Feb 192013

Photo-Receptor Focus on: Glossary for Bioware

By Maer

With the first ex-pac due out, I thought it would be helpful to share a few terms with Bioware. I’m convinced Bioware thinks these terms mean one thing, but many of the player base thinks they mean something completely different. Hopefully this will help Bioware understand their customers better.

More after the jump…

Soon – Bioware needs to realize that this is a four-letter word and has become a joke to players. Avoid using it at all costs. Give us a range, a tentative date, anything besides “soon.”

Color – This does not mean fifty, five hundred or five thousand shades of grey. It does not mean a muted, washed-out version of red, blue, green, etc. It does not mean mono-, duo, or tri-chromatic color schemes, but many different colors. It means vibrant, bright, pleasing colors across a vast spectrum. Find that box of crayons and please use them.

Realistic – I think Bioware lost its way in their efforts to create realistic environments. Realistic is fine to a point. When one has to see the same old tired skins and layouts, it becomes boring. Especially when put together with a lack of color. This is a game. Realism must be met with aesthetics to keep players from growing bored. And not just amazing architecture and graphics.

Event – Bioware did a great job with the Rakghoul and Chevin Conglomerate events. They were events with things to do, places to go, mobs to kill, etc. However, Bioware did not do a good job with Life Day. This event consisted solely of using your cartel coins to buy things and not even pretty things that I wanted.

This last “event” isn’t much better. The “Return of the Gree” is neither imaginative, nor does it bring anything new to the table. Now maybe I missed something, but all I saw were new dailies – rarely my favorite thing. “The Grey Secant” investigation is merely three new bosses – two world bosses and one in the ship.

The good thing is that Ilum is once more being utilized. However, there is no cool story, no fun things to do. And no comparison to the fabulous events of last year. My only complaint was that Bioware did not follow up those successes and players were left to languish in stale content.

Testing – Releasing a content patch without proper testing is silly. When the player base exists with folks who are willing to try things out and discover the bugs, then for heaven’s sake let them! Releasing patch after patch with bugs and errors which then require more patches to fix the patch is a waste of time and doesn’t do anything to enhance Bioware’s reputation.

Jaded – This is what the experienced players who play MMOs have become. If Bioware wants to attract and keep the experienced player, they need to understand that some of these folks have been playing games for as long as MMOs have been around. This isn’t a player who discovered MMOs last week. This is someone who has been around for one, possibly even two decades. You want their money? You better be prepared to deliver a new, different, imaginative game, with regular and frequent content updates, properly tested and shiny.

Endgame – SWTOR was launched with little endgame (Elder Game) content. I believe they were shocked when they realized that players were ready for endgame content within a couple weeks. Not months, but weeks. Not having the content ready to go cost Bioware many of those players. Most never returned.

I have concerns about the new ex-pac. I hope I’m wrong. I want to be wrong. I want it to wildly succeed, fill in the gaps we’re missing and erase the bad feelings so many players have.

But Bioware must get in touch with what tomorrow’s player wants. Not the players from five years ago. Not even the player from today because by the time they get today’s expectations out, those expectations are already yesterday’s news. Bioware must think ahead and project where gamers will be in the future.

They must become proactive and not defensive. Whining about how hard they work on something smacks of desperation. We know they work hard. But they also need to work smart and that’s not something they’re doing right now. They need to re-evaluate and assess where they’re going and how they can get there. Because what they’re doing right now isn’t working for me. Nor is it working for a whole lot of my friends.

On the other hand, I’m sure there a lot of folks who love every last bit of the game. For them it’s enough to be in the Star Wars universe and they don’t need anything else.  I don’t think I know any of those folks, but I’m happy to hear from you. So, if you’re one of those who thinks everything is perfect, I’m curious as to why you think that. Please feel free to share.

This game had every chance to be totally awesome and be something I wanted to play for years to come. Right now, it isn’t that game. Bioware put their attention in the story and gorgeous graphics and those was brilliant. But there is more to gaming than leveling.

My fingers are crossed for the expansion. I’ve already bought it. I’m ready to give it a chance.

Now the ball is in Bioware’s court. I hope they deliver.

That’s my two credits. What’s yours?


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