Rediscovering Star Wars the Old Republic (SWTOR)

I have been a dedicated player of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) since its beginning, but lately my interest has been waning. I’m not sure if it’s the game content or the need for something different. After all, even filet mignon will get boring after the eighth dinner in a row. There was also a brief sojourn back into World of Warcraft (WoW), but I had no desire to continue there either. I could assume fantasy overload. I write fantasy novels, read and review fantasy novels, play fantasy MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), and have watched several fantasy movies. Perhaps the need for a change signaled the gaming muse to poke and prod me into having a second look at Star Wars the Old Republic (SWTOR).BLOGSWTOR

In the Beginning

I acquired my SWTOR subscription several months after the game went live and immediately loved it as much as LOTRO. Of course, being part of a gaming guild that spanned multiple MMORPGs helped. The same friends who played LOTRO and WoW were also becoming quickly addicted to SWTOR. The initial era of the game before its first expansion was a fair and fun time. Then a great change took place. We all eagerly awaited the first expansion, level cap increase, new weapon and armor modifications, and new content. But alas, the changes left a bad taste in my gamer’s mouth. Also, less than two weeks before, I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My disappointment with the Star Wars franchise was something of a double blow in a relatively short span of time. Therefore, I cancelled my subscription.

A New Hope

Call it a whim, something in the air, fate, destiny, or even kismet. I logged into SWTOR on a high-level toon. My stronghold (house) and everything else, were still in place as if frozen in time when I unsubscribed three years earlier. I had to dig through my mind’s cobwebs to remember the game functions. After some difficulties completing a quest, my fingers remembered what to do, but I still felt somewhat clumsy in game. Therefore, I decided, why not start from the beginning again? I logged into a server where I have no toons and created a Jedi Knight, to relearn the game from the proverbial “ground up.”

Return of My Jedi

Usually, one can tell when an MMORPG is ready to pass away. Simply create a new toon and play in the starting area. If it feels like a ghost town, call the MMORPG undertaker. But this was certainly not the case with SWTOR. Planet Tython, the starting area, was a veritable flurry of activity, with lots of chatter and guilds forming and recruiting. I gleaned from other players that many were just like me, former subscribers with a sudden resurgence of interest. There were four active layers on Tython to handle the number of players. Applause! Most MMORPG players are “Altaholics” and I am no different. I also created a Trooper and a Sith Sorcerer. Yes, Ord Mantell and Korriban were just as freshly populated as Tython.

I must say, I missed SWTOR and had forgotten how visually gorgeous it is, how non-repetitive it is, and how the interesting stories draw you in and hold your attention. Rediscovering SWTOR is akin to going back in time and discovering lost love with a renewed freshness. If you’re a former player or looking for a new MMORPG experience, then get that SWTOR subscription now!

Gaming Etiquette

There are quite a few websites out there with a handy list of “Do’s and Don’ts” which don’t take very long to peruse. The lists are not extensive, but offer a quick and easy guide to making more friends than enemies, and to keep precious game time fruitful and fun.

For me, the three most annoying things that one player can do to another are Kill Stealing, Node Stealing, and Ignoring.

Kill Stealing occurs when you’ve cleared the way to a boss and are restoring your health or power to prepare to take him on.  Suddenly, another player runs past you and hits that boss, effectively “stealing” him.  Now you have to wait for the respawn.  It’s just plain annoying.

Node Stealing is similar. Here’s the scenario: you come upon a crafting resource node such as ore or wood, but there’s a mob right next to it.  You have to kill that mob to get to the node.  But while you’re engaged in battle, some little twerp runs in and nabs the ore.  How rude is that?

The last thing that gets to me is getting Ignored.  No, not put on someone’s Ignore list.  Say you’re down to your last sliver of health – or even dead – and other players just run on by.  No heal popped, no one joining in to save your rear.  Makes me glad it’s not my physical body lying in the street.

So how do different gaming communities rate?

The worst in my experience is World of Warcraft (WoW). If you like to do underhanded things to other players, and don’t mind when it’s done back to you, then this is the place for you. Anti-etiquette seems to be the norm on the few servers that I’ve tried. Kill Stealing, Node Stealing, and Ignoring happen all the time, along with a lot of choice words in chat.

Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) comes next. The players there generally abide by the standard rules, but once in while you’ll run across a selfish moron who steals your kill. But generally other players will heal you, and don’t swipe nodes.

And the winner for the most etiquette-based gaming community: Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO). I’ve only had two nodes stolen from me in five years! Other players will jump in and help you in a tough fight and if your toon goes down for the count, you will get a rez. Also, most players will send you an invite to group up if you’re both going after the same boss. Most importantly, when LOTRO opened up Eastern Rohan, they introduced “open-tapping.”  Even if someone else “steals” your kill, just do one point of damage and you get credit for the kill as well.

What other good and bad gaming communities have you found out there?