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1up has posted an article titled "Why Star Wars: The Old Republic Might Already Be Too Late". Here's a snippet:
- I think the real concern though is not so much in the quest design as in BioWare Austin's apparent willingness to play follow the leader. Whenever something becomes a big hit -- be it a movie, game or book -- there's always a mad scramble to replicate the formula; in World of WarCraft's case, that mad scramble has been going for six years now. The amount of money that goes into developing MMOs makes publishers naturally risk averse (Realtime Worlds is a great example of what can happen when an ambitious MMO goes horribly wrong), but the amount World of WarCraft contributes to Activision's bottom line is just too enticing to ignore. Given Blizzard's enormous headstart though, a developer has to do more than play it safe to reach the heights that World of WarCraft has scaled.
- And it goes beyond play mechanics as well. The success of World of WarCraft over the years has driven many publishers into the realm of browser-based and microtransaction-driven MMOs with varying degrees of success, to say nothing of the explosion of ultra-casual MMOs like Farmville. It's difficult to imagine The Old Republic working as a free-to-play MMORPG, but the point is that the genre is clearly moving in a number of different directions. It's entirely possible that World of WarCraft has sucked the oxygen out of the market for subscription-based MMOs, leaving even massive games like The Old Republic with no room to grow.
And what do you think? Does SWTOR stand a chance against WoW?