No, I will not play SWTOR with you.

It’s beginning to really bother me: the number of people asking what SWTOR server I’m on, what my character’s name is, whether I want to group with them and hey girl do you wanna join my guild, I can help you level up and shit.

I’ve had people get angry when I’ve declined to give them my character’s name. I’ve had people adopt the condescending “disappointed” demeanour. I’ve even had someone imply that I deceived them because I was the one who had “convinced” them to buy the game, with some implication that I would indeed play it with them. (I have never, ever said to someone: “YOU HAVE TO GET THIS GAME SO WE CAN PLAY TOGETHER.”)

Nobody has the right to get angry with me. Leave me alone. I have played with a grand total of two people outside of my usual gaming group, and both times were mistakes that ruined the experience enough to make me want to ragequit. I’d rather stick to the very small number of people I know I can trust.

Here is why I do not want to plat SWTOR with you, or really, any other game either.

1. I want to play – and enjoy – this game at my own pace. I want to listen to all the dialogue and be able to stop to gawp at the surroundings whenever I please. I want to carefully consider the placement of each talent point I receive, and have the time available to me to read each skill I put on my bars so that I know exactly what the hell I’m doing with my character.

I have played with people who have not respected this. I played with someone who sat on Vent with me, grumbling and sighing as I carefully considered my dialogue choices during a cutscene. This person said, “You know you can hit space bar to skip dialogue, right?”

This sort of condescension is not tolerable. Of course I know the dialogue is skippable. The fact that I am sitting here, knowing that the dialogue is skippable but going through all the lines anyway should be enough of an indication that I do not want to skip the dialogue, right?

Still, I have been made to feel as though I am holding others back. I have even relented, skipping conversations and choosing random dialogue choices to expedite getting to the killing part for the sake of pleasing some blundering team members. What I was left with was a character I had no connection to, in a world where I had no fucking clue what was going on. I was bored and felt terrible for giving so little consideration to the work of the game’s writers.

My playstyle may not gel with others’, but for some reason I’m made to feel as if I’m in the wrong for it, or as if I am stupid for wanting to enjoy a mechanic that the developers spent a lot of time refining to put into this game. It’s not okay for me to “play slowly”, but for some reason it is okay for others to ruin the playstyle I find enjoyable by forcing me to blow through it in a frantic race to endgame.

So no, sorry, I am not going to play SWTOR with you even if think you are going to be the most respectful person in the world. The same people who say this have been the same people who mindlessly killed things while I was in a cutscene and then said, “Oh, sorry. Thought you liked talking more than killing.”

2. How many times – not just in SWTOR, but in any online game – has a gamer tried to badger me into playing a game with him in which I am at a distinct disadvantage? Given my playstyle, why do I feel that so many people who want to play with me are just after a way of asserting their dominance and purported expertise at the game?

In other games, this might be about getting me to play a game or genre I’ve never played before with which they are extremely experienced. In the context of SWTOR, this means putting up with someone several levels higher than myself.

Of the level gap, the person will always say, “It’s okay, I’ll carry you until you are my level.” That’s nice. But maybe I don’t want to be carried. Maybe I like being a lowbie. Maybe I just want to play the game the way it’s intended for my current level without being made to feel as if I’m “too low” and that I should be trying harder to kamikaze towards endgame.

Even if I make it explicitly clear that I want to take my time, this person will still hover around me, doing the sighing-and-grumbling thing on Vent, one-shotting enemies around me and talking constantly about how bored he is because he’s already played this area on three different characters. If I’m lucky he’ll even challenge me to a duel that he knows he will win due to being seven levels higher.

Look, don’t ask to play with me if I tell you that I want to play at an enjoyable pace and am several levels beneath you anyway. In fact, just don’t ask me. So you hit the level cap fast: good for you. I might actually be vaguely interested if, say, you were paid money for it.

3. I mean, what’s the incentive for this behaviour anyway? If I am so boring to play a game with, why do people still insist on doing it?

This is where I get really, really wary. See, I’ve played games with people who had entirely the wrong reasons for wanting to play with me. An ex-boyfriend would force me to sit through his insufferably boring Total War games so that he could tell his friends that his girlfriend was a gamer. A girl he could play games with. Never mind that I hated his games and he didn’t think mine were “real games”.

Possibly the most disturbing thing that has happened to me after playing games with someone else, though, was that I added to Facebook someone I thought was a decent gamer for once – and he violated my privacy by sending my photographs to a fifteen-year-old we played WoW with. Keep in mind that this was someone I thought was a genuinely decent person – someone who considered himself a nice, considerate guy, just like everyone else who has tried to pressure me to play SWTOR with them. I’m just not trusting anybody any more. I’m not opening myself up to any more violations of my trust. Sorry.

