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SOE Officially Announces The Agency, FreeRealms

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the killing-trolls-in-sexy-leather dept.

Role Playing (Games) 80

Today the embargo ended for news on Sony Online Entertainment's two newest Massively Multiplayer Online Games. One, entitled The Agency is slated for the PS3 and PC formats, and will feature a spies and mercenaries theme so far unseen in the Massive genre. The other is FreeRealms, a fantasy title deliberately aimed at non-traditional gamers. It will feature whimsical gameplay and offer users the ability to create their own content, another first for a Massive title. Gamasutra has an interview with Matt Wilson, the studio director of SOE-Seattle, discussing the inspiration behind The Agency . "I think our big inspiration to develop this game actually came from watching movies. If you pay attention to all of the summer blockbusters there are lot of movies that come out around the spy/espionage genre. Whether it's James Bond, or the Bourne series all the way from Mission Impossible or even TV shows like 24 or Alias, it is a really big genre of information that is out there."

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80 comments

And here. (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19468711)

And here, my friends, will SOE feel the full brunt of the backlash of their raping and pillaging many games in the MMO genre.

The very fact that SOE is at the helm will cause many people to not even want to READ about these titles, much less play them (and yes, I am one of the many folks pissed off at what SOE did to completely DESTROY Star Wars Galaxies which was, at one time, probably the best and deepest MMO around)

Re:And here. (1)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 6 years ago | (#19468777)

So very true. I said a while back that SOE is where MMOs go to die. These things will just be still-born.

Re:And here. (1)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469085)

SWG one of the best MMOs around? When was that? Back in Beta or Pre-Beta?

Because when I was testing the game, it was a wretched abomination unto the Star Wars license.

Oh, I agree with you that SoE ruins everything it touches. I canceled my Vanguard account when they purchased Sigil. But SWG retains the #2 position of my All Time Most Disappointing Games list, so... it's a sore spot for me.

Re:And here. (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469665)

When did SOE buy Sigil? Got a link?

Re:And here. (3, Funny)

DoohickeyJones (605261) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470301)

Sony didn't buy Sigil...it just became the publisher of Vanguard. I remember the day. It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Re:And here. (1)

Harlockjds (463986) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476289)

>I canceled my Vanguard account when they purchased Sigil

so the stunning game play the game had would have been enough to keep you around?

Re:And here. (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469197)

Amen to that. If what they did to SWG is any indication of their attitude toward 'non-traditional' games and content, aimed at the so-called masses, then SomeUnlikelyDefinitionofFree-Realms is dead already.

It certainly doesn't help that SOE has gone from being the mill against which all MMO grinds are measured, to becoming the industry's elephant graveyard, where the likes of Matrix: Online, Vanguard and SWG go to die.

really doesn't matter (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469307)

... when you are aiming at non-traditional playerbase.

(but then again, I'm one of the Sony Faithful, I still play EQ ...)

Re:And here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19469313)

"And here, my friends, will SOE feel the full brunt of the backlash of their raping and pillaging many games in the MMO genre."

And you think anyone gives a shit about you and handful of other random nutcases from the pc gaming world have to say about a console game?

Re:And here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469421)

Well, considering the PC Market is where MMO games were given birth, I would say PC gamers know a thing or two more about MMO's than strictly console gamers.

And by the way, you do realize you can play console games AND PC games right? It's not against the law or anything (yet...)

Re:And here. (3, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469351)

"And here, my friends, will SOE feel the full brunt of the backlash of their raping and pillaging many games in the MMO genre.

The very fact that SOE is at the helm will cause many people to not even want to READ about these titles, much less play them (and yes, I am one of the many folks pissed off at what SOE did to completely DESTROY Star Wars Galaxies which was, at one time, probably the best and deepest MMO around)"

Yep. SOE has sown the wind and shall reap the whirlwind.

They have the absolute worst reputation amongst all MMO developers and are probably the most despised company amongst MMO developers.

Hopefully soon we will have our Pre-CU SWG back, it's already playable with most combat working over at www.swgemu.com

To those thinking of trying those games: DONT.

SOE has and WILL make drastic gameplay changes, including completely invalidating your character achievements even deleting whole aspects of the game! That is what they did to SWG. If they did it before they could do it again.

SOE is not trustworthy enough to invest the time that a MMO requires into.

Re:And here. (5, Interesting)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470363)

It always seems that the most vocal critics of SOE are the ones that played SWG. Since that game wasn't very good to begin with, I don't see how them taking a chance and screwing it up even further, warrants such hate. Rabid SWG players "Pre-CU" are more disinterested in taking a hard look at the game from a honest viewpoint than UO players were. The bottom line is, subscription numbers were dropping, new subscriptions weren't being picked up, and the common thread of people leaving or not joining was "this game isn't a whole lot of fun." Some people will complain about anything for eternity. I still know people that think the Planes of Power expansion for EQ1 ruined the game because travel became easier. Most folks loved it, though.

It's rare you will get a UO fanatic to admit that unless you were into a gank-fest type mindset and in a guild that were similarly minded, UO sucked for anyone interested in soloing or non-PvP combat, until it was revamped. When it was revamped, the people that would have loved that change had already left for EQ1 and weren't coming back. It was a classic case of "too little, too late". The remaining player base was mostly furious over the change, as the gankfest had ended. It's kinda funny that once they didn't have folks not interested in PvP to attack and kill easily, the PvP side of the game (the dark shard) was almost always deserted. I'm hoping they git it right in the upcomming beta for the new UO.

It was similar for SWG. Most people that really wanted to play the game (myself included) left well before the CU update. SOE was trying to stop the bleeding of customers of a game that had a title that should have rightly seen several hundreds of thousands paying and playing, but instead saw a dwindling subscription base. In doing so, they got it wrong, but they tried. They've admitted they botched it, even. But, they had to do something. SWG was dying a slow but painful death, and only the diehards that actually enjoyed the crapfest that was SWG have kept on whining. Much like UO, the change came way too late, and pissed off the majority of the remaining subscriber base.

They did a great job with EQ1. Lord knows I played it for 5.5 years straight. And so did a large number of other people. Until WoW came out, it was the biggest MMO in North America, by most people's reckoning. I stopped playing after I got into the closed beta for WoW, seeing something that would fit a more casual playstyle better than EQ1. That lasted a whole 9 months after release, and then I was bored out of my skull with the poor endgame that WoW had.

They got off to a bad start with EQ2, and it got crushed by WoW, and rightfully so. But, I'd say that today's EQ2 beats WoW. It's very solo, duo, and group friendly, with the largest raid force needed stuck at 24. After quiting WoW and going back to CoH and some CoV, I went back and tried EQ2. I haven't left since, despite several beta runs in games like LotR:O, V:SoH, and others.

