Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

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Got it, Love it, Suck at it, Until I get help from friends... ^_^ (11/10)

Sadly though there are sucky parts to the game. Namely that playing both republic and lightside is really boring for me. Besides the fact that your characters gets shitloads more attitude than characters on other mmorpgs mainly because your characters speak in this game but I only found the male Bounty Hunter voice to be the only one with actual badass sounding comments. (my friend informed me the dude who voices him is from something i like incidentally can for the life of me remember tho lol) Every other class voice is just generic vanilla robot. Also the hand movements are meh and i don't get the sense that my character's doing anything different from the norm you'know because let's face it it's crap going by the book and doing everything you're told.

... Also yeh Space Combat is bad... Real bad... An acutal downgrade from Star Wars Battlefront 2. Which even though is was blocky, hard to target and really needing polish it still kicked the pants off of this version. You don't get any control... Ok smartass you get "some" control but that just ain't even close to a little control over how you can play the battle and do things in a different, more tailored to the player kind of way.

This looked neat, I admired the fact they really tried to make the story stand out more then even the combat or choices you can make with your character's style. However, I noticed that their "options" menu for which sentence you want to choose in conversations look very similar to Mass Effects (unless it was suppose to be that way then I understand.)

Also, the space battle.. it seemed to much of a 'rail ride' where you just move a bit, shoot, but don't get to fully control your ship in space. And Star Wars is pretty much focused on space battles when they're not focusing on the characters or battles on land. Still, looks like a cool game. I might have to try it.

SteelStallion:

Very limited character choices.

The aesthetics of all the races are pathetically similar.

The two opposing factions have carbon copy classes.

I don't find them limited, personally, so far I haven't bumped into a single copy of any of my characters, it helps that I'm not rolling a white human like 75% of all the other characters I bump into. (And as an RPer, it is especially awkward to be the only alien in all white human crowd)

And I hope you're not one of those people who insist on playable Ithorians or Trandoshans because that's not going to happen. If most people can't even get themselves to roll a Twi'lek then a playable Trandoshan is just going to be a waste of resources.

And I like the fact they use mirror classes, makes balancing the two factions much more manageable. It's the same reason why most team & class based FPS use the same classes and weapons on both sides, they'd have to a lot more balance work for both PvE and (especially) PvP if they had divergent classes.

ZiggyE:
I guess I have to rely on Guild Wars 2 to save the MMO genre.

I have two major irks with this review. Firstly, the claim that this introduces "role playing" elements that other MMOs lack. Well that defends on how you define "role playing". Star Wars: The Old Republic gives you a story and a biography identical to thousands of others and gives you no control, whereas other MMOs let YOU define your character and give you more freedom (and no, by defining your character, I don't mean giving you a dialogue wheel and a morality bar, I mean letting you decide your character's motivations and your character's history that isn't from a selection of in game prompts.)

Secondly, the criticism of ToR's hotkey and abilities based gameplay because this is "MMO" gameplay. This is incorrect. It is "typical MMO gameplay" because that's how WoW did it and everybody wants to copy WoW, an apparent formula for success". It is possible to create a massively multiplayer game without this style of gameplay, as Guild Wars will hopefully show us.

I will be avoiding this game due to horror stories I've heard and my diminishing respect of Bioware and the Star Wars franchise.

Dare I ask what horror stories you've heard? Because I'm having a whale of a time in TOR myself.
And while I'm really looking forward to Guild Wars 2, at the end of the day different players will still need to fulfil different roles in order to succeed at a certain objective, so while the dedicated healer is gone, there'll still be those who do damage, those who prevent and/or absorb damage, and those who CC up a storm. And while preventing damage is supposed to be a shared responsibility in GW2, question is if the community will follow suit on that. And at the end of the day, you're still using hotkeys and abilities, key differences being however that you need to make a build of ten skills and make those work until you get back to town. There are some things you simply can't avoid in an MMO, Arena.net is trying bravely to change things up, but I doubt they'll change everything. And not that they have to, at the end of the day, if GW2 is a fun game I'll gladly play it. TOR might not be a huge revolution (but certainly an evolution) in MMO land, but I'm having fun, and that's good enough for me.

Chapper:
I was considering getting it, since I've just bought a new gaming pc. You sir, have made me come to a decision.

My next decision is figuring out which class to play, I guess.

The Imperial Agent has the overall best story in the game, it's pretty much common knowledge in the community by now. Knowing this, I chose to play one myself.

I've tried Sith Warrior, Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight, Bounty Hunter and Trooper as well. The Trooper is pretty bland, at least the way I played it. You're just a generic good guy, all psyched about saving the Republic and fulfilling your duty and whatnot. I got to level 14 on him, and by then I almost felt like stop playing the game altogether because he was the first class I picked. It was just so bland and predictable.

The Jedi classes suffer from the same thing, kinda. Again, I don't know if the conversation choices get more fun if you pick the dark side choices, but I doubt it. They're still gonna be restricted by their context, which is that you're a Jedi saving the world or saving the order or saving kittens in trees...It's not BAD, but by the time I played these classes, both to level 17/18, I had an Imperial Agent at level 46. They just pale so damn much by comparison. I didn't connect very much with my Jedis, as I did with my Imperial Agent.

Sith Warrior is a different story. The freedom of being whatever the hell you want, without being restricted by being a Jedi, just gives so much more flavor to the story. Even though the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior are mirror classes, the Sith Warrior just has a much more engaging story. At least so far, I'm only level 15 with him. The choices you make are more varied and feel more natural. Even if you pick the light side choices, you still feel pretty badass, and that your character has depth or complexity. With the Jedis, it was like my character was nothing but Jedi. That was their only attribute, there was nothing more to them. And the story was centered around this, so it became like that too.

