SWTOR has made numerous impressions on me over the past couple of years. I’ve gone from loving the idea to hating the idea then back to loving it again. The key issues for me are always my fear that the game’s playable world area will be limited to just hubs which then send you off into instances. I’m also fearful that the game will be too much of a WoW clone and fail to live up to its Star Wars heritage.
Bioware brought a few things to E3 this year to show off besides another awesome cinematic. First, and what I found most enjoyable and informative, is the Tatooine Developer Walkthrough.
The video above shows around 11 minutes of in-game footage of the game being played. I took a few notes while watching that highlight what I like as well as my concerns.
- They nailed the look of Tatooine. It’s gorgeous.
- UI looks clean, but unattractive. I like the classic Star Wars blue, but the design is very sterile.
- The area looks fairly large and open. I hope that there is lots of do and see without the feeling that you have to drive out to a location and back. I’ve played games that don’t utilize the space but simply create it as filler. That’s no better than instancing.
- At times combat looks very fluid and natural but then there are times when it looks horrible. When the Sith Sorcerer just stands back and “casts” his force abilities I was really disheartened that it felt like casting spells in any other game. I never consider force abilities something to be “Cast”. It doesn’t translate well to gameplay, whereas the fluid swinging of the lightsaber does.
- Multiplayer conversation is handled well. I like that the players get to randomly be the one to choose the dialog but you aren’t punished for the decisions others make since you are awarded (or penalized) based on your personal intent (What you would have chosen). This way if Graev wants to kill everyone we see, I can at least feel good knowing I would have done it differently.
- A random player wandered by and was able to join. This shows me there’s open world gameplay going on here.
I really want for SWTOR to have big and open planets that I can truly wander off the beaten path and explore. I have a fear that Tatooine will be a “planet” only in the sense that Durotar (in WoW) is a “zone”. The video alleviated some of my concern since they actually had to time lapse the video for travel and they have speeders to travel faster.
Now what about the end-game? Bioware brought along trailer showing an Operation.
I was able to watch several interviews that used this footage and talked about what was going on. Operations are another word for Raid. In this particular raid, players are going to an area that has several different climates as well as bosses, puzzles, and scripted encounters. I’m actually not impressed at all by this trailer. In fact, I’m quite disappointed by it. That looked like a typical raid. I did not see Star Wars in that video nor did I see anything that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about raid mechanics.
Bioware will be making a galactic mistake if this is their endgame solution. These had better be 100% accessible to people. I’m talking more accessible than WoW raids that are deceptively not accessible to the population since something like 5% ever even finish one. I want something more from SWTOR. I sense a great disturbance in the force now and fear it may be too late.
After E3 I am once again having mixed feelings. SWTOR needs to feel like an amazing RPG you’re playing with friends and other people, not like you’re just sitting in a shell of a world like WoW has created for people to jump around and run content.
What are your thoughts after seeing what Bioware brought to E3?