So, I was gone for a number months, playing that other MMO. As I mentioned before, I liked the game. It just couldn’t hold my interest long term. I compare that to WoW, and the fact that I played WoW for five years before I felt like I needed a break, and that I am enthusiastic about playing again. So, what are some things that set WoW apart for me?
1. I need what I’m doing to feel meaningful on a few different levels. Even if it’s a silly sort of meaningful, like that by doing dailies I also come closer to a new exalted reputation or some other achievement. Make all the “Yo dawg, I heard you like…” jokes you want here. But when I would run dailies in swtor, it was only for the credits. So that I could afford to raid because raiding itself was not at all lucrative. Not having something else to work towards in that time meant that it got really flat, really fast. Most of the time, I couldn’t be bothered.
2. Not having a meter means I don’t have any deep investment in my performance. That one probably sounds worse than it is. It’s not as though I headed into ops and facerolled my keyboard and hoped for the best. I worked on my rotation and made sure my gear was in good order. I wanted to pull my weight. But that was all I wanted. Say what you will about the competetive nature of dps when there’s a meter, but I love it. I love it even when I am dead freaking last. Striving for the top of the meter meant that I had something to aim for and kept me focused through trash pulls and bosses on farm. I could look at the numbers and say, “Okay, that guy did better than I did on that fight. What could I have done better? What can I do better next time?” But when you’re as blind to your own performance as you are to everyone else’s, it’s a little hard to care if you could improve when the only measure of success is whether all the things are dead or not.
3. Parallel leveling paths are a must. I actually wrote about my concern about there not being parallel leveling paths fairly early on in my time in swtor. There was no choice to go to Westfall rather than to Darkshore. The only variety came from your class quests or the conversation choices you made. As much as I tend to love alting, I didn’t care for having only the same content available to me no matter what I chose to play. At the end of my time in swtor, I had two level 50′s and a 40-something leveled mostly through space battles… and I could cheerfully never see most of that content ever again.
4. Better keybinding. Macros. I love macros. I love being able to bind many of the things to a few buttons and spam the shit out of it as needed. Well, guess what macro options you have in swtor? None. Nada. Zip. So in order to fit all the things I wanted to have easy access to on my action bars, I had to get more creative than WoW ever required that I do. Half of that was simply splurging on a hot new keyboard, since I rarely use my mouse for anything. Go look! I’ll wait. I’m certainly still under-utilizing that beast, but I have gotten some practice at using the modifier keys.
The silly thing is that it took having no macros in swtor to get me to realize that there were four keys very close to my movement home (I believe I’m something of a freak in that regard as I use the 10-key pad) that were free. I’m still working out what I want to map to Number Pad 0, 1, 3 and 5… but I have some ideas. No more hovering my mouse pointer over Time Warp waiting for the raid leader to call for it. I just need to make sure I don’t forget when it’s no longer an aggro dump or an adrenal. I mean potion. Totally meant potion.
5. The single most important thing I ever could have done as a GM was to recruit wisely. Granted, I could have learned this one in any game, but it was in swtor that I was able to put good recruiting practice into effect. Since everyone and everything was as new I was, it was easy to make a recruitment policy be the status quo in my guild. When I left swtor, it wasn’t at all with a sigh of relief that finally I was away from so-and-so. Well, maybe there was the one guy I wasn’t sad to leave behind, but them are some good odds, particularly when considering that every guild I’ve been in has had at least a handful of people who I dreaded to see log in. If I could go back in time and rewrite my stupid “How to be a GM” posts, I think I would spend a lot more time talking about how important it is to look for the right quality and caliber of people.
So, there you have it. That’s five things playing swtor taught me about gaming in general and about WoW. As a bonus sixth, I could add that I finally realized it’s okay to play another game if you need to. Next time I think I might be approaching burnout in WoW, I’ll just hop back to swtor on the F2P model… or try something new!
What have different games taught you about your primary game?