Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Blog

BioWare Austin's Damion Schubert discusses two different MMORPG philosophies ("world" MMOs vs. "game" MMOs), the importance of community, the multiplayer dialogue system, and more in the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic developer blog.
Advocates of the world philosophy see the space as a simulation or a sandbox. Fans of this viewpoint favor freedom and realism above all else players have the ability to use and abuse almost anything around them, including other players. In 'Ëśworld' MMOs, players tend to have a wide range of possible actions, most of which have relatively little depth. The depth of the world MMO comes from the interactions players are urged to explore the world, and to find their own fun. The world MMO hates artificial constraints like classes or level requirements.

The game philosophy is quite the opposite, of course. Advocates of this view favor fun and balance more than anything. The game MMO is often described as being more like a theme park than a virtual world player activity is tightly controlled, in such a way to help maximize the chance the player will have a fun, balanced and interesting combat experience and, in general, not be nasty to each other. The game MMO has no problem with introducing arbitrary rules to provide a tight, visceral gaming experience. Players can perform fewer actions, but these actions tend to have greater depth (such as a deeper, more balanced combat game).

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I've long advocated that moderation is the way to go, and I believe on The Old Republic we are successfully travelling a middle path, a centrist path that takes the strengths of both: provide a directed and balanced game experience inside a lush, free-form Star Wars world.