The Daily Grind: What should SWTOR do to pull out of its funk?

Is it just me, or does Star Wars: The Old Republic seem to be in a serious funk this year? I mean, the game has had updates and all, but there has been little to really stir up a lot of excitement among the existing community or to draw fans back to the MMO. Server merges, no expansion, fears over a stealth shutdown, and the same cruddy business model seem to be the order of the day.

Even our own Larry has called for SWTOR to put an end to the current storyline and move on.

Whether or not you feel that SWTOR is in a funk, what do you think BioWare should do to improve the game’s quality, content, and prospects in 2018? What could it be doing to really fan the flames of player passion and get this title noticed once more?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

106
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Toy Clown

SWTOR doesn’t give players any creative freedom. The entire game is on rails, so to speak. Even decorating a house is a lesson in frustration due to the ‘rail’ system. The entire game is set up like eye candy, and you can tell lots of development time went into the art, but you can’t access those areas but once per character. NPCs take up too much ‘real estate’, and there’s just really nothing to do unless you don’t mind grinding out dailies or achievements end-game. They also don’t put a lot of focus on character customization. The choices are limited and most of the clothing coming out seems like reskins of something already out.

If they allowed more creative freedom with their game, I think that would open it up to players wanting to step back into Star Wars again. As it stands, most of us joke around that Star Citizen is more Star Wars than SWTOR ever was.

Reader
Alex Malone

I played through beta testing and the first year of live, quitting once they announced details of the first expansion. I’m a huge star wars fan so really wanted it to be good, but it just sucked. I stuck it out for a year only due to guild and the IP – I was also praying that their disastrous launch and extreme financial issues would cause them to improve the game, rather than scale everything back.

So, what it would take to get me back:

1) Class revamp. SW:TOR had the worst class design I’ve ever seen. Aesthetics were fine, but the actual skills were so shallow. Virtually no class interdependence, hardly any emergency skills, hardly any long cooldowns and no resource management required. It just meant every single class played the same – develop a shallow (but complex) rotation, then use your few situational abilities when things get tough. Boring. Mind-numbingly boring. The only time it got interesting was in PvP due to CC skills.

2) Itemisation revamp. I can’t say what it’s like now, but for the first year itemisation was horrible. The stat gaps were just huge between tiers, so much so that player skill counted for very little. The stat gaps also trivialised 99% of the content so the only fun combat was the top tier of raiding or pvp. Even PvP was crazy imbalanced. My Jedi shadow could kill a freshie in 3 hits…..how is that fun for anyone? There was also no fun to itemisation – every tier of gear had the same bonuses, you we just getting bigger numbers. Meant we all played exactly the same, no opportunity to customise your playstyle.

3) Replace the game engine. Unless they’ve done something since I quit, it was a piece of shit. Remember that the guys who built DAoC (Mythic) also built SW:TOR. All through development they were touting the fact that PvP was going to have an equal focus to PvE. We were gonna get epic world pvp as well as battlegrounds. But then you release a massively multiplayer game that can’t handle more than about 30 people on screen?!?! Is it any wonder that 3 months after launch the game was on target to make a loss?

That said, I know none of that will ever happen. Firstly, they have no money – SW:TOR missed all its financial targets and was already set to make a loss 3 months after launch. It is why the game has barely had anything done to it over the years, just shitty solo storylines. Secondly, they don’t have the talent. Bioware just isn’t suited to making MMOs, nothing they have ever done has suggested that they even get the potential of the genre, let alone have the capability to get there.

Finally, I have long since accepted I’m not their target market. They fooled me with their pre-launch hype about excellent PvP and PvE but its clear all they’re capable of is single player storylines. I don’t like stories in my games, they’re never any good and I always disliked the storylines in SW:TOR, I found them really generic and poorly executed.

With EA tying up the licence for years to come, I have basically resigned myself to never playing a good star wars game again.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

Exactly what Dug From The Earth said down below. He wrote pretty much exactly what I would have written.

My only regret is that I could only ‘thumbs up’ his post once.

Reader
nobleeinherjar

Even if I give my suggestion for what SWTOR should do, I question if the devs even can do what ever needs to be done.

I don’t even think my suggestion could work unless you burn it down, FFXIV 1.0-style. There is so much intrinsically wrong with SWTOR (in my eyes) that I just don’t see it being fixed.

Purewitz
Reader
Purewitz

I think Disney should end their relationship with EA like they did with Gazillion. After that Disney should try to buy Bioware from EA and if they do purchase Bioware. Then Disney should make Bioware the new LucasArts. With that said I don’t think Bioware is the problem, it’s EA and without EA. I think Bioware would return to their golden age. I serious think all the problems with TOR is EA pulling strings. Most of the launch game was started before EA bought Bioware and it is the best part of TOR. Post-level 50 was the start of the downfall of TOR. With the exception of Shadow of Revan, I did enjoy Shadow of Revans. Not as much as the 1-50 class stories and main planetary stories though, but SoR was better than Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Kights of the Fallen Empire, Knights of the Eternal Throne, and the current “traitor” story arc. Without EA I think TOR would be a much different game and it would be a much better game.

