How to Lose a MMO Gamer in 10 Ways

In the romantic comedy “How to lose a guy in 10 days” A reporter is writing an article with that name – and wants to prove she can lose a guy in 10 days. On the other side, the guy, a big advertising exec takes a bet that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. The result is genuinely cute (but mediocre) – no matter what she does that would make most guys afraid he sticks it out. Both are trying to win a bet. It’s not high on my recommended list, but a funny thought. If there are two people with exact opposite intentions, how to they get along? Is that the same opposite forces working between MMO developers who are trying to get as much money as possible for their product, and consumers who want as much bang for their buck?

MMO developer and MMO players look great together!

The truth is in real life that doesn’t work that much. Quick on the heels of WildStar’s decline and some other big launches over the years, lets have a look at 10 ways to ensure you can push those gamers and consumers away from your product.

#10  A flawed vision

I don’t disagree with having a vision – that is critical! What surprised me with WildStar was that I don’t know who created the vision or why. Did they consult with players? Did NCsoft buy into it? I ask these things because I get it – I understand if McDonald’s offers the Super Grease and Cardiac Bacon Burger because they are speaking to their customer base. So Gaffney and targetting the 1% vision was the outcome, but who approved and funded that vision? Why would he no longer be running the company when he achieved what he set out to do? With brands I always believe to be who you are. KFC will never attract a healthy eating segment. Be who you are, and be proud of it. In gaming that means design your game for the audience you want – niche or not. I think you see this improving with recent Kickstarter projects – we’ll see if and when they deliver on those.

#9 : Have key people leave the company near/after launch 

There are a few WildStar examples of this, but also some bigger ones in the past. I get churn, but nothing signals failure more than people leaving/fired who built it or spent years building the community – no matter what reasons are shared.

#8 Gate content in silly ways

Content needs to be gated, we get it. Do it in a way that isn’t insulting to the intelligence of the player base. I would be playing (and paying for) SWTOR if they didn’t make certain quest rewards contingent on subscriber status. I would be more fond of LOTRO if they didn’t make character classes gated by an expansion that isn’t required for them to play in the first place. This goes beyond cash shops though – if you have a subscription, don’t add a cash shop that gates content. If you aren’t a F2P or B2P title, don’t gate content with needless and obvious grinds. I would have played Mists of Pandaria a LOT longer if progression wasn’t gated behind daily quests.

#7 : Lose your most supportive community members

Games like WoW and EQ lived on as much in the fansites as the games themselves. I still read WoWinsider and I haven’t played the game in a year! Allakhazams was pure gold back in the day, and look at sites like MMO-Champion. You need a community to support and hype your game. WildStar lost it’s busiest podcast (among others) and some community news sites. Companies need to celebrate, support, and nurture those sites. When you lose those who are most enthusiastic about your game it sends a bad signal to the community.

#6 Do not reward loyalty to long time customers 

The industry has to mature sooner or later and start treating customers like every other industry – rewarding loyalty, and customers, with things not just to do with who spent the most money the earliest (paid beta, collector editions, etc.) That guy that has paid a subscription to you for 5 years? Give him a title, or perk, or hell – a free month. Do something to recognize the growth that individual has provided you. I know some do this well with early beta access to future titles (etc.) but I strongly believe this is an area developers and publishers can greatly improve on.

#5 Be non-supportive of diversity in gaming

There is a lot of heat on both sides of this argument – I won’t link to the gamer definition discussions, or the Blizzard developer quotes – but it is out there – and companies that aren’t aware, or mindful, of how they represent different views of the gaming community in their games will have a much harder go of it going forward.

#4 : Over market, over hype, under deliver

Warhammer online comes to mind here the most. “We have PVP! PVE! PQs! We have EVERYTHING!” – and they did. Everything except an immersive, reliable, consistent and balanced gaming experience. Too much hype. Less sizzle, more steak. With marketing budgets making up more and more of development costs these days, I am one who firmly believes that money is better spent on development. People will market your game for you if it is actually good.

