As with many of you, I suspect, the fun of MMOs for me is the journey and not the destination. I’ve never, ever been a fan of the so-called “endgame”, with its repetition, small and sparse increases in character power, and its dissimilarity with the game that came before it. There gets to be a point where you have everything you need to be successful outside of raids (which are are vicious catch-22 loop of “you need more gear to raid more raids to get more gear”), and so I’m usually content investing my interest elsewhere.
This is particularly true in my current state as a gamer who operates in with a reduced time budget and has to make decisions between going all-out in one MMO versus casually in many, investing a ton of effort into maxing out a character for the heck of it or being satisfied that she can hold her own against solo content at the level cap, and Skittles versus Starburst. (Skittles is the correct answer, by the way.)
Thus, hitting level 50 in SWTOR last night didn’t present a career crisis that I’ve gone through with other endgame characters in the past. I’m fully aware of what SWTOR’s endgame is right now and have little desire to participate in it apart from the occasional flashpoint with guildies. Instead, I’m going to wrap up my Agent’s adventures in her storyline, finish up with her companions’ stories, and move on to a second character.
I want to say that I’ve shown remarkable restraint sticking with just one character all the way through the game up to this point. The alt itch is so strong that it’s almost irresistible, and I’m giddy at the prospect of trying a different class, storyline, and faction (next up is a Jedi Counsular, believe it or not).
I’m not especially down on SWTOR for its lackluster endgame because I was never under the impression that BioWare had somehow cracked the code to make story-based content infinitely repeatable and enjoyable at the max level. Two months after launch and I’ve definitely still in the camp of “this is a great game, tremendously fun, needs work, it’s not perfect but it is one of the best storytelling MMOs I’ve ever seen.”
We’re waiting to see what BioWare has in store for more solo content come next month, and I am curious if they’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve of players devouring this hard-to-create content. Probably not, but considering that I still have seven classes to go and with a current rate of two months-to-endgame, the studio has a year or so to crack that before I’ve tapped this well dry. Looking at this year’s release schedule, I suspect that I’ll have a few detours in my future anyway, and having a couple untouched classes to eventually come back to in SWTOR seems like a smart idea.
As for the Agent, I do want to say that it turned out to be everything I hoped for and more — the story in particular has so many intriguing twists and turns that it would make a slam-bang Star Wars flick if wishes could make it happen. Going healing spec was interesting but not horrible, as it allowed me to get through some incredibly difficult fights, but having the ability to stealth as an Operative is just bliss. I don’t know how non-stealth classes do it, since sometimes you don’t want to fight every two feet toward your objective — you just want to get there. Plus, it’s a fun mini-game trying to figure out how to creep by everyone without triggering their alarm, using your stealth abilities to help out with it.
Big thanks to my guild, the Imperial Mercenary Corps, for being a delightful and steady bunch of gamers who were always around for runs and chats.