I have 5 days left on my sub at this point, and while I don’t have any regrets about my time in the game, or moving on to play The Secret World, I do have some disappointments.
When the game asked me for my reason for leaving, I could have given several: playing another game, problems with running the game/graphics, dislike my character/game mechanics, etc. But ultimately, I chose what was the last in a fairly long list: game did not meet my expectations.
And ultimately, that’s all it is. Its not a bad game. But there’s a host of things that I was expecting or wanting that just aren’t there. Things that ultimately have led, not to nerd-rage, but boredom and disappointment.
Basic Bugs –
There are still some pretty obvious bugs that just haven’t been addressed. My characters in cut scenes still have no eyeballs. That’s pretty telling on what is a key feature of a story driven game. My agent’s best knife attack has a combat animation that is either incomplete or glitched, I’m not sure which. The end result is that instead of driving a knife home two handed into the mob, it looks like he is doing a point blank hadouken. Yes I know, I died a little inside when I realized there was a Wikipedia page for that as well.
Pacing and Story –
After my little interaction with the writer of the Agent storyline on the official forums, I thought I was getting an Iain Banks style spy novel. A character equally comfortable going undercover with a knife as strapping on some body armor and using a gun. As we’ve repeatedly joked about throughout the game though, I got precious little Cheradenine Zakalwe and a sad abundance of the cheesiest form of James Bond possible.
Space Combat and Alternative Options-
I initially defended the tunnel shooter minigame – I thought it was a nice nod to the original arcade games and a fun little diversion. Until I realized that it was static. The attacks, the placement of the fighters and the shots they take – all programmed, with no randomness. Add to that how few missions there really were and…well, its like playing on an Atari 2600, but without the nostalgia. At least add some modern refinement to the old warhorse if you are going to trot it out. And that’s pretty much your only option. Since the game and worlds are so tied to the storyline, if I’m on in a night where my group isn’t…there’s just not a lot to do. Unlike games like Rift, where I would just zone into the capital and spend a happy hour doing some dailies from the current festival or jumping into some Rifts.
So…The Secret World could not have a picked a better time to launch. Nor could Guild Wars 2 for that matter. I feel bad for SWTOR, I really do. I honestly do not believe that Bioware will be running the show over there much longer. EA has too much riding on this, and everything Bioware has done has either been too little/too late (see also, the “incentive” for staying on longer than six months – a non-combat pet, and less marks than you could get in a week of grinding), or radical and ultimately not worth the investment (dialogue options for *everything* – hell, I’m surprised you don’t have to have a conversation with the vendor just to spend some commendations). I believe the EA will eventually move Bioware off the game and onto other things, and let a cobbled together veteran developer team remake the game in a way that is more friendly to a long term stay – or that at least gets them closer to that much touted 10 year lifespan remark.