#3 : Charge a subscription

I know some people like subs. I know some people prefer them and won’t play games without them. The truth is that a large portion won’t even touch a subscription. This is all fine and good (again) if the company doesn’t mind having less users paying more. I believe hybrid solutions are the way to go and that will retain the maximum amount of players. The all or nothing approach of a subscription doesn’t work as well anymore. There need to be stages and varying access levels for it to be accepted by the majority. Yes, it works for EVE and WoW and the jury is still out on ESO – but WildStar will almost be certainly going to F2P – as have everyone else. There is a reason for this.

#2 : Have a bad cash shop

Not ironic behind the previous point and cash shops aren’t inherently bad on their own. #2 and #3 are interchangeable in order. However,  a bad cash shop is as much the kiss of death as a bad subscription. Cash shops should be always available, never annoying. Let players know there is a cash shop, let them know the sales, then leave them alone and let them play. Constant reminders and popups are a great way to lose the community by sheer annoyance. I did spend a LOT of money in League of Legends, who never did anything silly with their cash shop. In hindsight, I spend more money per month in LoL than I did with a subscription in WoW – but didn’t regret it once. I had the choice of when and how much to spend.

#1 : Lack of immersion.

This is the number one problem for me personally, so I listed it as #1 although I am sure other people will have other thoughts on that. While reflecting on WildStar the truth is that while I loved the setting, the style, the characters and so many things they did right – the worst thing they did was constantly drag me OUT of the immersion. They had an announcer for so many things – challenges, dings, etc. It took the world away and constantly reminded me that I was playing a game. Sure, the point may be to play a game, but I play these kinds of games to feel like it is more than just a game. I want to get into it and feel like my character is helping solve the poisoned river that is destroying the town. I don’t need the 4th wall to be broken with an announcer voice telling me “f&*cking awesome job, cupcake” when I do get it done. EQ immersed me by the third person view alone that was standard back then. The game was through my eyes. DAOC through my realm’s reliance on my actions. WoW has it’s easter eggs but it really dug down in the lore overall. You felt like you were in Azeroth. Let’s get back to to immersion.

Do you agree? I admit these are very personal to me but I also feel they have merit to what is going on in the marketplace as well. Some are more obvious than others and the rankings could wildly change depending on who is reading them. Overall I think it is a good barometer of some huge issues in our hobby and I’d love to play a game that avoided these 10.

25 Comments

  1. Arcadius

    Completely agree. Especially “The industry has to mature sooner or later and start treating customers like every other industry.” Very well said. The days when the developers could treat their customers with an aloof smirk because there were 10,000 more waiting to sub are gone, and they are not coming back. Hold on to what you’ve got.

    I would also add to #1, start out with a stylized and polarizing setting that immediately sets the teeth on edge of half your potential customers, then alienate the other half with Announcer voice. But that’s just a personal thing.

    Looking forward to f2p so I can give it another chance.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      @Arcadius : I’d enjoy the experience a lot more without the announcer in WildStar for sure – I wish I could turn him off. The gaming industry will have to come around with the customer experience at some point – they all do! It usually only happens when money starts going elsewhere, but gaming companies have identified other issues that “cause” that – better features, better marketing, etc. Maybe they would hold onto some customers with better treatment… (nested comments don’t seem to be working.. will go check on that =)

      Reply
  2. Scott

    #1) I never “get” the focus on immersion, especially in the past decade. There isn’t a single MMO I can think of that doesn’t put UI elements all over the place. Dragging skills to hotbars. Making extra hotbars. Group frames. Raid frames. Scrolling damage text. I mean, really… even the most “immersive” (and there are a few definitions of that word) game at no point in time have I ever gotten so “immersed” that I didn’t know I was sitting at my desk, with a mouse and keyboard playing a video game. I never lose track of time. Hell, these days I most likely won’t even play an MMO if it won’t give me the option to display the time onscreen.

    For most gamers, when they say “immersion” they mean “spatial presence” and I’ll agree with that. Wrote a blog four years ago (it’s always neat reading old posts to get a window into how I was thinking back then and examine if my thoughts have changed or not over time) http://pumpingirony.net/2010/08/04/immersion-its-all-in-the-details/ based on some psychology articles. That was a big part of why I liked LOTRO and probably even WoW, even though being vertical-progression games with “zones” they absolutely did not fit my definition of a “real” virtual world and therefore any further depth or definition of “immersion” would also fail.

