A red zoner pulls the plug: thoughtfully

An interesting perspective from a disappointed Australian SWTOR player made it’s way on the official forums today. Unlike some people who’ve decided to cancel their subscription, Canisrah has actually gone beyond griping, to detail in a thoughtful way why he’s not found SWTOR to be the game he thought it would be:

Well, I just cancelled my sub.

Thought I’d offer a few comments as I’ve been following this game for years and felt it deserved some sort of farewell. I was one of the Red Zoners who raged when BW left us out of initial pre-orders, and I was one of those who breathed a sigh of relief when the decision was made not to IP block us so we could play at launch.

My experience playing the game – technically, has been great. No noticeable lag, very few bugs, highly polished game. No real complaints.

In fact, I’m really disappointed that I don’t like the game more than I do. Maybe it’s my problem – maybe my tastes are changing or maybe the sort of game that used to appeal to me simply doesn’t anymore.

I was the rabid SWTOR fan in my group – I was the guy who made all the other guys pre-order and play. My Malgus statue is glaring at me on the shelf and my collectors edition box is proudly displayed.

So why am I cancelling?

Well… I played and enjoyed my BH up to level 41. When I hit Belsavis I suddenly realized I was bored stiff. The story had lost its luster, and I was doing seemingly pointless grinding and losing the will to live. Skyrim started calling to me, and the promise of upcoming titles like Diablo III, Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai, and Mass Effect 3 compelled me to acknowledge that when they arrived, there’s no way I would spend my limited game time grinding away in this mmo.

In a desperate attempt to maintain my SWTOR enthusiasm, I started a slew of new characters, leveling them in bits and pieces in an effort to re-engage with a new story. But in each case staring at a long road of grinding interspersed with only fleeting moments of true story engagement was enough to scuttle that expedition before it even left port.

I even considered just letting my sub run for a few months – but then the reality of bleeding money for no apparent purpose (a misguided sense of loyalty or a last ditch attempt to justify all the hours of anticipation waiting for this game notwithstanding).

The age of the mmo is over, at least for me. The old game-play model this game adheres too is no longer interesting and I regretfully say that if SWTOR couldn’t do it for me, no mmo that holds to the old design paradigm will. I may give GW2 a fleeting peek, but only because it’s a no sub thing so I won’t have to invest so much.

I suspect SWTOR will be the last of the big budget mmos. And as much as it pains me to say it… I think it will struggle to maintain a large play-base.

But that’s just my view – and if you are playing and loving it and are in it for the long haul more power to you. Wish I could have been the same.

Peace out.

Obviously there’s no right or wrong in regards to a decision to quit. Personally I’ve really enjoyed the game and haven’t become bored at all. I also tend to judge an MMO once it’s been bedded down for at least 6 months. More unique to SWTOR, I’m also waiting for the damn game to launch worldwide to see what impact the larger community will have on the game, good or bad.

All that said, some people will also come to a quicker decision a game’s not for them, and fair enough too. Some will try to claim this is the start of a wave. It’s not: it’s a normal part of the evolution of an MMO post-launch. One respondent to the post on the forums (lunabaguna) put it perfectly in my opinion:

Perhaps this is a case of book vs movie for you. When you read a book, you get to make up a character in your head, if the character doesnt look how you want, you can ignore the description and make up something in your head. You get to create a backstory in your head, make the person who you want. With the voiceovers, its like a movie, the character has a certain personality that you cant control. Perhaps you just cant get into it because you cant form the character the way you see them.

So again: no matter how good an MMO is, its mechanics will be somewhat derivative and it will disappoint some people. You’ll only see me stating a real concern for SWTOR if hundred or thousands of posts as well written as Canisrah’s start appearing on the forums. My money is on that not happening.