Why I just signed up to World of Warcraft for a year

In the lead up to the long awaited launch of SWTOR, it’s an understatement to say the time I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft has declined considerably. Participation in the beta was a large reason, but it was also as a result of WoW fatigue. After a few hours of playing SWTOR I actually started to debate whether I’d be continuing my WoW subscription – I could see that SWTOR was going to provide the same type of entertainment, combined with a body of lore I have a long-standing emotional attachment to.

So, when I logged into WoW to check out patch 4.3, I was surprised to find I’d missed playing my Mage. Sure, the graphics look even more dated now that I have my ‘SWTOR goggles’ on, but I had a great time with the toon I’ve lived with since 2007. I also realised for the first time that although a lot of people are calling SWTOR ‘WoW in space’, there are a bunch of good reasons why WoW still has a lot to offer:


I love the landscapes and cities I’ve explored in SWTOR, and they certainly have their own ambience, but there are areas in WoW that will always keep me coming back. Whether it’s Westfall, Dalaran or Stranglethorn (ok that one’s a joke – I hate that place), they’re fun places to hang out that SWTOR can’t replace.

Guild relationships

I’m very happy with the guild I’ve chosen for SWTOR (hi to The Older Gamers), but they’re a very large guild and I’ll rightly need to spend some time getting to know the community, or being more of a lurker member helping out where I can. Either way, my WoW guild will still be my main home for quite a while to come, as we’ve spend years doing stuff together and it’s a smaller guild of a few hundred people. Some will definitely play SWTOR but the cross-pollination won’t be a dominant thing, so I have another good reason to keep playing WoW.


Ok this is a sad admission to make, but like around half of WoW players I love working to gain achievements in game. SWTOR has an achievement system (accessed via the Codex), but it’s fair to say at this stage WoW’s is superior, and I’m 60+ percent toward completing all achievements. I know I won’t ever hit 100% but it’s an ongoing effort that gives me a lot of satisfaction for some reason. Is it a good reason to continue playing an MMO? Absolutely not if it’s the only reason, but for me it isn’t.

It’s about cross-pollination

Every MMO finds new solutions to old problems, and I’m determined not to get wedded to just one MMO as I want to see how different ones approach gameplay issues or even create brand new types of gameplay. It’s fairly safe to assume that Bioware and Blizzard keep a close eye on each other’s game development activities, and in my own tiny way I want to be doing the same. And for me it’s a win-win situation: I get to increase my enjoyment in both games.

While I’m at it: Blizzard PLEASE improve your inventory management, you could do a lot worse than what SWTOR is doing with a single ‘bag’. And Bioware: whenever the first expansion for SWTOR comes, try to implement world events as good as the ones that lead up to Cataclysm.

Seeing what’s next

MMOs live and die on the amount of time and emotional investment their players put into the game. WoW has set the standard for hooking players and I’m no different even though I may only play an hour or two a week. I want to see what happens next with the game – not just for the reasons I talked about above, but just out of pure interest and sentimentality. Will the Panda expansion suck? There’s no way I’m missing out on discovering the answer for myself.

WoW Trade Chat

I could never leave WoW because I love Trade Chat. Ok now I’m being silly, so I’d better wrap up.

The Sum Up

Love it or hate it, SWTOR is going to continue being compared to WoW for a long time to come. If I were about to start playing my first MMO, I doubt WoW would be the choice with SWTOR now a real option. For those of us that have a WoW playing history, I’m not sure that the usual assumption of straight defection from one game to another. There’s a lot of people with a large emotional investment in the older game, that may prompt the stretching of the budget to two monthly subscriptions.

At least in the short term.