The Old Republic NDA

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 7, 2011

Filed under: Video Games 424 comments


So The Old Republic is due out in 33 days, and it’s still under an Non-Disclosure Agreement. I am not in the beta, and I have not played the game, which means I have more freedom to talk about it than people who have played the game.

This is an incredibly cynical move by EA. It boils down to, “We believe this game will be poorly reviewed, so we want to delay that for as long as possible in order to trick the maximum number of people into buying what we know will be a substandard product.” We are long past the point where most publishers are furiously trying to build hype. The silence itself is is a kind of admission of guilt at this point.

I sympathize with BioWare, I really do. They’ve always been a story-and-character based developer. The decision was made that they would make an MMO, which is like asking Alfred Hitchcock to write a romantic comedy. I don’t care how talented you are, there is such a thing as a creative person being wrong for the material they’ve been given. BioWare is right for Star Wars. And Star wars is right for an MMO. But BioWare is not right for MMO development. Or at least, they’ve never shown a real affinity for the sort of development needed to develop a top-tier MMO in a world where everyone must compete with WoW.

I would love to be wrong about this. The Old Republic is my favorite period in the Star Wars mythos. BioWare is one of my favorite developers. They’re taking a chance and bringing a story-focus to a genre which has too often treated story as an afterthought. If this would pan out it would be such an incredible boon and an affirmation of my particular taste in entertainment. But I can’t escape the fact that this NDA business is pretty damning.

The NDA isn’t really controlling the narrative. People are talking, and opinions are being formed. If anything, the NDA is silencing TOR’s potential defenders. People who hate the game and no longer want to play it will happily violate the NDA. After all, who cares if you get banned from a game you hate? The people who might like the game don’t want to burn that bridge. Either those fans exist and the NDA is keeping them from joining the conversation, or they don’t exist and EA is using the NDA to hide the fact that everyone hates the game. The NDA is either self-destructive or predatory. Consumers should be wary anytime they find a producer that doesn’t want people to discuss their product.

Another odd thing is that I’m just not seeing a lot of advertising for TOR. This is the launch of a big-name MMO. Internet rumors pin the budget for Star Wars: The Old Republic anywhere between $100 million and $300 million. We should be in a media deluge right now, and I can’t remember the last time I saw an ad for the game.

At this point fans usually jump up and say, “You can’t judge a game before you play it!” (Which isn’t true. If you value your gaming dollars you will judge games very carefully before you do something reckless, like pay money for them.) But according to EA, once you play it, you can’t talk about it. So I guess nobody is allowed to judge the game?

Dear EA: Lift this silly NDA and let the conversation happen. The harder you squeeze, the more websites will slip through your fingers.


From The Archives:

424 thoughts on “The Old Republic NDA

  1. Infinitron says:

    Not sure I agree with you that Bioware can’t make an MMO.

    They have, after all, already made a game where all you do is repeatedly wander the same areas and slaughter hordes of cookie cutter mobs for loot, with cutscenes in between.
    All you need to do is add multiplayer, and voila.

    1. Shamus says:

      Crafting, raiding, guilds, balanced tiered loot with aesthetic variety, balanced auction interactions, meticulously balanced classes, dynamics to encourage teaming, travel mechanics, etc etc etc.

      When it comes to making an MMO capable of competing with WOW (which you must do with a budget this large) the devil is in the details.

      EDIT: Ah! This was actually a satirical dig at another game, and the satire went right by me. Doh.

      1. Infinitron says:

        It’s also a (probably unfairly harsh) dig at the entire MMORPG genre.

        What do you think of the “MMORPGization” of single player RPGs?
        Things like aggro management, ability cooldowns, very rigidly defined “quest hubs”? This isn’t something I’ve seen a lot written about.

        1. CTrees says:

          Well, I saw a fair about specifically relating to Dragon Age, but not really outside that.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well he didnt really write it*,but Yahtzee said quite a few things about thats,starting with the witcher.

          *Maybe he did,but Im not really that much into Yahtzee outside of zero punctuation,so I dont know.

        3. Dragomok says:

          I thought you were talking about Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood which… I actually have never played and have no idea about its gameplay.

        4. Bubble181 says:

          Diablo III – style? I absolutely loathe it.

        5. Felblood says:

          How is any of this new in single player or LAN RPGs?

          This description sounds just like Diablo 2.

        6. Khizan says:

          I think it’s excellent, honestly.

          Threat management:
          In RPGs, both tabletop and computer, you’ve always had your tanky guys(Minsc, Keldorn, Korgan) and your squishies(Edwin, Nalia, Viconia). And you’ve always tried to set things up so that the bad guy is pounding on Minsc(Full plate, and packing steel!) and not Viconia, the squishiest cleric ever.

          So you’d do things like send Minsc in first and trust the Bad AI to keep swinging at the first dude he hit, you’d pull through doors that you had physically blocked with your tank and hordes of summons. “Make the bad guy hit the tanky dude” has been a staple of RPGs forever. Now they just implement specific mechanics for it that let you handle it in ways that don’t involve hiding behind a wall of Summon Monster IV.

          Ability cooldowns:
          I don’t even know why you mention this one. Ability cooldowns are a natural consequence of having abilities. They prevent you from just mashing one attack over and over while ensuring that you’re able to use something more than once per fight. It’s a way to limit the power of Fireball without imposing the Vancian fight/fight/rest/repeat flow of the BG/IWD games.

          Quest hubs:
          While there’s something to be said for exploration, I like having quest start in a standard area. I like to get my quests and explore in the process of completing them, rather than wandering around looking for them. As long as the quests take me to other places, I’d much rather get most of them in one place as opposed to playing find the questgiver.

      2. ENC says:

        Why did Shamus fail to mention the fact that it is getting a staggered release?

        That will cost them significant sales in our places.

    2. Sydney says:

      What a dagger of a comment. I love you.

    3. Patrick the Statistical Artist says:

      Single player RPG that has made Bioware famous is not something that can simply be relaeased to masses with multi-player content and be called a MMO. Single player RPG and MMo share similar game play philosophy, in that the developer wants the end user to feel conected and in control of a character. But thats about it.

      RPG is more about creativity and immersion. Story telling and depth of environment. Long complex skill trees that are impossible not replay and experience.

      MMO shares the same feel and concepts but the thought procees is completely different (and this is just my opinion folks. I’m an engineer not a programmer) MMO is more about math than creativity. True the world itself has to be large and engaging but more than anything it has to be balanced and stable. WoW has never been called one of the most visually stunning games ever. However, personally I think the the coders should have be given a nobel prize for Mathematics a long time ago. The balance and harmony among races and skills is an elegant snowflake of trigonometry. It doesn’t provide depth and immersion. That’s what the users do. The creativity is your contribution, not the programmers. They basically create The Matrix and let every one be Neo. The programmers contribution is to not allow one user to be mathematically superior to another given the same level and type of gear. They don’t create a world in which to immerse yourself in, they create a scatterplot.

      Think of it this way. The programming RPG is Æ’ MMO like cooking dinner for your wife Æ’ making a buffet luncheon for 10 million.

      1. Infinitron says:

        I’m glad that my troll comment has inspired such well thought-out responses.

        1. Kdansky says:

          It was quite a brilliant comment though.

        2. Fede says:

          That’s because it was more a sarcastic little gem of truth than a troll comment. A quite brilliant one, as Kdansky said.

        3. Patrick the Intern00b says:

          Completely missed the sarcasm. If someone hadnt told me it was a tounge-in-cheek dig I wouldnt even have got it. I should probably stick to making my own troll comments rather than engage in pithy debate over the quantitative creations of EA, Bioware or anything else I suppose….Hell…I’m still waiting for Shamus’ to turn nethack into an android app. Hell with Kotor, Skyrim, ToR or WoW…Nethack baby!

          1. Aldowyn says:


            Anyway, I think MMOs are more a tribute to the game designer who managed to get them all to work together than the programmer who made the engine or whatnot. Once you get the initial system down, it’d be relatively easy to adjust.

            1. X2-Eliah says:

              Skyrim skyrim skyrik skyrim ohgod only 3 days skyrim #skyrim

      2. Tizzy says:

        Patrick: if it makes you feel better, there is no Nobel prize in Mathematics, that’s probably why the Wow coders didn’t get it… ;-)

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well there is an abel prize for mathematics.

      3. I would disagree, because I don’t play WoW. I play DDO. And a well-built character is MASSIVELY superior in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY in DDO. This is actually among the things keeps you playing the game–always trying to make your character(s) more awesome.

        DDO is not like WoW. Gear works differently. In WoW, for instance, you use the best gear set you have. In DDO, you use the situationally-appropriate gear. WoW characters maybe have two weapons for their two specs. DDO characters–even casters–will carry around dozens of weapons. One of the most valuable gear effects in DDO is that it allows you to consolidate slots so you have room to put on another new effect. You don’t have that in WoW because, aside from Trinkets, you don’t have many items with completely unique effects. Gear just boosts your stats.

        In DDO, also unlike WoW, you can play multiple classes. You get to choose how many levels you want in each class, and some combinations just flat-out suck, because you give up too much in one area and don’t gain enough in another. The devs let you discover this on your own. Fortunately, there’s lots of ways to respec a mediocre character.

        Having played several different types of MMO, I’d have to say that the primary important thing that all MMO’s are going to share, the sine qua non of MMOing, is that the GAMEPLAY MUST BE FUN. It must be fun not just for the first few hours while you’re still enjoying the “discovery” phase, but it must continue to be fun for all the months and years that you will keep playing.

        Now, that fun is provided by numerous different methods, some of which appeal to some people more than others. A great deal of it may be provided by other players. Or by defeating monsters. Or by leveling. Or by finally getting that piece of loot. Or by finding a neat little vista you didn’t know existed. Or by pulling hilarious stunts.

        The reason I’m dubious about TOR is that I’ve yet to play a Bioware game where I didn’t get bored with the gameplay, turn everything down to the easiest difficulty, and just breeze through to get on with the story. (Well, except for KoTOR but that was more a result of the fact that my character was so stupidly overpowered by the end of the game that I didn’t HAVE to turn down the difficulty in order to achieve lawnmower status.)

        I think TOR had some neat ideas going for it, but I really have no faith in Bioware’s ability to implement this stuff in a way that’d make me want to pay hundreds of dollars over the course of years in order to play it. I’m curious to see how some of it was implemented, sure. But not curious enough to put down any money.

    4. The Werebear says:

      Y’know, with EA and all being involved, it could be that someone high up forgot to ever order the NDA removed. That seems like them.

      ..Shut up, I can dream.

    5. Pickly says:

      The responses to this comment, and Shamus’s original comment, to me point more towards a limited imagination of what an MMO is/could be than a problem with bioware developing one. With the current WoW-like conventions, perhaps the playstyles don’t match (I don’t play single player RPG’s, so can’t say for sure), but a different version of an MMO could work fine.

      Also, add another guy who didn’t realize this was a fully sarcastic posts, and had a different thought of what game you were talking about. :)

  2. Squash says:

    I agree the (lack of) publicity for this game is wierd. This is supposed to be a AAA title. Around here there is massive pre-release publicity for MW3 and BF3, but nothing for TOR. Almost like they don’t want anyone to actually buy the game. Surely they can’t be that embarassed by it?

    1. ACman says:

      There’s that pre-rendered cinematic involving “Not Obi Wan” and “Not-Han Solo” fighting to get of a station that it “Not a Deathstar” and into “Not the Millennium Falcon”.

      Because a tiny snippet of generic Star Wars style action is going to totally inform your experience in a MMORPG.

      More informative was that video of 15 guys taking on a giant robot. Looks like a Star Wars reskin of WoW.

      1. Wolverine says:

        Star Wars reskin of WoW? Isn’t that what MMORPG fans have always wanted?

        1. Shamus says:

          What I’m hearing is “Star Wars reskin of WoW, except without any of the streamlining that WoW has undergone in the last 5 years.” So, Old-school WoW with the original time-sink mechanics still in place.

          Haven’t played it myself, so I can’t say one way or the other, but this is from personal friends, not anonymous internet people.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          I guess if you like WoW then yes. But that’s not necessarily something everyone interested in MMOs do.

          1. Kylroy says:

            And, more to the point, the people who like WoW are probably playing WoW. The number of folks who will subscribe to multiple MMOs is vanishingly small.

            1. Dys says:

              This is a very good point.

              The problem with the copy-pasting of wow gameplay that plagues the online games is that there’s very little chance of anyone being able to do it significantly better than the people with five years’ experience. And you would need to be significantly better to actually overcome the inertia that established online populations tend to exhibit.

              The other path is to make a new game, exploring mmo mechanics from scratch, to see if there is another way to do things. Which, now I think of it, likely suffers from the same problems as original single player titles, in that no publisher is willing to take a chance on something new when they can just copy the biggest thing out there because ‘that’s got to work, right?’

              1. Pickly says:

                The comment, and the comments it is resonding to, is pretty much the main opinion I’ve heard of the game, and where my limited opinion leans as well.

                There have been a series of WoW-clone like MMO’s in recent years that have flopped quite badly for similar reasons as are being gossiped about for this one, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Old Republic went the same way.

                I would slightly disagree with the above comment in that MMO mechanics may not need to be explored from scratch, but would need to be built significantly differently. From how you guys describe Bioware games, this would probably involve building and adjusting all game mechanics to focus on interacting with a stronger story in some way.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  They have, actually. They are DEFINITELY making significant contributions to the story in the game, from what I can tell (like, you know, voice acting and character options), and I can’t imagine Bioware doing differently.

                  Gameplay is nothing spectacular, but I’m hoping the story lives up to Bioware and lets me play 8 different versions of KotOR III. And the MMO stuff is just a bonus (since hopefully it won’t be such a grind to GET to max level)

                  1. But if they do that, it’ll be a bad MMO. Think about what good RPGs, East and West, need that are utterly impossible in an MMO. You need to be able to get attached to your fellow party members and have conversations with them (unless it’s a Dragon Warrior I style solo game). You need to be able to talk to NPCs and have those NPCs be somewhat immersive, though you can get by with a lot of faceless NPCs. You may want minigames with totally different gameplay. You want frequent cutscenes that reference your character specifically and have an emotional payoff.

                  2. Pickly says:

                    What I mean by this is that the gameplay is redesigned specifically to fit with the story, not that a story is added on top of gameplay. Everything I’ve heard points to them including story pretty heavily, but more in the sense of grafting the story onto a standard MMO, instead of starting with the need for a story and building new or adjusted MMO mechanics around that.

                  3. Loonyyy says:

                    Having a good story is one thing. Having a good story that you have to subscribe to and grind for is another. At this point, it’s easier to read the wikipedia summaries. A good story would be nice, but to make a game of satisfactory length, for the 8 playthroughs you mentioned, is going to lead to cutbacks somewhere. So far, it looks like they’ve certainly been made in graphics and gameplay. Whether the story and pacing have suffered is hard to know without having seen the game, or a detailed review of it.

            2. I do have some anecdotal evidence, however, that some people are looking forward to ditching WoW and playing TOR. About half of my housemate’s guildies in WoW have already got a proto-guild set up for TOR, got their preorders bought, and are just waiting for release date so they can log in.

              Wasn’t there some noise a month or two ago to the tune that EA isn’t sure they’ll have enough server capacity just for all the people they’ve ALREADY sold preorders to? They may actually not be hyping the game because they want to have a nice, smooth, solid launch, and then when they know what they’re dealing with, THEN they’ll start the hype. After all, an MMO isn’t like a standard release where something like 85% of your money comes from the people who either preorder or buy in the first month or so. They want to be selling subscriptions for YEARS.

              It is possible that this no-hype thing is an intelligent, calculated move on their part that has nothing to do with the game itself being bad, and everything to do with the fact that they want to ease into the project a bit. It’s not like they’re in a position where they *have* to pull in 10 million subscriptions or turn off the servers in three months.

              I’m not saying this is the case, but it’s possible.

      2. ps238principal says:

        Not to mention that no MMO can possibly live up to the cinematics we’ve seen. Even the ones that are blatant rip-offs of the original trilogy are far, far more entertaining than the prequel movies were.

        I pity the marketing department that has to use movie-style footage of Jedi smoothly jumping all over the place, their choreographed dances of death with lightsabers looking like fluid martial ballet in order to sell a game where your Jedi will stiffly move from one power to the next as the player clicks the mouse to run a macro or toggle the next force-power.

        I wish they’d just hucked the game and made some CGI movies, really.

        1. Dovius says:

          You mean like Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Because that went over great.

          1. ps238principal says:

            The big difference being that Clone Wars is targeted towards kids and has lots of Lucas meddling involved.

            The cinematics don’t seem to have that problem. Instead, they’re tied to what’s looking more and more like a mediocre game.

            The same could be said for the cinematics that went along with DCU Online. I’d rather have seen the Justice League film they appeared to be making before it stopped and became a video game.

            1. Aldowyn says:

              Actually Bioware has some pretty decent animations in KotOR, and I think they’ve beefed them up a bit.

