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#1 May 03 2012 at 5:41 PM Rating: Decent
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Within a week there has been an article on declining population and one in an increase in activity.


I still do not see why any game created after 2010 would ever create hard barriers between races/factions that would limit the ability of a population on a server to interact with each other? It seems like the game designers are manufacturing their own problems that need not exist, such as faction imbalance, low server pop, etc.

/shrug
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#2 May 03 2012 at 7:46 PM Rating: Decent
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What articles are you referring to? I'd actually like to read them.

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I still do not see why any game created after 2010 would ever create hard barriers between races/factions that would limit the ability of a population on a server to interact with each other?


They really didn't have a choice on this one if they wanted to go with the star wars theme universe. As far as I know, there isn't any place in the Star Wars lore where everything was completely one sided. It's always been a republic/rebels vs Empire.

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It seems like the game designers are manufacturing their own problems that need not exist, such as faction imbalance, low server pop, etc.


Well, I don't exactly disagree with this. It's true, they painted themselves into a corner with their choice that wasn't really a choice. Bioware made the smart move and went with the safe bet. It emulates all the other popular MMOs. The only thing they really brought to the table for me was story telling.(They raised the bar so damn high I actually have a bad taste in my mouth from the story in GW2 because of it.) which makes me ask, what would you have done differently than them? How would you avoid the dual faction system and still make it a Star Wars theme?
#3 May 03 2012 at 8:35 PM Rating: Default
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Main page.


Lord Scourge, Jedi Knight companion. And that is most I am effort that I am willing to put forth to any argument that tries to justify poor game design by quoting lore. It shouldn't even enter the argument.

Edited, May 3rd 2012 10:37pm by bodhisattva
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#4 May 03 2012 at 9:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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Smiley: dubious

TOR does far less than other games to keep players apart. They actively encourage you to play both factions and they don't have communication barriers between the two.

Faction gameplay is important for world PVP, so you are actually making an argument to destroy a system that's loved by quite a few players who aren't as focused on PVE as you are.

Plus, it makes no sense to make a Star Wars MMO that doesn't make a meaningful faction distinction between Empire/Republic unless it's set in a time where the Empire does not yet or exist, or is not currently around. At all.

"Don't quote lore" is a pretty pathetic argument when its the foundation of the entire SW universe. Do I REALLY need to point out why pointing out one example of cross-faction cooperation in the lore is an extraordinarily bad argument of gbaji-esque proportions?
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#5 May 04 2012 at 2:22 AM Rating: Good
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They could have done it like in SWG...

I'm guessing that's what Bodhi means by hard faction barrier. You're forced to choose your faction at the start and then roll around in your faction camp for the rest of the game. Only place in the first 30 levels I've actually seen any enemy players (out of Warzones), was some random Commando running around on Nar Shaddaa.

In SWG, everyone was running around with everyone, from the very beginning. Didn't matter if you were a Bounty Hunter, Smuggler or whatever, you started on Tatooine in Mos Eisley (before the tutorial station was implemented). You chose your allegiance by joining the faction in-game, after doing some initiation trial, but you could still move around among enemy players. Choosing a faction just caused NPCs of the opposite faction to turn hostile and enabled world PvP if you chose to flash your colors.

I still can't figure out why BioWare didn't do a SWG 2 instead of TOR. All SWG needed was a new set of engines and a rollback to before the NGE. I like TOR, don't get me wrong, but it lacks the sandbox appeal that SWG had.

Edit: Sandbox system only works if you're not forced to choose your class at the beginning. You'd NEED a "level it by doing it" system like in SWG pre-NGE, otherwise it would be chaos with 20 Sith and 20 Jedi dicking around in the starting area. That said, I don't understand why no one else has used the "level it by doing it" system for an MMO. It was awesome, especially since you weren't locked into one class per character.

Edited, May 4th 2012 10:31am by Mazra
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#6 May 04 2012 at 5:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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bodhisattva wrote:
Main page.


Lord Scourge, Jedi Knight companion. And that is most I am effort that I am willing to put forth to any argument that tries to justify poor game design by quoting lore. It shouldn't even enter the argument.

Edited, May 3rd 2012 10:37pm by bodhisattva


Scourge makes it pretty damn obvious that he doesn't agree with what you do, he's only doing this because it furthers his goals (especially the whole "staying alive" one) and because of your place in his vision.