    I did not play WildStar. No plans to, either. I get that it appeals to the WoW crowd with its cartoony style and (forced?) humor. But they also made no bones that they were building a Raiding Game. Me? I loved raiding. Still would if I had the time, but I don’t and much as I am resistant to the whole “growing up” thing, and sure, when I do play I might try to be as “hardcore’ as I’m able to, but I also have to be honest with myself that I just don’t have the kind of time anymore to be legitimately hardcore. I don’t have time to be a “real” raider anymore. I think it’s great that WildStar wants (wanted?) to be that, and it attracts those players. But that’s also precisely the reason I avoided it. If they say “hey look at our Shiny New Raiding MMO” and you’re not a raider then I seriously have to ask why a non-raider would bother with the game than be surprised when they don’t stick it out?

    #3) Um…I dunno… I don’t mind subs per se although in this day and age of F2P plus my limited time I will no longer sub to more than one game like I did years ago. I can definitely appreciate games offering a sub though even if they go F2P. I think that model is appealing to the most customers and gives everyone an equal shot at supporting the studio in whatever fashion they choose to.

    #7) Not being a WildStar player, I obviously wouldn’t know any details about this fellow you linked who left the game. But I read that link and he states he’s only leaving because of changes in his life, not because of anything in the game. What can be detrimental for “community morale” (if there’s even such a thing anymore? Gamers in general have become more toxic, not more accepting.) is when the developers openly do things (meaning they make the negative change, and own up that it’s “negative” relative to whomever gets pissed off and quits) and doesn’t back down to keep those special community members. Now,I said that “can” be detrimental. In my experience, MMOs have always had revolving door populations and communities. If a “special celebrity community member” leaves, sure, he’ll be missed. But hey, maybe someone else will step in who appreciates the new vision the studio has put forth and become the next special community celebrity. It just takes some willingness to accept the changes, both the game changes and the community changes, right?

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      @Scott: Great reply – thanks! Will try to address things in a logical order:

      Immersion: I read your article about it – it’s good and I agree that books are the most “immersive” but for me its gaming second, and then movies third. This is really a personal way I consume media . Being an active participant (book by visualizing, games by being active) is what “immerses” me as compared to movies which I just watch and consume. Notice I put “immersion” in quotes =)

      Raiding: I’m in the same boat. On a recent podcast (Wildstar Nation) that I still listen to (even though I don’t play the game) they mentioned that they built a game for an audience that doesn’t exist anymore. That audience was me. I’d play 5 nights a week, 6 hours a night. No one does that anymore.

      Community Link: I should have linked to WildStar Nation (who also just quit the podcast) or my link discussing it from an earlier post. In that link he originally was more vague on his quitting before the post was “edited”. It is now a bad example (that I’ll leave in because hey, a mistake is a mistake =) WildStar Nation was a 30,000 download per episode cast – that’s a big chunk of people interested and playing in WildStar.

      Sub Fee: That is where I believe the hybrid model could work well. I want the best of both worlds – a reasonable non-time gated experience but not a $15 sub or a nickel and diming F2P experience. There has to be a solid balance. SWTOR has a sub that is too expensive for me to pay (for value, I couldn’t play it much even though I want to) but their F2P model denies you level 10 quest rewards (which are completely useless anyway)

      Reply
  3. Asmiroth

    I’m guessing they aren’t in order of importance, as I think #10 is the most significant one. People can play through a bunch of stuff, handle turnover and whatnot but a vision that doesn’t align with reality is a damn hard thing to combat.

    /reddit is a crytal ball, like it or not. When it started getting flooded in July with “my server is dead” and no answer came for nearly 6 weeks, that’s a lack of vision/foresight. And indicative of supremely shitty management.

    My recent post kinda puts that particular point in the spotlight. Where ESO had a MASSIVE downtick in players, you rarely heard about it due to the megaserver architecture. The world always looked populated. Wildstar has plenty of servers today with zero raiders because you need at least 40 to do something. A server with 35 is a dead server.

    Get megaservers in, fix the attunement/gating issue, teach players to play your game (it’s not a faceroll) and you can attain a stable player base. ESO has been smart enough to do the first one at launch and spent the past 4 months fixing their core systems (VR are going away).

