Read up on the class changes coming for SWTOR Update 1.4.
We’ve all been waiting for this shoe to drop as their subs dip below 1 million. I fully expect TERA and possibly Rift to come next. Too much competition in the market place to justify a monthly sub. Also the only thing that will someday de-throne WoW will be the next new MMO by Blizzard. All hail Azeroth!
With all the recent shedding of subs Bioware has taken yet another page from Blizzard and offering The Old Republic for free until level 15.
I told Warren that my predictions were that when SWTOR launched that I believed it would dig into Rift subs more than World of Warcraft. Rift grabbed WoW gamers who had grown tired of Azeroth and were looking for something new. That hunt for a replacement doesn’t mean they will stop that search with Rift game. I find it odd that Star Wars is now touting 1.7 million subs and Rift just launched an unlimited trial after pushing back against any kind of free to play. Now I’m not saying the two are related but it makes me wonder. I think Warcraft is feeling the pressure but more from it’s mediocre reception of Cataclysm. I’m sure SWTOR hasn’t helped things but WoW has the numbers to lose and not flinch right now. We’ll eventually know when sub numbers come out on Rift and WoW the impact it has had.
Speaking of WoW, I’m still wondering if MoP (Pandas & Pokemon) is an incredible idea or the most idiotic kind. I’m torn. This could ignite an interest in a younger audience and casual gamers OR alienate their core base. The Wrath of the Lich King for me was an incredible expansion thematically. Stepping foot in the service of Arthas and becoming a knight of Ebon Hold was very cool. MoP doesn’t come across as cool but quirky or cute. I didn’t grow up with Pokemon but I still play it on my DS so I get the appeal. I’m just not sure how I feel about Kung-Fu Panda and Pokemon getting mixed into my Warcraft. I think it will be huge but whether a huge success or huge mistake is yet to be seen. Stay tuned…
My prediction for this year is a huge TERA flop here in the States. The NA market is fickle and can be difficult to break into. I can’t see a foreign game with no history here, gaining any traction while asking both a hefty retail purchase price AND a monthly sub post SWTOR. The market is heavily saturated with a ton of high quality free to play games and MMO monsters like WoW and SWTOR are gobbling up gamers. TERA had a decent rep after their initial announcement but now all we’ve been hearing for months are the issues they’ve had in Korea. They’ve already developed a “fail group” stigma here in the States. People aren’t talking about them besides a few eternal “all games are good” optimists. The game doesn’t look bad but I’m not forking over $60 and a sub to try it. Folks can only afford so many monthly subs (if any at all) so good luck to them because I think they are going to need it.
Guild Wars 2 is going to change things in the MMO market and I’m not referring to just their game mechanics. I think it will seriously cut into Rift and force them to go free to play. Why pay a sub when you can get an equal or better experience with no monthly sub? I think GW2 will get along with SWTOR and WoW much like the original did with other subs of it’s day. I think it’s different enough from both that it will end up being a lot of gamers standby or “other MMO”. No reason to take it off your drive if you aren’t paying monthly for it. I’ve kept GW on my drive for years just for that very reason. My prediction is that GW2 is going to put a lot of pressure on the fantasy market especially f2p. If they blow up on the scene with mad success then you can bet we’ll start seeing their business model in more titles. Their pay’n play is a happy medium that more companies should look at *cough* TERA *cough*. Woo got something stuck in my throat there ;)
Right now I’m eyeballing the market and wondering which ones won’t be among us this time next year. There is only so much money to go around. With such so many MMO companies fighting for your dollar there are bound to be some losers who won’t survive. This year will be interesting to watch if nothing else.
I bought and played a bunch of hot games over the weekend. Just wanted to give you a quick heads up on a few big budget titles to an indie gem. Let’s get started…
Skyrim: Pretty much dominated my weekend and ultimately killed my SWTOR beta playtime. Incredible game! Best in the series for me and Bethesda has finally made a game to surpass my love for Morrowind. For me Skyrim is the best game I’ve played in over a decade. A RPG lovers dream.
SWTOR: It was my weekend for Star Wars: The Old Republic beta testing. TOR was exactly as I expected it would be…Mass Effect meets Star Wars theme park MMO. I’m not gushing over it as I thought it was a decent offering but nothing mind blowing. Great storytelling for your class slapped on top of your standard MMO game. Pros: Great main story, Bioware dialog wheel, acceptable combat Cons: Sub par graphics, uninspiring side quests, average MMO mechanics. IMHO I think the MMO aspects of the game pulled me out of the great single player story I was experiencing. I think short term Bioware is safe but makes me wonder the long term success of the game. It’s not a wow killer. TOR is also NOT open world and very linear. Bioware did a good job on it but there isn’t enough there for me to invest my money and time.
Orcs Must Die!: What a little indie gem this is. Picked it up off Steam for $7 and worth every penny. OMD is a first person tower defense meets dungeon maker. You lay out traps at the beginning of the battle, as you kill orcs you earn money to lay out more traps all the while mowing down orcs yourself. Great trap upgrades and personal weaponary unlocks. I especially love the belt that allows you to “force push” orcs back into your traps. OMD is orc slaughtering fun.
Fable 3 DLC: It’s been out a while but I picked it up on the cheap and glad I did. It’s just an excuse to spend more time in the world of Albion and continue my time as king.
World of Warcraft Patch 4.3 is out. Got my new mount for Annual Pass which was cool. Transmoged a ton of armor across most of my toons. Works great…love it! I was hoping Raid Finder would be for all levels and include older dungeons but it does not. It is only for the newer ones. Hopefully this is a test run and that they will add the older ones in later updates. I would love to get my locked down 70’s into BC raids at level. Good patch overall…
SWTOR Beta impressions video and news. I wholly agree with his assessment. I had the same reaction…storytelling was good but the bulk of the gameplay was nothing new to the MMO market.