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  1. Well if you noted I had a LOT more going on there than that one sentence but I do think it is relevant again if what Eric references here http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=9053205#edit9053205 for reasons that would be apparent to those who have seen the information. Now the other factors are also part of it. If it was just #1 I would agree with you, no excuse, however it isn't the only factor.
  2. to the OP yes its normal at this point. Why? 1. as others said, at one point, due to things on PTS that were unpopular, the family members of a Dev were actually stalked irl. 2. now note, this is speculation. We have now had 2 straight quarterly reports where SWTOR was not mentioned. Battle front? Yes. Galaxy of Heroes? Again yes. This is not good in terms of how they view the financial performance of the game. 3. There is a dynamic I have seen in many MMOs. When you are between expacs people can get bored under the best of circumstances due to running out of content. For many KOTFE exacerbated this issue because of the dearth of new content. However this is somewhat mitigated when you have an IP like this one. They problem is that said mitigation only goes so far. If in advance of an expac you announce changes that upset people those who may have otherwise stayed leave before the expac even dropped. If you keep stringing them along however with platitudes and vague meaningless spin, they may stay long enough for the expac to drop and then, even if they are annoyed by the changes, they have paid for the expac (so you got some money out of them) and they may stay anyway simply because there is something new to do, even if they are annoyed by the changes. The tricky part is to make sure the "spin" you put out is crafted in such a way as to mollify a majority of players enough so that it is an effective string. I think a good indicator that #3 is correct is the vagueness of their statements regarding new group content. Things like "we are talking about it"..."we would like to add some"... etc. I think that now, SWTOR is stuck where they are at. They did a rather substantial paradigm shift with this expac and that chased off a lot of the FP/OPs runners. It did attract some story oriented people, though the server status listings speak for themselves imo. Thing is is it very unlikely that the people who left will return. Since it appears their current budgeting only permits them to roll out one type of content in any significant amount this would amount to them chasing off the few people that returned because of the story focus without replacing them with group content players. BUT if they were to come out and say this they likely fear a decent portion of their remaining group players would bail. In short this expac put them in a bad spot when it comes to communicating in a way that can actually inform the player based because it would likely result in even more lost players.
  3. That one mention was in the Q&A, not the actual prepared comments. It is the Prepared comments that are the foundation of the Guidance given later. Here is the Prepared comments btw.http://investor.ea.com/common/download/download.cfm?companyid=ERTS&fileid=891297&filekey=4AF03BFD-62B7-4DC0-B475-AF1D3A6E302A&filename=Q4_FY16_Prepared_Remarks.pdf When you read that and then the answer in context you see another path for increasing revenue. After the launch debacle, when some people were exaggerating the cost of voice over story BW said that was actually the cheapest content they produced for the game. So part one this expac has been the least expensive of the various content types in the game. Part 2 is the lay offs and transfers they did off the SWTOR team. So yeah they are making more profit BECAUSE they cut expenses. Not growth. If it was from growth they would have noted it front and center like they did in Q3. Since it is a new quarter something akin to "we have gained on the subscription highs of Q3" or as they have in the past, again front and center, "we have seen a decrease in subscription rates however microtransaction revenue has increased by X%." Gaining profit via cutback is not something that typically encourages budget growth. This is important for anyone who understands the importance of the prepared comments in terms of helping to, in summary, justify the guidance for the near to medium term. Now is it written in stone? No. But when you also take into consideration the fact they said at the Cantina Q&A that now they can only do one type of content at a time, vs multiple content types like in the past, we have further confirmation that the way EA has chosen to increase SWTOR revenue is via restricting budgets, not expanding them. Again further evidence of profit without growth.
  4. The mentioned revenue of Star Wars IP in general was increasing. They now have Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. With two new titles if they weren't seeing growth it would be a complete disaster. These two games were mentioned by name, Star Wars the Old Republic is not specifically named at all in their Q4 remarks, not once, I suggest you reread the prepared comments. The way the businesses work is not "an IP is gaining revenue, give all the products tied to it more money", instead they look at the titles individually in order to determine budgets and SWTOR didn't even get a "we are also still producing SWTOR and we have high hopes for its performance with the final chapters of KotFE being released." On the game we play, nothing was said. Also as for your quote Co-Opt and multiplayer play can mean anything. I still see constant complaints about queues due to the bolstering feature etc. and those terms can be applied to ANYTHING. Tactical FPs, PvP, making a new mode for OPs. Such a comment is similar to a politician saying "I am going to do things to help the economy." Well how? Jobs programs? Changes to tax rates or the tax code in general? Infrastructure spending? Investment in R&D? Loans for start ups in green energy?
  5. Well that is my point really. A bunch of said "KotFE using subscription rewards to keep subs ticking between chapters is not likely to work for existing players . Launch proved subscriptions drop when people run out of stuff to do, BW even specifically admitted this in their launch post mordem.". We also specifically noted the long time between launch to the release of the next chapter. Now those of us looking at it in a balanced way said "hey this is a hail Mary. Over the last two years EA has not been happy with their performance. EA has shut down games before and we don't want them to do it to SWTOR but we don't think this will work, even if we hope it does."
