the game very much plays (and is balanced) as well as WOTLK WoW. The problem is that WOTLK wow had some really bizarre mechanics (stats that capped, stats that were non -obviously better than primary stats to a point), and then the itemization is there, but not all that easy to get your head around etc. Even on the PVP side there's a reason wow is putting 'resilience' (expertise in SWTOR speak) as a base stat that you will always have some of in Pandaria, because not having it really messes things up.

Re:yup... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390637)

Resilience is a bad tacked on mechanic to fix a bad tacked on competitive PVP system.

In reality they should choose a direction and go with it. People will always want to have some fun nuking other people here and there but things like battlegrounds and Southshore in WoW solved that urge nicely. PVP being a total bolt-on actually works, and IMO created more fun PVP than this new crap they have. I actually enjoyed seeing the odd mage run into the middle of a huge group and massacre them just because no one in the group was bright enough to target the mage long enough to two-shot him.

Being slightly unbalanced and having most classes wrecking most other classes faces is chaotic, and fucking awesome.

Re:yup... (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390861)

i remember when my arms warrior had 100% Armor Penetration without any buffs in WOTLK. all from gear and gems. I had to run lots of numbers to figure out what drops i needed to accomplish this but finally I got it. The part about figuring out all the numbers and the number crunching in general was really fun. I am probably not in the majority there. I told the mods on blizzard that ALL they had to do to balance pvp and pve was to give certain abilities/stats/cd's different numbers, depending on whether or not you were in pvp or pve. The just change the tooltip for people to read it. And ALL i got back was something like "people would be confused or people dont want to read all that". If your players dont want to read a freaking tooltip and at least spend 30 minutes figuring their character out then maybe they should go and play MSN hearts. MMOs weren't designed for everyone. *rant over*

Re:yup... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391113)

You can say this about wow if you arleady invested the 100 hours in pvp gear. If you were starting from scratch it would be the same story. I love SWTOR. It just is like early wow. It was not until after Burning Crusade that things started to go right. BC was buggy as fuck too when it came out. WOTLK was great with the main protagnist. I started growing tired of Wow and fell in love with it again during WOTLK. I soo wanted Artharas's ass on a stick! It had qualities that were gone in catacylsm and are there in SWTOR and that is the storyline and being part of something. Not just grinding pointlessly and not even reading the quest texts.

EA rushes shit and did so with SWTOR but it is now improving. SWTOR has things not done in MMOs with the storyline and companions and was hoping it would win. I do not blame the founders of bioware for leaving after this. I would be infuriated too.

I hope with server mergers and balancing that it improves further. You should try it again? The flashpoint finder is a godsend.

Re:yup... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391059)

I disagree with Blizzard got it right. I love SWTOR but I do admit it was released before it is ready and they are balancing and adding things to it now like a dungeon finder. It seems development came and then was rushed without the tunning.

Why I no longer play Wow is because the quests are boring as fuck, the characters have no personality, You have to grind grind grind to get to 85 and then what?!

SWTOR you can have storylines, companions, and a co-op mode too if you do not want to play with other players. I mean check this shit for storyline [youtube.com] . A whole hour of history integrated into the game. After watching this the questing makes more sense.

Sure SWTOR came out unbalanced, bugs, pvp meh, full servers or no pop servers, etc. Wow had these same problems too when it was new. SWTOR is getting better and EA just released it before it was ready. I love SWTOR and it is getting better every day.

Re:yup... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391117)

SWTOR was actually pretty balanced with the exception of one class and one or two sub-types.

The problem wasn't bugs either. It was probably -THE- singular most bug-free MMO launch I have EVER had the pleasure of going through.

It was the fact that the game was awesome till level 20 then fell off a cliff. It was unfinished and a lot of the reason was they wasted too much time balancing and tacking on PVP shit in beta.

WoW became linear and the chaoticness it once had is now buried out behind activisions shed somewhere. AKA its purely boring.

Re:yup... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391301)

PVP still bites ass. For example every class has the ability to knock someone down. Tanks should have resistance to that and not every class should have that ability. But it is improving little by little.

The whinners take issue is it was not as good as wow on opening day nor as mature so they left. EA then fires everyone and forces the 2 co owners out. The fact that the servers now can handle much more people show that it was not optimized yet. The merging was done quick as name conflicts happened and caused more people to leave.

