Why I just signed up to World of Warcraft for a year

In the lead up to the long awaited launch of SWTOR, it’s an understatement to say the time I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft has declined considerably. Participation in the beta was a large reason, but it was also as a result of WoW fatigue. After a few hours of playing SWTOR I actually started to debate whether I’d be continuing my WoW subscription – I could see that SWTOR was going to provide the same type of entertainment, combined with a body of lore I have a long-standing emotional attachment to.

So, when I logged into WoW to check out patch 4.3, I was surprised to find I’d missed playing my Mage. Sure, the graphics look even more dated now that I have my ‘SWTOR goggles’ on, but I had a great time with the toon I’ve lived with since 2007. I also realised for the first time that although a lot of people are calling SWTOR ‘WoW in space’, there are a bunch of good reasons why WoW still has a lot to offer:

Atmosphere

I love the landscapes and cities I’ve explored in SWTOR, and they certainly have their own ambience, but there are areas in WoW that will always keep me coming back. Whether it’s Westfall, Dalaran or Stranglethorn (ok that one’s a joke – I hate that place), they’re fun places to hang out that SWTOR can’t replace.

Guild relationships

I’m very happy with the guild I’ve chosen for SWTOR (hi to The Older Gamers), but they’re a very large guild and I’ll rightly need to spend some time getting to know the community, or being more of a lurker member helping out where I can. Either way, my WoW guild will still be my main home for quite a while to come, as we’ve spend years doing stuff together and it’s a smaller guild of a few hundred people. Some will definitely play SWTOR but the cross-pollination won’t be a dominant thing, so I have another good reason to keep playing WoW.

Achievements

Ok this is a sad admission to make, but like around half of WoW players I love working to gain achievements in game. SWTOR has an achievement system (accessed via the Codex), but it’s fair to say at this stage WoW’s is superior, and I’m 60+ percent toward completing all achievements. I know I won’t ever hit 100% but it’s an ongoing effort that gives me a lot of satisfaction for some reason. Is it a good reason to continue playing an MMO? Absolutely not if it’s the only reason, but for me it isn’t.

It’s about cross-pollination

Every MMO finds new solutions to old problems, and I’m determined not to get wedded to just one MMO as I want to see how different ones approach gameplay issues or even create brand new types of gameplay. It’s fairly safe to assume that Bioware and Blizzard keep a close eye on each other’s game development activities, and in my own tiny way I want to be doing the same. And for me it’s a win-win situation: I get to increase my enjoyment in both games.

While I’m at it: Blizzard PLEASE improve your inventory management, you could do a lot worse than what SWTOR is doing with a single ‘bag’. And Bioware: whenever the first expansion for SWTOR comes, try to implement world events as good as the ones that lead up to Cataclysm.

Seeing what’s next

MMOs live and die on the amount of time and emotional investment their players put into the game. WoW has set the standard for hooking players and I’m no different even though I may only play an hour or two a week. I want to see what happens next with the game – not just for the reasons I talked about above, but just out of pure interest and sentimentality. Will the Panda expansion suck? There’s no way I’m missing out on discovering the answer for myself.

WoW Trade Chat

I could never leave WoW because I love Trade Chat. Ok now I’m being silly, so I’d better wrap up.

The Sum Up

Love it or hate it, SWTOR is going to continue being compared to WoW for a long time to come. If I were about to start playing my first MMO, I doubt WoW would be the choice with SWTOR now a real option. For those of us that have a WoW playing history, I’m not sure that the usual assumption of straight defection from one game to another. There’s a lot of people with a large emotional investment in the older game, that may prompt the stretching of the budget to two monthly subscriptions.

At least in the short term.

Comments

  1. This is why I won’t leave WoW completely too. SWTOR will become my main one but not my only.

  2. Great to see an article on a fansite that doesn’t jump in embarrassed horror if someone mentions WoW. In fact, quite the opposite.

    I’ll be happy if SWTOR and WoW can co-exist. It’s a win for the consumer, surely.

  3. You also get access to the Diablo 3 beta when you buy the year pass. Something I have been trying hard not to think about for the last 2 weeks

  4. As with many azerothnians, I have invested many days worth of play into toons. I may jump to a new MMO to see the new features but WoW lore keeps me coming back for more. SWTOR will be given a run it deserves, but I’m not ready to abandon my shammy. Looking forward to pandas to.

  5. I’ll be keeping my subscription because I’m leader of a guild that’s been around since 2004. However, I rarely find myself motivated to play. The “endgame” doesn’t really interest me much, at all. I’m not really into repeating the same content over and over to gear up, or wiping on the same boss fight week after week for raid progression, and PVP doesn’t interest me at all. If WOW had more randomized, dynamically generated content that scaled to group size (accessible solo/duo/5-man, or raid), I’d probably be a lot more interested. SWTOR probably won’t do much better in that department, but at least it has more immersive, story-driven gameplay. And it’s got lightsabers!

