Word Of Mouth

Apologies for my lack of responsiveness over the last week or so. I hope nobody thought that I was ignoring them because I wasn't replying to comments, but I was actually AFK, away from both the game and the internet in general, visiting friends and family in Austria. Now I have a lot of catching up to do, both in terms of reading and in terms of commenting. On the plus side, I seem to have figured out Blogger's scheduled publishing feature okay, as the three short posts that I had pre-written before my departure all went up as intended.

Living without the convenience of the internet is slightly annoying, mostly because you can't look up the answers to every random question that pops into your head at your leisure ("What was that guy called again?") but I have to admit that I didn't really miss SWTOR. I'm happy to get back into it now though. And it did come up in conversation at least twice, when I was talking to friends whom I would both classify as fairly casual gamers.

With the first one, it went like this:

Her: Oh yeah, [her boyfriend] asked me to ask you what server you play on in WoW.
Me: Oh, is he playing the new expansion?
Her: Yeah, [looking kind of skeptical] he's running around as a panda smashing things.
Me: Ah. Well, I stopped playing several months ago. [excited] I play Star Wars: The Old Republic now!
Her: [slightly blank stare] ...
Her: Well, you know I'm not really into these kinds of games...

Then she showed me her Smurfville village on her phone. Oh well, can't win them all. With the other friend I fared a bit better though:

Me: Oh, you're still playing WoW?
Her: Yep.
Me: Are you playing with pandas?
Her: [slightly awkward] Yes, we made pandas.
Me: Did you buy the new expansion too?
Her: [looking increasingly uncomfortable] Yes, we did that too.
Me: And, are you enjoying it?
Her: No! It's so dull. And we don't know how to play our characters anymore. And it's all so... childish. Don't you think?
Me: [surprised] Oh, I wouldn't say that. But [insert rant about my own misgivings about WoW here], so I stopped playing quite a while ago. I play Star Wars: The Old Republic now!
Her: Oh, I liked that! We both tried it out when it came out, but [her boyfriend] didn't like it that much because of "all the talking he had to listen to" [rolls eyes]. I thought it was quite charming though.
Me: [feeling like a salesman] Well, you should be happy to hear then that it's going free to play next month then! So you can go back and finish your character's story without having to pay a subscription.
Her: Really? That sounds cool! I might just go back to my little Jedi knight then. She was only level 16 or 17 anyway.

I'm not sure she'll actually remember, but it still felt like a minor victory to me. It's all about the word of mouth!


  1. Good luck with your evangelizing! The one person who I would hit on to try out the game is going to be moving soon, so I'm not going to pester him about it until afterward.

    Well, that's not quite true, since I do know that some other people would be interested, but their computers are even older than mine!

    1. I dare say "evangelizing" is a bit of a strong word for "telling my friends that I play a certain game", as we really didn't talk about it in any kind of depth. :P

    2. Oh, I don't think you're grabbing people off the street and positioning them in front of TOR, but when you enjoy something it's easy to be all gung ho for it. You're doing something you love, and of course you're going to talk to people about the game.

      Besides, I got a chuckle out of your words "I dare say"; I think it's safe to say you've been in Britain for a while. ;-)

  2. I've found that evangelists who focus on the negatives of other systems (game, religion, party, whatever) tend not to know why people should join their side.

    So why should I return to SW:ToR? My Inquisitor is level 50 and, like most MMO players, I consider the leveling process to be just a brief period in time; most of the game is at cap. What makes the daily quests, reputation (affection) grind, and random queues in SW:ToR better than those in WoW or Rift? Why, if I'm going to subject myself to an F2P game, should I go for this one and not the lore-richer LotRO?

    And 'roll an Alt!' is not an endorsement but a detriment.

    1. I'm not sure what the point of your first paragraph is supposed to be, considering that this entire blog is about why I love the game, not about why I dislike others.

      My own favourite aspects of the game are the PvP, levelling through the different class stories and socialising. If you prefer to focus on doing stuff at the level cap and hate rolling alts, SWTOR is probably not the game for you. I'd never claim that it's for everyone. :)

    2. Honestly, you probably shouldn't try TOR. The point of TOR is the story and leveling, unlike WoW or Rift. MMOs that focus on story or a sandbox experience (like the recently announced EverQuest Next) aren't going to interest people who like stuff strictly at the level cap.

      Also, I'd argue that most MMO players don't think the game starts at level cap. They're simply the most vocal of the bunch. Blizzard doesn't make it's money off of the subset of raiders, they make it off of the people who roll alts and basically putter around, logging in only occasionally and never really stressing the servers. Those people will stay no matter what happens at endgame.

    3. Shintar, read your paraphrased discussions. In neither of those do you mention why you like ToR, only why WoW is bad.

      Redbeard, I played ToR from the beta, through early start, until I'd capped what could be done by a level 50. I like just tooling around Middle Earth (pre-F2P) and looking at the sites but that never hit a nerve in ToR. So it's not a 'do I want to try' but a 'why should I return' question.

