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YPHM #10 – The Veteran: A SW:TOR Experience

Hi, I’m Taix. I’m an MMO elitist, take my video games way too seriously, and in this article I will contrast the recent article written by StaticSilence, where he shared his experience of waiting for our favorite MMO, having never played an MMO before. When he suggested that somebody write an opposing article from the viewpoint of an MMO veteran I felt obligated to step in and contribute my experiences too.

So how do I, who played the juggernaut of MMOs for five years, feel about waiting for SWTOR? To be honest, I’m extremely excited. I first learned of SWTOR when the five minute combat intro video was released in June 2010 (I think it was June). Seeing the visual style and combat animations that give SWTOR a much more action-packed feeling than other MMOs piqued my interest immediately. After doing my research on the game I quickly learned that they were modeling the core of the game after the tried-and-true basics of MMOs (leveling, classes, talent trees, trinity roles, etc.) but adding their own flair (OMG story) to make the leveling experience actually fun. From the very beginning I was hoping that SWTOR would end up being a Star Wars-themed WoW with the leveling of a BioWare game.

So far, it’s looking exactly as I had hoped, save for a few concerns. Difficult endgame raiding content having yet to be unveiled is a large concern of mine, one which would not be shared by somebody with no MMO experience. I worry about the ability of SWTOR to attract hardcore MMO players for the long haul. Nonetheless, BioWare and EA are being extremely intelligent with the timing of their game release, coming at a time when WoW is feeling VERY aged. All of Warcraft’s storylines from the RTS games have been wrapped up or will be soon (Deathwing, Arthas, Illidan, etc.) and they’re very obviously grasping at straws to keep people subscribing… case in point being the kung fu pandas. If WoW players get their hands on a game with similar visual style (artsy and stylish rather than gritty and realistic) which plays in a similar manner and is fun to level in, it can very easily spell the end of the world… of Warcraft. However, there needs to be sufficient content for MMO players to stay invested for many years.

The waiting itself, however, has been long, and I’ve only been waiting for a year and a half (think of the 2008ers). For about eight months of that time I was playing WotLK and Cata (at separate times, taking a six month break in between) but since I quit for good I’ve passed the time with Civilization V and League of Legends. Those games combined are able to satisfy my cravings for an MMO (Civ V has the complexity and learning curve aspect of MMOs that I love, and LoL has the PvP). One thing is for sure though, which I discovered about myself in the interim: I am an MMO gamer at heart.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to having as much MMO experience as I do when compared to an MMO rookie. Most of the idealism that those with no MMO experience have is gone; I know the nature of the beast. I know how much time the game will require, but I also now know how to balance that time successfully and still succeed in real life AND in-game endeavors. I know how to look past the spin that the developers put on features or changes they present to the player base and see how it will actually affect gameplay. I don’t, however, quite feel the same awe from discovering the massiveness of the world for the first time; I know I’ll eventually know the maps like the back of my hand. I know I’ll be part of a successful guild because I’ve done it before. I know I can succeed at PvP for the same reason. I look forward to discovering all the similarities and differences between my new experiences and my old ones.

SWTOR isn’t a new epic beginning, it’s the next chapter, and I’m pumped.

 

‘Til next time.

-Taix

 

 

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