Yes, you can kinda bring him around to your line of thinking, but it's not like you and he are going to be best buds forever. At best, you'll be rivals as with DA2's rival/friendship system, and at worst he'd probably kill you after you served your purpose.

While on the one hand, the dual faction system does "fracture" the player base to a degree, it also provides something that a single-faction system does not, which is to say it gives people conviction. As my Empire characters, light-sided though they may be, I really feel like the Republic is the epitome of the gilded age, with fat rich senators lolling about in their pleasure barges while the countless masses toil and suffer for scraps, all under the guise of freedom and equality. How is that any different than the slavery in the Empire? Only slaves at least can become something under the right conditions. The peons of the Republic are just fed more and more lines of crap by the successive politicians who say what they can to get votes before turning around and doing whatever they want. Bringing them into the fold of the Empire would give them purpose! They'd have something greater they would be working towards, something that really *mattered*.

But as my Republic guys, I see the brutality of the Empire, the lengths they are willing to go in order to secure victory, and the suffering people endure because relentless Imperial aggression and I can't just sit back and let that happen. Yes, the Republic is not perfect, but we're still better than the Empire because we at least give people a fair chance. There are lots of difficulties, lots of obstacles, but while the Empire is focused on becoming some giant galactic beast, with many billions of hands working towards a common goal at the cost of all else, the Republic serves to give everyone a chance to reach their own goals, with the addition of somethings working together to achieve a commonly decided goal. This imperfect freedom is leaps and bounds better than the rigid "safety" of the Empire, which is more of an illusion than the "freedom" the Republic promises. For all it's woes, no Republic citizen need fear a Jedi coming around to senselessly murder them because they refused to submit or cooperate.

That's how I see it anyway. Fighting against nameless NPC's, even ones with amazing lore and backstory, just doesn't have the same effect. But being able to play both sides gives the stories for each side so much more weight. You see the weaknesses in both the Jedi and Sith, as well as the strength.
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#7 May 04 2012 at 4:43 PM Rating: Good
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PvP doesn't have to be, and more importantly shouldn't be, faction specific. That is a paradigm that WoW got stuck in all of our heads.


To think that hard faction splits, which disallow grouping, talking, & interaction outside of PvP in anway enhances PvP or is a primary motivator for PvP is foolish at best, at worst shows an inability to think outside of small boxes. The same effect could be achieved while allowing a Bounty Hunter & a Smuggler to play together. A healthy population is needed for any MMO, but not just overall, but also on each server as it is a self contained world in which the player experiences the game. Low pop vs High pop will always exist. However faction splits only exacerbate that issue.
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#8 May 04 2012 at 5:44 PM Rating: Good
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PvP doesn't have to be, and more importantly shouldn't be, faction specific. That is a paradigm that WoW got stuck in all of our heads.


It's not. There are a couple Warzones now that support fighting your own faction. As for doing that in world PvP, I don't think it matters that much since world PvP never lasts as the population continuously increases the average level.
#9 May 04 2012 at 6:14 PM Rating: Good
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bodhisattva wrote:
PvP doesn't have to be, and more importantly shouldn't be, faction specific. That is a paradigm that WoW got stuck in all of our heads.


To think that hard faction splits, which disallow grouping, talking, & interaction outside of PvP in anway enhances PvP or is a primary motivator for PvP is foolish at best, at worst shows an inability to think outside of small boxes. The same effect could be achieved while allowing a Bounty Hunter & a Smuggler to play together. A healthy population is needed for any MMO, but not just overall, but also on each server as it is a self contained world in which the player experiences the game. Low pop vs High pop will always exist. However faction splits only exacerbate that issue.


Factional games existed in games before WoW, and they existed after. Single-side games existed in games before WoW, and they'll exist after.

Some games don't use factions at all, others use optional factions, and some mandate factions. All are valid game designs, and are chosen according to the needs of the game. None of them are more or less valid than others. Guild Wars 2 and TERA are two notables for single-side games coming out soon. From the sound of it, Elder Scrolls Online will force you to opt into one of three factions, but I'm guessing you aren't stuck in one. FFXI used factions as tools for PVP, but otherwise allowed them to play together (all "competition" between factions was never a focus of gameplay otherwise, really).

Different types of stories demand different types of faction systems. Your argument that designers should never segregate players is an argument about plot systems, and I don't agree with it at all. I think it would be a very, very sad day for MMOs if the industry decided that any system that kept players apart was ultimately undesirable.

Factions for the sake of factions is stupid, but factions as a meaningful mechanism of plot and gameplay is legitimate.

