(OHAI GUYZ. I MADE A POST.)
So, as mentioned MUCH earlier (like… nearly a year ago-earlier) two of the big MMOs in our sights were GW2 and SWTOR. Oh, I suppose to be more specific, the fact that GW2 and SWTOR had been in our sights, but GW2 was quickly falling off the radar, as far as personal preferences go. GW2 was just sounding more and more like not the kind of game I wanted to play. SWTOR won by default, with David’s devotion to everything Bioware and Star Wars (except the prequels… we don’t talk about those) overwhelming the more distant “that seems kinda interesting” feelings I had toward GW. GW appearing to become more and more the type of game neither of us wanted to play was really the nail in the coffin.
SWTOR became our new hope. (u c wut i did thar?) Both Bioware and LucasArts were stingy with information, close mouthed and doling it out in minute drops. We even ended up resubscribing to WoW, since we’d been goofing off on some other F2P games, but finding them less-fun than the Blizzard Behemoth. We even had high hopes for Cataclysm, dropping the money and getting about a months worth of playtime in it before (re-)discovering that WoW just doesn’t do it for us anymore.
As is also probably obvious from another recent post of mine, I discovered Rift. I didn’t go into it with any real expectations… Over the summer, David and I had gotten into the habit of signing up for any betas/F2Ps that looked even remotely interesting. And the soul system of Rift was definitely interesting enough to get a beta key and spend some quality time with the downloader. I certainly didn’t intend to enjoy it as much as I did. And suddenly, my Rift-raves started to sound a lot like David’s devotion to SWTOR. There was once again two games on our potential horizon.
Granted, the likelihood of being able to start Rift much before SWTOR’s release (since they’re aiming for sometime this year) is a bit iffy due to a total MMO hiatus until end of summer due to baby. It just puts them on more even footing. And while Rift appeals to me for the aspects of it, it also appeals because it’s a known quantity, which due to the secrecy surrounding SWTOR, you can’t say about the Other Game.
But I’ve still been keeping track. I watch MMO news/blog sites, and SWTOR is still in the running for Next Big Thing, with all the supposition and commentary you’d expect to find when people are left to their own devices to interpret vague developer comments.
Well, I’ve been watching those vague developer comments, and… I’m not really liking where it SEEMS like it’s going.
First off, I may not share David’s love for them, but I have a lot of respect for Bioware. They make some great games. I also grew up on Star Wars, though my devotion to the franchise is… not terribly devoted. David loves both, with a love matched only by his love of good chocolate and weird beers.
Just to get that out there before I start. Ahem.
Okay, so. Bioware has stated that they want to use SWTOR to put the RPG back in MMORPGs. But I’m worried that they’re going to make an awesome subscription-based RPG, that misses the whole MMO boat. There’s not a lot of detail as to what they actually mean by their comment, beyond some mentions of the class quests. Well, this sets me to worrying… What is the primary function of the RPG? You, playing a pivotal character. A hero. When you think of RPGs, you think of heroes. MMOs lend themselves much more to adventurers than heroes. The bar is lower. The club is more open. It’s more “reasonable” to see multiple high-level characters running around. To poke at the RPG aspect, it doesn’t ruin your immersion, which seeing a 100 other people who are heroes Just Like You would do in a traditional RPG. Playing a hero works in a single player game. You’re the only one awesome enough to be controlled by someone NOT the computer, after all. MMOs require it to work in a setting surrounded by other people.
Also, Bioware wants to focus more on the class quest lines. Now, I have NO IDEA how important these will be, or how much time they’ll take up. But it’s pretty likely that all the real pivotal moments of gameplay for your character, the real character development, will come from these class quests. Well, guess what? Unless you want to create a party of all Jedi Knights, you’re going to be looking at a lot of time soloing, or potentially helping your buddy through run around and kill stuff quests that you can’t actually participate in yourself. (Have I mentioned recently that I don’t solo? Cause I don’t.)
I’m also REALLY worried about the crews. I mean, think about it. You have minions. These minions do all your crafting/gathering/professioning, leaving you to be awesome. They also interact with you, have deep and meaningful quests and storylines, and can even be romanced.
Why would you want to play with other players? I mean really… You could have SnarkyRobotDPS backing you up and providing witty commentary tailored to your current progress on his storyline… or you could have IMAJEDILOL and his endless piles of leetspeek.
Is SWTOR a MMO? I’ve forgotten.