Another Experiment

My life as an MMO player has been rocky for a while. Way back when the games were starting, I played sparingly. By the time the market was starting to get saturated, I was in the thick of it. At one point I gave them up altogether for a period of three years. Many titles later, we’re at a point where most are available to at least try for free.

It was only recently that I gave them another go. Of course I started with the tried and true (Everquest II, my longest tenure in a single world), and trying to get back into it after such a long time started out as a fun endeavor but ended up being tiresome. Walls of grinding are not conducive to a good time, in my opinion. It’s funny because the way I look at things now, doing some of the repetitive grindy shit that I used to enjoy isn’t fun at all. But put that in a new package and it’s suddenly ok. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in MOBAs, and not had a problem with that grind whatsoever. That goes back to the PvE vs PvP debate, and I won’t drudge that up again.

So basically just this year I got back into sampling MMOs. With these titles being free to play, I was able to try them and not feel obligated to keep playing if I was to hit a wall of boredom. Of the ones that are out there, I’ve tried Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, Rift, Wildstar (beta), and Star Wars: The Old Republic. I still have a list of games that I want to try as well, but some have pay walls that are slowing me down (Guild Wars 2, ESO), and the others that are F2P I just haven’t gotten to yet. I have this funny pattern where I feel the urge to get invested in an MMO, and then by the time I’m mid-game (sometimes sooner) I end up getting bored and disillusioned with the genre again. This is a symptom of a larger problem, I think. The problem I’ve been talking about for a long time now. A lack of true innovation.

Still, while I was playing Rift I had a lot of fun. I think where I lost interest there was when it was clear that people I had started playing with weren’t playing the game as much, or we were on differing time frames. I still intend to go back and level to cap at the least. Then I can say I’ve done most of the content at least. I enjoy the world and the lore and all that, but in the end the mechanics are all still the same, and that’s probably why after the newness factor wears off I get bored.

That doesn’t stop me from theorizing, or from dreaming about MMOs to come. I still love the idea of the virtual worlds that these developers are creating. I love the social aspects too, though I miss the days when everyone I knew was playing the same game and doing it together. These days everyone is bouncing around and playing “together alone.” That’s definitely the case with my newest foray, SWTOR.

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Playing together alone isn’t putting me off though. Quite the contrary. I’ve been having a blast playing solo, having a story catered to me. Being able to jump into Flashpoints and Warzones and the Starfighter battles on a whim is a nice change of pace, and doesn’t really break immersion too much. I do feel more out of character participating in those modes, but that’s been the only group content I’ve experienced so far.

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I do understand that the custom tailored story does seem to put a hinderance on grouping outside of dungeons and PvP though. It sort of forces  you down a path that other people of the same class can’t join, and also would force those same classed players to have to do the same content over and over again. That’s not conducive to group play. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t know anyone playing the game and don’t have to worry about it. I’m treating it like Mass Effect in the Star Wars galaxy, and that suits me. The story is intriguing, and has kept me wanting to see what comes next. Despite there still being FedEx and Kill Ten Rats quests, having the voice acting and conversation choices feels better to me. I don’t care as much that I’m still doing exactly the same thing. So take note devs, to get me to play your game, I either need high production values or innovation. I’d prefer the latter but am currently settling for the former.

At this point, I’ve been running through the Prologue. I’m level 11 on my Bounty Hunter, and have also made sure to complete the first dungeon and try out the PvP. Overall, SWTOR and Rift feel very similar with these systems. They are simple, enjoyable, and I like the lore. I’ve been wanting to check out the space battles, but every time I queue up nothing ever happens. I tried out the tutorial level, and the mode controls nice and looks nicer. I’d like to see an actual game of it though.

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PvP was weird. In all of the MMO PvP I’ve participated in, usually bum rushing your opponents works best. The rounds I played in this game were different, in that the players on both teams stood around a lot more, and then pounced all at once. I don’t know if that’s a viable strategy or not, but diving in solo isn’t a good idea. I also ended up with unbalanced teams, so those were losses. No fun.

