Star Wars the Old Republic: Free to Play Details

Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic

Sadly we all saw Old Republic barreling head first toward free-to-play a long time ago especially when we heard of the downsizing. Never a good sign. Now we have better details on what you will and will not have access to if you opt for F2P.

So for those who loved the storyline of the game and the single player aspects you are in luck because you get that for free. As far as other parts of the game they decided to put you on a three times a week program (kind of like how your wife might do you). This means things like Flashpoints, Warzone battles and Space Missions will only be accessible three times in a week.

Now no F2P worth its salt is without add on items you have to purchase and in SWTOR’s case you can purchase Weekly Passes to give you unlimited access to all the above restricted instances. The same goes for Operations, there is no 3-day pass for that so you will need to purchase a weekly one. The problem here is that most purple loot cannot be equipped so what is the point of running an Operation if you cannot wear the loot. I guess that is the point.

Star Wars the old republic - free to play - features list

Like other MMO’s before it namely Everquest and EQ2, you are have less Cargo Bay and Inventory space which can become an issue, but fear not because you can use Cartel Coins to purchase additional slots. Other things to make the F2P version a little less attractive and give subscribers a reason to keep paying includes priority login as far as the queues, a faster cool-down on Quick Travel and the ability to use the Emergency Fleet Pass. Finally you only get one Crew Skill slot with F2P, as well as a limited number of Field Revivals to use when you die.

So we all know why this is happening. Old Republic subscriptions has been dropping like zombies in The Walking Dead. The question is will this bring in new players or give subscribers a reason to go free-2-play instead. Only time will tell and speaking of which we still do not have a date when F2P will go live. The original word was “sometime this fall” and yet here we are. When SWTOR goes F2P will you start playing?

Star Wars: The Old Republic going free to play

star wars the old republic

I remember looking into our official Obsolete Gamer crystal ball and seeing that DC Superheroes Online was destined for the free 2 play route and it came true. After playing Star Wars, The Old Republic for a weeks, sadly, I knew it was headed that way as well. When we reported that SWTOR were downsizing and then offering free 2 play for up to level 15, it was inevitable.

EA sent word via a press release that The Old Republic will indeed go free to play this November. In addition, the game will cost only $15 starting next week and will come with a free month of gametime. Now as expected, there will still be a subscription service for SWTOR that grants you access to additional content and features of the game. For the free to play model you can level all the way up to 50 and enjoy most of the features of the game.

Here is a breakdown of the two options for Star Wars:

Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.

Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.

Check out the chart as well:

star wars the old republic subscription vs free features

We will spare you the PR spin on the upcoming change. We all know the game had flaws and in today’s market gamers are not going to continue paying for something they feel should be free. Just like with DC heroes, the people left in mass droves after the first month and the spin began, but in the end it went free to play and SWTOR has followed suit.

Is this a failure for Bioware and EA, will you find yourself playing the game once it goes free to play?

The Downsizing of Star Wars: The Old Republic

We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses. ~J.A. Laraque

The Downsizing of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Unfortunately, most of us who played and followed the latest Star Wars MMO knew that with the issues with the game and lack of positive changes that subscriptions would drop drastically after the first month. Regardless of the PR spin about an “active community” and how there were “millions of subscribers” we all knew that STOR would take a massive hit.

Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic-Trooper

Now word out of Austin is that there were mass layoffs at the studio that developed the game.  Some of the people from the studio were let go while a few others were moved to other projects, but the message was clear.

“We are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality,” said Bioware co-founder, Greg Zeschuk. “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.”

We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses.  EA itself in a statement just reinforced the rapid decline of The Old Republic.

“These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic,”

I think almost everyone has been “refocused”, or know someone that has been and understands exactly what that means. With subscription rates dropping over 23%, most of us can see the coming storyline that will eventually lead to a free-2-play announcement.

Is Blizzard getting Desperate?

Does this make anyone want to go back? Can you see the crying now from the diehards on the boards mad because 80’s are being given out like samples at Costco.~J.A. Laraque

Is Blizzard getting Desperate?

So we see Star Wars is trying to pad their numbers by having a Free Trial Weekend, but before that Blizzard tried handing out the goodies like your ex trying to give up the booty to get you back. Now, we know World of Warcraft is dropping subscribers like Netflix before their reversal, but it gets even worse.

The wow whore give-a-way

We already know 600 employees are getting the boot, which is like the writing on the wall in blood and now WoW is giving out the goods. If you come back you will not only get a flying mount so you can sit in your major city with 20 other fools running around on it. But if you bring back a sucker, I mean friend with you get a free level 80 character, a free upgrade to a Cataclysm-enabled account that allows access to all of the game’s current content and 7 days of free play time.

Does this make anyone want to go back? Can you see the crying now from the diehards on the boards mad because 80’s are being given out like samples at Costco. It is kind of strange to see two big companies with two big mmo’s both begging for attention. I guess if we are really bored and a glutton for punishment we can really clean up.

Nah, I rather play Men of War.

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. ~J.A. Laraque

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

When you get above age 30 a lot is changing and a lot of has to do with what you believe you should be doing and the direction you should be going. For many gamers there comes a time where they decide if gaming in part of their lifestyle or something they did in their youth and now it becomes something they need to leave behind. For those who continue gaming it will always be different, not only because we are older with different responsibilities, but because many who we used to game with will have moved on.

mmo cafe

When talking about MMO’s many people talk about Everquest and the early days of World of Warcraft the way a man might talk about his college days. You remember a time when you were free and could do what you want and it was celebrated as well as expected. Now, you have to “grow up” and “be an adult” and the fun times as you knew them are over. This is not to mean that there will not be fun times ahead, but that it will never be like it was before and depending on the person this may make them feel that anything that comes next just could never live up to the old and really for the most part, it cannot.

Everquest Friends

So when you talk about that 48-hour camp in the Efreeti room was it that the time spent killing the same placeholder over and over was so much fun or that it was the time in your life that it happened more fun than now. With many of the new MMO’s being released the idea is the teenager with tons of time on his hand in the past now has work, marriage, kids and so on to deal with and cannot spend time playing 12 hours a day. Of course, there is also the people used to having everything handed to them to consider as well.

