Press Start!: Yo BioWare, Open SWTOR The F**K Up.
I’m about to vomit about the new Star Wars RPG. This is Press Start. If you don’t give a fuck about the title, I’ve strewn the following throughout the post to keep your attention: a hot dog eating contest, a wasted Han Solo, and if none of those fit your fancy, the conclusion of the post is a fat kid dancing. Isn’t that enough spectacle?
You’d think I’d be pretty beasting on SWTOR given the fact that I rubbed dirty socks over my penis tip to Slave Leia back when I was an emergent pubscent male back in the day. You think I’d be crushing it because I wasted a good amount of my early twenties plowing through instances and getting my grind on in World of Warcraft. I haven’t though. That said, it’s a pretty dope game. If you’re Force sensitive (yeah I said it, fuck you), it is at the very worst an enjoyable single-player game. I’ve played through thirteen hours or so — a paltry amount of time given the aforementioned traits and how long the game has been out — and I don’t regret any of those hours.
However if BioWare wants to come correct the rest of the way, they need to do one thing. Open the fucking game up. I know there are monoliths within monoliths when it comes to consider Star Wars: The Old Republic. There’s Electronic Arts. Then there’s BioWare underneath them. Then there’s George Lucas’ Fourth Reich or whatever. I’m not certain where they directly snap into the puzzle, but they certainly could buy EA, shit them out, spread them onto a paste, and force their loved ones to eat it if they wished it.
So opening it up to the community is easier said than done. Maybe/sorta? Let’s see where this nonsense goes.
When I say open the game up, I mean something specifically. Allow motherfuckers to begin to create applications and mods for the game. You know, that add-on folder in World of Warcraft that you couldn’t live without. The folder that should you lose it, you began to twitch and scream “I don’t know where it all went! I don’t know where it all went! Someone give me my staff, there’s rats to repel in the name of folder salvation!”
I was neither the hardest of WoW junkies nor did I ever fully attain sobriety. I did enough of the heroin to get the scabs and suck a few dicks for gaming money, but I never joined the crackhouse and spent my houses vomiting all over myself and hanging out with Jesse Pinkman. (Ill placed cultural reference.) Even still, I had my add-ons that helped me out. Made me smile. That I needed. SWTOR is currently sewn up tighter than a corpse’s asshole. Sewn right the fuck up!
The first of my flimsy reasonings is purely functional: there are add-ons that could be implemented to make the game more enjoyable. I am not going to deny that BioWare intelligently implemented a good amount of interface options that it took directly from years of WoW trial and error. No doubt! If you were a WoW player you phase into the game’s interface instantly adept. It’s comfortable. Your genitals of possession instantly sag into the time-worn underwear of familiarity.
However, the interface itself is clunky as fuck. All the bar mods that everyone has come accustomed to throughout the years are nowhere to be found. Nowhere! I even rolled a corpse of two over at the WoW crackhouse and checked between the cheeks. Nothing. How about cooldown timers? They’re certainly not on the buttons. Ain’t there. Everything feels solid, almost too solid. Overbearing like a child’s hub of vision. So there’s that. The practicality of it all. The functionality of it all. However, this emphasis on improving functionality dovetails into my second point: it allows the community to feel like they’re a part of something.
The improvements that came to the WoW interface throughout the years were the products of fans of the game with more talent than me addressing a problem directly. There was a gameplay mechanic they felt could be bolstered by an add-on? They’d conjure that shit up, and let it float into the community. The length of time it took to implement it was only dependant on how long it took someone in the community to address it.
Furthermore, who knows the game more than the obsessives who mine the nooks and crannies of the son of a bitch? No one. The gamers themselves can point at what needs to be modified. Then they can set about fixing it. Or bitching about it the official forums, okay I recognize that too. But the community is plugged into the game, and when something called for a new tool to more fully utilize it, it appeared. The whole WoW experience was one sprawling, amorphous, emotionally unstable community. Tied into one another with love and hate and interaction and most just bile but even so it was enjoyable.
If SWTOR is going to persist where the legions of other MMOs haven’t in the Blazing Eye of Blizzard, it is going to be because it has generated a dedicated user base. No duh, right? One of the things that can build a community is by giving the gamer a sense that they’re integrated into it. Not only that, but also that they can take a vested interest in it. See a problem, and then give painful birth to something that corrects it.
For others to adopt, or not adopt.
BioWare, you created a fun little son of a bitch. Now open the motherfucker up to the community. Let them tweak your cumbersome UI and manipulate the interface as they see fit. It’ll go beyond functionality, it’ll help inject them with the glorious amber of commitment and zealousness that you’ll need if you are truly the WoW-killer.