With any luck, Bioware will tell the lot of us off and take The Old Republic in a direction that current MMO players will find inconceivable. In the best of all possible worlds, you will recognize its connection to the original EverQuest the way you recognize the connection between Pac-Man and Quake. Because we have ruined these games by defining the RPG out and setting for killing 10,000 rats because it will improve our gearscore.
Darren senses that Bioware is missing the point of MMOs. Good for them. Our niche market is a horror of trying to stretch out the fun instead of making it more fun. Portal did not become a huge hit because it made you execute the same maneuver 50 times before moving to the next level.
World of Warcraft did not become a huge hit by catering to then-current MMO players. It so vastly expanded the market that it effectively created the whole thing; which has had more players, World of Warcraft or every earlier western MMO combined? Bioware is looking for that kind of success, and they are going to succeed or fail big. They are not going to settle for a few hundred thousand players. While there are a lot of developers that could live quite nicely with that playerbase, as a corporation they are not devoting resources to niches. They can try to poach a few million current MMO players, or they can take the market in a different direction.
I have no idea if the game will be good, successful, or even something that I want to play. But I will be disappointed if it ends up appealing to the current MMO market instead of trying to reach different players.
House of Leaves has the best dedication page ever.