Star Wars the Old Republic: Initial Thoughts
I just started playing Stars Wars the Old Republic like many of my nerd brethren and while there are probably several hundred if not several thousand reviews of SWTOR I'm going to add my two cents. First of this is not actually a review, SWTOR has way too much content for me to do a review this soon, this is just some of my initial thoughts about the game.
Like many people I've played a lot of MMOs, spent hours of my light killing ten of these, collecting 5 of this other thing. I'm not going to lie to you under everything that is part of SWTOR it's the framework for MMOs. However unlike most MMOs SWTOR is not popping up boxes of text which you blankly read or skip over and go on your merry way killing goblins. No quests are fully voice acted, and not with shitty voice acting, good honest voice acting. The dialogues are interesting, compelling, and sometimes hilarious. The NPCs don't feel like a backdrop to the world they feel like they are part of the world. I realized this when I found myself walking around an NPC instead of through them like I usually do. NPCs are important to the story.
That's the other thing you have choices you can be a nice person, a giant ass, or some place in between. You are writing your character's story. You aren't just getting levels you an involved in an interactive story. Your character can have a personality. It's much like a choose your own adventure story in a video game with lightsabers.
It's not just the story that's fun however, playing it is fun too. Your character doesn't just stand there swinging away, they move, they dodge, they strike as you command them. Abilities do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do them. Two characters are not likely to be identical unless they are the same class, and once you specialize the chances of that decrease. For example my friend Stacia and I both made Sith Inquisitors, but while grouping I felt like I was playing a different character, we fight differently, which implies that given the setup of the game two players can play the same class but be different.
Speaking of grouping, you get an NPC called a companion to follow you around. My inquisitor's in an big ugly brute. I saw people running around with him and my first thought is "can I get something else", then I did to quest to get him. They took an ugly brutish NPC and gave him a personality that matches, he went from the ugly brute, to the big guy that follows me around, has my back (between comments about destroying me), likes it when I'm an arrogant prick to other NPCs. Like all the NPCs in the game they have life.
That kind of leads me to crafting. I was rather dubious when they said that your companion would do the crafting for you, really? Crafting is one of my favorite things to do in an MMO so I figured separating me from crafting would suck, it doesn't. Sending your companion to do crafting just gives you free time to play the game, he runs off and comes back a couple minutes later with a stimpack, or with some random item that you sent him to get. Crafting is almost addicting, which is bad because sending your companion out to get supplies costs money and you can run yourself out of it right quick.
So are there things that I don't like? Sure. The main thing is the lack of races to pick that don't like like humans with different skin colors or horns. I don't understand why there are not rodians, mon calamari, and wookies, when they already had to make the models for them any how. I hope they will add that in the future, because I'd like to get my wookie on. Character creation wise I wish there were more body types. Otherwise I am having a hard time thinking of anything I've been disappointed with other than the race thing, even that kind of disappears when you have made your character, but I hold out hope for wookie-dom in the future.
The only other problem I have right now is not directly connected to the game. My desktop is four years old and in need of an upgrade (which I have been neglecting), so I've been running the game in boot camp on my macbook just to play it decently. Part of the reason that I haven't upgraded my computer is four years is a lack of interest in most PC games and I have been thinking of switching to just console gaming, but SWTOR is pulling me back in. I just wish I could control my computer with a lightsaber (I'm talking to you Kinect developers).
So if you like Star Wars, want to be a power hungry sith, or clever smuggler, and like role-playing games (not just MMOs), then I recommend this game. The rest of you, well I am saddened by your loss (although my sith inquisitor delights in it).