Monday, January 16

Yet Another SW:TOR review

I couldn't resist stealing the title :) It is not much of a review. More ramblings from my head.

The game is up and about for a month now, and that should be enough time for me to know whether I like it or not. It has it good bits and bad bits. As a game I like it, as an MMO it is rather uninteresting. I wish it was a single player game, without a subscription.

I pick up nearly any quest I can find while walking around. That means automatically that I will also get the [Heroic] missions. I have run a quite few of them together with some random people. It was not a bad experience at all. The players ranged from dead weight to done-this-20-times-before. I don't think I have dealt with any real jerk. But I didn't get anything positive out of it either. Each heroic mission I've done was about getting xp and clearing it off the list. It didn't add anything to main reason I play the game, and that is immersing myself in being a badass evil intelligence agent for the Sith Empire. I felt like I was teaming up because that is what you are supposed to do in an MMO.

Although it is silly, I started to avoid teaming up completely. Abandon the heroics, and just do my thing alone. I like the environments I am walking around in. I also like my character, the way she moves, fights, looks and talks. My companion is even cooler. She says and does some of the more memorable gaming experiences. But it sits kind of wrong with me that I am playing this game for 10 pound a month. Why am I not playing Mass Effect 2 or Portal 2 or any of the other 20 Steam games I have bought the last year or so?

The answer probably lies a bit in what makes an MMO different from a single player game (SPG). An SPG has a fixed beginning an end. An MMO is an escape from reality with an alter ego. This is a bit blurred though. In an MMO I do start at level 1 and the journey ends when I reach the level cap, so in a way there is an end. But in an MMO I can create a new alter ego and the world starts over. You can't do that in a SPG. When I play an SPG I start with the intention of finishing it, and if I don't I (usually) won't ever return to it. So along those same lines if I would stop SWTOR now, will I pick it up again later like I've done with other MMOs or if I quit now that is the end of it?

I am feeling some guilt towards my agent to just drop her and never see her again. So I continued playing on Saturday. And I am having a good time. I do want to see what other worlds are out there. And I do want to know what the Empire has in store for her. But it is all a bit more in the same way I want to know what happens in the next episode of Hollyoaks.

On Sunday I played City of Heroes with my usual group. We played through the latest Signature Story Arc. It was a lot of fun. I also played Bastion and had a lot of fun with that too. I enjoyed both those games more than I did SWTOR on Saturday. Is it compulsive bahaviour that I can't let go of SWTOR just yet? It could also be guilt towards MMOs in general. It has been my biggest hobby these past 10 years. I just have to enjoy SWTOR!


  1. I have till Thursday night to make up my mind.

  2. Your thoughts echo some of what I think. I need to sort out some stuff, how I feel about it. But right now I'm pretty much in the same frame of mind. "I have till Thursday night to make up my mind".

    Something interesting about your perception of SPG vs MMO.
    Bethesda doesn't make an Elder Scrolls MMO, because those are all about the world, your character is the vehicle by which you explore the world. An MMO is all about self, your (your character's) progression.

    The way you describe SPG vs MMO, it's the other way round :-)

    When I begin reading a Fantasy series and it sucks, I tend to finish it anyway. Just because I "need" to finish the story. I never finished the Sword of Truth series, even though it apparently becomes semi-bearable in the later books, but generally I'll finish a story once I get in on it. That's how I feel about SW:TOR now.

    Also, I think I can have fun with the game, but right now when I start it up I start feeling bad about the whole thing, so maybe I'll let my sub lapse and try again in a month or two. But then, will I be able to get back into my stories?

  3. FallOut or Skyrim are indeed more about a virtual world to escape in than a gamey start-to-finish affair. Too bad something is not clicking for me with their games. On the other hand I have the feeling that MMOs are becoming much more gamey than they used to be. In Anarchy Online, Vanguard, and even City of Heroes, I never felt as if I am just playing a game. Rift had completely lost that virtual world feel for me, and what got me so drawn to MMOs in the first place. SWTOR is pretty much the same, except in space and with a better story. But it is still more a game than a virtual reality.

    Maybe what I want is Utopia. But I do know SWTOR is not really it. And this might be a good time to see what other SPGs I have skipped this passed year(s).

  4. 'Utopia' which was to be the fourth GW chapter, became Eye of The North, perhaps you already have it ? ;p

    It is very gamey, I do find it hard to connect with the world, the story had me on occasion but then the far too linear world (so many things to stop you exploring!) kiled it for me.

    Grouping took me out of the story and in to an average MMO, couple that with that 'leaving Tortage' feeling after the first flash point (where did that fourth pillar go?) and I've been untracking and then deleting group content too. I've had some fun but I'm not sure fun enough to keep me paying, sub is already cancelled, maybe I'll leave it at that and perhaps check it out again later.

    Lord Vailare Vox is progressing nicely, I've picked up and enjoyed his story the past few days, maybe I'll have a change of heart? Who knows...I've yet to purchase Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur is just around the corner.

    I rarely finish SRPG's, NWN and all its expansions, KOTOR 1 and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines being the few exceptions to that rule. I had this theory that I'd grown too accustomed to background noise in games from guildies and such, but SWTOR has proved that theory not to be the case.

  5. Bleeh, I've got material for an Epic Wall of Text on this MMO, what's wrong with it and what's wrong with our perceptions / expectation. Just need to find the time, opportunity and motivation to actually write it. Somehow I never seem to ahve all three at once

  6. This review sounds eerily familiar:

  7. Decided not to wait till Thursday. I logged in today, felt lost already, and decided to cancel. Maybe I'll be back, maybe not. It is still on my harddisk.

    That terronova post is a nice one. SPGs are getting much better and being worldly. And with the collapse of good guilds/communities/cooperation MMOs become too gamey. Or maybe the players have become too gamey. Either way dealing with others has lost that made MMOs so much fun. What is left is a genre with limited outdated game mechanics. Maybe I am just jaded today. Maybe I'll be back, maybe not.

  8. I cancelled my sub today.
    Haven't really played since Satruday and when I noticed that EA bills you one day ahead of schedule (i.e. the 19th rather than the 20th) it pissed me off all over again about their racketeering, sorry I mean subscription scheme and I cancelled.