Ramblings about SWTOR
Since the Game Dames podcast is still on hiatus for another week, I'd thought I'd make a blog post giving my first impressions of this month's most talked about game: Star Wars The Old Republic. I've now had enough time to play around in the game and form actual opinions beyond 'OMG I LOVE IT' (Confession: I'm a bit of an MMO fiend. I try a lot of new MMOs, and if any of them go free to play, I'm all over it. It's safe to say that I've been waiting for this game for ages.)
As with any game, there are the good parts and the bad parts. I can't really give a full review since I am nowhere near endgame content, but there are still a few things that I have noticed.
You can go through this game treating it entirely as a single player game. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, if you play on a completely different schedule than any of your friends (like me, considering I am the only morning person I know), you can still progress fairly quickly. On the other hand, it kind of destroys some of the feelings of community. Of course there's obviously other people playing: General Chat is usually full of activity (particularly with arrow/lightsaber to the knee jokes.. oh is that just my server?) and you still see other people running about and grouping up for Heroic Quests… but it is still up to you to find that sense of community and people that you want to play with on a regular basis.
Which of course brings me to questing. I absolutely love the quests in this game. The fact that it's fully voiced helps the immersion factor a lot. I find myself actually caring about my character's class story line, something that I typically don't care for.
There are always bugs, of course. The main one that I've noticed effecting me negatively is major FPS lag. The workaround I've used is turning off shadows, but I have a fully up to date machine, and so do a lot of other people who have had this problem: it's kind of on the games end at this point.
Another thing that I have noted is that the UI is basically not at all customizable - kind of annoying if you're heals. However, there is one thing the SWTOR devs did right: putting your health bar and your target's health bar at the bottom of the screen instead of the upper left where it is very inconvenient. The UI is overall nicely done (though a bit big for my tastes) but I would still like a sense of customization.
Is it a WoW killer? No, absolutely not. It remains to be seen how successful the game will actually end up being, since these things depend on how well Bioware actually takes care of the game in the coming months. But if they fix the bugs that were in the game at launch while also creating immersive new content, they may remain to be a top competitor on the MMO market.
(Shameless guild promotion: if you want to play on the Wound in the Force server, Empire side, you should join my guild, There's No Crying in Huttball. We'll be focusing on endgame PVE and PVP.)