However, I have been temporarily widowed by Mass Effect 2: my partner has been enjoying this far more than he did Dragon Age: Origins, and it shows, as he just finished up the storyline last night after days of dedicated play, and is about to start his second playthrough with a new character (“this time, I’m going to be evil!”).
Until now, I had not felt the sting of Cryptic’s lack of alternate advancement for Star Trek Online, since thanks to bridge officer customization I have no desire in this game to create alts for the sake of creating alts. Now that we are not gaming together, I still feel the urge to play STO, but don’t want to progress my character, who is expressly dedicated to duoing with my better half. While any leveling disparities might be alleviated if only Cryptic would import their own sidekicking mechanic from Champions Online back into STO, I have realized there is a bigger issue here, and that is: we both love a good story too much to pass it by.
My better half and I savor every episode mission and set aside time to take part in them together, whereas we may each split off and do PvP or patrol missions while the other is occupied, skilling up, etc. Our favorite parts of Age of Conan were the Tortage storyline, with the caveat that we hated having to do our nighttime missions completely alone (on the other hand, we enjoyed comparing notes when our stories differed based on our archetypes – “oh, so you were the warrior who freed the captives!” etc.)
I keep forgetting that since I do not play single-player games and my partner does, I will always need a spare MMO that I can solo to fall back on while he is getting his story on. The problem lies in the fact that we do not wish to maintain multiple subscriptions to games, and I can’t think of an F2P game that has an overarching solo storyline to sink my teeth into (I am re-considering Mabinogi, but I have tried that game more than once in the past and it just hasn’t clicked with me). In short, I deeply regret that STO does not yet have a viable alternate storyline path for me to play during those times when duoing or grouping is not possible for whatever reason.
But hark! There is news on the (possibly far, far off) horizon: Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising has been resurrected! Oh frabjous day! Callou! Callay! While this will not take care of my secondary MMO needs in the here and now, I look forward to every new option on the horizon with rubbing-hands-together levels of glee.