I’ve been racking my brains on what to say about SWTOR as the fansite NDA went down last week and my RSS feed filled up with previews and opinions from people who have already experienced the beta.
I’ll link to a few here, it’s just a subset of the many good posts out there since most of them reiterate similar points.
Randomessa’s reflections (she discusses why she won’t be playing the game when it goes live.)
It turns out that I simply do not have the patience for staying in one environment that Bioware demands of me. […] I love me some well-crafted and portrayed lore and cutscenes, but at least in most MMOs I’ve played I have a variety of locales I can move through in a relatively brisk manner, or, barring that, a variety of activities I can undertake to advance, even within the same environment.
Keen and Graev on their plans for playing SWTOR but skipping the endgame. (To be fair, I don’t think the endgame was available in the beta so this is based on conjecture.)
SWTOR is worth buying because it has the qualities of every other Bioware RPG. If you bought Dragon Age Origins or Mass Effect and had fun, and you like or tolerate themepark MMOs, then SWTOR is no different. From what I have seen, I fear the end-game will be just like WoW. I’m not a fan of raiding for gear and I don’t like repeating the same raid over and over. That truly is the end-game for me now — that’s where I’ll end playing the game.
MMO Gamer Chick writes a very thorough preview and explains why she loved it, but also notes that it isn’t a revolutionary game.
I’m a gamer of fairly flexible tastes, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I had with this game. Despite some nitpicky issues I had, in general my overall view of SWTOR is extremely positive.
[…] as you level up, the combat gets a lot more interesting. By the mid 20s, I was really getting into it. And by 50, I was having a ton of fun.
[Planets] are HUGE. So huge, you will be crying tears of joy by the time you get to buy your first speeder. Quest indicators on the map are almost a necessity; otherwise, the game is so big you’d never be able to figure out where to go.
Kalliope focusses on the tradeskills:
My overall impression of professions in SWTOR is that they closely model WoW crafting. There are a few improvements such as the reverse engineering ability, the enhancement option and crew missions, but the skill levelling and procurement processes are quite similar. They also seem to have the same gated structure to the levelling process that makes crafting prohibitive to non-adventurers in most games.
Rohan @ Blessing of Kings enjoyed the game a lot but has issues with some of the mechanics. (I think this is pretty much a given for a Bioware RPG.)
The quests and storyline, and general solo play is amazing. I really enjoyed that and I look forward to fully exploring the game when it releases. Also, I’d like to reiterate that I loved Light-Side Sith.
But mechanically, it feels like there are a lot of design issues. These don’t really matter for solo play, but I think the crucible of group and endgame play will expose a lot of flaws.
Mostly I am finding that my previous expectations of the game are borne out by players. So top marks to Bioware for sending out the right messages with their hype. All I ask of hype is that it be entertaining and not give misleading impressions.
One note that Randomessa highlights in her post is that the different class storylines play very differently. She was conflicted in that the class whose story she preferred wasn’t the one whose combat gameplay she liked best.
I strongly suggest to prospective players that you pick your class based on the storyline. That’s going to be the strength of this game. Don’t end up saying ‘I played an X even though I liked the story that goes with Y better.’
I know my goal during open beta weekend, if I have time, is to play enough of the classes to get a feel for which story I am going to find most compelling.
Delays in the pipeline
In other news, Guild Wars 2 sounds as though it’s likely to be at least a year out from going live based on comments made during NCSoft’s latest earning call. Although if their beta is still due to start this year, that would leave them with an unusually long beta ….
Torchlight 2 is officially delayed now as well, I wish Runic all the best with the game and look forwards to play it when it does come out. But it’s bad news for them if they can’t get T2 out before Diablo 3.