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#349505 - 15/12/2011 18:10 SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play?
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Going to dip my toe back into the MMO world because I have evenings free after the kiddo goes to bed and it's Star Wars. I played one beta weekend and had a lot of fun- should get early access tomorrow. Anyone else going to play this?
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#349506 - 15/12/2011 18:35 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: JeffS]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
I was about to make a snarky comment about Galaxies, but then I wiki'd it and they had a 10- or 11-year year run, which is really not bad when you think about it.
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Tony Fabris

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#349508 - 15/12/2011 18:58 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: tfabris]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
This is pretty much a WoW clone with a few improvements (voice acting and story driven being the main improvements), but Star Wars. So far the small improvements have made a big impact for me, but we'll see after a few months.

Bioware also does great games (I'm a big fan of Blizzard as a game developer)- last big game I played was Dragon Age and I really thought it was well done.

I think they are anticipating something like 2 million players at launch. If it lives up to the hype, there may end up being another game in town besides WoW (there have been other MMOs, but nothing touches what WoW was able to achieve).
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#349513 - 16/12/2011 05:55 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: tfabris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7854
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: tfabris
I was about to make a snarky comment about Galaxies, but then I wiki'd it and they had a 10- or 11-year year run, which is really not bad when you think about it.

8+years live. And still profitable even after the uproar NGE created. I can't be too snarky about it, considering NGE is why I got my full time job in the industry, and provided me with bonus checks when I worked there. A few hours ago I was logged into my developer account watching the final countdown, sitting on the porch of my house. For all the grief people gave Galaxies, the sandbox setting was something that very few other games have attempted. None of this silly instanced player housing (or in the case of WoW, none at all), but real housing, and player made towns that took space in the real world. Complete with mayoral elections, tax setups, resource mining, and the ability to set up store fronts and more.

The end events were fantastic too. The galactic civil war came to the end, with the outcome decided by the players on each server. Most had the rebels winning, but a few had the empire win. They also enabled atmospheric flight, allowing people in their ships to fly on the planets, instead of just in space. Everyone on the ground was given missiles to shoot them down too. smile

As for SW:ToR, I'm going to check it out. Been in the beta for a while, but didn't play a ton due to the reboot tax. I know a number of people who worked on it though, and do hope it does well. This is BioWare Austin's first game, though many people there have long MMO resumes.
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Tom

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#349514 - 16/12/2011 08:40 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: drakino]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
The sense of entitlement just amazes me- so many complainers about how Bioware did a staged rollout for early access when I thought it was great. When you pre-ordered they said you'd get up to 5 days early access- some people ended up getting 7 and it looks like just about all pre-orders will get at least 4. Not a bad deal, but people are upset that other people are getting in before them.

I got in, played for four hours with no queue, no competing with others for mobs, and no lag. It doesn't bother me in the slightest that 90% of the pre-orders got to play before I did.

I'm convinced a lot more people would be happy in this world if they would not let their neighbor's good fortune affect the enjoyment they get out of something.

So far, I've gotten just about as far as I did in Beta- still having a blast and love both the IP as well as the story driven format. I will say that space combat looks really lame and I may not even try it, but that's a small thing- maybe they'll even fix it later.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#349518 - 16/12/2011 23:36 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: JeffS]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7854
Loc: Seattle, WA
This weekend may be a different story with the queues. Picked the server my guild was preassigned to, and it's at a 30 minute wait to play during primetime.

The fundamental architecture that these MMOs run on needs to change to help improve the customer experience. I'm patient enough for now to wait, but if it continues, I'll want to play elsewhere. For me, seeing a premiere MMO launch in late 2011 with tons of isolated shards, and no easy way to move between them makes it seem like nothing has changed since Everquest in 1999.

WoW also frustrates me a bit here. Over the course of the game (7 years now), I've made new friends, and wanted to play with different people. The shard boundaries make this difficult, and $25 per character to change servers gets pricy quick. Blizzard is trying to address this with some of the Real ID friend groups, but it's hard work retrofitting that in this late in the game. It's also not a full solution yet for the desire to play with various friends, as only some activities can occur with RealID friends.