The Bounty Hunter has a good story. I've been fortunate to be able to tag along my RL friend as he does his class story quests, so I've basically experienced the Bounty Hunter story without having to touch the class personally. The BH offers you flexibility in your choices, you can choose to be a borderline sadistic greedy fuck, a gritty professional, a loyal employee of the Empire, or a mix, or something else. My friend chose to play as a stone-cold professional that does whatever is needed to get the job done, but is only loyal to his paycheck and nothing else. He had to make some pretty damn tough choices if he wanted to stick by that. Overall, the BH story stands a lot on its own. You're not very tied to the Empire, you're just your own dude flying around in the galaxy. Compared to the mirror class of the BH, the Trooper, this story is amazing. You really feel like you're a "real" Bounty Hunter.

This leaves my own baby, the Imperial Agent. If you check forums and whatnot you'll see that I'm not alone. Even people who don't "main" an Imperial Agent agree that the story is literally epic. I don't even know where to begin. From the very first cutscene, the tone is set so damn perfectly. You land on a dirty, dusty hellhole of a planet and act casual as you look for an empty room with a holoterminal that you can hack to get in touch with your handler back at Imperial Intelligence HQ. You get briefed, and immediately you have the option of saying cool stuff. Almost literally every choice of the 3 you get at one time in a conversation lead to a cool line. And the voice actor is so fucking spot on 99% of the time, as are many of the other characters. Just something as simple as being told to drop the accent (because imperials speak british english, everyone else speaks american) and then perfectly pulling it off while still being able to seamlessly switch between, added so much flavor to me. You're the unseen hand. You control everything down to the detail without anyone ever knowing. You make James Bond look like a fucking amateur playboy who doesn't know what the fuck he's really doing. You are the master of deception, infiltration, assassination, interrogation, seduction, sabotage, investigation...everything. And the choices you make can mean life or death for everything between 1 person to 10 000. Often, there's no black or white. This story is all about they gray. And I've lost track of the number of times I've said to myself; "Damn, they should really make a movie or book out of this. Or actually, a whole freaking trilogy."

Also the Smuggler is supposed to have the "second-best" story in the game, but I haven't tried that. Also haven't tried Sith Inquisitor. I've seen the prologue story of that only, and I must say that it seems much more interesting than the Jedi Consular counterpart.

Now I have to say that each story is pretty big. There are several acts, 3 I think, not counting the prologue. The only ones I've really seen are the Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter ones, so those are really the only one I can judge "fairly". The other ones may or may not pick up as they progress and get better or worse. Probably better, they're all good stories in their own right, but if you compare them to each other like I have, some are definitely better or worse than others. This is of course a matter of opinion, but I honestly think there's also a more objective view if you just look at the "technical" aspects of what makes a story. That doesn't mean you can't play a Trooper and enjoy the hell out of it, or that everyone who plays trooper thinks it's boring.

So why am I ranting on and on and on about the story? Because quite frankly, that's the most vital thing in this game. If you don't like your class story, you're not gonna like the game, that's almost a guarantee. The story element, the thing that indeed does add some proper RPG to this MMO, is really the only fresh addition to this game compared to the competitors on the market. Well at least the only SIGNIFICANT addition. Because other things ARE different too, such as the way you do crafting for example, or the fact that you have a companion with you when you quest, etc. This is all a matter of opinion of course, but my personal opinion is that this game really has very little to offer once you feel you're done with the story. That's why I have so many alts already, though my main is still 3 levels away from max. The PvP "battlegrounds" (called "Warzones") are pretty mediocre. They would be better if you weren't forced to play the worst fucking one 80% of the time or more(it's randomized). Of course you get to play the BEST one the least, and the mediocre one just kinda gets squeezed in once in a while. I understand there's also some kind of Open World element to the PvP in the game(?), but I haven't checked that out yet. I've been more interested in continuing my story. By now I'm not even doing sidequests anymore. I don't care, I just want to rush past all that to see what happens with my story. Everything else just makes me lose focus and tension, because it's distracting. This is potentially a big flaw in the game, because while some sidequests are much fun and very interesting, after a while they just get distracting. The planets do have a sort of "main quest line" however, that makes up a plot for that planet, but besides those are many "regular" quests too.

Honestly I can go on for ages about this game. In the end, I have very mixed feelings about it. When it's at its best, it's amazing. When it's at its worst, it's basically just another MMO WoW contender, or clone if you will. And other times it's just mediocre. And I can't decide what I think. Honestly, I wish they would just have made this into Kotor 3. Or even a new Star Wars game. Maybe another one where you're not a force user even, the Imperial Agent story just shows that it's more than possible to make a good game like that. The point is, when I say "when it's at its best", I'm talking about the part of the game that are more single player than they are MMO. The game is so heavily instanced and linear too, so that doesn't really "help" in the regard.

It's worth trying, definitely. But will this be my new MMO? Almost certainly not actually. I can't warrant paying 15 dollars a month to play a single player game. Because once you get over the story elements, it's back to the classic and standard MMO checklist, and that's when goes to the "mediocre" part. Do dailies. Do raids. Get better gear. Do more raids. Do raids in hard mode. Do non-raid instances. I mean sure, that's fine and all if you like it. The fact that this game has so much story in it actually makes those things pretty interesting the first 1-2 times around, and you can try out different conversation choices. That's all great. But then what? The WoW routine again. If you like that, it's fine. I never did, and that's my personal opinion. I'm more than willing to admit that I'm pretty biased towards Guild Wars 2, because that looks like it actually mixes things up a bit, as well as focuses on PvP a lot more (which interests me more than PvE raiding). I'm gonna stop it now though. This is ridiculous. I could go on and on about all the elements of the game, the visuals, the combat, the level design, you name it. And I would find good and bad things about each part. But I've already dragged on for too long, nobody is going to even read this. It was just a spur of the moment thing, I got carried away.

