Pondering what to scratch my MMORPG itch with

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My short-lived rampant addiction to The Secret World faded after about a week or two. I definitely got enough out of it to warrant the price of the game and the first “free month,” so I’m not bitter about it, but I can definitely say I’m shocked my desire to log in came to such a screeching halt. I think I logged about 40 hours in just the first few days of having it, so when I, all of a sudden, stopped logging on it was peculiar, to say the least. I think the first thing that might have put a dent in my momentum was the fact that I rerolled away from my first character and server, in order to be able to play with a friend of mine who I had convinced enough to buy the game. I won’t lie, I was kind of looking for more excuses to reroll my character, because I was unhappy with how his face turned out (little things like that nag the hell out of me in games) and I was already thinking about trying out a more offensive/dps build, as opposed to my purely survival-focused blade/chaos tank. Besides rerolling, the Steam sale didn’t help the cause at all, as that reminded me that I have a gigantic Steam library that doesn’t get enough of my attention. Before I knew it I had forgotten about my Templar comrades and I can pretty much say I’ve moved on. For now at least. I can definitely see myself coming back to TSW if Funcom sticks to their promises of monthly content patches. There was a lot I loved about TSW and I still truly believe it’s one of the gems of MMORPG launches in the post-WoW age of MMORPGs.

So here I find myself with a dozen-or-so freshly installed Steam games, looking for an MMORPG I can log into when I want that “lose myself for a few hours with a podcast playing in the background” type of game. I tried hopping into Rift since they reactivated old accounts for the weekend, but it wasn’t seeming to grab my attention. Maybe when the expansion’s launch is a bit closer? After Rift, my mind wandered to Final Fantasy XIV (probably due to the recent ‘A Realm Reborn’ 2.0 news), Star Wars: The Old Republic, and World of Warcraft.

My deal with FFXIV is that I feel like I’m still just better off waiting for the glorified 2.0 patch to go live. I already picked up the game for ~$10 a few months ago, so I’ll be able to side-step the inevitable price increase that comes with the relaunch and version 2.0. The FFXIV I tried a few months ago, while definitely improved, was still too much like the FFXIV I played back in the beta. I’m afraid this would still be the case if I reactivated any time before 2.0

SWTOR and WoW are kind of pulling the same strings for me when I try to analyze why I am getting an itch for both of them. Both have similar theme-park experiences, class mechanics, and talent-tree layouts. Both (now) have an automated “LFG” system. Both have similar end-game experiences of either “PVP or PVE” being the baseline options. What SWTOR has going for it that WoW doesn’t is that more of it is fresh to me. The idea of starting from scratch with the Reddit guild is really appealing to me. When I try to think of what I would jump into in WoW, it all kind of starts out hazy and then goes downhill when I think about server transfer and faction change fees — all due to the fact that I just don’t know if I want to stick to my level 85 Death Knight who is a recent Horde-faction-change-victim or if I want to go back to my home of Alliance, that just feels more natural and normal to me.

Besides these heavy hitters like SWTOR and WoW, I feel like I’m somehow overlooking an MMORPG that could hit the spot just as well as these. Lord of the Rings Online? It’s never really lasted long for me in the past, and with an expansion launch on the horizon that’s just an added cost, so an added barrier of entry. Guild Wars 2 launches in less than a month, but the client’s lack of optimization throughout the beta weekends has really turned me off, and besides that, I need something now, not a month from now. Planetside 2 beta is said to start in just a few days, but how do I know I’ll be in the first wave of invites? I’ve played a bit of it during the tech test (thanks to a lucky friend of mine who got in) and that engine could use some optimization too. I’ve thought about hopping back into Diablo 3, but having done all four acts, three to four times each speaks for itself. I’m tired of repeating content in that game for such little reward. What the hell, it’s not an MMORPG anyways.

Working this all out in my head as I’m typing this post has actually helped a lot, and I’m honestly leaning towards SWTOR at this point. Rerolling a Jedi or Smuggler could be fun, and I feel like I can fill my head with a “to-do list” in SWTOR way easier (and cheaper) as opposed to WoW. After all, setting goals (both big and small) in an MMORPG is what keeps me playing them. What’s an MMORPG without a carrot-on-a-stick?

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