If you associate, your fun days with a MMO and now those fun days are over then it will be almost impossible to get that happy feeling back no matter what a game does. You could make an exact copy of a game, but now its 10 years later and maybe that awesome boyfriend lost his job and does not do what he used to or your sexy girlfriend is pregnant and angry. So you load up an MMO and hope to have those fun filled nights you had fighting twin emperors and you just cannot find it and you blame the game.

World of Warcraft Guild

I have always said it is the people who make the game so if you played with great friends in EQ then most likely many of those friends have moved on. Now, you have to try and make new friends or gather the few you have left in a new game, but you cannot bring that magic back. This does not remove responsibility from the game makers. Many MMO’s are just lazy and they rather copy and play it safe than innovate. However, many of the arguments comparing the old to the new are the same we do with movies or television shows. The glasses are rosy and the memories seem so much better than the present or the future.

Perhaps this is the reason MMO’s can be played alone more now than in the past. The EQ and even vanilla WOW generation is much older. Can most of you who raided in EQ find 40 good people to raid and play with day after day, week after week. Can you find 25 or even 15 and if so is it just as fun being with them in the game regardless of the game?

Wow guild

Many who find games like Star Wars, The Old Republic fun are not just fanboi’s. I have found people who like to solo like the game. Many who did not have big guilds in EQ or Wow like the game and those who have retained a good core of gamer friends like it because they get together and enjoy each other’s company in the game first and the actual game second.

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. In between game time, you would hang out, talk with your friends and interact with the gaming community. Now, you have many more responsibilities and less time.

thunderboss

So for many when a new MMO is announced, especially if you have not played an MMO in a while and have friends interested in giving it a try. You end up putting more than hopes of a good game on the product. People hope it will rekindle that fire, bring friends back together, improve your life and games by themselves cannot do that. There are documented reports that leaving an MMO can end relationships, friendships and even marriages so it is understandable that people think an MMO might create what it can also destroy.

We still have to make sure MMO makers do a good job, and create and maintain the game they promised. However, we should also realize you cannot relive Woodstock, and for many games our “Woodstock” was EQ or WOW.

MMO Rewrite

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it. ~J.A. Laraque

MMO Rewrite

I think it might be time to rethink the MMO model. Just as many people get older and make adjustments to their lifestyle the same has to be done with MMO’s and it’s not just graphics or even just game mechanics. The change has to come based on how the community has grown and changed and adjusted to these types of games.

mmo boxes

Let’s look at Everquest, a game many people look back on with rose colored glasses. Most people never did more than a few quests in vanilla EQ. You would run out and start killing rats, bats and beetles, but because it was new and different it was fun, and many accepted it for what it was.

People claimed there was a better community in the past and it was true because it was so hard to level and groups meant everything so you were forced to play nice where today you can dump and find groups so fast many will not tolerate even one death much less wipe after wipe like was the norm in Everquest.

Everquest

People look at Star Wars the Old Republic and complain because you can solo to 50 and the companion system makes the game more like a single player game. However, even in early World of Warcraft most people could solo to 50 and sure there were zones that needed a group, but it was not a requirement and a good number of people were denied groups for level 45-50 zones due to their class or other factors.

Turning back to Everquest, people forget that grouping was more about locking down a spawn than the fact that you really loved to group. In Lower Guk your group would camp one room and if it had a drop like the Flowing Black Sash there would be a rotation. You would be in the same group for hours because if you left good luck getting back in.

Everquest 2

So where did the change start? First, it began when people realized some classes could kite in EQ like Druids or Wizard. In games like City of Heroes, we saw people really begin to only group to finish their mission and then they would quit. When World of Warcraft went from 40-man to 25-man raids and the birth of the clicks occurred grouping took another hit because people were forced to do pugs and then the idea of pubs became so repugnant that if anything went wrong people would leave in a second.

In Everquest 2’s early days, groups would share Exp debt when someone died, so if you made a mistake the whole group might disband. All this, along with the increasing drama on message board forums, and more and more people joining the world of MMO has led to its decay.

City of Heroes

Originally a “server first” meant something, but soon it became a job with people working in teams to reach max level first. The idea of eating through content was considered a virtue as everyone wanted to be first and honestly, many learned back in the days of EQ that it was the first guilds to encounter new content that were the ones to find bugs and exploits and reap gains from them before they were removed, fixed or nerfed.

Then the great expansion came and MMO’s started popping up overnight and just like 3D movies we realized many should not have been made. We were already paying $15 for one MMO, who in their right mind would pay two or three of them. Free to play was enviable, but it also had flaws due to things like having the richest person gain an advantage or companies charging for the smallest things just to nickel and dime you to death.

Players saw games close for the first time and companies abandon their player base by offering little or no new content or support. The insert game here killer became a running joke and it was expected that any game to come out was doomed to fail because either it was not enough like game X or too much like it.

World of Warcraft

Finally, we all got older. The teenager is now in college, the young man now has a wife and kids and the basement dweller has a full time job. Want to know another effect of having a casual friendly game, when they are done with it they are less likely to move on to another and more likely to just stop gaming altogether.

There has been a lot of heat on Star Wars and they deserve a lot of it, but we as gamers need to realize that MMO’s need a rewrite. There will never be an Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot or World of Warcraft experience again. Even those who were the ten-year-old gamers will not experience games the way we did because the times are different and because of this MMO’s need to adjust just as our expectations of them should.

My prediction, games will get smaller not larger. Remember the, it’s time to slay the dragon commercial for EQ? Sure, it was made fun of, but there was something important there. It was about 5 or 6 friends coming together in a game. I believe that is our future. The large raids and guilds of 200 plus members are over. MMO’s will become games where you can solo and then call a few friends to do larger content.

star-wars-the-old-republic

Also, MMO’s have to drop the monthly fee. Remember EQ 2 and their 5-dollar content updates? It was a complete joke at the time, but I see that as the future. No monthly fee, weekly bug fixes, maintenance and patches, but every few months you buy a chapter consisting of new quests and zones for a small fee with one big paid expansion per year.