If anyone sees this though, and wants to chat with me in game or whatever, I can be found on "Chuundar" at EU. My main is named "Acrisius" and my Juggernaut alt is named "Yurnero" (cookies for reference). I'll be around for a few days more before my game time runs out. Not sure if I will resub yet.

After they retconned KOTOR2(one of the few generaly interesting stories to come out of the shitty star wars universe) I've gave up on star wars

Great review. I don't think there's any other game in recent months that has so warranted the phrase: Haters gonna hate.

There is such a feeling outside the game of people wanting to hate this, because of Bioware, EA, Dragon Age 2, loyalty to WoW that it feels utterly ridiculous to even try to present an objective review. Oddly, inside the game, everyone is having a whale of a time, save for those unfortunate few with the framerate issues.

To those who are saying the "story" argument is overblown: it's not. I've played many MMOs and put significant effort into many of them. This is the only one where you feel like your character is a part of an actual narrative. The closest I've seen another MMO get is probably a tie between LotRO and GW1 but neither of them actually gave the option of connecting with your own character. Even moreso when you are grouped with others. You can try to argue this, you can give examples of other MMOs with a narrative, but you'd be wrong. This IS moving things forward and is the best example of a story-driven MMO you're likely to see in a good while.

P.S. Acrisius: You're right. The IA storyline is possibly the strongest in the game. It has less of a slow start than the others, although many of the others are better than the Prologue would have you believe. Jedi Knight story is particularly strong.

It sounds great but I cannot bring myself to pay a subscription for any game. I guess Ill continue to read about it.

Night of good sleep makes a happy frank <3 Righties, where were we...

Agente L:

mega48man:
wait wait wait, you're criticizing the spaceship fighting segments for not being engaging for the player? that's like saying the awesome tie fighter fight in episode 4 ("that's great kid, don't get cocky!" that one) was distracting/confused the audience and didn't move the plot along.

i'm glad to hear nice things about the rest of the game, makes me more inclined to get it, but i think the idea of getting to do rail shooter fighter segments is pretty cool, it'd be just like in the original movies.

What really confuses me about the space missions hate is that it's 100% optional and you are never directed or even asked to do a single mission. Its like a minigame you do to take a break from main mission or an easy way to get that last bunch of xp to level.
But not doing it doesn't penalize you in any way and it's easily possible to not even realize you can do the space missions.

So yeh, saying this is TOR's greatest fault is like saying FF7's greatest fault was its minigames in the golden saucer (best analogy i could come up with at this time xP).

VulakAerr:

P.S. Acrisius: You're right. The IA storyline is possibly the strongest in the game. It has less of a slow start than the others, although many of the others are better than the Prologue would have you believe. Jedi Knight story is particularly strong.

Peh i was proclaiming the agent had the best story worth the price of admission way before him! >:O Agent story is nothing but pure awesomness, being consistenly good at all times with crechendos of pure awesomness. The IA story could have ended at act 1 and i'd have been happy, but now, it just keeps on giving and finding new ways of being awesome. Whichever bioware writer wrote it, I owe him/her a drink.

Others have had their say on this, but I feel the need to add my own two cents as well.

It's quite a decent review. But I can't help but think that Mr. Butts' definition of "real roleplaying" is very different from mine. To me TOR's conversation system isn't roleplaying, it's choosing a path through a narrative. "Choose Your Own Adventure" if you will. You're not the one roleplaying, the animators and voice actors are roleplaying 'your' character. Oftentimes the choices you make can have surprising results as far as what your character actually does and says and that should never be the case in roleplaying. It seems to me that the cinematic conversations are no more roleplaying than sitting in the audience for improv theater is acting.

Don't get me wrong. I do honestly believe that The Old Republic is the best MMO I've ever played. I've never enjoyed an MMO as much as I do TOR (that's not to say that I haven't enjoyed myself more in other MMOs, but that was despite the game in question and not because of it). But roleplaying it is not. In fact I agree with others here that it seems to make roleplaying more difficult due to its restrictive (if enjoyable) stories.

But then I've disagreed for many years with BioWare on what roleplaying is. To them it seems to be "the developers tell a story and let you make a few choices in it to give the illusion that you're part of it" where for me a vital part of roleplaying is that the players are the ones telling the story.

SupahGamuh:
It's a shame I stand firm in my decision to boycott EA's games (along with UbiSoft and Activision/Blizzard)

Why?

--

In other news, I would love to play the game, but the fact it glitches on launch and leaves me with a black screen while the game sounds continue hinders that somewhat. Common problem that still needs to be fixed. Thanks, Bioware. Truly.

I want the SWTOR the reviewer played , as the one I am playing is not as described...

The SWTOR I got is a bland and boring MMO with pretty SW trappings draped over its sparse skeletal body, where the majority of the huge funding went into paying the voice actors and the launch party because quiet frankly the rest of the game is dull... expect the sounds, they are awesome.

Combat is about the same as a typical WoW clone expect everyone is a pet using class, and most classes cant even fight mobs without thier pet being around to tank the aggro. What makes the SWTOR combat a bit more exciting is the sound effects, other than that it is typical

Graphics are basic, good but didnt really try hard to impress. Textures are low quality and during cutscenes the characters and textures really stand out as poor. Graphics may not make a game but WoW has better looking graphics without all the instancing SWTOR uses and is a dinosaur in terms of computer age.

