“It’s not you, it’s me”: SWTOR and my waning interest.

Full disclosure: I was cautiously optimistic about SWTOR. I was very careful not to buy into the hype, but I thought some of the things they were doing could actually improve the genre (it’s bizarre that this has become so rare). So I pre-ordered early, got into Early Access on the first day, and I’ve subbed the first month. Initially it pulled me in. The stories were good, the style of questing and the voice acting were interesting enough to maintain my attention. I got to 50, did some raiding, played some warzones, did a few runs of the daily quests and some of the “hard mode” group instances.

This was all fun, I was enjoying myself. Then the wheels fell off the lightsaber-y donkey cart. (Picture a regular donkey cart, then add midichlorians).

After a few rounds of the dailies, I soon realised that these were just the same tarted up WoW dailies that I was bored shitless doing in that game, and refused to do because developers forcing me to repeat exceedingly boring content is insulting and basically lazy. To get the PvE bonuses that came from dailies I ended up buying my way through it with money I made from my various commercial ventures.

Then we came to PvP. I’m not a huge fan of PvP in modern theme park MMOs. I’m not sure whether it’s the style of PvP, or that I’m just terrible at it, but I can run a few warzones, battlegrounds or whatever they’re calling them, and then that’s it. I get sick of it, either through frustration at consistently being steamrolled by the other side, or just the sheer boredom of the same small maps and the same limited objectives. I had more fun PvPing in the open world of UO, DAOC or early WoW.

Which leaves me with raiding. I still log in to raid, but is it because the raid content is fascinating? Nope, I log in because I enjoy messing around in Vent with the guys I’ve been playing with for the last 4 years. But it could be virtually any MMO that we’re playing.

So I’m bored. I’m fast approaching the point where I only log in to raid, and we’re just shy of two months in. Granted, it’s had me longer than Rift did, but I did take some breaks over the holidays. But is it the game, or it just me?

Honestly, I think it’s me. It’s a fine game. Lots of people are enjoying it. But it’s not what I want in the genre. I think we’ve lost what made an MMORPG an MMORPG. These aren’t worlds anymore .. they’re elaborate gaming lobbies, where we sit and wait and disappear off into our own 8-player or 16-player games, and then pop out again some time later clutching tokens. SWTOR is gamification taken to the extreme. After reading many of the MMO bloggers, like Syncaine at Hardcore Casual, I realise I’m not alone in my thinking here.

So SWTOR, it’s not you, it’s me. But maybe you can set me up with your half theme park, half sandbox, PvE/PvP sister that hasn’t been born yet?

Hmm. That last sentence sounded creepier than I intended.

‘Til next time..

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