I’m a little over a month into my World of Warcraft hiatus. While I do miss logging into my Paladin and hanging with my raid team, I’ve been busy tanking it up with my Sith Juggernaut in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was fortunate to get into the beta of this game way back in 2011 and I loved it. As I mentioned before, two subscriptions is not economical to maintain a mmo/real-life balance, so I kept the one that more of my friends were playing. The game has changed a lot the past nine years so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on these changes in this post I’m calling “Return of the Sith Juggernaut”.
F2P, Game Time and the Cartel Market
It’s probably been about 6 years since I’ve played SWTOR and wrote a gameplay post. When my WoW hiatus started I didn’t buy any game time right away. I played the Free-2-Play version for a few weeks first and, only recently, bought some game time. I, honestly, didn’t feel as stymied about the F2P restrictions as I felt in the past. Granted I do have a “preferred” status which means I do receive additional liberties (such as a 1 million credit cap as opposed to the 350k credit cap). It may have helped that I was away from the game long enough that I accrued over 9,000 Cartel Coins.
I love the Cartel Market system. I’ve only spent about 4k of my Cartel Coins so far, mostly on species and gameplay unlocks. I think one of the mechanics I really like is the daily “Flash sales”. Every day an item from the Cartel Market is on sale for 50% off (or more) and only for about 14 hours. If you are patient enough you can wait for some really cool mounts or costumes to come down in price. The minor drawback is that it only unlocks for the character you bought it on, however you can unlock it account-wide for a few more Cartel Coins.
Speaking of costumes, the outfit designer feature is really cool. It’s similar to the Warcraft transmog system except the costume remains even after you replace a piece of gear. In some ways I like that better than transmog except you can’t overwrite your weapons.
Flashpoints and Expansions
I didn’t activate a recurring subscription, instead I purchased their non-recurring 60 days of game time. I really like this idea of only one time purchases of game time without having to buy a game time card. In fact, not only does it grant you a one time purchase of game time, it also fully upgrades to the current expansion. Prior to my initial exit from the game, Rise of the Hutt Cartel was the current expansion. Therefore I didn’t have any of the content after that expansion unlocked. Now I can reach max level of Onslaught without a recurring subscription or expansion purchase.
Flashpoints (which is the SWTOR version of 5-man dungeons) have a new mechanic that I really like. Story Mode. This means you can complete a flashpoint solo, or with a smaller group. The mobs health and damage is reduced and you also receive an additional companion droid to help with the fights. I love this. It always kind of bothered me, in World of Warcraft, that the main story arcs always ended with a dungeon quest. There are even some professions that require a dungeon visit. I usually end up waiting for months to finally finish these quests because I feel blocked by the dungeon.
I get that Blizzard is trying to foster a community environment and these quests are designed to be completed with a group. However, I don’t always feel like hunting for a group of folks or waiting on the Looking-for-Group tool. I just want to complete my quest (and thus the story). SWTOR Story Mode let’s me do that. Blizzard needs to do this.
On a final note, playing the game again reminds me how amazing the voice acting and writing is, especially of class companions. I also love the fact that they incorporated music and creatures (ex: the varactyls) from the prequels. I really do love this game.
If you’re interested in playing this game visit the website: www.swtor.com.
“ I’ll do it, on one condition – if I die, you have to build a statue in my honor. An Expensive one. ”