In news which should come as a shock to absolutely nobody, apparently Star Wars The Old Republic, the new Bioware MMO, is pretty much World of Warcraft with a different coat of paint and voiceovers. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a great article up thisaway:
The part that sticks out to me is the notion that SWTOR’s “kill ten rats” quests are different because we somehow care about what is happening. (Have you ever noticed that the argument is almost always “it’s different this time”, and how uncomfortably close that is to the rationale for going back to an abusive relationship?) To which my natural question is:
When did you stop caring about what happened in your old MMO?
Y’see, there are quests in WoW that have emotional resonance. It’s just that the second time through, the effect is diminished. …and when you get tired of the same old mechanical aspects of the kill and fetch quests. Then there’s the whole gear-loot scheme that pretty much short-circuits the motivation for questing. ”Yeah, yeah, sure, old man, I’ll go fetch the remains of your lost family by slaughtering owlbears and digging through their remains for a while, but what’s in it for me?“
Long story short, I suspect that the quests in SWTOR feel different pretty much only because they are new. Let’s see how they feel on your third Jedi alt, or after 200 hours of play. Let’s see how emotionally involving it is to down that raid boss for the fifteenth time because he just won’t drop your wristguards. At some point, the honeymoon wears off and you realize you’re mechanically doing the same thing you’ve always done. The emotional resonance wears off because you see behind the curtain.
Window dressing really can go a long ways to selling something, it’s true. It’s just that there has to be more to a game than the trappings.
I should note that this doesn’t mean that SWTOR won’t be fun, rather, I’m just noting that there’s not a lot there to be terribly excited about, at least mechanically. It’s more of the same. That’s not bad either, if that’s what you’re looking for.