The only thing that suffers from faction imbalance in most modern MMOs is world PVP, which has been heavily de-emphasised in most games. And those where it has not been, they've implemented systems to balance the field.
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#10 May 07 2012 at 4:46 PM Rating: Default
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http://www.gamepolitics.com/2012/05/07/swtor-subscribers-decline-ea-profits-soar


400k. Not trying to doom & gloom it up. Just stating that a healthy and robust player base on a server is a good thing. By putting a hard faction split on a server you are effectively cutting the players the population can interact with by a lot (or a little depending on faction imbalance on the server).
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#11 May 07 2012 at 5:33 PM Rating: Good
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EA confirmed that most of those players were generally casual, primarily people who played the free month and did not return or who only played for a month or so. Trying to force this information to fit your theory, without ANY evidence to support it, is ridiculous. Particularly when this data is primarily concerning a period where population was high on every server, and there was an ample population to draw from on every world a casual player would have reached.

Many of the people who quit were probably attracted to the SW title, but with limited to no experience with MMOs in general. I've met a ton of players in game who had never played an MMO before this one.

But I don't even remotely believe that these numbers have anything to do to a faction split--not in any significant way.
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#12 May 12 2012 at 2:27 PM Rating: Decent
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I read your response earlier in the week but I am just getting back to it now, which is probably a good thing. I want to take a step back and untangle my rant about hard faction splits being bad for MMO's and the current discussion about the health of population in SWTOR. I also want to say that 400K subscription loss does not mean that the sky is falling and SWTOR is heading to doom & gloom.

Low pop & dead server are an issue right now for SWTOR.

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=442646
http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/04/23/bioware-doing-anything-and-everything-to-keep-players-logging-in-to-swtor/
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/02/bioware-force-pushes-back-against-swtor-doubters/
http://attackofthefanboy.com/news/swtor-loses-400000-subscribers-february/
http://www.swtorstrategies.com/2012/04/server-merges-still-possible-as-bioware-responds-to-criticism.html

There is a lot of discussion about it, that is undeniable. It is also expected that free server transfers, followed by forced server merges & eventual paid server xfers will happen before 1.3 & will be the focus of what is happening in early summer for SWTOR. It is fair to say that BW is not rushing into this but rather looking to see how summer break effects subs before making a move.


This is the point that I go from talking about population problems at the server level (not total subscriptions) in SWTOR and make the jump over to being critical of cutting one portion of a server population (in any game) from actively playing with another portion.

PvP, either instanced or World does not require a hard faction split. I would make the argument that PvP suffers from it. Killing random players I cannot put a name to is remarkably less enjoyable than running into guild mates while playing Arena in WoW for example (or even better, rival guilds).

It also hurts the play experience as a whole, due to population. On the server I raided on there are just shy of 10,000 Alliance to 2,200 Horde. The number of groups being formed, raids being run, premades on the go on Alliance is healthy no matter the time of day. The people Horde side have long periods where nothing is happening and if it were not for LFR or LFG options or Cross Realm BG's wouldn't have much to do for the majority of their day. Of course they could reroll or xfer (an option no currently available in swtor) , and it would be fair to say that they have. The fact is that the hard split excludes them from playing with a very active and healthy server population.


tl;dr version, I just want to be able to kill that guy from my faction that stole the rare node I was about to harvest.


Edited, May 12th 2012 4:33pm by bodhisattva
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#13 May 12 2012 at 3:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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I haven't personally experienced the issues with factions because I choose to play on RP-PvP servers in games like this and in WoW. So, there tends to foster a healthy rivalry between factions and you get to know the names on the other side fairly well.

I think they could have kept factions but allowed switching between them. A questline at level 50, maybe available once a month, could handle it. A fallen Jedi quest or reformed Sith one. Smugglers and Bounty Hunters could easily be handled, and it's not a stretch to come up with ways Agents and Troopers would find themselves on the other side of the line.

I can see plenty of scenarios for cross-faction cooperation, at least outside Sith/Jedi relations. Why couldn't an Agent and a Smuggler meet up in a seedy cantina and work together for their own personal benefits?

Edited, May 12th 2012 5:09pm by Spoonless
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#14 May 12 2012 at 3:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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Spoonless wrote:
I haven't personally experienced the issues with factions because I choose to play on RP-PvP servers in games like this and in WoW. So, there tends to foster a healthy rivalry between factions and you get to know the names on the other side fairly well.