The question is will these users go back or did 65% of the people leave and hate it and never will come back. I still feel mid level lag in SWTOR is better than in WOW. However, it was fun to see new lands and places in Wow. In swtor it didn't matter as your ship could take you anywhere. They should have limited this to systems nearbye and hyper drive improvements could have you go further and further when you level but it is still the same old crap.

Re:yup... (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387055)

What's basically wrong with SWTOR is that everyone really just wanted KOTOR3.

I wish I could mod you to +3.2*10^32 Insightful As A God. They could have made a decent profit with KOTOR 3. Instead they got greedy and decided to go for the WoW bucks. They screwed over the console owners who helped make KOTOR 1 and 2 so successful. They tried to milk the franchise. And they forgot that they aren't Blizzard. And they got burned--and deservedly so.

Good riddance, assholes.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386591)

EA and Activision are the problem with todays games. Companies like Bioware and Blizzard should never have gotten into bed with companies who sole purpose is to put out as many crap games as possible to get people to purchase them.

Any game company that sells out to either of those distributors sold their souls to the devil for a few extra bucks.

Stop buying EA/Activision games for a year to protest their crap development.

As for SWTOR, it is completely EA's fault. Once you get into bed with the devil, you do things the devils way and not your own way. Profit > Quality with EA/Activision.

Re:yup... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387435)

EA and Activision are like giant banks that specialize in games. BioWare spent hundreds of millions of dollars on SWTOR. Well probably in the 200 million range, and then advertising etc. That money you can't just conjure out of a hat. Someone needs to take games very seriously and think very hard about where else those hundreds of millions of dollars could come from or go to.

Especially with star wars, if you want a Star Wars game you need to be big enough and to have enough money that LucasArts will even pick up the phone and talk to you.

Ultimately every business is about money, BioWare made a bad game, and a bad ending to a huge franchise, both of those were with the minimum of interference from EA (EA made them start the new studio on sight with an existing EA studio, but that doesn't have much to do with either of the problems at hand). If you fuck up that costs shareholders money, and that costs employees jobs. At least EA is big enough the failure of SWTOR didn't take everyone else at BioWare with it, and they'll be able to keep the game going F2P and maybe even get it back on its feet.

Re:yup... (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41386995)

What are you talking about? SWTOR was a huge success! Why, just last week they increased their player base by 20%, when a family of 4 brothers in Illinois joined all at once. That's 20% a week growth, man!! At that rate, they'll overtake WoW in no time.

Re:yup... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391171)

Mod up!

SWTOR still has over a million subscribers and those who wine played for 1 week and noticed it did not have 8 years of tuning that Wow had and left. It is a new game for crying out loud and it does have new things like storylines, companions, and feels more like an interactive movie than pointless quests to grind in wow. My imperial agent wants to hunt down The Eagle for killing Darth Jadas, my Sith Jaguarnut wants to find this new apprientice who can discover spies fast! That is just chapter 1 stuff.

In wow, its kill 12 boars for a liver pie ... (What does taht have to do with my storyline?) Oh thats right wow characters have no storyline at all until WOTLK. No goals. Some may disagree and do not find that appealing and that is fine but give SWTOR for being different.

SWTOR now has a dungeon finder and is balancing out in pvp. It is improving just like early wow did and I highly encourage slashdotters reading this to try it out for free again?

Re:yup... (4, Informative)

popo (107611) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383509)

This news comes ironically as Baldur's Gate is being re-released. It was their finest moment.

Re:yup... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383611)

It is tough to judge. Baldur's Gate 2, SW KOTOR, and Mass Effect 2 were about as close to perfect games as one can imagine. Though to be fair, Baldur's Gate 1&2 had the best quotes by far:

Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes!
Boo points, I punch. Is very simple relationship, but it is effective.
Fear not! I will inspire you all by charging blindly on!
Live by the sword, live a good looong time.
When Tiax rules, breeches shall not ride up so wedge-like!
None stand where Tiax stands, lest he walk atop them.
Tell us a story, Monty! Something about bears and gold!

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383749)

Mass Effect 2 was by far my least favourite in the series. .But I agree that BG2 was excellent and KOTOR a very pleasant surprise.