And a few people have ranted about Vanguard sucking. Well, it sucked before SOE got involved with it, and it's gonna suck for a long time, unless it gets a serious revamp. You can't blame SOE for V:SOH's weaknesses and all around crappiness. Sigil did that on its own.

Maybe if Tabula Rising really pulls it off, I will slow down on EQ2. But for now, I'm very happy with this SOE game. And so are a lot of folks that come over from WoW, having burnt out on the end-game content there.

The bottom line is, SWG players need to get over it, much like UO players need to get over it. I'm sorry a game you loved got altered in a way you and most of the rest of the subscribers didn't like. But just because 1 game was altered that way, doesn't make the game company suck. There are a whole lot of other games that sucked that some people really liked, that got canned instead of the company trying to fix things. At least SOE tried, even if they did screw it up.

Re:And here. (1)

anduz (1027854) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475783)

Usually I'd be one of the silent lurkers who just don't buy SOE products and keep all quiet about it, but I just wanted to comment - because I actually liked SWG in the beginning. ;) However I disliked EQ, I hated EQ2 and while I'm not sure if it's fair to call V:SOH a SOE product I sure found it, and the way it was handled, upright repulsive.

It might be fair to mention that the MMOs I do like (asherons call, shadowbane and eve-online) are far from the EQ model, well maybe except for anarchy online and dark age of camelot?

Re:And here. (1)

Grimwiz (28623) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476489)

Heres a critic who got fed up of EQ. I put up with them for about 6 years and having tasted the breath of fresh air that other companies provide, will not return.

--- These comments are aimed at why I dont want SOE supporting my MMORPG...

SOE only listened to the hard-core vocal players, leaving the casual players without a game - did you ever try soloing past 60 with any non-kiting class? I had 2 accounts going so that I could make headway with tank/healer combo.

They had games masters who interfered, on self-important power trips. One changed my character name for no good reason.

Got an issue? raise a ticket and stay online till they get round to it. Unfortunately some people have to sleep. WoW tickets remain in the system and you get an email when its been attended to - which is fairly quickly. I suspect either the WoW GMs are more efficient, the game is less buggy, or have a better ratio of GM to customer.

They don't listen to their customers - and are arrogant whilst at it. They KNEW that EQ was a unique proposition at the time and treated customers like dirt.

They take money for playing the game twice - once as a high monthly fee, and once again on too-frequent updates.

--- I have these issues about EQ:

Extremely casual unfriendly to the point of becoming frustrating and impossible.

Poorly coded - inefficient use of 3d modelling, bugs in client and server code.

Since there had been so many expansions, and I was a casual player and thus not able to reach the powergamer zones, the game world had become so large and players so diffuse that I was frequently alone in a zone. This is not good if the monsters are too hard to solo.

Oh, I could go on... the auction house system, feign death griefers, xp loss on death, loss of equipment, quest management, overpowered monsters, poor treasure, worthless crafting system, long corpse runs.

You must all be laughing at me now for spending so many years on something that obviously wound me up.... but there were good things too (scenery, grouping, quests, exploring).

Re:And here. (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476891)

I never played swg. I saw what kind of game it was before it was release by reading and keeping up on the reviews/reactions and such. I also saw the beta at a friends house and was surprised it was even being release. Anyway, I knew for myself to stay away, but really, I am still pretty shocked at what they did to the game with the NGE.

The ONLY sacred thing about an mmo is your character. All your time goes into these guys. When you've played something 5 years you look at your character slots as trophies of the time you've invested into the system.

Well, they violated the character with the NGE. To take your class and your characters away, your experience, your loot, your items, all of that, is just insane. CU was a change (from what i read) but they still at least kept something of the old game. With the NGE they totally deleted your mmo guy and changed the game. That is SICK. Imagine what would happen if wow did that? Imagine if your old EQ 1 account got "upgraded" to a "new game experience" and you lost all your max level guys? Who wouldn't be pissed?

Re:And here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19479955)

Actually, players didn't lose their characters for the NGE. While the achievements of the high level players who had unlocked Jedi (a lengthy process) were invalidated by Jedi becoming a starting class, players didn't lose anything. The number of classes were cut down to 9 and players had to respec. Your level (equivalent) carried over and you obviously didn't lose any items.

Re:And here. (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 6 years ago | (#19533763)

That lasted a whole 9 months after release, and then I was bored out of my skull with the poor endgame that WoW had.

My how the times have changed... WoW has an incredibly rich and entertaining endgame now. I suspect you left right before the first endgame additions came out. Even the older endgame like ZG is a ton of fun, and with the BC and the new free Black Temple expansion there is plenty of fun for everyone.

Re:And here. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471119)

SOE has and WILL make drastic gameplay changes

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

including completely invalidating your character achievements even deleting whole aspects of the game!

You mean games end? Nonsense. I still have my character from Legends of Kesmai and my pilot stats from Air Warrior III! Oh wait. I don't. So Sony decided to overhaul the game. They took a risk and lost. Maybe you enjoy the same generic, repetitive RPG with a different wrapper, but I applaud any effort to contribute new ideas to the genre. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't, but it's far, far better than stagnation. Maybe they should have tried SWG-II rather than revamping the original, but hindsight is 20/20.

SOE is not trustworthy enough to invest the time that a MMO requires into.

Characters are investments the way cars are investments -- they're not. They have barriers to entry which scale geometrically to meet arbitrary standards, but as a rule, their values always decrease. At least there's a chance that a car could increase in value through scarcity, but usually only if you deprive yourself the pleasure of driving it. I have yet to hear of anyone storing a level 1 character and selling it decades later for a small fortune.

Re:And here. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474411)

[quote]Characters are investments the way cars are investments -- they're not. They have barriers to entry which scale geometrically to meet arbitrary standards, but as a rule, their values always decrease. At least there's a chance that a car could increase in value through scarcity, but usually only if you deprive yourself the pleasure of driving it. I have yet to hear of anyone storing a level 1 character and selling it decades later for a small fortune.[/quote]I think you misunderstand what people mean when they say 'investment'. Time invested in characters isn't like money invested in a property - characters are investments the way, say, gym memberships are investments. The reward for spending 20, 50, 100 days on a character (my highest /played time on a WoW character is around 70 days, I'd guess my total /played between all my chars is over 150 days) is not the cash you get from ebaying that character. It's the enjoyment you get from playing it, a large part of which is gained from the advancement of your character through leveling and gear upgrades. When a company significantly alters a character's class or gear to make it weaker, that destroys the results of some of the effort put in by the player to improve that character. (example - in WoW, the combined effects of the weapon normalisation nerf and the warrior enrage nerf meant that the top end damage with the game's hardest hitting weapon, obtainable only through extended raiding and farming, was reduced to the damage that, pre-nerfs, an easily available crafted weapon could dish out.) In entertainment terms, it's like getting a massive pay cut. Imagine spending a year working out three times a week, only to have the gym decide that the free weights are overpowered and surgically remove 30% of the muscle mass you've gained.