This allows gamers to switch between MMO’s , but still provides enough revenue to keep games going. If companies keep looking to have 20 million subscribers, they will continue to fall short. We have all grown and changed and its time MMO’s followed suit.

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it.

Otherwise, we will just jump from bandwagon to bandwagon waiting for the would-be giant to tumble and laugh as it falls right on top of us.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional Review

Sound_Blaster_Recon3D_Fatal1ty_card

For many, building a gaming system is all about the processor and video card. People will take the time to research everything about the processor speed or video ram, but when it comes to the sound card that duty is given to the motherboard. In the 90’s almost every gaming rig had a sound blaster inside, but today, far too many leave it up to the mainboard and far too many are missing out.

Now, let us be fair, onboard sound can be pretty good. I personally have used on-board sound and I thought it was just fine. The trick is you do not know what you are missing until you try it out and see the difference. It is like going from 720p to 1080p you will notice the difference especially in games with 3D sound effects or where having true surround sound is important.

First, we start with the Sound Core3D. This is a quad-core audio processor that allows all the technologies running within the card to function at peak performance. Sometimes you might see within games that you can crank up the sound quality, but it might lower performance, not with this card.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional - Box

Next, we have the THX TruStudio Pro, which is all about realism. When you are playing a game like Battlefield 3 or World of Tanks, you want the sound of the bullets and explosions to sound real. It is all about immersion and that is what 3D surround sound does, it makes you feel as if you are right there just as much as high resolution graphics does.

Crystal voice is all about audio communications, which is so important in today’s games. Ever listen to horrible sounds via Ventrilo, Team Speak or Mumble? It is not always a bad microphone or that the person never uses push to talk. Many of the times, it is just a bad audio card or setup and crystal voice fixes that allowing you to adjust your settings within the control panel so you come through clear without the need to yell.

Staying in the world of voice the beam-forming microphone I found is great for voice communications. We talked about push to talk, but sometimes in some versus games you might need to be able to constantly talk and what is great about this microphone is it creates an acoustic zone suppressing noise outside that zone. What does this mean? It means when talking your speaker noise is less likely to be heard allowing you to speak freely without others hearing your background noise. I tested this in games like BF3, Star Wars the Old Republic and League of Legends and it works like a charm.

Connections

If you have been reading our previous hardware reviews you know I am rocking the Diablo III headset and it works perfectly with the Recon 3D. This card has a dedicated headphone amp that provides the power needed for high quality headphones, which is important since many gamers are spending the big bucks and high-end headsets and the last thing you want is an underpowered device running them.

Finally, we have the Dolby Digital Live encoding which allows you to connect your system to a home theater system using a single cable. I personally have not tried this function yet, but for those of you with a home system this could be the perfect piece to finish your setup particularly if you watch television and movies or listen to music within your office.

Setting it up was a snap. The back of the card has color-coded connections with clear markings of what goes where. I have a 5.1 speaker system with a center speaker and sub and was able to connect my speakers within moments. Just remember that if you have existing onboard audio you will want to disable it because Windows will use it by default and you might end up wondering why you do not hear anything.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional - Control Panel

The microphone while small has a very long cable which is good for people like myself with a large desk and I noticed while configuring the mic that I do not have to speak loudly or lean into the mic which is great.

Once the software was installed, I opened up the control panel and viewed the various options for configuration. For the novice, don’t sweat it. There are a lot of settings you can change, but right out the box you will notice the difference in quality without changing anything.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional - Control Panel

For the most part I only played around with the equalizer because I wanted to create different profiles for games, movies and music and anyone who has ever used Winamp EQ or another audio program will see how to adjust the highs, mids and lows.

The speaker/headphones setup is also nice because it allows you to adjust for the difference between the two devices. A lot of times you will want to boost the forward speakers or lower the bass with headphones and all this can be done on the fly.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional - Control Panel

Under the Crystal Voice, settings you can boost your mic output or adjust the noise reduction making sure you sound perfect within games or just normal voice chat.

Overall, the Recon 3D Fatal1ty changed my view on sound. I can hear people sneaking up on me in first person shooters and immerse myself in the battle music of SWTOR. For those of you who take your gaming seriously a top-notch sound card is a must because it does give an advantage just as much as a better monitor or video card does.

Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional - Control Panel

Besides that, being able to enjoy movies and music with high-definition sound truly makes your computer the main entertainment center, so if you spend a lot time with your PC then you want a great audio experience and the Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional sound card delivers just that.

The SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Review

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Review

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset

First thing you will notice when holding the box, is the Diablo III art all over the package. Then when you open the package you realize how light this headset is!

Inside the box you will find the headset, a quick start guide, a SteelSeries professional gaming gear insert, a nifty SteelSeries sticker,  and a USB extension cable.

The USB extension cable will be important, because if your keyboard does not have a built-in USB port, the cable on the headset might be too short. SteelSeries realized nobody likes excess cables that you can trip over so they reduced the main cable length and included the USB extension cable. This gives you more options than other headsets where you would have to hide the excess cable. The only thing to note is that the USB extension cable isn’t gold plated or braided. But since it would probably be routed behind your desk you wouldn’t even see it.

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Box

I tested the Diablo III headset with the following games and applications: Star Wars – The Old Republic, World of Tanks, The Witcher 2, TeamSpeak, and Ventrilo. Both the microphone and headset were astounding. The 50mm drivers on the headset do a superb job on the high, mid, and low-ranges. And the microphone allows you to retract it into the left ear-cup. This is a great feature if you just want to use them for listening to music.

The SteelSeries software for the headset feels like you’re in a menu of a Diablo game. You have several options to adjust the intensity and pulsation of the red LED lights. And the best part of the software, you are able to adjust the Equalizer to your liking.

The overall feel to this headset screams quality. From the attention to detail paid on the cable lengths to the light weight of the product. You can definitely see SteelSeries did their homework on gamer’s “work environments” and thought of everything.

SteelSeries-Diablo-3

Rating 9.5 of of 10.