The story mechanic is pretty good but the choices of light and dark are stupid, sorry but it boils down to simply do you want to get gear that requires Light III or Dark IV... there is no meaningfull choice. The other choices are I am a goodie two shoes and accept the task or I am a greedy sob and accept the task, or refuse task... thats basically it for choices.
The actual questing is a yawnfest for the most part, usually involves running looooooong distances on a narrow road that is walled in to prevent taking intresting shortcuts, a short spell of fighting mobs for drops ( drop rate is very high ) and then a loooooong run back to hand in the quest... there is a very good reason the autorun toggle is bound to mouse4, you will be running a LOT.

I actually enjoyed the Space Combat portions, it serves as a nice change from the linear grind of the main game as PvP is a joke early levels ( dont bother until at least 30 ), the Space Combat is a simplistic rail shooter with limited mechanics but is quiet a fun little mini game.

Summary: SWTOR is a bland , boring MMO that is propped up by pretty SW trappings and a Bioware style story mechanic. I would score it 3 out of 5 at most and reccommend for SW fans only, MMO fans looking for the next best MMO would be advised not to bother or at least wait for free trials.

SteelStallion:
Alright, I'm a big roleplayer in the traditional sense so this only really applies to me and those like me. I'm glad you enjoyed the game as it is, but I have many gripes with the "roleplaying" aspect you praise very highly.

First off, the roleplaying aspect is hindered by the fact that your character's "biography" and decisions are going to probably be the exact same as thousands of people, and very similar to many, many more.

The entire point of roleplaying in an MMO is the roleplay that occurs between players. You are clearly a single player RPG fan, which is why you said it caters to you, and that is perfectly fine!

For you.

For us, those who roleplay in multiplayer environments, it's actually more restricting and makes it even more difficult to roleplay, rather than aiding it.

Very limited character choices.

The aesthetics of all the races are pathetically similar.

The two opposing factions have carbon copy classes.

All of these things make this game much more difficult to roleplay on than on something like World of Warcraft.

The absolute, biggest flaw in roleplaying in multiplayer games are quests, NPCs and events that are shared with the entire game world. Every player is the hero. Every player is the villain. Every player is the "chosen one". This is severely limiting to those who truly roleplay!

What Bioware did was make a single player RPG, with multiplayer option. But is it really surprising? That's what Bioware does, and to expect anything different would be surprising. All in all, there is no denying the quality of content here and Bioware continues to prove they are one of the best single player RPG power houses in the world.

But a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game? Very, very lacking.

Just my two cents. Great review, by the way!

As someone running an RP guild in this game, I have to say you have no idea what you are talking about. RP is extremely vibrant in this game and most people are doing exactly what they have done in previous games. Ignoring the story. The story makes it great for leveling. It is nice to see how something you do resolves an issue, but no one in the RP community that I have run into is following the story as it has been laid out.

Everyone knows there is a story. Good for it, it provides a distraction from leveling. That said, no one I know of is basing their RP character word-for-word based on the game story. Sure we might use general tidbits, but short of that, it seems business as usual.

mysecondlife:

Shoggoth2588:

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still on the fence. After what Drew Karpyshyn managed to do to Revan, I don't know if I want to mix Bioware with Star Wars anymore.

So...the book is a no-go then?

---

I'm passing on this one. My PC barely manages flash games at this point and I've never been a fan of the MMO. I think I can also say I'm passing this by to boycott EA and Origin but that would be a lie since I don't really care about either...well, Origin anyway.

Avoid that book at all cost. which also means you should rightfully pass on the MMO as well.

That's a terrible reason to pass on this game! Yeah he wrote one bad book so what!? He also created Revan as he was one of the lead writers for KOTOR, and he's a lead writer for TOR aswell. Don't forget he's also the lead writer for Mass Effect (and has written 3 brillaint spin off novels), not to mention his other writing credits inlcude the Baldur's Gate series, Jade Empire, and Neverwinter Nights.

I'm having a blast playing this game. And its not that surprising that there isn't much to do after the end game. They had to stop at some point otherwise the game would never have come out. It's only been a month. Anyway there are plenty of other classes you could try! You couldn't have got all of them to lvl 50 in a month!

ASnogarD:
I want the SWTOR the reviewer played , as the one I am playing is not as described...

Summary: SWTOR is a bland , boring MMO that is propped up by pretty SW trappings and a Bioware style story mechanic. I would score it 3 out of 5 at most and reccommend for SW fans only, MMO fans looking for the next best MMO would be advised not to bother or at least wait for free trials.

Pretty much bang on imo. I hit level 50 expecting the real fun to begin and the advice I get from fellow level 50s in the guild is pretty much "grtz man, well better start grinding them dailies so you can come and do... well anything!"

I didn't even bother to start them after that long ass run'n'quest grind that was 1-50. The highlights were class missions and space missions - at least the first couple of times you do them.

The "epic feeling" of fighting multiple-mobs is really lost on me considering I have to fight a group every time and I pretty much need my companion by my side the whole time. The fact I can barely survive this universe without a sidekick pretty much removes any feeling of awesomeness.

Some of the new things Bioware brought into the MMO genre is great - convos, companions despite the above, Star Wars in general, but unfortunately it is bogged down by stuffy, boring , outdated and "traditional" MMO mechanics.

Very disappointed that I find it hard to have fun in the game and that I won't be re-subbing once the free month is up in a day. Did not live up to expectations at all and I genuinely think to say "this game is great!" requires a lot of overlooking when it comes to its faults.

Sixcess:

Woodsey:

Sixcess:
This feeling is massively reinforced when I arrive at a quest hub and see half a dozen other players wandering around with 'my' companion by their side.

How far have you gotten? That rapidly dispels.

First two worlds, and before anyone calls me out on jumping to premature conclusions, in every MMO I've ever played and loved the first 20 levels were where I started to love the game. If TOR gets better later on it takes an awfully long time to do so.

Is that your origin planet and capital planet, or the two worlds after that?

