by Jay Sonia
Welcome back to another Geeks & Gamers. This month, I’m going to be talking about the newest (and from what I’ve heard, hottest) MMORPG on the scene – Star Wars: The Old Republic.
This month, however, I’m going to bring in a little help. You see, while I play a fair bit of Star Wars, I haven’t accumulated nearly as many hours of play time as some of my friends have. So, I asked my buddies Mo and Manny to step in, give me their perspective, and help me round out this article. They did just that.
Both Manny and Mo have been playing SWTOR since its public release and both have sided with the Empire, mainly to satisfy their friends. Manny, however, is quick to point out that, “In this game being a bad guy doesn’t mean you can’t be good (wink).” That’s probably one of the biggest aspects of this game, too, in terms of character development. It doesn’t matter if you choose the Empire or the Republic – you can still choose to walk your own path, be it light, dark, or balanced between the two.
Like most MMORPs, there is ample opportunity for both PvE (player vs. environment) and PvP (player vs. player) combat. Unlike some of its predecessors, however, SWTOR offers a more immersive storyline with a cornucopia of cut-scenes and other immersive elements. The storyline, from level one to level ten, is filled with theatrics and the movie experience really shines through because of it. Of course, unlike some of the other popular MMORPGs (World of Warcraft, I’m looking at you), there is more being said by NPCs than there is text – so you need to put on a good set of headphones when you’re playing or you might miss something!
Of course, it does have its short-comings. Because it’s still relatively new, some of the raid material is still bugged. Mo says, “…still, it can’t be compared to WoW (World of Warcraft) when it comes to raiding. WoW is more organized than SWTOR.” He’s quick to point out, however, that PvP is smoother in SWTOR. Mo says, “..but the PvP there beats ‘WoW’ and with the new patch coming up, there will be ranking to keep the PvP going.”
It’s not all PvP for Manny, however. He’s found (and I personally agree) that the immersive nature of the setting itself can pull you in. The worlds are vast, the missions long and inclusive, and the objectives offer you a chance to make choices that further define your character in terms of light or darkness. Manny says, “It is great to see how much open space Bioware gives you to explore and the missions that you get to do while exploring. When tied together with a good story it allows you to become attached to the character you have put so much time into. Then you are able to say, ‘My Sith Sorcerer has traveled all over Tatooine.’ Other than that I enjoy the fact that whether you are on the Republic or the Empire, you still have to make choices that will push you to the dark side of The Force or guide you to the light side.”
That’s a pretty big choice, too, as gear later in the game is tied to either side. So, it’s not just a matter of gearing up for raids or team missions, but gearing up to match your alignment, as well. (And I don’t care what anyone says, the higher level Sith just look cool).
There’s also a chance to engage in space combat, piloting your own spaceship through asteroid belts while you strafe larger cruisers. The game play doesn’t allow full, 360 degree movement, but it does offer a great deal of versatility within the railed (your ship follows a pre-determined path) environment. Plus, you can upgrade your ship. If you ask me, that’s cooler than a Wookie!
Finally, there’s the Legacy system. While I haven’t had the joy of playing with it, Manny has already started building an alternative character for just that. He says, “It is an interesting concept and anyone who is a ‘Star Wars’ fan knows that family ties mean the world. It will be cool to have other characters that bare the last name as my Sith Assassin and some of his skills are genetically passed onto them.” That appears to be the crux of the system, too. When you develop a legacy character, you get to take the powers from one class and pass them onto another. So, you might have an agent for the Empire that has Sith abilities. Or, you might have a Bounty Hunter that can focus like a Jedi. It’s very modular in that sense and, as the game unfolds, promises to open even more storylines for us!
Personally, I think this game is a hit. I haven’t progressed as far as either Mo or Manny, but that’s because I have to juggle my games! That said, this one will still take a fair share of my future time. It really is that good!
Until next time, keep gaming!