Though despite my dislike of ME2, I found Mordin much more amusing than I ever found Minsc -- I don't mean offense, but at the time he seemed like he was meant to appeal to children and I felt almost patronized by the attempts at humour. Jan Jansen had a bit of that too, but he went over better with me for whatever reason. Although from time to time even I, an extreme completionist, just skipped over some of his meandering dialogue. And I honestly did not remember Tiax at all, and had to look him up. It's been way too long. Good timing for the enhanced editions.

Re:yup... (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385551)

Baldur's Gate 1&2 had the best quotes by far:

Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes!
Boo points, I punch. Is very simple relationship, but it is effective.
Fear not! I will inspire you all by charging blindly on!
Live by the sword, live a good looong time.
When Tiax rules, breeches shall not ride up so wedge-like!
None stand where Tiax stands, lest he walk atop them.
Tell us a story, Monty! Something about bears and gold!

Onwards, to futility!
Why are you so fat?

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386217)

Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes!
Boo points, I punch. Is very simple relationship, but it is effective.
Fear not! I will inspire you all by charging blindly on!
Live by the sword, live a good looong time.
When Tiax rules, breeches shall not ride up so wedge-like!
None stand where Tiax stands, lest he walk atop them.
Tell us a story, Monty! Something about bears and gold!

I care not!

Re:yup... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41388721)

Oh shut up, Imoen.

Re:yup... (3, Interesting)

hedleyroos (817147) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384427)

I have my doubts about the Enhanced Edition. Even the webpage is not up to the usual high Bioware standard. And you'll need an always on internet connection to play, and have to pay constantly for DLC. No thanks, I'll buy the original from GoG and use the BiG World project.

Re:yup... (1)

slickepott (733214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384925)

Could have modded but I rather say that this is an interesting point I wasn't aware of.

Baldurs Gate is probably the computer game I've loved the most ever and intended to buy the enhanced edition but requirement to always be online and DLC was something I didn't know and I certainly won't support.

I'll just dig out my old discs instead.

Re:yup... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41385549)

It is activation only DRM [baldursgate.com] . Where did this always-online DRM rumor start?

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41387029)

I have my doubts about the Enhanced Edition. Even the webpage is not up to the usual high Bioware standard. And you'll need an always on internet connection to play, and have to pay constantly for DLC. No thanks, I'll buy the original from GoG and use the BiG World project.

Bioware is not making Enhanced Edition.

Re:yup... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41387045)

I tried playing through BG again a couple months again using the TOTO project, but the green water and lack of resolution really irked me.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390621)

That's probably because the crew doing the Enhanced Edition isn't exactly Bioware. They're running on a shoestring budget, and it's a handful of guys... For reference, Trent Oster's Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/#!/trentoster

Other posters have already directly addressed your misinformation about the DLC and DRM stuff.

Re:yup... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386525)

I agree that the Baldur's Gate series was the pinnacle of Bioware's success. I am looking foward to the re-release; however, they pushed back the released date until November (it was supposed to come out yesterday). That was disappointing news!

Re:yup... (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383525)

Origin
Westwood
Bullfrog
Maxis
Bioware
Several others not mentioned...

Yep...when you sell your soul to EA, you only have yourself to blame.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384537)

Maxis will always hit me hardest.

Will Wrights fantastic creation was absolutely wrecked by them.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389483)

Wow, I always knew EA screwed up everyone they bought but I didn't realize the list of companies they bought included all my favorites

Re:yup... (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383537)

Thank you AC I thought I was the only one! The millisecond I saw the headline all i could think of is all the devs from great software houses that ran screaming after spending time in the PHB hell that is EA. Is there any of the guys from Bullfrog or Westwood or any of the greats they bought still hanging around?

And I would bet my last dollar the reason they are "retiring from gaming" is that EA made them sign a no compete clause when they bought the company. Watch in 5 years or so they'll come out of "retirement" with some killer new game from a fresh idea that EA told them wouldn't make a new Call Of Halo: Gears of Killzone cookie cutter franchise, since that seems to be pretty much all they care about anymore.

Re: in 5 years or so (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383633)

Maybe not.

5 Years is a long time to "hide away" just because of some legal contract clause. If they get a new good thing going, then power to them.

Also, in Internet Time, I for one can no longer "settle down to wait 5 more years" for something. I retired from most comp gaming many years ago, so this is just a "nice little story to read" but I won't remember it next month, let alone 5 years from now.

