I was planning on writing a full review for SWTOR, but Pherephassa did such a great write-up on her SWTOR reivew, that I figured I’d skip mine and get straight to my likes and gripes. I’ll give you a hint, it’s going to be mostly gripes.
Undoubtedly the best part of game is the journey to endgame, after all this is what BioWare does best. Having said that, as a MMORPG player I found myself beginning to skip dialog as early as the mid teen levels and before I hit level 30 I was skipping it all with the exception of the main storyline. Even that I began to partial skip or you can say fast forward by the time I hit the early 40’s. It’s not that I didn’t find it interesting, I just wanted to get on with things.
As a player who has never seriously crafted before, I actually enjoyed the crafting system in SWTOR. I didn’t have to waste my time grinding it out looking for resources or spending hours killing the same mobs, however while I enjoyed the mechanic of crafting, the entire system is broken since only a few professions can actually make any money.
For one, crafting is way to easy and fast. One of the main reasons I never pursue crafting is because of how much time it takes to master. In SWTOR I hit the max in all three of my crew skills within 3 weeks without really trying. Now nothing is wrong with the system itself, they just need to make the crafting time much much longer. While it took me 3 weeks to master all my crew skills, if you take the actual crafting time, it was probably only 3-4 days. It should take at least 1 month of “crew skill time” to master a skill.
Secondly, they need to make craftable items better, not the best, but close. There should only be a handful of items that are better then the best crafted items and those items should be harder to get. Right now you can spend a few days in PvP or grinding flashpoints and obtain some of the best gear out there making crafted gear worthless.
Moving on to PvP which we all know is broken across the board, from open PvP to the PvP planet Illum to Warzones, it’s a mess. While Warzones recently got a lot better with the separation of level 50 characters, they still need to introduce at least one more bracket to divide 1-49. Open PvP and Illum need a full overhaul to become worth while since currently there’s zero reason to participate in open PvP and nearly none on Illum as you can obtain the same rewards from warzones at an unmatched rate.
That leaves Operations and Flashpoints. Flashpoints are instanced, so of course I hate them, but they’re fun the first one or two times you run them. Unfortunately if you want better gear and don’t like PvP you’ll be running them over and over and over. I can’t comment on Operations since I still haven’t do one, but I’d image they’re the same thing with more people.
My favorite moment of the entire game was on Tatooine waiting on top of a sandcrawer with Empire and Republic players alike waiting for a balloon that would take us to a datacron on top of another sandcrawer. As the balloon approached tensions began to rise to see if anyone would attack. We all jumped on the balloon and as it began to pull away from the sandcrawler you could just sense something was about it happen and then it did. Someone attacked and all hell broke lose. Lucky my faction (Empire) was able to push off all the Republic players and we floated away as they sat and cursed at us.
That’s was SWTOR and nearly all theme-park MMO are missing, there’s no surprises, no tension of not knowing what’s going to happen next . The only tension is knowing you have to run Black Talon 8 more times until you have enough point to get the item you want.
If you look at SWTOR as strictly a single-player RGP, then I’d say it’s a great game, but unfortunately for BioWare they made a MMORPG. With the exception of Flashpoints, I grouped exactly two times during my entire journey from level 1-50. Now that I’m at 50, I’m stuck with either a broken PvP system, running Flashpoints and Ops all day or starting a new alt. No thanks.
It seems BioWare created a MMOPRG where their biggest replay value is in restarting with a new character and while many players will, not as many are willing to pay a monthly fee to play what is basically a co-op RPG.
In my mind SWTOR is a complete dud and failure in term of gameplay, but in a good way. This marks the end of the theme-park MMORPG shit-fest that has taken over the genre for the last decade. If an IP like Star Wars cannot compete with WoW, no IP using a theme-park design can. The next great MMORPG might not be pure sandbox, but it sure as hell won’t be a theme-park either. I feel like this is the turning point in the industry and we’ll once again seen innovation in MMORPGs and I can’t wait.