Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMO discussion

Discussion in 'Other Media (TV/Film, Comics & Games)' started by Jon Sprunk, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

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    Well, I've finally been invited into the beta of the new Star Wars MMO this weekend. Against my better judgement, I'm going to give it a try (and hopefully get my wife hooked too). It's either this, or go back to WoW (for the 4th time), and I just can't take that again.
     
  2. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    There is another alternative. You don't have to go back to WoW or anything else. Quit MMOs altogether. I did it two years ago and it's been great. The time it freed up has been wonderful. They're all just treadmills anyway. If they still had old-style open-world RPGs that didn't spoon-feed everyone the same quests and storyline, I'd be for them. But the new model is sorely disappointing to me. They feel more like amusement parks than immersive worlds...and I never go to amusement parks.
     
  3. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

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    Actually, I miss the mmo experience. My wife and I have met some great people online over the last 6-7 years and we want to play something new with them. My angst is more about games not meeting our expectations. SWTOR looks like it will be awesome, but I've been fooled before. *shakes fist at D&D Online, LOTRO, Aion, and Warhammer Online*
     
  4. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Not to take away from your enjoyment, Jon, but it seems like everyone and their dog got in. I did, for example, but I've changed my mind.

    See... I kind of want to play TOR, but also not. Erfy is right about how much time quitting freed up for me, but it's also a case of with MMOs I tend to wake up, log on, log off at night, sleep and repeat. I can't - and won't - let myself get back into that cycle again, plus I tend to find most MMOs boring very quickly. There's also the fact that they cut same-sex romance arcs as a launch feature, instead moving them to post-release (but not opposite-sex ones), and I'll be waiting until they're in before I consider buying it.

    I'm, personally, waiting for The Secret World. :D
     
  5. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

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    I hope they include same-sex romances. I mean, it's 2011.
     
  6. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    It'll be 2012 at least by the time they're implemented.

    It'd be great to have, but in a way I'm not actually sure I'm going to bother. It might be a case of too-little-too-late, but I'm not sure I particularly want to support it. LucasArts (and the Lucas estate in general) have been very obtuse when it comes to same-sex relationships in the Star Wars universe (I believe you can count the canonically gay characters from any medium on one hand), and the fact it's been "cut for post-release" in order to improve the release features is annoying - why couldn't they cut opposite-sex too? I'm not suggesting it's done to slight people, but there's many, many, many instances of content being cut, the publisher/developer announcing it'll appear and then it doesn't.

    I'm not going to be holding my breath, and after I saw this from one of the writers of The Secret World (he also wrote The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, two of my favourite games), I think I'll go with the game that is more open from the start.

    Plus it's Lovecraft-inspired and part of it takes place in New England.
     
  7. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    One of my friends is all obsessed with it already, he's been in the beta testing twice and he says it's all things wonderful, it doesn't look that appealing to me though. The best thing I ever did was quit playing Final Fantasy 11 (thank you MGS port for Gamecube!) I watched a preview vid focused on combat, it was from some big raid where they were fighting a giant mech thingy and it looked boring. It looked -DAMN- boring. "Oh hey I'm support check out all my support casting even though this is supposed to be Star Wars centric and casters should be about 1 in ten billion.." Pfffffff. I don't think I'll be playing. It looks better than the average MMO but I have a strong suspicion it'll be more of the same. I know the game has to be compelling and all but to me that would mean that when a half dozen Sith attack any giant robot or really anything at all for that matter it's dead pretty fast. Whatever, I won't be playing it, I don't have the time and I"m not paying a monthly fee for any goddamn thing this is 2011 for god's sake find a better business model. I'm out!

    Edit: PS I totally support Loerwyn's assertions that there should be gay content for sci-fi fans not just of Star Wars, but for all sci-fi. Are we really going to worry if religious kooks and social conservatives are bothered by what goes on in Star Wars now? I thought that's who the Emperor was supposed to represent (or one facet of him anyways).
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  8. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Also happens to represent me a bit. Thanks for that one, saintjon.
     
  9. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    I have been off MMO's for a few years now. Nothing ever compared to Everquest.

    SWTOR might pull me back in.
     
  10. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    It's not that, it never has been, it's George Lucas. He's got a massive hand in the universe, as do the "holding" company (LucasArts, at least when it comes to games), and there's pretty tight restrictions on what you can or can't do.

    I don't think there's really any major, openly gay canonical characters in Star Wars now that I think about it.
     
  11. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    I can't think of any. I'm having trouble thinking of any from lots of other sci-fi shows and movies too. Well either way I'm with you that it kind of stinks.
     
  12. NickeeCoco

    NickeeCoco Reader Staff Member

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    Well, I've played this game for two betas now, and I really enjoyed it. I'll be playing it come launch. I have the Collector's Edition pre-ordered and I'm already in a guild, have been since May. Heh.

    Thing is, when it comes to MMOs, I'm a casual player (4-8 hours a week, tops), and I have zero interest in end game content. I'm playing it for the story, and the story lines are pretty fun. I've only played three classes in the game, but I enjoyed them all. Jedi Consular, Sith Sorceror and a Smuggler. The Smuggler was the most fun, and I'll be rolling one come launch.

