MMOs

SWTOR: Playing a Dead Game

The title is a bit provocative as the game has just received a fresh influx of players and is quite busy, especially in lower levels – but I will explain.

Yesterday I resubbed to the game. As I wrote about previously, the free to play experience seems to be designed to punish the player, EA obviously having the opinion that if you make the game unpleasant enough, players will resub rather than be beaten down all the time with unavailable quest rewards (hidden by that snotty Cartel sign), 25-30% xp reduction, limits on everything except for questing, etc. In my case, it worked, but not for the reason that they seemed to have anticipated it would.

At this point it seems obvious that there will be no further story-driven development on the game. Sure, they’ll add new space missions (still on rails, yawn) and warzones, but I could care less about pvp in this game. I mildly enjoy pvp in some games, and this ain’t one of them. What I love is story and immersion and this is where the original game did a superb job, backed by stellar voice actors and character-driven cutscenes that shine above any other game out there. (Guild Wars 2, I’m looking at you with your stiff, badly acted cutscenes.)

Whenever I play a RPG that I really enjoy, I can’t help thinking “It’s too bad this isn’t an MMO – I would play the hell out of this.” Bioware make superb single-player games and that love of story and character translated to SWTOR perfectly. Some storylines are better than others, but they are all good. I played a Sith Inquisitor to 50 as my first character and even though it is one of the classes with the least popular storylines, I still logged in just because I had to see what happens next.

Although I didn’t want to reward EA/Bioware by actually resubbing, in the end it was worth it just to experience the class stories…especially since there won’t be any more added to the game. I think eventually the game will fail to the point where EA finally pulls the plug because the game outside of the story just isn’t that great. There are too many MMOs out there who are doing raiding/gear treadmills right (Warcraft) and pvp (LoL? No idea, as I am not a pvp’er). There are games which do pve content much better and are better games overall (Rift, made by the wondeful Trion, and The Secret World, made by the not-so-wonderful Funcom) – if you don’t care about sweeping storylines. Story and immersion is the only thing that I think SWTOR does right.

So here I am…loving the hell out of a dying game. For a few months, that level of storytelling will make my sub worthwhile.

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