I think they could have kept factions but allowed switching between them. A questline at level 50, maybe available once a month, could handle it. A fallen Jedi quest or reformed Sith one. Smugglers and Bounty Hunters could easily be handled, and it's not a stretch to come up with ways Agents and Troopers would find themselves on the other side of the line.

I can see plenty of scenarios for cross-faction cooperation, at least outside Sith/Jedi relations. Why couldn't an Agent and a Smuggler meet up in a seedy cantina and work together for their own personal benefits?

Edited, May 12th 2012 5:09pm by Spoonless


That would be unspeakably awesome. You just made my Saturday considerably less sh*tty Spoon.

I mean, it's still a heaping sea of fecal matter, but now at least I can see an end over the horizon.
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#15 May 12 2012 at 4:45 PM Rating: Good
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I hope someone picks up SOE's torch and makes Star Wars: Galaxies 2 in the near future. Pre-NGE style.

I'd retire from real life if that happened.
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#16 May 26 2012 at 5:09 AM Rating: Decent
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Daniel Erickson said via Blog that they are looking at raising population caps on servers. It is estimated right now that a server can handle 3k players tops (/rumblingsaboutheroengine).


http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=449144

The above is a pretty solid thread on population, though it is 20 days old. I like on page 4 when someone points out for US pve servers to go to heavy/very heavy they would have to trim down from 70+ pve servers to 17.

The best point of the entire thread is that someone makes the point that there are two problems. 1) Too many servers spreading the population too thing and 2)Servers only being able to handle limited numbers due to the engine.
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#17 May 26 2012 at 7:56 AM Rating: Good
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Well, they don't want every server to be heavy/very heavy, because you want lighter pop servers as well to allow for expansion. They should probably look into doubling that cap, if they can, though. I'd say 25-30 servers sounds right at this point, ranging from heavy to standard during normal play and very heavy to heavy during prime time.
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#18 May 27 2012 at 12:18 AM Rating: Good
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They're putting more people on the servers? Holy crap.

My current server is pretty heavily loaded, though not full, and we've got 200+ players in the Fleet during peak hours. It's like Dalaran all over again. The lag is amazing.

They should've gone with a sandbox design. I told them to, but they didn't listen... they didn't listen...
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#19 May 28 2012 at 1:13 PM Rating: Decent
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Spoonless wrote:
I haven't personally experienced the issues with factions because I choose to play on RP-PvP servers in games like this and in WoW. So, there tends to foster a healthy rivalry between factions and you get to know the names on the other side fairly well.

I think they could have kept factions but allowed switching between them. A questline at level 50, maybe available once a month, could handle it. A fallen Jedi quest or reformed Sith one. Smugglers and Bounty Hunters could easily be handled, and it's not a stretch to come up with ways Agents and Troopers would find themselves on the other side of the line.

I can see plenty of scenarios for cross-faction cooperation, at least outside Sith/Jedi relations. Why couldn't an Agent and a Smuggler meet up in a seedy cantina and work together for their own personal benefits?

Edited, May 12th 2012 5:09pm by Spoonless


That is how Everquest 2 worked. You could just about be any race/class on Everquest 2 if you were willing to do a betrayal quest. The quest itself wasn't hard (pretty much soloable) however it was VERY long and even more annoying. When I say annoying I remember one part you were forced to basically right click a dog about 100+ times to "pet" it to get it to like you in order to complete a part of the quest.

I quit playing TOR but my reason for quitting is prob different than most. I didn't like how the game went from being stupidly easy from 1 to 40 and then taking a huge increase in difficulty. I know the daily space missions went from being so easy I could afk half the mission and earn all the bonus to being so hard I had to sit here tensed up not make a single mistake just to pass it. IF you want to make a mission that difficult that's fine but not something your expected to do once a day for a trivial reward. Nothing like spending 8 minutes on a daily mission and get absolutely nothing because you didn't get that last missile off to destroy a bay door at the very end. Same thing with the gameplay got to where every single pull had to be right on my game just to survive on my Sage. Tried both DPS and HEAL spec and while I wasn't really dieing or unable to progress it was just not fun anymore. Again if its a named, or maybe one of those story line instanced zones a little challenge is fine.

Also I hardly ever seen anybody grouping and the handful of groups I did get always had people just mass AEing and then bitching that I couldn't keep them healed. Then again low lvl instances felt like I was back in early cataclysm in WOW again where you had to again be right on the ball just to survive. Thats fine when your doing end game content but not a lvl 20 instance...


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