I'm like a Grade D prophet - barely good enough to predict these guys won't come back like you suggested, but hopess at offering any other forward direction for them.

Re: in 5 years or so (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385099)

Well you don't know how much these guys got paid to sign that contract, hell they could spend 3 or 4 years just having a damned good time and THEN try something new. Remember a game will take a couple of years from idea to shelves.

Plus if I were a game designer? I could see sitting out for a couple of years, it'll take that long for the new Xbox and PlayStation get out and the new dev tools become mature so i can see letting others take the sucky job of putting out the launch titles.

No matter what they decide to do I wish them well, if for no other reason the fun they gave me in their past before EA came along and like Symantec trashed everything that was good about the company. Good luck guys and thanks for the games.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384439)

And I would bet my last dollar the reason they are "retiring from gaming" is that EA made them sign a no compete clause when they bought the company.

They should move to CA if they aren't there already. Non-compete clauses do not hold in California.

Re:yup... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391213)

Dude if I had $5 million I would probably not work again. Maybe do things for fun or get a PHD for the hell out of it, but with that kind of money it is best to sit back in your new mansion in Vail and play them all day long with tons of hookers around by the swimming pool serving you cavier.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383587)

don't forget Wing Commander and Ultima. At least there Chris Roberts wants to get back into it.

Re:yup... (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383959)

He didn't forget Ultima: Origin was the first name on the list.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383767)

>Killed Westwood Studios and C&C / C&C:RA, now working on the final edges for BioWare!

All those companies were private companies that basically cashed in their IP to EA, took the money and run.

Re:yup... (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385311)

I think that these two will be back a year from now, posting their new indie game idea on Kickstarter. They just don't want to work for EA anymore, and who can blame them?

Odds are that it will be their best idea in years, considering that they'll no longer have to through EA's focus groups and finance guys to get the project green lit.

Re:yup... (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390189)

ala Brian Fargo (WL2)... can't wait for their new (hope) game

Re:yup... (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385473)

Yawn, bullshit, who cares. After two decades building games do you really end up this stupid about economics? His social impact investing has been going on for two decades and now. The best way to help people is to make jobs. What is "making jobs?" Generating, collecting, and organizing money so as to perpetuate the process. That is social impact investing.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386445)

Greg Zeschuk:

"I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation."

As someone a similar point in my life in a different part of the tech sector, I know that feel, bro, I know that feel.

Re:yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41387259)

Sounds like they are just getting old and realized that, like Trix, games are for kids.

EA will do that (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383411)

They rushed Star Wars the Old Republic and caused over half the users to leave because the top 5% of features in Wow were not there.

It is so frustrating as SWTOR now has a dungeon finder, sever consolidation, user population support that matches wow per realm, and other things that match it with wow today but most refuse to go back and it frustrates me.

If only EA didn't want to slaughter the goose to meet Christmas sales and released it today the number of subscribers would double. EA also fired a lot of good employees and implemented budget cuts so they can't fix the problems and work on the next patch easily.

They sold their souls and got rich. Go buy a yatch and play the games for the rest of our lives. They do not have to work again

Re:EA will do that (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383475)

Even when they do the right things, they do it the wrong way. I left as a result of the server consolidations My main, created on day 1 of the pre-release period, was stripped of its name because of a combination of a lack of choice of servers to move to, and no attempt to implement reasonable rules regarding character naming conflicts as a result of the merger. So because somebody's alt had the same name as my main, and my server was the one being merged into the other, I had to lose the name that I've used in every online game I've played for the past decade.

Up to that point I had been the main driving force in getting my friends to stay with the game. I quit that day and everyone I know that hadn't already left, did so soon after.

Re:EA will do that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383779)

The level of autism in this post is astonishing.

Not only have you put a significant amount of time into many video games (which itself isn't necessarily a bad thing given the right situations), you outright quit playing a game because your virtual characters name could not be named to the one you are accustomed to using.

I give your post an Aspergers/10.

Re:EA will do that (1)

irwiss (1122399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384105)

When a company goes out of it's way to screw you then *you* might like to use lube and enjoy it, other people don't.

Re:EA will do that (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384717)

There's two reasons why this was important:

1) The RPG element of a MMORPG. A character's name is a key facet of any character, especially in a MMORPG where it's the only element a player has complete control over, all other factors being essentially chosen from a list provided by the devs.