  6. The answers, if you want to call them that, actually bothered me. I will explain. First note this is also in the context of the last earnings call where SWTOR was not mentioned even once, not a good sign in terms of financial success. 1. It seems that in the longest answer it is said "we can only do one thing at a time." Every successful MMORPG I have ever played does both at the same time. Various players may complain that there isn't enough of the stuff they like, but rarely if ever do they say there is NO new content that they enjoy. The fact SWTOR seems limited to developing only one type of content at a time is a clear sign of a gutted development team. 2. The inability to even say "yes we will be bringing more group content, we simply can't give an eta at this time due to on going development." Says to me they aren't sure if they can do it, even if they want to. The combat team that worked the FPs and OPs have been moved to other projects or laid off. This means EA either has to approve new hiring and/or transfer what people they moved to things like ME:A back. BW probably has no clue if EA will do that. So really we got this for "answers". "Of course we want to have new group content. Heck if I didn't say that we would probably lose subscribers. However we are on a skeletal budget at this point and so I can't say if we will ever actually be able to do it."
  7. To the OP is SWTOR far from dead? Well I will at least agree it is not dead yet. The last Quarterly report is telling though. The previous report spoke of the game glowingly, in terms of subscriptions being at a high over the last few years. Some of us pointed out that was looking at launch and the movie release, we were called haters. We pointed to staff transfers and layoffs, that fluff rewards and no new content between a short chapter will likely not help with subscription retention but again we were being unreasonably critical. Now the latest report SWTOR isn't mentioned ONCE. Not one Time. They talk about Battle Front, they talk about the new mobile games they are developing, they speak of Galaxy of heroes etc BUT not a single mention of SWTOR. Now before, when SWTOR was the only SW title they had, they would at least say something like "...oh and we make SWTOR as well, we have great hopes for the future" after they mentioned the games making them money. Now that they have other SW titles making them money their is silence when it comes to SWTOR from EA. This should tell you something about the success of the game, at least from a profit perspective. The profit perspective should concern all of us. It is that profit, or lack there of, that executives use to determine the continuing budgets of the games we love. Even the hedging at the last Q&A tells me we have a game in trouble.
  8. Well if you actually followed Superdata Research itself you would know the reason for that is because they confabulate all revenue now, so while they list SWTOR as Pay 2 Play, they include microtransaction sales so it is an apples to oranges comparison. Also tbh that makes me question their results, you can come up with reliable estimates of subscribers based on a number of metrics... How do you estimate microtransaction revenue? That is why I tend to use earnings call language from the Companies themselves as a better guide to performance. As an example, in 2013 they said SWTOR made 165 million. 139 of that being microtransaction. How did they break it down like that? I can see estimating the subscription revenue. We knew where the subs were for much of the launch year and 2012 and as they did the f2p transition they actually gave the percentages of subscription loss, but EA has never provided direct numbers for revenue and has always included SWTOR with non-MMO games on the balance sheet.
  9. You can actually make an informed estimate however. They do release total registered accounts. Their definition of "registered" accounts is someone who actually paid for a subscription the free with purchase doesn't count. Then you can look at average subscription losses and their own statements regarding of where they stack up. Number crunchers doing stuff like that pegged the FFXIV sub numbers at between 800k and 1.5 million. Not WoW numbers but still damn good for a 100% subscription based game. That 500k number is from before they launched in China.
  10. I think first you miss the entire point of my argument. Many people say in a blanket statement you can only do one or the other. This has been proven time and again to be false on two levels. First more than one game has done both, second these games tend to be more successful. Next you miss why the expac is the way it is. This game never really recovered, in EAs eyes, from the launch debacle. Yes for us it was great, the f2p transition initially looked promising, but in the end if you read the earnings calls starting in 2014 things were not meeting EAs expectations. This results, in the corporate world, in smaller budgets. BW themselves has stated that fully voiced cut scenes is the lowest up front content they can make. With that in mind what does having, after the initial launch, an expac designed around 45 minutes of story every 30 days and that to play this content you must be a subscriber? What does all the departures of key staff (either leaving BW or transferred to other projects) tell you? What does the fact that since Episode 7's launch the period of "light" server load steadily increasing tell you? It tells me that A. They designed an expac around a very limited budget (going with the least expensive content and unloading staff) because EA gave them a more restricted budget than they ever had before, that to maximize profits to get back into EA's good graces they went back to what amounts to a subscription based model and lastly that the plan isn't working out well. Why? Because you make a final error. It is NOT just about OPs. People like to paint it that way because raids are the knee jerk target but it is far more than that. I know players who have never stepped foot in an OP, both solo and dungeon/FP runners who have left or are planning to. Why? Because when they are done that 45 minute chapter they have nothing to do and they don't think 14.99 a month is worth 45 minutes of story. It's not about OPs. Just as launched showed it is about having something to do when the story ends. Do you have quest lines in the open world off the Golden Path of the Story to do? Do you have a new FP? Yes OPs as well, but not alone, it's about a balance of content. Now with this new model can they be successful? Perhaps but after studying the industry it would require changes to the financial model and likely server structure. I know both would be marketing headaches because people would cry "doom!!!!" But you can't change the paradigm of a game without changing logistics as well.
