[SWTOR] Why I still want to play this thing!

So the ‘backlash’ against SWTOR continues, as people get to actually play the thing and find that – yes – it’s just an MMO and not the second coming.

Analyst comments that “it’s like Bioware mechanics bolted onto a WoW skin”

Massively writers are not blown away. (I thought the take away point from here is that the melee Operative/ Smuggler is a class/ spec with issues at this point, so you can pretty much guarantee it’ll still have some at launch.)

And yet I have to wonder if anyone was surprised. What I am expecting from SWTOR is exactly Bioware mechanics and storytelling ‘bolted on’ to an MMO core, which probably will have a lot in common with WoW-type games. So telling me it’s like that is really not a turn-off.

Main points for me from what I have heard about this game so far:

  • Class centred storytelling. I’m really intrigued to check this out, and especially whether they’ll go for a slightly different genre for each class (eg. jedi knight gets a completely different ‘type of story to smuggler)
  • Crafting via companions. I still think this sounds vaguely intriguing. And housing via ships too.
  • Companions in general. They’re set for this to be one of the telling points of the game.
  • Sound as the ‘fifth pillar’. Fully voiced NPCs, star wars sound effects, the whole works. I’m just curious to see how much difference it makes.

23 thoughts on “[SWTOR] Why I still want to play this thing!

  1. Since my back problems kind of knocked my Rift enjoyment, I’ve started wanting to play SWTOR more – even if just for the first month or two. And mostly because I hope it’ll coincide with my back being better!

  2. It is unfortunate, but SW:TOR is going to be killed by its expectations. Bioware said from the very beginning that they weren’t looking to “reinvent the wheel” of MMO’s. Yet for some reason that is what everyone is expecting it to do. I was encouraged from the beginning by the emphasis placed on story and the use of the Star Wars universe. In both of these factors, what I have seen from SW:TOR has impressed me. I think if people will take it in the light that it is being presented, they will more than likely find a very good MMO. But it seems that “very good” is not going to be good enough to meet the standards that people already have in their minds for this game.

    • I think what these writers are doing now is actually trying to reframe people’s expectations. I think the game is going to be great, but you’re right, they never said they were going to reinvent the wheel (that’s the GW2 hype.)

      • Indeed – the Guild Wars 2 backlash is going to be much, MUCH worse than this. Having said which, I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for Bioware. Even if they haven’t actively created all of the hype surrounding SW:ToR, they’ve happily gone along with it. Now people are starting to realise that SW:ToR is not “it’s an MMO, but it’s from Bioware!”, it’s “it’s an MMO, that happens to be from Bioware.”

        Hmm – does that last sentence make as much sense to you as it did to me?

      • I find MMO gamers to be the hardest to fathom when it comes to their expectations – yes I use to be one – do they really want a gaming experience that becomes more like work than entertainment?

        Bioware should be successful with SWTOR but I hope it doesn’t ruin their reputation in the process.

  3. It seems that this is simply a stage in the hype cycle. Rift had a similar week in January where most of the blogosphere bitterly rounded on it.

    Probably something psychological, or else people have been eating too many prunes.

    • Maybe. There’s adifference here, though. The Rift backlash happened pretty late in the beta cycle, and was a reaction to all of the blog activity praising Rift. It wasn’t a backlash against the game so much as people reacting to the reaction to the game. What we have with SW:ToR is as if a million gamers actually got to see what the game is like, and suddenly cried out “Meh.”

  4. If SWTOR turns out to be re-skinned vanilla wow with Mass Effect type story telling, making questing more meaningful … and polished mechanics then what’s not to like? If it turns out to be highly instanced, then all the better; MMOs that force one to group with “random jerks” (to use Arenanet’s way of putting it) to do anything meaningful in the game just haven’t worked out too well from a fun POV. It would be refreshing to see a game that starts being fun at level 1 and where the levels are not seen as a necessary (!?) grind to get to some raiding end game.

  5. If SOE hadn’t have butchered SWG and turned it into a (bad) WoW clone then I could actually see me never having left it. The community there was awesome and, as I’m a huge SW fan, the universe was something I was very happy to be “living” in. TOR represents for me a new hope to be able to experience Star Wars. Bioware have a history of quality and I’m not really bothered by the WoW clone thing, I mean, I enjoy Rift and that is apparently just a clone of WoW with some new bolt-ons. If I can have as much fun with TOR as I did in SWG or even Mass Effect and KOTOR then I’ll be a happy camper. I just hope their network code doesn’t come with the crippling lag we often get at launch.