              … and those cinematics looked a lot more like (WELL DONE) versions of the prequel trilogy, to me. Most of the lightsaber battles in the original trilogy didn’t have mooks running around.

              Also… There’s a common denominator with the DCUO cinematics and the SWTOR cinematics, along with quite a few other epic ones. That would be Blur studio. (

              P.S. Blur Studio plus Two Steps From Hell equals AWESOME. For example, ME2 cinematic trailer (“We will fight, for the LOST!”)

        2. xXDarkWolfXx says:

          What you mean like the one that was used on Unskippable with Not-Han Solo and his Not-Millenium Falcon?

        3. theLameBrain says:

          I think they should scrap the traditional combat method and go talk to the guys who did Batman: Arkham City.

    2. Aufero says:

      I’ve really been looking forward to SW:TOR, because I like the idea of a story-driven MMO with tons of decent voice acting. I’m just not sure this is that MMO. For those reasons, I’m of two minds about the continued beta NDA. (And no, I’m not in the beta.)

      -On the one hand, they’re (hopefully) still finding bugs and tuning things, and I wouldn’t want the game pre-judged on the basis of things that still might change.

      -On the other hand, I know from personal experience that there isn’t too much about a major project like this that’s going to change in the next month and a half. Fine tuning, load testing and emergency bug fixing are all that can possibly happen between now and the release date.

      The latter point unfortunately argues that Shamus is right, and the continued NDA is a bad sign. The restrictive conditions set on press articles (no screenshots beyond the ones supplied by EA, no articles about classes or game systems other than the ones approved for press comment, etc.) are another point in favor of that view.

      I have a bad feeling about this.

      1. Not to mention you could make your NDA less restrictive anyways. “Don’t talk about any technical issues like server downtime, etc.” If you’re already checking people’s comments to enforce the NDA, not that hard to do it anyways.

  3. Dennis says:

    Sweet jesus, that’s what I’ve been thinking from the beginning. Why would anyone ever spend $150 preordering a game under non-disclosure?

    1. Steve C says:

      $150? O.o Really? $150? Seems out to lunch for a brand new unproven MMO. Sure existing MMOs (cough WoW) have lots of expansions that means you’ll fork out $150 but you don’t have to buy all of those straight out of the gate.

      1. Duffy says:

        That’s the collector’s edition, regular edition is normal price.

        1. Kdansky says:

          Collector’s Editions are there so the marketing team can have a bet on how much money they can make by tricking idiots into buying crap. As are pre-orders.

          1. I don’t see how liking swag–even chintzy swag–makes you inherently an “idiot”. Now, there’s some swag that I won’t buy (physical swag, basically–I don’t need more shit that needs shelf space/dusting), but I loooooove virtual swag. I totally spend money on trying every. single. armor. skin. in DDO just to see how it looks.

            I wouldn’t even mind if they started putting out various different types of preorder, so I could hopefully get my super-ultra-thin disk in micrometer-thick sleeve, and about 500 items of special stupidly overpowered aesthetically pleasing preorder in-game gear. Plus quests. Plus I can romance anyone I want. And a pony. (In-game pony, that is.)

            1. Sumanai says:

              A pony you can romance?

              1. some random dood says:

                Well, Bioware has always tried to give fans what they want for romance. First, the initial male/female options (even if it did sometimes involve elves). Then allowing homosexual romanaces (even if it did involve elves*). Going further, they started allowing human/alien romances. So maybe bestiality is next on their list?
                Hmm, if I hear that Bioware are going to re-introduce Morte, maybe I should worry instead of be glad?

                * yes, I know that they had the male-male (can’t remember characters names) romance in Jade Empire, but it was much more fun to take a poke at Dragon Age ;-P

                1. Sumanai says:

                  I find Bioware’s “romance” scenes in general disturbing as is (it is not okay in my mind for superiors to date underlings), so I really don’t need this sort of progress.

  4. Dys says:

    The very little I have heard about it suggests that it’s not a significant departure from the wow-clone model which most mmos use.

    The ‘kill ten rats’ motif is still very apparent, but the strength of the story and the immersion provided by quests being fully voiced do strengthen the motivation to actually kill those rats.

    Depending on how good it feels to play and how well the servers hold up, it seems like a decent contender in the mmo arena, but the social effect will almost certainly keep it from being any danger to wow.

    This is all gleaned from tangential comment and hearsay, though.

    On a not entirely unrelated topic, I’ve been playing DC Universe Online since it went ftp recently. The influx of players has crippled the servers, but when it’s not lagging, bugging or crashing, it’s actually quite nicely put together. Helps if you like DC comics. Or just Batman. Who doesn’t like Batman?

    1. krellen says:

      I used to like Batman, before he was cool.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        So youve never liked him?

        1. krellen says:

          I liked him when he was a dumpy man in purple tights dancing the Batoosie.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            How is that not cool?Camp can be cool as well.

            1. Shamus says:

              I like Batman best at either extreme. The 60’s Batman is fun, colorful, and campy. The Dark Knight is exciting and tense. For me the worst batman was the Burton Batman through the “Batman & Robin” batman. A little too silly to be tense, a little to dark to be fun. Ugh.

              Classic Batman and the Dark Knight are so far apart that you could argue that they’re completely different characters that simply share the same premise.

              1. ps238principal says:

                Have you read the comic “Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth?”

                I think you’d like it.

              2. Animated Series Batman all the way!!
                I like it when Batman himself can be more interesting then his villains (I always felt the campy 60s Batman filled that role)
                And for me personally the worst is so far the current approach to Batman (Nolan Batman)
                My dream Batman movie would be like the new Sherlock Holmes movies, but swap out Holmes and Watson for Batman and Robin
                Camp, action, and a little mystery

                1. krellen says:

                  I thought I was the only one that absolutely hated Nolan Batman.

                  1. Aldowyn says:

                    I’m not a huge fan of Christian Bale, but I think they’ve done just about everyone else involved, especially the villains (Rest in peace, Heath Ledger), quite well.

                    1. Christian Bale is hot!

                  2. ps238principal says:

                    I don’t hate Nolan’s Batman, though I like the animated Batman much better (the TAS through JLU one, that is).

                    What I hate is Bale’s “Bat Voice.” Why he didn’t just make Wayne’s voice a little higher-pitched and then use his real-to-slightly-lower voice for Bats seems like such a weird mistake. He sounds like a ten-year-old pretending to be Batman.

                    1. The Bale Bat Voice has been panned and defended since the movies came out, I agree that the voice Bale choose was extremely disappointing but saying any more then that feels like beating a dead horse
                      But Nolan did one thing that had me impressed with Batman Begins (until I sat through the whole movie)
                      Batman Begins is about Batman
                      He is the main character in both movies of course but in Batman Begins almost every action on screen had something to do with Bruce or Bats as a character
                      We saw him try things and reacting to situations
                      He came off a bit whiny and ultimately overly wooden but I spent the movie wondering what he was going to do next
                      Dark Knight though I believe should change it’s name to “Heath Ledger Is The Joker”
                      We don’t get the same glimpses into what Batman is doing, we spend a lot of our time seeing and wondering what The Joker is doing
                      The Joker outshines Batman in Dark Knight
                      Batman has one of the best Rogues Galleries in comics and it’s certainly a given that they present a conflict of attention
                      And Ledger’s Joker performance was stellar, though not a portrayal of my favorite Joker
                      I just would prefer seeing Batman given a bit more of attention
                      These movies are meant to show his early years of trying to fight crime dressed as a bat, the idea that this is the time when he really didn’t know what he was doing has tremendous story telling possibilities
                      But we end up watching The Dark Knight to see the Joker

                      (While a good performance, Heath Ledger is not my favorite Joker nor my favorite character from Dark Knight…For me Aaron Eckhart portrayed what I consider the best version of Two Face I’ve ever seen, he stole the show for me)

                    2. Sumanai says:

                      I’ve been thinking the exact same thing since I saw the Dark Knight the second time. Well, I don’t hate the current voice, it just really bugs me.

                2. Jarenth says:

                  Batman: The Animated Series, with its exciting colour palette of black, grey and another grey, was such a staple of my childhood that I can’t even joke about it here.

                  1. Johan says:

                    Back in those days color was a rare commodity that only the rich people could afford. Kids these days complain about brown, HA! We would have KILLED for brown! No respect for their elders, kids these days!

                    1. First of all, that comment was hilarious
                      You brought forth a solid chuckle from me, well done
                      That being said, maybe it was the times but American cartoons have always been a bet over saturated for my tastes
                      The idea that cartoons could be dark, subtle and moody was unheard of at the time…a time when even the sound of a gunshot was considered too harsh
                      I’m thankful some modern cartoons are using color more skillfully, but I will always look back fondly at that series
                      A bit of trivia:
                      The color palette and art style of Batman the animated series was largely inspired by the Fleischer Superman serials of the 40s
                      So grey and brown go back even further the BtAS…Kids these days

              3. gragsmash says:

                I wish I could remember which comic it was (might have been a Planetary crossover), but there was a bit where a character was sliding to “alternate Gothams” and encountering all sorts of Batmans, including a God Damn Batman who actually carried a gun.

                The variety was fascinating.

                1. ps238principal says:

                  Planetary/Batman “Night on Earth.”

                2. Yar Kramer says:

                  My favorite one in that story was the one whose dialogue just as over-the-top as in “My Parents Are Dead.”

                  1. Jarenth says:

                    I’d forgotten where to find that. Thanks for the link.

              4. Neil D says:

                There are aspects of both extremes I enjoy (and the less said about Schumacher, the better), but I think the best, well-rounded take on the character was around the late 70s, early 80s, before the Frank Miller grimification. When he was basically a smart (but not infallible), serious (but not abrasive) above-average (okay, really above average) guy just doing what he could. The world’s greatest detective, and a master of improvisation, but without the planning-for-every-possible-contingency superpower. Someone who could actually smile and make friends when the situation allowed, and would walk down the street in costume in broad daylight without a second thought.

                Of course, perhaps the best thing about the character is that it does allow for so many very different interpretations, all equally valid, without betraying the core concept.

              5. GiantRaven says:

                I would totally read a Batman comic that re-imagined Bruce Wayne as twins who were the two polar opposite Batmen that you describe.

              6. ACman says:

                I really liked the first Tim Burton Batman. It’s well paced, the cartoonish, art deco aesthetic of Gotham is nicely anachronistic, The joker was cartoonishly evil but not in a completely ridiculous way.

                In fact I’d say that that version was better than either of the Chris Nolan films.
                The first because superhero origin stories that need a second badguy to prop up a lackluster third act need to disappear; and the second because without Heath Ledger’s performance the entire thing is sterile and flat.

                And you can quite happily let younger kids watch Tim Burton’s Batman.

                The rest of that sequence can go eat white arsenic though.

                Also I’d like to see a classic Batman/Dark Knight team up. That’d be hilarious.

              7. “Classic” Batman was virtually as grim and gritty as modern Batman. The character got somewhat mollified for the Comics Code and for TV.

          2. X2-Eliah says:

            But that was Batman’s epitome of cool.

    2. I played DCU when I launched (got into the beta too) and my first impressions were muddled by the total freedom offered by Champions Online
      The lack of character customization at the beginning was pretty hard to work past (in case anybody doesn’t know, you make a basic character at the beginning and through beating quests and finding loot you can add more stuff to your costume)
      Once I got over that, I felt it was a pretty decent beat em up
      The controls are solid (except for text chat), level progression felt smooth, and some of the effects from the powers were pretty impressive
      Yet even at the time I could feel that the lack of variety was hanging overhead
      After about 6 months in and getting a character to level 25 (5 away from capping), I decided that the game was fun enough to play, but not diverse enough to pay for
      I was extremely pleased when they announced they were going F2P, cause this game seemed like it was designed for it
      And as an aside to your aside, Batman’s cool but I’m still a Superman fan

      1. krellen says:

        I still find both lacking compared to City of Heroes.

        1. Played CoH at release and in the beta
          Turns out, asking me to hold off being able to fly until level 25 is deal breaker for me
          (played for a year when it was new, haven’t played since…so I don’t know the current state of the game)
          The power sets in CoH were way better then either game though

          1. krellen says:

            Currently, CoH is free to play, and you can fly (not just hover, but full fly) at level 4.

            1. Daimbert says:

              I’ve recently returned to CoH, and the smartest thing they ever did was let you get your travel power that early. But even originally it was only level 14 to get a travel power.

              They’ve also added initial storyline quests like in Going Rogue for all cases, a new progressive storyline carrying through levels, and more stories in general. If I had time to play it, I’d be playing it all the time. But Dragon Age: Origins is calling me currently …

            2. Ah! complete news to me !!
              I might give it another look

              Edit: It was quite a long while since I lasted played and my memory may have exaggerated the time it took to get flight…at the time if felt like an eternity

              1. Daimbert says:

                It used to take a lot longer to level up than it does now, too.

            3. Dys says:

              Yeah, I tried CoH again not long ago, and it is a decent game, unlike Champions, which was so hideous I barely played it.

              My problem with CoH came at around level 25 for both the hero and villain that I made, in that the solo game seemed to just die. Every quest line ended in a group boss. Also, since my hero was a Dominator, I was having fun stunning things and zapping them with mind bullets only to come across something with a name which was, in every case, immune to my core powers. The game didn’t just stop being fun, it stopped being possible to progress in any way that mattered to me.

              1. Adeon says:

                Yeah, soloing elite bosses can be tough for a lot of character. I remember when I was new to CoH I frequently had to out-level a mission with an EB before doing it. For what it’s worth, beating an EB on a Dominator for me normally involves stocking up on a ton of inspirations and just making myself nearly invincible for long enough to kill him.

              2. ps238principal says:

                The boss fights are supposed to require teams, or (in some cases) have ancillary goals that don’t require you to take on the main baddie (like Dr. Vahzilok; you just have to grab the glowy mission items. If you want to try to take him down, go ahead).

                I find that if I have to do something that requires more firepower than I currently have, I can load up on enhancements and inspirations, or I can wait a few levels and take them down.

                That said, it does have a lot to do with what kind of character you’re playing. I used to go with blasters, as they’re more flashy and stuff, but they get pasted into the hospital in short order if too many things get close. I’ve had better luck soloing with brutes and scrappers, and then I had a load of fun soloing a plant controller. Controllers can solo, but it takes a lot more time to kill someone with a hold that does damage over time. Once I got my pet, though, he became great cannon fodder.

                1. krellen says:

                  One word: Masterminds.

      2. Neil D says:

        I joined because my love of the DCU outweighed my lack of interest in MMOs. Not having played any other MMOs, I had nothing to compare it to so didn’t find it particularly lacking in any way. On the other hand, not having played any other MMOs, I often had no idea what people were talking about, or how things generally worked inside one of these things, which often left me feeling a little lost and bewildered.

        I teamed-up a little with other people here and there, and was consistently pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and helpfulness of others (though maybe playing on a PvE server instead of PvP might have helped there). But mostly I just explored the world and did stuff on my own.

        I enjoyed it up until I finished all the missions along the main story line. Then I spent a month or so running around getting all the collections, for no other reason except AAARRRRGGGHHH, I HAVE TO GET THEM ALL, DON’T YOU SEE??!!

        And then… what? Do the same missions again and again? Work my way into a league so I can continue doing the group missions… again and again? When there are other games to play with storylines that I haven’t seen yet? Enh. I guess that’s what MMOs are, when you come down to it, and as it turns out it’s just not for me.

        1. One of the greatest experience I get when playing a MMO for the first time is running into truly pleasant people, and there were a larger then expected portion playing within DCUO (and I was on a PvP server)
          And game got my interest much the same way, I like DC comics and a game where I could play along side the Justice League seemed like a lot of fun
          And it was unfair of me to bring expectations from one game into a different game, and once I overcame those expectations I began to have fun
          And whenever I get a MMO character to max level I often spend my time socializing and helping new people and lower leveled players
          But DCUO was one of the first MMOs I played that had a PvP dynamic that made sense
          Heroes and Villains can openly fight each other on PvP servers…no duals, or arenas…if you see a villain you can attack him
          That became my reason to keep playing at higher levels, to keep the horde of evil doers in check and police villains from picking on weaker heroes
          What I always wanted from my superhero games

          1. krellen says:

            Sure, attack the villain for just being a villain. You’re a true hero.

            1. ps238principal says:

              “Hey, isn’t that the Evilnator over there?”
              “Yeah, let’s get him!”
              “Hold on there. We’re heroes. We can’t just attack a villain.”
              “Why not? He robbed three banks and tossed a busload of nuns off a cliff. He threatened to use his underground-o-tron to make everyone in Gotham into a hipster. He unearthed all of Metropolis cememtary’s graves and spread the ground-up corpses all across the city! He’s called a ‘villain’ because he’s broken the law!”
              “But he’s not doing anything NOW, see?”
              “We have to catch him doing something when he’s got more outstanding warrants than than five concerts from the rock band ‘Warrant’?”
              “It’s the hero way.”
              “Who told you THAT?”
              “Some guy on the internet.”

            2. Zukhramm says:

              Unless you have a radically different definition of villain than me, yes, that’s something a hero should do.

