Sunday, December 18, 2011

SWTOR: First Impressions

Star Wars The Old Republic launches in just two days. For those who preordered and redeemed their codes in time, Early Access began Tuesday (the day BioWare let you in depended on when you put in the code). I made it in first thing Tuesday morning, though I didn’t start playing until later that day.

The first step is deciding the server and making the character. I am on a PVP server right now, one that hasn’t had a queue yet, thank goodness. Some of the more popular servers have queues longer than 30 minutes. These will probably drop in the next month or so once all of launch hype dies down.

The character creation screen is easy for anyone to use, new or old gamers. For each class and species, you can select body types, hair, skin and other features (facial hair, ect). It reminded me of the Sims. The only real complaint I have is that there aren’t any long hairstyles. Maybe this has to do with the animation or something, but it would have been nice. There are several good styles, though. The body type options are also nice.

I rolled a Chiss Imperial Agent (with a proper Chiss name, of course), human Jedi Knight and a human Smuggler. I haven’t made my Sith Inquisitor yet or checked out the other classes yet.

Part of me wants to say that the class stories are unbalanced, but the other part says that it has to do with point of view. For instance, the Jedi Consular story I played in beta was dull as dirt. The Jedi Knight class story is much better, thankfully. However, I can see some people enjoying the Consular’s story. The Imperial Agent has an excellent story to it. It’s like being in a spy movie or something. As for the Smuggler? Well I’m only level three. I’ll have to get back with you on that. A good story is necessary to maintain interest in the game. The light side/dark side point system also helps with that.

It’s been said before, but the voice acting is so good in this game. It’s actually too good at some parts. The annoying, screwed up droids are so good that you are actually as irritated as your dialog choices suggest you are. The animations look great. The Smuggler’s move when he’s regaining health is one of the best.

Gameplay is pretty good. If you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with all of the menus, navigating through the game is much easier. I’m not running the game on a top of the line computer and it works just fine. It can take a few extra seconds for things to load, but it’s not a big deal.

PVP is so much better than any other I’ve played. For one thing, you are chasing people with lightsabers and blasters. How awesome is that? Fighting a Sith with a red double bladed saber was amazing. BioWare added in a fun, unusual type of battleground: Hutball. Hutball is so much fun. You’re chasing each other around, trying to get the ball from the other team and score. The area has multiple levels, fire and toxic waste. It’s pretty much a Hutt paradise.

I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about the guilds. The guild I joined ended up going to a different server, so I joined another. There are plenty of people out there right now if you need to find a guild.

Crafting is much more interesting in this game. You can have one crafting skill and two supplement ones. You can send out your companions to do the tasks, which makes it much easier and more efficient. Once you have multiple companions, it will be even easier. The only thing is that you need to watch your credits. Those missions cost!

Overall, I haven’t had any issues with SWTOR that would make me think that the game will fail, though the endgame content is going to be a huge indication of that. The game is friendly to both newcomers to the MMO world and veterans. It’s definitely worth the time and money to play.

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