Yeah, I know. You’re sitting there thinking, “Hey! You’ve aready reviewed SWTOR. What gives?” You’re right but many of you said I needed to play the game longer and after beta. So, my friend Cocles of Loregy sent me a SWTOR 7 Day Free Trial and here’s my updated review.
First off let me rant a lil bit about my experience in creating an account.
HOLY FREAKING HELLACIOUS TACO SAUCE! THEY PRE-BANNED BRIGWYN!!
Yep, that’s right. I said I’d keep this quiet while SWTOR Tech support investigated the issue. Well, nothing happened with their “Supposed” investigation. What did I get back? A tweet telling me to accept my “Validation” email. Well guys, I’m STILL waiting for that supposed validation email. Know what? I don’t think it’s coming!! Why?? Because of what the tech support guy told me. That Brigwyn.com was an invalid domain in their system! And the ONLY way brigwyn.com can be an invalid domain is if SOMEONE BANNED IT!!!
So let’s face it. Being pre-banned from a game leave a sour taste in one’s mouth. But having disclosed that I’ll put my rational hat on and give you my honest opinion about SWTOR.
Thumbs Up On Character Creation
As always Bioware did an awesome job with their character creation screens. If you’ve played their single player RPG’s you’ll know that they got this down pat.
I’ve heard people lament about the limited number of choices you get. (Personally, I’m still a bit upset I couldn’t be a Jawa. COME ON GUYS!! Jawa Brig would be freaking awesome!!)
And yes, I was a bit dissapointed that I couldn’t choose Sith and had to create a Chissy Brig as an Inquisitor. (One guy even said I looked like a giant Smurf! For gawds sakes!!!)
Anyways, we know by now that every MMO will limit race choices to some extent. Heck! Even Rift still get’s crap for being a fantasy MMO that doesn’t allow you to be a furry type race.
Thumbs Up On Character Immersion
SWTOR is ALL about YOU! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. SWTOR did an AWESOME job immersing your character into the storyline. EVERYTHING you touch or do is about you.
And not even only during the quest’s dialogue scenes. There’s subtle ways Bioware involved you as well. For example, you’re included in the game’s summary text. And sometimes I swear you hear “There he is!” or “That’s him!” in the background when you run around the Hutt’s cantina. But then again, maybe that’s just my ego talking.
But serioulsy! Thumbs up to Bioware for finding a way to touch everyone’s “I want to be important” spot and making it feel real not forced in this game.
Thumbs Down On User/Game Interaction
Sorry Bioware. There’s just too much going on. Add to that you’re use of subtle blues for quest objectives, weird triangles for quest givers and reliance on subtle check boxes you’re overall User/Game Interaction was extremely difficult for me to get used to.
Let’s put it this way. Somehow I missed the starting of my Advanced Trainer. OH SURE!! He’s right on the ramp after get into the spacedock you say??
I say, “WTF!?!? Seriously!?”
Really though, how does a game allow you to miss this?
Every other MMO knows it’s best to keep it simple. If it’s “Training” related give it to the Class Trainer. Or if you must make it another character, park is butt next to the the trainer!! Come one!
And I’m not kidding about the subtle check boxes. I like the way you allow people to enter/exit warzones without having to requeue. BUT MAKE THIS MORE VISABLE!! And if you’re not sure what I’m talking about? Next time you’re at the Warzone results screen look down at the bottom right. See that little box? Yeah!! That’s what I’m talking about.
But the biggest complaint about the user/game ui is the use of the blue glow to highlight quest objectives. Yes, I know blue glowy stuff is cool. But in the Star Wars Universe EVERYTHING GLOWS BLUE!!!!
Okay.. Okay, maybe not everything but a suprisingly lot of stuff does. And this makes it difficult to tell what is clickable or not until you run your mouse over it.
Also, what’s up with all the glitches while running the game through HDMI??
I have to run the game in windowed mode and not full screen just to achieve the proper resolution for my screen. Not only that I’ve also had several quests failing to give me the dialogue interaction disc forcing me to select the default answers. And let’s face it, NOT a great way to instill character immersion.
Speaking of the dialogue interaction disc, WAY TO GO!! (Though the choices and resulting dialogue didn’t always seem to match.)
Really! What an awesome presentation! I loved this!