            3. Heh, yeah on paper it sounds a bit rude and Grief-y
              And to be fair the ratio of fights started in DCUO were started by Hero characters attacking first, with Villains just going about their daily business
              But the mechanics DCUO had both sides doing missions in the same general areas
              A Villain player usually got quests that had them attacking police or civilians
              As a Hero that is justification by it’s self
              And my own personal code of fair play drove me to take certain actions:

              See a Villain causing damage and chaos
              Approach Villain in the open to let him know to watch out, a Hero is in the area and he should either move on or cease his destruction
              Invariably the Villain will attack me and the fight begins

              I don’t pick Villains much below my level (within 5-7 levels I consider fair, as I have beaten Villains above my level within that range)
              I don’t throw the first punch

              True, my personal code is no doubt different from others but it’s what I play by and I consider it fair and enjoyable
              And at higher levels I felt like I was saving those police and civilians
              I felt like I was having an impact on the world
              And remember, Villains have attacked me without provocation very often ;)

              1. krellen says:

                I just want Mark Hammill telling me what to do. That makes me the bad guy?! :)

                1. I want Kevin Conroy telling me to do things in his sexy man voice. That makes me gay?!

                  wait…that didn’t come out right…

                  (Seriously though, Mark Hammill is a God amongst Jokers and I have a complete heterosexual man-crush on Kevin Conroy >_<)

    3. Dev Null says:

      Since it went free, and I’m currently playing Cit of Heroes (for essentially the first time) with some friends, I downloaded DCO to have a look. I had almost no control over my character creation; I tried to make an orc barbarian, and they gave her two power schools to choose from: Plant Control and Shapeshifting? WTF? Not a single power in Plants that I would ever take, and I have to avoid most of the melee combat under Shapeshifting because it makes me look like a wolf. I don’t get to build concept characters at all? For a supers game, thats just crazy. Maybe I get to customise later, or there’s some way to do it that they just hid well enough that I couldn’t find it in two determined looks, but either way they lost me; its deleted from my hard drive.

      As for Old Republic and their NDA… maybe its not as bad a sign as all that (he says hopefully?) After all, this is EA – the masters of pointlessly self-destructive behaviour – we’re talking about. Maybe its really good and they’re trying to quash the news to intrigue people? (Yeah, I don’t believe it either. But until the NDA goes away at least I can pretend…)

      1. Dys says:

        I guess the problem is, DCUO is thematically constrained by the DC comics.

        1. krellen says:

          DC lore already has a dude with a sword, but it’s not something you can make in DCUO.

          1. Felblood says:

            You can make a dude with a sword, but he also has to have a flashy power like the ability to shoot fire.

            Likewise, punching stuff is a combat style, not a superpower, which means that you can’t play a character that feels like, say… FRIKKING SUPERMAN!

            I can’t say I dislike the way the combat feels, but it doesn’t feel like what it was marketed as.

  5. Even says:

    After DA2 and all the debacles surrounding it I sort of lost faith in Bioware. I’ve been just left with the impression that they’re either no longer really in charge of what they do due to being owned by EA or they’ve just culturally stagnated and/or are devolving to a point where I don’t really see worth in investing my money on them.

    As for the MMO: The more I’ve heard about it, the less inclined I’ve felt like even playing it. At this point if I’m ever going to touch it, it’ll be after a couple months from release when the most of the dust has settled. Witnessing the angry beta players telling their opinions on anonymous boards the general impression seems to be that it “works fine” but it’s not necessarily anything new gameplay wise. And the individual stories supposedly vary from semi-decent to absolutely horrible.

    Given the sources I wouldn’t say they would be the most reliable, but it’s been enough for me to decide to stay away from the game until more reliable info to the contrary is out there.

    1. Infinitron says:

      Speaking of story, there’s been a bit of an outcry about Bioware’s handling of the lore that Obsidian developed in KOTOR2.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        His post doesn’t really say much about what exactly they’re doing to it. So what exactly are they doing to it?

        1. Infinitron says:

          You’ll have to go forum diving on the Dark Side of the Internet to find out.
          Here are some examples – check out the spoiler-tagged posts.

          1. At first I was uninterested in SWTOR. Now I’m genuinely mad at it.

        2. Even says:

          What I’ve heard it was mainly retconning some parts of Revan and the Jedi Exile. I can’t remember all the particular details, but basically Revan’s mission to go after the hidden Sith in the dark space (or whatever it was) gets some retcons and additional details to the point where people felt really offended. The Exile was officially tied in with the story, but she was apparently retconned to no longer to be “the wound in the Force” and rather a regular Jedi.

          Again, I never put too much trust in what I read so take it with a grain of salt. It’s curious that DK would respond to the criticism in that manner though.

          1. SolkaTruesilver says:

            That’s a shame. But then again, why would you want to keep a unique and original setting element when you can generalise it and convert it into yet another generic action hero?

          2. Zukhramm says:

            Actually I kind of dislike all they’ve done with Revan for SWTOR. I like not knowing what he had planned and why he turned to the dark side. Now it’s like “oh, it was these hidden evil people out in space all along”.

            1. Infinitron says:

              I always imagined him as having had some sort of Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now Kurtz thing – moral breakdown in the midst of war, the thrill of controlling your men like a god.

            2. krellen says:

              That was always the story of Revan.

              Although I do believe they are now making Revan a puppet of those evil things, instead of going evil being her solution to making the Republic ready for the evil things.

              Also, Revan is supposed to be female.

              1. Infinitron says:

                No, the Exile is female. Revan is male.

                1. krellen says:

                  No, see, LucasArts got that wrong. It’s supposed to be the other way around.

                  1. Josh says:

                    Especially since a female canon Exile means the Disciple followed her around everywhere… ergh.

                    1. Factoid says:

                      I never played that game as a female specifically so I wouldn’t have to endure that.

                    2. Zukhramm says:

                      No, it means the Disciple was locked up in an empty room on the Ebon Hawk and forgotten all about.

                    3. lurkey says:

                      …or, if you have restoration mod installed and piss off Atton Rand real bad, dead on Malachor IV.

                      Also, they’re both female. So nyah.

                  2. Eddie says:

                    No, no, no; what it’s really supposed to be is whatever you as an individual chose for your character.

                    1. krellen says:

                      That’s what I said. ;)

                  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    What are you talking about?Everybody knows that both were female.Even thinking otherwise is ridiculous.

              2. Zukhramm says:

                No, in the two KotOR games Revan only found “something”. A couple of different character put forward theories of what Revan was doing and why. The fact that the game didn’t answer them was what made them interesting.

          3. Irridium says:

            What they’re doing to The Exile is just criminal. The most interesting character in the Star Wars mythos, and they’re just butchering her.

            Things might change though. Can’t really say anything else because of this stupid and dumb and Ubisoft NDA agreement.

            1. Mathias says:

              I generally have the same problem with BioWare that I have with the current Blizzard. Both of them have retained one thing they do really well at the expense of all the other things that made their games replayable and great. BioWare has retained good/above average writing, depending on your mileage of Dragon Age 2, but sacrificed their clichéd, if entertaining overarching plotlines and a lot of the scale that also defined a lot of their early games.

              Blizzard has lost consumer friendliness. The biggest boon of being a Blizzard fan back in the day was how much community involvement went into every single one of their games. Sure, they’re much like Valve in that their games take an eternity to complete, but with the amount of community involvement, especially with regards to modders, their games rarely got old. If Warcraft 3 ever got old for me, I’d download a custom map, and poof, I’m playing a new game. They’ve retained their highly polished gameplay, but they seem to just be out to treat their customers like money banks, charging unreasonably high prices for everything, including things that must’ve cost very little to make, because they know that out of 11 million players, one million or so is sure to cave and make them that money. And don’t get me started on the whole Diablo 3 debacle (though they covered that up nicely with the whole play-WoW-for-a-year-get-D3-free).

          4. Raygereio says:

            It's curious that DK would respond to the criticism in that manner though.

            BioWare writers in general are terrible at taking critisism of any kind. Karpyshyn is probably one of the more adult ones. If it has been Gaider instead that blogpost would have been about how he has the world’s greatest shlong and anyone who disagrees with that has insufficient intelligence to recognize his greatness.

            Anyway, that whole debacle is a good example of why Obsidian is awesome and BioWare a bunch of talentless hacks.
            KotOR 2 made Revan an interesting character by just having Kreia propose a couple of theories about him/her in a few sentences.
            Karpyshyn (also lead-writer of ME2) meanwhile needed an entire book to shit on Obsidian’s work.

            1. Mathias says:

              Obsidian certainly writes entertaining and interesting plot, but I’d argue that much like BioWare they sometimes have a tendency to fall into routine. This is especially evident if you play KotOR 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 quickly after each other.

              I find BioWare tends to be really good at characters but not very good at story beyond a single “twist”, usually at the end, to the point of which they have a Tv Tropes page dedicated to the plot of Every BioWare Game Ever.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                Yeah, it’s really old news that Bioware is really derivative of itself.

                See, part of the reason I like Bioware so much is that EVERY THING THEY MAKE is Troperrific to the extreme. Which is a massive plus for me, for some reason.

                Oh, btw? I would say they have a good reason. They differed with DA2, and look what happened.

                1. Raygereio says:

                  DA2 had issues, but BioWare going into unfamiliar territories story wise was not the cause of them.

                2. Kdansky says:

                  I still claim that DA2 is a game less flawed than ME2. The plot was more sensible without huge contradictions at every major event, and most of the gameplay was less boring than Whack-A-Mole.

                  Not that I’d argue it didn’t have significant issues, mind you. But it’s one of Bioware’s better games.

                  1. X2-Eliah says:

                    Idk.. Imo ME2 was still more fun to play.

                  2. Zukhramm says:

                    I thought I was alone!

                  3. lurkey says:

                    I’m with you here, although it’s not completely DA2’s merit. First, I suspect the subversive hero who’s neither a hero nor even a protagonist of the story was unintentional blunder rather than conscious decision, second, after ME2 I expected something much, much worse and so got pleasantly surprised. ME2 on the other hand caught me unawares.

            2. Infinitron says:

              Obsidian is just higher-brow than Bioware. They always have been, even when they were Black Isle.
              We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying this, just as we aren’t ashamed of saying that “The Dark Knight” is higher-brow than “Spiderman”, even though they are both superhero movies.
              That doesn’t mean you’re stupid if you enjoy Spiderman, or Bioware games.

              1. Mathias says:

                I agree. They are much more high-brow.

                Plus, they’ve been able to reliably sell “darker and edgier” which BioWare really hasn’t. Even Dragon Age: Origins wasn’t as dark as a lot of people made it out to be.

                That reminds me, what is Obisidian working on now?

                1. krellen says:

                  DLC for Dungeon Siege 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.

                  1. Irridium says:

                    Well they’ve finished up New Vegas DLC. Apparently they’re now working on a game adaptation of the Wheel of Time books.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Damn it!That means that I have to hurry up with the reading,and Ive only just started with the series.But I cant speed up now,Im too deep into discworld and olympos series.

                    2. Someone says:


                      Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time before the community patches start coming out.

                    3. Bubble181 says:

                      @Daemian: do yourself a favour and stick with the Discworld series. It’s funnier, edgier, deeper, more high-brow, morte mature and more original than Wheel of Time, all at the same time.

                      (I still can’t fathom why peopel like WoT that much. My girlfriend’s reading them at the moment as well…I’ve read 1 and part of 2 and ….Ugh. There’s so much good fantasy out there, why is this one popular?)

                    4. chabuhi says:

                      Hopefully it’s a better adaptation than the first WoT game. That one had so much potential, yet fell flat for me :(

                    5. Dys says:

                      Mostly the appeal of WoT lies in the sheer scale of the thing. It dwarfs any other fantasy work I can think of, and that’s in a genre full of brick thick tomes.

                      It’s a real shame he’ll never finish it, but that was readily apparent years ago.

                    6. krellen says:

                      WoT dwarfs Lord of the Rings? I doubt that.

                    7. Bubble181 says:

                      @Dys: Song of Ice and Fire is slightly shorter, butn ot finished yet…and about 15 times more interesting to read, as long as you don’t mind the slightly black-and-dark-grey morality spectrum.

                    8. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      Oh discworld is always on top of my list.The only problem Im running in is getting the books,but as soon as I do,I almost stop everything until I read them.


                      Unless you toss in silmarilion in there,easily.


                      So it has a brighter morality than amber chronicles?Also,thank you for reminding me of another series that I have on my to read list…

                    9. Aldowyn says:

                      I’d love to see a good video game adaptation of the weaving system.

                      @Daemian I’ve read through book 8, which should be enough for a decade or so of games!

                      @Bubble181 & @Dys agreeing with Dys, here. I don’t think there’s EVER been a world as thoroughly fleshed out as World of Time. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he had every noble and every general of every nation mapped out, complete with different dress, social mores, customs, etc. Possibly for multiple different time periods. Oh, and I’m planning on getting Song of Ice and Fire for Xmas and reading that… and Inheritance, too.

                      @Krellen Probably by at LEAST 3 or 4 times. There’s… 13 books (?), each as long or longer as one of the LOTR books.

                    10. Dovius says:

                      @Krellen yup, easily. Even the first 2 WoT books easily outclass the main trilogy of LotR in total pagecount.

                      @Aldowyn I should probably point out that you should only get Inheritance if you like very cliché Fantasy, since it can very appropriately be described as ‘Star Wars in a medieval setting’.
                      To the point of having a rip-off of the whole ‘Search your feelings, you know it to be true.’

                    11. Aldowyn says:

                      Somewhere on this thread I mentioned I enjoyed Biowargames s so much because of ther “troperrific” quality. That also applies for books. So yeah I do like really cliche fantasy, so I guess it’s worth it for me.

                    12. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      Well you did say lord of the rings,not middle earth lore.

                    13. Dovius says:


                      Alright, I’m just asking because some people are turned off by that. Personally, after I got over the initial annoyance, the series turned into a guilty pleasure for me. It’s not great in any sense, but still pretty enjoyable.

                2. Raygereio says:

                  I’m not entirely sure what you people mean with “high brow” here. I’m only familiar with negative interpretations for that term.

                  As for what Obsidian is doing. The New Vegas team has closed up shop. Maybe the DS3 team is still working, I don’t know. As for new stuff; the only thing that I know of is the game based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Not sure what to make of that honestly.

                  1. Mathias says:

                    Closed up shop? Wasn’t New Vegas their biggest commercial success?

                    1. X2-Eliah says:

                      They’ve done making the DLC’s for it – so the development of anything New Vegas is done and over with.

                    2. Raygereio says:

                      Yes, New Vegas was successfull.
                      But the development team is simply done with New Vegas after 2 item packs, 4 DLC’s and 7 patches. Well, more likely Bethesda is done with it, but that’s besides the point.
                      I recall a comment from a OEI dev over on Something Awfull about how they’re no longer working on New Vegas.

                  2. lurkey says:

                    I think “high brow” is exactly the short term I was looking for after I did both AP and FNV right after ME2 and DA2. It felt like, say, reading Asimov right after Harry Potter. Or watching “Oldboy” after “Die Hard”. More, I dunno, nuanced? Better sentences? Bigger vocabulary? Still, both provide lot of entertainment, only of different kind.

                    1. Aldowyn says:

                      I would say it’s more mentally provocative, less cliched stories. High brow makes you think, low brow makes you feel. Hmm. That’s actually not a bad definition…

                      Asimov vs. HP is a good comparison. Both are good, but in different ways. (Huge fan of both, btw)

                  3. That’s an interesting comment on our culture. I don’t think it’s just you; the very idea of “high brow” really is generally perceived negatively in North America. Time was, “low brow” was perceived negatively. That underrated popular culture–I’m happy if they’re seen about the same. But nowadays our culture is actively anti-intellectual and, well, anti-culture in a way.

                    Personally, I think it’s a kind of camouflage. The image of snobbish intellectual “elites” is held up like a red rag to distract us from the actual elites, who haven’t been snobbish intellectuals for decades. The actual elites are lowest-common-denominator slobs like everyone else, different mostly just in having huge gobs of money.

                    1. CTrees says:

                      I’ll be honest. When I read the earlier comment, I though to myself, “wait, there are negative connotations to the term ‘high-brow?'”

                      Um, hrm.

                    2. Cineris says:

                      It’s a little much to say that the actual Elites are “lowest common denominator slobs like everyone else.” You can pretty reliably tell what the elites in the US like. .

                      Although it’s true they’ve gone to great lengths to undermine common sense notions of what’s good and bad, among other things.

                    3. Bubble181 says:

                      Yup, wrote my master’s paper on high brow / low brow and the perception there-of. It’s very weird to me how high brow is considered negative in the US. I assure you, here in Belgium, low brow is still a negative thing, and high brow positive.

                      Though, slowly, they’re coming to be regarded as more or less equal.