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      The order is my *personal* order – I know they would be differing for different people. I’ll go check out your post! The Megaservers are coming (NC Soft recently did this with GW2 as well) and I do think that will help. I have a feeling the sub fee will have to go in WS before anyone seriously takes another look at it though.

      Reply
      1. Asmiroth

        Ya, it’s coming, just like Blizzard says “soon”:) They are needed to stem the hemorrhaging and without a date, it’s like watching water drain from a sink.

        A drop to F2P (or at least a trial) will be required to get players back.

        But hey, that’s my opinion and maybe Carbine has a different view on that metric. Maybe their niche audience, once the megaservers are there and things stabilize, will be sufficient to keep the lights on.

        Reply
  4. JohnR

    Well-said on all counts man. I especially had to laugh at your final point. That guy shouting at you was funny at first, but got very annoying in a hurry, and definitely a big immersion-killer. Immersion is indeed a big deal with me, which, incidentally, is a major reason why I don’t like voice chat in mmos.

    I was really kind of sad about uninstalling Wildstar. The game does a lot of things right, and it has loads of personality. At the end of the day though, I found the grind especially tedious, even by mmo standards. Also, the game is a bit on the hardcore side. I mean, it will punish you greatly if you’re having an ‘off’ night.

    Anyway, I’m currently looking for a new mmo home; having thoroughly burned myself out on GW2 and Star Trek Online. I was thinking of trying SWTOR, Rift, or LOTRO.

    Reply
    1. isey

      Thanks for the comment JohnR. I am actually going to try The Secret World – I can support the B2P model and by all accounts I’ve read it has a great storyline. It was just on sale on steam for $10 too!

      Reply
  5. JohnR

    The Secret World was definitely a mixed bag with me. The atmosphere/ambiance are the best things about it, and my Illuminati boss was a piece of work, as in greatly entertaining with witty comments. That said, the story is OK but not great. The problem is that you basically sit and watch the cut scenes with no input usually required from the player.

    The quests that require web research (and there are quite a few of them) were really cool at first, but got tedious in short order. They weren’t nearly as clever as many claim, but rather require you to get into the mindset of the quest writer. On a related note, the game has Swedish nihilism written all over it.

    Further, leveling was grindy in the extreme, I hated the minecraft style crafting system, and overall I found the community rather hardcore and hostile. To be fair, I was a relative mmo noob when I tried TSW and I might have a better perspective on it were I to try it now, but I have my doubts. Don’t let me dissuade you though. It might actually be your cup of tea, and I have to admit that there is something to be said for an mmo with no Elves, Orcs, or cutesy Asurans anywhere to be seen. 😉

    FYI, I decided on SWTOR, and thus far I think I made absolutely the right choice. I’m actually pleasantly surprised how much I’m enjoying it, and am surprised I didn’t try it sooner. Unlike the TSW story, your input in the SWTOR story can make a difference, and the writing is pure unadulterated Star Wars. Naysayers claim that there isn’t much to do after level cap, but it seems to me that with eight different storylines to experience, to say nothing of the new content (like the upcoming Shadow of Revan), I think SWTOR will hold my interest for a good long while. Anyway, I’m having a blast alternating between my Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor. It seems to me that SWTOR is the mmo for players who like a lot of alts. The only thing I would admonish people about with SWTOR is that if you play, I definitely recommended a subscription, as FTP players are basically second class citizens.

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    1. Isey

      I just started TSW and yes, the intro is really capturing an awesome mood. I only did two of the three starter quests (not sure which I like the most yet between Illuminati, Dragon, and Temps) so so far I have seen all the good (story) and none of the bad you describe (grind). I’ll update as that changes!

      SWTOR for me is a natural fit but BECAUSE of my F2P experience I decided not to sub to it. I love SW, I love story as gameplay, but when they wouldn’t give me a level 10 quest reward because I am not a subscriber I gave up. Too bad too – because I always pay to companies that make games I enjoy, one way or another.

      I’m time sensitive so I can only do one at a time, so I’ll go through TSW to see how that plays out for me. If it becomes tedious, you may see me in a galaxy far, far away.