Re:And here. (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476279)

What? Did you miss the part where he said 'time investment'? Dialog means actually comprehending what the other side has to say, you know?

Re:And here. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19483085)

This may be a new concept for you, but time == money.

Moreover -- and this is the tricky part, so try to keep up -- an investment is something undertaken with the expectation of a return. There is no "return" at the end of an MMORPG, there is only the immediate pleasure of playing it. And no, making friends does not count, because the GP was complaining about the game mechanics, none of which prevented him from continuing a relationship with anyone.

Re:And here. (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 6 years ago | (#19485373)

If you build up a character so that you may, at a later date, partake in advanced game content that would be an investment? Correct, good Sir?
What if the publisher basically scraps the advancement concept making you start over again? Have you then lost the time you spent doing things for your character which you wouldn't have done if they weren't a requirement for said advanced content?
I'd also like to see you explain how time and money are the same thing you ignorant-arrogant twerp.

Re:And here. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19487719)

I never said it wasn't an investment, I said it had a negative return, and more prestigious vehicles (or higher levels) require a larger investment (barrier to entry). Nonetheless, they all decline in value. The GP is just unhappy that his "investment" declined in value.

Additionally, "advanced game content" is just new content, which is what the GP got. He just happened to like the old (or old potential) better than the new.

And finally, a sample size of one does not a trend make. Being bitter (about SWG, for example) is like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. Get over it.

I'm thinking more like... (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471649)

SOE has and WILL make drastic gameplay changes, including completely invalidating your character achievements even deleting whole aspects of the game! That is what they did to SWG. If they did it before they could do it again.


They did it in other games already. Try EQ2 whole classes swung between random extremes, and the whole set of spells got changed at least twice. E.g., one of my characters swung from primarily dual-wielding damage-dealer, to primary tank who can't even solo random mobs without a tower shield, to primarily two-hander specialist. It doesn't even have the same abilities as when I designed that character. And crafting got changed into something not even resembling the same thing.

Now admittedly, I don't claim it's anywhere _near_ the magnitude of the SWG NGE fuck-up. That's not even close. SWG didn't just get randomly changed, it got turned into a whole other _genre_. You just can't top _that_ kind of achievement. Still, it just shows the kind of random changes to one's characters that Sony won't think twice about doing.

That said, if I'm to take a wild uninformed guess about the future:

I'm thinking more like... anyone else remember that in SWG smugglers _still_ can't actually smuggle? That content just doesn't exist.

Or that they created 4 flavours of the trader class in the NGE, and made them not able to even do the normal quests (since being stuck at combat level 1 kinda makes it impossible to actually kill anything for a quest fast)... and nerfed 3 flavours out of 4 into mostly making a loss? (Now duly noted, crafting in a lot of games, WoW included is mostly a time-sink on the side. But that's just the point: it's a secondary activity of a character mostly geared towards adventuring. But making a class that can _only_ craft and then making them produce worse stuff than the drops off random desert chicken, is kinda harsh.)

Or that they actually broke the Entertainers (you get items like posters which should start a quest, but they don't actually do anything), and the random generated quests send you to dance for some tourists... in an empty room without any tourists? Or that it tells you all the time that Entertainers are masters of extracting information from people, yet the content to actually do that simply doesn't exist after the tutorial?

Or that there's a shitload of levels of Politician, yet you went from zero to max the instant you join a city, since the content for all those levels just didn't exist?

Etc. :P

So I'm having this mental image of a SOE game with spies... that can't actually spy. And mercenaries which are stuck doing the same randomly generated quest over and over again, because that's all the mercenary content, but can't actually get any meaningful mercenary employment :P

Re:I'm thinking more like... (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472145)

The biggest reason SWG was screwed from the get-go was that the shots were called by the dynamic duo of fucktards, George Lucas and Raph Koster. Since neither will be working on either of the new games, they automatically have a leg up on SWG.

Well, that's true (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474983)

Well, that's technically true, but you have to wonder exactly how much of a leg up.

On one hand, indeed SWG got screwed more than their other existing games. On the other hand, some things _are_ common to all SOE games. As I was saying, the wholesale changing the whole bloody spell list happened in EQ2 too. It wasn't of the magnitude of the NGE fuck-up, but it was a fuck-up anyway.

I don't know... applying Occam's Razor, I find it less likely that a bunch of independent teams independently decided to fuck-up their own games at the same time, than that some fucktard higher up at Sony pushed them all to do it. Not that the former is impossible, but it's a lot less probable.

Sure, some fucked up more, and some had the sense and sanity to stop a lot earlier. But there had to be some "auugh! copy WoW _now_! Marketting says people like dumbed down games! Dumb down _now_!" pressure from above to get them all to do it at the same time.

Heck, it's not just the change of system either. If you look at the quests too, EQ2 and SWG started roughly at the same time to get a buttload of quests that just felt like mass-produced crap that didn't even make sense. It speaks lots that both games ended with such nonsense crap as a sniper scope for a _sword_ in SWG... that actually was a potion, or like quests in EQ2 to kill deer and bears to see which of them stole a book.

I mean, seriously, think about it. Anywhere else if someone found it on their TO-DO list that today they have to code a scope for swords, they'd just go tell someone, "Excuse me? Did I get that right? And how do you want to implement that without attachments?" That they just went ahead and coded it as a potion, speaks volumes. Whoever did that was just a jaded peon who just did their quota and tried not to think about it.

And that it started happening in both games at the same time, makes me think of a more general SOE problem. Something happened there, and it came from higher up than either dev team.

At any rate, since it _did_ happen in more than one game, including at least one where George Lucas and Raph Koster had no say... well, it means it can happen to a new SOE game too.

Will it be as big a fuck-up as SWG? No, probably not. That's a monumental achievement as fuck-ups go. Mere mortals can't even hope to achieve something equal to that. But it can be pretty fucked up anyway. And there's _something_ currently at work at SOE which seems to create the right conditions for fucking up. That's all I'm saying.

Re:Well, that's true (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486495)

Raph Koster was still the creative director at SOE when EQ2 was in development. I would be more inclined to say he fucked EQ2 up and they've been trying to repair it ever since. Its gotten tons better since he left the company, but I guess it would have been hard to get worse.

