When SWTOR announced free-to-play this week, several sites used the phrase “hemorrhaging subscribers” to describe the huge decrease in subscriptions from launch until now. A lot of people are walking away, myself and my husband, Ultraking (UK for short) included.
As much as we’d like to sum it up with a blanket statement and say “Everyone’s quitting because of X,” that’s just not reality. Everyone is going to have their own reason for leaving, and while we’re likely to see trends, nailing down a definitive answer is, in my opinion, highly unlikely.
Recently, UK and I were discussing (again) why, exactly, we’re letting our SWTOR subscriptions run out. There was the overarching answer that we “just don’t enjoy it anymore,” but that’s a simple and incomplete. We got to talking about what exactly that means for each of us. We talked about things our friends have said, comments made on Twitter this week, things happening with our guild, and I think at the end of it, we have a pretty good idea of an actual answer.
The first reason isn’t actually anyone’s fault. The fact is, people had a lot of expectations for this game. It had one of the biggest, longest-lasting fandoms attached, before fandom came with Tumblr memes and Twitter lists. You attach “Star Wars” to something, and people suddenly get excited.
It’s understandable, isn’t it? Most of us love Star Wars on some level. Fans get instantly nostalgic thinking about it, and it’s not uncommon in any fan group to want to escape into that every once in a while. Some do it through books, others through websites. Some RP, and others–well, we play video games. People have very clear ideas about what the Star Wars universe actually is (although they don’t always match up), and the idea of an MMO–as close as you can virtually get to being a part of Star Wars–well, that’s exciting.
The game was hyped a lot. I don’t think it’s Bioware’s fault for hyping the game any more than I think it’s the players’ fault for having high expectations. Some people are pleased with the game the way it is. Some aren’t. It just is what it is, and that’s okay. Continue reading