Saturday, December 17, 2011

SWTOR Impressions

This impressions will attempt to cover different topics other than the one's covered in the beta impressions article. Adam and I are both playing the early access and we will each discuss our impressions. Star Wars The Old Republic officially starts in three days on the 20th.

Sean's Impressions
In the beta I had played a Jedi Knight, Bounty Hunter and Sith Inquisitor. So far in the retail release of Star Wars The Old Republic I've focused exclusively on the Republic Commando, getting him up to level 18. Also, I've done several more areas of the Republic side of the game and several space battles. One of the first things I have to say is that out of all the prologue areas, now having played all four of them, the Jedi prologue area is by far the least exciting. Both of the Imperial prologue areas are far more interesting than both of the Republic ones, mainly because the story lines give you more unique feeling scenarios, but the Republic Commando/Smuggler area is pretty good. That area is a warzone on a planet where the people are rebelling against the Republic and the rebels have secret imperial support. Playing the Commando in this area was a little interesting mainly because you were dealing with military corruption and lies. You generally had to choose whether to join in on the corruption and make a lot of money or attempt to represent the Republic as a force of good. 

The graphics are quite a bit slicker compared to the beta but I still cannot help but notice how characters face are pretty well done while everything equipment related doesn't look very good. That may just be the price of having hundreds of people running around but some aspects of the graphics feel dated. Thankfully it's pretty easy to overlook that when other areas are quite good looking, like Space Battles and environments in general. The menu's are pretty easy to use and there is a codex to provide background information on the world, characters, special items, ships and enemies. I'm quite annoyed about some things they removed since the beta, like being able to teleport to your parties instance or being able to convert commendations (one of the main sources of currency). Overall though the game feels a bit cleaned up compared to the beta, which is to be expected. Feel like watching the game for eighteen minutes? Probably not, but take a glance at the last area of the Republic Commando's prologue plus a bit of PVP and The Esseles Flashpoint.

As much as the game doesn't feel like a MMO sometimes, especially with the conversation system, crew system, group system, social points and space combat, it sure does whenever you are in an area. They still do a great job making it so you don't have to grind for any quests but you do have to fight through quite a few enemies on the way to quests. Datacrons are something that I enjoy finding, especially since it makes exploring worthwhile, something I'm always happy to see. Datacrons are secret items that are present in every major area, seemingly, and give you permanent stat boosts. They remind me a little of exploring in Rift, because Rift has these secret puzzles to find all over the place and they were quite difficult to solve. In The Old Republic they just make Datacrons hard to get to and figuring out how to get to one or where it is tends to be the complicated part, but so far they are not nearly as difficult as Rift puzzles. The Datacrons do seem to  scale in difficulty with the level of areas, so harder levels seem to have more difficult to find Datacrons.

Tiny bit on the crew system, which is essentially how you do 100% of crafting. They have done this system quite well. You send your crew members out on missions, based on whatever crew skills you choose, to find materials or craft items. Sending them out for materials is done as if they are doing missions, each with their own description, and each mission costs some money. At the beginning the amount of money is insignificant but the higher skill level the more it costs to send people on these missions. When you craft items you can choose to reverse engineer them and get some material backs or sell them. The whole system works pretty well and its nice to have your companions out doing things when you are doing a flashpoint or just walking around not in a combat area.

At around level 17 I received my first ship. This ship is customizable and can be outfitted with better armor, shields, missiles and several other enhancements. Rank one enhancements don't cost too much but the very next rank ones are quite expensive costing far more than I can hope to have for a while. Space Battles difficulty is determined by how well your ship is outfitted, each battle warns you that you should have up to a certain rank of enhancements in order to be able to win. Space battles do indeed look and feel like a rail shooter. It absolutely nothing compared to a real game but as a minigame it is well done and enjoyable, plus it gives you a good deal of experience and credits. As far as I can tell there are only three space battles, at least one's that I can fight in, but they are promising to do a lot with them in the future. That's it for my impressions but I did take some video of the two space battles that I got to fight in, so check that out. One last note, if you are not a fan of MMO's this still isn't the game for you because it heavily uses well known MMO mechanics. Someday there will be an innovative MMO that changes everything up and is still fun, but for now we have a game that builds upon many fundamentals to create a new experience. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. 

1 comment:

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