Hyperspace Beacon: Dear SWTOR community, keep being passionately casual

Star Wars: The Old Republic community, I listen to your podcasts and read your sites nearly everyday, but I realized that it’s been almost eight months since I’ve talked about you in this column. I personally believe that you are as important as the developers of SWTOR for keeping the game as awesome as it is. And I would like all of you to keep up the good work that you’re doing.

As SWTOR fans, I don’t think I have to mention to you the ones that I read and listen to all the time because they are likely the ones that you do, too: Dulfy, Bad Feeling Podcast, OotiniCast, and Vulkk. However, there is one rising star in SWTOR podcast world that I believe the rest of us who make SWTOR-related content can take a cue from. I’d like to introduce you to the Passionately Casual podcast.

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Introducing Passionately Casual

Jessie and JT of the Passionately Casual podcast have no idea that I’m writing about them, but I’m going to do it anyway. That goes to show that I’m not talking about them for any kind of promotional purposes, but rather because I truly believe that they are doing something great. But more importantly, I believe that Jessie and JT are doing something that every podcaster can take note of and learn from.

The first time I heard about the Passionately Casual podcast was through JT’s other podcast, Corellian Run Radio, late last year. I must shamefully admit that when I first listened to their podcast, and I mostly wrote it off as a podcast that would center around the two SWTOR guilds they represent: Unholy Alliance and Wookiee Mistake. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t think that I would be interested in listening to what they had to say.

Then episode 7 of the podcast featured an interview with the voice of Valkorion himself, Darin DePaul. My attention was piqued, and I listen to another full podcast from these appropriately named passionate podcasters. Then a couple of episodes later they interviewed my favorite theorycrafter, Oofalong, and one of my favorite livestreamers, Bored Brit. At that point, I think I was hooked. And I stopped listening to the podcast as an extension of the two SWTOR guilds and started listening to it as a legitimate SWTOR podcast full of news and interesting insights into the game that I was also interested in.

hsb-mop-passionately-casual-02Curb your expectations

Are you still reading, SWTOR community?

Passionately Casual isn’t a highly produced podcast. In fact, one of the reasons I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it at first was because the production value of the sound can be mixed. I’m not a sound engineer, but I listen to a lot of voice actors, radio shows, and podcasts. I know what high-quality sound design sounds like. And this ain’t it.

Despite that, this lady and gentleman have something that other podcasts don’t: They have passion and a positive perspective on the game — something that is kind of missing at this point. I’m not saying that BioWare and SWTOR don’t deserve some of the hate that they are getting, but it’s good to hear a fresh, enthusiastic voice (or two) when the game is at a low point.

My raid team jokingly refers to me as one of the top 5% of players of SWTOR. And it’s funny because I do not see myself that way (nor do I actually believe that it’s true), and there are certainly many, many people still playing the game that are much better than I am in a lot of ways. However, I believe that the idea that I’m not the norm still applies. I play the game like an investigator and reporter. I’m attempting to be on top of the latest content, and even if I’m not personally living on the bleeding edge, I know where the bleeding edge is.

To those other podcasters and players on the bleeding edge of content: These guys are casual, social gamers. Sure, they raid; sure, they PvP. But they aren’t going to give you the latest and greatest information about the game’s best-in-slot gear. They aren’t going to tackle most appropriate boss strats or META for warzone maps. They are going to give you the perspective of what I believe is the new normal for SWTOR players.

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Remaining positive

On March 10th — the same day that Chapter 11: Disavowed released — Passionately Casual put together a roundtable of different members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic community. The guests included, ElionD of Shadowlands, DJRedd from the Harbinger Ootini guilds, Brian from the Shadowlands Bad Feeling guild, and DJ Lovechild and Major Vendetta from the Ebon Hawk Radio Free guild. During this roundtable, Jessie and JT wanted to demonstrate what was still great about the game and the community that played it.

Each of the guests on this particular podcast had created community events that encouraged utilizing the game’s content beyond what the developers gave us or taking what the developers did give us and made it better by creating community events from it. I don’t believe the intent of this roundtable was to point out how everyone else is doing something wrong, but rather, I think it was to point out that SWTOR still has a lot to offer if you know how to take advantage of it. And maybe this will encourage you to do something yourself.