      I've played through most of the AAA MMOs and I have to say that I've not known any of them in which any but the most casual of players do not spend most of their time at level cap. I will grant that altaholics don't but that seems to be the minority. Most people develop an attachment to a character or two and try to do things with those characters. We leave games when we hit a wall.

      If the ToR model is going to be rolling alts, that fine. I've argued that one of the problems with the MMO field is that everyone is trying to capture the moment-in-time that permitted WoW to hit 11M subscribers. Find your niche and build a healthy community. A key part of that, however, is to openly advertise the type of player you want. Thus the 'why should I play' question. If you can answer that you can reach-out to players who are looking for that experience.

    4. I don't see any mention of WoW being bad, only that I didn't enjoy it anymore and stopped playing. I would think that's a big difference. ':) Also, like I said to Redbeard above, I was hardly evangelising, only mentioning the game to see whether they were interested. One wasn't and that was okay. The other wanted to talk about it because she'd played it before and already knew that she liked it.

      Not my discussion really, but I seem to recall someone figuring out from official quotes that more than half of WoW's active player base doesn't even have a level capped character. Ah yes, that's the post. To be fair, that was Cata, but still...

      One of these days I really need to get around to writing that "is TOR for you" post that I've been thinking about.

    5. Thanks for the pointer, that was an interesting read even though his numbers were off. As pointed out in the comments the '10M subs' includes China, while the '4.4M lvl 85' does not. If we remove the number of Chinese subs it's a very different story. The bulk of the conclusions also support the 'end game matters' PoV. Rolling alts is certainly a valid end game, if not for me, but it is not the norm expected by most players and should be advertised.

      And I'll not argue statement intent and simply assume that "But [insert rant about my own misgivings about WoW here], so I stopped playing quite a while ago." was misinterpreted by me.

    6. Actually, it only matters when you talk about what "endgame" means.

      Merely having a toon at level cap, while farming mats and goofing around?
      Working on (non-raid) achievements?
      Actively raiding?
      Hard core raiding?
      Actively PvPing?
      Running Arenas?
      Pet Battles? (That's only relevant in Mists.)

      The ones that you only can do at max level are current tier raiding and arenas, all others can be done at other levels but attract their share of followers with a toon a max level.

      Up until Mists dropped I had three toons at max level, but I wasn't raiding at all or even running 5-man heroics. I was merely doing my own thing running some BGs, farming a few mats, and basically noodling around the game. I believe that raiders would say I wasn't doing anything related to endgame at all, but I was doing it at max level.

    7. That's kind-of my point Redbeard. I haven't raided (other than soloing on my DK) since vanilla and I never raided in the time I was in Rift or LotRO but all those games gave me things to do at level cap. In SW:ToR I hit 50 and after about two weeks realized that I didn't have anything to do on that character other than affection grinding on Companions I never used. Yes, I could have gone for PvP but I've never like gear-based PvP games.

      It seems to me, as a former player, that SW:ToR has very limited end game options: roll alts, PvP, or run the two or three raids. If you aren't interested in the later two it's all about alts. And that's fine, it's a valid play style, but it should be acknowledged.

    8. Okay, what does Rift or LOTRO do at the level cap that's different? From what I can tell, there's not much of a difference.

  3. Heh, don't know which Pandaria your friends are playing, but I'd call it anything but 'dull.' MoP reminds me of the glory days of TBC/WotLK when exploration was rewarded and the feel of a zone was more important than the graphical upgrades. It's such a vibrant and living area. Contrast it against the static worlds of TOR and there's really no contest whatsoever.

    And why should your friend be uncomfortable about pandaren? Are they any more ridiculous than money-grubbing goblins, talking cow people, werewolves, space goats, or gnomes? We all know what WoW is. It's funny and light. Why is this a detriment?

    1. Nevermind, I misread the part where you said "Oh, I wouldn't say that." in reference to it being childish.

      Yeah. My reading comprehension needs works.

    2. Lol, and to think I figured I was being clever by writing the post in such a way that I wasn't actually expressing any of my own (admittedly now mostly negative) opinions about WoW. I didn't expect people to take such grave offense at the notion that someone, somewhere didn't like MoP. :P

    3. You know us MMO gamers ... we're pretty much all irrational! Hey, have you seen the cash shop stuff? It's got me stoked for TOR ... like how stoked I was when the game launched!


    4. I have, that's probably what my next post is going to be about! Overall my own reactions to what's being shown so far can be summed up as "some of it I find promising, some of it I find meh", but considering that I was very wary of the whole F2P thing to begin with, that's pretty good. :P

    5. I'm just so ridiculously happy that they didn't completely hose it up. I had feared the worst.


Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. No sign-in required. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)