We’ve been working diligently through the content of SWTOR, and it’s time for an update on where we’re at! I haven’t been doing these updates as regularly as I had planned, but life gets busy at very specific times every single year — SWTOR’s launch coincided with one of those times.
I think what I’ll do first is give you guys a run down of the planets and what I thought of them.
Coruscant – The city itself is beautiful and truly more than I expected in terms of scope. The flying traffic overhead, the massive and realistic scale of all the buildings and vertical space, all serve as great atmosphere. I was disappointed by the taxi system being used to basically mask tiny little areas to quest in. The questing itself was a little linear and I felt funneled.
Taris – My experience here was tainted by terrible lag. The story was lost for me. I lost interest in my class quest because it felt like an unimportant stepping stone. The zone story was pretty much all about killing ghoul-like mutants, then rinsing and repeating in another part of the zone. I was glad to leave.
Nar Shaddaa – The look of the zone is immediately a plus. I like that Hutt-dominated slummy/shadowy neon city look. Similar to Coruscant, the vertical space is excellent. Again, similar to Coruscant the quests are very funneled and the repetitious nature of killing thugs standing around on the streets got old. We ended up leaving as soon as we could.
Tatooine – I loved everything about Tatooine. The quests were fun, the stories were interesting, the openness of the planet made it feel less funneled, and the nostalgia this planet holds for me is something I can’t quantify.
Alderaan – This planet’s story was convoluted with lots of political issues between Houses. In the end, I still don’t know what happened. I tried to pick good options and just go with it. I felt like the quests were okay and the funneling was moderate. The planet was aesthetically pleasing to me.
Balmorra – When I first arrived, I though it looked really cool! A war-torn planet, aliens, and an Imperial base looked great at first. The geography, however, destroyed me. Getting anywhere was confusing. Cliffs blocking paths, elevators, a map that doesn’t make sense… Give me back the Coruscant funneling!
Quesh – Short and sweet. A two step class story and some killing. I think there was one, maybe two class outposts. I enjoyed the poisonous planet motif.
Hoth – Like Tatooine, Hoth is open and full of nostalgia love. The planet can be a little bit daunting, given how big it feels compared to the funnel-zones, but in reality it’s not bad once you think of it outside of its internal relativity. Hoth felt like an EverQuest zone. Really open, lots of aggro in places, and opportunities to dodge enemies if you’re smart with the terrain. We actually managed to complete the Heroic 4 quests here, which is saying a lot since we skipped them in quite a few zones.
Right now we’re getting ready to run some flashpoints. We’ve skipped several and I guess we need to complete them in order to do their harder versions or move on to future flashpoints. Esseles, the first flashpoint, was great. Then the next couple were… not so much. .
SWTOR’s PvE is mediocre, at best. There’s a lot of “Kill X bad guys” and “blow up X machines”. The unoriginality and repetition are cleverly masked in story, but even the story begins to wear thin as it becomes clear even the writers themselves tired of the same old thing. Graev and I have started to notice A LOT of re-used dialog. His character says the same 2-3 lines over and over. “This will be no challenge for a Jedi.” It’s not the best PvE, but it’s definitely not the worst and still enjoyable. We’re going to hit level 40 tonight and hopefully 50 by next weekend.
I have a lot of thoughts on the PvP that I will write up for tomorrow, and inevitably more thoughts to come on the game’s PvE as I come closer to finishing. Tonight’s patch should also introduce some major changes — stay tuned.
Update: Just finished Teral V and had an absolute blast. Really long, but really neat story and atmosphere.
Update 2: I clarify what I mean by mediocre PvE in a comment below.