Overall I feel like SWTOR is just another themepark, but seeing as how it isn’t fantasy based and I’ve not played a kick ass Star Wars game, well… ever, it’s been a nice change of pace. Will I see the end game? I don’t know. But as long as I’m having fun with it I’ll keep playing. \

#swtor #starwarstheoldrepublic #pvp #themepark

 

9 responses to “Another Experiment

  1. “I’ve not played a kick ass Star Wars game, well… ever”

    You didn’t enjoy Knights of the Old Republic, the Jedi Knight series, or any of the SNES Star Wars games?

    • I believe I said it in my last State of the Game post, I never played Knights of the Old Republic. I imagine I would like that one since Bioware was involved. Otherwise, every Star Wars game I’ve played was pretty much crap.

  2. Someone looking for innovation and tired of the regular MMO style grind definitely needs to give GW2 a try.

    Unfortunately, free trials of GW2 are few and far between, though they have occasional 50% off discounts. That might be worth keeping an eye out for.

    Caveat: How much you enjoy it would depend on if you were willing to play in a way that suits your Bartle style and how much Explorer you innately have.

    A Socializer would definitely need to actively look for company to have fun in GW2 because it’s easy to get lost alone in a big world. A Killer would have to jump into PvP and WvW fairly quickly to stay hooked, imo. Achievers seem to feel very keenly how long it takes to level because they’re so fixated on the end goal and comparing themselves to veterans and keep trying to level in the most signposted and least efficient route possible (hearts and zone completion.)

    • I’ve never officially labelled myself with a Bartle Type, but I have some traits of all three of those that you listed.

      I have heard good things about GW2, and that’s why it’s on my to-do list, but I just hadn’t gotten around to buying it. I do appreciate it’s buy-to-play model though.

      I still believe that it falls under the themepark category though. I think my issue is wanting a sandbox mmo, but not one of the ones that currently exist.

      • Just curious, what do you feel a sandbox MMO would be able to sate for you?

        The freedom to attack other people without an artificial boundary has been done by plenty of the sandboxes out there, so that can’t be it.

        An infinite, procedurally generated world to explore? Best to look at stuff like Minecraft or Don’t Starve or other roguelike variants.

        Searching for player-created narrative? Time to look for strategy stuff like Civilization or Dwarf Fortress, or actively work at it in other games through roleplaying and purposeful immersion.

        Freedom to do a range of activities offered up by the game is actually present in many ‘themeparks’ – when done properly – it’s a carnival as some have described. Pick and choose whatever rides and minigames you want, and then go home when you’re done.

        What would a sandbox MMO offer for you, that you’re yearning for?

      • Sadly I can’t answer that in a straightforward fashion.

        Yes, all of the above is true, and I enjoy most of those games more than I enjoy MMOs. Which is why there’s a variety of games I’m talking about all the time, because they all have an end of sorts. MMOs typically don’t have an end.

        Many of the mechanics present in the above games/genres could be awesome on a massive scale. Or perhaps I just want a Medium-MO, where we get the best of both worlds.

        I don’t truly know what I want. I just know that I haven’t found it. I’m hopeful for the future.

    • I agree with Jeromai here, Guild Wars 2 is a great MMO and has a different feel to its rivals. It’s price has dropped a lot since its release and there is the added bonus of no subscription either.

  3. I’m a big fan of SWTOR’s leveling experience, of the 10 or so MMOs I’ve played it is by far the best in that regard. It’s the only MMO I’ve played where my character feels ‘powerful’ – not in terms of being able to kill mobs quickly but in the way the story is put together and the dialogue.

    I enjoy the PvP too, they require quite a lot of team work. This unfortunately means that if you are up against a more organised team / premade, you’re going to get flattened and there isn’t much you can do about it.

    • Yeah the solo part of the game is pretty fun. I really like the Starfighter battles, more so than the ground forces pvp. Seems the queues are a lot longer though.

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