Arctic Kitsune's blog

A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

Arctic Kitsune's blog - A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Greetings folks! Finally caved; trying the SWTOR trial that just happened to start roughly when I caved. My mind gave me this awkward dream which had a random nostalgic Star Wars Galaxy moment that made me go out of my way to try playing it, which in the end I did. I actually ended up enjoying it so much that I wanted to at least share either the screenshots and/or my opinions with you.

(Link – MySite) – Rekzeel – Sith Inquisitor.

(All images taken from Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO using Fraps. Opinion are from both trial and full game; Edited article with full-game information.)

Star Wars is a loveable universe with a rich history which still doesn’t bore me to this day. There is something about that universe that keeps pulling me back for more every few years without disappointing me, much. It isn’t perfect, but the universe itself is something keeps returning back to do to its depths and design.

As for SWTOR, it allows us to venture past the movies and into a time-frame unknown to all. The MMO itself takes place 200 years after KOTOR II and numerous years before the main trilogy.

I took my time hopping on SWTOR because of all the mindless hype and some fears of the MMO lacking. I was partly correct, but those are ignorable….for now at least. The community needs to mature in support and Bioware needs to get their act together, then the MMO will get near the desired level people are mindlessly requesting. Sadly, the community wants to stay both ignorant and arrogant while Bioware is tied down by their own decisions and business plans. That is me wording the situation neutrally.

(Link – MySite)

My main character is actually based on my Star Wars Galaxies character who was also of the same race and the same faction. He was a creature handler and an Ace Imperial pilot once JTL hit. As for in SWTOR, just a smart-ass witty “slave” trying to showing his worth in the game. Why mention SWG? I miss that MMO and the freedom and for comparion sakes.

SWTOR:
Rekzeel: Male – Zabrak – Imperial – Sith Inquisitor.

SWG:
Polovnik Modrav: Male – Zabrak – Imperial – Creature Handler/Imperial Pilot.

I’m actually the type to create many characters once I settle within a game.  Its only natural when you like a game to the point where you want to just roll more and more characters. Sadly, I played on a trial so I wasn’t given the time to settle as much as I would in Guild Wars. SWG was awesome and I only stuck with one with JTLS but turned shit with NGE and died. WoW (shit MMO), Atlantica Online, and etc didn’t really entertain me much as SWG and Guild Wars did.

Was tempted to make another character on trial because I actually did like what SWTOR did. Held back because it was a weekend trial, damn.

(Link – MySite) – Mocking Harkun is fuuuuun!

Character Designs:

The character designs and quality is actually quite nice, or at least tolerable. The quality and uniqueness of each is notable with little to no rehashes. If there were then I didn’t get around to seeing them. Ok, maybe for the NPCs you fight for quests but that is ignorable because you slay them and move on.

I was bothered by the quality of some main NPC characters. Some characters (Lord Zash when speaking to Harkun) has a similar appearance to the Sims II game characters, with hair glued on (given wigs), and placed into the game as is. Depending on the point-of-view within the cinematics you may or may not notice this. I chose to ignore this seeing how this is an MMO and that anything of higher quality may or may not make SWTOR an insanely resource intensive MMO. Need to keep it stable so players can play it.

Character customization is a bit on the weak side – slightly worse than Skyrim – but still unique enough to give people a unique enough character. When compared with SWG it falls behind as well with the Zabrak tattoo coloring and such. Disappointed I couldn’t paint the facial tattoo red or blue…..At least the horn designs were copied over from SWG. You can still get away with making a unique-enough character without coming across a twin or a clone depending on the server population.

(Link – MySite)

Side Quests:

Have to note that the side quests are just as interesting as the main ones. Every quest is voiced with half-or-most allowing your to “intervene” in the conversation. You don’t have to do them, though it is recommended that you do so for the full experience. They are the lesser-forms of the story mode, yet still as enjoyable to do. Not much else to say right now…..

Also heard that there are daily quests that are frowned upon by the community due to it being the same same mission constantly. Sadly, I can’t comment much about those. Instead, I’ll take the time to recommend that Bioware would take the time to add randomly generated quests that SWG had. Sure, it may be the same types but would add to the variety and/or re-playability by a point. Even add instanced bonus areas or borrow from Hellgate: London with randomly generated “portals” to other portions of the planet area. Experiment!

(Link – MySite)

Story:

The various stories for each character class is the strong and selling point of this game. Quite nicely done too and very enjoyable. I had fun with the little I played, wanting to find out more each time. More more more! Having played KOTOR up to Tattoine – computer problems prevented me from getting further with missing save-file – I was mostly up to speed with what SWTOR had to offer. The choices you make, the things you said, and the class you chose decide what kind of (hidden) outcome would occur. Most are amusing while others simply fell short (i.e Rekzeel’s Sarlaac pit comment to Darth Skotia).

