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Does anyone appreciate scale anymore?

Just a quick post to say the following: I love that SWTOR is so effing big. I love feeling like I’m part of a huge zone or inside a massive structure. A lot of people don’t. The cynics will tell you that it’s all an artificial way to keep you playing longer (because tedium = retention, right?). I read a comment from someone just yesterday saying, “you don’t have to look beyond the too-big space stations and empty hallways” to see that Bioware is milking you.

I have to ask, what is it exactly people want? We complain when things are too big; we complain when they’re too small. We complain when zones are too linear; we complain when there’s poor flow. We even complain that they’re not doing enough with the hallways. 

When I first started playing MMOs, what spellbound me was the idea of connecting to a virtual world. I have always, always felt that tiny zones, unenterable buildings, and the “look how big we seem to be but actually aren’t!” window-dressing did as much to destroy the virtual world as the quest progression system. So when it comes to TOR, it’s almost refreshing to see a game finally bring back the sense of scope we’ve optimized out these last few years. There are moments where you can’t help but to stop and appreciate how grandiose everything is. When you see a pyramid, it looks like a pyramid, rising high into the sky above you. When you enter a headquarters, there’s multiple floors, bunches of rooms, and lots of “extras” playing out all over the place. It’s atmospheric.

I find it so odd that people would want to strip that from the game. Isn’t Star Wars all about the infiniteness of space — being a part of a tapestry much larger than yourself or any other one player? Can you even approach that going small? I understand that running between objectives gets boring, but when that starts to get to me, I ask myself: would I change it even if I could? And the answer is no.

Scale is one of those things that might annoy players in the moment but that sparkles in the memory. It’s also a passive means of drawing you in and forcing you to appreciate the world you’re running through. Artificial slowing? Maybe. But then again, it’s like we tell our kids in school, it’s better to do too much than too little. Bioware opted to go big or go home. We received the many worlds and space stations of SWTOR a result. The other approach we’ve already seen. It’s the Cryptic model; release early, expand later. If that’s what people are asking for, to take a step down, then I suggest waiting here until something better comes along.

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