Hyperspace Beacon: Why I’m taking a break from Star Wars: The Old Republic
I know it doesn’t mean that I will never be back to SWTOR; it just means that the gameplay itself — in its current state — is no longer interesting to me. It also doesn’t mean that I will not log into the game. In fact, I will probably log in regularly because my roleplay guild is extremely active and healthy. And although I could probably unsub and play the just fine, I think that I will stay subscribed because the subscription isn’t expensive, and I do like the perks. But I’m certainly not going to support the overzealous cash shop.
I’ve been covering this game for about six years, so it’s probably important that I discuss the details behind my stepping away for a bit and what’s been the final nail in the coffin.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
I used to PvP on a daily basis. I don’t think I’ve claimed to be great at PvP, but I’ve always known what I was doing for the most part. However, I will admit that at times I believed my limited skill to be worth more than it was, and I would mouth off about how other players are really bad. It’s possible that they were really bad, but in reality, I was not much better. Unfortunately, I was not the only one who would mouth off about other players or this class being overpowered or this other thing being broken. The whole PvP community on my server and the other servers that I visited seemed to be obsessed with how broken their class was (regardless of which class), how broken that map was (regardless of the map), or how broken their team was (regardless of the team). Few would put the blame where it belonged: squarely on the complainers’ shoulders. But I didn’t have the energy to gather the few truly positive PvPers around me.
Because of the community surrounding PvP, I stepped away. I couldn’t take the same conversation being repeated day after day. Perhaps these people really enjoyed complaining. Maybe it was fun for them, but it wasn’t fun to me.
I was content for awhile playing through operations and the occasional story content after I’d given up on PvP and that community. I know that many people didn’t like the monthly chapters because they seemed to be light on substance and really dragged the story out. I get that, but I was part of the minority that actually liked the monthly story chapters. But those are a thing of the past, so I don’t have anything to look forward to there.
Perhaps I could repeat the content through the Galactic Command interface. I tried. I am a huge altaholic, and I tried to run different characters through the content. I did get a character or three through Knights of the Fallen Empire, but only one has made it completely through Knights of the Eternal Throne. I’m not entirely sure why. The chapters in Eternal Throne were much more dynamic and consequential than Fallen Empire.
In fact, having completed some of the early chapters of Eternal Throne a couple of times, I know that the story differences are highly varied, but I can’t put my finger on why I can’t finish the story. Perhaps I just don’t care about Valkorion and his broken family.
I have been more than vocal about my dislike for the Galactic Command system, the current basket that BioWare has placed all its eggs in. I can appreciate the consolidation of several design systems, but the clear grind-driven nature of the system makes me not want to do anything in it.
As I’ve said in the past, I enjoy Uprisings, and I believe that the more I’ve played them, the more I like them. But the thing that keeps getting in my way is the fact that I might spend just as much time on an Uprising as I did on a Flashpoint in the past, but the gear returns don’t even come close to matching the effort. I know things will likely change with Update 5.2 launches, and I will give the Galactic Command system another try then. For now, I am leaving it behind.
But the last straw for me came when I saw this tweet:
Take your rule of the galaxy to new heights this spring.
100 new Galactic Command levels and exciting new gear rewards, on the way! pic.twitter.com/cyfqqZhDDf
— The Old Republic (@SWTOR) February 26, 2017
This confused me. So the developers are supposed to be fixing Galactic Command system by adjusting how we get gear, but at the same time, they are raising the cap making the systems that much more of a grind. Really?
Of course, I know about the increasing the CXP, but it’s like offering me a band-aid after the studio’s intentionally stabbed me.
There are still good things
I don’t want to take a complete dump on SWTOR. It’s a good game, and many people, especially Achievers, enjoy the game. There are a lot of bars to fill up, rewards to gain, and obstacles to overcome. PvP is still solid, and I still think there is a decent balance in the classes all around. PvE is good, too, it’s one of the few games where you can play the class that you like and still do well in high-level content. Uprisings and the other repeatable PvE content is more than challenging enough; it’s really the best it’s been in a long time.
I will still be around roleplay and GMing my D6-based events in SWTOR because it’s Star Wars and the setting makes for a great venue to run events, but I’m not actually playing the dev-built part of the game right now. Are my reasons justified? If you’ve left too in one way or another, what would bring you back to the game? What am I missing? What should I be trying that I’m not. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and perhaps I will see you when Update 5.2 launches.