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back to article Wanna puff the Old Republic? Only if you do it for free

Whatever benchmarks Bioware’s upcoming launch of MMOG Star Wars: The Old Republic (SW:TOR) looks like setting in gameplay, it’s already beaten the pack in legalistic control of third-party websites wanting to cover the game. Any fansites that want Bioware’s support – including promos on Twitter, Facebook and the SW:TOR website …

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FAIL

I enjoyed the first two games

But this is a dick move of epic proportion, which to my sleep-addled brain reads like an attempt at stifling free comment.

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"There's a difference between press and fansites"

No, there isn't.

Bioware are saying "If you're small enough that we can bully you, we will".

Assholes.

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it says what the diffrence is in the artical

At the moment fan sites get support from Bioware.

It sounds fair to me. Want support from us then don't charge your users and don't feed them gold selling adds. Either that or be treated like the rest of the media and go through the press office. Don't seem unreasonable to me.

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FAIL

Mark my words.

My, my, my... They're already setting conditions....

You should look to their other game. Warhammer and the fiasco it is. Take a look at the forums and see how they care for their community.

Mark my words...

This game will launch,

There will be a transient surge of the curious

People will then find out they have a new game that is (inevitably with all new releases) bugged, unbalanced and then they realized it's almost just but not quite like the other crap they play, except with the other crap they play things have had time to have been worked out (Unless it's warhammer lol).

And then as sure as the surge, a (somewhat slower) decline.

The WoW phenomena is not likely to repeat itself here. It did not with warhammer. This time round they appear to have a crew that is at least as bad.

I tried warhammer. I would not touch this with a 10 foot barge pole.

GG Mythic/Bioware.

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Badgers

food goes in here

EA/Bioware

Remember that EA owns bioware.

I would think this comes from the EA goons, wearing bioware clothes

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Silver badge

Agreed

Warhammer had so much potential as a rock solid PVP MMO. Where they went wrong, aside from hiring Mark "63 Servers" Jacobs, was refusing to listen to the fanbase and being very slow to patch. Problems remained problems for an extremely long time and with the players spread over so many servers, finding regular PVP proved impossible for many people.

We'll see whether SW:TOR does things differently but I'm going to take anything EA/Bioware say with a very large pinch of salt.

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Anonymous Coward

Wasn't always like this

Neverwinter Nights saw regular patches 6 or 7 years into the life of the game and the community was/is actively supported; to the point of "supporting" reverse engeneering.

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Stop

@Wasn't always like this

Exactly my thought. NWN1 is still alive out there (experiencing mild cardiac arrests but still) - surviving better than NWN2 even. The only reason it's still alive is because of the community efforts and servers that .. wait for it .. cost money to run. The donation opportunity gives people the ability to run expensive servers on hosts that do not work for free.

What they've effectively done here is destroyed the essence of how this works to the consumers favor, and signed the games end-of-life before it even gets released. This is EA's favorite tactic: screw the consumer over as much as possible, eliminating the very things that make games popular. Then bleat and cry over "pirates" destroying their profits.

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Flame

Tempus fugit

Whereas when Dragon Age: Origins v1.03 introduced a number of colossal bugs that caused many users to experience fatal crashes and save game corruption, BioWare denied the problem even existed for three months. But then, they couldn't roll the patch back because they'd just released the expansion and you couldn't play it without patch 1.03.

Because of this, I will certainly not be buying SW:TOR. To those of you who intend to: I find your lack of lack of faith disturbing.

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Anonymous Coward

Well it's simples...

...Open two fansites. Fansite A agrees, and has no ads. Fansite B gets everything through Fansite A, like a proxy, and runs all the adverts and the better content...

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That's an idea

Except that I give it a month before Bioware amends its stance and refuses to support the Fansite A because they will have found the link between the two.

But I'm not interested in anything EA anyway, so this is pure rhetoric on my part.