Re:And here. (2, Informative)

777a (826468) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472535)

Since most people are mentioning SWG I'll put my comment about PlanetSide (think Tribes with 100's of players and minor character levelling).

I fair enjoyed PlanetSide, a new patch with bug fixes and a heavily requested feature would be released every few weeks, and all was well. The developers were active both on the forums and in the game, all was well, the golden age of PlanetSide.

Then they annouced that they'd bring in clan owned bases and 'platoons' (groups of squads), in the next patch. It sounded really good, really got the clans excited.

Then clan owned bases and platoon got delayed by a few months so the developers could work on 'Core Combat', an expansion pack nobody wanted.

I can't remember how much they charged for the expansion pack, but the concept of it pretty much annoyed me, SOE didn't hire outside developers to create the expansion, they took away the developers who were upgrading the main game.

I can't find out the monthly price of PlanetSide (good job Sony, hiding it from potential users), but I'm going to guess at $15/month.

If $15 / month pays for developers+bandwidth+servers, then if the subscribers are deprived of the developers (bug fixes / updates) for a few months either the monthly fee should reduce, or the expansion pack should be free. Those developer hours were already paid for in the monthly subscription, selling them again as an expansion was crooked.

There was a bit of a backlash, the expasion was pretty poor, many forum members refused to buy it, instead moaning that they wanted clan owned bases and platoons.

A few weeks later SOE released clan owned bases, which couldn't be upgraded unless members of your clan bought the generally useless expansion pack.

After that SOE bug fixes / new features slowed up.

Disgruntled, but still, I carried on subscribing...

A few cheats were well known by the more experienced players, but they were obvious and not used by respectable clans, but used by a lot of idiots, example: automatic weapons would fire 5 rounds/second, by binding the mouse wheel to fire (or using a macro) you could fire much faster.

After SOE not fixing the bugs a player (can't remember his name) did a video demostrating the bugs which had been known about for months. Instead of fixing the bugs SOE banned the player.

That was pretty much the last straw for me, I sent them an angry email and cancelled my subscription.

For me to sign up to another Sony product they'd need to demonstrate vastly improved customer service, and their RIAA / rootkit actions over the past couple of years make me think its got worse. Much worse.

Star Wars Galaxies? (1)

DataShade (1084177) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469385)

When was it the "best and deepest MMO around?" I paid to play SW:G's beta and I didn't like it. The game felt like a terrible mashup of EQ and the tabletop Star Wars (altho' to be fair I hadn't played the old SW tabletop, just the d20 version, so maybe it was more true to the mechanics of the older system). They planned right from the outset to delay implementing vehicles and starcraft, they restricted access to force-sensitive characters, etc. One of the only MMOs that gave players a real choice between good and evil, and offered a real incentive for players to spontaneously draw up sides and battle each other was Asheron's Call. SW:G was only ever EQ's theory of "naked elfs = profit" + lekku + Outer Space.

SWG was not a EQ clone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19469927)

That was it biggest card and its biggest failure. People understand Everquest clones. Games like WoW and now Lotro are pure and simple Everquest clones, SWG was not and it confused people.

Questing was purely story based in SWG, not done for loot or XP. Loot drops did NOT give you all your equipment at any level. You only had one character per server, meaning you couldn't use alts to meet your crafting needs. It also meant that if you got ignored by to many people, you had to start over.

The economy was far more in the control of the people. The game didn't hold you hand through a quest system to lead you around the map. Exploring was up to you. Okay, so there wasn't actually that much to see. Welcome to MMO land, smaller then your home town.

The most radical difference between SWG and the everquest clone however remains that it allowed you to build your own class. YOU choose what your character was capable off. This, in theory, meant you could never be entirely certain what you were dealing with in another player, unlike ever Everquest clone were EVERY single player with class X will have the exact same abilities. Oh, sure, maybe they have fractionally different stats but you won't find melee champion with ranged skills at early levels in lotro because that just isn't allowed.

Even better in my opinion was that clothing and stats were to a large degree unlinked. People in SWG actually could wear what looked good, not just what gave them the best stats. EQ clones especially at early/mid levels are often a horrible to anyone with a sense of color coordination. Most amazing, SWG even tried (and failed) to make it a CHOICE with benefits and penalties as to wether you wore heavy armour, light or none at all.

So offcourse SWG failed. Almost everyone just grinded the missions, rarely venturing more then a few miles from the largest towns. Okay so everyone specced their character exactly the same way. Okay so everyone ran around in the same armour once doc buffs came along (despite the fact that for instance Terra Kassi could save a small fortune by going unarmoured).

But it tried, and then SOE got desperate and changed it all trying to turn a niche game into a WoW wannabe. It didn't work and ever since we only been having more EQ clones.

Do I hate EQ? Not really, but imagine a world in wich every RPG was a diablo clone with no room for the Baldur's Gate let alone Planescape Torment. No SWG was no Planescape Torment, it barely ranks as a Morrowind BUT it tried.

On the other hand, you have to credit SOE with one thing that few other MMO developers have managed. They know money. They know that NOT everyone has credit cards and therefore offer alternative payment systems. Asheron Call at the time did not, so I never played it.

Even Blizzard doesn't have non-credit card options but at least it is so big that you can just get its debit cards in stores for cash. Hint to MMO developers, those debit cards are NOT an option if you only sell them in credit card only stores.

With SWG SOE tried for a while with a different kind of MMORPG. Sadly because of bugs it just never stood a chance. There was a short time when it was playable, when it worked and then SOE just ruined it.

NGE? Nah. CU? Nope. Doc buffs. Turning every player into an indestructable tank and then countering that by turning every "mob" into a really indestructable tank (100% resist on everything, except one obscure damage source, wich is at 90%, with a million hit points is just silly) does not make for an intresting game.

But doc buffs were introduced as a response to players who wanted to were heavy armour without paying the penalty (no armour, heavy damage but fast healing, heavy armour, light damage, but slow healing).

I think SOE ruined SWG, but they did it because they listened to the players. Ultimately the players themselves ruined SWG.

Re:SWG was not a EQ clone (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470115)

Even Blizzard doesn't have non-credit card options but at least it is so big that you can just get its debit cards in stores for cash. Hint to MMO developers, those debit cards are NOT an option if you only sell them in credit card only stores.

There are stores that don't take cash?

Re:SWG was not a EQ clone (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470897)

There are stores that don't take cash?


That's actually not legal in pretty much the entire United States, so I think GP is on crack, or in some worthless part of the world...

