Old Republic Designer Says MMOs Suck
Imagine if all there was to Red Dead Redemption was free roam mode. You’re dropped into the wonderfully crafted world of New Austin in order to team up with your friends to hunt down bounties, storm bandit hideouts and battle other players, and that’s the entirety of the game. If that were the case, we would call that game an MMOTPS or something like that. And it would be boring after about three hours.
That’s how I feel about pretty much every MMO that exists. It’s a good time initially, but after the first day, the prospect of making a hobby out of that kind of title frightens me. Ironically, Daniel Erickson, a designer and writing director at BioWare working on the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, agrees with me.
“In the early days when they first announced that there were MMOs, like the existence of them, I knew in my head what that meant, because I played Role Playing Games. It was just giant Role Playing Games,” Erickson told CVG.
“And then MMO [games] showed up, and it wasn’t that. It was the ruleset to an RPG; there was combat, and there were areas, but that was all. Someone had left out the module. There was no story, there was no point. You just kind of wandered around. And that hasn’t really changed all that much over the years.”
What’s the point of this guy saying this? PR for his game, of course.
“Old Republic should be all the things we thought an MMO would be in the first place, which is all the parts of an RPG. Which means — and this is the most radical idea — it should just be fun. Like, just fun to play. You shouldn’t be trying to ignore all of the content to get to the end as fast as possible,” he said. Hit the link above for the rest of his comments.
That’s an interesting way to present the game, but it makes sense. BioWare knows that any regular MMO players who are at all interested in the title will probably give it a shot, at least. It’s a Star Wars MMO by a beloved developer, so that portion of the potential audience is most likely locked down. But BioWare wouldn’t be content with just taking a chance with the built-in MMO audience. They want other kinds of gamers to play this game. They want all the people who co-oped through Borderlands. They want those people who played and loved Knights of the Old Republic. They want people who love RPGs but generally wouldn’t touch any MMO with a ten-foot pole.
So presenting your MMORPG as just like any epic single-player RPG but with all your friends and their friends and their friends in there is the logical route. Hopefully, the game will actually turn out that way.