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2:28pm on Friday, 20th January, 2012:



One of the non-design things I've observed while playing Star Wars: the Old Republic is the startling number of its players who are new to MMOs. On at least half of the occasions I've seen the term CC used in a flashpoint (SW:TOR's version of dungeon instances), someone has asked what CC means. If you've played MMOs before, you know it means "crowd control", but if you haven't, well, why would you know that?

I see it most in mid-game flashpoints such as Mandalorian Raiders, which have some encounters that are quite tough without CC. This is the sort of level range at which people who haven't come across the term before will first do so. I even spotted it when I was zooming through content over Christmas, which would indicate that the people who were asking what it meant had good experience of RPGs (or they wouldn't have got that far that quickly), they just didn't have experience of MMORPGs.

Other things that experienced MMO players might do, such as abbreviating the names of instances ("MR" instead of "Mandalorian Raiders", say) just isn't happening yet. I'm seeing calls such as "LFG Esselles" picking up, but there's still a majority of less formal approaches to looking for group ("anyone up for Esselles?", "Esselles, anyone?"). All players seem to have some idea of what a healer does and why one might be necessary, but not all appear to know what a tank does (or is).

I didn't see this when I played Rift. I therefore deduce that SW:TOR has brought new players to MMOs in a way that Rift didn't. That's good news, because having more MMO players in the world is intrinsically a good thing. However, it's bad news for the developers of later MMOs, as people tend to judge future MMOs by the one they first got into. Making something sufficiently like SW:TOR to satisfy those who "grew up" playing it might be a tall order unless you have money to burn.

Referenced by Bottling It.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).