Friday, March 01, 2013

Star Wars: The Old Republic - First Impressions

Last weekend, while enjoying some much-needed relaxation time, I installed two new games on my computer: Star Trek Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic. My favorite game a decade ago was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, so when Bioware announced an MMO, I got really excited! I also grew up watching both Star Wars and Star Trek with my dad, so STO held a lot interest for me, too. Since both games are free-to-play, I decided to try them out, engage in a little nostalgia, and putter around the universe looking for adventure. And today, I'm going to share my initial thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Star Wars: Even with free-to-play limitations, all eight character classes (four for the Republic and four for the Empire) are available, as well as three of the race options. Sure, you have to either buy Cartel Coins (the in-game currency that's purchased with real money) or subscribe to get more races, but there's a variety of playable options available without having to make a monetary commitment. So that's a great start!

The opening scenes for the characters are really cool, too, because all of the dialogue is voice-acted, rather than a bunch of text describing why the player is going into this section of the world. Yes, WoW does a lot of that, too, but as soon as my player landed on the planet, orders were given via MORE voice-acting. And I got to pick responses that made my own character SAY their own lines (a lot like Mass Effect).

The tutorial missions kick off right away, and they're very engaging. They pulled me into the story while teaching me how to play, and even though I only played Guild Wars for six months and WoW for two, the entire process was very intuitive.

Without dedicating days at a time, I managed to play through several side-quests AND progress through a small portion of the introductory storyline quests. I think, in total, I've played the game for three hours, and I'm already at level 6 (not high, I know, but I barely played the game). This is great because I don't want to have to dedicate four or five hours in a single day to this game. I have a book to revise!

The downside is that the missions, right now, are a little tedious. Sure, I want to know what happens next, but my character's just one of a hundred troopers jumping around this planet, trying to finish the intro quests. There's no built-in social interaction at the moment, no incentive to group with other players because I CAN'T progress along the storyline with other characters of my class. I have a brand new computer, too, and for some reason, SWTOR gives me lag issues. And this is with all of the settings at their bare minimum. I don't know if it's crowding on the server, my internet (which isn't slow), or my hardware, but it doesn't encourage me to play for very long, let alone invest in a subscription.

I'm going to keep playing for a while to see if I can get hooked more, but for now, it's just another fun game that will fight for the attention of the other fun games I have laying around my house.

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