I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone that ever decided to buy or spend any money on Star Wars: The Old Republic on account of my fansite influencing them to do so. I am sorry, I have deceived you into giving money for something that will be free in a few months. I chose to believe everything Bioware was telling me about SWTOR and I supported it wholeheartedly by telling people it is a great product that will last for years and years to come and that investing money into it will bring joy into your gaming life. It will still bring joy to gamers, as a free offering, and that is a huge difference.
We, the first customers of SWTOR, have given about $90 to EA and Bioware on average (game cost + three month subscription to average things). Money none of the people playing from November 1. will have to pay. That is why I feel like I deceived you.
I have supported and recommended SWTOR to everyone for one simple reason. All along we were promised a top notch product that will justify paying a monthly fee. We have seen many MMORPGs of the past not reach the highest quality at release. Age of Conan was unfinished past level 20, Warhammer Online was boringly easy, Star Trek Online had only the space combat done well out of all the parts of the game and so on. Star Wars: The Old Republic was not to repeat these mistakes. It had 200 million in funding, it had people that brought us KOTOR, Dragon Age, DAOC, Ultima and many other great games working on the project. It was hailed as a pivotal product for Electronic Arts. Some of the people working on the game even got permanent tattoos displaying their full commitment to the game.
We were all deceived.
Past the first month subscription numbers started to plummet. There were things that needed to be done in the game that took way too long to be done (more on that in another article) and people simply voted with their wallets. Apparently, SWTOR did not warrant a monthly subscription. The game is not half that bad to be honest. Maybe the subscription model is dead. If anyone should have known this it was Bioware and Electronic Arts. They should not have deceived us by saying they have something we will want to pay a monthly subscription for.
Not even six months after release we saw the first people from Bioware, Austin get fired. Electronic Arts started cutting expenses and changing direction for SWTOR. John Riccitiello labeled SWTOR as one of the top 10 products for EA (but not a top 5 product) and started firing people. So much for Electronic Arts’ full support for the project and the game. What was to be an ongoing service for years to come was being crippled 6 months into the service going live. Bioware was deceived into believing they have time to fix the problems and take SWTOR in the right direction. I am guessing month 3 was when support stopped. By month 8 not many original people are in Bioware, Austin anymore and EA has changed its stance towards SWTOR from flagship product to disappointing. In MMORPG world this is a very short time and going F2P after 10.5 months is like straight to DVD for movies.
Sticking to that movie analogy, SWTOR is the Waterworld of the gaming industry.
I can understand Electronic Arts’ logic. They were deceived into believing that Bioware is capable of delivering a world class product that will create over a million subscribers in years to come. Obviously that did not happen within the timeframe EA thought as comfortable for them.
I feel that I need to make one thing very clear. This article is not about SWTOR being a good or bad game or about Free to play model and what it means for SWTOR (it is a very natural progression and a very good thing for gamers). This is about everyone being deceived and the announcement about Free to play bringing that to light. If you check out this Gamespy article they have a very nice layout of all the Bioware quotes from past talking about free to play. What Bioware has been telling us all along (for the past two years) is that free to play might be the future, but they have a product that warrants a subscription. They back-paddled only 8 months into release and switched their story completely (firing half the staff along the way). This tells us that they are capable of deception , or are completely incompetent. Either way, it is now obvious the only price you should have been paying for SWTOR is FREE.
P.S. I had the honor of having dinner with Stephen Reid and David Bass in Austin. I had the privilege of interviewing James Ohlen and asking questions to Damion Schubert, Daniel Erickson and Blaine Christine. I chatted with the writers of the Old Republic. All of those people were very passionate about the game they were making. They loved it very much and they lived and breathed that game. That is why I believed them and believed in them. That is why I wholeheartedly supported SWTOR for the past 2 years and recommended it to everyone. That is why I find this a bit tragic, because apparently loving your work does not necessarily translate into success and than all the love is forgotten and everyone is just feeling deceived.
DISCLAIMER: All the opinions and conclusions in this article are that of its author. The author reserves the right to be proved he is wrong and is willing to hear the opinions of others on the subject. Please leave your comments in the comment section bellow.
21 Responses to “Deceived”