2) More importantly, there's the social factor. People online know me by that name. As I said, I've used it for a decade now, and people looking for me in game look for that name.

Re:EA will do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41385227)

I have been using some of my "names" for years as well, I have yet to encounter someone who ever made the same choices as I did. When choosing a name, be it a "nickname" or "character name" I always put special emphasis on picking one that is easily recognizable and kinda easy to spell/remember, but hard to come up with at the same time.

You claim you have been using said name for over ten years, so I doubt we are talking about "DarkNinja" here. Still, it seems like your personal choice wasn't as original as you thought, so how about slightly altering it the next time? you will end up using an "even more original" name than you currently have and people you already know will still recognize you.

Re:EA will do that (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390155)

My name is very rarely in use by another, which just added to the annoyance in this case. I'm sure if I had been allowed to choose the server I transferred to I could have found one where the name was not already in use, but they decided to prevent that option, and so I decided to stop doing business with them.

Re:EA will do that (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384315)

I shudder to ask... what do you think "reasonable rules regarding character naming conflicts" should look like?

Re:EA will do that (3, Interesting)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384659)

Most other games doing server mergers have had a system in place where the oldest character kept the name, as long as that character was over a certain level to ensure that it wasn't just a place-holding alt. Another popular alternative is to allow players to check a server for naming conflicts before doing a transfer and to select a server where a conflict doesn't exist. SWTOR's forcing all transfers to go to a single server prevented this as an option, but they could have still done the first one.

Re:EA will do that (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384771)

How is that fair to the other person who was allowed to pick that same name?
Ofcourse this could have been easily prevented by not allowing duplicate names across servers, but given the current state, why would you have more right to the name?

Re:EA will do that (1)

Krojack (575051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41388051)

If your character was created before the other and was a higher level then you should take priority and get to keep your name. How hard is that to understand?

Re:EA will do that (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390605)

And what if your character was created earlier and the character of the other has a higher level?

Re:EA will do that (1)

Krojack (575051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391991)

If I made the rules, the person that made the character first. Only rule I would include is that you must be at least n level. n being something around 10 or 20. Depends on the game and how fast you can level. In WoW getting to level 20 can be done in a few hours.

Re:EA will do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384963)

I'm sorry, I created a character on Red Eclipse, EU, with the specific intent that if a name was free on that server by now (it is/was one of the most populated ones) I'd get to keep it. But no, as they merged another server into it I'm being forced to rename and tell everyone I know on the server to not mail stuff to me anymore. And they are expecting me to stay? Perhaps it makes long timer like you happy in the pants when you get to tell people to 'scoot over - and hand me all your names' but they aren't exactly gaining anything if they end up pissing of new subscribers, are they?

Re:EA will do that (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384229)

Sure, IF the did X then Y would happen. Yeah, we're all smarter in retrospect. My take on it is that Knight of the old republic was a single player game, a brilliant one at that. KOTR 2 was a half finished mess, but with fan edits & mods (and the eventual remake now on steam) it can be pretty good at times... Now, following that, what made them think that that success of a single player game will directly translate to an MMORPG? Better yet, how did they think they will manage to get all those users in a saturated market when they are not pack leader in terms of features and gameplay? I for one never wanted this online star wars multiplayer thing. I wanted a KOTR 3 that is as well made as the first one. I wanted THAT game, something tells me I wasn't alone. SWTOR just did not deliver that.

Re:EA will do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384539)

sever consolidation

Again? Was this because SWTOR is that bad, or because they're still ego tripping?

This happened with WAR. EA sunk its claws into the corpse of Mythic(1), insisted they had the next WoW(2), and opened the game with fifty bajillion servers. Less than a week later(3), servers were being consolidated because a server with no population - at game launch/early life - this is catastrophically bad.

(1) EA didn't kill Mythic. Sorry, EA haters/Mythic fanboys, but Mythic killed Mythic. Entire alliances disappeared overnight in the wake of Trials of EverQuest Lite, never to be seen again, and Dark Age of Camelot was thereafter relegated to the realms of obscurity, with only diehard loons remaining.

