Trying to Quit Star Wars: The Old Republic? Too Damn Bad!

So it has been one month (!) since the launch of BioWare’s first MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Time flies when you’re having fun, huh?  What’s that?  You aren’t having fun with SWTOR?


I wish I knew how to quit you


Yes, it seems there are several issues plaguing the young MMO already, causing players to rage on the game’s forums.  Hit the jump to learn about broken patches, the inability to unsubscribe, constant downloads, and other fun issues that may or may not be wreaking havoc on EA’s big gamble.

Selling like hotcakes!  – Or not.  Supposedly, EA’s stock slid today because of weaker-than-expected sales for the holiday title.  Don’t take my word for it?  Here’s a quote from stock analyst Todd Mitchell, whose evaluation of EA’s stock contains this little morsel: “Specifically, initial sales appear to be below expectations, and casual observation of early play is causing us to rethink our churn assumptions…”  I am curious what his “observation” includes, but I do have to say that both myself and my friends with whom I’ve been playing both seem skeptical about how much diverse content and replayability truly lies within the title.

Time to play (after this download…) – One of my biggest issues with SWTOR reminds me of the early days in World of Warcraft.  Nothing spells “fun” like logging in to discover there’s a new patch to download.  At least in the early days of WoW, patch day was always Tuesday, so you knew to never expect to play then; if SWTOR has a similar schedule, I haven’t figured it out.  Hell, the last three times I’ve played have involved me downloading at least 200 MB patches.  That isn’t terribly large, but then the damn thing has to install, and I swear it is getting slower [NOTE: not based on any evidence, just my own impatience] .  It is really frustrating now, because WoW has worked out a streaming solution, so you can play while the patch downloads.  Now, obviously Blizzard has had six years to figure this all out, so I don’t expect BioWare to master this dark magic instantly.  I’m just saying it would be nice.  Really nice.  Essential, even.

What am I paying for again? – Like WoW, SWTOR requires me to give it $15 a month to play.  In a way, MMO’s are the new arcade games, in that they are experiences meant to constantly drain you money while only giving you the illusion that you are progressing.  However, unlike WoW, much of SWTOR relies very heavily on instances to run.  Essentially, you enter an area (like a cave) and you can only interact with NPC’s and your group members.  If another group enters the same cave, they get their own copy, or instance, of the environment for them to explore.  This prevents forty people from blasting through the quest mobs in an area, which is kind of nice.  However, I would argue most of the content is found in these instances.  There’s very little “massive” stuff going on for a “massively multiplayer online” game.  I’m not entirely convinced the game needed to be subscription based, at least not like WoW needed to be earlier on.  Hell, even WoW is entering a world where several MMO’s have seen profits go up after going free-to-play, so we’ll see how much longer subscription-based MMO’s stick around.  I would suggest that it isn’t essential to the existence of SWTOR, with much smaller zones / world content (that I’ve seen so far), which makes me wonder if it is worth continually paying to play.

Do you like to PvP?  Better play Sith! – A recent event saw BioWare change the rules for how a PvP (Player-vs-player) area in the game worked.  Apparently, players originally we just questing in the zone, largely ignoring the other faction’s players.  Rather than be happy that people weren’t being gigantic dicks all the time, BioWare changed the rules in the zone, requiring players to earn several kills before turning in quests.  Instantly, the zone became an unyielding nightmare for any Republic player, since the Sith outnumber them on almost every server.  Seriously, the area was unplayable for the Republic, who would enter the zone only to find hundreds of lightsabers eagerly awaiting them.  This isn’t so much a specific rant about this one problem: I fear it shows how unfamiliar BioWare is with designing a MMO.  The game really feels more like KOTOR with Friends than a unique title, and while several approaches it takes to a MMO are fascinating, there are some moments where you wonder if BioWare forgot just how many people are experiencing the world at once.

Want to quit?  TOO DAMN BAD – With today marking the first month of SWTOR, account cancellations will occur.  Most players were granted one free month of play, usually just from buying the game, and as that free time runs out one must consider whether to actually pay for a subscription.  That’s all fine, people leave and come back to MMO’s all the time.  However, most people logged in today to find that the “Cancel Subscription” button, which has always been displayed confidently on the SWTOR website had disappeared.  BioWare has since fixed the issue, but I can’t be the only one that thinks it was a little sketchy.  Just a bit.

Socially awkward video! – Today, EA released this video detailing all the exciting content coming up!  Too bad it hit right in the middle of this rough week, making it feel less like an exciting peek into the future and more of a “please don’t leave us”.

Keep in mind, I personally am enjoying my time in the game.  I am just bothered with several issues that are plaguing the title, and I hope they are resolved soon.

  • Mark Ross

    Et tu, Brute?