Eve has the unique position of being able to have just one shard due to the nature of a pure space game. Other games though have tried to address the shard issue in other ways. Everquest II, Champion Online, and a few others had the concept of instancing popular zones, IE "Freeport #1, Freeport #2, etc" to scale with load.

Gaming still has many issues to tackle down the road. In a way I'm glad, since it means more challenging jobs ahead smile
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Tom

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#349520 - 17/12/2011 04:15 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: drakino]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: drakino
Eve has the unique position of being able to have just one shard due to the nature of a pure space game.


From a tech/server/game design standpoint, why is it that Eve can do it and WOW/SWTOR can't?
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Tony Fabris

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#349523 - 17/12/2011 18:51 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: tfabris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7854
Loc: Seattle, WA
It's a combination of game design and technology that determine if an MMO can have one "shard" or many.

Eve is able to spread their player base out over a vast area. I'm not sure how they built their "universe", but it could be pretty easy to have the programmers build a procedural world that the designers then go into and tweak here and there. The highly hand designed areas are the common areas players start in while learning the game, and the systems all have friendly names like "Hysera". The less designed systems with few to no NPCs can have friendly names, but many are things like "A-803L".

Eve is also a "sandbox" game (as was Galaxies), where players are given the ability to modify and change the game world. So even though A-803L may be filled with just random generated planets, players can take over the space with their corporation and claim it as their own. The players like having the control, and it reduces the work needed by the Eve designers in building out the world to make it fun to play in. Corporation wars are a major part of how people have fun in the game, and it's all "content" that players create themselves by playing the game and fighting others.

WoW, SW:ToR, Everquest and many others are more "theme park" games. The designers of the game create all the content, and the players simply consume the content. These games also take place mostly or entirely on the ground. Thus you need to build terrain, paths to travel, buildings and NPCs, vs Eve's open space. It takes a long time to actually build all this by hand, and the overall play areas are smaller. Due to the size, it's not possible to cram tens of thousands of players (and definitely not millions) onto one shard. If it was attempted, overcrowding would occur in the common areas, leading to a poor client experience (bad FPS, nothing to kill, can't find the NPCs to get quests, etc...), along with possible server performance issues.

Eve solves the overcrowding a bit in the common areas by simply not showing everyone else there in a graphical way. You dock at a star base, and there may be hundreds of there there too. They just simply populate a text list. And all the services at the station are simple UI interactions, vs moving an avatar around in a physical space. Out in real space, ships have collision (i.e. two ships can't occupy the same space), so it becomes hard to just stack tons of players into one area small enough to cause problems. WoW, SWToR and most other theme park games tend to not have player collision on, to avoid issues where people could turn themselves into baracades. There are known battles in Eve that have been so large, the server did have problems calculating combat damage, but their engineers continue to tweak and change the hardware and software to allow for larger battles.

Could Eve support a WoW sized subscriber list (~12 million) with their current setup? Thats hard to say. I can't find good numbers now, but Eve's total subscribers is somewhere around 350,000. Total number of players on at once has crossed 60,000 before. Most games average in the single thousands of players online at the same time per shard. Eve is also the oddball MMO in regards to the subscription and concurrent users graphs. It's pretty much a 45 degree angle of linear growth for both, over the games 8+ years of service. Most MMOs have a huge spike at launch, go down a bit, level off, then spike a bit again when new expansions are released.

Each MMO has a different setup, due to the tech still being considered "secret sauce". There are some prebuilt MMO technologies out there for use, but they are still quite young, and usually are still heavily modified to ship a game. Even if larger areas could be built, and players were not able to cluster together with enough numbers to bring down one area, the database or other pieces of tech may be responsible for the players per shard limits.