Technical SpecificationsHeadphones

  • Frequency: 18 – 28.000 Hz
  • Cable Length:
  • Headset (1m / 3ft)
  • USB Extension (2m / 6.5ft)
  • Headset Jack: Gold Plated USB

 

Microphone

  • Active Noise Reduction: up to 20dB
  • Frequency: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 dB

 

Games: Most let down, Most hopeful

The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.~J.A. Laraque

Games: Most let down, Most hopeful

The New Year is a time to look forward with all kinds of resolutions, most of them that you will not keep and it is also a time to look back on the year. When it comes to gaming there is always room for reflection and regret. There is also always that hope that the next game that’s coming is the one that will keep you enthralled for months or more.

A post like this could be long, but for me it’s simple. There are two games that I thought about the most in 2011. One let me down worse a blind date setup by your grandmother and the other brings me hope like a wink from that girl across the room.

Most let down: Dead Island

Less we forget, let’s take a look at this video.

[youtube id=”lZqrG1bdGtg&ob” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Seriously, how did we get from that to the game that was launched? I guess we should have known the game would be bad when a beta copy was released to Stream instead of the real version. I remember wanting this game thinking it would be a great experience. In the end I only loved the intro and only because of that stupid song.

The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.

The voice acting was nothing great and you never cared about the characters or yourself. I also hate games where they put up barriers to keep you from places you want to go, but it’s something stupid like wooden planks in the water or the world’s largest and steepest hill.

Totally let down by this game, I tried to do the boring missing and I even tried using weaker weapons for a challenge. However, in the end the game is just bad and it makes we wish I was that little girl.

Most Hopeful: Star Wars: The Old Republic

starwars-the old republic

Sure, the game sold a lot and with backing from Bioware and EA I am sure it will do better than the last Star Wars MMO. I still had my doubts and did not read too much because I did not want to spoil the game one way or another and then I played it.

First off, complete voice acting, good voice acting including multiple choices and side quests make a great RPG. For the first time in a long time I care about the story and can’t wait to see it unfold. I think about my decisions, how I act, what I do. I love the companion system that helps you solo or is great in a group and they talk and interact in the story as well.

[youtube id=”6zTRZZefmvM” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Old Republic even has great PVP within warzones and open world. Sure, there are bugs and if you read the forums you will see just as many complaints and whining as any other MMO, but if Bioware stays strong and adds more content, improves little by little and fixes bugs quickly this could be a game you will play for years to come.

Your list

So if you have one game to pick for biggest let down and most hopeful which would they be?

Holiday Hardware Guide

pile-of-christmas-presents

Do you remember getting your first console system or computer? The feeling inside must have been great, so much so that you most likely did not realize how much your parents suffered to get it for you. Check out my tale about one Christmas and the NES hunt.

You would think that you could not replicate that feeling once you are buying your own gifts, but that isn’t true. When I purchased my black Xbox 360 I felt just like a kid again even though I was spending my hard earned bucks and the same can be said for games like Batman Arkham City and the upcoming Star Wars, The Old Republic.

So you may have purchased your gifts this year and if you are lucky you have others buying gifts that you know you will love. Here at Obsolete Gamer, we look at modern games and systems that can also have a Retro twist to it, but in the end will bring smiles to our faces when we open it.

Genesis Desktop System: Origin PC

origin-pc-genesis

Here is the simple truth, you can build your own system or buy similar systems from any of a thousand retailers, but like the sexy MILF next door told you experience counts.

The Genesis is the premier desktop system offered by Origin PC and what makes this system and the company great is the different configurations they offer and the service and support they provide. You can go with an Intel P67 or X79 or even AMD. You can select the case you want and have multiple choices for everything you put inside. Best part is if there is something you want to add that you don’t see, ask them and they can hook you up.

Sure, you can have a nice house that looks like everyone else’s home on the block or you can create your own masterpiece by custom designing your rig with paint, artwork, lights and more and since pretty much everyone at Origin PC has been a gamer and in the business for over a decade or more you know when you need help you will get real answers.

The key for the holiday shopper is you don’t have to spend 5K on a system, you can build it to exact specifications and remove anything you don’t need guaranteeing you get exactly what you want.

You can check out the Genesis here.

iCADE: ION

I got a chance to see this system at the last CES and was impressed of how well it played using an iPAD. Now we all know you can find classic games on emulators, downloads and even in flash, but there was just something about using the arcade style joystick and buttons that made the iCade really fun to play.

Now currently it only runs Atari classic games which you can find more on the App Store so for Apple haters this might not be for you, but for everyone else this is a really cool device to have in your office or wherever you might game and for just under 100 bucks it won’t break the wallet.

You can check out the iCade here.

Siberia Headset & Sensei Mouse: SteelSeries

SteelSeries-Sensei-Mouse

Everyone has their favorite devices, for me it is all about comfort, control and durability. Having played pretty much every type of game and game system I learned what works best for me. For instance, I like the Xbox 360 controller the best because it works for me and the same is true for the mice I have tested and use from SteelSeries.

From turn around blind shots in FPS games to fast scroll movement in RTS games the SteelSeries mice have the precession and comfort that makes gaming and everyday tasks a breeze. I still use the XAI mouse I tested some time ago today and have no plan to replace it and the new Sensei mouse is now married to my gaming laptop.

Now as for headsets I fell in love with the Siberia because of its comfort and sound quality and the black and gold edition is pretty bad ass. Check out the full review here. I have been impressed with Steel Series products and their price point doesn’t leave you in debt after the holidays so for the people in your life that need computer accessories they are a great place to shop.

You can check out SteelSeries products here.

M.A.M.E. Arcade Cabinet

Northcoast Custom Arcades

Before the anti-pirate people come out the woodwork there are plenty of legal ways to play classic games on a M.A.M.E system including owning the original game. Honestly, one of the best ways to play M.A.M.E is on a full size arcade cabinet which you can have built or build yourself.

Personally, I never owned one, but I know a few that have and they built them themselves and it is pretty awesome. Pretty much the hardest part is knowing how to cut the wood and put it together, the wirework is not too hard, and there are a ton of websites that can show you step by step how to do it or you can search for several companies that will build you a system.

If you are going to go with a builder go with a professional like Northcoast. Just check out the awesome arcade cabinets they have already built and see images from customers. You also know they do good work because they were featured on the DIY network. Sure, these can get pricy, but it is worth it and if you are going to spend the cash make sure you get the best.

