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Default BioWare - SWToR Layoffs

May 23rd, 2012, 03:01
We don't follow MMO projects but I'm sure some readers will be interested in the fate of BioWare. Greg Zeschuk has taken to the forums to announce layoffs from the SWToR team in Austin to allow them to "refocus". No numbers are provided, but the team apparently remains "very substantial":
Hey folks, since you’re reading this you may likely have heard that we’ve done some restructuring here on the SWTOR team. Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality. Impacting people’s lives this way is always very hard, but we’re ensuring the affected people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.
Looking back at launch, we all came together and did something historic. We executed one of the largest, most successful and stable launches of any MMO yet in industry history. That is not an easy feat for any development team or company and we are humbled and honored by our fan community’s strong support both at launch and beyond.
Looking forward, the studio remains vibrant and passionate about our many upcoming initiatives for Star Wars: The Old Republic. We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game, and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today. There are many strong initiatives planned for cool new content and new features that we’re excited to tell you about in the upcoming weeks and months.
Rest assured that we remain dedicated to delivering a high quality service in SWTOR to you, our fans, and we will continue to support and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weeks, months and years to come.
Thanks,
Greg and Ray
More information.
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May 23rd, 2012, 03:01
With no idea how many got dropped or how many they had in the first place, it's hard to guess how big of a deal this is.
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May 23rd, 2012, 03:44
This lends creditability to the rumor DA3 was put on hold and the staff was moved to work on TOR content and patches.

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May 23rd, 2012, 04:21
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
This lends creditability to the rumor DA3 was put on hold and the staff was moved to work on TOR content and patches.
Actually, I was thinking the opposite. Why fire people from a project they know, so you can move people who doesn't know anything about it? It's not a good management tactics…

Seems to me that SWTOR simply reached the place where they crushed most of the problems and can start to reduce the team. Like it happen for all MMOs.
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May 23rd, 2012, 06:02
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Actually, I was thinking the opposite. Why fire people from a project they know, so you can move people who doesn't know anything about it? It's not a good management tactics…

Seems to me that SWTOR simply reached the place where they crushed most of the problems and can start to reduce the team. Like it happen for all MMOs.
Ah but who did they they fire that's the question. Evey job has people you can get rid of. Especially customer service or tech support when it comes to mmo's.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; May 23rd, 2012 at 12:20.
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May 23rd, 2012, 09:41
I know SWTOR is doing worse than expected but what do these lay offs have to do with anything ? Blizzard laid off 600 people in February, a fact which means Sweet fuck all.
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May 23rd, 2012, 11:31
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Actually, I was thinking the opposite. Why fire people from a project they know, so you can move people who doesn't know anything about it? It's not a good management tactics…
Actually "not good management tactics" are the most frequently employed management tactics by the biggest developers in the industry.

What I'm, trying to say: Just because it sounds like a bad idea, doesnt mean some moron wouldnt try to do just that. Put enough pressure on people with lack of ability and knowledge, and things like that will happen.
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May 23rd, 2012, 13:25
I wonder how many layoffs there'd be if this was KOTOR 3 with optional multiplayer not rammed down players' throats… (and designed outside the "button-awesome" philosophy). They'd probably be still employed making DLC and KOTOR 4 now.
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May 23rd, 2012, 13:47
Originally Posted by Gaxkang View Post
I wonder how many layoffs there'd be if this was KOTOR 3 with optional multiplayer not rammed down players' throats… (and designed outside the "button-awesome" philosophy). They'd probably be still employed making DLC and KOTOR 4 now.
doubtful. Game would probably be just like every other console game nowadays, a button smasher.
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May 23rd, 2012, 14:15
Originally Posted by drae View Post
I know SWTOR is doing worse than expected but what do these lay offs have to do with anything ?
SWTOR still have over 1millions paying subs. I don't think it's doing worse than expected by EA (the game is supposed to be profitable at 500k subs according to their finance chief).

There is also a lot of "big" MMO releasing lately (Tera, Secret World). I can see lots of MMO tourists visiting other games.
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May 23rd, 2012, 16:20
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
SWTOR still have over 1millions paying subs.
If you believe anything EA says, that is. I personally don't.

