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Hey, Are You Still Playing Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Desperate-looking email about my "companion" makes me wonder if people are still playing that Star Wars MMO. Are you?

Like about a million others, I dove right into Star Wars The Old Republic as soon as I was able to. I've never been much of an MMO guy, and I sure as hell don't care very much about Star Wars, but after hearing about the game for years and years, it became one of those things that I had to see for myself.

After 100 hours or so, I realized I was completely done with the game and canceled my account. It still has a bit of game time left on it, so I could, theoretically, grind out those last 10 levels and take my Sith Marauder from 40 to 50... but that's not going to happen. I lost all my momentum on Hoth and stepped away from the game. It was a totally clean break, no hesitation. I'm not bitter about it. I'm not hateful about it. I mean, I got 100 hours out of SWTOR. That's more than I can say about most games. I didn't love everything I saw, but it's certainly not without some appeal.

Anyway, today I got this sob-story email from "The Old Republic Community" telling me that... my companion misses me? Yep, apparently Vette "eagerly awaits my return." Here's that email:

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Gross, right? You know what? I don't think I've ever seen a more pathetic-looking attempt at player retention. My companions are "counting on me?" What happens next? Is there a "if you don't reactivate the billing on your SWTOR account, we'll kill this Twi'lek" email in my future? Also, they've gone ahead and slid my character name into the email, which gives is a wonderful, personal touch. But if they're going to go that far, why not go all the way, look at my character, and see that I ditched Vette as soon as I possibly could and spent the vast majority of my time kicking it with Malavi Quinn because he keeps me healed up and loved it when I crushed the Empire's enemies? I even let that bonehead chase his weird spy missions on the side, and he can't even be bothered to write? Man, forget that jerk.

The email actually brings us to a question that Brad and I were wondering about yesterday: Are people still playing Star Wars: The Old Republic? Anecdotally, we seem to be seeing a bunch of people bitching about the end game (which, as far as I can tell, is an activity that bonds every "serious" MMO player, regardless of game), raging about all the things they don't like, and bragging about how they canceled. I'm not necessarily interested in hearing more negativity, because it's easy to find.

So, I want to hear the other side. What's awesome about Star Wars: The Old Republic? What is it that's keeping you on-board now that you might actually be paying a monthly fee to play it? Do you see yourself paying that fee for another year? Five years? Do you already think it's a great game right now, or are you investing in the promise of future updates?

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+