From the music to the action figures, I loved them all. I still have a picture of me at six years old riding an AT-AT. Yes, even at six, I knew exactly what an AT-AT was. And although I called a lightsaber a light-saver, I grew up with Star Wars entrenched in my psyche. It was only natural that when the video games revolving around the series came out, I would take up that cause. You guys remember the crazy wireframe Death Star trench arcade? You'd better believe I was there playing that.
When Star Wars entered the MMO space, I was there with bells on. But it's not just this longing to recapture my childhood that propels me to that galaxy far, far away in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The spice addiction runs quite a bit deeper.
Like many fans of SWTOR, I was introduced to BioWare with the 2003 Game of the Year Knights of the Old Republic. Now, I had played Star Wars games before, and besides the Dark Forces series, none really captured the feeling from those by-gone days of travelling through hyperspace. Needless to say, Revan's story knocked Kyle Katarn's story into the Sarlacc pit. It wasn't just the story, either; your character made real and meaningful choices that had consequences.
As a devout roleplayer, I picked up other BioWare games as they were released and when my computer could handle them. A friend in the IT industry turned me on to Neverwinter Nights, and I don't think my life would be complete without my having played as Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series (even though people living in my conservative circle told me not to play it because it had S-E-X in it). The number one reason I play Star Wars: The Old Republic is BioWare.
An MMO experience
Star Wars Galaxies remains dear to my heart not only because of the memories of playing Jedi but because it introduced me to what it was like to play a perpetual online game. I'd played a little bit of Ultima Online. I loved it, but life prevented me from spending a lot of time there. I had also experienced a bit of Asheron's Call and EverQuest through friends, so when I heard about an MMO based on the Star Wars universe, I had to be there.
Even though I knew I would not be flying the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I had to experience another living, online Star Wars universe. I could never get into World of Warcraft, but I did appreciate the game. It was very well made, and there is nothing like an online shared experience. When I stepped into SWTOR, I believe I experienced some of the same feelings the first WoW players did.
I think SWTOR is the spiritual successor to Star Wars Galaxies. I know it's not the same game, nor will it ever match the sandbox feel of SOE's heartbreaking MMO. However, my community picked up and moved to that game. And although many servers might come close, Lord Adraas is far and away my favorite server. My friends from the Starsider Galaxy community made that server their home.
I was a naturalized citizen of the Starsider Galaxy in SWG. Few of my friends knew this since I'd lived there for so long. When I made my first steps into that community, I saw something I hadn't seen before: people living in the Star Wars universe. Most were very accepting of how I had built my character. Other roleplay communities immediately judge you because your character doesn't quite mesh with their preconceived notion of Star Wars canon. I can't say that I am ever perfect, but I think it was great that generally, the Starsider community helped make my roleplay better and more fun, both for me and for everyone I interacted with.
These same lovely people call Lord Adraas home. Admittedly, the first place you will likely run into these roleplayers is on Carrick or Vaiken station doing what has been termed "cantina RP." After a few meetings, you'll notice that their characters are much deeper than the public front, and the people behind them are passionate about community and storytelling.
It's my party
Lastly and most simply, I'm still having fun in the game. Sure, I leveled up one character as fast I could, but with my other alts, I'm taking as much time as I can and smelling the Alderaanian roses. Because I didn't rush through everything, I've enjoyed playing the way I normally do: running multiple characters at one time. And with BioWare's way of telling an individual, personal story, not only have I been able to learn each class' mechanics on their own, but I've been able to experience a different story for each of them.
There are many more reasons to love Star Wars: The Old Republic. I've been writing the Hyperspace Beacon for nearly two years now, and over that time, I've given countless reasons to enjoy the universe and the game -- design mistakes notwithstanding.
The game is constantly changing and growing. If you didn't like it at first, then perhaps you will like it after this next patch or the one after. The bottom line for me is that it is a mixture of my three favorite things in gaming: Star Wars, BioWare, and MMOs. Anything beyond that is Kruffy pie.
There's an MMO born every day, and every game is someone's favorite. Why I Play is a column in which the Massively staff members kick back and reminisce about all their favorite MMOs. Whether it's the new hotness or an old fan favorite loaded with nostalgia, each title we cover here tugs at our heartstrings and keeps us coming back for more.