End: I’ve been forceful enough that some people have backed off and said, “Fine. Play by yourself. SWTOR kind of works as a single-player game anyway.”

To which I say: don’t you dare try to imply that I’m being antisocial, or silly for wanting to play “by myself” in an MMO. The notion itself is silly, condescending, and selfish, too. For one thing, a refusal to play with you is not the end of my social gaming world. Sorry, but you’re really not that important to me. Especially not the Twitter people I’ve never once spoken to but who still keep asking me to roll a character on their server.

I play games with a very rigid group of three people I am comfortable with and do not wish to defect from: my brother, my boyfriend, and a gay friend. Years of playing games with these people has assured me that while they are not perfect, they certainly don’t behave in any of the douchebaggy ways outlined above. And best of all: none of them are going to hit on me. So seriously, stop asking. I’m happy where I am in SWTOR, and I don’t want any self-proclaimed Nice Person ruining that for me.


18 thoughts on “No, I will not play SWTOR with you.

  1. Awesome post as always, Katie- and a perfect take on why it sometimes is better to stick to the known when it comes to gaming partners. I myself prefer the total immersion that comes from really burying myself in the parts of a game I really enjoy, without having to feel rushed (or worse, guilty for ruining someone else’s play experience. Silly me for wanting to experience things in my own way, I guess). You actually hit on why I have almost zero interest in playing MMORPGs in general- it’s just too much of a hassle to get hooked only to find that you really need to group with others to get anywhere. Then again, I’m probably a worse example, since I’m the kind of player who actually stops to read all the books in Skyrim (Yes, I’m that boring. But why would they put cool books and all in there if they didn’t intend for people to read them?).

    Anyway, thanks again for the insights!

  2. i can totally empathise with that. Granted i have levelled faster than most but I still want to hear every word of dialogue the first, second and maybe even third time I’m presented with it. I spend ages fiddling with armour and mods. I want to know everything there is to know about the planet I’m on.

    The best moment in SWTOR is when you find a natural rhythm when you struggle in a fight at the start of a dungeon and start ploughing through by the end simply because that’s what would happen with your character if they were real. You don’t walk into a new area and flick the “warmachine” switch.

    I love playing in groups but sometimes it’s nice to stop and watch the rakghouls randomly attack some pirate mobs on Taris or to sit and read the codex entry you’ve received while in a hidden part of the map.

    I suppose in a way I semi-roleplay my guys; I try to make my character respond to situations in a natural way rather than pushing for companion or alignment points. Finding a great group makes the experience worthwhile and I suppose a great group would understand and support your playstyle.

  3. The Evil Spacebar!

    Nice read kt, It sucks that people are pressuring you into playing the game differently to how you want to play the game.

    I have found this one of the most common problems with the game and have experienced the issue you are facing.

    I was leveling up with a friend and she was reading through all the storyline and discussing options and we leveled up at our own pace and it was amazing. However at least three times, when we invited a random one or two people to do the heroic2+ or heroic4 areas they were rude, inpatient, obnoxious and we ended up DUO’ing the rest of the content even if it took twice or three times as long.

    I remember a Jedi Shadow distinctively saying the exact same thing, “You do know you can press spacebar to skip the movies.”

    We even got told by another Vanguard, “Just skip through everything and help me finish it fast and then you can do it again slowly.”

    Yes, of coarse we will speed you through content and then roll another character and do it again.

    I have ended up in a guild of 10 people, 4 mates and 3 couples.

    When I start a new MMO, I like to start a guild, and offer an invite to any people who are think are worthy along the way and now that I am 50 I have found 0 people.

    Whilst Bioware has done an amazing job with the social points and multiplayer dialog system it has its flaws. The hardmode flashpoints all have some kind of storyline dialog, every time you bring in somebody fresh who wants to listen to the entire thing that hasn’t done it before, it adds another 10-15 minutes to the time it takes to do it.

    Whilst I personally don’t mind waiting and listening again and reading through the different options and watching peoples characters and how they look, there are some people who do mind and constantly talk about the Evil Spacebar.

