I see them. *fwip fwip* Handled. I'm out of ammo. Hand me another power pack.
They keep coming. Will they ever give up?
No, Kaliyo. You can't argue with people who won't listen to reason. I'll just keep shooting.
Lock and load, agents! So this week was rough. Naysayers were out in full force, proclaiming the end of TOR and laughing maniacally. They lined up Guild Wars 2 as the 'real' WoW-killer and crowed about how it will 'change the game.' People saw a 23% decline in subscribers and rang the death bell for a galaxy far, far away. Some were even joyous about it. I don't really mind the intelligent conversation about what is happening, what can be done, and what BioWare can do to stem the tide and grow the playerbase. What I do mind is the "my game vs your game" mentality that permeates the continental webbernets. It just irks me. It's why I try to stay away from bashing Warcraft; it's just not conducive to good conversation. Do I blather on and on about how poorly designed WoW's quests are? How low-poly their zones are? How they constantly re-use models with different paint? How the raid design is insipid and uninspired? How character models are butt-ugly? How the micro-transaction store is a pure cash grab? Do I go on and on about that? Nah, it's not healthy to bag on a game that so many people enjoy. So it always mystifies me to see others so gleefully bash a game they profess to hate, yet obsess over with a zealous passion. Oh well.
FYI, I totally just bashed WoW. I r hypocrite!
So, now that the 23% is out in the open, what's BioWare to do? They clearly have a hill to climb this financial quarter, and it's already half over. It's not Kilimanjaro, but neither is it a gentle slope. So what can we expect to see from the boys and gals in Austin to keep our beloved game afloat?
- GROUP FINDER - This is the most obvious change. A group finder, which I was initially against, is probably the one option that will be coming quickly to TOR. It will simply provide more options to players to experience content which has been a sticking point for a large portion of the playerbase. Heck, I've never done False Emperor, Kaon, Lost Island, on regular or hardmode simply for the inability to find a group.
- CROSS-REALM PVP - This has been a pain point for PVPers for a long time, and I sort of agree. Queue times on Shien are pretty decent on both sides, but we're one of the more populated RP realms. The barren ghost towns have queue times ranging in the hours; that's just not acceptable.
- GOOD NEWS! - The first two points are being addressed either before 1.3 or during 1.3, so these problems will be alleviated soon. Not soon enough for some folks.
- MORE SOCIAL REWARDS - And this point is nebulous; I don't mean actual gear or items. I mean the reward of the social experience you have in the game. The Rakghoul Plague was a fantastic step in the right direction. I expect to see more of these in the future as it really excited the playerbase. I also love how it was just dropped on us with no warning, like a real outbreak. Fantastic stuff. I'd love to see social events geared around the war, perhaps a PVP event held on a contested world like Corellia, Alderaan, or Taris that rewards open-world PVP kills.
- SERVER TRANSFERS - Earlier, I was speaking of ghost towns and this fix would tie directly into it. BioWare has stated that both paid and free transfers would be coming. This will greatly alleviate the empty feeling some servers are having. I expect to see some servers get decommissioned and turned into "New Player" servers while the current populace of the server is shipped off for free to other low-population shards. The RIFT model of pretty regular free transfers may not work here, as that system promotes shard hopping to an almost ridiculous degree. We want stable servers, not nomadic flavor-of-the-month groups wandering from server to server.
- ENDGAME CONTENT - This seems to be a hot-button issue for some players. I'm less affected by it than others as my guild has only been in the raiding scene for 3 months (and gone through both EV and KP, now on to Denova). Endgame content doesn't have to mean operations, either. More warzones, flashpoints, and even another pass at Ilum would be good. More collectibles wouldn't be bad either. Or perhaps more emphasis on the datacrons? Pet collecting wouldn't be bad either. Speeder costs prohibit casual collection of vehicles, but if the prices were lowered ... and of course there's also the Legacy system.
- LEGACY SYSTEM - The 1.2 changes for Legacy were impressive and sweeping in scope, but I can't help but feel that they've held out on us. 1.3 should expand the Legacy system even more with cool goodies. Here's the problem ... the costs excludes many players. I understand the idea of a credit sink to keep the economies of the server from being completely retarded, but some of these costs are just beyond the reach of the average player. 1.5 million credits for a new race is rather steep ... 600,000 just to get 6 minutes less on my Quick Travel? The rewards are not commensurate with the prices, which means that these Legacy items will continue to be unused. Why bother with these if the gratification from the reward is nullified by its insane price? Hopefully they'll take another look at these soon and adjust to a realistic view of the playerbase.
Fly safe, shoot straight! For the glory of the Empire!