I know this is pretty much the norm for Bioware but other game companies should take notice. Make the choices apparent and upfront. A simple, Accept/Decline button just isn’t enough nowdays.
Bioware has proven that character immersion is imperative towards telling the overall story of the game.
Thumbs Down on Questing
Not having the quest objectives near the quest giver is just wasting my time. So many times I felt I had to run across the map just to complete a simple gathering quest. What made it even more annoying was the quest giver could have just as easily been near the objectives. Simply put, THERE WAS NO REASON FOR THIS!!!
I understand that this is a way to encourage exploration. But you can also do that by laying out the zones in a way that one progresses through the story. Honestly, I didn’t know where I was nor where I was heading most of the time.
Also, I somehow skipped entire storylines. (Granted probably due to missing some floating triangle.) And let’s face it, if Blizzard and TRION both realized the importance of smaller zones and placing the quest giver closer to the objective, so should every other MMO Developer out there.
Now look! Before you start boiling your panties, I’m not saying every mmo should play like WoW or Rift. What I am saying is there are some game mechanics that just work. And having people trapsing from one end of the world to the other just to complete a quest is annoying. I don’t care if it’s important to the story, I don’t want to spend my limited game time running between objectives. I want to spend it COMPLETING OBJECTIVES! Capiche?
Thumbs Up To PvP
I’ve heard many people say Flashpoints are where SWTOR shines. I don’t know. I still haven’t had the pleasure of going through one yet so I’ll just have to take your word on it.
What I can say is Bioware pulled a slam dunk when it comes to PvP. H to the E to the double L YEAH!!
If you remember anything from the Star Wars franchise it’s the epic laser rifles and light saber battles. Forces of Light and Dark smashing together with lightning bolts and tracer fire slicing the air.
I thought Rift’s Warfronts were awesome, well my friend Bioware proved PvP could be more than a simple capture the flag.
My favorite is Huttball. This capture the flag alternative is basically gladiator version of football. You can see how teams use strategy for plays and then select classes to execute them!
Honestly, what can I say!? Too much fun.
Add to that the fact I wasn’t last place in a game that groups every level together says much for their ability to balance levels and classes.
Way to go Bioware! You proved PvP could be innovative and fun in an MMO RPG.
Overall Experience: Thumbs Up On The RPG, Thumbs Down on the MMO
So here’s my overall impression. SWTOR is still a great Single Player RPG you can play with other players.
The storylines allow you to group up and play together. Flashpoints are there for those who enjoy instance/raid type play. PvP for those who enjoy the feel of epic battles. But overall it just doesn’t feel like an MMO.
Everything about this game seems to be geared around the single player. And that’s great if you’re only looking for an RPG that you can have the opportunity to play with others when you feel like it.
But that’s not what an MMO is suppose to be about. (Well that’s my opinion anyways.) I’ve mentioned here before that an MMO is about more than just my character’s adventure. It’s an epic quest that requires a party to complete. And if that Party Adventure feel isn’t there then something is missing in your MMO.
I’m not saying forced grouping should be enforced, but grouping should be encouraged. As I mentioned before, Open Grouping is one way of doing this. There’s other ways also. Having group only quests are another way and I’m sure if we thought about it, we could come up with a good 10 or more others. (NO! LFG Tools aren’t the answer. They’re just a crutch for the single player wanting to complete group objectives imho!)
That said, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my time in SWTOR.
I did! REALLY!! I did!
SWTOR is the first time in a REALLY long time I was able to truly feel like I knew my character. Honestly, I’d have to go back to my Burning Crusade days in WoW to feel more intuned with the Brigwyn persona.
So when I say SWTOR is a great Single Player RPG you can play with others, that’s not a ding. Think of it more as a disclaimer. Because if you’re looking for a game that you feel you’ll never get to the end without a group of 10 or 20 friends, well then SWTOR isn’t for you.
However, if you’re looking for a game that’s enjoyable and you don’t want to feel like you have to rush through it to play “The Real Game” then SWTOR could be the game you’re looking for.
(Editor’s Note: My friend Cocles felt that I was overly biased in my review due to my ever growing disastisfaction with the MMO Genre. And after thinking about it for a bit, he might be right. I’m not saying this negates my feelings, nor the issues the issues I have with SWTOR but just offering some perspective on where I’m coming from.)