Re:And here. (1)

ThePiMan2003 (676665) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470013)

Did you actually PLAY Star Wars Galaxies? It was massively unfun to start with. I agree that NGE did not improve things but lets face it, the game NEVER had the mass appeal something with a Star Wars license should have had.

The game as released did not feel like a Star Wars game, but instead like Ultima Online, only with 3D graphics.

Some people like this kind of game, but obviously not enough of them, or SOE would not have tried NGE.

Re:And here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470209)

hmm...I found that being able to create your own class, being able to play the game without killing a SINGLE THING (i.e. becoming a merchant), as well as the "no two weapons are the same" due to the differences in material quality and type....it actually was a fantastically fun game; just not an accessable one.

Frankly, I think it fit the Star Wars universe PERFECTLY. I mean, after all, how often in the books or movies do you see crazy little gadgets, or stores, or things of that nature? In the Star Wars series (movies, books, etc.) every individual was different. No two smugglers were alike. No two merchants were alike.

In SWG, the way it was orginally run, no two players were alike. If you want cookie cutter, it was not the game for you.

Re:And here. (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472117)

In SWG, the way it was orginally run, no two players were alike. If you want cookie cutter, it was not the game for you.

You played a different SWG than most of us, then. No two crafters were alike, that is true, and it was an awesome part of the game. However, if you wanted to fight at all, you had to be one of a very limited choice of classes to have a chance at succeeding in PVP, Rifleman/Combat Medic, Pistoleer/Expert BH, or Fencer/something I forget. Nothing else was viable.

Hard to get more cookie cutter than that.

Re:And here. (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471013)

Star Wars Galaxies which was, at one time, probably the best and deepest MMO around


Did they destroy it? Most assuredly. Was it the best and deepest MMO around? Get a life.

But this is what Sony does, they destroy. My favorite example was PlanetSide which I played literally up until the minute the beta servers went down. The next day my roommate bought himself a copy--I hadn't been paid yet that week (luckily)--and discovered that everything about the experience system had changed and significant gameplay alterations had occurred in LESS THAN 24 HOURS between beta and release. I didn't buy it. Later, the developers managed to undo much of the "lol grinding" crap Sony introduced, but the damage was already done.

Sony has a problem with viewing MMOs through the "Everquest" lens (see: "lol grinding") where player achievement is punished, casual play is penalized, and the answer for demands for new content is the addition of timesinks. That said, there are still things I miss about EQ even in WoW, but they're few and far between (and more akin to how a survivor of domestic abuse might still feel something for their old co-dependent spouse that would beat them every night).

Sony can go eat a dick if they think I'll ever play another MMO they're in charge of. I just got my last friend off of EQ/EQII and into WoW last month, and I'm never looking back.

Smooth move, Sony. (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#19468771)

The other is FreeRealms, a fantasy title deliberately aimed at non-traditional gamers.

Their marketing dept. is on fire... After all of the PS3 debacles, they one-up themselves by announcing a MMO for *casual* gamers. Brilliant!

first for a massive? (4, Insightful)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 6 years ago | (#19468823)

The other is FreeRealms, a fantasy title deliberately aimed at non-traditional gamers. It will feature whimsical gameplay and offer users the ability to create their own content, another first for a Massive title.

That...uhhh...sounds like Second Life with a little WoW thrown in for good measure.

Re:first for a massive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19469229)

Second Life has gameplay?

Likewise... (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469445)

The Agency sounds like WoW or Anarchy Online with a coating of James Bond paint. For godsakes, it's been TEN YEARS since Ultima Online was released, and the best they can think of is Yet Another Dungeon Crawler...with social features...and a new theme!

UO2 could have been something, until it quickly got canceled, because they were so sure everybody would want to play the original UO forever. Horizons was shaping up to be the greatest game of all time, until the designer got kicked out, and they decided instead to make it an unambitious pile of crap that nobody ever played. Is there anything interesting in the works, that's likely to be finished and released? I find it hard to believe that there are so many developers out there trying to make the next WoW...by copying WoW.

It was a sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470049)

Man, I'd still love it if someone made UO2, or even a decent oldschool UO clone. Best game ever in my book.

Warhammer: Online looks pretty interesting, innovative and action-focused if nothing else.

Re:first for a massive? (1)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469471)

Actually, it sounds like a classic MUD [wikipedia.org] .

Re:first for a massive? (1)

MacroRex (548024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475123)

That was my first thought too. Sony can claim "first" but it doesn't alter the fact that twelve years ago we were creating whole new areas complete with monsters and loot and whatnot for a MMO game.

hai guyz wutz goin on in dis thred? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19468853)

lol im on internets

POOL'S CLOSED DESU~

Remember SWG? (2, Insightful)

cmize (573277) | more than 6 years ago | (#19468973)

After what they did to Star Wars: Galaxies I will never play another game connected in any way to SOE. Why put in the time, effort and money when they will inevitably make drastic changes to the game in a lame attempt to match WoW's subscriber base?

Re:Remember SWG? (1)

doublefrost (1042496) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469501)

I've occasionally heard this gripe from other people. What did they do to ruin Star Wars Galaxies?

Re:Remember SWG? (2, Interesting)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469873)

That's a tall order. They removed 37 individual professions which you could mix and match, and made 9 'iconic' professions that best fit a 12 year olds idea of what star wars is about. That's just the tip of a very large ice berg. It was a sandbox game for the most part. It was YOUR adventure, now it's just one of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess leia, etc... SOE completely re-worked the game, and forced a lot of players out that had the money to maintain multiple accounts. It is no longer an adults game.

You can do the research for the rest. The detractors of what SWG once was are the same 12 year old audience that it was changed to impress.

Nice troll :), but I will bite (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19470377)

SWG was an MMORPG with a difference. You have to remember that most current MMORPG's are Everquest clones. You also got to remember that Everquest clones are RPG's light.

There is typically NO moral choice. If there is "evil" and "good" they are often purely based on race, and completly seperate the players, only to interact in Player vs Player combat. In Everquest 2 players can betray their alignment and go over to the other side BUT that is a one time deal.

You do NOT choose your own alignment like in the heavier western RPG's. You do not really choose anything in an Everquest Clone.

In many ways they are closer to the japanese RPG on rails. You choose your race, this determines wich class you can pick. You then venture into the world were you complete quests of increasing difficulty. With that comes XP that gives you new skills and better statistics. You BARELY get to affect this.

This is important to remember as a lot of recent MMORPG's try to make a big deal about how you can customize your character.

This is BULLSHIT, with Lord of the Rings Online being one of the biggest bullshitters around. Your class will dictate what stat bonusses you will be looking for, a hunter needs agility, a champion might etc. Yes in lotro a guardian can indeed choose the agile way or the might way (block and stun, parry and area-affect-attack).