                    4. X2-Eliah says:

                      I thought they were both negative terms…

                    5. Raygereio says:

                      Allow me to explain my reaction the term high brow. I’m actually as high brow as they come. My negative connotation comes from the elitism aspect of the term.
                      And as for elitism: well we have more then enough of than with the various faction within the gaming subculture. I don’t care for it.
                      I love good writing. Stories, characters, writing techniques. Supply me with the good stuff and I’m a happy man. Following that I like good writing in games. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with games that have crap for writing. If those game’s other aspects are good, they’re still good games. Nor do I few people that love only those games as “lesser”.
                      The reason I disdain BioWare is because of their pretentiousness and the fact that their selling crap as if it’s gold. This very much unlike Obsidian which in my humble (and naturally correct) opinion are selling gold while saying it’s crap because if it’s one characteristic Obsidian lacks it’s pretentiousness.

                3. Infinitron says:

                  Short answer: I don’t think anybody really knows what Obsidian is working on now.

          5. rofltehcat says:

            I liked the “wound in the force” thing :/

            Would probably also have made some fun battles, especially when fighting her and she’d go finally totally nuts, phaseshift all over the place and outlive the schizophrenia by changing between dark, bright and grey all the time.

  6. But is it liable to be worse than that last Final fantasy MMO?

    If it’s anything like that I have a hard time believing Bioware will last long enough to get ME3 out the door.

    1. CTrees says:

      I have a very, very hard time believing it will be worse than FFXIV. Just… the odds seem low. You have to work to make a game that bad (at least, as bad as it was at launch – I’ve heard mutterings that it’s getting better, though whether it’s at a “moderately fun to play” level yet, who knows)

    2. Sagretti says:

      Even if it managed to be worse than Final Fantasy XIV, I’d still say Final Fantasy was the bigger failure because it came from a developer who already created a relatively successful MMO. At least Bioware will have the excuse, if necessary, that they were working outside their comfort zone and expertise.

    3. rofltehcat says:

      If it is worse they have to go a step further than just asking for forgiveness.

      Seppuku is the next step after asking for forgiveness in the Japanese culture, isn’t it? x)

  7. The Railway Man says:

    My brother is in the beta under my name because I’ve given up playing such things. Does that mean he’s allowed to talk about it, or not? Or am I? Even though I’ve only watched it be played and not actually played it? I supppose we aren’t…

    Irregardless, he thinks the game is okay but finds it hard to connect with the story and characters thanks to the MMO elements…

    1. Nick says:

      OK, I just have to stop the spread of the evil – irregardless is not a word. It is a nonsense construction whose propagation through use is one of my ultimate pet peeves.

      It makes NO SENSE. Observe:
      Regarding – about, concerning
      Regardless – not about, not concerned with
      Irregardless – not not about, not not concerned with, used to mean the opposite of these things

      OK rant over, please go about your regularly scheduled comment thread

      1. CTrees says:

        That always bugged me, as well. Unfortunately it’s gained enough acceptance to arguably be a legitimate word. Linguistics is probably the field of study which brings me the most, personal pain. I like rules! I hate that I have to grudgingly accept forte being pronounced with two syllables when refering to a strength. Alas, linguistically, it’s a legitimate evolution of the language.

        That said, those who want to add words like “bootylicious” or anything leetspeak to the dictionary can shove it up their… you know. Friggin’ spoiler tags not working for the joke I wanted *grumble*

        1. Rosseloh says:

          Someone else who realizes the truth about “forte”! Finally!

        2. Aldowyn says:

          Actually I would say “Irregardless” has a place. Sometimes a double negative is different than no negative at all. Though I think, say, “despite that, …” would work better.

          1. Kdansky says:

            Regardless already means “despite that”.

            Irregardless means “Despite despite that”, or more aptly put nothing at all. There is a reason the browser will put red underlines under this word. It’s not in the dictionary, after all!

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        What about inflammable?

        1. Kdansky says:

          I am hardly surprised that someone who refuses to learn punctuation rules jumps in on a grammar discussion.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Punctuation is not grammar.I usually am careful about my grammar(not counting the apostrophes),and fix the mistakes when I spot them.And I dont refuse to learn punctuation,I refuse to implement it.Theres a difference.

            Also,that wasnt a serious comment.

            1. some random dood says:

              Why do you explicitly refuse to conform to a rule which is specifically there to improve readability? The idea of a space after a punctuation mark is to make text easier to read. Why do you deliberately go out of your way to make your text less legible?

      3. Eddie says:

        “It is a nonsense construction”

        Yeah, but so is about half of the English language.

      4. Railway Man says:

        Whilst I do regret now my unfortunate choice of wording, Mr. Nick, I must also wonder aloud as to the nature of digression…

      5. Dys says:

        My main problem with the word is that it’s fuggin UGLY.
        It’s a horrible kludge of a word generally used by people who want to sound smarter by adding random extra syllables to their words.

      6. Zukhramm says:

        Just because it’s wrong doesn’t make it not a word.

        1. MelTorefas says:

          I love you for this comment.

      7. I first read it in Concerned. Now I use it specifically to troll people who make posts like this. I’m sorry, but it’s too funny.

    2. Sumanai says:

      I’m pretty sure that the NDA, or rather the agreement that contained the NDA, mentions that giving others access to your account isn’t allowed. So if anyone is getting into trouble about it, it is you.

      1. The Railway Man says:

        To be honest, I coudn’t give much of a toss. Unless Bioware sends the Cyber Police after me, I’d say it’s alright to let anyone play. As I said, I have no use for the Beta, so why let it go to waste?

        1. Sumanai says:

          To be honest, I don’t think they can do much more than ban/block you from the game. Which obviously doesn’t matter to you. I just thought you’d be interested in which one of you would be most likely in breach of the agreement.

          1. Railway Man says:

            I am interested, yes, so thanks for the replies.

  8. Athan says:

    Small correction, I make it 43 days until official launch on 20th Dec 2011 (and the Early Access has now been announced as starting 5 days before that).

    1. rofltehcat says:

      The release date is also strange. Of course people will have quite some time to play it over the holidays and people generally spend a lot of money in the weeks before christmas but the date really puts me off… like the reviews about whether the game is actually any good or even finished. When I’d have a game that is unfinished and content just stopped somewhere (*cough* Warhammer *cough* AoConan *cough cough*) I’d choose this date because it is a great date for initial sales and when problems with the game become public, many people have their holidays (even game news authors have to be with their family somewhen).
      In MMOs, often problems like lacking content, blatant balance problems and other stuffs are found out about by the community only after a few weeks.

      Furthermore, I wonder how patching will go. Normally, MMOs get a lot of patches in the first few weeks. I really doubt that Bioware will have most of their personnell in office over the winter holidays.

      So they are hoping for high initial sales but want to keep feedback down while not being able to quickly fix bugs (or other problems like overloaded servers)… boy, this is gonna be such a disaster.

  9. X2-Eliah says:

    Ergh. I.. I’d like to say I care, but, really, Bioware’s modern view on RPGs of tomorrow (e.g. DA2, ME2/3) has more or less removed any interest/goodwill I had towards them as developers. If they go under because this game flops, I won’t really be bothered by it – it’s not like I’d be expecting them to make a real RPG in the future anyway.

    Another thing.. lately I have a very hard time believing that anyone (at least anyone in charge) at bioware even cares about their games. Listening to interviews with the “two doctors”, they are essentially businessmen first and last – there is no real passion nor excitement in them, and imo it really really shows in their latest games. Imo the Old Republic will be an even more obvious example of that. And as for “EA executive meddling” failing the game – tbh I think it’s not even EA’s fault as much as it is Bioware itself.

    Of course, there is also the issue of originality – what does TOR offer that’s new? Nothing. ANd I don’t see how a story-driven MMO works in the context of why people who play MMOs play.. er, why they play MMOs over single-player games. Hint – it’s not because of the story. Game mechanics, from what remarkably little tidbits are available, are mostly the same old stale MMO formula seen in same old WoW; Jedi Consular or Orc Barbarian, they are +- the same thing with different flavour.

    1. To start I’ll say that ever since Fallout 3, I’ve refused to follow the news/marketing/leaks/previews of any game before it is released (due to said previews effecting my first play-through of said game)
      I force myself back to my roots when I didn’t have internet and access to unlimited information (ironic since the NDA is accomplishing just that)
      I buy games as I used to, based on the developer and the box description
      Add to this that I don’t play many MMOs and will go so far as to say I really don’t like Star Wars as an Intellectual Property
      But I can say that my enjoyment of any MMO “REQUIRES” a good story (not a great story per say, but things NEED to make sense)
      The mechanics are secondary to my desire to play, though I am likely a minority in my feelings about that
      I’ll play a game with a good story regardless of mechanics, but a game with poor story had better have VERY good mechanics
      I hold no ill will towards BioWare (though I have only played KOTOR, Dragon Age, Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect, and Neverwinter Nights) nor any other developer (exception of Bethesda)
      I don’t want anyone to go out of business, and I wish the best to any developer (again, exception of Bethesda)
      That being said, it’s a shame it has to be a Star Wars game, otherwise I might have played it

      1. Kdansky says:

        Your way of doing things sounds expensive (I don’t want to spend 60$ on every game that *might* be good), and highly vulnerable to the curse of the least common denominator. Because you can’t buy Jamestown or the Binding of Isaac in a box, but you sure will find CoD in every Wallmart.

        1. I should expand my phrasing of “box description” to include the game’s site
          I also get a lot of exposure from word of mouth, My brother works in retail and he plays A LOT of games and follows the newsfeeds, so any info I get is distilled through him, and his experiences…I also have friends who sometimes recommend games I would never have picked up, again they describe what they experienced
          I would also mention that I almost never buy a game when it comes out, I wait a few years for the price to drop to about $30-$40…I don’t mind waiting for what I consider a reasonable price for what might have been AAA title
          If the game is under $12, and I’m bored, I’ll usually pick it up if it looks interesting…Feeding my exposure to a good amount of indie titles

          I consider the amount of enjoyment I might get from a game based on the price of a movie ticket
          Opening weekend “Full Price” – Trailer looks dumb or awesome will decide if I see it (no middle ground)
          Theatrical Release “Sale Price” – Trailer looks like it could be dumb or could be awesome (give time for some word of mouth and for the trailer to grow on you)
          Dollar Theater “Bargain Bin” – Don’t care as long as I get any kind of entertainment
          A movie that asks for $10, site unseen, had better have grabbed my complete interest. Otherwise wait for the dollar theater

          But the main emphasis is on not exposing myself to anything UNTIL:
          1. The game is released
          2. I then look at a few game trailers (Pre-Rendered and In-Game)
          3. Then I look at the site to see what the game offers in the way of features
          4. Then I go to a store and hold the product in my hand (Literally weighting my options)…I use my imagination if I’m purchasing digitally
          I know what my tastes are, and if any of these steps don’t peak my interest, then I don’t buy it

          1. Peter H. Coffin says:


            And it’s a sign of irritation. “Piquing interest” is always to the end of finding out how to making it stop bugging you.


            1. Dys says:

              There’s nothing illegitimate as far as I can tell about the phrase ‘peak my interest’.

              If one is interested in something, and in browsing that field one finds something markedly more interesting than its surroundings, would it not be fair to say one’s interest had peaked? Indeed that said thing had caused interest to peak, and therefore peaked one’s interest…

              Also, ‘pique’ can mean to excite or arouse, though I can’t lay hands on an OED at this moment.

              1. krellen says:

                The phrase is piquing interest; “peak interest” is not something people actually say.

                1. ps238principal says:

                  What if you’re talking about savings and investments?

                2. Kdansky says:

                  He already showed that he is not effected by criticism. He might of been traumatized by a teacher. Irregardless, this is ironic.

                  I’m feel dirty.

                  1. Sumanai says:

                    As you should.

            2. Ah, learn something every day

            3. Matt says:

              While the spelling is (of course) correct, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that it’s always to the end of how to make it stop bugging you.

              See for reference.

              Typically it’s used in the sense of 3, not 1.

    2. Someone says:

      I find myself feeling the same way. Bioware have sorta gone downhill in the latest years.

      I’ve also been playing some of their older titles, like Baldur’s Gate and NWN1 and… I have yet to play BG2, which might change my outlook, but so far I’m beginning to wonder if Bioware wasn’t that great in the first place.

      1. Mathias says:

        Baldur’s Gate 2 is great, although it’s more like a D&D campaign (duh) than an actual RPG. Lots of zany characters and high adventurous atmosphere with a threadbare story to keep it all up.

      2. Raygereio says:

        if Bioware wasn't that great in the first place.

        They honestly aren’t. EA didn’t ruin BioWare. It was never anything that awesome to begin with.
        At their best BioWare games have a couple of interesting/funny characters and a plot that is memorable because it has a couple of pretty cool scenes.

        I’m beginning to suspect BioWare’s problem lies with them having given the writers too much freedom. Gameplay wise their games aren’t that bad (well, DA2 had a bunch of issues but that was BioWare going “we need to shit out a game in half the time it usually takes us to make a one in order to quickly get some money to feed the MMO-monster”, at its core DA2’s gameplay isn’t awfull).
        BioWare seriously needs to stop their desperate attempt at profiling themselves as the lone basting of writing in videogames, fire half their marketing team (dude whose name I forgot who gave us the awesome-button and “DA2 failed because it was too innovative”: you need to go) and hire some decent editors that can spank the writers when they’re producing crap.

        1. Infinitron says:

          Yes. Bioware, I think, is the first company in the history of videogames that has let the writing team take over.
          Not the shiny graphics technophiles. Not the multiplayer-uber-alles crowd. The writers. It’s really weird.

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            Well, of course you could argue that letting the writers have the control is supposed to be a good thing, but looking at Bio’s latest releases, it’s kind of proving that it really isn’t a good thing. Maybe it’s due to Bioware’s writers exclusively, who knows.

            1. Infinitron says:

              Well, of course you could argue that letting the writers have the control is supposed to be a good thing

              I can see why you would think that, but it’s really too much of a good thing. Give the writers all the power and eventually they will try to turn your game into a choose your own adventure novel.

              1. Raygereio says:

                Well, of course you could argue that letting the writers have the control is supposed to be a good thing

                It actually rarely is a good thing for those that are doing the writing to have full creative control. As much as editors are often despised, they do preform a necesary function: namely looking objectively at what does and doesn’t work.

                Give the writers all the power and eventually they will try to turn your game into a choose your own adventure novel.

                This touches on something else which is the inherent difficulties of writing for videogames. Writing isn’t the most important thing in a game. Just like graphics isn’t the most important thing. Various aspect like gameplay, art-design, writing, etc, have to have a good balance for a game to be good. Too much of any one thing, while not enough others and you get shit.

                1. Infinitron says:

                  A good example of a company that knew how to strike a balance was the dearly departed Looking Glass Studios.
                  Despite being a bunch of technogeeks from MIT, they knew how to ground their technically innovative games in a strong setting. That turned them from merely interesting into masterpieces.

                  A stealth game where you play a medieval thief? Good. A game where you play a thief in a grimdark steampunk world, in a huge corrupt city which has no name, where the forces of progress and nature wage an occult battle? Fucking awesome.

                2. Dys says:

                  I think one problem is that games’ writing tends to refer to… well, writing. Words, dialogue, flavour text. All of which is only the most obvious extrusion of narrative in a game. Ideally the position of ‘writer’ should refer to the people in charge of the entire narrative structure, derived from every element of the experience.

                  In a perfect world, a game would be its story, even if it never displayed a single word. Gameplay, dialogue, structure should all feed into a central narrative. In this sense I suppose you could liken a game to a book written by committee, dozens of people all attempting to contribute to the same work.

                  1. Aldowyn says:

                    See, I would say Bioware is really good at “words, dialogue, and flavor text”. It’s the “entire narrative structure” that’s gone downhill, especially lately.

                    … And what about Mass Effect? I dunno about you guys, but I REALLY REALLY like Mass Effect 1’s storyline.

                    1. Raygereio says:

                      I ME1’s plot was okay. But while it wasn’t downright dumb like ME2’s, but I can’t call it good either.
                      I won’t bore you with the details of what I think was wrong with ME1, but there was a lot of missed oppertunity with the whole “finding out if Saren is guilty” thing and setting up a trilogy.

                  2. Sumanai says:

                    Not going to happen anytime soon since there are even critics who don’t acknowledge non-written narrative as proper.

          2. Someone says:

            From what I’ve heard of MGS, Konami got there first.

        2. Eärlindor says:

          (dude whose name I forgot who gave us the awesome-button and “DA2 failed because it was too innovative”: you need to go)

          David Silverman… the name you are looking for, good sir, is David Silverman…

        3. Khizan says:

          “DA2 failed because it was too innovative”

          In some ways, this is kind of true, though. DA2 had a lot of flaws, granted, but a lot of the complaints I heard were about things that had nothing to do with lack of polish or hurried delivery and everything to do with core story decisions that are fairly innovative in that they’re not often seen in your generic fantasy RPG.

          Probably a solid 50% of the negative comments I’ve read about it boil down to “Where is my enemy? Where is my overarching evil villain? Why am I forced to choose between two sides, both of which have some valid points and some crazy in them? WHERE IS MY BAD GUY?!”