Just keep in mind this is a full size arcade cabinet so if you live in your dorm or small apartment you will quickly find yourself out of space, but if you have the room this is just an incredible addition to the classic gamer’s game room.

Check out NorthCoast arcade cabinets here.

Supaboy: Hyperkin

SupaBoy

So I first heard about this product on the Jace Hall Show page and knew I had to try one out. This handheld system plays original SNES carts and plays them on a 3.5 inch display that can even be connected to your television and two original SNES controllers.

Sure, you can get these on phones or pads or your PC and consoles, but there is something about having the original cartridge sticking out while gaming. Well, at least to me it is cool. The SupaBoy can be picked up for only 80 bucks which isn’t bad especially if you have a large SNES collection. I’m thinking Retro Stocking stuffer!

Check out the SupaBoy Portable SNES console here.

Get to shopping!

Now there will be more to come, but for now check out these products and see if any of them fit into your holiday gift giving plans. We also want to hear from you. Suggest to us some great holiday gaming hardware and we will bring a review to you.

The Interview: Nelson Gonzalez

Nelson Gonzalez, co-founder of Alienware Corporation,

Nelson Gonzalez

Is a gamer born or does it happen over time? What makes one’s idea die on the cutting room floor while the other turns into a blockbuster? Gamers and those within the culture are as diverse as America itself, but we all share similarities. When entering the PC gaming world one has to know the layout, where it came from and where it is going. We can look at the background of some of these pioneers and learn from them and if nothing else enjoy a good story.

Obsolete Gamer has had a chance to interview quite a few from the Alienware and Dell family including Alex Aguila and Arthur Lewis and we were excited when we had a chance to sit down with co-founder of Alienware, Nelson Gonzalez.

 

Can you tell us about what got you into gaming?

 

It was all about the arcade baby! The arcade was the catalyst to my immersion in those virtual worlds. Aside from video games, playing games from an early age was in our DNA. Everybody in the neighborhood was hyper competitive and we played basketball, football, chess, wargames, boardgames and of course…dungeons and dragons! We loved every aspect of gaming and competition.

 

What were some of your favorite games growing up?

 

Too many. I’m pretty old, but I will mention some of the PC games which is probably what you might be interested in:

Civilization, Privateer, Myst, Falcon, X-Com, Alone in the Dark, Red Baron, Pirates, Star Wars TIE/XWing, Aces over Europe/Pacific, Mech Warrior, SimCity, Doom, Quake, Wing Commander Series, Might and Magic Series, Unreal Tournament, Dawn of War, COD Series, Medal of Honor Series

 

Now as far as Alienware part of the name and style of the brand came from your love of science fiction?

 

Absolutely. I grew up watching great SciFi and Horror flicks. Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, UFO, Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space and of course, the X Files to name some of the TV shows. The movie list would be too long to detail. Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still (original), Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars would be a glimpse into my list though.

 

Alex Aguila and Nelson Gonzalez - Alienware

You and Alex Aguila were friends from an early age correct?

 

Yes, I met Alex when I was 10 or so. 35 + years…way too long! Arthur Lewis which now runs Alienware, has also been a friend since I was like 16. Hector Penton from Origin PC I’ve also known for 30 + years.

We are all big-time gamers.

 

What type of PC games do you and Alex use to play?

 

Right now I think both of us are on sabbatical. We are playing intense Warhammer 40K and its consuming quite a bit of our time. Alex plays a ruthless Space Marine Blood Angel. Hector is a brother of the Hivefleet Leviathan and my path is that of the Eldar.

 

Did you have any rivalries game wise with Alex?

 

Absolutely. Falcon 3.0 comes to mind. Quake 2 was also an immersive bloodbath 🙂

 

What was your first PC?

 

An XT 286 I believe.

 

You also began building PC’s at a young age can you tell us about that?

 

I started building PC’s with 80386 Intel processors with clock speeds of 12MHz…LOL. Then we moved up to 486’s w/VESA bus video cards. Then came Pentium processors and 3D graphic cards (gaming nirvana). The dawn of 3D games such as Castle Wolfenstein and DOOM really hooked us all. I was forced to become the technician of the group so we can play all these games. We played most of those games in DOS and they required some tinkering such as creating boot disks with Autoexec.bat and config.sys files for specific games . Ah… the good ol’ days.

 

Before Alienware you created your own PC building company, can you tell us about that?

 

Well I thought that I could build PC’s locally in South Florida, but soon realized that wasn’t my cup of tea. I really liked high performance and squeezing every bit of juice out of a PC. Building standard PC’s for business’s just didn’t satisfy me. I always felt that if we did something that was specific for the gamers just like us, we could survive as a business.

 

Nelson Gonzalez - Alienware

How did the beginning of Alienware come about?

 

I was with a friend of mine (who happens to be Hector Penton’s brother) in my kitchen one day and I pitched him the idea of custom building PC’s for gamers like us. I asked him what he felt about the name Alienware and he said it sounded pretty cool. At that point it just felt right. I immediately called Alex and asked him if he would join me in this new adventure. I told him that he needed to quit his job, give me like $5K and come to work immediately. To his credit he said yes without hesitation. The funny thing is that we weren’t really speaking to each other at that time and  I can only imagine the conversation he had with the wife that night. 🙂

 

What was the first few months like running Alienware?

 

Boy it was very intense. At times we nervously laughed and secretly prayed 🙂 We had no money, no resources, but somehow we felt confident. We knew if we ‘built it’, they would come. PC Gaming was in its infancy and we had experienced how addictive it really was. We knew we were on to something, but we just didn’t to what extent.

 

What would be one of your favorite moments while at Alienware?

 

There were so many, but that first PC Gamer ’98 Area 51 review written by Gary Whitta was one of those rare moments were I felt validated.

The first online order.

When we hit one million in revenue.

When we reached 100 employees.

When we had Michael Dell visit us at Alienware.

When we sold the company to Dell.

 

Do you have a funny story about Alienware you can share with us?