  6. I was watching an NDA breaking feed of this game, someone questing as a Sith Warrior a few weeks ago. Now usually I find watching someone else quest pretty dull, but the voice acting hooked me in and I ended up watching for a few hours without noticing the time go by! Fortunately the person streaming didn’t chat over his play, and ruin the sound!

    The combat was lively, and looked as interesting as hot key combat gets, the Sith Warrior is very mobile, but it is hard to tell if you are not the person pushing the hot keys. There was not a lot of downtime, and the area the guy was playing was well populated with things to fight.

    I also noticed some small bugs/glitches, you can tell some of the animations are not working yet, and there was definitely ‘placeholder’ type items in there so you can see why it never shipped in Spring. However from what I have seen Bioware are on to a winner here, this game is going to be massive.

    I really liked their take on ‘kill 10 rats’, it looks like they are picked up on a kill and become a ‘bonus’ objective. I believe it is what Warhammer promised to deliver, but didn’t quite get right with their kill collectors, so the Mythic boys have definitely been under the bonnet with this game. I saw this on a few occasions.

    As I am a quester more than a dungeon runner, so this may not be the second coming, but I expect it to swallow up a lot of my time and probably cause me to drop some subscriptions with ‘other’ games!

  7. Dont forget that EA and Bioware have been hyping it quite a bit. I’m fairly certain there are press relewses and dev interviews that talk about how “revolutionary” the idea or story is. Its front and center on their website, after all. You can’t build that kind of hype snd then cry “foul!” when people play your game and walk away unimpressed, because it plays like every other MMO from the last 10 years – with “story” slapped on top of it like bad lipstick.

    I think the other consideration here is that the industry NEEDS a breakout success. We as gamers need a AAA title to do WELL, and not fall under hype like all those that have come after WOW (Rift, WAR, etc.) The last five years have been (IMHO) a string of dissapointments for gamers that want fun, inventive, creative, engaging gameplay that results in commercial success for the developer. What have we been given instead? Rehashed WOW clones and nitsche titles. SW:TOR doesn’t look to be any different – especially dissapointing, given it’s $100m pricetag.

    • Quick note – this is their main page meta description: “BioWare and LucasArts bring you the next evolution in MMO Gameplay”. Sounds a little “hype-y” to me 🙂

  8. One way or another it’s just a game. I’m not allowing myself to get too geeked up, bu by the same token I know a lot of people will be playing. It’s a perfect opportunity to restart the Casualties guild because of the broad appeal. Right now the guild is dabbling and this is a chance to reunite. That’s what has me excited.

  9. Kind of like Roq said above, I’m not sure what’s not to like. I was never expecting Bioware to revolutionize the industry. I was hoping that they would take all the working MMO blocks and tie them into a great game. I’m a fan of WoW even though I don’t play anymore. Put in Bioware story telling set in the Star Wars universe, add in housing (ships) and companions and I’m just as excited as I was before E3.

  10. Is it just me, or is it getting really old comparing every thing that comes out to WoW? I understand the reasoning, but the phrase “WoW clone” is just getting tired.

    It’s not unlike how EVERY cell phone review I read compares it’s pluses and minues to the Iphone.

    • What else is there to compare it to?

      WoW pretty much defined modern Hot Key style mmo gaming and it’s broken every single on of it’s competitors over the knee of solid game design to the point where everything else that isn’t markedly different is going to be more WoW because being slightly different isn’t generally enough.

  11. It seems everyone is looking for something new and innovative in a MMO, but what is this new and innovative they are looking for? If a game is developed that it’s UI, mechanics and progression are so far from the established norm…that it maybe unrecognizable to the point of being unplayable for many. This is why I suspect Bioware is taking a safe route by developing something already established and adding their own spin and improvements on it, as opposed to developing something entirely new that could end up driving many away.

      • Oh dear god, now you’ve mentioned it…there absolutely has to be better models than a) raiding. One of the big reasons why I am leaving WoW. 😦

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    • I reckon your blog is spot on. In addition, a mechanic I’d like to see in SWTOR is one of the ideas Arenanet are promoting for GW2, which is that the presence of other players in PvE can only be a benefit – so no kill steals, node competitions, loot ninjas etc. You should always be pleased (or at least neutral) to others appearing on the same quest.

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