I believe that some dialogue could of been more mature, though, because kids play this game everybody ends up suffering due to some slight censorship or re-wording. Damn kids! This is why we can’t have great things……Ah well, still enjoyable regardless…until you get to the end game I heard.

Will have to note that the story-mode is solo-able and could be considered an over-glorified MMO at launch to three months past. The only portion that would make the story-mode multiplayer is if you want to simply hang around with your friend or help each other out with “hard” objects (i.e me assisting my friend with his Imperial Agent quest on Hutta). The game’s story mode mixed with MMO has a way to go yet from the looks and sound of things.

The choices you make as a Republic or Imperial player can decide if you’re an evil Republic or a good Imperial or vice versa. The choice is yours.

Regardless, I’ve been left laughing like a madman whenever something goes right and when my character gets his way.

(Link – MySite) – Feast on an egoistic bastard – Harkun and his pet Ffon!

(Link – MySite) – BAH! So close!

(Link – MySite) – Siths & Imperials don’t mess around……

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

Companions:

Companions are an important part of any game, especially in the “Old Republic” universe.  They are treated in a similar fashion as those within the first and second game – You encounter them, assist them, befriend them, turn them to the dark or light, and treat them as your irreplaceable friends. You’ll treat them as you would yourself – with respect. Within SWTOR you will encounter them in a similar fashion by interacting with them in similar ways.

You will be notified that your companion wants to interact with you, thus you interact with them accordingly. If you want them to stay loyal you’ll treat them with respect, but if you want to be an ass then you may do so…at the possible cost of them leaving.

My main irritation with the companions, for being an MMO and all, is that you are given per-selected companions without a say. You’ll unlock them accordingly through your main story-mode instead of meeting them randomly through side-quests. This greatly pissed me off when I did my “research” on the wiki seeing the NPC’s you can encounter are simply those handed to you by Bioware themselves. Before SWTOR released I read that you could encounter companions “randomly” and through side-quests by winning them over. From what I witnessed and read that appears to be a bunch of bull.

The great thing about companions within SWTOR is the ability for assistance when your friends ditched you in a lemming fashion (none did for me). They’re of great assistance and can be customized in quite a few ways. You can change their appearance, their equipment, and even the weapons they wield. There is also the ability to “gift” them various items to boost their loyalty to you, and how much they would assist you in return. Doubt they would leave you even when you go against their wishes….or that is the conclusion I’ve come to from not hearing about “X companion left me, how do I get them back!” That needs to be implemented.

Just so we’re on the same page here – I played Guild Wars, Wonderland Online, Atlantica Online, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable that allowed you to recruit, hire, and train whatever companion you wanted when you wanted. Sure, it might be tough for Bioware to voice over and write stories for more, I’d recommend it if they would regardless. Allow for more randomized, timed, or festive events to unlock specific companions to mess around with. I’ve been spoiled by the games I mentioned allowing you to encounter companions at random to assist you whenever they could. Needs to be done for this kind of game. If anything, that guard at the Sith tomb waiting outside the tomb would of made for a nice companion.

Make it so Bioware! More variety and actual random encountered companions! Chop chop! This is an MMO!

I had only a few brief chances to talk to Kehm on my side. We don’t get a long too well, but that is to be expected for an entity that slept for a long time. His dialogue is well written, nicely voiced, and something you may end up being surprised with. Quite pleased.

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

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(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

- General Freedom & Maps:

The world is actually quite free, however, in a linear way. You can go where-ever you desire, just as long as you level up and obey the Galactic ranking rules accordingly. For an MMO this is quite limiting and possibly restricting player choices. Will briefly remind you that you can be a good Sith or a bad Republic player, the choice is yours.

To clarify – each planet is open-world, yet level restricted for level-appropriate players. If you’re level 1-10 you’re stuck on your start planet, but if you’re 10-15 then you have the game’s permission to venture forth to another level restricted planet. You can travel anywhere, just as long as you’re “worthy”.

What bothers me is the size and how linear each map feels. I’ve been to three planets – Korriban, Dromund Kaas, and Hutta- with each feeling oddly linear. Korriban and Kaas are the two most linear ones, Hutta felt open when I assisted my friend. Probably me being bias due to being tied down by a mission but that is how I feel right now and felt when running around.

*Insert rambling about SWG being many times bigger, more open, and how you could camp out during the night while having day/night cycles and possible weather.*

Shall swiftly note the lack of freedom with the space combat and the ability to manually aim the ship towards another planet.  Shall note that next after these sets of images.

