SWTOR: Buyer’s Remorse Averted.

I ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic today. It was a somewhat more complicated decision than it needed to be, for I was dithering over which version of it to purchase.

I often like to buy the Collector’s Edition of MMOs. My City of Villains Heroclix still have pride of place on my desk, though usually it is in-game stuff which attracts me to the CE. This is, I admit, a little ironic, considering how much I dislike RMT, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite so terrible when it’s part of the starting box.

I wasn’t interested in the statue, or even the books. At issue for me with the SWTOR CE was the special CE store, a “Unique in-game vendor with a dynamic assortment of items available only to purchasers of the Collector’s Edition.”. What wonders will he have? Will his dynamic wares continue to update for the lifetime of the game, with shiny things that nobody else can ever get?

So shiny.

I object to his very existence, but given that he somehow manages to exist over my objection, I kind of want what he’s got. Whatever that is.

What exactly is he selling anyway? If his wares were really that great, surely some examples would have been provided, to tempt us in? Perhaps the mystery is the greatest draw though, and the worry that we might me missing out on our one chance to get in on it.

I wandered into Norwich, to find out how much it cost on this side of the pond, and the price at GAME was £109. Against that is the price of the Digital Deluxe version for £60. I am, as you know, not terribly rich, so after a little bit of squirming, I’ve gone for the DD version, and registered my pre-order code this evening.

Perhaps I ought not to worry though. There has been a recent trend for games to offer perks that had originally been part of CE to players at a later date, so the merchant may not be barred to me forever. Perhaps he has nothing I’d want anyway, and I shall chuckle at my near escape.

Stopping to think about it, though, I was seriously considering paying 50 pounds to have access to an in-game merchant, who would presumably then want paying again with ingame cash. That’s madness. I could buy Skyrim for that, which would almost certainly give me far more joy than whatever bits of tat that merchant is going to have. For that matter, I could fill my refrigerator twice over. What a crazy way of valuing thing we MMOers have developed.

I was still sitting here, slightly disappointed with myself for having gotten sucked in to such materialistic ways, when I heard something that at once made me feel a little better about myself, but despairing for online gaming as a whole.

Earlier this month, on a total of four separate days, Bigpoint made it possible to buy a 10th Drone for €1,000.

They have sold over 2,000 10th Drones. At €1000. In just four days. That’s €2 million from a single virtual good.

2000 people out of 65 million (good grief) subscribers is not many. But when you’re selling an pre-existing ingame item, at no cost to yourself, for $1000, 2000 players is quite enough. Maybe those 2000 people were extremely wealthy people, who for some unfathomable reason choose to spend their time playing Dark Orbit, rather than eating at fine restaurants and snorkelling in tropical reefs. I fear it more likely that they’re caught up in an addiction, and could really use an intervention.

On some days, maybe we all could use one.

Lightsabers Online

I’ve been trying to not pay too much attention to Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, so as to not get caught up in the incredible amount of hype surrounding it, but I have to admit it, this video makes me really excited.

What excites me most in this video is the way that lightsabers appear to be synchronised with everything else that is going on around them. They seem to really clash, and block incoming fire. If that is truly how it will work ingame then I think it is a massive step in making MMO combat feel genuinely immersive.

My main worry is that they may have made lightsabers so awesome-looking that nobody wants to play any of the other classes. Flamethrowers and bombs have their own coolness factor, of course, but I didn’t spend my childhood making their sound effects while whirling sticks around at great risk to all nearby eyeballs. It was lightsabers all the way.

We’ll almost all want to play a Jedi or Sith. Such is our birthright. But we’ll still probably be annoyed by how many Jedi there are everywhere.