MMO variety

I’m at the brink of my hoped for ‘summer of gaming’. Guild Wars 2 remains illusive sadly, I expect that will launch in autumn just when I’m getting busy with my Masters again…

Yesterday I did a split evening of SWTOR and then Vanguard. Randomly I’d also received a questionnaire about SWTOR from a third party – it seemed legit enough so I spent some time going through the many rather repetitive pages of questions. The most important question from my perspective was the “will you still be subbed in 1,3,6, 12 etc months”. At present I can’t see myself subbed past 3 months. I think it’ll take me more than one month to get to the cap finally but past that I don’t have any real goals in game. Rolling alts for the ‘legacy’ doesn’t interest me, raiding doesn’t interest me. There’s something weird going on here, I’m a self-confessed altaholic, yet I feel no real need to play alts in SWTOR, what’s going on?

I can contrast this with my Vanguard session, after leveling my druid in my duo group I’m left wanting to play more since there is so much apparent depth to the game. We happened to discover the concept of brotherhoods and caravans, both excellent static friendly features in game. Brotherhoods share experience between a group of characters whether they are online or not, so if someone misses a session they can at least get their share of the XP when they log back on the next time. Caravans offer a similar “not left behind” benefit with travel, so if you join a caravan all characters will login at the position of the group’s last logout – if you skip a session you don’t have to travel the distance the group has covered in your absence. [disclaimer, I haven’t used either so if either system is broken/bugged apologies in advance]

Not necessarily suitable to all groups or situations but the brotherhood concept I find intruiging as it would allow static levelling groups to just play whether 100% of players are on or not. That’s a real improvement over 90% of MMOs currently out there.

Having played Diablo 3 a fair amount now, it’s another “play through once” game for me. After finishing normal mode I may pick it up again in a few months or years but honestly it’s like a refined WoW model – endless gear grind and heroic dungeon repetition all rolled into a super efficient click-combat package. All of the MMO that I play offer quick-fix style activities, Diablo 3 might offer the quickest start time to hitting enemies ratio; yes it’s faster to get into a dungeon than even WoW. But actually if I want something quick to do I can play Vanguard or LoTRO and have the choice of questing / crafting / harvesting / exploring etc.

There’s been some discussions about MMOs as single player games that I’ve found interesting, notably Keen and Azuriel. Personally I think MMOs are superior to single player games for the variety of activities they offer as well as their longevity. Few single player games offer such a variety of stuff to do beyond just hitting things with swords or spells. This answers my quandry over SWTOR, playing alts gives you the chance to experience more of the variety of activities in an MMO, SWTOR lacks this variety especially since crafting is so distanced from your character, so the reason for alting that I find most compelling simply isn’t there…

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