I'm sure it still has a lot of subscribers, but droves have left and the damage control scrambling being done by BioEA over the last couple of months strongly suggests they didn't expect that.
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May 23rd, 2012, 18:12
The official SWTOR forums unofficial discussion thread on this topic is here

I noted one user who pointed out that of 150 servers about 5 of them are decently busy.

Reading some of the posts the 1.1 million subs number EA once pointed out also reflected unused 30 day free trials. EA has revised their estimates recently for the sake of their investors. I don't have a link so I can't substantiate that.

Here's a major point, even though layoffs happen all the time after the release of a major title these days, as some people say who on that thread, others point out that rarely do companies feel the need to make a major announcement about it. Also, since a MMOG needing growth, they should hiring not firing. And this…

according to joystiq, the comunity manager was let go:

Originally Posted by Jef Reahard
[Update: SWTOR Community Manager Stephen Reid has today changed his LinkedIn page indicating that his tenure with the studio ended in May 2012, suggesting that he might be one of those affected by these layoffs. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.]

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Last edited by Lucky Day; May 23rd, 2012 at 20:26.
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May 24th, 2012, 10:33
This is a bit of a shame, as it's a fun MMO in my opinion, but the news is hardly a surprise. I've said for years that WoW can't be beaten by following the same recipe, and I stand by that. It has too much of a head start as people generally only play one MMO at a time. TOR had more of a "fresh approach" than most (story, voice overs etc), but the underlying game mechanics and end game was borderline identical.

I understand publishers not wanting to gamble by being innovate when the costs are extreme, but right now they're just throwing money down the drain at projects that can't possibly hope to dethrone WoW.

Bottom line: Innovation is the only way to grab a substantial amount of subscribers from WoW, which means WoW is pretty safe as long as noone is willing to innovate..
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May 24th, 2012, 10:38
Here is a quote I found:

"I could care less about the "old" republic. I have no empathy for the characters, the lore etc. I grew up with Star Wars and the movies starting with A New Hope. I want to play THAT Star Wars."

Amen.
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May 24th, 2012, 13:06
I haven't played swtor, but I've gathered from your posts that swtor's strongest areas are storytelling, setting and writing, not the gameplay or the interaction with other players. So I don't really understand why bioware had to make an expensive mmo to tell a great story. All that fourth pilar nonsense when they could have just made a sequel to kotor 1&2. Less expensive to make and easier to sell to their audience.

Kotor series was critically acclaimmed and loved by fanbase. I don't know the exact numbers, I have this gut feeling that it was one of the most successfull sw-games ever released. So when they decided to turn this wonderfull game series into boring mmofest, it truly broke my heart.
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May 24th, 2012, 13:08
KOTOR even today sells for a good amount of money - even in the second-hand-market.

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May 24th, 2012, 13:28
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
KOTOR even today sells for a good amount of money - even in the second-hand-market.
I still have my original cd's from both games. I still find time to replay both with new mods still being made. Word of advice use the restoration mod to fix the second game.

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May 24th, 2012, 13:43
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
I haven't played swtor, but I've gathered from your posts that swtor's strongest areas are storytelling, setting and writing, not the gameplay or the interaction with other players.
The interaction with other players doesn't exist beside LFG/LFM, PvP and Guilds. The game big mistake. You have no sense of community. Also, zones are super big, but they have a capacity of 120 players so you don't see others often, unless you are in the fleet.

They also seems to believe that the only thing that is worth spending dev time on is PvP. Their "tell us why you are leaving" survey asked (paraphrased) "Will you come back to SWTOR if…" with a list of choices. The choices were ALL PvP related. I don't PvP. I left because PvE is lacking once you reach level 50 and lack of time to play the game. You need a healer for everything, beside a few boring dailies. In other word, it's not worth spending $15 a month for <5 hours a week of gaming.

The game would probably have more success with the GW2 approach: buy the box + a cash shop with cosmetic/small buffs.
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May 24th, 2012, 13:58
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
The game would probably have more success with the GW2 approach: buy the box + a cash shop with cosmetic/small buffs.
You don't think it'll go that way anyway?
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May 24th, 2012, 15:17
It will probably go F2P rather then the GW2 way since that is how all other former p2P games have gone and been successful. If I was playing ToR and got that survey I would quit right then since I hate PvP. I also hate partying and the main reason why I play mmorpgs is for the gameplay structure, content, and all of the other ways besides PvP and partying that you can interact with the community.
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