In a galaxy far, far away. Yes, I have succumbed to the dark side. And the light side in fact. I have been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Is it WoW with lightsabers? Yes. Is it just WoW with lightsabers? No. The MMO mould is pretty much unchanged: classes, talent/skill trees, action bars, cooldowns, roles. SW:TOR doesn’t bring anything new to the game in these main respects. So what is the lure? There are three things drawing me away from WoW:
- Temporal – SW:TOR is in the levelling bubble stage of its development. There are many people levelling up characters for the first time. This means that all areas of the game are well populated. Given the MM nature of the game this is quite key. The WoW levelling bubble burst many years ago now and largely the only people you see about are those you are automatically grouped with via the dungeon finder. Somewhat soulless.
- Thematic – Sure, WoW has a lot of lore. But there’s never really felt like a story, and I’ve personally not played any other Warcraft games. Whereas I’m of an age where I saw Star Wars on release in the cinema. I’ve grown up with Star Wars. I still have a somewhat threadbare Star Wars duvet cover in a cupboard somewhere. SW:TOR really does bring that world to life. (more on this later hopefully)
- Personal – Whilst I have formed some great friendships with my fellow guildies in WoW, nothing quite beats playing alongside people you know and see regularly outside of the game. Nobody I know from that latter category is still playing WoW, whereas several have picked up SW:TOR.
Is this the end of WoW for me? Who knows. I’m at least “on a break”. I suspect this will turn out to be permanent though. I’ve not found going back to games after breaks particularly rewarding in the past. In the meantime I hope to follow up this post with some commentary on the similarities and differences between the two games, and what I think works (or doesn’t) in each.