          DA2 just flat out didn’t have one. The Templars weren’t always ‘evil’; the mages weren’t always ‘good’. The qunari were provoked over the course of years. There’s a lot of gray in this game, and a lot of the complaints I heard about it were basically “I want my black and white! I want a Big Bad Main Enemy!”, and it doesn’t look like any more production time or polish would have ‘fixed’ that.

          The other 50% of the complaints are almost evenly split between “waves of enemies teleporting in are crap”, “reusing dungeons is crap”, “Kirkwall doesn’t change enough” and “fighters/rogues have too many buttons now”.

          And while those complaints all have some merit(except the last one), I find that I like DA2 more than DAO. Even if its story fell flat at the end with the Orsino/Meredith bits, it was still an ambitious attempt at telling a non-standard story in a fantasy RPG, and it’s one I really enjoyed. I liked having moral choices with no clear cut “good guy” answer.

          Did it need more polish? Yes. Were the mechanics rushed and sloppy? Yes. Should they have made more than 3 dungeons? Yes. Are a lot of the complaints about the game regarding issues that stem directly from the decision to tell a non-standard story in a non-standard fashion? Yes.

      3. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Bioware was always all over the place.Doing one thing right,and another wrong,usually both in the same game(great npcs but crappy main story in both nwn1 and me2).Still,they do have a few pure gems,like baldurs gate 2 and hordes of the underdark.

        1. Galad says:

          mask of the betrayer too, meeting Myrkul was one of those awe-inspiring moments I always look forward to..

          1. Raygereio says:

            Please don’t ruin MotB’s greatness by implying it was BioWare that made it.

            1. krellen says:

              That was Chris Avellone, who is the true master of video game storytelling.

              (Obsidian Entertainment, for those still lost.)

              1. Raygereio says:

                I though MotB was more George Ziets’ baby?

                1. Mathias says:

                  Either way Mask of the Betrayer is amazing.

                2. krellen says:

                  George Ziets was indeed creative lead. Avellone has designer credits, so I’m not sure what precisely to attribute to which man (though Ziets is quoted as saying Avellone saved Kaelyn the Dove from being cut).

  10. Anon E. Mouse says:

    It’s actually a really great game, and yes the NDA is preventing people from saying so.
    Whoever is in charge of these sorts of things is clearly a moron.

  11. Mari says:

    This NDA thing coupled with the limited pre-release that is ostensibly for very logical reasons yet still manages to feel very gimicky and more like a marketing push to drive demand artificially than anything else just leaves me with a really bad feeling about TOR. The frustrating thing is that I really want it to succeed. I’m not a huge SW geek but I enjoy it well enough and in spite of some issues I really enjoyed playing KOTOR and KOTOR 2 enough to play through both multiple times. I just can’t help feeling that storm clouds are building thick and fast on the horizon of this game.

  12. Irridium says:

    Grr… god damn this NDA. I’m in the Beta, and I have a LOT to say about this game. Many things good, many things bad, quite a bit of things I think people would love to know.

    I’m in it, but I can’t say anything other than “I’m in it”.


    Well, on the other hand, I recently just spoiled the entire plot of Mass Effect 3 for myself. Some people data-mined an ME3 demo that got leaked not too long ago. And I’m not bound by anything for that. I won’t spoil anything for you guys, but I will say that if you liked Mass Effect 2’s plot, you’ll like ME3. If you didn’t like Mass Effect 2’s plot, you won’t like ME3.

    And Shamus, I think you may cry. Not from genuine sadness caused by great writing, but by “dear god, why did they do this?! WHY?! WHY?!” and then your brain will break.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Shoot giant terminator mother reaper’s glowy bits from cover?

      1. Irridium says:

        If only…

        1. X2-Eliah says:


          I am now scared.

          Hm. Kay, I’m hedging my bets on the Reapers being a splinter faction of pan-galactic race of mechasquids that is generally benevolent.

          Well, that or the new crew of Normandy SR-3 stops the reapers with the power of love.

          1. krellen says:

            I have to admit, the image of Grunt doing a CareBearStare might actually get me interested in ME3.

          2. Mathias says:

            Normandy SR-3? Does that mean they’re going to find some contrived excuse to blow it up -again-?

            1. Velkrin says:

              Nah, the alliance is going to pimp Shepard’s ride. Joker will get a seat with hydraulics, the captain’s quarters will get some mechanical fish to replace the dead ones, and there will be racing flames painted onto the side of the ship.

              You’ll also get to destroy reaper ships by blasting excessively loud music at their ship. Through space.

          3. Hush says:

            Bullshit. It can’t possibly get worse.

            …Can it?

            1. Irridium says:

              Oh, you have NO idea…

              1. I kind of like not knowing. Like there’s going to be a trainwreck but you really can’t know how bad it’ll be and you can see it coming down the tracks. And you feel really guilty that you’re paying for a ticket to it when you could be enjoying dinner at a fancy restaurant or something equally wholesome.

          4. Irridium says:

            It’s not THAT bad. Well, not “reaper splinter group” bad. As in, there’s no reaper splinter group. Didn’t see anything “power of love” related, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it finds its way in.

            Still bad though. Takes a standard macguffin, and surrounds it in idiocy. Not sure if that’s too spoiler-y. If you watch movies/read books/play games, you can predict it. Better safe than sorry though.

            1. X2-Eliah says:

              The McGuffin of Love, then. Powered by Dark Romance Energy.

            2. Kdansky says:

              Lay on the spoilers please. I have no intention of playing it, and secondly, spoilers do not actually hurt someone’s fun:


              And I have to say, it didn’t bother me when I watched LotR that I knew the ending.

              1. Zukhramm says:

                I’m not so sure. While of course a good story isn’t ruined by a spoiler (if it is, it wasn’t good in the first place). But I think surprise can add something and a spoiler does remove that. Of course, knowing ahead of time let’s you look at the events and characters in a different way. But if it’s better or worse? I think that’s pretty individual.

                1. Kdansky says:

                  I will give your opinion the same weight as the paper when you have done a proper study to support it.

                  Less snarky: Yes, of course there are personal differences. But on average, they don’t matter much, apparently.

                  1. Zukhramm says:

                    An opinion is an opinion, I don’t need a paper to back it up. I can gather statistics saying people in general think Mass Effect 2 has the most amazing story ever, doesn’t mean it does.

            3. xXDarkWolfXx says:

              Just reveal it in spoiler tags, alot of us probably wont get annoyed and will actually probably thank you for helping us make a decision about wether or not to buy it.

              1. Irridium says:

                Alright, so apparently the spoiler tags crap out if you hit “enter” to separate anything in the body. This makes it a MASSIVE pain in the ass to spoiler properly.

                Just as well. Seems my other comment linking to the big spoiler thread has been approved. It’s down a bit. I’d rather keep spoilers off here. And of course I say this after multiple BB code fails that show all the spoilers with their pants down, but what’re you gonna do.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  I am avoiding anything to do with that leaked beta like the PLAGUE. It wasn’t meant for me to see, I’m not going to look at it. I get enough spoilers from the marketing already.

            4. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Heh, after ME2 my pet masochistic theory was that in ME3 we’ll learn that “there’s a Reaper splinter group who believes humanity is special, and it so is because waaay before Reapers became the squidships they had a prophecy about a chosen one and that’s Shepard.” Yeah, I kinda feel this need to poke my brain with such mental equivalents of red hot iron nails from time to time…

              The thing you said… well, disappointing I guess? Still the basic premise could be surrounded by some decent writing and other story development. Let’s be honest here, the Reapers have been so far presented as such an OP race, what with purging the galaxy of life multiple times or a single one of them destroying what was probably one of the galaxy’s biggest fleets, that there were very few options left of how to handle them. I imagine the devil’s in the details though and spare me those as I want to live a few months more without foaming at the mouth…

              1. Someone says:

                I was hoping such an overwhelming threat could only be repelled by getting all of the races to leave their squabbles and create a united front… but nope, it’s just another bunch of macguffins you need to gather.

                1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Well, right now it’s hard to say, I mean, I assume that will be the case too, what with the whole Galaxy readiness (in case someone hasn’t heard about it yet). Anyway, my main point was that my worse case scenario was much worse ;)

              2. Velkrin says:

                or a single one of them destroying what was probably one of the galaxy's biggest fleets

                Do you mean the citadel fleet near the end of ME1? If you did then he (it?) didn’t destroy the fleet so much as bowled over a few ships that got in his way and shot a couple. The Geth did most of the work.

                1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Hm… now that I think about it you’re correct.

          5. Mari says:

            Sailor Moon Mass Effect? Hmmmmm…this has potential…

            1. krellen says:

              Only if Shepard runs around in a miniskirt.

              1. Eddie says:

                Only if male Shepard runs around in a miniskirt.

                  1. TSED says:

                    We said a MINISKIRT. That is a regular skirt.

    2. Skyy_High says:

      Cannot wait for the Spoiler Warning episodes for ME3. Or at least the review rants. I’m tittering with anticipation.

      1. Dys says:

        Yes indeed, even if the game’s terrible, it should provide us all with a ripe harvest of entertaining snark.

    3. Tzeneth says:

      The info about ME3 makes weep. I remember ME1 being so interesting and I was so excited about the series, I easily decided to pre-order the second one. Unfortunately, everything I’ve heard and seen about the third one turned me off immediately. I’m not even considering buying it. I’m considering whether I want to bother renting it on gamefly or simply ignore it.

      Edit: On second thought, I’ll just wait for the Spoiler Warning of it to get it from gamefly :P

    4. some random dood says:

      Any link for this? I’ve given up on playing ME3 (insulting retcon to get ammo clips, “veteran is the new normal”, reapernator…), but would like to see how the story turns out. Even if in a strange, hypnotised, “watch-the-train-wreck” kind of way…

      1. Irridium says:

        The data was leaked on a Russian fan-site. Bioware has since sated that the data was “outdated” and not representative of the final product, but every time I heard that phrase the final product turned out to not be that different. Anyway, I can’t find the original Russian leak, but this thread managed to copy/paste most of the data. Read it, and have fun.

        1. Someone says:

          I see they are continuing the series’ proud tradition of the telegraphed choices not affecting anything other than an arbitrary morality score.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Worst part with ME2, but potentially actually useful in ME3. ME1 had several decisions that SHOULD bear fruit in ME3.

            If you can’t tell, I’m being an optimist about this whole thing.

            Oh, and on the “veteran is the new normal” thing.. Yes, ME2 was easy, but ME1 was artificially difficult. The cover mechanics in a cover based game were screwy, and if you got rushed you die. Side quests in the early game are super, super hard because of badly designed areas. (Enemies don’t scale, you’re epic by the end…)

            1. Zukhramm says:

              But it does bear fruit, one of the characters is pallet swapped for another depending on one of your choices!

        2. some random dood says:

          Thanks – that was, um, “interesting”. Sounds like a serious ass-pull involved to get out of the hole they dug for themselves. Oh well, sounds like some of the individual stories may be interesting. Maybe…
          Here’s hoping for a “Best Of” version of Spoiler Warning where they pick the good bits. And maybe a “Worst Of” where the team just have fun ripping the main plot apart!

        3. Eärlindor says:

          *Reads ME3 leaks…*

          You were not exaggerating, Irridium, that was bad.

        4. X2-Eliah says:

          Well, it’s not as bad as I imagined, but.. No, actually, it has a big potential to end up being badder than ME2. And so.much.railroading.

          I trust it’s reasonably safe to say this, so.. WHY are the devs thinking that Doomed-To-Fail battles are acceptable?! “You must survive until a scripted point, upon which you are defeated in a cutscene. Fail earlier, and it’s game over”. >.<

    5. Joey Palzewicz says:

      I liked Mass Effect 2’s plot. Not necessarily loved it, but I liked it well enough. Gave me a justification for awesome gameplay.

      So, by your logic, I’ll like Mass Effect 3 just fine. Awesome.

      Honestly, everything I’ve heard about Mass Effect 3 so far has made me happy. Pretty much all of it makes me excited. I’m eagerly looking forward to finishing this trilogy, and then I eagerly look forward to playing through the whole trilogy.

      I loved Mass Effect 1. I loved Mass Effect 2. I loved all three books about Mass Effect. I’m ready to love ME3 regardless of how “bad” it is.

      If I’m called a blind fan or a member of the lowest common denominator, then so be it. But at least I’m gonna have fun.

      1. krellen says:

        While I don’t want to begrudge you your fun, I am a little tired of your sort of fun being the only fun available.

        1. some random dood says:

          Well said sir.
          Still, at least it doesn’t come with some totally abusive DRM on top of it. What was that about EA Origin again? (Didn’t they recently react to fans anger and relax the EULA so that you no longer have to sacrifice your first born in order to be able to play a game?)

          1. Irridium says:

            Yeah, but Origin is still annoying as hell. With Steam, I see tangible benefits to using it. Sure, most may not be for me, but at least it’s trying to be worth my time.

            Origin is not, and just expects me to put up with it because it has all of EA’s games. I see no good reason for using it or keeping it on my PC. So, I don’t use it.

          2. Someone says:

            After that shit they pulled with scanning HDD data? I’m not touching anything that has to do with Origin, regardless of what they say. I don’t usually care about DRM but this crosses the line, and then keeps going until it’s in another galaxy altogether.

          3. Aldowyn says:

            If they can somehow take the best parts of the story from ME1 and ME2 (e.g. ME1 style plot and ME2 characters), plus the upgrades to the combat we’ve already seen, my optimistic self is ready to peg ME3 as my favorite game ever, by a fair margin.

    6. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Meh,wont bother me.Me2 was disappointing because me1 raised my expectations for it.Now that they are back on their normal extremely low levels,I can enjoy the gameplay and damn with the story.And people say that pessimism is a bad thing.What I wont do,however,is play through both 1 and 2 just so I could get an uninterrupted story tailored for me.

      Btw,about that nda,you do know that you can be anonymous on the internet,and that you can write whatever you want under a fake name and no one will know it was you,right?

    7. GiantRaven says:

      Hooray! I’m going to like Mass Effect 3!

      Today is a good day. =D

  13. LurkerAbove says:

    The NDA in a way mirrors my own feelings about the game. I quit WoW a while back, and now I want to play a MMO again. My WoW friends are excited about TOR, so I’ve already got my order in for a copy, but I don’t really care about the details.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      “WoW friends are excited about TOR”

      I honestly think, no matter how badly it flops, SWTOR will be a big nail in WoW’s coffin. Thanks for the ammunition :P

      1. Kana says:

        Not as much as you might think. Not even the power of Star Wars will really be able to pull out any meaningful amount of people because, hey, all my friends play, right? And I’ve put so many hours into this game… (Hypothetical me, I quit the game a long time ago).

        The real nail in the coffin is going to be Mists of Pandaria. WoW got to where it is by doing what other people were doing, only better. They’ve crossed a threshold into just trying to copy other people now. They’ve even admitted to what their ripping off (“payload” style map, Guild Wars combat for the new class), and they’re going all in for gimmicks to keep people around. Now, if Star Wars survives until then (and I’d peg it a 99% chance it will), when WoW starts losing subs, where are they going to go for their WoW fix? To the best WoW clone they can. And hey, it’s star wars to boot…

        Yeah, BioWare doesn’t have to worry. Blizz is doing the work for them. XD

        1. Aldowyn says:

          I was talking about this on Twitter, and mentioned it on here somewhere. Basically, I agree. Blizzard is suddenly grasping for straws.

        2. krellen says:

          Even my friends whom I thought would always play WoW (two of them have a relationship that was built basically on the basis of both of them playing WoW) have stopped playing WoW.

        3. Zukhramm says:

          Guild Wars combat means what exactly?

          1. Kana says:

            New monk class has no auto-attack, instead has a skill that is used similar to a spammable skill, like whatever you want to bind to right-click in GW2. The class also has a ‘dodge’ like skill that lets you walk away from combat, more or less trying to replicate how to dodge from that game… in a hot-key numbers based game like WoW. This class is either going to be utterly worthless because of the combat style clashings, or more likely, utterly broken if anyone spends time learning how to play it.

            Thare are a ton of other things that Blizzard flat up admitted to lifting as a gimmick for the new expac. I can look it up, but since I played WoW for 2 years, it hurts watching all the systems become utterly shredded. :<

  14. Friend of Dragons says:

    Now that you mention it, it is very weird that I’ve heard and seen much more of Guild Wars 2 than TOR, even though GW2 still doesn’t have a release date set. (Though by all indications they are closing in on setting one.) There are videos of people playing the demos all over the place, lots of gameplay footage and overviews of all the races and classes; even though it is still a ways away you can get a very solid idea of what the game will be like (and I like what I see). With TOR you have none of that. A couple useless prerendered scenes for ads and some rather stilted and choppy “preveiws”, if they can be called that, are all that I could find.