      Reply
  6. JohnR

    Glad you seem to be enjoying TSW. Despite the negatives I mentioned, it does have its strong points. TBH, every now and again I get the urge to give it another try, but then when I think about the dreadful crafting system, and redoing some of those quests, the feeling passes. Also, I’ll never forget the TSW Polaris dungeon, as it was my worst mmo social experience ever. I learned then and there just how mean mmo players can be to each other. I definitely grew a thick skin with mmo’s after that.

    Yes, still enjoying SWTOR greatly. The storytelling is amazing, and I think it’s safe to say that we will never see the likes in another mmo again. I hear you though about the pay walls. They were very annoying, which is why I decided to sub. Even though subbing doesn’t give you 100%, they do give subscribers a nice monthly stipend of cartel coins each month.

    Speaking of FTP, I think one of the most generous is Star Trek Online. You can play the majority of the content with the free ships they give you and never have to spend a dime. The jury is still out though if you could get through the recent Delta Rising content (and level cap increase) without buying one of their Tier 6 store ships. Still in all though, if you’ve enjoyed it free until then, imo spending $25 is little enough for them to ask.

    Conversely, one of the worst FTP (well, hybrid models actually) is Guild Wars 2. Don’t know if you’ve played it recently, but I strongly suspect that Arenanet/NC Soft have nerfed the economy, making it very tempting to exchange their store bought gems for in-game gold. :o(

    One more thing about FTP vs. subscription. To my mind the sub cost alone is no big woop, as most people these days will spend $15 without batting an eye. What I don’t like is auto-debits. For one thing, once a vendor gets their hooks into your bank account, you can sometimes play hell getting rid of it. For another, one auto-debit may be insignificant, but over time you can start accumulating them and the next thing you know hundreds of dollars are going out the door each month without you lifting a finger. That said, with SWTOR I got a two month non-recurring sub, and if at the end of Jan I’m still enjoying it I’ll reup for another two months.

    Wow, sorry about that. Didn’t mean to write a Game of Thrones novel here. lol

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      Loving the discussion – don’t apologize! I tried STO just recently and I am just not a big fan of the setting. I know this is sacrilegious but I actually prefer Chris Pine ST over William Shatner ST. =)

      I haven’t played GW since level 37 when it launched. I couldn’t get into it.

      It’s not the $15 for me either – the number is pretty small in itself, I just don’t get the same value from a $15 sub that I used to and that makes it hard for me to “Waste” money on it. I’ll spend more on that in a F2P game that has a good model when I put the hours in (see: League of Legends) but paying $15 “just because” whether I play 15 minutes or 15 hours just doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Probably because I used to get 40 hours a week out of it when I was single and didn’t have kids – even though I made a fraction of what I do now.

      It’s the relativity of it all that I can’t get over. I know, it’s a personal issue!

      Reply
  7. JohnR

    Well-said again man. Your last point alludes to another negative about the sub model that I forgot to mention. That is, when you’re subbing to a game you feel obligated to play it whether you’re in the mood for it or not, and there are just too many games out there these days wanting our attention to get tied down exclusively to one. That said, with my SWTOR two month sub I envision myself maybe not renewing immediately at the end of January, but giving it a rest for a while and coming back later and buying another two months when I’m in the mood for it again. That kind of pay/play model suites me just fine.

    Speaking of SWTOR, I’m still finding the storytelling captivating and getting better and better. I would say that the writing is on par with Bioware’s two earlier KOTOR games, and that says a lot because the storytelling in the first two games was really good bordering on great.

    BTW, I actually didn’t care much for the first Abrams/Pine Trek. It was kind of your typical mindless Hollywood bang bang shoot em up modern scif action adventure, with poor character development and a weak villain to boot. Much to my surprise though, I rather enjoyed the second movie. The character development was much better, and Cumberbatch was a much more interesting nemesis than Eric Bana. On a related note, I kind of agree with old producer Brannon Braga when he said that Trek really works better as a TV series. One more thing, I recently watched the Star Trek: Enterprise two part mirror universe story, “Through a Mirror, Darkly”, and it was fantastic. Highly recommended.

