Dig through enough of my posts here and you’ll find a few about managing expectations. It is, in my opinion, one of the fundamental elements of success that most people simply ignore, usually while their marketing team is lying to them. You have to ensure your audience is approaching your product expecting the product you are actually delivering. In order words: avoid misleading or overselling.
The people at BioWare are poised to bring us a new MMORPG at some point… probably 2012. Which means we will all get to play it for a couple months before the world ends. Or maybe Star Wars: The Old Republic is the apocalypse that destroys the World (of Warcraft) prophesied by the Mayans. That’s all speculation, and I’ll never call any game a WoW-killer, but BioWare, or at least some people from there, has no problem going around talking about how awesome their game is going to be.
Last week, we got this:
BioWare designer and writing director Daniel Erickson told CVG that the Mass Effect studio had been disappointed by the “lack of fun” in other MMO titles on the market.
He said: “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.
“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.
“We’ve always had that thought in the back of our heads: That 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.”
To me, the thing to watch here is the lead. BioWare is out there telling everyone that their game is going to be totally story driven, non-grind based and essentially the complete opposite of the bulk of the content that exists in most games. Will they be able to deliver? Will people want it if they do?
Personally, I’m both excited and wary of what they have to say. I want more story, I want things to matter… but I don’t want to be isolated from the world in a directed story, I don’t want to play a single player game with multi-player features tossed in (and especially not for a monthly fee). At this point, BioWare has shown me some things and they’ve told me some things, but I haven’t actually seen the game unfiltered through marketing yet. They haven’t yet shown me the answer to “How does it feel to play?”
I’m keeping my eye on them, but I’m tempted to just ignore them until they get much much closer to release.