Really, it was somewhat noticeable on the capital planet, but as soon as you change their gear, people get multiple companions, and multiple classes are running around, I can't say I've noticed at all.

In fact, the last time I noticed someone had the same companion was because they'd given him a ludicrous white cape to wear, and they were standing about 2m from me.

Zhukov:
I am tempted. So very, very tempted.

I like Bioware. I like the idea of a MMO that is, well... less MMO.

However, I do not like Star Wars (every time someone says "may the force be with you" my eyes want to roll clean out of their sockets) and I'm still not down with the whole subscription thing.

Well, there are 4 non-force user classes to choose from.

Caramel Frappe:
This looked neat, I admired the fact they really tried to make the story stand out more then even the combat or choices you can make with your character's style. However, I noticed that their "options" menu for which sentence you want to choose in conversations look very similar to Mass Effects (unless it was suppose to be that way then I understand.)

Also, the space battle.. it seemed to much of a 'rail ride' where you just move a bit, shoot, but don't get to fully control your ship in space. And Star Wars is pretty much focused on space battles when they're not focusing on the characters or battles on land. Still, looks like a cool game. I might have to try it.

Its pretty much the same as Mass Effect's, and personally, I hate space combat. Its there if you want it to be, and they've said they've got bigger plans for it, but at the minute its a distraction for the people who really like that sort of thing.

I'd like to see a Freelancer-level of space flight/combat in the distant future.

As awesome as it has been playing this game A LOT for the last month and being a fanboy of it, I've already started getting bored of it. The combat still gets just as stale and repetitive as any other MMO. The class stories are good but they are only 3 quests per planet and on most planets the side quests stories are just not good enough to hide the fact that they are kill 10 rats or fetch quests.
Its stupid that Bioware are mostly fixing all the smallest, insignificant, easy to fix bugs first or making new content that probably no one is even geared enough to do yet and not fixing any Actual problems. And they need to change the AH and make crafting actually worth doing.

But at least they are supposedly working on an LFG system, although they are probably blagging.

Anyway i'm just playing it less now and finishing my 2nd playthrough of DAO followed by 1st of DA2, so Bioware wins either way.

going against the grain, but Bioware missed an opportunity to make a great game here =(

One of the things that I LOVE about this game is how my interaction with my companions immerses me more in the game in various ways. For example, my Sith Assassin's first companions, Khem, is this (in my view) defeated-yet-noble warrior, bloodthirsty and begrudgingly loyal to who he serves. In the case of my guild, most of the folks who play an Inquisitor do not like him, but I -LOVE- this guy because he is nearly a mirror of how i am choosing to play my own SI--as bloodthirsty, begrudgingly loyal and noble in her own mind.

I'm not a role player per-say, but because of my companions' different personalities, I find myself more engaged that I would have otherwise been in the game (and knowing how Khem was from Beta is why a SI was my first roll when the game went gold).

So many folks are downplaying how fun this game is, likely due to it not delivering on the hype (to them). Others are calling it a failure and amusingly comparing it to WoW when it comes to potential subscribers after a few months/a year. I always laugh at those comparisons, because I remember how WoW was when it launched, and how quickly folks were to dismiss it and trash it.

I don't think that ToR is necessarily revolutionary, but I think it's fun as hell and a lot diverse in it's gameplay than folks are saying. Once the end-game (and pvp) gets a little more settled (and/or fixed), the game could have legs for a long time.

It isn't so much dissent for me as confusion and an overinflated sense of being around the same douchebags I play WoW with.
The confusion is just this, "Am I really playing an MMO? Oh, yeah... I am... another Chuck Norris joke in general, or a troll meme scrolling past my character breaking immersion". Of course you can say "But play with friends and its better". That'd be great except all my friends already play WoW and aren't interested in switching subscriptions when they're already endgame.

Edit: Oh and neither am I. I liked the beta, but not enough to buy it.

Nyanya:
It's quite a decent review. But I can't help but think that Mr. Butts' definition of "real roleplaying" is very different from mine. To me TOR's conversation system isn't roleplaying, it's choosing a path through a narrative. "Choose Your Own Adventure" if you will. You're not the one roleplaying, the animators and voice actors are roleplaying 'your' character. Oftentimes the choices you make can have surprising results as far as what your character actually does and says and that should never be the case in roleplaying. It seems to me that the cinematic conversations are no more roleplaying than sitting in the audience for improv theater is acting.

We definitely disagree on that but, just to indulge the point, what game would satisfy your definition of roleplaying? I've yet to see an RPG on any platform where you're in charge of all of the character's animations and voice. Is there a game where you provide the voice for your character during NPC interactions? I'm sorry, but I absolutely don't get the point of your objection, which seems to suggest Baldur's Gate isn't really an RPG either.

For me, the essence of true roleplaying is being given a choice within the context of a story and then seeing the results of that choice play out in front of you. TOR does that very well, at least within the confines of the MMO genre.

Frankster:
Night of good sleep makes a happy frank <3 Righties, where were we...

posts mother fucker, can you snip them!?!?

mega48man:
wait wait wait, you're criticizing the spaceship fighting segments for not being engaging for the player? that's like saying the awesome tie fighter fight in episode 4 ("that's great kid, don't get cocky!" that one) was distracting/confused the audience and didn't move the plot along.

i'm glad to hear nice things about the rest of the game, makes me more inclined to get it, but i think the idea of getting to do rail shooter fighter segments is pretty cool, it'd be just like in the original movies.

What really confuses me about the space missions hate is that it's 100% optional and you are never directed or even asked to do a single mission. Its like a minigame you do to take a break from main mission or an easy way to get that last bunch of xp to level.
But not doing it doesn't penalize you in any way and it's easily possible to not even realize you can do the space missions.

