Star Wars: The Old Republic

Normally I’m posting about literature in some form, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a beta weekend of Star Wars: The Old Republic and I really wanted to talk about my experience. I’m also curious about the opinions of others who’ve participated in any of the beta weekends, the whole beta, or who haven’t participated but are interested in the game.

First let me start by saying I’ve played several different MMO’s in the last five or so years (including City of Heroes/Villains and World Of Warcraft). I’ve played enough to know what I like and what I don’t like. This was my first opportunity to play in a beta. My testing in SWTOR was limited to a few hours a day and I limited myself to one character–a Smuggler (Human female) whom I took the Gunslinger route once I leveled enough to open that up. I had planned to play Smuggler from the first time I read the character descriptions, but it was this trailer http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/return that made me want to run as a Gunslinger. Based on the number of Gunslingers I saw listed as online whenever I played, I’m not the only one influenced by the trailer. I managed to level her up to 15 and completed a part of the Smuggler storyline that got me a ship. It figures, I get the really cool toy and beta weekend is over!

My overall impressions of the game from this limited experience are that it’s a creative, exciting and engaging game. I loved it and I can’t wait for the game to be released. I was impressed with the story line they are creating for the Smuggler class and I loved having a choice on how I wanted to reply to the people. Not all responses gain you light side or dark side points, but they can help convey how you want your character to be seen by other players and NPC’s. And apparently I’m fixated on having my character come off as a (keeping this kid friendly) witch. The scenery is impression—I got dizzy the first time I looked over the side of a tower on Coruscant! I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring outside of areas related to my quests because of the limited time, but I’m looking forward to doing that once the game launches. I felt less forced to take every quest that came up as available with this game and, at least in my experience, the familiar “kill 10 of x” quests/missions didn’t seem as numerous as they do in other games. A majority of the missions like that I encountered came up as bonus missions while I was in an area, so I could choose to do them since I was in the area anyway, or I could ignore them without preventing my character from advancing the quest line with that quest giver.

On the whole I had a lot of fun and minimal issues. I had maybe one or two disconnections and the only time I experienced noticeable lag was while on a team and in combat. But then this was a “stress test” and they’d allowed a lot of people in and if I understand things correctly they gimped their servers a bit to inflate the demand on their system. There were some minor graphics things—like having an odd piece of floating metal follow my character around for a few hours. And my companion (basically a sidekick) also had his weapon missing a few times, so he sometimes appeared to be firing an invisible blaster. There was nothing that hindered game play though.

I’ve seen people complain about how buggy the game was and that has me puzzled. As I said, I’ve never participated in a beta before, but I knew going in that this wasn’t a finished product and the idea for giving people access was to test what was done and see where things needed to be fixed. I expected graphics glitches, lag, crashes, characters getting stuck in places they shouldn’t and other problems. To me there didn’t seem to be a lot of these.  I’m just wondering if people had unrealistic expectations of what they would encounter in an unfinished product. I’ve also seen people complaining that they had to grind at higher levels. Granted I didn’t get higher than level 15, but I never felt like I had to slog through missions to gain experience. The complaints seem to come from people who on one weekend ended up with characters over level 40. I’m wondering if it was really grinding they experienced or burn out from spending so much time pushing one character up the ranks. I can’t imagine getting a player up that high in a weekend in any game. Then again, I have other things and non-pixilated people I need to devote time to on the weekends, so I don’t have as much time to game as I did back when my husband and I were first starting to game.

Has anyone else had a chance to beta test the game? Complaints? Concerns? Are you looking forward to it or have you been turned off by the experience? I had to go back and edit this as I was ready to submit it since I’ve had an email today telling me there is another beta test this weekend and I have an invitation to that. I’m up for suggestions on whether I should keep trying to level my Smuggler or give something else a try.

[tags]star wars,swtor,video games,pc games,[/tags]

One thought on “Star Wars: The Old Republic

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  1. I’ve played for a couple of weekends, getting a Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer) to level 20, a Trooper to level 15, and a couple of other classes to around 3. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The Trooper was my favorite of the two I played extensively because the story and gameplay were more interesting right away. The Inquisitor eventually grew on me despite being rather dull and uninspired for quite a few levels (it only started getting really interesting as a story and fun to play around level 8-9 and didn’t hit stride until 13-14).

    I ran into a lot of bugs and glitches, but very few of them were really severe. A lot of graphical issues, mostly. It’s still a game that needs a fair bit of polish but generally works pretty well. A lot of the things that kind of get taken for granted in other MMOs that have been around longer (like UI configuration, good LFG tools) aren’t really in there yet. But even so, it was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s amazing how big a difference that 1.) voice acting and 2.) choices during conversations/quests engages you and makes you want to see more.

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