So while I was getting ready for going to the Olympics news hit the stands that SWTOR is going free-to-play.

I do not really have very much to say about this. In many respects I think SWTOR should have launched with a model similar to LOTRO, which is still the free-to-play model I find preferable for the large-scale MMO (World of Tanks has a somewhat different model of course, but it is a rather different game).

Having admittedly just skimmed the news I think I basically agree with Spinks’ take on things.

SWTOR was always my least-played MMO, for time reasons. With Melian’s arrival I have entered it even less, so I was already thinking of ending my subscription. Since I have yet to play a Flashpoint or Operation, that decision is becoming even easier. I think the phrase is “Watch this space”.

I realise it is very fashionable these days to be joyously hammering nails into SWTOR’s coffin – but do not include me amongst their number. I am still enjoying SWTOR at the slow pace I am playing it.

My main character is a Jedi Sage, which I have specced for healing. Given how little I actually group this probably sounds a little odd, but actually I quite enjoy letting my companions do a fair bit of the dps. Also, it’s very different from the Hunter I primarily play in LOTRO.

I have just finished Balmorra. I have to say I wasn’t sold on Balmorra at first, I found the first area a bit lacking. Then again, this may just have been the atmospherics of the place, a ramshackle beach-head of the Republic’s war effort. Once I moved out of Bugtown however I got quite taken by the individual story of Balmorra, of a resistance against the Sith Empire. Much of the language and ideology sounds very similar indeed to the Original Star Wars series (the rebellion of farmers etc) against the mighty Empire. This in turn of course ties directly into the American foundational myth. History and politics aside, it’s a darned good story. The Consular class story along this also had one of those wonderful Bioware moments at the end where your choice really felt in character.

The Bonus series, which I also did, was not quite as good. I think it may well have been the weakest bonus series thus far. I think this is because the main series of quests leaves one with a feeling of victory, but then the bonus series takes us back over some of the same battlefields again … which doesn’t quite work. I didn’t feel the same about Taris, for example, probably because the main story in Taris (or Nar Shaddaa thinking about it) don’t end such a triumphal note. One leaves knowing there is still work to be done … only that you are now needed elsewhere.

Leaving Balmorra I know have my third companion, Zenith. I rather like Zenith and his story. He’s a dark soldier, and perhaps one day I will have a dark-sider Jedi Shadow to see if one can’t explore his depths. While I might use him now and then, however, I don’t think he will replace Qyzen as my primary companion.

The story now takes me to Quesh. The name sounds like something either made up from leftovers (like bubble-and-squeak), or like something you step in. I can’t quite decide. Either way, I am looking forward to when I next decide to spend a few more hours in Star Wars.

I figured it might be useful to list what my current MMO experience is to date, since I figure I am mostly going to be discussing MMOs.

EVE Online (Feb 2008 – today)

I started playing EVE Online in February 2008, and is my very first MMO. Today I am variably active in EVE, though it remains my favourite MMO. I currently maintain three accounts, though later this year that may possibly drop to two. Mostly I am a hi-sec dweller, I expect more on all that later.

Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) (Spring 2009 – today)

I started playing LOTRO in the spring of 2009, and is my traditional “non-EVE” game. There is something very wonderful about switching from the cold dark of space to The Shire. I have a lifetime account, and have one hunter at cap, plus several others characters further down.

Star Wards: The Old Republic (SWTOR) (Jan 2012 – today)

My third MMO, and therefore the one I play least. I have a Jedi Safe in the mid-30s.

World of Tanks (WoT) (April 2012 – today)

I know some don’t consider this an MMO, but I do. Anyway, for me this is the easy-in 10-15 minutes of fun. Currently I am mostly playing low-mid tiers and having an absolute blast. Trying to decide which tank line to start to develop towards the high tiers.

Wizard 101 (September 2011 – December 2011)

I really liked playing this game for a few months last year. Something very relaxing about it, and is certainly a game I will probably pick up again at some point.

Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS) (Summer 2011)

I only dipped my toe into this game, and I think if EVE had not started to turn around there is a very high chance I might have found myself very happy here. I wish I had more time!

World of Warcarft (WoW) (2008-9, 2010)

Yes I have played the big beastie, my second MMO. At first I played a Dwarven Warrior for a few months in the winter of 2009-9, but something didn’t click. Then later on I had a second spell as a Forsaken Priest, had an absolute blast, but decided to unsub before Cataclysm. I’ll probably turn that into a post at some point. l currently have no desire to go back.

And that’s it.