As you may or may not know, I quit World of Warcraft back in June and haven’t looked back. Since then I haven’t really played any games. At first I was busy with my assessment scoring job, and I just recently started my tech support job. There’s been some down time, but I’ve used it pretty much to just work on this blog and to read. I haven’t really missed gaming itself… just my buddies from my guild. At least, that’s what I thought.
My homie D and I were chatting the other day (he was with us since the start of the guild, and wound up being one of my best officers and raiders) and the topic came around to Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). I had been eagerly anticipating SWTOR’s release since Canadian Bacon and I first hooked up, but then we both got involved in WoW and well, things were history. When we started our guild Unpossible the fall predating SWTOR’s release, it was this big joke with all of us that the guild wasn’t going to go anywhere because we were all just going to quit and play SWTOR on launch anyway.
We actually wound up making all of our guild ranks Star Wars names. That became such an ingrained part of our guild… officers were Jedi Masters, our hardcore raid group was Jedi Knights, our laid back raid group was Sith Lords, our casuals were Ewoks, and so forth.
But anyway, I digress. We plunged into the raiding scene pretty strongly and by the time SWTOR was released, none of us gave a damn – we were having too much fun raiding Firelands competitively. Besides, there was SO much bad press about it on launch. Some of my friends (Llek for instance) played it off and on, as did my father, but their reviews were only lackluster. I pretty much forgot about it.
Cue mine and D’s conversation. Our buddy and raiding partner Gwen has been playing SWTOR and posting a lot of stuff on Facebook about it, so one of us proposed the idea that maybe we should give it a shot while we’re waiting for Wildstar’s release in the spring. I mean, it’s free to play now and all anyway. Sure, it’s got a cash shop, and games with cash shops ALWAYS suck in my experience, but it’d be fun to mess around on anyway, right?
Again, I want to point out that I haven’t really played anything since WoW. CB made me try Skyrim and I disliked it. I played Tomb Raid for a couple of days but again, didn’t really get into it. I love playing with people. That’s why I love MMOs. If you look back at my major gaming history… tabletop, online text based, Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, Neverwinter Nights, Fly for Fun, WoW. I’m an MMO girl at heart.
I went to bed Friday night thinking I’d give SWTOR a shot this weekend. I woke up Saturday to D’s rave reviews about how he’d found his new game, so I got right on downloading and installing that bitch.
Guys, SWTOR is fun. At least right now, for someone who’s always loved Star Wars. I mean, my family tells stories about how Return of the Jedi was my favorite movie, and how I’d memorized and spoke Huttese as I hid behind the couch when Jabba was on screen, and how I’d go around saying sadly “You can’t die, Master Yoda!” I mean, you can tell that I’ve pretty much waited my entire life to kill something with a lightsaber and have an ewok as a companion.
I’m being careful to not get too into it. MMOs can take a lot of your time, and I’m really too busy right now with work and this blog and trying to get back into grad school. But as something to do when I’m just chilling here or have a day off… yeah, it’s pretty cool. I am very deliberately NOT researching anything or learning about classes or looking up tips or even get into the basics of theorycrafting. I lived for that shit when I played WoW. The next MMO I’m allowed to get that into will be Wildstar in the spring when I have a better handle on my schedule.
But it sure is fun to just dick around in. One of the things that I really like is something that my friend Donald immediately pointed out as a negative – the controls and UI (once switched into retro) are almost identical to WoW. I really dislike the learning curve that comes with new controls with new games, so for me that was a big plus. I was slightly concerned about how fast I’d pick it up since it’s been almost six months now that I’ve been clean, but I have some major muscle memory. I even found myself spamming off my skill keys like I was trying to take down Ragnaros or some shit. It’s second nature.
WoW has some cut scenes scattered throughout it, primarily in raid scenarios (and let’s not forget Harrison Jones and the Cut Scenes of Uldum that Cataclysm brought us), but all in all I found them largely annoying. I even went as far as to turning them off in DBM because they’d sometimes glitch certain fights (Spine of Deathwing, anyone?). But the cut scenes in SWTOR – and there are a TON – seem natural.
And what’s really cool is that there is seamless character interaction built in. D and I sort of had a good cop / bad cop rapport going on yesterday, where my Jedi Knight would say something honorable and nice while his Jedi Consular would always choose the rudest option. And I like that certain choices send my character drifting more towards the Dark Side of the Force, whereas some bring her back to the Light. It’s a pretty cool addition, although I have no idea how it really affects end game play.
I don’t know jack shit about end game play, to be honest. I think we left off last night with our toons both at level 8 or something. I don’t even have a real lightsaber yet. But I’m taking my time enjoying the game and the leveling experience, where I was so used to rushing through WoW because end game was all that mattered to me over there. This is definitely a new experience, and a fun little thing to do on the side.
May the Force be with you!