 

Alex telling me that “no one would order an expensive custom PC online” and then we get 3 orders the first day 🙂

 

How did it feel to see Alienware become so big?

 

Crazy. I knew we wouldn’t have to work for anyone else if we did our ‘thing’ and we performed well. I also felt that if we bent over backwards for the customer and treated our employees like we’d like to be treated, we would be OK. I never imagined it becoming so wildly successful.

 

What was it like during the acquisition by Dell?

 

Awesome. I think Michael really understood us and because we had such a synergistic model, the transition was good and the acquisition made sense.

 

What type of PC do you play games on now?

 

Alienware Aurora i7 3.2GHz

2 X ATI Radeon 5800’s

Win 7 64-bit

 

Do you play console games?

 

No not really. I’ll load up Heavenly Sword or Gran Turismo every once in a while for shits and giggles.

 

What PC games are you currently playing?

 

I was playing DC Universe online, but stopped, we all started playing 40K. I am getting ready for SWTOR and maybe, just maybe Duke Nukem…finally?

 

What would you say your favorite classic game(s) is?

 

If I had to pick one, it would have to be Civilization. Wow… did I burn out on that one.

My second would have to be XCOM. Classic arcade would have to be Joust and Lunar Lander.

 

MMO’s Coming Out In 2011 Are Already Behind The Curve

2011 sure seemed like a year that would be promising us some exciting upcoming titles in the MMORPG world. With Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rifts of Telara, and DC Universe Online it appeared at first glance that there finally would be some promising games out there which fought back against the monster known as World of Warcraft. I, for one, was in this crowd of believers looking forward to something fresh and a chance to move onto to greener fields.

Rift MMO plant
Rift MMO plant

Unfortunately, from my time playing the beta for some of these games and then also playing World of Warcraft’s latest expansion Cataclysm, I have to say that World of Warcraft has trumped the genre yet again.

But Umar, how can you say that? Those games are in beta and things always change!

Yeah, okay. People said that about Final Fantasy XIV, Age Of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Champions Online. Where are they now? Age of Conan is struggling to show some respectable numbers while being considered another tally of fuck ups by Funcom, discussions about putting FFXIV on a free to play model are on the table with Square-Enix already boasting a whopping 2 million active characters (look closely at the bolded word), Mythic is essentially dissolving with employee blogs ranting about the horribly typical EA experience they are suffering from (WAR really needs a F2P model if it’s going to stand up ever again), and Champions is already on a F2P market and is shitting bricks from the upcoming DC title.

Beta did not change those games. They have remained garbage and will never be something worth a purchase.

It’s time to take off those rosy glasses of hope and look at reality for a minute. Nothing has come to close to taking a slice of this market no matter how much you whine.
For the longest time, you’d hear me complaining about World of Warcraft and its flaws and its lack of this and that, but those were the days of Burning Crusade. The game has progressed leaps and bounds from release. I honestly have no qualms about it. What were the typical issues people had with WoW?
It’s too easy, Umar!

Okay, you nerdy Sephiroth cosplaying queer. Have you played Cataclysm? A PUG can barely clear a heroic now if most of the people you group with have downs. Oh, and don’t say “The WoW community is filled with bad players.” That’s easy to say. Most people I know that say that and then either play WoW or another MMO with me are usually just as bad as any other idiot I could PUG with.

WoW’s graphics are out of date!

Yeah, they are but it works with their art style. You need things to look pretty to have fun? Plants VS Zombies wasn’t enjoyable? Mario Kart isn’t fun? Let’s go play something pretty like Final Fantasy XIV. I’m sure that’ll be a great experience. Or let’s play Age of Conan where even the most high end computers at the time were struggling to display some of the graphics. Graphics shouldn’t be on the top of your list for playability as opposed to the actual style of the game.

I think you’re stupid and gay, Umar! Star Wars is going to be awesome!

Thanks, asshole. Enjoy Star Wars then. I’m not telling people to not play it as much as I’m saying that future upcoming MMORPGs are already behind what Cataclysm has presented. Star Wars will have what? Epic dialogue and a story? That is fantastic. Cataclysm already makes your character feel like they were part of a story, maybe not on the scale of Star Wars with all the cinematics, camera angles, and voice acting, but they did make your character more involved in the storyline.

Bioware already claimed that they won’t have much endgame and that they encourage people to roll alts to see the story from a different perspective. This is a “Choose your destiny” book in virtual form. All you’re getting is a story and not many innovative mechanics. They barely ever talk about actual gameplay and mechanics as much as they talk about the story portion of the game and the classes. “Hey guys we’ve got spaceships and Jedi! Cool shit, huh?” This is a niche game and once your story is over that’s it. Bioware isn’t known for making difficult games that require strategy and skill. Putting Mass Effect 2 on harder difficulties just meant you took more damage. Wowzers!

Rifts of Telara has already thrown in the towel by conceding the fact their game is more like Vanilla WoW than WoW in its current state. Vanilla WoW was one of the most raw and broken starts to an MMO. Gamers today are crying for innovation and polish. Not a throwback to olden times. Rifts is going to be what Vanguard was to Everquest 1. An old school reincarnation that will fall flat in the present.

The only game I think that can even grab a slice of the MMO market is DCUO. I’m not talking about a game that will take subs from World of Warcraft but a game that can fill that super hero niche that Champions failed to quench. City of Heroes is already too old school and bland even with all their amazing patches. DCUO has that opportunity to grab the market from those games and even pull in more people who cream to “Smallville” and “The Dark Knight”. It isn’t competing against the elephant in the room but against the carrion dogs roaming about.

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. You can think what you want and I can still think you’re a bag of dicks. What am I saying is going to come to true because my word is not only correct but absolute. These MMOs will fall flat with the exception of DCUO if Sony actually markets a game this time. Time will allow you to see the truth and your bottled-up, unbridled nerd pride will nourish me when you fail to accept my prophecy.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Fantasy I Want No Part Of

FFXIV online logo
FFXIV online logo

E3 2009 took us by surprise when Square-Enix opened up with the trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. It wasn’t expected to be announced and was rather hush-hush until the presentation. What really blew people away, in my opinion, was its suggested release date. When an MMO is normally announced to be in production you expect 2-3 years from that date or more for the game to be complete and released. Releasing such a big brand name in such a short time made me insinuate that this project must have been in works for quite some time in silence. As with most utterings of a Final Fantasy game being released, high expectations are hoped to be met by their fan base. Can Square-Enix bring out a AAA title in such a short time frame? The company certainly has not released anything close to AAA quality in quite some time and this MMORPG must have occupied many of the company’s resources for its production.