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  8. JohnR

    FYI, as a bit of closer, although I’m still mostly enjoying swtor, the proverbial ‘new mmo shine’ has worn off a little. After you’ve cleared about 3-4 planets (maps), you begin to know what to expect from new maps, and the grind begins to set in.

    That said, I think the best thing about swotor is that there is a lot of variety in what you can do, probably more so than any mmo I’ve played, and it’s all mostly good. In any given play session you can do the map clearing stuff (story, side quests, and heroics/flashpoints (ie dungeons)), space missions, ground pvp, crafting, manage your galactic strongholds (housing), and the galactic starfighters pvp.

    I especially enjoy the starfighters. I’ve never been a big pvp fan, but this is great fun. My only minor complaint is that starfighters is basically a stand-alone thing more or less separate from the rest of the game. As critic Brittany Vincent at Gamespot noted, Bioware should have found a way to integrate Starfighters with the story.

    Anyway, at this point I’m giving swtor a B to B+ overall.

    Season’s greetings. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      Oddly enough, I have been playing a TON of SWTOR lately. I have been looking for a good story and you are right, it has it in spades.

      I still won’t sub but I may buy some coins. I still maintain SWTOR would have been a better single player game (or lobby game) and focus on the story individually and then branch out in dungeons, etc.

      I read a great article lately (forget link) that said with 12x XP right now with Revan pre-order the game is perfect – you don;t have to do side grinds to get through the story quests – you can just play and have fun.

      Maybe if they put 12x xp in the store I’ll buy it =)

      Reply
  9. JohnR

    Glad you are enjoying it. I have to say that since my last post I’ve upped my impression of SWTOR to a solid B+. The game is indeed satisfying on many levels, and to my mind scores high marks with the great story-telling, the wealth of things to do, the overall attunement process, and of course the Star Wars ambiance.

    I sensed that one of the criticisms of the game in the post-launch days was that people were blowing through the content then finding themselves bored, and what I would say to that is those people must have made swtor a full-time job. I’ve been playing it a lot and I’m maybe only 2/3 done with the Sith Inquisitor story, so to my mind there is a ton of content here, even without the subsequent expansions.

    On a related note, I recently revisited the original movies trilogy, and although they hold up rather well, I was often reminded (for better and worse) that Lucas usually kept one eye on the kids while making the movies. SWTOR, however, is very much an adult’s Star Wars. If not an R rating, definitely a strong PG most of the time. And this is, after all, what most fans want I think. That is, an adult Star Wars.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      My biggest struggle has been settling in on a class. The 1-10 is pretty smooth for each, but I don’t have time to invest multiple paths, especially once it gets grindy!

      I did an IA to 20 in beta and the story was great, but of course lightsabers. I mean, when I play a game, I put myself in it and I need to have a lightsaber =)

      I had hoped the new expansion did solo flashpoints for all levels (I just want to see the content) but I couldn’t even get a group for the first one and was in group finder for over an hour while questing (does it work)

      Either way – I am getting the story I have been missing and the sights and sounds of the SW universe are in a good space there. It feels right =)

      (what server are you on?)

      Reply
  10. JohnR

    Just finished the main Sith Inquisitor story, and have to say that it was very satisfying. In fact I clapped at the end of the final act; something I’ve not done in a game since probably Fallout New Vegas. The really nice thing though is that there is still a ton of content for my Inquisitor to do, to say nothing of the other class stories.

    Anyway, I think I’ve fleshed out SWTOR enough now to give it a solid B+. In fact it may be the best mmo I’ve ever played. As I’m fond of saying, it isn’t perfect (what game is?), but if you are an mmo fan and a Star Wars fan, it is a must-play.

    FYI, I’m currently on the east coast RP server (Ebon Hawk), but I may roll my next alt on another server just to see if there’s any difference. It’s been my experience in mmo’s though that although people will pontificate in the forums about the best server communities and all, I’ve not really noticed any appreciable differences in communities between different servers. There are always trolls and elitists no matter where you go.

    And yes, I would recommend concentrating on one class story at a time. I tried to do two concurrently, but it was too much. That said, now that I’ve finished the main Sith Inquisitor story, I was thinking of adding another alt, and going back to my Inquisitor from time to time to work on the Hutt Cartel and Revan expansions at my leisure. I’ve also been working on upgrading my Staffighters bomber for my Inquisitor.