  6. Played wow for nearly 6 years and i completely respect wow for all its done for the genre. I dont see myself ever going back though. A fresh change from fantasy is really long overdue. I am fortunate that allot of friendships i have made through wow are too coming to swtor. In the end, its all about community.

  7. Still planning on raiding on WoW, but outside of raiding, my time will be spent mostly on TOR and 360. Spending my time pre TOR farming up any raid requirements I might need so it won’t be a concern for a month or 2 🙂

    Also as a Rogue, I want my legendary.

  8. after raiding through vanilla TBC and early WOTLK, wow died for me a long time ago. I look back on my time as a very rewarding experience, and have made lifelong friends but I cannot see myself going back. I have been gone from wow for quite some.

    Facts are that WoW has set the standard for MMO’s, and frankly the bar might be too high. I’m not confident that swtor could survive given wows MOP expansion and the increasing likelyhood of D3 being released early..

    I really hope that SWTOR is good enough to keep players who are otherwise waiting for Diablo3

  9. In a similar situation. subed to wow for another year.. My guild being the biggest reason for that + Diablo 3 for free isnt bad.
    SWTOR will be my main, but will log onto WOW for the raid nights.

  10. Jasonronnie says:

    Honestly, the only way I could see myself ever going back to WoW is if Blizzard finally shelled out and located some servers in Oceania. Given how late it is now in the product’s life cycle, I’m fairly certain that’s never going to happen. WoW was my first MMO and I look back on it with fond memories, but ultimately I’m not sad that I stopped playing and I’ve got no burning desire to go back.

  11. WOW is a very well designed hamster wheel that keeps people coming back. Personally despite some close friendships I formed in WOW I have no intention of going back. Holding on to a game because of the Achievments your character has is just plain wrong IMO, especially when it’s a subscription game.

    With the release of TOR I will keep playing & subscribing to LOTRO but that is for 1 reason and 1 reason only, I still enjoy playing the game. Reading your whole post it doesn’t seem to me like you are actually having fun playing but are holding on due to sentimental reasons and social reasons.

  12. I have played WoW for 3 years and hubby had played it since it was vanilla WoW….way before BC. We look at it with fond memories but will never be going back to it. I do miss my mage and the friendships that I made in the game, but thats what fb is for….lol….We shut down our subscrptions to WoW in Oct to get ready for TOR (I was pretty drained from WoW and needed a break before TOR). We also couldnt afford $60 per month for all 4 subscriptions and We are now in a great guild for TOR that pretty much is made up of fairly local people and we know just about all of them. You also cant get me to come back just for a Panda….I know, I am a girl who plays and I do like my pets but to try to win people over with a Panda is rediculous….lol

  13. Played in closed beta until just recently. I too have experienced extreme WoW burn out.
    I don’t think there is anything they can do to draw me back into that game.
    Ready about the next patch with Pandas and Pokemon further reinforces my decision.

  14. terrible bias says:

    baddy article

  15. I’ve played the game since early December 2004, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time throughout each expansion. I began hardcore (3-5 days per week) raiding when ZG and MC were released, and have raided ever since.

    Blizzard has done an exceptional job keeping their content fresh, updated and intriguing. I do agree with some of the other comments, however, that it is indeed a mouse wheel. I’m a happy rodent, ever chasing that cheese.

    Moderation is the key to prolonged enjoyment, and to prevent burn-out. Every few months, I took a few weeks off and those breaks have allowed me to maintain an avid desire to continue to play.

    It is amazing to see how many people are comparing SWTOR, and even Skyrim, to WoW. I’ve seen a large majority of people within my guild talk about holding “dual citizenship” between both games, rather than leaving WoW behind for good. Whether it’s sentimentality or comfort in repetition, I think there’ll always be a soft spot for WoW in all of us.

    Nicely worded article, David. Glad to have stumbled across it.

  16. Once you get over the withdrawls you realise how little any of the above matters.

  17. I’ve started raiding in WoW fairly late into TBC and I have enjoyed it. I’m also a bit burnt out and I hope that there is a lot less grinding in SWTOR’s endgame. I will miss my characters, but I’ve finished DS on LFR difficulty (not for a challenge, just to have a look) and most of my guildmates and friends are coming over to SWTOR anyway.

    WoW, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ll miss you, and we might have a quick fling during the AWOL grace period, but I can’t see myself going back after I get my retail copy of TOR.

    Goodbye Tankadin, hello Tankassin.

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