A short visit in the Old Republic.


After playing Star Wars: The Old Republic for more hours than I expected, I figured I needed to collect my thoughts for the sake of my MMO history. As usual since I’m not much of a narrative writer, my thoughts will be in simple lists.

What I played:

Jedi Knight to level 10
Jedi Consular to level 11
Smuggler to level 7 (sorry now 9)
Sith Inquisitor to level 13

As I said I played a lot this weekend. This was due to the fact that my daughter loved watching me play and that each character had their own story that we wanted to see play out.

What I don’t like so much:
The UI:
I did not see a way to scale it
No way to move elements around.
Having to setup keybinds over and over again for each character.
Maybe I’ve been playing too much Skyrim, but not being able to move around or zoom the map felt odd.

A whole lot of Running back and forth. I know its a staple of MMO quests, but geesh there was one quest in Kass city that made me have to take a break. Maybe provide an out of combat run speed boost, to help shorten the runs?

Static NPCs in towns / Cities. Again a staple of MMOs, but I’ve been spoiled with Skyrim’s levels of NPC activity, and they are not that complex. Would I love to see an MMO where all the characters have lives and move about their business? Sure. Is that going to happen? No, but maybe the NPCs could move around their little spot a bit, instead of standing still?

This comes from my recent playing of games that offer VAST customization options, but coming to a game with no Height character option felt weird.

This had to be a bug, but being able to hear other characters’ companion characters chatter, and the large amount of companion chatter was a bit annoying.

The look and performance on my older machine , compared to WoW. For me to get the game running smooth on my second machine, I had to lower the resolution and options a lot, and the game’s overall look suffered for it. More than WoW does.

That this was a beta and not the full game, and waiting for the next month for the full game.

What I Like Much:
STORY:
I don’t know how well it will hold up throughout the game or at end game, but Bioware nailed the leveling up class stories. I want an alt for each class, so I can see all the stories. I particularly really like the the conversation system, I was afraid it would pull me out of things and annoy me, but it had the opposite effect. I listen to every quest and enjoy it.

The MMO + Story mash up:
I did one Flashpoint with a random group of people and had a blast. The conversation system and scripted events integrated well and were exciting. I also enjoyed running by random other Jedi and helping them out all while doing what was essentially a single player quest line.

The look of the game:
On my main machine with the options all turned up I think the game looks great and has a unique style.

The Companions!
Sure they are still computer controlled helpers (Say hello Fallout Dog, Skyrim Lydia, and whatever my hero was named in Guild Wars) but they way they are integrated into both the story and gameplay clicked for me. I want to make more allies and get my ship, and continue on with my story to discover more about these people.

Combat + Looting
Yes I know its MMO, hotkey combat, but there is something about it. It feels just Star Wars enough + just familiar enough to make me feel right at home. Also at the levels I played the balance felt good, I generally felt like a badass taking on either small groups of enemies or single tougher enemies. Smuggler Dirty Kick!
As for Looting, they neat colored beam loot indicators for the fallen which is a great innovation that every game should steal in some fashion, plus AOE looting exists, its an option and you should turn it on ASAP.

Bonus Quests
When you are out and about, on your way to an objective you will kill a nearby enemy. When you do so, your quest log may auto update with a bonus quest to kill X number of those enemies. This was a smart way of giving me an extra quest, though they could have done a better job highlighting when a bonus quest is added to your list.

Bits of Lore,  other things to discover. I could probably use more, but I love what they do have.

Final Beta Thoughts

Is this game a complete new take on MMOs? No.

Does it need to be? I don’t think so.

Will I be buying it?  Yes I will be buying this game, and may even play it longer than I did rift simply to see the different stories.

Should you buy it?  I can’t speak for you, but it you enjoyed the PVE (particularly the leveling up part) of WoW or Rift then you will probably enjoy this.

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