(2) WoW's success will never be repeated, and companies need to stop attempting it. It is no longer 2004; the MMO industry consists of far more games than the stale EverQuest, the ailing Dark Age of Camelot, and those strange Internet Spaceships from that company nobody has heard of; subscription-based games are dying(*4); et cetera.

(3) I think it was actually a month or two, to be honest, but it was shortly after launch.

(*4) There hasn't been a truly successful subscription-based MMO launch in several gaming ages. F2P/Cash Shop is lucrative, to be sure, but doesn't lend itself to the numerical insanity that was WoW at its height.

Re:EA will do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384723)

While we're comparing MMOs, the genre does seem to be in very capable hands (ArenaNet's), but I suppose Star Wars fans will still feel screwed. Not that they're not used to it... =/

Re:EA will do that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41385185)

There are (or were before I quit) many more problems in SWTOR than a lack of a dungeon finder and population. It's just a terrible game:

PVP is years behind other MMOs
Ridiculously unbalanced classes
Boring questing
Bugs all over the place (I found numerous places where I could just walk off the end of the map!)
No flying mounts (in a sci-fi game?!)
Idiotic companions
Half-assed economy
Useless trade skills
Bad graphics engine
Broken updates
Failure to deliver on promised patch features

Need I go on? I don't think EA can be blamed for that mess.

Of course, from what I saw of the forums (I never posted there) the community was also pretty bad, and probably not a great enticement for people to join the game either.

Re:EA will do that (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 2 years ago | (#41388657)

Do they have addon and macro support? Or even just macros?

I was a Juggernaut and I had a HUGE number of keybinds I had to manage for every fight and it was just painful to try to both maintain situational awareness when tanking and also manage all those keybinds and abilities that procced without macros.

The other issue I had was with the way abilities were tied to animations, which meant that if you hit a button too soon (which ALWAYS happens when you have a huge number of keybinds to manage) you would wind up skipping an activation or canceling an activation, or doing something else.

I liked most everything about the game except for the gameplay - no macros in this day and age is a deal breaker, and I don't honestly know what they were thinking tying all abilities in an MMO where there are various degrees of latency to animations.

Well done, Ray and Greg! (2)

wermske (1781984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383423)

My warmest congratulations. Clearly, you've out leveled this zone. You have enjoyed a long and productive career of which you can justly be proud. The experience, skill, and capabilities you can share with social institutions is rare and badly needed. Good on you. Game on...

Zeschuk's Craft Beer (1)

pokoteng (2729771) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383443)

That's one hell of a career jump. A tasty one too, I might add, maybe I should get in on brewing too....

EA (5, Funny)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383463)

Assuming direct control.

There is no more BioWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383491)

There's only a soulless subsidiary of EA.

Hi, this is Dr. Douchebag, and I'm Dr. Turd Sammic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383513)

And together we help release one of the most craptastic videogames ever to be released like our latest game; SWTOR.

Whatever (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383521)

I don't give a shit about what happened with SWTOR. I haven't played a MMORPG since UO. But the work Bioware did with the Baldur's Gate series, SW KOTOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect is legendary. For a decade, Bioware was the Pixar of game developers. So I will remember them for their kickass games. It is a pity that Bioware is gone. Hopefully some company is ready to fill the void.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383695)

Then came Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41385775)

EA had already bought 'em. The games in the pipe as they bought them were still good stuff...the stuff post purchase that they started...heh...

In the end... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383769)

...they are faced with three options.

A. They can destroy the company.AKA "the blue ending"

B. They can join EA. AKA "the red ending"

C. They can merge them both. AKA "the green ending"

In the end, it all looks the same.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

There is another answer.... (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 2 years ago | (#41388823)

So be it. The cycle continues.

dragon age II and mass effect III (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383853)

enough reason to go into hiding.

"Retiring" (2)

klingers48 (968406) | more than 2 years ago | (#41383869)

This is pure speculation on my part but I'd suspect that any non-compete clause on their contract would remain in effect for at least for a couple of years after they left EA. Big, bright new things in a couple of years, I'm sure.

Re:"Retiring" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41385175)

Non-compete clauses are not very often enforced by courts.

Re:"Retiring" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386573)

Maybe true but spilling blood, I mean cash to have a legal defense isn't fun. Not to mention meetings and court dates to attend.