The simple fact is that Everquest clones will give you your equipment through quest rewards and loot drops, the useless stuff you sell and the stuff that fits your class you use. Do NOT enter an EQ clone if you have a fashion sense. People wear what gives them the right stats NOT what looks good. Color coordination? Please.

In quests you do NOT choose how to advance, your alignment/race/class has quests which you either do, or don't do. You do NOT choose your own path.

So was SWG different? Oh yeah.

First off, no classes as such. Instead you choose your race, and then could make your own mix of wich proffesions you wanted. NO restriction based on race.

Most new players would get started in ALL of them, only later specializing in what they liked best. You could be a sniper/medic, a scout/doctor. Oh sure, some combo's made more sense then others and sadly many players just went for what somebody had figured out to be the most combat effective BUT still, you could choose, and for every uber-specced player there was one who played a combo they just plain liked and fuck the stats.

To give you an example of just how fucking big a deal this is. In LOTRO I am a guardian, this means NO ranged skills until level 30 at wich I can finally shoot a bow. Badly.

There are a lot of humanoids wich run away, annoying as hell when you are a close range fighter. In LOTRO I just got to deal with it. In SWG I could always create a melee character with a bit of ranged to shoot those cowards in the back.

Another HUGE difference was how you got your equipment. EVERYTHING was made by players. Loot drops only contained resources for crafting.

In most everquest clones crafters have to really grind the first few tiers/levels because nothing they make is in demand. Why should I pay you for your craptastic sword when I got a far more powerfull one from a random loot drop?

Another difference is that by default your character was neutral, neither aligned with the rebels or the empire. You could work for either, and even join their sides BUT you did it in the same world as everyone else. NO seperated cities.

A final note of intrest, SWG NPC's interacted with each other. In SWG I been rescued from certain death by imperial patrols, fought alone side herbivours against predators and gained the aid of the locals.

The mobs did NOT just stand around to be attacked or attack, they interaced with each other. This was NOT like EQ clones wich put guards in places to prevent mobs from wandering into safe zones. Imperial patrols were targets themselves and could easily be wiped out by the local widelife.

And then SWG changed all that, you got rigid classes, the crafting system was turning into a looting system. Everything changed to try to be another EQ clone, silly because Blizzard had done it a whole lot better.

Imagine if someone made slashdot into myspace. Introduced clippy to linux. You would be upset too.

Additionally... (2, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472053)

In addition to what was already said, let's put it like this: the NGE turned the whole game into a whole other genre. It went from being a SF MMORPG to a FPS with a bad interface, plus a rigid no-choices class system which just says which special attacks you get at which level. The most common metaphor for it is that they turned SWG into Planetside, but that doesn't even do it justice: it's a Planetside with a bad interface, and with actually less freedom than Planetside.

Pay attention to that part about turning the game into a whole other genre, please, and you'll probably understand why most people are annoyed by it. Imagine that you've signed up for, dunno, Eve Online because you like the space combat, and after a couple of years it gets suddenly turned into Everquest instead. Oh and you get to choose a fantasy class instead of your customized ship. Sorry, there's no way to play your old character as it was any more.

Even if you don't think that one is inherently a worse game as such, it's the whole thing of turning it into another game. You can surely see how that would annoy a lot of people. A lot liked the old game, and just don't like the new mechanics and wouldn't have signed up for the new game.

And forcing everyone else to pick a fundamentally different character class is a pretty obvious (and justified) reason for discontent. Imagine that you've actually invested time and energy in creating and levelling up a very specific flavour of character... and suddenly you have to pick from a list of 9 fundamentally different ones, because your old combination is no longer available. Imagine that even the interface doesn't work like it used to any more.

If you're familiar with, say, WoW, imagine that you've wanted to play a hunter. Say, a very specific flavour too, like Beastmastery spec hunter, or Marksman spec hunter. You've done quests, you've grinded your epics, you've spent time at the auction house getting just the right kind of equipment for that character. Because, you know, that's the character you wanted to play. (Feel free to replace with whatever class you actually liked, if that makes the metaphor easier to swallow.) Then imagine that a patch came and just deleted that class. In fact, it deleted both pet classes, so switching to Warlock isn't an option either. Sorry, pal, pet classes are out. We'll let you switch to another class, though. You can be a scrapper, tanker, defender, controller or blaster like in COH now.

Oh yeah, also imagine that they just decided to get rid of the talent trees and the old abilities too. Having a choice of spec was so difficult to balance and all. You may have carefully planned advancing your character, but that goes right into the garbage bin. Now everyone gets to be a clone of everyone else, and uniformly get a pre-determined skill every 5 levels.

Surely you see how that would piss off a lot of people, right? It's not even whether the new classes are "worse" as such (although methinks they are.) People get emotionally attached to that character, and having it unilaterally nuked and turned into something fundamentally different... well, it's gonna feel like that character just got raped. Yet that's just what SOE did in the NGE.

Now also imagine that there was a prestige class, available only to people who've grinded the other classes to level 70. (Which actually would be less grind in WoW than the old SWG "hologrind" to Jedi.) So you've grinded like a slave, dumped thousands of hours into mindlessly levelling up a bunch of unrelated classes (half of which maybe you didn't even like in the first place), did the same quests and shot the same NPCs over and over again... and finally got your prestige class. Now you're a Jedi. Bloody finally.

Now imagine that the same patch comes by and nukes all that achievement, and makes it one of the normal classes available to all newbies. In fact, imagine they got rid of the old Warrior class, and made your Jedi just the melee tank class. Yep, that was another stunt Sony pulled in the NGE.

Now I'm not saying the new idea is necessarily worse or the old idea is necessarily better, as such. You can find people who liked the old way more, and different people who like the new way more. But that's just the rub: it's different people. The game had already chosen its player base as group A. And those players grinded and quested to get their grand status-symbol reward. And Sony came and nuked their achievement _completely_... for no other reason than to try to appeal to group B.

Surely you can see how a lot of people would get pissed off at having their grand reward and achievement become meaningless overnight, right?

And that's just scratching the tip of the iceberg. I've focused only on the "wanton changes to the players' characters and achievements" parts, because regardlessly of how you feel about the new classes as such, someone coming over and changing your character unilaterally _is_ a way to get people pissed off. Even if some of them might have even played the new classes in a different game (though most of them wouldn't, or they'd play that game instead in the first place), the unilateral messing with their character and gameplay _will_ be annoying. Remember: we're not just talking tweaks or even nerfs. We're talking _massive_ change, to something that doesn't even play like the old game or like your old character. It _will_ annoy.