    I've found that the cut scenes, and the voice acting really elevated the game, in my opinion. I never liked WoW. I, personally, found it boring. It consisted of just running over to someone, reading a quest and then going off to kill ten something or others and go back. TOR is doing it a little differently. You have a main quest that leads you into an area, and in the area, you get side quests. You activate the quest giver and a cut scene starts. You have some dialogue which could end with you getting light or dark side points, or relationship points with your companion. They need something done, like retrieve some stolen parts. Well, it's on the way of the main quest, so why not? Then, if you want a bonus quest, you can kill 25 berserk troopers, and really, you have to kill that many as you run around anyway, so it's not a grind.

    At any rate, I find the game to have more of a solo RPG feel to it, which is why I probably like it in the first place. That, and I'm a Bioware fangirl.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  13. Ocajnik

    Ocajnik Registered User

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    The game definitely has more of a RPG feel to it. I will also be playing a Smuggler at release. Was going to play a BH whose storyline is also very fun but my friends wanted to go Republic so I tried a Smuggler and really enjoyed the story and gameplay as much as I did the BH.
     
  14. NickeeCoco

    NickeeCoco Reader Staff Member

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    I didn't try the BH, but it looks like you get to be just as jerky/smart assed as you do with the Smuggler. The Smuggler dialogue makes me laugh, and, surprisingly, they do a fair amount of damage with only one blaster.

    Jon Sprunk: What are your thoughts of the beta, now that it's done?
     
  15. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

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    I loved it. I've been a SW fan since '77, so being able to play in that universe is like catnip. The game plays a lot like WoW, in the good ways, but has a feeling of more depth and personality.

    My biggest problem is deciding which class to play first. I like them all.
     
  16. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    I've been in beta for several months now. I hope you enjoyed yourself.

    What class did you play? How did you like the storyline? Was there anything you found frustrating, or didn't understand?

    1. Will you please stop saying they 'cut' same sex romances? You can't cut something that's not there.

    2. BioWare created Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and Knights of the Old Republic, all of which had same-sex romances for the player character.

    3. There have been no romances at all announced for the Secret World. You seem to be suggesting that because BioWare is open about its plans for same-sex romance and Tornquist says nothing about it, the Secret World is going to have them on launch. This despite the fact that Tornquist has never worked on a game where the PC could actually have a same-sex romance.

    TOR is nothing like Everquest. It's very much a linear theme-park game with a nice story, but IIRC Everquest was far more open world.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  17. fluffy bunny

    fluffy bunny Tasty or your money back! Staff Member

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    A friend who's part of the beta did comment:

    Played DCUO, seems the lag problem is fixed. I'm not so bothered for DCUO, but I was quite worried about Guild Wars 2, as it will follow a similar reaction based system. Lag simply kills those systems, so hopefully GW2 will be able to react to problems as the developers have done in this case. While playing my quick blast, I was reminded why I like SWTOR so much, and since the non-disclosure agreement has been lifted, and you seemed interested in the game, I can give you a lowdown.

    In DCUO, and indeed many MMOs, the 'quests' that you are given are in text format with some lame arse reason why you need to go and kill 10 rats. Levelling in those games is a chore that you have to go through to practice using your character so that you can either play endgame PvP or trawl through endgame dungeons for ever more powerful loot. Not so in SWTOR. Each class, of which there are 8 in total, 4 Republic, 4 Sith, has it's own voice acted, cutscene driven story similar to what you would expect in a Bioware single player game. Now, I'm not saying the stories are 'Babylon 5 seasons 1-3' good, but neither are they 'Star Wars prequels' bad. I haven't played any past level 18, but they're certainly decent for a video game, they feel Star Wars, and are of a similar standard to the story from KOTOR, though none have yet had the amazing twist that story had. They're perhaps more personal than many single player game stories (after all you're one among many, rather than being a galaxy saving hero) but still many times better than the stories in other MMOs, even Guild Wars which I thought was a good effort.

    So, you get cutscenes, and a decent story to drive you forward. Side quests too are voice acted and avoid, for the most part, the annoying 'kill 30 gorillas' grind quests common in other games. (One reason I only played DCUO for a few minutes tonight was when I got my quest and saw I had to kill 30 gorillas, 10 gorilla lieutenants and destory 10 gorilla generators). There are a certain amount of fetch quests, or destroy item quests, but because the quest is given in a cutscene you feel you're doing so for a reason (looking for someone's kid brother, stealing holorecordings for Imperial Intelligence etc.). It's very, very easy to immerse yourself in the roleplaying aspect of this game. Another good aspect is that certain quest areas are instanced for your party only, avoiding the problems that can be caused if lots of players are doing the same quest and need the same mobs or items.