    1. Skyy_High says:

      I find it interesting that I had to go this far down the comments to find a mention of GW2. I mean, they’re shaping up to be almost exact opposites, which means that almost every thread on the intarwebs about the failings of one has turned into a discussion of the merits of the other. I kinda understand why:
      * GW2 is marketing itself as completely innovative; TOR is marketing itself as tradition refined to excellence. This includes the B2P vs. P2P payment models.
      * GW2’s IP is original, but the fantasy swords-and-bows setting has been done many times in MMOs before; TOR’s IP is possibly the biggest name in geekdom, but the sci-fi setting hasn’t been done in an MMO for a long time.
      * GW2 is being developed by a tiny company whose only other product so far is GW1; TOR is being developed by one of the juggernauts of RPGs.

      It really is a great narrative to watch the parallel development of these two titles. I think TOR is going to have a much larger population on launch day than GW2, just based on the name and possibly developer, but the B2P model gives GW2 the advantage of being one of the few MMOs that you can play while playing another MMO and not feel bad about. They’re going to keep many game journalists busy for months after their respective releases, is what I’m saying.

      1. Kdansky says:

        And for people with enough disposable income, GW2 is no-brainer to buy (after all, it’s just one more standard-priced game), and ToR might or might not make the cut, because let’s face it, 15$ a month is a lot of money on the long run. I’ve spend half a thousand on WoW.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          I don’t feel so bad about the amount I’ve spent on WoW when I consider the fun and experiences I’ve gotten out of it. I’m not sure I could replicate that in another MMO unfortunately, which is why I’m hesitant to put money towards any until I have an idea of how I’ll like them.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            I know among my high-school friends GW2 is a lot more common to hear about than SW:TOR.

          2. Kdansky says:

            I could have spent that time otherwise and had just as much fun, I am pretty sure. It’s less then money, and more the giant time-sink.

    2. Mathias says:

      I’ve actually seen a few TOR gameplay videos by now, admittedly from convention booths and stuff.

      It’s like WoW in that it’s hotkey-based, although each class has some sort of “gimmick” to it. In the build I saw on video (which was at Gamescom), the trooper can switch between ammunition types (which comes with the joy of reloading, yay, it’s like I’m playing a totally unengaging TPS).

    3. X2-Eliah says:

      You know you just may have invoked Josh the GW2 addict by that.

      1. Mathias says:

        To be fair, I may be won over by GW2, but that’s just because I have absolutely no faith in the Star Wars IP.

        I kind of wish Dark Millennium will be good, just because I’d love to play a game that’s just unapologetically cheesy sci-fi turned up to eleven.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Dark grimness of grim darkness as an MMO? For the Empra!

          Although I’m not so sure about it being good for MMOs. It is built into the IP that certain races ARE superior 1 on 1. So a lvl1 guardsmen is dead meat when compared to the rest of the universe, so it’s not that balancable.

          1. Adeon says:

            That’s my main concern with Dark Imperium. If I were designing it I’d try to make it so that all of the playable characters had a similar “canon” power level. For example I’d do either Guardsman versus Cultists versus Eldar Guardians or Space Marines versus Chaos Marines versus Eldar Aspect Warriors but I wouldn’t try to mix Guardsmen and Space Marines int he same game.

            Still I’m a huge 40K fanboy so no doubt I’ll give it a go anyway.

      2. Josh says:


        You want to know the irony, though? I’ve been in The Old Republic’s beta for months – a game I never showed too much interest in – and yet the game I’ve really been looking forward to for two years is Guild Wars 2. If I don’t get in the GW2 beta too, I’m gonna grenade-pants karma, I tell ya!

        And so I share Shamus’ pain. Or, that is to say, this article was prompted by a conversation between myself and Shamus about how bullshit it is that the game is still under NDA and I can’t talk about all of the [REDACTED]

        1. Hitch says:

          Can you give us a nice long post filling us all in on the BS you’ve been forced to keep quiet about on December 21st? Please?

          1. acronix says:

            Up until reading the “on December 21st” part, I was imagining Josh writting a post that consisted of, basically:

            “The game starts with [REDACTED]. At this point you [REDACTED] before [REDACTED] which is totally [REDACTED]. The classes are all very [REDACTED], specially the [REDACTED], which is a nice [REDACTED] of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]. Questins is a bit [REDACTED], up to the point that [REDACTED] gets everywhere and you can really start to [REDACTED] before you [REDACTED].
            Overall, it´s a [REDACTED] experience and I think [REDACTED] “

          2. Josh says:

            The wording is a bit unclear in the NDA as to whether or not I’m allowed to actually talk about the beta test after it drops, so I’m going to be watching what other “minor” sites – those that weren’t part of the press embargo lift – do before I post anything. Worse comes to worse, I may wait until a few days after release (or at least, until the headstart begins) so I can say, “No this is totally not beta impressions guys! Chill!”

            Of course, that’s assuming I get the game at all, which I may or may not be able to talk about since buying or not buying the game could be considered an endorsement for “the game rocks” or “the game sucks” camp, which would be a violation of the NDA. I suppose I could tell you more about my thoughts on the game and why I may or may not buy it, such as [REDACTED], but ohgoddamnitjustlifttheNDAalready!

            1. Mathias says:

              Clearly all this NDA nonsense is just BioWare trolling Josh and the crew after they ripped ME2 a new one.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  I think it would be hilarious if someone at Bioware actually DID watch the ME2 spoiler warning…

                  All of the criticisms are fixed for ME3, you’re welcome!

            2. Post it under an assumed name?

              You can use mine if you like. I can’t get banned from something I’m not in.

  15. Thomas says:

    The only previews I’d read so far were official ones and did a good job of convincing me that if I could get hold of a PC that would reliably run it I was going to subscribe to play the game for a month and pretend it was KotoR 3 with marginally more intelligent NPCs :D

    But then that was just because I heard that companions would react to what you actually did which is what I’ve wanted Bioware to do since.. whenever? Apparently they used to do it and then stopped for Mass Effect and KotoR and the like and replaced it with the cruddy ‘keep on trying to talk to them after every mission and sometimes they will talk which means they love you’ system

    1. Bubble181 says:

      This is also my plan on playing KOTOR 3.

      Seriously, I know it makes mone,y but WHY OH WHY does each and every game publisher insist on getting their MMO in my RPG? I wanted Diablo III single player, I wanted KOTOR 3 single player, …

      Of course, I also wanted Warcraft IV single player, and I guess I’ll have to admit that what they did with it is probably making more money :-P

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I think I’ve actually heard rumors of a WCIV RTS, but I think they’ve played out the WC world.

        Mists of Pandara… *shakes head* (May have gotten the name slightly wrong)

        1. guy says:

          What’s really terrible about this is that the Pandarens were originally a joke. It was for one of their April Fools jokes, “the fourth WC3 race is pandas!” They made a couple of creeps, then in the frozen throne they added a Pandaren hero, as a joke. And now they apparently are taking their own jokes seriously.

          1. Sumanai says:

            Personally I’ve got nothing against the pandaren (but I don’t really feel invested in the Warcraft world), but I remember some people making comments back then that if the April Fools joke were real they’d quit WoW.

  16. Meredith says:

    Put very simply: I’ll be waiting for this game to go ftp and then I will play it.

    I’ve always been hesitant to get excited about this game. On one hand, I’m a Star Wars nerd and I love KOTOR so I’d like to take a look at it. On the other, I just can’t bring myself to truly enjoy MMO mechanics and the idea of both buying a game and paying a monthly fee to play it offends me. That coupled with the meh feeling I get from the coverage I’ve seen doesn’t leave me eager to play it at launch.

    I’d much rather have had a proper single-player KOTOR 3.

  17. silver Harloe says:

    To what extent does this post exist to be a lead up to the final line? :)

    Also, it took me forever to get over my Old School Unix Geek and understand that ‘ftp’ isn’t some term describing how you can download it (in which case I had to wonder why people cared how it was downloaded behind the scenes), but a business model.

    1. Velkrin says:

      To be fair people normally use F2P to distinguish it from FTP.

  18. SolkaTruesilver says:


    So, Shamus, if I understand you well. You not being enthousiast with TOR means you will probably spend more time playing and discussing Skyrim?

    I have a hard time finding the problem with that sequence of event.

    1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      Every time I see the word ‘Skyrim’ I smile inside. Lord, I am such a huge Bethesda fanboy.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Skyrim Skyrim Skyrim Skyrim Skyyyyyyyyyyrim.

        Also, guys, Skyrim.

        1. SolkaTruesilver says:

          I was wondering what kind of skills I wanted to focus on.

          First, stealth. I don’t think there’s ever been a FPS with stealth where I wasn’t using it as much as possible.

          Then, bow. I just love being the one with a first strike.

          Light Armor, ’cause I wanna my character to be lean and agile.

          I don’t like the idea of fighting ONLY with sneak attacks, so probably 1-handed. Actually, if I am a sneaky archerman, why not go the traditional Ranger path, and dual-weild? I’ll have 2 swords!

          And then, it hit me. I am going to play a Ranger dual-weilding swords in the Northland?

          Damn it. Now I simply CAN’T take a Dark Elf.

          1. zootie says:

            You might try a two-handed weapon instead. I did that with a similar build in Oblivion and being able to hit hard enough to stagger the opponent is the only thing that kept by thinly-clad butt alive in many fights ;)

            1. SolkaTruesilver says:

              Might be. But Skyrim isn’t Oblivion. New game, new rules :-D

          2. Bubble181 says:

            I’ll buy it in a few months.

            Not because I’m *not* a fanboy (though only of TES – not of Bethesda in general so much), but simply because my poor littel computer will NEVER run it. Shogun II: Total War is crashing my laptop randomly, so….

            1. Robert Maguire says:

              You might not have to worry. Shogun 2 overheats many gaming PCs, too. That’s what you get with PC exclusives, they can actually use modern technology to its fullest.

              Skyrim, on the other hand, is a multi-platform title; thus the system requirements are fairly low.

              1. Sumanai says:

                Not that a couple of months wait ever hurt a Bethesda game.

                1. Sumanai says:

                  I feel this requires an explanation: I’ve never played Bethesda games right at the release, and I’ve never accidentally spoiled content from any of them. At least not from what I remember, but I don’t generally feel that something is ruined when I run into spoilers anyway. However I’ve found that every time it was beneficial to wait for a couple of months because the games got bugs fixed and interesting mods.

                  So I don’t see having to wait for a couple of months as bad thing as such. Sure, you can’t play at the release, but the game itself doesn’t suffer from it.

          3. 4th Dimension says:

            Since attributes are gone, I might go for my standard fighter, but add quite a lot of magic to it. See how that goes (of course I’m screwed if the auto leveling of enemies is not good).

            So far in all games I’ve played natives (Dark Elves in Morrowind, Imperial in Oblivion) but although Nords are resistant to Cold, I think I remember them having a big weakness to fire, which I don’t like (seeing as 75% of all mages usually spam fire).

            1. Aldowyn says:

              Not to mention DRAGONS.

              Though iirc not all dragons breath fire, I think there are frost dragons which are actually pretty high on the food chain.

              1. 4th Dimension says:

                Yeah, but in my opinion 20% fire res. is MUCH more usefull than 70% cold resistance.

                Same goes to all buffs that add fire damage. In my opinion fire damage is useless since more than half enemies that have resistance have fire resistance. If not than they have cold resistance. That’s why I ALWAYS enchant my weapons to have shock damage, because enemies with that kind of ress are actually rare.

          4. Kana says:

            Hey, as long as you don’t make the last name Do’Urden, I bet not many people would notice. ;)

            (Totally calling dibs on Icingdeath though!)

        2. xXDarkWolfXx says:

          Your making me wish it was 11:59 of the 10th already. Iv already pre-ordered the collectors edition, paid it all off and convinced a member of my family to take me to the Midnight launch.

          1. Friend of Dragons says:

            Heh. I’ve just got the normal version, but I can’t wait to fire it up on release while opening a bottle of mead. :D

            1. Sumanai says:

              They sell mead where you live? Or did you brew it yourself?

          2. Sumanai says:

            They release it on the 10th in the middle of the day? That’s strange. Or do you get to start pre-loading it then?

      2. Tzeneth says:

        Eh, I’m just happy it’s coming out and I have an excuse to not look at the other games on my gamefly list as I play it. The best part about skyrim: I don’t have to input some freaking code just to get all the damned stuff I get off the disc at the beginning :)

        1. Mathias says:

          I myself am not going to purchase Skyrim. I was not enticed with Oblivion one bit and I’m not sure if Skyrim will be any different. If it does turn out to be Oblivion, but fixed, do let me know and I’ll rush out to present Bethesda with my hard-earned cash :)

      3. Dovius says:

        Which is still better than my inside, which, upon hearing the word Skyrim, starts frothing at the mouth with rabid obsession.
        I might be slihgtly hyped.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      I’m definitely not planning on buying Skyrim, but Shamus’ review is one of the few things that could change that. Let’s hope he’s not too busy to write it!

  19. Mincecraft says:

    The worst thing about this is, More or less all the anonymous reviews I’ve read have been positive. Bioware/EA are just crippling themselves with this NDA, especially so close to release.

    1. Sumanai says:

      Above, in case you haven’t read them, some have mentioned hearing bad things (like WoW five years ago, for example), so it’s not that clear cut. Still, holding on to the NDA is strange and kind of dick-ish.

  20. Chuck says:

    I may have missed it, but I think this hasn’t been said yet.

    I agree, Bioware is not the right company to make an MMO. But there’s another problem that hasn’t been mentioned yet: Star Wars Galaxies.

    SWG’s license was ended to make way for TOR, and now you have a lot of bitter fans that might or will boycott TOR as a result. A few of them have the Beta, sure, but there non WoW clone MMO-or less obvious clone- is being taken away and replaced with a clone.

    Not only that, but SWG was very good-in my opinion, granted- at building and maintaining a sense of online community. I have never felt more at home and welcome online then when playing SWG. I don’t think Bioware can build that kind of community, and that is the major factor for creating a good MMO, to me at least. Granted my online gaming epxeriance is limited, so if my viewpoint is flawed, that is likely why.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      From what I’ve heard the remake of SWG messed up a LOT of stuff and made a ton of the old fans bitter already. I don’t think many people shed a tear when SWG folded.

  21. Tizzy says:

    Do companies really get way with this crap? Yes, it’s cynical and devious and all that, but does it actually work?

    It reminds me of movies that start getting advertised on TV 3 months before they come out, and then you notice that one week before release, they still haven’t been reviewed *anywhere* in the press (on- or off-line). Who is that supposed to fool?

    Added Later: It occurs to me that the NDA might be for completely different reasons than protecting a lousy game from criticism. (E.g.: we’re still so willing to change certain game mechanics that we’d rather not have them discussed at all, to avoid confusion at launch.) Nevertheless, the end result is that it appears this way, and they should realize that it’s not good publicity. I cannot picture any reason good enough for this NDA, that would mean enduring bad publicity at this level would be an acceptable downside.

  22. Spluckor says:

    From what I understand from friends who have been lucky enough to get in the beta the game is a good game. They said that gameplay wise it doesn’t deviate to much from the WoW formula. At the same time though they said it doesn’t feel like a WoW clone.

    My friends both played different classes and one said he loved his story while the other said the storytelling was good but the story itself wasn’t for him (He also said though that it was better than any other MMOs story he’s experienced).

    Basically from everything I’ve heard around the interwebs and through friends is the game isn’t gonna be ground breaking, it also doesn’t feel like a WoW clone like Rift did. Storytelling is great but the story quality itself varies, though generally better than your usual MMO story.

    I still am super excited for this game, I doubt anything is gonna bust a hole in that excitement.

    1. Spluckor says:

      Also even though they had the NDA they let Gabe from Penny Arcade write an article about SWTOR.

      1. xXDarkWolfXx says:

        Probably because hes a Star Wars obsessive and any other reviews/articles they let people write will probably have a fairly skeqed ratio of praise-to-scorn. Dont expect yahtzee to be given the ability to review it early.

        1. Spluckor says:

          But if you read that article he states how he absolutely hated SWG, so being Star Wars doesn’t make him auto-like something.

          Dunno, I always thought of him as the type that could look past his own obsessions to give a fair review to something.

          1. River says:

            I suppose thats true, i personally try to get past my personal obsessions to give ok reviews about games but it doesnt always work, thats why anyone who reads the game reviews on my site can expect either a lovey and over-positive review of Saints Row The Third and Skyrim unless i encounter some massive game-killer flaw.

          2. Vekni says:

            AntiSWG, but proWoW. Gee, imagine them wanting a WoW loving Star Wars fan reviewing their Star Wars themed WoW game!

          3. Aldowyn says:

            … Getting a massive vibe here that he DEFINITELY did not play KotOR. Not sure if that’s a bad thing or not.

            Also, the holoprojector thing is AWESOME.

  23. Cyranor says:

    I’m pretty sure I read something about the NDA for the press was lifted and its only for the beta players that its still in effect. IGN has been making several posts about it over the last month. I don’t know if that changes anything about what you are saying but I feel its related.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      The cynic in me would say that one could see this as them stopping those people from talking about their game who are not paid to praise it (directly or through adverts/sponsorship/review copies/etc).

      1. Sumanai says:

        Rock Paper Shotgun did a piece, IIRC, and they don’t seem the sort to care about marketers threats.

