Why SWTOR will never ‘Jump The Shark’

First things first for those under the age of 40 who may not know what the term ‘Jumping The Shark’ means – here’s some free edumacation for you.

Now that’s out of the way, here’s why I think SWTOR will never be at a stage of ‘jumping the shark’: because the Star Wars franchise made that jump years ago. Before you start entertaining the idea of inserting a light saber in one of my cavities, let me explain.

At risk of sounding like an old bugger, it can be pretty easily argued that the Star Wars universe’s best work is behind it. No-one would argue that it isn’t totally embedded into Western culture in particular, but that widespread love and acceptance is predominantly based on the original three movies and to a lesser extent Episodes 1 to 3.

Sure, there have been TV series, toys, piles of books and stacks of comics, but it’s the movies that are the foundation of everything Star Wars. And those original movies are the pinnacle of what has been achieved in Star Wars. Everything since then may have been enjoyable, engaging and even of higher quality, but it’s all of lesser importance (my, I can already hear the sound of this site’s server sighing as it prepares for the onslaught of comments).

Now before anyone gets totally up in arms, I believe that this is actually a great thing. If Star Wars were still the groundbreaking new kid on the block, imagine the pressure on an MMO like SWTOR succeeding. And it’s likely it wouldn’t succeed, because it’s taken all these years for Star Wars lore to be rich enough so that something like SWTOR will appeal to a big enough group of people to make it viable. It’s easy to sell a Star Wars Lego game, but an MMO is a much different beast and only now after so many years is it a viable option.

So overall, although there’s no shortage of criticism of SWTOR, and some of it is certainly valid, SWTOR is in a space where it’s likely to go from strength to strength. Obviously in a number of years it will decline like any game, but that’s no jumping the shark. That’s plain old ageing.

Over to you as always: have I jumped the shark in my jumping the shark analogy??

[Superb image via http://ulysses-gorge.blogspot.com.au]


  1. You sound old.

  2. I agree with you, David!

  3. I disagree, I have believe that many of the novels & even many elements of Kotor surpass aspects of the original trilogy. I think it is foolish to compare movies to books or to games, all three present completely different experiences.

  4. I had to look up what jumping the shark meant (thanks for the link!) but I generally agree with you.  It’s very likely that TOR will never get that ridiculous.

    That being said, it all rides on the writers and, to a lesser extent, their bosses.  If something gets written, proof-read, and makes it into production, then turns out to be unpopular or un-Star Wars-y (for lack of a better term), it could easily be viewed as jumping the shark. 

  5. Tim Buchalka says

    I think it will be here for quite a while yet, despite the critics.

  6. SWTOR’s biggest problem is retention, as people play through their class stories, reach the level cap, and then get bored and wander off. So many are rubber-banding back to WoW, it’s kind of sickening. Blizzard’s annual pass idea was too damned clever. If they offer the MoP expansion free for those who extend their annual pass for another year… ugh, people will never leave.

    It’s really up to BioWare to keep the content coming, to provide enough activity to keep people logging in regularly. That’s more than just leveling alts! I’ve got 3 50s and a 42, and I’m not sure I want to do it again anytime soon. If SWTOR’s content development tools are as advanced as they say, why aren’t they producing a lot more content using parallel dev teams? So much of what’s been released seems focused mainly on the core systems, which are necesssarily bottlenecked through a small team. Oh well, as the game matures, they will hopefully get better at this.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the last report of 1.7M subs is halved at the next EA investor call, if it’s mentioned at all. Here’s hoping the Jesus patch delivers. Or the one after that!

  7. thatoneguy says

    I have yet to reach end game but I, so far, believe this is a revolution in the mmorpg game type. The depth of the stories are astounding, anyone who does not appreciate it, in my opinion, shouldn’t play. If it takes awhile to give us a good end game story with the kind of activities without breaking their own story lines than I believe they should take their time, make sure it is awesome (like the rest of the game so far) then release it. If we have groups of ADD people that would rather have something random **COUGH** PANDAS **COUGH** … sorry, instead of something meaningful and thought out, than we are better off without them.