I've played Star Wars: The Old Republic for 5 weeks and gotten a Smuggler/Scoundrel up to level 37.5. Then I used the /played command and yelped. I've played the game for 135 hours, or 27 hours a week. Almost 4 hours a day! Not good. The game was eating almost all of my spare time. Yes, I said was. Last night I went ahead and cancelled my subscription.
To its credit, I have to say that SW:TOR has hooked me into a game like no other has since I first started playing World of Warcraft back in 2005. That may sound strange coming from someone who has 3 Eve Online accounts, written 379 blog posts tagged "Eve" and is flying to Iceland to attend Fanfest in March. How could my interest in SW:TOR be that much different than Eve?
I describe SW:TOR, like WoW, as crack. The only place I can really enjoy the SW:TOR experience is sitting in front of my computer. I, despite some things I have written in the past, I mostly enjoy playing. Sometimes I hit a lull, but I knew if I just kept grinding I would receive another nugget in the form of an interesting story plot twist. The cut scenes, as wonderful as they are, reinforced that feeling of being cut off from the world. I might be watching television or listening to a podcast and when a cut scene appeared I had to turn the sound off in order to concentrate on the action on the screen.
Now, SW:TOR fans are probably thinking, "What's wrong with that?" Absolutely nothing, when done in moderation. Unfortunately, I was losing that sense of moderation. I'd start a session on a Saturday or Sunday thinking I'd only play for one, maybe two hours. But two hours would turn into three, into four, and finally into way too much. I do have a life outside video games and playing SW:TOR was beginning to get in the way.
What about Eve? I describe Eve more like a good imported beer. Sure, I can get drunk and hung over the next day, but I usually start feeling full before I get to that point so I know when to stop. Part of that getting full without over indulging is due to Eve not just being a video game but a virtual world. So during the day I can listen to podcasts on my iPad at work. On the train ride home I can tune into Eve Radio on my iPhone. Eve Radio has really come in handy when I've traveled to Bulgaria which is one reason I'm a premium subscriber. And because Eve is on one shard, all the news and information I hear is about my world and not about events on another realm. So when I finally get home at night I can be satisfied by only checking my skill queue and doing my planetary interaction work because I've had my Eve fix throughout the day. That leaves more time for doing other real life things, like exercise. Did I mention I like to listen to Roc Weiler while walking or using my stair-stepper?
I have a couple of other reasons for wanting to unsubscribe, but all the other reasons aren't as important as making sure I keep my gaming a hobby and not something that runs my life. A lot of my time concerning Eve fits into little nooks and crannies (called 2 hours of train rides) that I need to fill in with something anyway. SW:TOR? Well, no one can resist the power of the dark side of the force, at least if they are subscribed.