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My Response to Massively

March 14, 2013

I love Massively.com and their podcast Massively Speaking, but I had to reply to their constant negativity on SWTOR. Hit the jump for my response in their comment section.

I have been following this podcast for a while, and I love it. I also love reading the columns here, and I even referenced the podcast on Wildstar Radio (wildstarradio.com) in Episode 5 when we talked about Bree’s Wildstar interview (though I did accidentally call her the senior editor when I meant to say Editor in Chief, my apologies 🙂 ). I follow Justin’s blog and “other podcast” lol. You guys do great work.

That being said, one thing that has really bothered me recently is that pretty much every time you reference SWTOR, you are almost completely negative about it. I know it’s had its issues, but in short, it is still a fantastic game, and it is far better than it was at launch. To say that in your personal opinion you like GW2 or TSW better for story is fine, but the story content in GW2 is sorely lacking comparatively, just to give an example; that is MY personal opinion. You have five stories in GW2, one for each race. There may be more story in the later levels, but to be frank, I lost interest around level 20, as I do not enjoy exploration, and it forces you to do that to level at any remarkable speed.

You have eight class stories alone in SWTOR, plus companion stories (40 to be exact), world arcs (14 planets x 2 for Imperial and Republic), detailed stories for flashpoints and dungeons (17 total, but 4 are linked into 2 arcs, so 15), story arcs to go with each raid (4), and it has an expansion coming out that has even more. That is 95 individual, wrapped-up stories for your consumption, plus an expansion in the works for even more story, with enough to produce 10% more levels of content anyway. In addition, the story is compelling, interesting, and shocking even (haha sorcerer joke). No other game in the market can compare (again in my opinion) to this one in terms of overarching, interwoven story. I challenge you to watch all of the Youtube class story cutscenes (since you won’t play the game). See if you aren’t wowed by the interconnecting pieces of the class and companion stories. Even the world arcs are sometimes affected by the class stories. Want to know why the Supreme Chancellor is different when going into the raid content and getting your briefing? Ask the Bounty Hunter. Want to know why Malgus defects in The False Emperor flashpoint? Ask the Imperial Agent. Want to know why the Sith Warrior even has a Chapter 3? Ask the Jedi Knight.

By only looking at the surface and first few levels of one class, you are robbing yourself of the experience of the whole, and completely missing the point. My reaction is the same every time I hear you guys bash SWTOR as yours probably was to my GW2 comment above. I don’t actually believe that GW2 has a bad story, but it makes a point.

Anyway, sorry for the wall of text, but I think the constant spiral of negativity that plagues the fansites that actually still write positive things about the game is additionally propagated when a respected and usually unbiased site like Massively continues to focus only on the negative aspects of a great game that hundreds of thousands (and suspected over a million now) players still enjoy.

Wow, that was one sentence. I am sorry, Bree. Forgive my english skills, as I am a chemist.

Remember, I write this as a fan that loves the show. I just want to be able to listen to it and not hear the comments that I get all the time as a writer on TORWars and Corellian Run Radio that lambast the game for no reason except that they personally didn’t like it. Treat it as a work of art should be treated: subjectively.

Anyway, I thought I would share since it was on my mind. What do you think? Do you have thoughts like these when people criticize your game? Feel free to discuss in the comments negativity’s affect on game communities!

  1. March 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I gave up on Massively Speaking shortly after the current hosts took over. It just became too painful to listen to.

    The negative approach to SWTOR has coloured my opinion of the site so much that I avoid clicking through their articles (with the exception of Eliot’s and Beau’s). Massively used to be one of my favourite sites, too. Oh well.

    Everyone has different tastes and opinions. But for a supposedly general MMO site, Massively does an extremely poor job at being unbiased. I agree with all you said, but I’ve given up any hope that the current leadership over there will be able to see past their GW obsession.

  2. March 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I have the feeling there’s still this negative atmosphere around SWTOR generally. There’s always a game ‘in fashion’ among bloggers, and from the server transfers and F2P onwards people have just been crying out loudly everywhere about how disappointed they were with SWTOR. Crying out how bad something is catches the eye more than people telling positive stories, such is the way of news.

