One month in, and I’ve just renewed my subscription, which earns me the “exclusive” title of Founder. Well, me and everyone else who starts paying for a subscription any time soon, which actually makes it the scarily common title of Founder. I think I’ll keep that one in my back pocket; maybe a year or two down the line it actually will be a less common thing to have that title, depending on how the game performs.
As for how it is performing… well, all I have is anecdotal evidence, but I can’t say the number of players I see on my server (Kellian Jarro) is going down. The lower level planets are maybe a bit less busy as people spread out, but the number I see in the Imperial Fleet seems pretty constant. My local Tesco has the game on the shelves at the #2 spot in the PC chart this week, although there’s no telling with them wether this has anything to do with actual sales figures, marketing strategy or just the whim of the shelf stacker. Richard Bartle seems to think there are a lot of people playing the game who aren’t WoW tourists and that gibes with some of what I’m seeing, which is interesting… Rift did well by picking up a lot of ex-WoW players, but SW:ToR is the first MMO in years to fish significantly outside those waters. That doesn’t mean they’re going to get ‘dwarfs WoW’ numbers (although I’ll point out that it took WoW a while to get to even its first million subs let alone their current number). It does, however mean that TOR might be a lot more resilient to GW2 and Pandaria because it has a large player base for whom this is their ‘home’ MMO rather than being tourists.
In terms of my own status in the game – Seethe the Sith Assassin has just hit level 43 and is wreaking havoc on Belsavis. Assassins are definitely late bloomers but one of those classes I’ve found a joy to play because they have such a bag of tricks. Stealth is useful, but I’ve eschewed the Deception tree which is the one most focused on stealth attacks and melee positional DPS abilities, to split my points between Darkness (mostly tanky talents but some good utility and DPS boosters) and Madness (which makes for more of a short range melee/caster hybrid style). Performs well in solo PvE, no complaints in Warzone PvP, and I feel I’ve pulled my weight in Flashpoints both with respectable DPS output and being able to take on a loose mob or two, as fights in SW:ToR Flashpoints tend to include a large number of noral/strong adds as well as the elites. Other characters on the Empire side range from a level 26 bounty hunter downwards, and I’ve barely started trying the Republic stories, so there’s plenty of stuff for me to see even if I didn’t weant to repeat any content – and I’m having enough fun as a casual-ish Warzone player that I can see my self putting a lot of time into pwning with a lightsaber and the Force.
My main grumble is grabbing groups for Flashpoints – one I’m not alone in having. I don’t want to see a WoW/Rift style cross-server LFD, as I happen to agree with the devs that it wouldn’t be good for the still nascent server communities. However, having to stand on the Fleet space station spamming or reading general chat isn’t great either. It brings back old DaoC memories of hanging around looking for a group for much of an evening, and these days I don’t HAVE much of an evening to do that. I’d actually settle for a universal LFG chat channel so people can go out and quest or PvP while looking for a group. On the other hand, all of the “we need LFD” angst does raise the question back to some of the complainers (and I’m NOT looking at Stabs this time) – weren’t you the guys saying this was a single player game and not really an MMO at all?