Reader
Daniel Fenwick

Unfortunately, BW does not exist anymore. It is just a brand name associated with a department within EA. EA uses it for marketing purposes and that’s it.

Purewitz
Reader
Purewitz

I know, but a name can be sold. Look at Atari. The current Atari isn’t the original Atari. A long time ago in 2008 a company called Infogrames bought the Atari name & logo and changed their name from Infograms to Atari. So Disney could buy the Bioware name and logo as well, if they first ended their relationship with EA first. Then Disney could try to reassemble Bioware with the right people from the golden age of Bioware. Of course this all what if and not current reality. But if EA continues to screw up with Star Wars, they will lose the license. Just like Gazillion lost the Marvel license. Only difference will be that EA won’t go out of business like Gazillion did.

Reader
Armsman

But what does that do as Infogames (who now has the Atari name) still doesn’t put out quality games and is still dodging creditors. I could care less about the name of a company, because it’s the actual Gameplay that will interest (or not interest) me in the end. EA has bought and gutted a LOT of former good game development companies going all the way back to Origin.

“Bioware” as it was is dead and gone. It’s now just another name EA holds. I’d rather Disney find another developer who has a good track record and hire talent themselves and create something good. I could care less what the company calls itself; and I’m sick and tired of shoddy developers buying a Company name (because it has a good past reputation) and then running said Rep into the group (like EA did with companies like Origin and Bioware once they acquired them.)

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

I always considered SWToR a bad MMORPG. It has meh cartoonish graphics, terrible UI, ugly character models, wooden animations, clunky boring combat, on the rails quests gameplay. I have hard time finding a single thing that I like about it.
So my answer is simple: fully revamp absolutely everything. Well, maybe except Agent’s storyline. Nerds say its good

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

Pretty sure that the only thing keeping EA from shutting it down, is that keeping it running is part of the SW contract with Disney.

Reader
Hope

Decide what it is.

I’d rather it be The Mostly Single-Player Story Game, as it was during KotFE/KotET. I like that stuff – I primarily play MMOs to have long-term stories that I can keep playing the same character through. Others would rather it be a game about multiplayer content and raiding. That’s okay too. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s okay.

It is obvious to me at this point that Bioware can’t serve both masters. Being Bioware, I think their strength is with the single-player-ish story content, but they can’t serve both masters. The game needs to decide which game it is going to be.

Reader
starbuck1771

They should put SWTOR in maintenance mode and create a KOTOR game that is more along the lines of SWG. The biggest problem with SWTOR is they spent too much of their funding on voice acting and cut scenes and not enough on actual content. They keep going down that path Not to mention the cartel pack/loot box issue currently going on does them no favors.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

I am not even going to start, I would be here typing for hours…

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Remember what it was that made Bioware great and much loved and instead of trying to force grouping and pvp down those peoples throats focus again, instead on the content those people loved and bought the game for.

Reader
RJB

I would say Bioware is like one failed game from being one of those companies EA just dissolves

Reader
Mikey's Bored

I disagree, ME:A was still a significant commercial success, they haven’t really had a “failed” game in a way that would get them dissolved. They would have to have a game that is a commercial flop, possibly even both a commercial and critical flop, and they would probably have to repeat it once or twice for that to even be a consideration. Dragon Age: Inquisition was met with both overwhelming critical, and commercial success, as were their games prior to that. ME:A was the first where it was a critical disappointment, but even then, it was mixed, it wasn’t dragged by everyone, and then as I said before, it was a huge commercial success, regardless.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Commercial success matters to EA and its stockholders. But it means squat if they cannot repeat it, which in light of how disappointed the people who bought Inquisition and ME:Andromeda is very much something they may struggle to do. Fans of Dragon Age are going to be VERY wary about buying the next Dragon Age game.. and well Mass Effect fans..they aren’t getting another game because of the ME:A development blunder.

That isn’t even touching on SWTOR’s development and business model blunders that have alienated SO many many people.

So although you are correct in one respect you are very much not seeing the larger picture. The blame doesn’t lie with Bioware of course but with EA..but that won’t stop them from being the ones to suffer for the blunders.

If Bioware do not refocus back to what they are good at and loved for soon..they may not get another chance. Whether EA allow that to happen or not remains to be seen.. Maybe short term commercial success is enough for EA..maybe longterm returns are less important and you are correct? only time will tell.