My readers know me best as a gamer who wears his emotions on his sleeve. I’m happy to constantly tell you how I really feel about games, even if I am contradicting myself or changing my mind. I wouldn’t write any other way because I feel the biggest reason you’re here reading my blog is because you’ve either made a horrific mistake and clicked the wrong link or you’re here because you want to know what I really think. Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t a game that I have been gushing about. In fact, I have been rather indifferent and even pessimistic/cynical about the game at times. I’m trying to guard myself these days from getting sucked into hype.
I’ve commented already this E3 about how I feel the “Every player gets his own Starship” is a grandiose way of saying that players are simply getting player housing and a hub from which to launch into missions. Bioware has since verified this statement that these are a “base of operations” by actually straight up calling them player housing and saying they are like KOTOR’s ship. Honestly, it’s a bit underwhelming when they could be actual starships but I won’t balk at a game offering player housing at launch.
So it’s fair to say that I haven’t found anything that actually excites me or interests me yet about SWTOR…. until now. I was watching E3 coverage on G4tv (don’t hate) and their SWTOR segment was playing. During the interview there were a few well thought out statements that represent an intelligent way to design games. With respect to class balance in SWTOR, “in some cases rock does beat scissors”. There’s also talk about group play and how some of the content requires people to “absolutely” group up and play together. This combat is “rewarding” and “fun”.
Here’s the video. The part I want to focus on starts at ~2:00 min in. (If Youtube removes this video, go watch it on the SWTOR site — it’s the third G4 video down.)
I want to play SWTOR after watching that. The group play looks really fun and very much like a standard MMO. There are some people that have expressed distaste for how the combat looks but I’m not one of them. What I saw in that video doesn’t looked edited or scripted — it looks just like a standard MMO that I’ve played before; it looks familiar. I like that each character has a role to play in the combat and that they’re not always predefined per class but for how the person has chosen to play their class (within boundaries, I’m sure). The class that I want to play most now is the Jedi Consular. I think using force abilities to heal a group and support a group as more of a caster seems really fun. I can also really appreciate small group content because I don’t necessarily want to always be in a huge raid (the occasional one is very fun and I do like big raids, just not all the time).
A lot of the dialog from the Bioware dev in the video is also relevant to why what is being shown interests me. The group content being difficult enough that they’ll wipe if someone doesn’t perform, mention of crowd control, unconventional class mechanics like ranged tanking, and the level of customization are excellent. Perhaps the best thing that was said without much explanation was that the groups had to be balanced. This is something that worried me (and still does) about SWTOR since they’ve really been selling a casual small and nearly singleplayer experience that you can have friends join up on. The necessity to balance a group is very nice to hear.
Am I looking forward to SWTOR now? Yeah, I am. I know that SWTOR will be highly instanced. I know that it will not be a big open world. I know that a lot of what Bioware wants to accomplish can only happen in a game that resembles one of their (very well made) single-player RPG’s. It’s not going to be my ideal MMO, but it’s going to be one that I think will be polished beyond belief and feature rich. I know that I have the opportunity to find something that I can enjoy in SWTOR. I’m not hyped about it, but I’m also not going to purposefully rag on the game all the time just because it’s not being made how I want.
Now that the opportunity for me to find something I enjoy about MMO’s has been shown in SWTOR, I’ll be able to evaluate it based upon those standards. I’m happy that I have good things to say about SWTOR and I hope that others will be able to join me in evaluating the game and talking about the game much in the same way without being too polarized one way or another.
PS. I find myself liking that UI a lot.