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Posts with tag StarWars

How much is a brand name license worth? Part 2

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps.

My first article on the issues of brand licensing and Bobby Kotick's comments pondering the profitability problems that Star Wars: The Old Republic could potentially have due to the amount of money it costs to license the Star Wars franchise received some nice follow-up emails. Many readers sent in emails about why people hold their licenses to their chests and charge so much, when it would logically be better to get the brand name on anything and everything people touch. After all, more products with your logo on them is good, right? Well ... Not really, and not always.

Last week, I confessed to not knowing the amount of money Lucas was going to be paid for the Star Wars license for The Old Republic, but we could surmise that it would be a hefty fee. Readers pointed to an article by Eurogamer that interviews Michael Pachter, a games industry analyst many people know of. He believes that the cut LucasArts will be taking is around 35% of the revenue split after Electronic Arts makes back all of the cash that it puts into the game itself. If that's true, it's pretty astonishing, since LucasArts has so much faith in EA and BioWare to make this game have some intense staying power.

Where World of Warcraft is concerned, Blizzard lives in a different world where rather than have to choose the perfect partner to make the next StarCraft game, it has to operate as the LucasArts-like party, finding the right people to make everything associated with its brands. Where The Old Republic is another Star Wars product, Blizzard's most popular franchise is a game first and a world of products secondary.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

BioWare says WoW is the touchstone for Star Wars: The Old Republic

When game developers talk about massively multiplayer games these days, World of Warcraft is the proverbial big man on campus. At the DICE summit keynote panel in Las Vegas, Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of Bioware, stated that WoW was the touchstone for standards in the MMO sphere and for upcoming Bioware MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. Essentially, Zeschuk was saying that breaking rules that World of Warcraft set as industry standards is a bad idea for any up and coming MMO.

Zeschuk said: "It [World of Warcraft] is a touchstone. It has established standards, it's established how you play an MMO. Every MMO that comes out, I play and look at it. And if they break any of the WoW rules, in my book that's pretty dumb."

What's interesting is how Zeschuk, sitting with Mike Morhaime at the keynote panel, gave WoW the reverence it deserves as the leading industry standard in MMO gaming. Instead of couching his remarks about the specific game he was in the process of making, he discussed how players expect a set of established standards that WoW has provided. Be it a sense of completion of polish, a game mechanic, core concepts, or even art direction and fluidity of art theme, World of Warcraft set the bar very high for other game developers and even Blizzard itself.

We know WoW is big, but I think we sometimes forget how important it is as well. Greg Zeschuk and the rest of the video game industry know this and acknowledge that breaking some clear-cut rules is a big mistake.

Filed under: Blizzard

Breakfast Topic: Is WoW science fiction?

Yesterday we talked about similarities between World of Warcraft and other fantasy franchises. Commenting on that post, Baluki noted that "Warcraft is also somewhat unique in mixing some sci-fi elements into its fantasy universe." But not everyone thinks that's a good thing: back around the time that Burning Crusade previews were coming out, the draenei and the naaru caused quite a bit of stir among lore fans who felt that "space pallies" and "interdimensional ships" like Tempest Keep were going too far.

One poster to the forums linked to this screenshot and said, "When did this turn into a friggin space game... Draenei, Exodar... hell this battleground feels more like UT Facing Worlds map than an RPG..."

Drysc replied: "I believe you may be creating your own idea of what Warcraft is and has been, while it's been anything but a traditional medieval fantasy setting. The lore and history is full of interstellar travel and themes one may consider 'sci-fi'. There are warp gates that link various worlds together, planets blowing up, space traveling demons who enslave entire planets, inter dimensional ships, time travel, etc.

"You say '[this] feels more like UT Facing Worlds map than an RPG... ', when RPG simply stands for Roleplaying Game. Warcraft has and always will be beyond a singular tolkienesque world, and I think those who know and understand the lore and history are more apt to recognize and accept how the story is progressing as 'clearly Warcraft'."

What do you think? Are the "sci-fi" elements minimal enough that WoW still doesn't count as "science fiction" or even "science fantasy?" Or do World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade launch the lore off the Tolkienenque fantasy homeworld and into the anomalous nebulae of Stargate, Alien, or even Transformers?

Personally, I think WoW gets the balance right -- I'm happy to see some creative mixing of different themes that breaks the traditional fantasy molds. I'd like to see more sci-fi elements in future expansions too, though I doubt that's likely. WTB more WoW Lightsabers!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, Lore

Guild Watch: Execute Order 66!


Guild Watch is back again (just like Tag Team) with the latest, greatest, and most dramatic of news from around the WoW guild spectrum. This week's roundup of Drama, Downed, and Recruiting guilds starts right after you click the link below.

Oh, and if you're wondering where you should send information if you want a guild to be featured here (make sure to include your guild name, website (if you got one), server and faction), the address is: wowguildwatch@gmail.com. We want to hear about everything you want to tell us!

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Filed under: Realm News, Fan stuff, Guilds, PvP, Instances

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