I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic for a couple of weeks now, frying foes with Force lightning, splashing space ships with missiles, chatting up companions and generally having a good old time in a galaxy far far away (not that it really narrows it down much. How many galaxies are *not* “far far away”, after all?).
I thought I’d spend some time sharing my experiences and impressions in SWTOR here on MMOCrunch, and so I give to you the “Sith Journals”, my personal gaming diary/ongoing SWTOR review/personal ranting space that I will subjecting you all to. I’ll try to steer clear of major story spoilers, but there will be some spoiling of story going on, so if you absolutely do not want any part of the SWTOR story revealed to you, just punch yourself hard in the temple whenever you come across a spoiler, and the mild concussion should wipe your short term memory and ensure maximum Old Republic story enjoyment.
I’m not sure how long this journal experiment will run, but it will probably go on until:
- I feel it has run its course and there’s nothing more interesting to write
- I get tired of SWTOR and quit the game
- Mind controlling aliens invade Earth and I am forced to give up my quiet life of supply chain management and computer games writer in order to form a xeno worshipping cult that appeases our tentacle-faced overlords through the means of ritual dancing and human sacrifice.
I have been spending almost all of my time in SWTOR playing my Sith Inquisitor, which I’ve so far gotten up to level 35. So come along with me and let’s jump back two weeks in time and join me as I first stepped out onto the hot sands of Korriban, just another slave with the simple hope of a better life and a chance to melt the faces of people with scorching Force lightning.
After a warm welcome from my friendly trainer, who apparently wanted nothing more than to see us ground up into Bantha fodder, I set about with my various tasks on Korriban, most of which involved venturing through old tombs and recovering some priceless artifact or other.
Considering that the Sith have been present on Korriban for many years, and considering the number of initiates that have been sent through those tombs to kill the undesirable inhabitants and loot anything of worth, I must say that I am quite surprised that they are apparently still full of monsters and archeological wonders.
Much can be said about the Sith, but their skills at retrieving artifacts from right outside their doorstep, and keeping said doorstep free from things that want to shoot them in the face, leave much to be desired.
Speeding through the first rounds of quests gave me a good taste of SWTOR’s combat systems, which is pretty much off-the-shelf MMO style “click the quickslot button”, with the small twist that there is no auto attack. As I was playing a lightning wielding Inquisitor, and I usually play mage classes in other MMO’s, it makes little difference to me if there is an auto attack or not, though it did mean I had to spend some time during my low levels hitting the “swing lightsaber” button between the cooldowns of my lightning attacks.
Well, I say lightsaber, but of course at this point in time I was not yet worthy to have such a noble weapon, so instead I was just clobbering my enemies with a “vibrosword”, which presumably causes death by vibration somehow (anyone that has had a cellphone in their pocket knows the dangers of excessive vibration, which can easily lead to ever so slight, temporary irriation and numbness).
I found the early story of the Inquisitor to be fairly interesting, complete with the expected Sith intrigues and foul play, but a special mention must go to the quest that gives you your first companion, Khem Val. During the large beta week I had a chance to play the Bounty Hunter and Sith Warrior up to where they get their companions, and while that’s also a pretty cool moment for both of those classes, I think it is handled much more interestingly with the Inquisitor. When you finally have your big grey Hulk/Predator hybrid tank you really get a sense of having earned him. It’s just too bad that I found him to be pretty crappy compared to the DPS companion of the Warrior or the healer of the Bounty Hunter, but he wears a loincloth and kills people with a giant two handed sword, so you just can’t be too disappointed with the big fella.
One other thing that I also noted as I was tomb raiding my way through Korriban was that there were an awful lot of Inquisitors around. Now granted, Korriban is only the starting planet for the Sith Inquisitor and the Sith Warrior, so it was never going to be a fantastical rainbow of classes, but my completely unscientific survey indicated that only about 20-30% of my fellow player initiates were going down the Vader path instead of the Palpatine path. It just goes to show you that there is no substitute for POWER! UNLIMITED POWER! I guess my crazy uncle was right after all.
With Khem Val at my side, and a new title of apprentice to a Sith lord, I left the warm sands of Korriban behind me and curled up in a fetal position as the crippling post-traumatic stress from the multiple assassination attempts on my life set in. Actually, that would not have been very Sith like, so instead I channeled my fear and anger and made a little ball of pure emotional hatred that I stored in the back of my brain, right next to my horrible slave childhood and that time I had to sponge bathe a Hutt.
Arriving on the Sith Fleet space station I was immediately sent to my class trainer to pick my advanced class. Let me just say that I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the way that you pick an advanced class. The game makes it pretty clear that this is a big and important choice, but as a new player I don’t think you know enough about the advanced class choices at that stage of the game to make an informed decision. Some quests that let you try out a bit of gameplay from both advanced classes before you have to make a choice would be very much appreciated. Also, it really doesn’t feel meaningful enough that I am determining my advanced class just by clicking a button. In this game that is all about story and immersion, where the hell is my advanced class selection story quest?!
Luckily I had already done some research on the Inquisitor advanced classes, so I picked the Sorcerer class without hesitation, which is the advanced class that focuses entirely on ranged, lightning induced carnage. I also took a stroll through the crew skill trainers and loaded up three gathering skills, as I figured that it’d be a good idea to focus on getting some money first and then work out later if I wanted to pick up a crafting skill. Of course, had I known the stupid amount of money I could have gotten from slicing before the recent nerf I would have taken that as one of my skills, but I decided to instead go for Bioanalysis, Scavenging and Archeology.
And so it was time for me to make my way to Dromund Kaas…