So, I have a confession to make.

I haven't logged into SWTOR in over three weeks.

I was on holiday for the last week of May heading into early June, and during that time I realised just how liberating it felt to be away from the game.

I suspect a large part of that was because of Season 2, which I was able to finish all achievements for before going on holiday, and this is just from doing it on one server. There are those who do it on multiple servers, and I question the mental state of every single one of you who is doing this.

14 weeks of solid grinding various objectives is a heck of a long time to devote to anything for a mere hobby, and I seriously hope future Seasons do not repeat the 'extra credit' aspect of this one.

Impromptu though it might have been, this break also feeds into something that I had been intending to do before 7.0 launched: reduce the amount of time I spend each week playing games.

I've commented before that I have a spending problem in MMOs. Sure, better that than alcohol or drugs, but no less addicting. This has led me to quit Neverwinter at last once its P2W potential finally proved too much for me to handle. Gambling for rare items to sell on the auction house is addictive enough without the prospect of using those funds to buy powerful upgrades for your character.

On an unrelated note, how about those gold augments, huh?

I have a similar problem with the amount of time I spend in games. There are lots of things I could be doing - I could be working on a long-abandoned website for my fledgling voice-acting career, I could be working on said fledgling career, and I could be getting out there and looking for another job to support this fledgling career.

And yet I'm spending hours doing nothing but playing games and spending too much money on them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that I want to cut gaming out altogether - I'm just trying to cut back. One of the things I've realised by playing ESO is that I love the casual aspect of that game. I can take a break from it and, due to how it allows you to keep the same gear for years without ever needing to get upgrades, come back to it at any point.

For the longest while, I wanted that for SWTOR. The ability to just play a game without concerns about schedules or bringing the right class for something, or even without being treated like some walking encyclopaedia (common problem, I know) when others can answer questions just as well... bliss.

So in many ways, while 2022 has been the year that I have made the most progress, this plan has been years in the making. This is not something that has emerged because of 7.0.

Granted, 7.0 has made it easier to implement this plan than I had bargained for.

The difficulty of operations content at the moment even in the highest gear at expansion launch is incredibly tedious. The sheer amount of currency required to upgrade your gear forces you to do as much as possible while also only doing one boss every single raid night for easy gear pieces. Tedium all round.

Not even the story presents a glimmer of hope at the moment. I just am not invested in anything that's going on. We've been chasing Malgus for two-and-a-half years now and have only just captured him. We still know nothing about his grand plans, and who knows just how many more months will pass until we get sufficient answers?

Then there's the Mandalorian civil war. Sure, that will at least be more interesting than any other stories in the SW universe that might have included Mandalorians in recent years, but that's not exactly difficult and it will still not be of much interest to me.

Give me a being with a stupid name like Dralne Be Te Oya'karir (the latter part of which is very easy to remember when one's mother was head of her school's career department for years) or an idiot like Khomo Fett who needs his face punched in, and that's fine. Creates the impression that you shouldn't take these people very seriously, and that's the best way to appreciate them.

Being asked to take them seriously, however? No. Don't do that. They aren't worth it.

And yet those are both the most immediate story threads going forward. Since the interesting part of 7.0 ended before we headed off to Elom, we're also likely going to get most if not all stories between now and 8.0 as identical across both factions again, so the prospect of doing all this stuff on all my characters really doesn't fill me with enthusiasm.

I really hope we get more differences than just the wrapper cutscenes in non-expansion content again, as that was why 5.10 was my absolute favourite story update since 2.4. Hopefully 7.0 picks up where 6.0 fell flat, but I must admit my hopes aren't high.

And then there's the big ticket item of 7.1: R4 Anomaly. I imagine I'll probably be seeing it at some point, but I have no idea when, if indeed ever.

7.1's delay is also proving very concerning. Since we are still to see the last boss come to the PTS in veteran mode, it's not likely to be out until late July unless BW feel that the last boss is Live-ready without testing them first. That seems like it would be more trouble than it's worth so I would be very surprised if they did that.

Of course, they could also just decide to launch R4-A in SM and put in VM later once they've had more time to work on thr VM version exclusively. That would at least allow them to launch 7.1 earlier, but I warrant that BW will not want to piss off the hardcore raiders for whom only VM R4 (and any difficulty of IZAX beyond SM apparently) presents any semblance of a challenge.

So... yeah. Still a month to go, most likely, meaning that it will have been a fair bit over a year since 7.0 was announced for us to see everything that was revealed reach Live. Well, almost everything: R4 has lost one of its five bosses, but I don't remember if the number of bosses was mentioned in the reveal.

I don't like being negative, but sometimes it's impossible to acknowledge this stuff and remain positive.

Will I check it out when it launches? I imagine I'll do whatever new story content we'll get on at most two characters if I do, but that's it. I have no wish to commit to long grinds anymore, whether that be gear or reputation, so going forward only a limited number of things have any real appeal.

At this juncture, I can easily see myself taking a full break until 8.0 is announced, at which point I would log back in and complete all the content that had been released between now and then.

Then again, anything can happen going forward.

For now, though, I will just wait and see how I feel. I'm not going to unsubscribe or anything, but I'm also not going to pretend that 7.1 will be this magical turning point where suddenly I'm okay with going back to the way things were. That would defeat the entire point of this long-term plan of mine.