Jul 102011

Class Quests: What EA President Probably Meant by Two Hundred Hours Per Class
by Mark Pajor (@mpajor on Twitter)

In an interview over at gameindustry.biz, EA President Frank Gibeau said the following about The Old Republic:

You look at a game that has 200 hours of gameplay for each of the six classes, and that doesn’t include the crafting, the raids, the multiplayer. It’s vast. It’s a gigantic game.”

More Two Hundred Hour Question and comments after the jump

On one hand, the numbers he uses should be taken with a grain of salt. He says there are six classes, when there are eight. On the other, “200 hours per class” has been said before several times by members of the development team. The number must have some basis in fact, or it wouldn’t have been repeated on multiple occasions.

But what exactly does Gibeau include in those 200 hours? Many websites have made very different assumptions. Some guess that it includes World Quests and World Arcs – both of which are faction-specific story content – along with the class-specific Class Quests.

Combined with an interview of Daniel Erickson, however, we can see the picture much more clearly. Daniel says:

The chapter one of our game right now for first time people playing through is more than twice the size of first playthroughs of the original Knights of the Old Republic”

Imp Agent Daniel Erickson, undercover

The facts we have are these:

  • There are three chapters in each class’s Class Story
  • Chapter one is more than twice the length of KotOR
  • KotOR takes roughly 40-50 hours to complete on average

All together, then, chapter one of your class story will be approximately 100 hours long. Even if the other two chapters are significantly shorter, that means the Class Story content alone is more than 200 hours long. World Quests and World Arcs seem to have no part in the equation.

If that is true, TOR will have as much class-specific leveling content as many MMOs have leveling content across the board. For people who intend to play all eight classes, that means 1600 hours of completely unique content, plus Crew Skills, World Quests, World Arcs, Group Quests, Flashpoints, Operations, and more. When you think of all this together, it seems truly huge – even for the people who will try to skip through and reach max level as quickly as possible.

What do you think of having 200 hours of unique gameplay/story per class?

  2 Responses to “The Two Hundred Hour Question”

  1. I’m glad that you decided to open up an article/discussion of this top because it’s both interesting and important. Your opening comment of taking this all with a grain of salt is painfully accurate.

    It’s not that I don’t trust the developers at BioWare, because I do. They have delivered good games and have given us no reason not to trust them. So when they say it’s ~200 per class, I trust that is what they believe — but I’m not at all convinced that it’s accurate. The big question here for me is: 200 hours of content for whom?. Certainly a power-leveler will finish the game faster than a “normal gamer” who will in turn finish faster than a first time MMO player. The most likely interpretation of this comment is that they think there is about 200 hours of content for the “average gamer.”

    On top of that, you probably can’t just multiply the number of classes by the number of hours per class to get an accurate measure of the unique content because a player’s skill will increase over the course of time. Presumably then a player who has played through a character from 1 to 50 will be faster the next time around, even if it is a different class.

    In any event, my point is, Gibeau’s comment that each class has 200 hours of unique content is very difficult to interpret. The good news is that regardless of the exact numbers there will be lots of content!

  2. Hi,

    I was able to Beat Metal Gear in 8 hours and i hear people that skip every conversation and beat it in 1:30 so i guess that 200 HS estimate is for people that play the class for the first time.

    I would like to question the assumption the that any kind of Group activity like World Quests are out of the ecuation. Because they seem to be a big part of the experience and leveling process, so unless they specifically say that so i wouldn’t count on it.

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