23 February 2012

Inspiration and Disappointment

So I was looking for some inspiration for a new post this week, and I came across this post from Stabs explaining why he is leaving Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I had read similar posts from other bloggers such as Keen and Tobold, but this one struck me as particularly relevant as many of his observations are essentially the same as ones that I have made over the past couple of months.  Right off the bat with his very first sentence I could sympathize with where he is coming from.  He says he tried to log in one day and discovered that his sub had already expired, and he didn't really care.  I feel much the same these days.  I haven't logged into SW:TOR in the past three days... and the only sense in which it bothers me is that I still have game time that I already paid for.  I don't miss the game, I just feel like I'm wasting money.

Which is why I have come to the decision that I will not be renewing my SW:TOR subscription when it expires at the end of March.  I think Stabs hit it straight on the head when he says that SW:TOR is a good game and well designed for its target audience, but that "veteran MMO players" such as him and myself are not that audience.  This game wasn't made for us, and that's fine.  Not every game is going to be every person's cup of tea.  In the past I would have continued my subscription in the hopes that changes might be made, or that I would "adjust" to the kind of game that it is and increase my enjoyment of it.  But as I have commented before, my real life situation in terms of time and money does not allow me the luxury of spending money on "hope." 

As I still have a month of game time to use, there are still things in the game I would like to accomplish.  I have my Jedi Consular up to level 39 now and would like to complete the Republic's side of the in-game story.  With my level 50 Bounty Hunter, this will mean that I will have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer in terms of general storyline.  Once that is done I will pick one of my other alts and see if I can finish another class story.  I haven't decided which one to focus on but I am leaning towards the Imperial Agent.  From what I have read in other sources, the Agent story is one of the most engaging and rewarding, and as I have her spec'd for straight DPS, plowing through the single-player content should be a smooth exercise.  Up to now I've been playing a lot of tank/healer spec's with healing companions.  I spent some time on my Jedi Knight who is Sentinel/Combat with a DPS companion, and the difference in kill speed is just astounding.  Yeah I take a beating but stuff dies so fast that it just doesn't matter.

So with that decision made and The Secret World delayed until June, I am back in the position of needing something to "pass the time."  I could go back to putzing around with DC Universe Online or scope out the free-to-play conversions of Fallen Earth or Star Trek: Online, but right now I am leaning towards a return to RIFT.  In a case of "not seeing the forest because of the trees," I was overly critical of the game when I played it the first time, and perhaps that is because I knew I would be there only a short time.  I was done with WoW but waiting for SW:TOR.  And no, not everything about RIFT is perfect.  But it does a lot of things right, and more importantly, it does a lot of things right that are important to me.  The standard UI is probably the best in any MMO I've played.  The class system is flexible and fun to experiment with.  The combat is fun and engaging (perhaps my biggest problem with SW:TOR, I just cannot get into the combat.)  So at the risk of incurring the wrath of my significant other, I may ask them to allow me to commit some funds to returning to Telara until TSW is ready for prime time.

Another very remote possibility would be taking a peek at TERA.  As I said in my news post last Sunday, this game has attracted my interest in the last few weeks.  The problem with this is not only is it a subscription game, but I would be looking at an up front box cost as well.  It's one thing to say, "Hey, how about a $30 game card to play a couple months of RIFT?"  It is quite another to say, "Hey, how about $60 for a game I'm not even sure I'll like?"  And this is where I think things like WoW's trial accounts and the new RIFT Lite are genius.  If I could download the TERA client, putz around with it for a week or so, see what kind of game it is, they might score a sale from me.  But gamers such as myself cannot afford to make investments on "blind faith," or at least I certainly can't anymore.  That SW:TOR Collector's Edition purchase is looking pretty foolish right now as I decide to leave after only three months played.  I know RIFT is fun, plus there is new content that has been released since I last played.  So it is the "safest" option for something to do between now and June.

What that means for the blog is that my emphasis is likely to shift a little once again.  For the past couple months there has obviously been a lot of SW:TOR posting.  Well if I get "Significant Other Approval," there will be a lot of RIFT posting soon... which should be fun.  I wasn't playing RIFT when I started this blog initially and so I can go back and talk about some things that hopefully will be new to both myself and my readers.  And who knows, maybe Bioware will come out with some amazing announcement that will draw me back to SW:TOR someday.  If there is one thing I absolutely believe, it is that the days of being "slavishly devoted" to a single MMO are over.  Whether that is a good or a bad thing, time will tell.

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