But rest assure that the list is much longer, I just can't be arsed to write a whole tome here. It even includes such stuff as rolling back a commercially-sold expansion pack. (I mean, seriously, imagine that you've just bought Burning Crusade and a WoW patch comes and rolls back the whole freakin' expansion pack you bought. How would you feel there?) Etc, etc, etc.

It's a fuck-up of such monumental proportions that... well, I can't help wondering what were they _smoking_? That must have been some damn good shit. I want some of that.

Re:Additionally... (1)

doublefrost (1042496) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472199)

Thanks for those explanations. Wow, I had no idea how bad it was. I used to play DAOC, and so I can imagine how messed up that is. I guess someone higher up wasn't happy with the subscription player base numbers, and decided to totally dumb down the game so the game would appeal to almost everyone. I guess they thought that the niche they had on the old game was worth losing for the sake of mass market penetration, after all it is star wars. I guess they were wrong lolz.

Re:Additionally... (1)

cmize (573277) | more than 6 years ago | (#19472497)

That's exactly what they did. They took the game and made it a really crappy copy of WoW with a Star Wars skin. A friend of mine still plays it and it's depressing when I'm at his house and he has it up on his computer--cities that used to be full of players are now complete ghost towns.

I almost wish I had never played the original SWG. It was my first mmorpg and I absolutely loved it and now I can't play anything without making the comparison and every other game just seems so shallow.

Sorry, it's not WoW (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19474901)

Sorry, I play WoW and I've played SWG. The post-NGE SWG is _not_ WoW. I actually like WoW, I wouldn't have minded it too much if the NGE just aligned the interface to the WoW one.

Seriously, the new interface and mechanics are _Planetside_ with a SW theme, not WoW with a SW theme. Except it's worse than Planetside too, in the classes department, since Planetside too is a classless game where you get whatever combination of skills you think fits your style more.

You really have to wonder what they were smoking, really. They already had Planetside and it had buggerall subscribers. They had already gutted the development on Planetside and merged several servers in one, because the income and player numbers were abysmally low. At any rate, it actually had a lot less subscribers than SWG. So someone thinks... "I know, let's turn SWG into Planetside." I mean, wth, they could have just asked their own marketting department if aiming for the market share of the other game is actually an improvement.

But to return to the "it's not WoW" topic, WoW actually has a lot more complexity than the new SWG. For starters:

- WoW has a metric buttload of skills which you need to combine (semi) intelligently to make the most out of a given situation. There are skills which slow down the enemy, skills which reduce your damage taken, skills which boost your own damage, skills which temporarily give you a break from one or more enemies (though they might cause a wipe if you use them in the wrong place), and a ton more. Add different timers on them, and you actually have to think in combinations to suit the actual tactical situation there. It's _not_ just a case of sitting there and mashing fire, FPS-style, with the odd lobbing a grenade now and then.

- WoW does have those talent trees which actually allow _some_ customization to your character. A Survival spec hunter actually needs different tactics to make the most out of its spec, than a Beastmastery hunter. And a Shadow priest doesn't play the same as a Holy spec priest. (The former can spam the Psychic Scream and Mind Flay combo -- again, it has to be used as a combo for maximum effect -- while the latter doesn't even have Mind Flay.) It's not as flexible as the original SWG system, but it's not as rigid and unidimensional as the post-NGE system either.

Most WoW classes would be unable to actually play WoW and survive, if they were as unidimensional as the new SWG classes.

At any rate, trust me, I actually like WoW and the post-NGE SWG is just crap even compared to WoW. It's too dumbed down even for WoW.

Now I can imagine that the order to dumb down SWG did come in reaction to WoW. But that's probably from some people who didn't even understand WoW. It was a knee-jerk reaction, without even trying to understand why WoW works or what do people actually find in it.

_That_ is the most damning thing there. I'm not even against copying ideas from other games, but mindless copying without understanding... well, you see the result in NGE. They didn't actually understand what makes WoW fun to WoW players, and they ended up with something that appeals to neither their old player base nor to WoW players.

Pretty much (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19475495)

That's pretty much it, yeah. They figured it's worth fucking their old players up the ass, to try to appeal to the larger WoW group.

Except here's the sad part: they didn't manage to look better to WoW players either. I'm someone who actually likes WoW, in fact I think it's the best MMO ever. And lemme tell you, even from that perspective, the post-NGE SWG just sucks.

I wouldn't be able to even transfer my existing WoW skills and all the stuff I liked about the WoW interface to it, because the new SWG is a FPS with a really bad interface. Equally bad for either for a MMORPG or for a FPS. Even forgetting WoW, from the perspective of someone who's played CS and Quake 3 and the whole UT series in the day, and still had a subscription to Planetside, the whole new SWG implementation is just sub-par for a FPS too.

The reason for _that_ interface change just adds a touch of surrealism to it all. The classes change was at least driven by greed and trying to appeal to WoW players, but the interface change is a separate story of incompetence and stupidity.

It's not even because someone liked the FPS idea more. It's because they couldn't figure out how to stop bots with the old interface. With the old, traditional MMO interface, some people would script bots that ran through a loop of target nearest enemy, shoot at it until it dies, heal when needed, loot, target next enemy. And they'd leave it running overnight. And since the SWG team couldn't figure how to stop that -- and their GMs were busy with bad PR moves like teleporting protesters into deep space instead -- they came up with a FPS interface where you have to keep the crosshair over the enemy all the time.

Sure, it stopped the botting (except for Entertainers and such), but at what cost? It's a solution that's worse than the problem. Even the players which were actually pissed off about the bots, got more pissed off about having the game turned into another genre. It's really like cutting someone's leg off to cure a sprained ankle.

At any rate, even skipping over the change as such, it gave all the players the wrong message. It told them that:

1. Such changes can happen again. So even if you like the new system, God knows when you too will get raped.

2. That Sony doesn't give a fuck about you players. Sure, we all knew in the back of the head that corporations are in it for the money, and that Sony isn't your best buddy, but we like to pretend that they're at least human. Outright shafting the existing players for purely the mercantile reason of wanting more money, feels really inhuman somehow. It's not even a case of tweaking or improving the game to appeal to more people, it's something that outright says, "fuck you lot, we're going for the other group instead. They have more money." It just feels... low.

Re:Additionally... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#19479425)

Imagine a person who thinks that people don't understand how others can be upset with SOE for changing an MMORPG. Now imagine that these people actually do understand but don't really care. Now imagine that original person writing a long post about how awful it was and how they just don't get what they have been through. Finally, imagine everyone still not caring.

Ah, a retard. How cute... (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19482277)

Ah, a retard. How cute...