  24. Paul Spooner says:

    I know this is a bit off topic, but all I ever hear about EA is how terrible they are. Why do companies keep publishing with them? How do they keep making money? When are we going to just stop buying anything with EA printed on it?

    1. Josh says:

      They own franchises that make a lot of money.

      Really, that’s pretty much it. Video game development is a venture-capitalist system. You put a whole lot of money into something and hope it makes a profit so you can get a return of investment and then some, and then you put that money into another project. Since EA owns dozens of franchises and studios that are constantly pumping out games – some of which are successess; many others, failures – they can throw a whole lot of investment capital at a given project at any given time.

      This is also why you see the practice that’s become common at larger publishing groups to close down or “restructure” studios if their latest game is not a success; even if said studio has a massive cult fanbase and a long history of good titles under its belt.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        EA WAS getting better, I thought. EA Partners actually seemed reasonable, but now with the whole Origin (especially the EULA) thing, it’s getting ambiguous again. EA and Activision are constantly competing for the title of “Biggest Jerk Publisher” >.> (Activision gets the lead because of Kotick)

  25. Mailbox says:

    Rooster Teeth (Red vs Blue) based out in Austin, TX had a couple of guys from Bioware (also in Texas) on one of their resent podcasts and they talked all things SWTOR. So if you want to know what you can talk about use that as a reference. Or if you are interested in the game and would like to know more.

  26. Canthros says:

    You know, I was really excited about The Old Republic a year or more ago, but the little information leaking out has been negative-to-neutral in ways that have absolutely killed any excitement I have for the game at all (there do seem to be some good features, but gameplay and design sounds more like WoW-variant #4298 than anything compelling on its own). I may still wind up playing it, but I’m waiting for actual reviews and maybe a free trial before making a decision.

    I’ve already been bit and burned by Rift this year.

    In the meantime, Guild Wars 2 is looking fairly fantastic. I think I’m going to miss the aggressive instancing from the first one, though.

  27. Kavonde says:

    Hey, I’m a TOR beta tester. Yeah, NDA. Dammit. I’d love to be able to tell you that the game really is pretty awesome, and that the roleplaying elemets really do make the ol’ level grind more interesting and involving, and that the actual gameplay is a lot more fun and impactful than the lackluster class demonstrations made it look, and that the PVP is really fun even for people like me who typically avoid it like the lathe. But sadly, saying any of those things would violate the NDA.

    1. Kavonde says:

      Plague, not lathe. Friggin’ autocorrect.

      1. Neil D says:

        Well, I’m going to avoid the lathe too, just to be safe.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Yeah, those things can be nasty.

  28. guy says:

    Wait, ToR is coming out in 33 days? Not 330 days? 33?

    I honestly had absolutely no idea. It’s pretty staggering that EA hasn’t commenced a massive marketing blitz or performed a rollback of the release date by now. It’s not like they can unspend their development costs, so this is just plain whacked.

  29. MG says:

    Speaking of a sense of dread for a release, check this out Shamus:

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      That video does sort of contradict the story in that leaked story. At least at the start.

  30. Jon Ericson says:

    I demand you take back the slander against Hitchcock! Have you not seen Notorious or The Man Who Knew Too Much or Mr. & Mrs. Smith? Actually strike the last one, which is the only pure romantic comedy and, though I haven’t seen it myself, is usually considered a dud. But the other two are funny and romantic. But not really romantic comedies. So… yeah.

    Seems like part of the issue is managing expectations. Unfortunately, once you put Star Wars and MMO in the same sentence (never mind KOTOR and Bioware), it’s too late. Nobody will ever make anything that will match those expectations.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Pure rom com? Rom com I can agree, but PURE? There had to be half an hour or more of guns being shot at various people :/

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        You don’t find bullets romantic? What is wrong with you, dude?

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Bullets are generally a sign of an “action” movie. Usually, I suppose there can be exceptions.

  31. RariowunIrskand says:

    I was going to pre-order this, but since it’s coming out pretty close to Skyrim and I expect to spend my next 2-3 months playing exclusively that, I’ll give it time for the reviews to roll out. I was cynical about this whole thing from the beggining, but I believe that if there’s one company that can make this happen it’s BioWare. I still have hope that this will be a worthy KotOR III (And, yes, I am a fan of KotOR II. Sue me). If the different stories are good (Was it one for each class? One for each race? Something like that), I’ll consider this a worthwile game. If not, I don’t think it’s really possible to make a BAD MMO. Since they’re all samey, it’ll, at the very least, just be one more out of the crowd.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      Don’t worry – lots of peopel are fans of KotOR II It was an absolutely amazing game.
      Too bad they released it 6 months early and without testing, and never really supported the game with, you know, a decent patch…
      I’m a huge KotOR II fan too, but sshhhh

      1. Lord of Rapture says:

        There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of liking Kotor2.

  32. Vekni says:

    See, here’s the trick, those of you who say you’re in and you want to break NDA:

    JUST TALK ABOUT IT. Don’t do something stupid like sign your name, account name, character name, etc. If you’re really paranoid, post via proxy or public computer or something. You have no excuse but cowardice/ignorance. They can’t do anything to you. A buddy of mine actually ended up at Bioware offices for a day of testing some dailies and such (on rail shooters!) after answering a Craigslist ad and nothing has happened to him because of his detailed write up. Why? Because lots of people have been brought in for that, and he was not stupid enough to provide any details that could single him out.

    1. Mephane says:

      You know there are numerous people doing just what you say, talking about it anonymously. They just don’t do it here in this comment thread, but on other sites, anonymous blogs etc.

      1. Sumanai says:

        And some people just like honoring agreements.

  33. CalDazar says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot of bad things about TOR, or rather I’ve been told a lot of things that people insist are bad, I have no idea since I don’t play MMO’s.

    I have not heard anything good, even though I do know people who think it’s good.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Lemme sum it up for you: Gameplay = very WoW derivative. Story = very Bioware, NOT WoW derivative.

      Personally I think that’s a good combination, but tons of people rag on it purely because of the not-innovative gameplay, which apparently everyone thinks is the problem with MMOs.

      1. Mephane says:

        I also think WoW-style combat is not bad by itself, I just hope they make it a bit more fast-paced for attacks (not for healing, WoW is already as punishing in that area that there is no need for up that).

        In other words, I can totally live with WoW-style skill-based combat. Skills can be made interesting, varied and useful anyway (instead of just 1-1-1-proc-2-1-1-1-1-proc-2 spam), but the most important thing would be to have a lower global cooldown, something along the lines of 0.5 seconds, maybe even less for lightsaber combat. Those things are really fast.

        1. rofltehcat says:

          The problem with MMOs is always latency. It would be awesome of the game were more skill-based and you could block, slash and shoot manually like in many hack&slay games. That would surely be a lot of fun with light sabers (though it would then just be Jedi Academy Online). On the other hand online play is working for shooters, some hack&slay games and even fighting games like Street Fighter (although you probably can’t play on a competitive level online… or maybe it intensifies the whole rock-paper-scissors/yomi/whatever thing?)
          Very innovative game concepts might not work very well because of the latency and MMO servers generally being slower than (private) shooter servers. I can only guess but I’d say for other games like Street Fighter it is based on peer-to-peer, which you probably won’t want for an MMO… there are just too many players at a time (and what about duping etc.?).

          Same for the 0.5 GCD. 1 second is definately possible (Rift rogues have 1 sec GCD) but 0.5 would be too fast for a lot of people and hell/impossible for Oceanian players or EU players on US servers.

          What I’d rather have liked to see would have been something like offensive and defensive maneuvers. For example you could do activate your standard strike type of skill with your attack GCD and at the same time you could activate your “defend against low strikes” or your “defend against strike from the right” skill on your defensive GCD. If the enemy now did a strike that always hits from the direction you are defending against (everyone would need a balanced repertoire ofc), you’d take 33% less damage from that strike or something. This would make it a lot more dynamic to a point where a 1.5 sec GCD feels very close to 0.5 sec GCD and it would also add a whole new dimension to PvP to a point where it would annihilate macroed cookiecutter specs and rotations because those cookiecutters would only be able to cut cookies instead of high skilled players that know those rotations. In PvE it could also be used so you’d hit higher if you judged right what defense abilities the mob uses next.

          1. Kana says:

            Just going to pop in with a quick comment here, because it’s something I really enjoy. There is a game coming out that has real-time combat in it. It’s called TERA Online and is about the closest thing to a Monster Hunter MMO we’re ever going to see. Combat is free-flowing and completely controlled by the user. It’s easy to ‘miss’ skills and smaller mobs by aiming in the wrong place with your mouse. Check the combat.

            I’m really hoping this game succeeds, just so we can have a little fresh air in the mmo-combat department. We’re drowning in hotkey based MMO’s at the moment.

            As for latency, the devs say its possible to play with up to 400ms by knowing the monsters attack patterns and rotations, but over that and you start getting in trouble.

            1. Aldowyn says:

              No mention of Vindictus? It gets repetitive, but the story isn’t too bad (I believe it’s a prequel to Mabinogi, if anyone plays that), but the basic combat is pretty awesome.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          I don’t know about everyone, obviously, but when I say I don’t like WoW’s gameplay I am not refering to the combat itself but rather to the dungeon/item-setup. I’m not interested in leveling just to be able to run dungeons to be able to get items to be able to get run dungeons to be able to get items to be able to run dungeons and then do the same thing but with 24 people rather than 4 just to make it even less fun!

          1. Cado says:

            All of that is part and parcel of the WoW model. The only way it could work otherwise is if they made gear irrelevant, which I’m actually for, but then they need to implement something else that hits the pleasure centers of the brain related to reward.

            They’ve already got the basics for it-namely an achievement system, and now they’re adding challenge dungeons-the main thing they’d need to do is implement time-based or competitive rewards for people who want to be at the top, primarily cosmetic stuff like armor customizations and mounts, and they could vastly improve on the overall design.

          2. Mephane says:

            I actually enjoy both the raiding and gear grind part (although it’s not about the gear grind, but constant improvement and upgrades; it could be solved by something else being acquired than items and I would be fine with it too).

            The only gripe I usually have with this model is this: get a new item, now your char looks different. Probably it won’t even fit to what you are already having. Maybe you’ve chosen a specific style and are glad you have made it come true, just to have to rip it apart a month later.

            However, gladly, MMOs lately are adopting systems to alleviate this. WoW has done so recently, allowing you to somehow reuse the looks of old items on new ones (don’t ask me about specifics, I have not been playing it for months), Rift allows you to define wardrobe sets which override your armor/clothing either completely or partially, and from what I have gathered, SWTOR seems to sport a feature similar to WoW, where you can transfer either stats from item to item, or looks (I am not sure which way round).

            As long as I can put together an armor style I like and keep it until I have grown tired of it, I’ll happily replace gear anytime. Because at that point a new gear drop is just a collection of stats you can apply to a certain slot, combined with the looks of a specific piece of armor, and you can chose to use either of them seperately.

  34. Mark says:

    I’m charitable enough to see it as a defensive posture against the fact that MMOs are never finished until they’ve been tested under the strain of their full user base and the inevitability of reviewers and other opinion-generators not appreciating that fact.

  35. Deltarno says:

    If not Bioware, than who?
    To put that question in reference, please understand that I understand little to nothing of the working behind the scenes of the major and minor studios. I judge companies by the games they put out, and thus I put Bioware as the best RPG company, although even I can see the writing on the wall. Dratted Dragon Age 2, not giving us any choices…
    But on whom, then, should I place my hopes for good stories? Obsidian is decent enough I suppose, but I enjoy a little romance in my games, and they don’t. Bethesda gives marvelous open worlds, but as a consequence the story has to be rather light. At least you can mod it.
    Anyone have any good ideas for up and coming companies that write good stories, or should I lower my standards after Skyrim (yay!), old republic (good for a few months at least), and mass effect 3 (good if you remember to never beleave propaganda spoken by the enemy)?
    ….because I don’t want Halo 4 to win best story due to lack of competition.

    1. Someone says:

      Don’t worry, the Best Story award will probably go to Uncharted 3.

      1. Deltarno says:

        ….I did not seriously think any comment could make me cry. You proved me wrong.
        …I need a hug.

    2. Irridium says:

      If you can look(hear?) past the bad voice acting, Witcher 2 has a pretty good story. CD Projekt Red at least tries to do something interesting.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        On the other hand, that game is truly hard. I died like 15 times during tutorial. So it’s not for people wanting only story and decisions.

        1. Josh says:

          Both of the Witcher games offer an excellent balance of choice to storytelling integrity. If you can get past the weird sex-card minigame/sexist subtext of the first game, then I’d say the story is probably the superior of the two, but the Witcher 2 has a remarkable degree of story-branching; depending on how you approach the climax of Act I, you’ll end up in one of two completely different versions of Act II, each one taking place in completely different areas where you’re tasked with different objectives and working with different people. The two storylines don’t reintegrate until you get into Act III.

  36. James says:

    Of What I’ve seen of TOR, footage from places like GDC and GamesCon, it looks like.

    A Hotkey MMO, with a heavy focus on story, REPORTED (By Bioware) to have 8 Full length, stories based on BASE Class (not advanced classes) so all Jedi Knights will have same story.
    Lots of if not Full Voice Acting. and 2 different PvP Types. Hutball (a sport thing where you get a ball and take it to the endzone without dieing). and Battleground. Hutball can be Sith v Rep or Sith v Sith or Rep V Rep. Battleground is Sith v Rep obviously.
    Its Steeped in the Star Wars Feel, Korriban looks and feels like Korriban. and i think we get to go to Dorum’Kas.

    TL;DR of what ive seen, its a Star Wars Hotkey MMO, with a focus on setting and story. its maby the 1.5 level in MMO evolution,
    with Guild Wars 2 being a whole new type. tbh if it were not for the Setting of Star Wars TOR would be a generic WoW Clone with better story, there is companions who are voiced and there is romance, on of the classes has bonus’s in some situations for that, im told. i don’t know havn’t played it.

    i want this game to be good, lets hope bioware can pull it off, ‘cus this is expensive if it doesn’t.

    also a announcement is being made by Bioware at the VGA’s, theres been an image so it looks like a new IP.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Nope, it’s full voice acting. They’ve made that point abundantly clear, and that’s where a lot of the money went into.

      1. Mephane says:

        Yet I still don’t believe they will be able to pull it off in the long run. At some point even some voice actor for important things, like your character, will be unavailable, and suddenly as of Patch 3.5.7, you character has a totally different voice. Yay… not.

  37. Alex says:

    With competitors like EA, does Activision even need PR people anymore?

    The NDA may be the biggest obstacle for me finding out how they’re handling the lightsaber thing, which is one of my bigger concerns. You can’t just start out with a weapon that kills everything in one hit. Not in an MMO. But if they weaken it, then it ceases to be a lightsaber, and that defeats the whole point of wanting to use a lightsaber.

    This is troubling. I’m really not sure how they can find a balanced solution for that, especially for the folks who are going to roll as smugglers or something. While it would be a shame if this were the game that led to Bioware’s ruin, I can’t say it’s the first time they’ve screwed up with the Star Wars franchise.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Lightsabers in kotor werent one hit killers,yet still were cool.But then,kotor had even cooler force powers that overshadowed the lightsabers.

      1. Alex says:

        That’s one of the many things I hated about KOTOR. Is that going to happen here? In TOR, are every 9 out of 10 lightsaber swings going to miss because the game is throwing invisible rigged dice behind the scenes? And when it does connect, is it going to be as effective in battle as pudding?

        That’s why I’ve been suspicious about TOR from day one. People tell me that Obsidian did a bad job with KOTOR II, but I honestly don’t think anyone could screw up Star Wars worse than Bioware did.

        …Besides George Lucas, I mean.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Huh. I thought the lightsabers seemed pretty powerful. Bosses took several hits, but that’s to be expected. If you’re built right they can even one-hit normal enemies, ESPECIALLY (dear god yes) in KotOR II (I think I one-hit the final boss once)

          Cooler force powers = force storm. ’nuff said.

          Also totally unimpressed with that article. They’ve spent a LOT of time showing that the other classes can be pretty awesome too. I’ve seriously considered rolling a Trooper because of that. Also Bioware solved the making lightsabers more powerful thing in what I thought was a reasonable way (changing crystals to change powers). If you actually see how a lightsaber works, it DOESN’T one-hit everything, though I don’t think most creatures would be able to withstand it (though they could take more than one hit, like the thing in Attack of the Clones getting it’s leg cut off)

          1. Mephane says:

            Indeed, a lightsaber does not one-hit-kill automatically, it just cuts through most materials without effort. Both Anakin and Luke perfectly survive their hand being cut off in a single blow, because the heat of the blade also instantly cauterizes the wound.

            Still, I think against ordinary enemies (droids, thugs, normal troopers) it shouldn’t take more than two or three hits to take them down. Also, it’d feel better generelly instead of fighting one guy who can withstand ten direct hits, to fight five guys who withstand only two. In other words, mob packs instead of unrealistically strong standard mobs.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “In TOR, are every 9 out of 10 lightsaber swings going to miss because the game is throwing invisible rigged dice behind the scenes?”