So yeh, saying this is TOR's greatest fault is like saying FF7's greatest fault was its minigames in the golden saucer (best analogy i could come up with at this time xP).

they're like minigames AND they're optional? SWEET! but then i looked at the full price of 60$ and i said to myself "fuck that, i'll wait until george lucas, or someone who's in charge, reads that article on this site about MMORPG's being forced to become F2P or die in competition with WoW"

I played a fair amount of time at a friends house and also watched him play it so I could get the gist of it, but............I dont know, it felt unfulfilling. Just felt like WoW with lasers to me, Mass Effect was far more engaging for me despite it being "resticted" to single player pieces.

I guess I'll just have to follow the standard MMO progression tactic, give it a year and them go back to reading more about it. Did it with Star Trek online and apparantly its gotten really good now. Plus its F2P, so thats a +1 in its favour.

That and Guild Wars 2 is round the corner, SWTOR may have to go to the back of the metaphorical bus.

It is roleplaying. You shape your character as you like and he feels your own. Yes everybody else is playing the same storyline, so what? What matters is how it feels.

I do respect everyone's opinion, and if somebody has played a lot of the game and does not like it it is their right and they have every right to tell their issues. I do have a question though: How can people who have not played the game claim that it sucks? How can you bash a game and not know basic terms about it like Operations? (that is how raids are called here).

Acrisius:
snip

I can second this. I'm loving the Imperial Agent's story. There was at least one moment of crippling indecision where I had to struggle with a choice not only for its own sake but to also consider what I would choose and what the agent I had been playing thus far would have.

demotion1:
It is roleplaying. You shape your character as you like and he feels your own. Yes everybody else is playing the same storyline, so what? What matters is how it feels.

I do respect everyone's opinion, and if somebody has played a lot of the game and does not like it it is their right and they have every right to tell their issues. I do have a question though: How can people who have not played the game claim that it sucks? How can you bash a game and not know basic terms about it like Operations? (that is how raids are called here).

Exactly.
And as for the other kind of rolelplaying in MMOs like WoW, it is equally possible here. You just have to igonore part of the story, also like in WoW or other MMOs. Everyone are doing the same quests there too, so you have to ignore that to make roleplaying work. In fact, in SWTOR there are 8 completely different storylines instead of just one, so there are 8X more variation in potential backstory.

In all MMO RP, you have to ignore part of the world. Like the fact that there are a lot of people that look like you, or that half the server is named Lolsfgwsger. There are much less, not more, of these niggling problems in SWTOR than in any other MMO I have tried.

Lastly, do not wax poeticly on about the glories of freeform RP in MMOs, most of it is crap. Most people cannot make good characters without a firm hand from a GM, and nearly all RP ends up happening in elite cliques or RP-guilds that are insular and snobish. They hardly interact with the rest of the world and spin their stories in despite of the game rather than through it. Bioware has tried to alleviate this problem by forcing some RP down on everyone and still leaving the door wide open for the kind of "traditional" isolation RP that some posters here seem to prefer. I for one, love them for it.

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still on the fence. After what Drew Karpyshyn managed to do to Revan, I don't know if I want to mix Bioware with Star Wars anymore.

What did he do?

I'm still wishing they just made a third game instead of this...schlock

Slycne:

Acrisius:
snip

I can second this. I'm loving the Imperial Agent's story. There was at least one moment of crippling indecision where I had to struggle with a choice not only for its own sake but to also consider what I would choose and what the agent I had been playing thus far would have.

Haha yeah, I'm almost sure I know which choice you mean. I regret going the light side choice on that one, it would have been more in character of my agent to go dark side. But well...

I dislike big blocks of quotes so [snip snip]

Steve Butts:

Nyanya:
It's quite a decent review. But I can't help but think that Mr. Butts' definition of "real roleplaying" is very different from mine.

For me, the essence of true roleplaying is being given a choice within the context of a story and then seeing the results of that choice play out in front of you.

Which is true enough, in a single player game, but SWTOR is an MMO, and the unique selling point of roleplaying in an MMO is that you can interact with other players.

This is not something that TOR delivers. The roleplaying emphasis is firmly on interacting with the NPCs in scripted sequences and that is it. 'Real' roleplayers in MMOs put more value in things like the ability to define their characters as individuals (in ways that TOR, with it's chosen one/hero of the galaxy narrative, really fails on) and worlds that feel like real living places rather than game levels, which TOR's lifeless, linear backdrops also fails on.

BioWare finally delivers an MMORPG that feels like a single player RPG.

Fixed.

Steve Butts:
We definitely disagree on that but, just to indulge the point, what game would satisfy your definition of roleplaying? I've yet to see an RPG on any platform where you're in charge of all of the character's animations and voice. Is there a game where you provide the voice for your character during NPC interactions? I'm sorry, but I absolutely don't get the point of your objection, which seems to suggest Baldur's Gate isn't really an RPG either.

For me, the essence of true roleplaying is being given a choice within the context of a story and then seeing the results of that choice play out in front of you. TOR does that very well, at least within the confines of the MMO genre.

For me, the essence of true roleplaying is creating a character, a personality, and interacting with that character within a world. Story, whole often present and usually the most interesting form of roleplaying, is not a requirement. One could roleplay walking down a forest path with a friend and there would not be much story there beyond one of the mundane, but it could be deeply enjoyable still. TOR doesn't do that very well at all, at least there have been other MMOs which do it much better.

In my roleplaying within computer games the character exists mostly in my head with the model within the game world being a sort of proxy that I and others can interact with. Thus when I talk about the 'voice' of a character I'm referring to what I imagine my character saying upon making dialog choices. How I imagine my character acting. But in TOR's conversation system (as well as pretty much all of BioWare's recent RPGs) the game is already providing that for me, clashing with my own imagination and thus making it far more difficult to keep a mental grasp on my character. As such one (of many) examples of RPGs where I provide the voice for my character during NPC interactions is Dragon Age: Origin (where Dragon Age 2 too that away).