    – Clint

  4. What strikes me is that this reminds me of the way lots of people seem to live their lives – always full speed, brain disengaged, rushing towards whatever goal is up next, as if maintaining a constant high stress level is the primary objective of life. (Maybe it is for them? It would certainly drown out any deeper thoughts for as long as it works.) I’m not even sure they have any idea where they’re going or why, and it would only seem logical if they’re doing mostly the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. “Need to do as many things as possible, so I can tweet and post to FB about it to prove to the world that I have a life…!” Or something… I don’t know, but that’s certainly the impression I get.

    Anyway, from that perspective, it would be rather weird if they DIDN’T approach games in about the same way. It’s not about the experience for them, but rather about adding it to the list of things done.

  5. I’m curious if you’re talking about “Internet people” in general, or specifically friends, that are asking to play with you. I presume the former? People who’ve read your writing and then want to interact with you?

    I agree that that way spells disaster. :-P Gaming style is a very personal thing, and there’s no way to know if you’re going to mesh well with someone without knowing them individually, or MAYBE having an in-depth discussion of gaming style that will itself turn many people off and/or bore them.

    Plus…*Internet people?* Ugh! ;-)

    (That aside, I *am* currently considering looking for a new TOR group. The friend I followed into the game doesn’t have a similar play-style to mine at all. :-P)

  6. Wow, seems like you’ve had pretty bad experiences online. I don’t usually play MMO’s so that isn’t something I am used to, and I am surprised by how stupid some people can be sometimes. Anyway, pretty interesting read.

  7. Just one note; your not alone in wanting to hear, feel and experience everything in the game! I hate people that want to rush through games I’ve never done it myself and I’ve been in your situation.
    Stick to your group and just do your thing!
    Best regards from Denmark!

  8. Thanks for posting this! Can’t believe there are others who feel the same way as I do about game content and the desire to explore and take in the work created.

  9. i totally agree, just bein in the presence of faster leveling players sucks the fun out of the game, even though i can call them mates theyll shoot off ahead and expect me to play catch up. I dont even bother with heroics anymore because my “friends” expect me to keep pace, now i have gained over 15 levels and skipped soo much im too low for my latest planet Belsavis


  10. Good for you girl. I too like to play the game at a slower pace. Booted loads for not knowing the shortest route to end boss on hm fp. Condescending idiots and childish. “because I am better than you” god knows how rude these morons are. All I want to do is learn and people to be respectful, not hateful. Is this to much to ask? How are you going to learn if they leave you behind won’t revive after a battle and then vote you off for being a newb? Anyway rant over, good to know there are like minded gamers out there

  11. It’s always annoying to find people like that on SWTOR. Being a huge fan of Bioware, I really enjoyed playing the KOTOR games. Slow moving maybe but great storyline with great characters. Now that they released SWTOR an indirect sequel to Revan’s story ,which I have been told bioware actually added their KOTOR 3 story in which is actually great if you play the Knight, I wanted to try the game to see what bioware did with a series I know and love. When I first started playing it was great I joined a guild that has very little tolerance for players who act like you described, as we try to make it a friendly environment where we know we aren’t going to be annoyed by players who think it’s ridiculous to pay attention to any storyline whether it be the main, FPs, side stories, OPs, or even when we help each other on rather difficult class missions. The fact that you consider each skill when spending the skill points is exactly what bioware in a way intended. You only get 45-50 skill points, so it’s ridiculous to not think about how to spend them. The absolute worst is when you reach 50-55. Players will kick you from a FP because you may not have 66 mods or not all custom armor. I have been kicked twice from a czerka FP because I have 58 mods in my lightsabers( which was the best I could get as I haven’t really used crew skills much). I got kicked another time because my armor wasn’t all augmented. If you find gear that works and helps you why should other players criticize another player because they don’t have let’s say the Dreadseed armor. The people I see with that armor make me think how many hours they used up searching for each piece. If it weren’t for my friends in my guild I would have stopped playing SWTOR a while ago. Taking the game slow and playing every mission and listening to the dialogue isn’t weird it makes sense. You get more from the game than skipping it all.

  12. I’ve been told in the past “You CAN NOT level up by doing planet missions/class missions all solo, you NEED to be grouped up or in a guild.” Funny, I’ve never grouped up, and never joined a guild and yet I have a Sith inq, at lvl 60 now, Imp Agent also at 60, Sith Warrior (60), and a few others I’m taking my time leveling up. Most of my toons are over 20 now. It took me 3 and half weeks at 8-10 hours a day to level up my Sith Inq, and that was with just minor, major boosts from the game, class mission unlocks in legacy. I have disabled group,trade, gen chat, group and guild invites. I just can’t be bothered. I’d love to join a guild that doesn’t REQUIRE people do things they don’t wanna do.

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