Ending of ME3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41383949)

Now it all makes sense. It reflected their own views and we all had to suffer for it

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384239)

At least they know when to call it a day. I'd hope that a more excited pair would take their places.

Bioware is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384327)

... overrated and only lives on in nostalgia of nerds who can't see past their nostalgia. Many games of theirs were downright average to say the least and mediocre at worst (neverwinter nights series is just bad, period). Their games always tended to have bad battle systems to cater to the old PC RPG crowd that has no dexterity. Their combat systems were always abstract, automated and severely lacking in interactivity which lead to severe drag/boredom and which would cause us as youths to cheat to skip the boring combat and just get to the story bits.

If you like dungeon crawling and don't want to watch a movie on your PC baldurs gates rpg's are among the worst since their combat systems are wrapped about D&D rules that were never designed to work for videogames. The hybrid realtime combat system just never worked for me, I prefer action based or fully turn based. In between bullshit that bioware invented that so many else copied was awful. It raised generations of gamers on shitty combat systems that they thought was awesome (being that they were among the first games those gamers ever experienced).

I thought mass effect 2 was a giant improvement over party based clumsyness of ME1. I actually want to participate in the game and be the one doing the jumping and shooting, not giving commands to robots from the back row while I just watch passively. I thought ME1 had a nice plot and average characters, ME2 had a crappier plot and better characterization. ME3 was just shite.

If anything bioware is the poster child of the movie-fication of games and the stripping of interactivity OUT of games. Most modern action games have been slowly becoming simpler and it's because of the casual player (who is not dexterous or skilled at videogames) RPG's influence.

RPG's were the original watch-em-up, I bemoan the time when videogames could be videogames with deep and interesting rulesets that were infinitely replayable before everyone started taking videogames in the direction of movies. All that money spent on graphics and voice actors that are juts one time only things and they take up most of the budget of a game. Crying shame.

Civilization is a game that needs no story and its one of the best videogames of all time, most modern games have gotten so far away from being videogames and its sucking the life out of games trying to be story based interactive cinematic experiences.

Re:Bioware is... (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384833)

Their games always tended to have bad battle systems to cater to the old PC RPG crowd that has no dexterity.

That is the same crowd of ten thousands that financed a bunch of games vie Kickstarter in the last few months.

Why should a company no cater to a crowd of tens of thousands that are willing to pay for games that they like?

Re:Bioware is... (2)

Asmodae (1155077) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389311)

BUT, GROWTH! How can you grow if your audience is only 10's of thousands? There's millions of gamers out there! We need more farmvilles, more WoWs, if you're not growing X% per month/quarter/year you are a failure! /sarc

Re:Bioware is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390227)

go play your angry bird and get off my slashdot lawn

Re:Bioware is... (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385417)

So Bioware is over-rated because you didn't like BG or NWN style games with their D&D influenced combat?

I can sum up your entire post with one phrase, "I don't like the style of game they put out."

Me, otoh, have enjoyed many BioWare games over the years. I thought their story lines were always well done (even in SWTOR though I only played for 4-5 months).

Re:Bioware is... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41386089)

Many games of theirs were downright average to say the least and mediocre at worst

Name some better ones.

Their games always tended to have bad battle systems to cater to the old PC RPG crowd that has no dexterity

In other words, those of us with decades of gaming experience who know that there's more to a good game than action.

Re:Bioware is... (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390265)

"more to a good game than twitching and button mashing" FTFY

Re:Bioware is... (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390449)

YA! Mariokart! WHOOO!

Mythic (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 2 years ago | (#41385995)

I can only hope that this will mean EA will split Mythic from BioWare and turn it once again into a separate entity and sold off. EA ownership of Mythic has been a ugly nightmare.

It's been 5 years since EA bought Bioware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41386731)

Given that they both are retiring at the same time and it's been 5 years since EA bought Bioware, it's likely both of them had a stipulation in their contract which stated they must continue working for EA Bioware for 5 years after acquisition.

Part of me feels bad for those guys, EA took the brand Bioware and slapped it on so many of their studios just so their damned marketing team could brag about how it's "from Bioware!"

Re:It's been 5 years since EA bought Bioware (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390275)

hopefully they kept their new creations in a box away from EA and can now create games i might again enjoy.

Thank you (1)

aoism (996912) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389335)

Thanks for Baldur's gate, and good luck on your future endeavors.
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