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  11. JohnR

    PS……A recommendation. I’m assuming that your first alt is a traditional Jedi or Sith. When you get around to creating a second alt, I strongly recommend the Imperial Agent. Not only does this class play significantly different than the lightsaber classes, but the story is indeed as excellent as many claim. The gameplay and story of the Agent feels like Star Wars meets James Bond meets Deus Ex meets Tom Clancy. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      Jedi, yup. I did an IA up to level 20 in the beta and really enjoyed the story. But yes, it just feels wrong to not do a lightsaber class first time through =)

      Reply
  12. JohnR

    Happy New Year. As sort of another followup/status, SWTOR for me is turning into a love/hate relationship. I love the storylines, the star wars ambiance, galactic starfighters, and the player classes. The community, however, is awful. I’ve rolled on three different servers and haven’t liked any of them. Greedy selfish players, toxic gen chats, and more bad social experiences than I’ve ever experienced in an mmo, capped off by being kicked from a flashpoint for accidentally taking a need on something that wasn’t my class (first time this has ever happened to me in an mmo, very humiliating). Dang, I never knew how good I had it in GW2. The community there can be annoying at times, but they are saints compared to the swtor community.

    On a related note, the best community I’ve experienced has been probably Star Trek Online. Of course that game is not big persistent worlds, but rather a large series of comparatively small isolated instances like the original guild wars.

    BTW, a flawed core mechanic in swtor is that unless you are grouped with people nearby, you can interfere with each other’s quest objectives. This kind of thing (along with the archaic wow-style loot system) can definitely lead to a greedy and cutthroat community, and are fundamental flaws that Arenanet wisely avoided in GW2.

    Kind of sorry now that I bought two two-month non-recurring subs on swtor, because I really feel like I need to give it a rest for a few weeks. Oh well.

    Anyway, I’d be curious to hear your impressions of swtor, good or bad, now that several weeks have passed.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      I haven’t played (at all) – we spent a couple weeks in Europe for Christmas holidays and getting back has been a whirlwind of “catching up” with real life. I am planning on a good weekend session though, looking forward to get back into it!

      My challenge here is that I think I would enjoy the game more if I bought XP accelerators (since I am mostly interested in the class stories) but I don’t like to pay for F2P games that gate excessively via XP. So I don’t want to reward them for that decision, but I want the benefits. I’m still low level so its not a bad wall right now, I tend to enjoy the side quests anyway. Something I’ll have to keep an eye on =)

      Isn’t that community you are describing fairly prevalent in most MMO’s? That is how I mostly remember it. Which is why typically most people insulate themselves in guilds (etc.)

      Reply
  13. JohnR

    Yes, you are correct in that finding a good guild is key. With that out of the way, you can safely ignore gen chat, and more importantly, do dungeons with guild-mates only. I’d learned long ago that when you group with strangers you never quite know what you’re going to get. On a related note, this unpredictability of social experiences in mmo’s is definitely a two-edged sword.

    To be fair about SWTOR, I was probably playing it too much and maybe burning myself out and needing to give it a rest for a while. That said,, there are two things about the game that to my mind definitely encourages a bad community. One is the game mechanics issues I mentioned in my previous post, and the other (as you alluded to) is EA/Bioware’s awkward implementation of free-to-play, which imo fosters a lot of animosity between the ‘haves’ (sub players) and ‘have-nots’ (ftp’ers). As one example of this point, drops are far more important to ftp’ers than they are to sub players, who tend to have no shortage of gear to use or sell.

    You mentioned RL stuff, and I’m reminded of a priceless quote from a book on PC game design: “Real life tends to be overrated. If it weren’t, people wouldn’t be playing games.” lol

    BTW, I’ve been in the mood for an mmo sandbox, so while giving swtor a rest I decided to be brave and try EVE Online. 😉 . . .

    Reply
  14. Isey (Post author)

    EVE! Good luck! I could never get past the 30 days free time. I need my immediate gaming to be more eventful. I didn’t get into SWTOR as much as I wanted this weekend, I saw the Hobbit finale and really felt like going on an epic quest where I really COULD be the hero, so single player RPG it is. Started Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Reply

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