My history with Swtor has been very up and down. I started this blog not long after I started playing the game, so the whole process has been chronicled.
I played for a while at launch, unsubbed after six months as I’d stopped playing, always choosing to play Warcraft when I had time to play games. A year later I tried to play some more but the f2p model annoyed me, and my computer was having issues. Six months later I tried playing f2p again, got annoyed and this time resubbed for a couple of months. Again I wasn’t playing enough to continue the sub. Just over a year later, and we’re back in present day, and I’ve resubbed once more.
The f2p model for Swtor is in some respects generous, as it does allow you to play most of the game for free, but in other respects it’s extremely annoying. I always resub if I’m going to be playing a fair bit as it’s worth it for the medical probes alone. They allow revival where you die, rather than having to revive at the nearest med center and then re-fight everything to get back to where you were when you died.
Everytime I play Swtor I enjoy it, so why my interest wanes and I stop playing is something of a mystery. I think it’s because of the way I play, purely questing for the class storylines. I don’t miss out on anything if I take a day, a week or months away. I’m not behind, I’ve just stayed standing still.
The Class Quests
It always comes back to the class storyline and how quests are handled. I don’t really notice or care about my level, I only check it against the progression path so I’m sure that I go to each new planet at the appropriate level.
The class quests are unique to each class and make levelling different each time. I have only played one class – Bounty Hunter – to level 50 and finished that classes storyline. However, I have two baby Empire characters, a Sith Warrior and an Imperial Agent who have redone two planets that my Bounty Hunter played through.
The experience even on the shared quests was markedly different as the NPC’s interacted with my character in different ways, and there were different conversation options more fitting for the class I was playing.
Then there are the companions, they have their own storyline to follow. I have only maxed out one companion, the Bounty Hunter’s Mako, but her storyline was interesting and left open ended. I hope that both the class, and the companion storylines, are added too eventually.
I made a post about the Shadow of Revan offering new story options for the classes but I don’t believe that it actually did. That was suggested in the announcement but reality didn’t match. However, in the blueprint for 2015 it does explicitly state that they want to add more story content. I hope I’m not mistaken in thinking it’s for the classes, as it could just be story as in Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan expansions, which had a storyline but it was an expansion story, not a unique class story.
Not to repeat myself
I have said the above about the class storylines before. While it’s true and on point, it makes for a boring post. There is more to Swtor than just the quests and the story. I was blown away when playing my Imperial Agent by the animations and the combat capability.
I blew a mob off a ledge, it ran round to come back up, and I could hit it from one platform to another. If I had tried that in Warcraft it wouldn’t have worked as the two platforms weren’t immediately connected, it would have given me a targeting error. However, not only could I hit the mob but the animation for doing so looked awesome. I was enjoying the class up to that point but it was a special moment, and one I will remember.
I suppose the most important reason for going back to Swtor is that I can. Warcraft was the first proper game I ever played. I have put so much time, effort and money into Warcraft, gained quite a few social connections too. It’s hard to say goodbye to that but with my interest in Warcraft now very low, my gaming time has been freed up to play a game that I do enjoy – Swtor.
I play Swtor strictly solo, I don’t even queue for any random flashpoints as I don’t know whether I play well enough, to play in a group. People in games can be horrible so it’s safer to steer clear. That’s about the only negative mark against Swtor, I don’t have any social ties so the game has to stand on it’s own merits. That could be a positive now that I think about it, as it does stand on it’s own very well.
So why do I keep not playing for months on end?
I speculated above that it was because I didn’t miss out on anything by not playing for a while. However, I think that’s incomplete or just plain not true now that I think about it. As I do miss out on something very important – understanding.
I took months away from the game and now I can’t remember what has already happened to my Jedi Knight. I’m partway through their story and I’m confused. The same happened with my Bounty Hunter the last time I picked the game up again. I finished their class story but I could tell that I wasn’t getting the full picture, as I’d forgotten what had already happened.
However, it occurred to me when I was playing yesterday that I was starting to get mission fatigue. I was on Hoth with my Jedi Knight and I was doing all the quests available. All of them were about the pirate situation, it was relentless and while the missions were specific and dressed up as important, it was still all the same. Maybe if it had been a mix of pirate and imperial take down missions it would have been better. I was starting to feel less of a hero, and more of an errand boy, doing all the work for these soldiers who just stood around and complained.
I like to do all the missions my first run through. I did that with my Bounty Hunter for the Imperial side, and I’m doing it now with my Jedi Knight for the Republic. When I started replaying Imperial, I didn’t worry if I left some missions out. If I was the right level to leave the planet, and my class story was done, then I left.
A couple of months back there was a 12x experience boost in Swtor for purchasers of Shadow of Revan. It was designed so you could level new classes and just do the class story, no worries about all the other quests. Part of me is sorry I missed this as wow, just the class quests does sound a bit awesome.
The other part of me doesn’t mind and is almost pleased. I have yet to finish all planets, on both factions and I have forgotten some of what happened at the beginning. If I’m to understand the lore, especially with Revan, then I need to try and recall or know the whole picture.
Yes the quests can sometimes be a bit single minded, however the experience is still different when it comes to other classes. I got a bit fatigued on my Jedi Knight, which says to me it’s time to try a new character for a bit. Hoth is all ice, it’s not an interesting planet to look at and it has a single enemy. Plus the class storyline is also tied up with the pirates.
Questing in Swtor is still good. I’m going through Drummond Kaas for the third time, and doing the same planet quests and they are a different experience. I have no real idea how it’s programmed but the NPC’s react to me differently. On my Bounty Hunter they were all offering money, on my Sith Warrior they were deferential and called me sir. Beyond class on my Chiss Imperial Agent they talk about how it’s hard for aliens to make it in the Empire and appeal to my sense of duty.
I think maybe I get mission fatigue, I want a break. Then what happens is I don’t login for a bit, get wrapped up in other games, then just forget about it. Time has a habit of getting away from us, we blink and boom it’s been months.
Swtor might be free to play but it is definitely worth it to subscribe. The quality of life changes make it a much better experience. As I said the medical probes alone transform questing, although it’s probably not a good thing that I don’t fear dying in game.
I’ve always liked the space missions, and those aren’t limited and the xp isn’t throttled as a subscriber. Which reminds me I should get some ship upgrades for my Jedi Knight. I’m not much of a fan of Galactic Starfighter as it’s 3D and I get a bit motion sick. I actually have yet to investigate the stronghold system, I’m really looking forward to that.
Every time I go back to Swtor I try playing as preferred and invariably wind up subscribing for a couple of months. I don’t ever begrudge that subscription as I feel like I’m getting value for money and it’s a choice that I make. I really can’t recommend Swtor highly enough, the more I play, the more I want to play. The only real problem is there aren’t the community resources, no wowhead for Swtor, at least not any longer.