SWTOR community, that’s the biggest takeaway from the Passionately Casual podcast. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t point out the flaws in the game; that’s the only way that things will improve. But if we continually focus on everything that the game and the developers are doing wrong, then we forget everything that they are are doing right.

We also have to remember that MMO developers shouldn’t have to spoon feed us everything. Perhaps in these days of themepark, guided corridor games, we forget that MMOs have always been what we make of them.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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Nordavind
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Nordavind

Quincha “As SWTOR fans, I don’t think I have to mention to you the ones that I read and listen to all the time because they are likely the ones that you do, too: Dulfy, Bad Feeling Podcast, OotiniCast, and Vulkk.”

Dalishal
Guest
Dalishal

Thanks for the shout out, Jessie and JT are great! Our guild does community stuff, but we know other guilds do too.

Hirku
Guest
Hirku

Thanks for the links. It’s been a bummer loving the game these past few months but having no connection to the community because the forums are a toxic waste dump.

mysecretid
Guest
mysecretid

Thanks for this, Larry.

I’m glad of the reminder that there are players out there still looking to enjoy the games they play, when all is said and done.

I’ll theorize and meta-speculate on the state of a given game readily, as my posting history here shows, I’m sure.

But I’ve become increasingly disinterested in bitching about games, or slinging the old salt bag around, as a way of passing the time online..

If someone asks my opinion on a game, I’ll give it — positive or negative — but if I genuinely dislike a game, one of the first things I do now is stop playing it, and go find something I do like playing instead.
Defining yourself by your hates just feels like “feeding the wrong wolf”, as the saying goes. Your chances of getting something good from such a stance seem marginal at best.

Life’s far too short to spend doing things you don’t love when you have other options. Play what makes you happy, indeed.

Cheers,

Grifter
Guest
Grifter

I will give it a listen …

Qarran
Guest
Qarran

Yes indeed.  I agree with the entirety of this article.  I do listen to SWTOR podcast on occasion.  I don’t tune in every week because I’m casual about the podcasts too. lol.  But I love to hear people passionate about their game talking about it.  There is room for criticism, but these folks aren’t tearing the game down.  They discuss the good and the bad and those things that make the game special.

I’m playing other games right now.  I’m still subbed, but I haven’t played in a couple of weeks.  And yet, I still feel passion for SWTOR.  I have been there from the beginning and plan on being there to the end because the amount of enjoyment that game has given me deserves my loyalty.  And what these people, these voices, these rational voices, validate that.

I’m looking forward to what is yet to come in SWTOR and I’m quite certain that while I’m busy with other games right now, I will be back on SWTOR fairly soon.  SWTOR is my MMO home.  I venture out, but I’m always looking forward to coming back and kick my feet up.

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

“Passionately Casual” is, if nothing else, a perfect phrase to describe the ideal that all MMO communities should be striving to reach. The way of the Hardcore is the path to madness and disappointment. Let’s all be passionate about our games, but in a casual way.

sray155
Guest
sray155

Slightly OT nitpick here: I have to disagree with the sentiment that the game is at a low point. I think it’s in a transitional phase, moving from a WoW styled theme park to an online RPG; and that you have a portion of the player base that is unwilling to give up on what they want the game to be (a more “traditional” MMORPG). Combine that with the fact that no company will repeat SOE’s move of saying “go ahead and leave: we’ll replace you with better customers” when it comes to talking about the lack of “traditional MMORPG” content, you have a lot of frustration spilling out into the forums.
I’m not saying that there haven’t been a ton of mistakes in the rollout of KotFE (too many bugs, too.much delayed content), but I personally find most of the actual in game community is generally quite happy with the present state of the game.

Vulkk
Guest
Vulkk

PC_Podcast has very quickly become one of my most favorite Podcast shows. I do my best to support them as they really bring that positivism and good mood that are hard to find in our community lately :)

ComradeStanimir
Guest
ComradeStanimir

I’ll try it. The problem with podcasts generally is that only the 5% (to use your number) are compelled to make them. So they typically devolve into PVP 3edgy5me complaining and reflections of a parse lord.