  11. There are just as many toxic people in every other playstyle. Playstyle does not create toxicity in games, an over inflated sense of entitlement does and that crosses playstyle lines sorry.
  12. You create a false choice with your premise. Case in point FFXIV:ARR. The story is just as Epic as Star Wars. You have a specific class story line and an overall Story. It has triumph, tragedy etc. In some ways it is actually better written, but I will grant not 100% voiced over, but then more than a little of our current SWTOR is not voiced over is it? PLUS they introduce new Dungeons and new raids regularly as well. In doing so they have a game that appears to be more successful than SWTOR on most metrics. You can have both, it is not a matter of one or the other from a developers point of view. When that argument is made it is a creation of the player factions engaging in their perennial schoolyard kid fight.
  13. Well first you miss the point, or purposely dodge the fact, that it is NOT just about Ops. It's about NO NEW repeatable or playable content. No new solo quest chains in the open world. No new FPs and yes, no new OPs. So why would people be complaining? For a host of reasons that an open minded and logical person can understand. 1. The people still here and complaining genuinely like SWTOR 2. The people complaining were basically sold a bait and switch argubaly. One month you have Eirc saying that they promise never to go as long as they did without a new OP as they did leading up to SoR... only a few months later being told "its all about the story." 3. the later makes no sense because this game proved at launch that being all about the story leads to a dropping population and all you have to do is look around to see that is precisely what is happening right now. ..... lets just look at data directly mined from SWTORs own server status: http://www.torstatus.net/shards/us/trends (you can change the time frame studied... extend it back to November and look at the obvious increase in light populations, especially starting in January.) Why might this be the case? because this game was clearly placed on Maintenance mode. I can show you where the devs themselves sometime ago stated that the story has the cheapest up front costs, the problem is, as you can see from the Server Status rating, monthly subscription rewards to stay subscribed for 45 minutes of new story a month isn't working. On top of that the story we have is down right lackluster and the whole "consequence" thing is hogwash. The extent of the consequences is a different email, thats not a consequence. They were given a shoe string budget to keep this game going in the lead up to the new movie release and so they said "all about the story" when in reality they should have said "all we can afford is the story." Even then the Story has no replay value, unlike the class specific stories at launch where on alts you could have a legitimately different experience. SO why are they still complaining? Because while 100% story fans may be enjoying this, 100% story fans are simply another minority, along side those who like open world soloing, those who like Operations, those who like Flash Points and those who like all of the above. And this focus is clearly hurting the game we love.
  14. Well then, if my conclusion is based more on agenda than fact please posit facts other than the " more subs than..." that would make my conclusion less likely. You said "the researcher" in you. My job is to build legal cases, so both of us have a similar mind set. I am not declaring doom. If I did I would not be saying that BW took a calculated risk, I would be saying they completely screwed up. I will however admit to having mispoken and will say I am not pessimistic as that does have a sense of finality about it, however the weight of the evidence does make me less than hopeful that this will work, it seems like a hail Mary pass. It may work, football games have been won by a good one... But they are lost more than won. I base this on... 1. The history of subscription based games, what made them succeed or fail. 2. The server pop trends. 3. Their own admission that the subscription rewards are an attempt to avoid the real risk of people binge watching the chapters later in the year. 4. The fact that this is an untried method of maintaining subscriptions. 5. The fact that they said they had more subs than they have had in almost 3 years BUT this did not translate into them also being able to note the game in a positive light when it came to $$. Now, besides the sub count statement, and "we love this!!! On the forums, what else is on the scales of this will be a home run? I am just the type of person who when the scales lean towards the negative, acknowledge the negative rather than allow hope to blind me to it. That way if the bad thing happens it is not a surprise, if the good thing happens I am pleasantly surprised. This succeeding means more money, which means more content, which means a better game. Right now though, while not bottom out, the scales are leaning away from success, unless of course you can provide contrary data.
  15. Well when you look at it I believe this is the reason. BW clearly had it's budget cut... they needed people to remain on schedule with ME:A and moved much of the PvE content team to that project. So who would make more PvE? Second, PvP is simply easier to code. It is largely just creating maps and, if a new mode, adding some objectives but you are not talking about balancing multiple mobs in a zone, making sure scripts aren't bugged, trying to make sure the various encounters do not become monotonous etc. So you develop PvP and you can honestly say "we added more non-story content" and in the office you all know you did it purely for efficiency and budget constraints. As for the person you were responding to I think they are making an assumption. The naming convention change could be just for an lfd queue. It could equally be like Champions online where I can log into shard #20 but my friends are on shard # 30 so I swap shards to join them and bounce into my namesake in the "open world". I suspect that is where they are going. It would be far easier to simply create a cross server lfd queue. However some of the stuff noted seems to indicate that they are going a bit further and the only justification for that is because they want to address the fact that many servers, especially the PvP servers, feel like ghost towns in the open world. Now again this is not to say it will be bad for the game. At the same time one has to ask why? Sometimes good changes are made to react to bad situations. That's life.
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