Final Fantasy XI was a highly acclaimed MMORPG in Japan and did moderately successful worldwide. With the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, a company like Square-Enix seemed like the most powerful competitor to steal some WoW’s players. The time to capitalize on the market of people waiting for the next big MMO was netted in by this announcement. With Star Wars: The Old Republic not ready to debut until Spring 2011, Final Fantasy XIV had a chance to pull in a strong player base of MMO nomads.

As the release date began to draw near, open beta was announced and it was time to check out what Square-Enix was hiding behind the curtain. After getting my beta invite email I decided to follow the instructions. I was taken to a link that I had assumed would have a registration key and login section to get this fixation underway. Instead, the link took me to a portal with the “requirements” to play the beta. There were no links to sign into my Square-Enix account and the page was outright inadequate. Their “System Requirements” section on the page just directs you to another page with the information on the minimum system requirements. This portal page was completely and utterly useless and vague at best.

I finally decided to just go to the Final Fantasy XIV official page to login and see if I can find a registration code. Finding any reference to this code in my account page was impossible and adding Final Fantasy XIV to my service only asked me for a code anyway. When I finally did find the code page, they had closed registration codes for the time being and will release more at a later date. After spamming the refresh button a million times I eventually did get this code for my wife and myself to play.

Finding the download section for the game was another hassle as it wouldn’t open up the torrent file at all. I eventually had to find it off another site to begin the patch. My download time for this nearly 8GB file was 5 weeks. My wife’s download time was an hour and thirty minutes. After some surfing on the internet I saw a ton of people were having a problem with the game patching in a reasonable time frame. I guess we got lucky my wife’s download was speedy. When her download finished I just transferred a copy of the completed files to my computer so we could get started.
Now, onto the meat of this review. The game itself.

Performance: My machine is fairly new so I’m not even going to rate the performance based on that. My wife’s unit is older and has an Intel quad-core clocked at 2.40GHZ, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and an ATI 5870. The game ran beautifully. There was little to no chopping even in the populated cities with the settings set to max. Particle effects offered zero lag and the game probably ran the smoothest out of any next-gen MMORPG we’ve played in the past 3 years. For an open beta, this was highly impressive. Any midrange computer can handle this game at full settings with just a bit of tweaking if a hitch ever came up.

Controls: Developers of this game came out straight and said this game was designed to have the UI revolve around the use of a controller. Just like in Final Fantasy XI, this unrelated sequel of sorts incorporates the use of a controller even for the PC. It is not keyboard and mouse friendly at all. For God’s sake, you can’t even hotkey anything. For some of the most simple tasks you have to take a journey through a plethora of menus for miniscule options. It is ridiculous, cumbersome, and ill planned. Yes, the game is releasing for the PS3 and these controls must be comfortable for them but guess what? They aren’t releasing the PS3 version until sometime next year. What is the purpose of releasing the PC version with this horrid UI and control scheme if the focus of its movement isn’t even releasing until the following year? It makes little to no sense. It seems to me they are releasing this version of the game just to make the deadline “promise” they made at E3 2009.

LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV
LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV

Sound: Classic Final Fantasy sounds make their appearance in this game. It is clear and sounds great. The music really puts you in that role-playing mood if you’re into that sort of thing. It shoves you into this world and makes it come to life. As always, Nobuo Uematsu knows how to compose some grand and fantastical musical choices. Unfortunately, all this goes to hell the moment the voice-overs pop in. The studio that handled the voice acting must have hired the student’s from Ms.Spifz’s High School English Class. The actors sounded as though they were involuntarily picked to read aloud to the class the next section of The Great Gatsby. The voices are uninspired, bland, and lacking any emotion. The music sets you up for this grand adventure and then the actors from Twilight decide to make an appearance as voice actors and ruin the entire mood. I felt blue balled.

Gameplay: I know this is what you all have been waiting to hear, so here it is. The game immediately tosses you into this adventure to go kill whatever furry monstrosity is waiting for you in the newbie area, the inauguration for every great RPG adventure. If it isn’t stomping on giant rats, its killing boars or bunnies. After going through a thousand clicks to accept the quest, I opened my map to see where I should begin my journey. The newbie zone was right on the edge of town. Guess where they started me? At the OTHER side of this 5 mile city! Not only was it difficult to find my way around but I couldn’t leap down staircases to make shortcuts. And with that we bring up my biggest peeve in anything ever!
I hate games that don’t let me jump.

I don’t care how good it is.

I hate not jumping.

Walls that were two feet high were preventing me from crossing the fastest way possible. I had to trek all the way across the wall just to get around. I can shoot fireballs from my hands and cleave through the sturdy flesh of an Orc but I can’t hop over a small bump in the ground. I hate being bored in groups and not being able to prance around the dungeon as we continue onward. I hate not being able to cancel my spells with a small little hop. The lack of a jumping feature takes away from the gaming experience for me. I can’t even vault over the damn thing like in Gears of War.

Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV
Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV

Finally reaching the newbie area was probably the most frustrating part of the game. The mob I needed to kill sparsely speckled the newbie zone and the amount of new players looking to kill this mob were outnumbering its spawn rate. The hotbar techniques only correspond to the number on your NUMPAD. I couldn’t find any other way to map it elsewhere for more convenience. After spending maybe an hour searching for three of these mobs without any luck I decided to uppercut a Dodo bird which kept running by me constantly. Instead of considering its level, I shoved my lancer’s spear into his face and I was quickly dismembered in only a few seconds. As I laid dead on the ground I began to wonder when my release timer would come up so I could respawn. After a minute of waiting I began to realize why I saw so many dead players that hadn’t released their corpse earlier in my adventure. There is no release button. You have to excavate through your menu and find a “Return” button to get released to a spawn point. Nicely done, Square-Enix. Your vague manner really helped me there.

