Lagwa has an excellent article on the wait for Star Wars: The old Republic and their take on the hype/anticipation buildup. A great read, and for the most part, I tend to agree. We’ve seen this stuff a thousand times before — get your expectations too high, too unrealistic, and it doesn’t matter how the game actually ends up, it’s going to suck for you.
What especially caught my attention is that he commented on a possible parallel marketing strategy-slash-hype train to Warhammer Online. This is s a perspective that’s worthwhile to examine, although I don’t think SW:TOR’s current buildup exactly mirrors Warhammer online.
WAR came out of the gate swinging. These guys had a hype machine to match no other. They called out everything MMO gamers railed against, said they had a better way. There were videos, big personalities, high production values. Prominently displayed on their front page was a beta counter 800,000 strong. It all promised to turn the industry on its head. They were fixing the problems we’d all complained about, adding in new and exciting features. They were elevating RvR, advancing questing, truly letting you personalize your character and track your progress.
And the community bit like never before. Blogs popped up left and right. Podcasts started appearing. Forums, such as Warhammer Alliance, exploded in popularity. Soon, there was even a reason added to WoW’s un-sub section: “Leaving for Warhammer Online.” The exuberance of key figures like Paul Barnett and Mark Jacobs wore on and we believed that this was it, this was our next home-game.
TOR is the same today, building hype and stirring community. They’re marketing in many of the same ways: videos, interviews, subtle swipes at other games. Their message is the same: this is the right way to do an MMO. Promises, promises, Bioware. Indeed, much like WAR before it, they’re promising the Moon Over Endor.