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite) – The freedom to travel.

(Link – MySite)

Space-station & Space:

I find it a nice touch from a role-playing point of view. Actually…I lied….screw that, I’ll be honest and not falsify my thoughts for the lemmings. I like the way travel is set up with how you have to travel form the planet’s space station to the main space station located at the planet’s orbit. If the set up is what I think it is it should be similar to how SWG had it set up with docking your ship at the space station then shuttling down or shuttling up and into your vessel.  Nothing to complain about because you get to see the scale of ships that are set up as decoration.

I do however dislike how you have to pay the fuel fee. It feels like an over-glorified personal shuttle. You’re paying someone else to fly your own ship.

As for the space combat – I find that insanely disappointing. An open-ended boxy space is more my thing with free roaming similar to Jump to Lightspeed. Rail-combat is fun to a point, just not as fun as Bioware thought. Not something you should see in an MMO when compared to SWG. I find that this insults both Bioware, Star Wars, and the MMO all at the same time. If anything, the space-rail should be considered only a place-holder then switched into an in-ship hologram simulation while free-roaming could be inserted accordingly with trigger-able story-modes. It is a necessity, not a suggestion.

If there are concerns to people being in space more than land then I recommend full ship repairs that takes time to repair on land. Enough said. That is a necessity, get it done Bioware!

However, being able to travel from planet to planet stays true to the Star Wars vibe so I can’t complain there.

(Link – MySite)

Mail:

To get mail you have to go to a mail machine to read, send, and receive mail, items, and credits. Nicely done with this. I like it how you can obtain mail from NPCs which can give you credits and/or items on various occasions. I’ve obtained two during my play-time (2 days) that gave me a few credits and some item. Small, but nice touch. Was told that it happens more often by a someone who plays SWTOR more than me and was pleased to hear that. Sure, it might get boring or taken for granted later on but it is a nice immersive feature.

It is a necessary feature that is either built into your character or placed separately. It makes more sense if it was placed separately like this, thus making it more mail-like.

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite) – Such a beautiful sight!

(Link – MySite) – The occasional and necessary “mini-bosses”

(Link – MySite) – Nice and ominous.

Would be nice if Bioware would try and add a more “formal” Imperial Cantina-like structure somewhere for a more “professional” side of entertainment. Maybe play the Imperial March (one we know and one from this game) and probably unlock more dancing animations at every Cantinas. Something for Bioware to consider.

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite) - Sly! I smell a sly fox showing signs of love.

(Link – MySite)

(Link – MySite)

—–

Full-Game Images:

I did enjoy SWTOR, just not as much as I had hoped. I didn’t feel the $90 experience I put into it. Maybe a $30, if anything. My computer crapped out so I couldn’t cover the other quarter of the experience. As much as I may shit on it or praise it, it always goes the other way. I will always idolize Star Wars Galaxies – Jump to Light Speed because it knew what it was doing. Bioware seems dense to me.

– Holocrons – Buffs you in stats and are hidden (not at random).

– Secondary character.

 

– I actually did like this ship.

– Do like the ship, just dislike the way space was implemented.

– Nice at first; Boring as it went on.

– Dewbacks! How I miss you from SWG!

– Did enjoy the level detailing on the maps, even this roadway.

– Gorgeous scenery.

– Me and a close figure.fm’er playing a special mission. Loved it.

 

– Me and Naito proudly doing our Star Wars-tasked job.

 

 

(Would have more images but computer won’t let me play more. Also am aware of it going free.)

—–

In-Short:

This MMO shows great potential and is actually quite fun to play. You can tell great care has been placed into making this MMO with all the scenery, content, story-lines, side-missions, companions, and everything else – Minus the space combat. Everything but the space combat was nicely crafted into a nice single-player MMO experience. I was left laughing like a mad-man when my Sith Inquisitor ended up returning the rude favors back at the egoistic asses. Even long after I exited the client. A great experience to be had with the ability to co-op with fellow friends, guild-mates, or solo with your companions.

The game falls short in the “massive” & “multiplayer” portion. Mostly on the massive bit. How? Well, the worlds are split off in a similar fashion to Guild War city hubs with limited amount of players per area. There could be 1 million people on one server yet you’d only see a small fraction of them at any given time. Also, other players can’t really influence the story-mode unless that option is actually there. SWTOR is now at the phase where it MUST (at all costs – including Bioware’s death) must insert free-roam cinematic space experience. No excuses or corruption within the studio! If not then SWTOR must be unplugged and convert itself into a singleplayer experience. Space it apart of Star Wars and shouldn’t be abused in any way, shape, or form.