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Coat

Dont forget...

Bigger sites like IGN depend on advertising to survive so they are easier to push around. They will put a positive tone into any reviews so they dont lose revenue. Even if the game end up being a load of turd Bioware will offer them money to go on about how pretty the lightsabre effects are or the voice acting. Small fansites have more morals and tend to write what they really think.

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Silver badge

Why would one bother anyway?

If you're a fan I can imagine that you want to write about the game, sure. But why would you even want to bother getting spoonfed the same stuff like so many other fansites? How would your site stand out from the rest (apart from the fact that its YOUR site) if you rely on the same info as all the others get?

Not to mention the simple yet important question; is this really a race to be the first ?

Whats to stop you from telling Bio to take a hike, then read about the "hot news" on other fansites and comment on that news on your own site ?

Better yet; if you want to talk about a game on your website, what more info could you possibly need than your own on-hands experience which you get from actually *playing* it ?

As said; maybe I'm being too simplistic, but that's the way I see it.

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So loosely translated that means:

..... advertise our product for us for free, and fund your site out of your own pocket.

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FAIL

wtf?

Aside from the obvious (they're being assholes), what exactly are they going to gain from this? It's not like they're losing out.

Clearly someone doesn't understand how the "community" side of things work. Players don't want to read about and talk about their game on some shitty effin CNET run portal, they want gamer-run sites like WoWInsider.com -- and there'd be no WoWInsider without income.

Fuckwits of the first degree.

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Bioware, behaving stupidly...

Right... so the opportunity cost of having direct access to a marketing droid who says stuff like, "We can't talk about that..." ad infinitum and can't actually do anything real for these sites anyway, is that they have to give up your advertising? Bwahahahaha, I trust fansites will raise a firm middle finger in Bioware's direction. That is ridiculous. Also, I know of very few fansites that are strictly TOR related, anyway. See, there are plenty of non-mainstream bloggers and podcasters who cover not only TOR, yet other MMOs as well. Where do they sit? They aren't professional media that Bioware is afraid to make sign their silly agreement... but nor are they TOR-only sites. It's another sign of how ill-thought out this whole idea is that they're not even covered at all. After all, Bioware cannot possibly tell a site that covers MMOs not to have advertising at all, just because it wants to give TOR a little coverage at times?!?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually..

This is not the way Bio behaved prior to EA buying them out. So, no this is not Bio... your gripe is with EA and all the "ex" good companies they're swallowing out there.

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WTF?

Astounding madness from these arrogant bastards!

This Narcissistic control freak behaviour is pissing off fans (and stopping them being fans), when they should be trying to help encourage fans! ... are they trying to make their company fail! (Someone somewhere has to pay for the bandwidth of fans using fan websites, so how do Bioware expect there to be fan sites without the fan sites being able to pay for themselves?!). Do these greedy bastards at Bioware really resent fans so much for them even just earning some of the money they need to run a website?! WTF!

Is this idea from the management of Bioware or is this David Bass's own idea? ... If its his own idea, then he should be instantly fired by Bioware. If its Bioware's management, then WTF are they thinking!

The arrogance of this behaviour is unbelievable, when they should be trying to encourage fans they are instead obstructing, punishing and undermining fans!. Now they are big, don't they think they need fans?! WTF! ... do they want their company to fail!... where the hell do they think they get their money from! ... Here's a hint Bioware, its from millions of fans!

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Grenade

Not that big a deal for fansites

All this means is that they are cutting fansites off. They are simply saying if you wish to run a fansite for our game you need to fund it yourself and if you do that we'll give you interviews and what not.

I run diablo.incgamers.com (diabloii.net) since 1997 and we get nothing from Blizzard directly. All our information comes from official media outlets such as their forums, facebook, twitter and attending Blizzcon (to which we get no press access either). It can be done.