Oh, one correction on SW:ToR, I did notice last night that there did seem to be a second instance of the common play area I was in up and running. So there is some vertical stacking of zones as needed, but the limits here seem low based on the queues to log in. Odds are, the server queues are high even though the overall SW:ToR play area is mostly empty due to everyone overcrowding the newbie zones. I know WoW runs like this as well, as a LAN party I attended years back was able to trigger the login queue simply because we all created new characters in one starting zone. The queue was brief, but shows that Blizzard has some sort of automated process in place to throw up a queue if any one area of the game world becomes overloaded.


Edited by drakino (17/12/2011 20:55)
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Tom

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#349524 - 18/12/2011 06:45 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: drakino]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
As Tom alluded to, SWTOR does have shards on a per server basis. If you are in a different shard from someone else you won't see them, but you can still see their chat. If you try to group with them you will get switched to their instance so you can physically interact. This allows more people to be in common zones without having to fight over mobs/ quest items/ etc. it works really well and makes the game playable when the server is full without losing the 'massive multiplayer' feel.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#349684 - 04/01/2012 10:52 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: JeffS]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
I've been playing SWTOR, and enjoy it. You were definitely right about the sense of entitlement though, it is ridiculously prevalent and especially on the forums. I guess I like the game but despise a large portion of the community.

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#349685 - 04/01/2012 11:04 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: Tim]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: Tim
I like the game but despise a large portion of the community.

This is a big reason why I (and, I suspect, many others) hate MMOs.
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Bitt Faulk

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#349686 - 04/01/2012 11:45 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: wfaulk]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Originally Posted By: Tim
I like the game but despise a large portion of the community.

This is a big reason why I (and, I suspect, many others) hate MMOs.

As long as you find a group of folks to play with that have your same... maturity level I guess is one way of putting it, you can ignore the cancerous part community. It is kind of sad, but being insular allows you to enjoy the game while still ignoring the immature portion of the community. Though there are some pretty big trolls that just make beating them in warzones that much more satisfying.

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#349687 - 04/01/2012 15:33 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: Tim]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I actually have seen very little of the negative stuff from the forums in game- for the most part the community is pretty good.

That being said, I cannot imagine Bitt ever finding an MMO to be fun.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#349688 - 04/01/2012 17:48 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: JeffS]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: JeffS
I actually have seen very little of the negative stuff from the forums in game- for the most part the community is pretty good.

We get some trolls in General in the Fleet or lower level worlds (Dormund Kaas is where most of them seem to have progressed now). The overall attitude in game is a ton more positive than on the forums (except for the "nerf $class" cries that are inevitable).

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#349689 - 04/01/2012 18:35 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Originally Posted By: JeffS
That being said, I cannot imagine Bitt ever finding an MMO to be fun.

Good point. I thought the point of a computer game was that you didn't have to deal with, you know, people.
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Bitt Faulk

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#349691 - 05/01/2012 02:07 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: wfaulk]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7854
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Good point. I thought the point of a computer game was that you didn't have to deal with, you know, people.

Thankfully not everyone shares this view, allowing some of us to be employed at companies that specialize in social games smile

For the PC gaming industry at large, MMOs were seen as both a cash cow, and one solution to the piracy issue. Sure, MMO server emulators exist, and some people play via them, but it's not the same experience when playing on one compared to paying.

It is good to see that Bioware took their MMO attempt seriously. Some companies tried to just throw an MMO out to grab at the cash they saw Origin earning with Ultima online, then SOE earning with Everquest, and more recently Blizzard with WoW. The ones that were eyeing the cash side without putting proper resources into it tended to launch some pretty crappy games in the genre. Sure, Bioware/EA will be racking in the money, but they put in a proper investment to get there. And it's one that does boost the quality of the theme park style MMO above what Blizzard did with WoW.
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Tom

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#349698 - 05/01/2012 12:08 Re: SWTOR- Anybody Going To Play? [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
Originally Posted By: JeffS
That being said, I cannot imagine Bitt ever finding an MMO to be fun.

Good point. I thought the point of a computer game was that you didn't have to deal with, you know, people.


Or to do things you can't do IRL such as get together with a dozen or so other people and kill dragons smile
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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