For real roleplaying to work in a computer game the player character should be left as a blank slate as much as possible for the player to fill in.

I realize that it's a matter of degrees and that different people have a different cut-off point for what is and isn't true roleplaying. Just watching a movie is less roleplaying than having a movie where you get to make decisions on how the main character should act. Which, in turn, is less roleplaying than being left completely free to decide how the main character acts. Which is less roleplaying than being able to define the main character completely. Which is less roleplaying than having that character interact with equally dynamic and varied other characters (i.e. other players). For me BioWare's most recent RPGs, including TOR, fall way too close to the movie end of the spectrum.

Of course choices and consequences are also vitally important. But even in this it feels to me that TOR is lacking as it doesn't feel that any of the choices you make truly have consequences. In the end it all feels far too much on a scripted path where at most you might get a different email, a different remark from another character slightly later on, or perhaps some slightly altered events. BioWare is really good at giving the impression that your choices matter, but for me the illusion is often all too apparent.

In the end it just doesn't really feel like I own the character in BioWare's games. It feels as if BioWare owns the character and they've just been gracious enough to allow me to make suggestions as to what the character might do next. I still very much enjoy the game, just as I can very much enjoy a good movie or a good book. But it doesn't give me the same connection that actualy, true roleplaying does making it hard for me to accept when someone calls it "true roleplaying".

I hope that is understandable and makes sense. :)

Agente L:

Radoh:

Agente L:

Since you insist so much, I will put in quote.

But the only way to not get spoilers is not visiting any articles/topics/posts about a certain game before I finish it. And sincerely? Spoiling a MMO? Do you know how silly that sound?

I'd say about as silly as ignoring the fact that there is actual story to be had in this MMO.
Else you wouldn't have spoiled anything.
Because without stories there are no spoilers.
Seriously, what the heck.

"Tor have actual story"

Don't use that lame excuse on me, I don't buy it. ALL MMOs ALWAYS had story. And some have really fleshed out stories. The difference is that, in SWTOR, the story is sold as one of the "mainpoints" of the game, and it's apresented in a different, maybe even more pleasant way. But it still shoved down your throat.

RIFT has story, WAR has story, WoW has story. The difference is that in other RPGs you simply click "accept quest" instead of going a conversation to click "accept quest". In WoW you can ignore the story completely by just pressing "accept quest" whenever a pop up comes up. But you can read them, learn the lore of the area, read the HUGE amount of books that are all over azeroth. It may not be a shakespearean-worth play, but it's there. And it's good.

I'm sorry, I just gotta jump in here. WOW's story was never good. Never. It's all straight up cookie cutter fantasy poorly retold in boring text. I tried to get into WOW's story. I really did. I was in a heavy RP guild, and everyone else knew the lore. It was just so... boring. Reading quest text has never been and will never be interesting in this generation. Even so, it was poorly written quest text. Now in TOR, we have Bioware's signature writing and characterization introduced to the formula, and it works. Sure it's still largely gather quests, but you really feel the 'why' of it when a poor mother is begging you to find medicine for her dying son and you see him lying prone at her feet as she cries out to you. Sure the end result is different, and a thousand others will play it out exactly the same way, but that shouldn't matter to your character. Now he actually has motives, and that's a big deal to me and to lots of others.

Grey Day for Elcia:

Starke:
@Starke

I find it disingenuous and deceptive to report on something you've not properly experienced and my comment was aimed towards people who have played so little of the game they still have yet to encounter core components or have simply not played it at all.

Honestly, with TOR? You encounter the core game mechanics in the first 10 minutes after character creation. You experience the dialog system and experience combat. If you spend another hour or two with the combat and decide it's crap, in that time frame, then I can't say that's being disingenuous.

There are other things to do, but questing and killing mobs are the two largest time sinks in the game. If these don't appeal, there really isn't a compelling reason for someone to keep playing... I started to write something else, but honestly, that's it. That's the core of TOR. And if you're an MMO veteran, you'll be able to accurately assess how combat will scale.

It took me 45 minutes to get a feel for exactly how TOR's combat was scaled, and in the 15-20 hours I spent with the game it never deviated from that.

Grey Day for Elcia:
If you were to sit down with a ten hour game, play two hours of it and say "I found the controls and combat to sluggish, broken, unresponsive and boring" I'd think you'd seen enough of it to make that claim. When someone plays an MMO to level 9 and makes broad, sweeping comments concerning the entire game, not just the segment they experienced, I more or less consider their opinion moot. Not because of my own personal opinion, but because they are commenting on something they only know a fraction about.

Honestly? That really depends on the MMO in question. In DCUO that's 1/3 of the way through the level progression, and by that point you really have seen it all, with some exceptions. With Guild Wars, Level 9 was nearly halfway to the level cap, though your statement there is more valid, as level 20 wasn't the end game.

As for TOR? Honestly, in this case, getting to ~level 9 should be just long enough to really hammer home for you that you're not playing your character, you're playing one of eight characters Bioware cooked up for you, Commander Shepard style. In a single player game that's fine, but in an MMO, this is like stepping out the door and running into six or seven more copies of Hawke or Shepard or Cousland (sp?) Fair or not, for a lot of people that was a real deal breaker. I should say a lot of MMO players, but still. At that point they've seen the experience as... not a fraud, but a shell game, an illusion that's now broken. And then what? Grind on through?

