Tobold discusses a great point today on his blog about SWTOR and Tortage. I never played Conan myself, though I’m a tremendous fan of the IP and have read every Conan book ever written, and had read the Conan comic books and magazines when I was growing up. However I have a passing understanding of the Conan MMO and know the initial game experience for players is heavily instanced and is heavily story-driven (Tortage). Once you complete the initial content and enter the “real world” the game changes dramatically as it becomes much less story-driven. Conan effectively becomes a different MMO, and in many ways tobold is saying SWTOR is similar. In the case of SWTOR, the “Tortage” experience is much longer, but in the end SWTOR will also effectively become a different game at level 50 as players complete their class and world stories, leaving end-game raiding and instanced PVP as the day to day reality.
I agree, though in my view that’s largely the case with all theme-park MMO’s. Details vary greatly from game to game, but the experience of leveling is necessarily different from the experience players have post-leveling. In theme-park MMO’s, players will eventually run out of “story” content as that type of content is a finite resource. Bioware has cast SWTOR as “Story driven”, intending to separate SWTOR from the crowded field of other theme-park MMOs. And I can only assume that they realized this issue early on and plan to address it with regular new content introduction. What I’m wondering is how often that would occur given the reliance on cut scenes and voice over’s, and whether new content introduction will occur often enough to satisfy players.