After calming down and letting my heart rate return to a safe set of beating, I decided to return to town and try out the crafting professions. I always liked fishing in an MMO so I decided to take up Fishing as my career choice. I needed some money to buy some of the equipment needed to pursue my profession so I sold some vendor trash and went ahead on my new path. After equipping my pole and bait I went ahead to begin the process of being a bad ass fisherman. After spending 4 minutes wondering how to even begin fishing since the keyboard controls were complete garbage, I got on my way. The whole fishing endeavor was much more complicated than I thought. I had to choose my depth, the quality of the water I was fishing from, and the casting point. When the message that something had bit my line appeared, I had to begin a struggle with the fish to drag it out of the water. You have to constantly “Jig” with the fish back and worth as it tries to take the line till the fish is too tired to struggle and you capture him. It’s basically the combat mechanics of a Pokemon battle. I found fishing way more enjoyable than the actual game’s combat since I spent most of the time running around with my spear trying to find rats to poke. I could easily see someone making their crafting profession their main source of entertainment in the game as it is rather enthralling.

The fatigue system was something I didn’t really experience as I gave up just way too soon on this game from sheer lack of enjoyment. From what I’ve been told by friends and from other sources, you can’t barrel through the game. Powergamers will not find any euphoria in this game as the fatigue system penalizes you for using one class for too long. After 8 hours of gameplay, your character will hit a block in progression that will offer them no experience points. They will have to change classes and try something else for another eight hours. Each week the debuff is cleansed and you are allowed to continue on with the class that was previously penalized. What does this sound like to me? It sounds like this game is probably two-thirds complete and they are putting roadblocks so they can successfully complete their endgame. By the time the PS3 version of the game releases, I prophesize that this system will be scrapped since the game will be officially completed.

Final Verdict: This game falls short in so many places. It is beautiful and quite breathtaking. It isn’t as user friendly as one would hope. Newer gamers to the Final Fantasy Online universe can easily get lost in the complexity of its interface and mechanics. It does require a bit more patience than most MMOs and getting the hang of it right out of the box isn’t something that will come easily. A small fraction of brain power is needed to solve the puzzles of the menu and to get used to some of the mechanics for the crafting professions. If you’re looking for something to dive into right away, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for a powergaming experience, this game isn’t for you. If you enjoy excelling in one area, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for beautiful graphics and dream inspired settings with an enjoyable RPG experience filled with the wonder and adventure of killing large rats and Dodo birds, this is the game you’re looking for! Overall, the game failed to grasp my attention for longer than five hours.

For something that was expected to take the MMORPG genre a step forward, this title took two steps backs and one step forward. What was expected to be a monsoon of intrigue and JRPG adventure ended up becoming nothing more than a minor swell lost in a sea of upcoming MMOs.

What’s going on with Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Star Wars The Old Republic logo
Star Wars The Old Republic logo

Plenty, Jake Neri gave an interview to MMORPG in it he began talking about the development process and how they know there are a lot of expectations for the release of SWTOR. One of their main goals, he said, is keeping balance between the classes and it is something they understand is an ongoing process. He also stated one of the things they want to continue to improve on is the animation and cinematic quality of combat to make sure that overall you get the full Star Wars cinematic experience when playing the game.

On lore Jake talked about the benefits and challenges to having their own timeline. They are working closely with continuity experts to make sure they are moving in the right direction and not breaking any cannon.

As for how the game will impact the playerbase Mr. Neri said the following:

“We always start with the element of story and intertwining that into every mechanic that you have an expectation for. There are certain things in the MMO space that are important to deliver on because if you don’t you will alienate a player base. There are certain things that we won’t try to revolutionize, we’ll try to do to a AAA level, but we’re not going to impress your readers with a new amazing auction mechanic. Laughs. Those things are already done well in MMOs. So we are making sure we focus our time on areas that are compelling to the player base and reader base. Things like, hardcore folks want to know how the combat is going to be? Is it going to be epic? Will it feel interesting? We are putting a lot of emphasis on making sure people have a compelling experience from beginning to end. Also, that they have reasons to continue playing at the end, because of the fact that the classes are balanced and interesting and that they are Star Wars. That is one of the things I cannot impress enough upon people. With our classes we are trying to deliver the Star Wars fantasy of those classes. We think that has been ultimately successful in the movies. People have fantasized and dreamed about and created their own fan fiction and fan lifestyles around those classic archetypes and we want to deliver that in the game. We think if we do, that is something that no other MMO can have. So right there we have a huge pillar to stand on.

We understand that for some hardcore MMO fans they may or may not like the story, but we do feel like that is something that will be compelling and interesting that we will continue to work on to give players reasons to go through it and benefit from it with your character and your story. I think those are things that we are looking to do. We are looking to create the Star Wars fantasy at a high level in the end game for players. That is something we really want to do. We want to have activities that keep you interested, keep you coming back, keep you busy that feel like experiences in a Star Wars movie. That is a huge goal. It is set in a different era, you know we’re not in the movie time line, but it is reminiscent in what you know and that is a huge benefit for us. We’re going to try and do that and do it really well.”

You can read the full interview here.

In other news it was first reported on Eurogamer that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the largest most expensive project EA has ever tackled. Eric Brown, EA’s chief banker stated that most games cost around thirty million dollars to make, but said that any MMO costs significantly more.

For an example of cost Blizzard spent more than $100 million to ship World of Warcraft in 2004 and brings in about $100 million a month from subscriptions today. This gives you an idea of what EA is looking towards. While they may not say they are looking to directly compete against W.O.W I am certain they hope to bring in similar profit.

This brings us the topic three. Industry Gamer reported that EA hopes to bring in at least two million subscribers. Arvind Bhatia, a Sterne Agee analyst had a meeting with EA and said that;

“Earnings are somewhat depressed due to ongoing expenses of the Star Wars MMO (but), management has high hopes for this and believes 2M+ subs is possible.”

He went on to say that a little over one million subscribers are needed to break even. Well, we know that no company just wants to break even, the goal is several million subscribers the question is will they reach that goal.