Gamers without Remorse
There’s a lot of people out there comparing the hype behind SWTOR and GW2. While they both had a lot of attention placed on them before launch and a lot of people really got excited for both, I’ll just tell you now.. the two hype machines were completely different.
Star Wars: The Old Republic:
Bioware, known for it’s amazing narrative in their single player RPGs such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and of course Knights of the Old Republic. People were excited about SWTOR for a number of reasons. Mostly because the idea of an KoTOR MMO really sounded amazing. Mostly people had built up the idea of what the game would be like in their head. EA/Bioware did a good job of telling people about their grand ideas throughout the development process. People really couldn’t wait to see this amazing new MMO that promised a true story and choices for your character.
However, here’s where things started to go wrong. EA with it’s massive budget, really pushed the game around launch time. It’s widely thought that they pushed for the game to get released early, and using media to try to get as many buy-ins as possible. Here, they spent millions on advertising for the game. They created a level of hype well above the expectations of those who knew better. So far, at this point, most everyone in the world hadn’t gotten their hands on the game for more than a few hours during one of the few beta weekends.
So we have lots of talk from the Developers about what makes the game great. The beta testers were largely under lock and key from NDAs. So by law, they couldn’t tell people what flaws they saw. By the time the game launched, the media hype had blow so big that people were declaring the game “Game of the Year” (Gamespy) and singing it’s praises.
Guild Wars 2
7 years in the making, ArenaNet had been researching and developing this game. They spent some time talking about their design philosophies and ideas, but mostly they were just working on the game. In fact, there were a few times that the press had to ask “Are you guys still working on Guild Wars 2?”
It wasn’t until late last year that press screenshots and interviews started to happen. Some gameplay footage here and there, but mostly nothing to really call home about. It wasn’t until the press betas that things really started to take off for ArenaNet. When the press got ahold of the game and started playing it, they started talking about it. Showing gameplay videos, telling people about the experience, etc. This got people interested and excited.
It’s important to note this here: ArenaNet didn’t give a press release, scripted reply or otherwise tell the press what they should say. They simply let the game tell the story. Good experiences bred good reviews.
Players got excited about the prospect of a game that has so much promise that they signed up for beta and hoped to be one of the lucky who’ll get to play the game. Once pre-purchase beta weekends went live, people started talking about the game a lot. Again, the press only reported on what their experiences were and players were only talking to others about their experiences. Word of mouth spread fast.
As you can see, there’s a big difference in how GW2 was hyped over SWTOR. SWTOR relied on a media blitz backed by millions of dollars of advertising budgets. Guild Wars 2 didn’t have to do that. They simply allowed people to talk about the game and how great it was. So far, Rift was the only other game that came close, but they too also had a media blitz campaign with their “Not in Azeroth anymore” ads.
It seems with 1.3 “Allies” that Bioware is adding a truckload of new content. In addition to new content, they’re increasing the level cap. While from their perspective, that sounds like a great idea, but from a player perspective, I have to disagree with them.
By raising the level cap, you’re making end-game content prior to the cap trivial. Gear you worked for, useless, etc. This only alienates your end-game player base. Something that Bioware cannot afford to do any more than they already have.
Raiding in SW:TOR has been lackluster already. There’s not much to it. The encounters aren’t innovative and much of the End Game guilds have already started looking for another game to challenge them. The guilds that remain that have been working on the new content and getting gear are now faced with having to level up again and making older content easier by virtue of levels and gear less than optimal because it doesn’t provide enough stats to scale properly.
Again, I can see what they want to do. The game is praised for it’s story and the leveling process. Why not add to it?
What do you think?