Now you may notice that (A) this was an answer to someone who actually asked, and (B) apparently he was satisfied with the detailed answer, since he thanked.

Did anyone ask whether _you_ care or not? I don't recall that. But you just had to butt in and pretend that anyone actually gives a damn about your pathetic delusions of self-importance, didn't you? It must give meaning to your pathetic loser life to pretend that someone will give a damn about your personally approving of their conversation. Heh.

Yeah, imagine that... someone actually having a conversation that doesn't center around what your highness cares or doesn't care about. People actually exchanging information without giving a damn about whether _you_ are personally interested. Amazing thing that.

But I don't expect something that complex to compute in your tiny smooth neanderthal brains. Sorry about that. You have my compassion for being born such a complete cretin. It must be hard.

Now imagine me having a heartfelt chuckle at your complete stupidity, little troll. Carry on.

Re:Additionally... (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 6 years ago | (#19483893)

Imagine someone reading a discussion about SOE coming out with a new MMO. Imagine that someone being so dumb that they can't connect the dots when they read about how SOE trashed a different MMO.

Re:Remember SWG? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 6 years ago | (#19483827)

In addition to what everyone else said about gutting the character classes, they did it *right after* selling an expansion. And by right after, it was something like within a week of an expansion going on sale, they did the revamp and blew away most of the character classes. Needless to say, the folks who actually like the game they had been playing, and who had bothered to buy the expansion, were not amused.

Re:Remember SWG? (2, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19473603)

Bear in mind that, contractually, SOE had no say whatsoever in any of the things you complain about. In fact, SOE vehemently objected to every single one of them. But LucasArts, and George Lucas personally, have the final, absolute say over all game mechanics, rules, customer-service policies and such in SWG. SOE are essentially contractors doing the server administration, providing CS bodies and providing some coders working to specs provided by Lucas. The general opinion about SWG I've heard from the SOE people here in San Diego, from the front-line CS up to the execs, is "Never again.". And frankly I'm not suprised Lucas screwed up SWG with NGE, look what he did to his own movies with episodes 1-3.

Re:Remember SWG? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#19476233)

and lucasarts did not use their final word up until soe tried to make empire look as "not evil", shattering all star wars lore in order to attract more monthly payments. they intervened only by then, but up until that moment game was already frecked up by soe's attempts to steal players from other games - in the game being an AXEMAN was meaning being much more powerful than anyone with a blaster, KARATE classes were knocking down people from 30 yards range and killing them without giving them a chance to retaliate. they have tried to put SAMURAI armor into the game. all these stuff lucas didnt say anything. but when they started ruining sw lore by saying "empire is not evil", they intervened. and suddenly everywhere in the game was filled with posters, anecdotes telling of empire's evils. if lucasarts didnt wait that long to intervene, swg would not be such a shit now.

grab the money and run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19469021)

Not to troll but SOE hasn't had a truly successful MMPORG in years, you think they would try to fix or cancel some of the existing garbage before throwing more games into the mix. With so many companies doing things right - it's very easy to shrug off anything from the biggest culprit of doing things wrong...

First to offer end-user content? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470259)


I'm pretty sure that Ryzom beat them to this punch. Or Second Life for that matter...

Re:First to offer end-user content? (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470491)

It's much older than those if you get a little less "massive" (down in the 100s to 1000s of players arenas).

Re:First to offer end-user content? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470911)

MUSH and MUSE (and prolly other MU* variations) had end-user content in a multi-user game in the late 80's/early 90's. Internet access just wasn't as pervasive back then.

Re:First to offer end-user content? (1)

Doctor Cat (676482) | more than 6 years ago | (#19517753)

You don't have to go all the way down into the 1000s. Furcadia has 60,000 regular players (who log on at least once per month), and it's still growing. (Or if you count every account ever created, like Second Life seems to, we're over a million. Woot.) It launched in 1996. It's the earliest user created content focused game to reach the "massive" size category as far as I'm aware. Dr. Cat

Spies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19471693)

How does the MMO genre scale to spy capers?

Your mission, Double-O-732288291, should you choose to accept it, is to go out in front of Whitehall here and beat up on sewer rats for a while until you level. Then come back and I'll have you take something down to Q. After a few hundred hours of running errands around MI-5, you get a mission to assassinate Blofeld. So you and fifty of your fellow Double-Os camp him over the next twelve hours, neatly dispatching him with 342,994 shots between the eyes, killing him thiry-seven times before he drops Blofeld's Orders which actually lets one of the fifty of you start the epic quest.

Isn't Thief the very antithesis of an MMO? You're supposed to be alone.

way to go Sony (1)

skinfaxi (212627) | more than 6 years ago | (#19477741)

FTFA:

"...Mr. Smedley said he wanted to diversify his customer base, which is 85 percent male and 32 years old, on average. Women have become the major driver of the casual games business (games like Bejeweled and Bookworm), and Mr. Smedley wants a piece of that action.

"We want to get our average age lower, probably into the low 20s, and I'd really like to see the gender breakdown go to 50-50 or even slightly more women than men, to reflect real life," he said."

"...when we got more women on the team, it was like 'No, no, no. We need puppies and horses in there.' "

"His boss, Yair Landau, vice chairman of Sony Pictures and president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, said: "We are clearly moving beyond men in tights with broadswords. Women in cocktail dresses and stilettos and men in tuxedos with silencers is a very natural place for Sony Online to be expanding."

I am sure women gamers will be thrilled with the opportunity to own online puppies and wear cocktail dresses and stilettos! It really makes me want to play these games!

Sony just wants to nickel and dime everyone (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 6 years ago | (#19482245)

These two quotes show the direction sony is looking towards:

"Right now our revenue is almost all subscriptions," John Smedley, the unit's president, said in an interview. "In two years, we would like to see no more than 50 percent of our revenue coming from subscriptions, and five years from now we think less than 10 percent of our revenue will come from subscription sources."


and . ..

In general, Mr. Smedley wants to replace subscriptions with a combination of microtransactions, advertising and what he calls the "velvet rope" approach. All three concepts may come to bear in Free Realms, which the company hopes to release on PCs this coming winter and on the PlayStation 3 next summer.


Sony is basically stating they want to get into the pay for content game, and get rid of subscription models.

This will make those that want to go further in a game now pay for content incrementally rather than earning that new sword from some quest. . .

I'm not so sure I like this new direction.

These microtransactions are the major reason I'm not playing Gears of War, haven't bought Rainbow Six Vegas and haven't bought GRAW2, I don't want to pay constantly for mappacks so I can play with friends. I certainly don't want to invest time in an MMO where any 12 yr old with mommys credit card can buy a bigger gun.
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