March 26, 2012 by Tim

I’ve received my share of “come back to us” emails from MMOs over the years, but the one I recently got from SWTOR was by far the most personally tailored. It cleverly played on SWTOR’s strongest attribute, the story, by featuring one of my trooper’s main companions (I imagine other classes would receive emails with their companions in them).

I applaud the extra mile they went to tug at my heartstrings, but if they’d put as much effort into SWTOR’s endgame they wouldn’t need to be sending me this email in the first place. Don’t get me wrong… Level 1-50 is absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had leveling up in an MMO. Bioware set the bar pretty high for questing and leveling in that regard, and I’m spoiled for every other MMO.

Unfortunately all of that enjoyment hit a brick wall once I got to level fifty and the storyline ended. PVP was fun for a little while, but it was bogged down by an arbitrarily obtuse reward system that still makes no sense to me. PVP to get points, which you then use to buy two types of other points, then use those two types of points to buy a chest, which gives you another kind of points that you trade in for items.

Raiding didn’t do it for me either. The very first night my raid team walked into Eternity Vault on normal, we cleared the entire raid except for the last boss, and the reason we didn’t get him down wasn’t that he was difficult, but rather that we were fighting too many bugs and glitches with the encounter (platforms that wouldn’t respawn/wouldn’t drop, all the tanks getting mindtrapped even though they weren’t supposed to, etc). We went in the following night and downed him.

So we moved on to Hard Mode raids, and just about one-shot all of those as well. And while doing so, it became abundantly clear that the raid reward system was no better designed than the PVP reward system. With three levels of gear (Tionese, Columi and Rakata), you’d expect that they’d be applied to each of the three raid difficulties (Normal, Hard and Nightmare). Yet after only two weeks of raiding the hard mode ops, I was in 80% Rakata level gear. So what’s the incentive for doing Nightmare? I guess for the achieveme– oh right, they don’t have those.

It certainly does seem like Bioware is at least aware of the problem areas with their game, and from all of the interviews and videos I’ve seen over the past month, they definitely have a solid plan for fixing it. Unfortunately, it’s all just going to be too little too late for me.

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