Someone who logs into an MMO and spends 30 minutes in the character creator, logs out, and bitches out the game? Sure, that's damn disingenuous. But someone who spends two hours with TOR, sees the same "MMO style" combat they've seen since, shit, at least 2002, and logs off, and proceeds to bitch out the game for being derivative? I can't say that's genuinely unfair of them. They gave it a shot, and what they found was a familiar flavor of dreck.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Really, I simply wish people would stop trying so hard to be a fan or a hater. Sounds extreme, I know, but with just about every release you see and hear people complaining, critiquing, praising and defending games they've never played, out of pure principle. Bias is innate, like you said--you cannot ever review something objectively, as everything you see and hear is influenced by your personal experiences and view point--but to come to something or avoid something all together based on conjecture and with preconceptions and *still* offer an opinion is just... bad.

Welcome to the internet. That may sound harsh, but it's true. Though, with TOR, the variety of hate leveled at it... some of that's just knee jerk backlash, but in this case, a lot of it seems to be "you told us this would be revolutionary, instead we got a reskinned version of a game we'd already played."

As to objectivity? Yeah, you can try, and any competent reviewer (mostly in media other than games) will tell you that you need to get around that. It is possible to write an objective review of something. But, you do need to be aware of your own biases, as much as possible, when writing.

In my case, I held up the Bioware writing. It's no secret, I've found Bioware's writing since Jade Empire to be pretty hideously cliche, formulaic, and derivative. That said, even with that bias, I can say pretty solidly that the story in TOR is just not up to Bioware standards. This is a game written on autopilot in many cases. Now, true, I didn't experience those plots to their conclusions, but at the same time, I've seen these dances already.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Skyrim is a similar case. I don't like it. However, I put in a dozen hours before forming an opinion. Take a quick peek over the forum and you'll find a multitude of people bashing or defending Skyrim despite admitting to never playing it or, at the most, having played it for an hour or so. If you play ten minutes of a game and find it ugly, boring or just uninteresting, feel free to say so. But don't make comments about more than you actually played yourself.

I think I screwed up the comment pacing... see above. :\

Grey Day for Elcia:
Bandwagons, haters, fanboys -- all words I thought overused. But you know what? They aren't. And that sucks.

I'm ranting, so I'll stop. I hope my opinion was well enough expressed and you can understand what I'm getting at. Peace :D

I do. And, unfortunately, there is one critical issue, which is, there's a point at which you, whoever, has seen enough of a product to render an accurate assessment. That point is almost never the same from person to person. Saying someone needs to do X before they can chew out a game is a nice concept, but actually setting X gets a bit problematic. It's easy to say someone who hasn't played the game is out of line, but even on just 45 minutes, you can already start to render some pretty valid criticisms against TOR. Though, I think, for example, doing the same with Terraria would be a mistake, as it takes the game a good couple hours to get going.

sir.rutthed:

Agente L:

Radoh:

I'd say about as silly as ignoring the fact that there is actual story to be had in this MMO.
Else you wouldn't have spoiled anything.
Because without stories there are no spoilers.
Seriously, what the heck.

"Tor have actual story"

Don't use that lame excuse on me, I don't buy it. ALL MMOs ALWAYS had story. And some have really fleshed out stories. The difference is that, in SWTOR, the story is sold as one of the "mainpoints" of the game, and it's apresented in a different, maybe even more pleasant way. But it still shoved down your throat.

RIFT has story, WAR has story, WoW has story. The difference is that in other RPGs you simply click "accept quest" instead of going a conversation to click "accept quest". In WoW you can ignore the story completely by just pressing "accept quest" whenever a pop up comes up. But you can read them, learn the lore of the area, read the HUGE amount of books that are all over azeroth. It may not be a shakespearean-worth play, but it's there. And it's good.

I'm sorry, I just gotta jump in here. WOW's story was never good. Never. It's all straight up cookie cutter fantasy poorly retold in boring text. I tried to get into WOW's story. I really did. I was in a heavy RP guild, and everyone else knew the lore. It was just so... boring. Reading quest text has never been and will never be interesting in this generation. Even so, it was poorly written quest text. Now in TOR, we have Bioware's signature writing and characterization introduced to the formula, and it works. Sure it's still largely gather quests, but you really feel the 'why' of it when a poor mother is begging you to find medicine for her dying son and you see him lying prone at her feet as she cries out to you. Sure the end result is different, and a thousand others will play it out exactly the same way, but that shouldn't matter to your character. Now he actually has motives, and that's a big deal to me and to lots of others.

Honestly, when looking at MMOs with good stories, I keep looping back to Guild Wars. Sure, it was cliche and formulaic, but then again, so is Bioware's writing. Hell, Champions Online told a pretty coherent narrative... granted one that only made sense if you were a writer for DC in the 60s, or had just gone on an absinthe and mescaline bender, you know, fun. Still, it told a coherent, cheesy-as-hell, silver age narrative.

Honestly, even by Bioware standards, the writing in TOR is just not up to par. And saying you couldn't get into WoW's story is, well, unfortunate, but it doesn't negate that it was there.

Here is my review of TOR. If you like WoW and Star Wars or Mass Effect, you will like TOR. So for me, a dude who quit WoW after so many years TOR fills that void nicely. Sure it has flaws, but so did WoW when it launched years ago, many more then TOR does now.

Its a good solid WoW-like mmo. nothing wrong with that at all. If that combined with Mass Effect style roleplaying and Star Wars frosting on top sounds good, you will love it.

Noble_Lance:
Does it fix the need to grind and the repeated, fetch quests and kill x number of monkeys for a reward.

Kinda sorta. You still have to do that kind of stuff, but it gives you context and purpose for doing it, so it doesn't feel like a retarded grind.

Agente L:
snip

Retconing KotOR2 out of existence? How did they do that? I'm not that far along in the story, so I can't comment too much, but I do know the Exile is in TOR. I'm more afraid that they will rely too much on the Revan book to explain wtf is going on with Revan and Exile.

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