Is Bioware the next Blizzard?

A few weeks ago, Bioware and Lucasart “revealed” to the world their next big project: a Star Wars based MMO called Star Wars – The Old Republic. Or SWTOR, for short (good luck on pronouncing that one).

Many companies have claimed to be building Wow killers in the past four years. And most have failed, some miserably. Even if some of them seem to remain healthy, I never thought any of them would actually succeed in rivaling Warcraft. And here is the reason why : they came from companies that made MMOs.
People get into patterns, accept rules and thought processes. The problems that plagued MMOs before Wow came along were numerous: tedious gameplay, penalty for failure, limited solo experience, and of course lack of polish. All these have been well documented and mostly adressed in the games that came out after Wow did. But that’s not enough to change the way people actually do things. You can’t tack a solution  on an already plagued process. To really make something new, you have to start with a blank slate, and none of these company could really do that, no matter how much they claimed they would. They came with their own experience, which was ultimately detrimental to the product. Sure; there were a few good ideas along the way, and some great ones even. But none of them really broke away from the “MMO model” they had inherited.


November 27th, 2008 | 9 Comments

Definitive review: first 10 levels of WAR as a WOW fan

[Disclaimer] The title is clear: I only played through ten levels of the game, and I am a Wow fan. I also never played a Warhammer game before that. And I know that the game might also turn into a completely different experience later on, but this is a “first impressions” review.

So how should I approach such a loaded review?
I’m a World of Warcraft fan (not a fanboy, there’s a difference) and Warhammer Online is the first really credible threat to Blizzard’s hegemony in the MMO space in four years. I would like to give Wow players an idea of the experience of discovering the game the same way I did…
Got it! A “step by step” review with interweaving of good / bad points, with personal commentary. It will allow me to detail most of the game’s features in a way that will be relevant to the Wow crowd. This is the bestest idea ever, I can feel it! Let’s see if it works…


October 3rd, 2008 | 14 Comments