    There are also harder quests for skilled single players or groups called Heroics (2+ and 4 indicating number of players required). These Heroic quests are usually quite quick to complete, 10-15mins or so. The SWTOR equivalent of 'dungeons' are called Flashpoints. These are meant for parties of 4 people, have their own self-contained story, and are usually completeable in 60-90 mins. They're also a blast.

    SWTOR has 4 basic classes for each faction, and each basic class has 2 advanced classes. The factions are balanced since there are direct equivalents on each side, that is to say mechanically, their abilities are identical, but stylistically they're very different, and have different story arcs. e.g. the Republic Commando has a Mortar attack with it's huge assault cannon, and the Bounty Hunter has the attack 'Death from Above' where it flies into the air then shoots wrist rockets. Both do the same AoE damage but look massively different. One nice thing is that nearly all the classes are 'dual-role' and can spec into two of either damage, healer or tank, meaning you can switch due to what your party needs, or indeed just what you feel like playing.

    You pick your basic class at the start, and then your advanced class at level 10. You cannot change your advanced class once you've picked.

    Classes
    Basic - Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior - melee focused force user. Uses the force mainly for melee attacks or defence.
    Leads to Advanced Classes -
    Jedi Guardian/Sith Juggernaut which is a single saber heavy armour tank/melee damage class or
    Jedi Sentinel/Sith Avenger(?) which is a dual saber wielding DPS class

    My highest character is a Jedi Guardian. Good fun.

    Basic - Jedi Consular/Sith Inquisitor - focused on using the force mainly from range.
    Leads to advanced classes -
    Jedi Sage/Sith Sorceror which is the 'caster' class ranged force damage/healing class. Sorceror is the one if you want to toss lightning around like the Emperor. Sage is not quite so appealing to me since the light side equivalent of force lightning is a load of pebbles.
    Jedi Shadow/Sith Assassin which is a double bladed lightsaber user (a la Darth Maul) that can use stealth and is a tank/melee damage character.

    Basic - Trooper/Bounty Hunter - heavily armoured ranged blaster damage dealer.
    Leads to advanced classes
    Commando/Mercenary which is a heavily armoured healer or ranged damage dealer. They do an awesome amount of AoE damage.
    Vanguard/Powertech which is a tank/damage character.

    Basic - Smuggler/Imperial Agent - only class I haven't played. Medium armour, only class that can take cover behind objects (like Gears of War)
    Advanced Classes
    Sniper/Gunslinger which is 100% ranged DPS or
    Scoundrel/Operative which is a melee DPS/healing character


    You also get to collect companions, similar to KOTOR, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate etc, but you can only ever be accompanied in combat by one of them. I think this works out nicely, as it felt in Guild Wars as if the game was playing itself sometimes when you had 7 heroes and henchmen with you, but at least you can have a pet to tank, heal or DPS as you see fit. The other companions don't just sit around though, they can be sent to gather materials, or craft new items while you're off questing, taking some of the tedium away from that aspect of the game.

    There's also a ton more stuff that I won't mention now since it would spoil that particular experience in the game - I've tried to keep it as generic as possible .
     
  18. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    No, I won't, because it was a cut. They cut that content in order to meet release. Why just same-sex? Why not opposite-sex, or the romance structure as a whole? Why that one kind? I'm not - and will never - imply they're doing it to slight the LGBT population, nor those interested in same-sex relationships in games, but it is a worrying prospect. Many times has content been cut, or in order to please yourself, been creatively delayed before release but has never seen the light of day. That is what I fear will happen with TOR.

    Your point? They're different games, the last of which was part of an established franchise that BioWare had little to no control over. Juhani is a lesbian, and she is one of the few openly gay characters in Star Wars. With the other three games, so what? They're BioWare's own games, and actually same-sex has only been possible for the female Shepard in ME2 with Kelly (it's really confusing as to whether being with an Asari would count as same-sex or not due to conflicting information in-game), whereas a male Shepard has gone without and will continue to do so until Mass Effect 3 next year.

    Ragnar has been open to different sexualities in games for years. The Longest Journey has two openly-lesbian characters in it, and that fact was never glossed over. That attitude, to me, is one I am much more willing to support, plus I think Ragnar is a better writer than many in the industry. I don't need playable romances to enjoy a game, but if they're being added then I expect - especially from a company like BioWare - for them to cater for those of us who happen to enjoy those of the same gender as us. If a writer says there will be gay characters in a game or that sexuality may come into it somehow, then I'm all for it. To me, that is better than just "tacking" same-sex content on post-release.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  19. NickeeCoco

    NickeeCoco Reader Staff Member

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    How about we discuss the game and not about whether or not you want to see same sex partnerships in a game? We're here to discuss an MMO, not gender politics.



    This. There are also areas which are for you only. They pertain only to the character you are playing. So, even if you're grouped up with another Smuggler, let's say, only you can go in there. If the other person is a Smuggler and they have that quest too, they can go in, but you're in separate instances, doing your own thing. These are usually only 5-10 mins areas. It is nice, because then you're not waiting for things to respawn.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  20. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

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    I just got an email today saying that the early access period will be 7 days instead of 5. There is no sane reason I should be as eager as I am.