    I’m pretty fed up with all the babbling about which game is hot and which not personally, I couldn’t care less. There are just games, and there are people who enjoy playing them. For me it’s about the world they represent and the community that creates, not about sales numbers of what else. For a comparison: I play swtor and lotro and don’t like WoW myself, but I don’t go on about how much trash WoW is on my blog. It’s just not respectful.

    Anyway, good post and good to get this out in the open.

  3. Rhekk
    March 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I feel ya, man. I’ve noticed quite a shift in the past few months on people all over the Internet bashing Swtor, and I was less and less surprised after seeing it on and off about WoW for the last 7ish years. I haven’t listened to much of Massively’s stuff personally as I much prefer to read, but I’ve just noticed it in general. I akin it to the mentality that I’ve noticed among musical artist fans (I.e. Metallica, Linkin Park, etc.), when the band changes the direction of the style, and people rage and disown them. “Old school Metallica is where its at! New Metallica is garbage!” It is what it is. Things change, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So often they latch onto something “better”. No offense to anyone out there, esp. Massively, as it is what it is. If “you” don’t like it, “you” don’t feel ownership or loyalty to it. Recognizing that not everyone out there will agree is something to take into account, though.
    Swtor has made some changes, and while it’s a far from perfect game, I feel like the developers and writers did a lot of things right. It was enough to pull me from committed play from World of Warcraft, and while Swtor may be slow about instituting some (what i consider necessary) genre-wide changes, and they may not have kept all their promises (at least yet), I have hope yet for it. It’s developed a great story addition to the mythos I am certainly a fanboy of, it’s advanced from what Bioware’s done before, and has retained several good things that got me into RPGs and MMOs in the first place. Considering the massive staff changes they’ve been undergoing there, I’d say they’ve done pretty well with what they’ve started, and are continuing to progress and at the very least make it another, and ongoing, enjoyable addition to the Expanded Universe.
    Anyways, enough rambling. You gave a strong and diplomatic response, my friend.

    Two guns are better than one,

    P.s. – …unless it’s a BIG gun. I’d rather have two though.

  4. March 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Sometimes I wonder if all the criticisms are because folks bought into Bioware’s massive hype about swtor and now feel let down because the game was merely mortal. That it wasn’t the ‘Wow-killer and the perfect example of the next era of MMOs’. I’m a bit over the top, but some of the critics remind me of a vengeful ex-lover that just wants to tear someone down to make themselves feel better and to avoid accepting that mistakes were made. (That is, ‘it isn’t me! it was *them* mentality’.)

  5. March 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Geldarion, you are a great ambassador for SWTOR, I enjoy reading your blog but, I don’t think you are being entirely fair to Massively. Only a small % of swtor’s gamer’s read/listen to Massively, far more see the negativity ingame on the chat channel. That’s where the real rot in MMO’s exist and reaches a critical mass of people.

    I do agree that it would be nice if Massively took a retrospective on swtor and contrasted 2.0 with launch. That would be a positive story as the game has improved but still lags in some areas (pvp for example).

    We are all human and it bugs the crap out of us when games we love to play are criticized by people with what we see as flawed opinions.

    • March 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

      You’re right, general chat is a cesspool of anti-SWTOR negativity. That’s ironic considering the people in there are playing the game /foreheadslap. Also, the forums are extremely negative at times. I certainly do not want to give the impression that I think that Massively is completely to blame for the negativity. In fact, I bet they are responsible for less than 5%. My goal was primarily to bring to their attention a major place they were lacking in journalistic integrity. Do I think they should never say bad things about the game? No. Do I think they sell it short with comments that border on the uninformed or extreme bias? Yes. They are simply echoing the rot that comes from the game’s players itself, players that were either disillusioned when the game didn’t provide the WoW-killing experience they desired or players that like another game better and have that weird “when they fail, we succeed” mentality. It is up to us as news and fan sites to rise above the filth and put out a different message: all games have good things about them and their fair share of issues as well. They just dwell on the issues.

      I believe they are going to have Larry Everett on the show at some point to discuss the expansion, which I greatly look forward to. It will give them a chance to do what you are speaking of, a review of the game looking at how it has improved in the last year instead of dwelling on its failures.

      Thanks for continuing to read and comment! 🙂

      • March 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        well said 😉

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