I’ve just been reading the Massively interview with a SWTOR story writer. Some of the comments concur with a doubt I have of just how ‘fresh’ a main storyline can be if you base it heavily on a two faction war.
there’s very little interesting about a “war”, constantly battling the same enemy. Machineman87
This definitely chimes with my experience of SWTOR, I was rather bored of fighting Imperials by the time I reached the cap. Partly this is because the frequency of their use as ‘the enemy’ increased as my consular leveled up, but also because they were generally pretty lifeless and dumb opponents – just more grunt soldiers to massacre.
Combat is a constant in MMO gameplay, but I would say war as plot device is over-used. It can be exciting to come to a base under attack and to defend it. However since neither side can ever win this war, it is hard to avoid the artificiality of the situation if it’s a central theme. I would say a story-led ‘flare-up’ between factions can work very well, including preludes, engagements and some sort of ending. But to have all out war without consequences isn’t so great – neither the Republic nor the Empire can actually win in any meaningful sense since the losing faction would be up in arms.
I could be equally critical of Blizzard’s decision to focus on Alliance vs Horde again in Mists rather than having some world threat to unite against. Sure for PVP enthusiasts it’s probably all about that anyway, but I played both factions, I loved playing my night elf Boomkin and my orc Warlock equally. As an PVE-focused altaholic having the two factions had a different meaning – it meant almost twice the content to play through as even where quest hubs were shared you often had variations in experience of them.
It’s interesting that Trion have moved away from this for now in Rift. The two factions still exist and there are still no-go areas but we’re moving closer together as time goes on. So which is better, faction war or uniting against a common threat?