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May 22, 2012

Star Wars the Old Republic: Thoughts and Patch 1.3

IGN has a story on a new patch 1.3 for Star Wars the Old Republic. So I have been playing the game the last few months and thought I should comment. By the way I started, The Force Journal blog to document tips for those new to the game so check it out if you ever play.

What is Star Wars the Old Republic?
A massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) similar to World of Warcraft. The main difference, of course, is that this game takes place in the Star Wars universe. Specifically, the game takes place thousands of years before the events of the Star Wars universe when both Sith and Jedi roam the galaxy.

You can play the Sith (Empire) side or the Jedi (Republic) side. You can play as a Jedi Knight, a Sith, a Smuggler (like Han Solo), plus a number of other options.

What's new? What's cool?
  • Each toon you play has its own story line that changes based on your choices. Stories are done using video cut scenes which is pretty cool. Definitely well done and the best part of the game.
  • Each toon gets a series of companions that help you play the game. This makes game play easier. In addition, it makes grouping easier as companions can substitute for real players.
  • You can romance some of your companions. Given the high degree of hotness of the female companions this is quite fun. The romantic action is pretty tame and pretty much G rated, so don't get your hopes up kids.
  • You get your very own Starship to roam around the galaxy in, complete with robot butler.

What's meh?
  • In the game you can choose if you are good or bad. (Yes you can make a good Sith for example). Some of these light/dark side choices are questionable at best. For example, on a Sith toon, my dark side choice was to kill the person. My light side choice? Let the person be tortured to death by my master. Really Bioware?
  • Game graphics are good and bad. When released the hardware requirements were way to high. I only have 1 machine that will run the game. Blizzard figured this out a long time ago. People can not play your game if they can't play your game. Bioware really hurt themselves with this I think. Any game today, should play well on an average laptop because that is what most folks play on.
  • So the scenery and background look spectacular. Which is stupid. I could care less how good the grass and the rocks look. Non-player characters don't look very good and do not behave naturally. In Warcraft, you can see a NPC because the move naturally. In SWTOR, NPCs often don't move at all, which makes them difficult to see.
  • Lots of nonsensical monsters. For example, the rackgouls (sort of zombies, but they aren't undead) have survived without a food source for 300 years. Nice trick.
  • The social/chat system is unchanged or even more primitive than World of Warcraft. Come on people, stuff like this needs to be improved not ignored.
  • Tank/healer/DPS paradigm is unchanged from World of Warcraft. You still need these roles if you want to raid.

What sucks?
  • Playing groups is very buggy, here is why
    • Remember all those cool cut scenes. Well they don't always work if you are grouped. Sometimes you can see another players class quest, sometimes you can't. Very sucky.
    • Getting on another player's ship when they have a class quest on the ship, is impossible. As soon as the cut scene starts, which is usually right away, you get kicked out. Maybe to your ship, maybe to the fleet, maybe to a space station. You just don't know.
    • When asked a light/dark question in a group, only 1 person gets credit for answering. This totally sucks because there are a lot of game mechanics that rely on your light/dark score. So you are penalized for playing in a group.
  • The economy is messed up. Essentially, your toons are bankrupt from level 1 until about level 28. That is over half the game! The cost of training is totally ridiculous.
  • Once you pick a class type, you cannot change it. Totally stupid if you ask me. Respeccing a class is not that difficult, but still is way too costly and difficult.

Summing Up
Overall, it is a very good game. I think the story angle provides a lot fun and playability. Haven't tried PVP or raiding, but I probably don't have time for either.

I wonder about the focus on leveling, stats, and gear. It just makes these games way to complicated. I just want to play the game and work through the story. Having to figure out things like surge rating just wastes my time and I don't have time. to waste.

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