It's difficult to have a good relationship with a developer and print unbiased opinion about their game, it's not good PR, they need control and they can control other forms of media more easily. Developers of AAA titles can feed interviews/dev diaries/studio access and also advertise their games via outlets such as Gamespot and in return these sites are favourable or at the least say nothing potentially damaging about the title.

It's simply about editorial control and the easiest way to have that is through people's pockets.

It really isn't a big deal at all. It just means that Bioware will have no relationship with their fansites.

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FAIL

You have failed me for the last time..

Then this MMO has no chance whatsoever of success. Fansites are the sites that produce addons, strategies and the like, and without those average players (which means more or less anyone that hasn't seen a ray of sunlight since 1981) will not progress beyond leveling their characters. Most MMOs start the real game when the leveling stops, the best dungeons, pvp etc isn't reachable until then. Without assistance from the "pros" the rest of us will get frustrated pretty fast. WoW would not be the success it is without those kinds of fansites. The fansites would still be there, but it would be impossible to put in the kind of time required to keep them ahead of the game and therefore useful, if they couldn't generate just a little revenue to help.

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Boffin

gg

Whilst i believe bioware will do well with the franchise I also think they are shooting themselves in the feet with this move. Enthusiast sites help their advertising amongst other things and refusing them of any public support will likely mean a lot less of them will crop up.

I guess they know what their doing....

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Coat

If you want to cover this on a fansite...

.. you'd better believe that it's the greatest thing since the lightsabre.

Otherwise We'll find your lack of faith disturbing...

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Pirate

"Fear will hold this franchise together..."

"...fear of my ego and these upwardly mobile lawyer types."

Reminds me of the times when Paramount went after all the Star Trek fansites. Back in 1996 I think. Don't know what happened after that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_fan_productions#Legal_issues

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Stop

Bioware is legally obligated to do this

Bioware does not own the license for this game. It's owned by Lucas Arts. Bioware themselves are renting it, and they're legally obligated to disallow fan sites to make money from Lucas Arts' license. No reason to attack a company that is doing nothing wrong.

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Flame

Silly little rabbit.

As has been referenced, they haven't really thought this through. It would be perfectly possible to setup a doorway type site agreeing to the terms, then harvest any content, linkage, etc. for use in the proper site.

Bioware/EA seems to have forgotten which way the value is going here. You don't try and handcuff press releases, if anything you fellate those sites to get coverage.

Ritual garrotting of the legal/marketing dweeb on a video feed is probably called for.

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Bronze badge
Badgers

This is quite normal for MMORPG releases

Well, not the exact terms outlined in the article, but the attempt to control the media prior to launch.

Normally games that have been massively hyped but still fall short of what customers are lead to expect from all the hype.

Bit of catch a 22 for the manufactures, while they need to promise the earth to beat the WoW juggernaut, they don't have the millions of prior investment nor the 5-6 years of work on content that Blizzard have.

They are almost FORCED to lie a little bit, maybe release game play videos that are not 100% what the users will see when they finally play the game.

What is worse for the manufacture is that the game will need a month or so of solid numbers of people playing the game to get rid of the initial round of bugs and exploits. Its this period that is the hardest part for them to survive, and its this point that the game lives or dies on the buzz created from the internet fan-sites etc.

Baring use of baseball bats etc some form of control of these fan-sites is therefore needed from the earliest point possible.

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Not sure it's really about control

Bioware have always run 'official fan site' programs, where they offer the sites extra support and they can claim to be 'official fan sites'. The problem is, you run any advertising on a site about MMOs and you'll almost inevitably get gold selling ads. Which Bioware can't be seen to be supporting.

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Yoda on EA / Bioware

Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.

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Might not be a stupid idea

After what Google has done to J C Penney this might not be a stupid idea.

I know one of the larger games company that does offer 'inducements' to webmasters to write about their games. If caught they run the risk of following J C Penney.

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Anonymous Coward

Joined just to say that huh?

So how's life working at EA?

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