          Its an mmorpg,of course it will use invisible dice.If you dont want that,dont play a crpg.

          And just because you didnt improve your to hit/had crappy luck,doesnt mean the system was rigged.

          1. Alex says:

            I don’t mind when an RPG says that I “missed” an attack. I don’t even have an issue if it happens more often than for other people, if there’s a reasonable answer for why that’s happening and if I can work to improve those odds. But after seeing it happen dozens of times in every single confrontation, when I can see my character’s sword going through the guy every time, but all of their attacks magically hit me even when I see them pass by?

            See, I’d be more willing to think it was my fault, or I was forgetting something if I wasn’t a huge stickler in RPGs for keeping my weapons and equipment up-to-date. That’s something I’m really anal about in games like KOTOR. I’m the guy who spends way too long weighing the benefits of individual setups for my characters, making sure I have what I see as the ideal setup. The ideal strength and accuracy, the right tradeoff for speed, etc. I’m Autistic, this s*** interests me.

            And still nothing I did was good enough. Even after consulting online guides and friends who had beaten it, few hits landed for me, while the bad guys were always overwhelming me in every situation. No matter where I went, no matter who I brought with me, no matter what I did. And I wasn’t exactly playing on some SUPER HARD F- YOU MODE.

            I think I’ve been playing video games long enough to know when they’re just wasting my time, to pad the overall length. When I’ve exhausted every option, consulted every guide and friend who’s beaten it, and I’m doing everything right? And it STILL punishes me for it?

            That’s not player error anymore. That’s a crappy game.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              There was info about the numbers as far as I remember.I think in the journal.But you can see what conditions are leading towards what outcomes.I too like to know the underlying mechanics of a game Im playing,so I was checking these numbers often,and I saw no bias.Maybe the rng of the game is broken,I dont know,I didnt see the code,but I watched the results,and the numbers were fairly evenly distributed.

              Sorry for your crappy luck,I know how that can frustrate someone,because I have crappy luck with physical dice,but dont blame the game for your bad luck.

            2. some random dood says:

              Oh well, this reply is a bit late, so you may never see it… Still, what class did you play? If I remember right, the consular was pretty much treated like a mage with a really low “to hit” roll, so if you went that route, then you were expected to use force-powers rather than try to poke someone with a shiny stick. So a low strength consular-type character would have great problems trying to hit anything.
              I’m guessing that route, as the characters I made never really had that much of a problem hitting things (as I didn’t play consular), and made quite a bit of use with grenades too!

      2. Someone says:

        KOTOR also had you start out with vibroblades, you only got lightsabers, what, 4 hours into the game?

        My bet would be that getting a lightsaber would be equivalent to getting an epic mount in WoW: takes 60 levels to get there, and you’re already an unstoppable badass when you do.

        1. ps238principal says:

          Nah. Withholding lightsabers would be like how people didn’t like CoH keeping travel powers away ’till level 14. Given that padawan Jedi train with them, there’s no reason not to have them.

          They’d please more people if they withheld customization, special kinds of sabers, dual wield, custom colors, etc. until higher levels. After all, the lore seemed to (until Lucas barfed up the prequels) point to true masters of the Force not even needing light sabers after a certain point (like Yoda, until the aforementioned barfing).

          So yes, you’ll probably see lightsabers that don’t one-hit kill. Of course, games have nerfed damage from things like guns, knives, explosions, etc. since day one. If you want insta-kill realism, you’d have to adapt something like the old “Friday Night Firefight” rules from the tabletop “Cyberpunk” RPG. You’d also lose your subscriber base fairly quickly, I think. There is such a thing as too much realism in one’s fantasy time.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            You get Lightsabers at like level 5, at exiting the training ground. This was in an official preview somewhere, I’m surprised no one mentioned it.

            Also, there are actually legitimate in game reasons for lightsabers not to one-hit KO. In the movies you never actually saw people with armor DESIGNED to work against lightsabers.

            1. ps238principal says:

              Where’s the stormtrooper armor that’s supposed to work against… well… something stronger than a stiff breeze? :)

              1. Felblood says:

                Not rocks.

            2. Mephane says:

              Good point. It is canon that there are certain (however expensive) materials that can withstand a lightsaber blade, just look at vibroblades; another example are the electro-staffs from episode three, those are used to parry a lightsaber (and are possibly specifically designed for that purpose).

            3. rofltehcat says:

              Yeah, in KotOR, everyone wears armor and it is pretty good at stoping lightsabers. Possible theories as to why that isn’t the case in the new republic:
              -Lightsabers got much more powerful over those 1000 or whatever years, resulting in much deadlier light sabers and the abandonment of lightsaber-resistant armor because the armor would be too heavy. Just like armor was no longer used (beyond steel helmet and thick steel cuirass, both of which protect mainly through deflection) after powerful firearms were widely used in warfare. For me it would make sense to see some technological advancement over those 1000 or 3000 or whatever years. On the other hand, the old republic has the same tech (sometimes even much more advanced tech) as the new republic when you look at ship and weapon designs, buildings etc.
              but then again maybe ship weapons, engines, energy shields and ship armor advanced just as rapidly because weight isn’t as much of a factor in space or with a powerful engine as it is for a foot soldier that just can’t carry any more stuff (without an exo skeleton)… would also explain why handheld ranged weapon technology isn’t doing one-hit kills in the video games either.

              -The Jedi used their political power to outlaw it. (stupid solution)

              -In the movies, rarely anyone is ever hit by anything, just like in Kung Fu movies where nearly every punch is blocked or dodged. If they are hit, then it are either just small scratches or heavy fight-enders. Most attacks are parried, often they are just hit by punches and kicks, which won’t deal this tremendous damage. This is also represented kinda in KotOR. Most of the time when fighting with lightsabers there, they are just sparring each other and only hit each other slightly on the arms instead of cutting through the whole enemy. Basically, in the KotOR games the fights are mainly partial parries that don’t protect the combatants completely but at least they are able to fend off the worst.
              Ingame this could be represented by a defense kind of stat that decreases the damage from all melee attacks. I never liked full avoidance based on pure chance in other MMOs. Simply too random for fair PvP and in PvE it can play a big role, too when you pull aggro and get a lucky parry or a giant crit by some stupid trash mob.
              In Rift for example, the mobs have like 5 or 10% crit chance normally but in higher raids their crit damage multiplier increases (tanks’ main stat decreases crit multiplier) so if you aren’t crit, then you get like 4 or 5 k damage from a normal trash mob or even some bosses, which is survivable (melee DPS warriors have 5.5-6.5 k life fully buffed). However, if he crits, a mob that would hit you with a normal hit of 1.5 k or something can hit you for 10+ k… just because you got unlucky on the crit roll…

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            You can make weapons realistically deadly,and still have the game fun and not that hard to survive in.This game has jedi,with superhuman reflexes,so instead of having every hit connect,make the players very nimble and do matrix-like dodges and lightsaber reflects quite often.Shamus already did an article about that some time ago,but Im too lazy to search for it now.

            Im not saying that every game has to have superior realism,just that its not that hard to implement.

            1. Mephane says:

              And it would completely fit into what has been depicted in the movies. Most lightsaber fights went similar – slash and parry, until someone makes a mistake or is exhausted, then the other guy performs the decisive blow.

              The worst they could do is player and enemy standing 5 meters from each other, each dealing an attack every two seconds while staring at the enemy unmovingly while they are waiting for their swing timer or global cooldown to reset. This is already bad in your standard fantasy MMO, but could completely ruin atmosphere in a Star Wars game.

  38. lionday says:

    Uh so…..couldn’t an NDA also mean its so mind blowingly awesome they don’t want people to know how awesome it is till it comes out and the bomb drops?

    1. ps238principal says:

      I’m trying to think of any event in marketing that was along the lines of “we’ve got to keep everyone from finding out how awesome this is going to be, even in the vaguest of terms.”

      Preventing plot spoilers is one thing. Not letting critics see the movie before wide release? Not a good sign.

      1. rofltehcat says:

        Sounds like a thing Blizzard would do.
        They just have so many fanbois who buy anything they release that they could just say “hey, here is our new game. You can buy it tomorrow” and still score a success.

        EA shouldn’t do something like that, however.

  39. Anonymouse says:

    I gotta say: I’m pretty sure they’re not advertising it heavily in the mainstream simply because they’ve already sold more copies pre-order than they have on any other game published by EA. That’ll be a LOT of server strain, and they’ll need time to get more servers online to support the huge waves of people they’re expecting.

    Me, I don’t gives no fucks about an NDA so I’ll say: the game play is a faster paced WoW with no auto-attack and as many pointed out, different class gimmicks. Where it really makes itself more interesting to play than WoW is the presentation of the Quests and Stories – which is pretty standard Bioware fare of talking to dudes and making dialogue tree choices. Each of the 8 classes in the game has a distinctive storyline, with choices to be made. It really does make the whole quest-grind easier to pay attention to.

  40. Aldowyn says:

    Reading this whole thread, I’m actually MORE optimistic about the game. I didn’t see a SINGLE personal account saying it’s not that good, just a lot saying the gameplay is WoW-like (a complement, considering the classes are certainly different enough to be fresh) and the story makes a very significant contribution to the game (which is my biggest barrier for MMOs)

    Also, KotOR. III IV V VI VII VIII IX AND X. Sold.

    As for the NDA… I have no idea. Maybe they’re planning on going all out with the marketing a week or two before the launch? Or it actually IS good and they want a bit of a slower start? (Slow and steady is definitely better than all at once for an MMO, I would say.) Actually, that last idea sounds plausible…

    1. Felblood says:

      That might explain the lack of a media blitz, but the ongoing NDA is pretty hard to explain away like that.

      You need people to pull in their guild-mates at launch to form the core of your player-base after you’re ready to expand.

      I’m remembering a lot of the the things that happened right before Final Fantasy dropped, and thinking maybe they want to avoid that gristly fate, but that suggests that they need more time and they can’t afford to push back the launch any more. –which is pretty damning all on it’s own.

      –plus, I gave up on this story having a satifying conclusion when I saw the end cutscene of part 2 (there isn’t one).

    2. Cado says:

      Here’s the thing, and I’ve said this before: if I want WoW-like gameplay, I’ll play WoW. I already have a level 85 rogue and I love both Warriors and Death Knights, and in fact I’m currently working on building two of them to cap. Why? Because I’ve already made a time investment in WoW. My rogue has a whole slew of achievements and items to his name that I can’t easily get on other characters, if I can at all. I understand the classes and how they work so I don’t have to re-learn everything when I take a break and come back, and even with some of the drastic changes there have been to the talent system (and the changes that are yet to come) it’s remarkably easy for me to keep up because I know the stats, I know the areas I’ll be exploring, etc.

      No matter how much like WoW TOR is it will have a learning curve, and that seriously discourages me from jumping in. Add to that that I’m highly skeptical that single-player style story can work in an MMO and I’m going to be very cynical about the game unless it’s proven to be excellent.

      And to clarify-I love the idea of story in MMOs. However, I think it needs to do two things to work:

      1. Make Me Special Without Making Me The Ultimate Hero of Everything.

      I get pretty sick of being declared the sole champion of a given faction whenever I show up at their home in WoW. It really breaks the illusion when the NPCs start shouting someone else’s name. I am the one who freed the town from the kobolds, slayed the great dragon, etc.-but so did this guy. And that guy over there. And everyone else who has ever played this game.

      These days it shouldn’t be that hard to make me a champion, one of many who accomplished a great deed, because if nothing else they can add NPCs to the quest areas to make the fights look more epic than they are.

      2. Let me Make My Own Story

      These are role playing games, after all. Bioware is onto something in that this is about choice but I’d add two caveats: the choices need to be meaningful and in this setting it’s better if they aren’t measured in gameplay mechanics. I’m talking about the dark side/light side points gimmick. Morality can’t be placed on a meter, and not every major decision you make should be a moral choice anyway. Sometimes deciding what color your armor will be is just as important for defining your character as whether you let someone live or die.

      Imagine if there were no fixed factions in WoW and you could join whoever you wanted, and the extremes which would result is you’d either be at war with everyone or neutral with everyone. Or howbout they just take the Aldor/Scryers dynamic further in the recent storylines instead of leaving them to rot in Outland? The choice I made then would be a lot more significant now if the two sides still did anything. And what about branching questlines where I can only choose to do one of them on a given character?

      There are all kinds of ways an MMO can facilitate the making of my own story and one of my major complaints with WoW is that they don’t do that. They spoonfeed me my character’s narrative in a way that I completely disregard most of it if I ever roleplay with them. This disconnect between story and gameplay is always something that’s rubbed me the wrong way and the MMO that does story right will have to avoid it.

  41. TightByte says:

    Being Norwegian, I could not help but notice that a stir was caused here by EA’s rather particular attitude to reviewers (even mentioned here: when Battlefield 3 was nearing release. [disclaimer: I don’t play that kind of games, so I have no awareness of whether the game ended up being any good or not, and I don’t much care; the attitude of the publisher is what I found noteworthy.]

    EA certainly appears to be a company that has adopted a modified Thumper’s principle: “If you can’t say anything nice ABOUT US OR OUR PRODUCTS, don’t say nothing at all.”

    1. Raygereio says:

      This is not something unique to BF3, it’s not even something unique to EA. All major publisher have been doing things like that for years.
      The whole gamereview business is frelled up anyways: the number scales (while utterly useless anyway) are fixed from 7 to 10 on a 1 to 10 scale, reviews are held back until after the release date for obvious reasons, reviewers often recieve either blatant pay offs or encouragements in the form of advertisement money, etc, etc.
      And let’s not even begin to talk about issues the content of the reviews have.
      Oh and there’s offcourse the whole dumb thing where there are often clauses in the contracts between publishers and devs where it’s stated a game has failed unless it beat some arbitrary number on metacritic.

      Ugh: and people wonder why Yahtzee is so popular – not as a entertainer, but as a reviewer.

  42. BioWare stated that The Old Republic is like 9 (?) single player games worth of story…
    Which is great I guess, but I’m not really an MMO guy, I’m a single player story guy.
    Oh why didn’t BioWare make KoTOR3 *sigh*, I heard some rumors that Obsidian might pick up the mantle on that, but if they are working on a huge fantasy book game adaption then that probably won’t happen anytime soon. *double sigh*

    1. Vekni says:

      Because you’d pay $60 once.

      Now you pay $60, and more every month you don’t finish it.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        it’s eight, btw. And if it actually IS eight games worth, then that’s (supposedly) $60 * 8 = $480 worth of content, which translates to (480 – 60)/12 = 36 months, or 3 years. So you have 3 years to get your money’s worth, not counting all the MMO trappings.

        Of course, that’s if each storyline really is that high quality, with that much replayability. Which they aren’t. But the numbers are still there to consider.

  43. MelTorefas says:

    Does anyone else have a hard time following internet discussions because people so often tend to state their opinions about subjective things as if they were objective fact? Or am I the only one that bothers?

    1. Deltarno says:

      Feel the same way. Mostly I look at the first few dozen posts for a general gist, but after that It’s white noise, even/especially the things I post.

    2. krellen says:

      It’s something you have to get used to. The internet sucks.

  44. tg says:

    The NDA is there to prevent jackasses posting major spoilers to the story. Also, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for SWTOR’s competitors to pay or have themselves write biased reviews.

    If the game was actually not good they would not be inviting thousands of players to the beta weekends.

    1. Mephane says:

      Yet at least upon release the NDA cannot be maintained. Then the spoiling will ensue anyway. I don’t see the problem with quest walkthroughs appearing now instead of only in a month, those who want to use them will do so, those who don’t want to won’t. The NDA being kept so long has no effect on the eventual outcome.

  45. Amarsir says:

    I hope the game itself is better developed than their website. I’ve never visited without seeing error messages and endless loops. They’ve sent out messages to the wrong mailing list and their official mail often comes from un-certified servers and bounces you through servers like, which is incredibly foolish in an era of account phishing.

    1. Mephane says:

      As long as they are still miles away from the abomination that was the Warhammer Online site for Europe… really, the US site was ok, but Europe was handled by GOA seperately, and the entire site, including account management etc., was made in, lo and behold: Flash. No kidding.

  46. General Karthos says:

    I’m in on the beta, so I can’t actually say anything…. Except that my computer can’t run the game, (and yet I’m still in the beta somehow… wtf?) so I’ve just been reading the development boards, seeing what people have to say on it, particularly with regards to casual roleplay, which is kinda where I fit in on the grand scope of MMORPGs.

    I have an Intel Mac, so I was going to get Windows just to play the game. But… I don’t have a job, and I can’t justify the expense, especially not now.

  47. randy says:

    This, DA2 and the recent ME3 announcement (DRM, online only multiplayer, etc, etc) lead me to believe that Bioware has finally succumbed to EA.

    A pity, but thank god we now have CD Projekt with the wonderful The Witcher to fill the void. Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistakes for a long time (all the big ones end up doing it: Blizzard, Infinity Ward, etc, etc).

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