SWTOR is now at the stage where it needs to constantly insert content at every stage or die early as an MMO.

Recommended purchase? Sure. Play it for a month or so and then let it hang while you wait for the updates. Play some more and let it hang again…Or just continue playing it while properly informing Bioware of the additions.

——-

Pros:

– Nice looking worlds, dungeons, and scenery. Nothing to complain about visually.
– Great story classes to keep you entertained and hooked in an awesome Star Wars experience. I was left laughing and highly amused by the Sith Inquisitor’s storyline and the moments of returning the favor to others verbally. Being a smart-ass and witty never felt so rewarding before.
– Worlds are nicely detailed, almost cinematic from a certain perspective.
– Combat is fun. Attacking things actually feels fun and rewarding.
– Everything is pretty much straight-forward and user-friendly.
– SWTOR has both land and space elements. Land combat is quite fun the ability to fly from one planet to another on your ship is rewarding, yet costs fuel/credits.
– Obtaining mail from NPCs. You will occasionally receive mail from NPCs.
– Amusing conversations with the NPCs, mostly with your companions.
– Sending your companions on errand-runs.
– The awesome detailing in your ship.

Cons:

– Images aren’t guaranteed to be saved when you press “printscreen” on your keyboard. Use Fraps or another image-capture device that you trust to capture those necessary shots you so desire.
– Client needs to be forced-closed using task-manager or left hanging after every game session. Probably my computer, but it takes ages to exit yet runs fine in-game.
– Space combat is on rails and needs a necessary upgrade to a 3D free-roaming environment. This isn’t a suggestion, nor a want but a need. A necessity. If ignored Bioware should either pull SWTOR’s plug or turn it all into a single-player game if not serious.
– Planet maps appear to be a bit cramped and linear. They need to be expanded in some way, shape, or form.
– Little to no co-op dialogue that “both” players can influence as a group. Sure, maybe you can vote but nothing you can both say that’ll influence it as a whole.
– Highly limiting. You’re forced to play through different storylines with no real replayability.
– Feels like areas are simply copied and pasted. Rushed to fit the hype, even window-dressed to a degree because of said hype.
– No real freedom to choose your own companions. Everything is already set in stone with you given false freedom of choices.
– Obtaining a travel-fee with your own ship. Should be free, like in SWG.

——

Suggestions/Recommendations/Necessary Features:
(Recommending what I feel needs to be added during my playthrough; Wasn’t at end-game so your job to harass Bioware maturely for such.)

3D Free-roaming Space – I’ll repeat this as many time as I need to. Bioware needs to add 3D roaming space even if it gets their studio closed – Do or die! It is a necessity and without it the game wouldn’t be Star Wars. When you play Star Wars you ALWAYS play in space, and is one of those that made SWG fun via Jump to Lightspeed Ex-pack. Sure, that ex-pack wasn’t the best but people did enjoy it regardless, even if they claim they didn’t have fun. The Space-rails is both an insult to Bioware and SWTOR, and thus, should make room for 3D roaming space.

Random encounter Companions: This one is a simple suggestion working off of pre-launch information about players could obtain companions and how it was misread, or players were deceived. They need to be encountered at random and could be treated as randomly timed side-quests to add alongside those that we already obtained.

Player Housing: Just some fluff for the more urban landscapes on Urban planets, or towns. Portal to a randomly generated lot and home could be possible via real-cash purchase.

Gambling: I haven’t heard nor seen anything close to gambling in a Cantina or on forums. Need Pazaak to return for that extra bonus fun. If out-lawed then task smugglers to keep the stocks fresh by keeping the Cantina master’s stock fed and/or sell it in the global market. Do whatever, just as long as I can play that in SWTOR!

Random Mission Generator: Not the same daily mission happening all the time but more of a randomized side-quests to accomplish on a planet or across the universe. Doesn’t have to be voiced….A simple distraction based on SWG’s mission generators.

Randomly generated terrain (Past current map limits): The maps feel a tad bit too small and need to be enlarged through instanced randomly generated terrain with random mobs. Just something to encourage exploring and re-playability in some shape or form. Planets feel a bit cramped and linear at times. Gimmick it if necessary by making it the same size as the main map if necessary.

Changing Weather: Weather needs to change every now and again or else the environment may get stale a tad. For Tattooine could alter between clear, Dust Storm, and possible dry thunder. Dantooine? Earthlike weather. Hoth? Unsure what it is on now but needs snowstorms and the like to freeze the character. You get the idea.

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If you see anything wrong with my article or any mistakes feel free to let me know and I’ll edit them accordingly! May need to update the article depending on what may or may not be added.

May the Force be with you!

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