Playing The Old Republic for Free Teaches Me Good Habits

Recently, having been off World of Warcraft for a few months, I decided to give Star Wars: The Old Republic a try. I was not a fan of the previous Star Wars MMO, Star Wars: Galaxies, and I never really got around to trying The Old Republic until now.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

My first impressions are mixed. It’s really just the same as WoW. The quests – rebranded as missions – are largely similar, but have the advantage of being completely voiced.

The classes initially seem limited, as there are only four classes available at character creation. This is expanded upon at level 10 however, when you get the chance to specialise into one of two advanced classes. I chose a Sith Inquisitor as my starting class and was given the choice between specialising into a Sith Sorceror who throws around a lot of force lightning, or a Sith Assassin who uses the aforementioned lightning to power up his or her double-bladed lightsaber to do more damage. Each class is then further divided, as with WoW, into three possible specialisation trees offering access to different party roles.

Speaking of lightsabers, I really like having the ability to modify my weapon, swapping out hilts, enhancements and focusing crystals. Being able to swap out one gem for another to not only change the stats on my weapon but also change the colour from red to yellow makes me way happier than it probably should.

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When it comes to the MMORPG genre, I am a complete and utter pack-rat. You know all those bigger and bigger bags, banks, guild vaults and void storage facilities in World of Warcraft? Yeah, they were all put in for me! Well, me and my ilk. Nothing is thrown away. Low level crafting items for a professions I don’t even have? I might level it on an alt! Low level gear that looks cool? Keeping it for RP! Toys and gizmos that have no real function other than looking cool? Shut up, I know I have a problem! It was such a relief when Blizzard added mounts, pets and – most recently – toys to the collections system. That said, the space that I freed up with the elimination of these items was quickly filled by more crafting materials, gear, toys that were not recognised by the system, tabards and all manner of other crap.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has a simple solution to my compulsive collecting: they charge for bank (cargo hold) space:

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As part of their freemium business model, The Old Republic locks down certain features to subscribers, allows some to be unlocked in piece-meal way through individual purchases and opens a few more to “preferred acounts”, meaning those who have spent real money to buy subscriptions, items or services.

As someone just dipping their toe into the game to get a feel for it, I have no intention of putting any money into it at the moment. Given the huge similarities to World of Warcraft, I don’t know that I would ever subscribe. If I am going to pay to play WoW, I am probably just going to play WoW, which I tend to subscribe to for short bursts when I feel like it.

Given my lack of bank space and the comparatively minimal bag space available to me, I am force to make judgement calls on what items and gear I am genuinely going to need. Not what might look cool if I’m hanging around the space station and get talking to cute Twi’Lek; not what might come in handy if one of my alts ever takes up a specific crafting skill. No, I keep only what I absolutely need, and it’s a philosophy I really should carry over to other games. So much of my time on WoW was spent managing my inventory, moving items between different characters who had bank space or keeping items in mailboxes just for the temporary storage. This limitation is actually freeing.

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Whether I stick with The Old Republic or not, I am grateful to it for helping me see the extent of the problem I had and forcing the epiphany that will help me manage my pack-rat nature in the future!

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