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MMOs and Gaming, part the Sixth.

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If this were Star Wars, I'd either be on Return of the Jedi or Revenge of the Sith, depending on how you look at it. Either way, I'd be in one of the weakest films of the series.

Which rather clumsily segues into the question I keep asking myself: Why aren't I enjoying The Old Republic?

Actually, that's not true. In a technical sense, I am enjoying it; the gameplay is smooth, the quest chains are well thought out and engaging, the voice acting is surprisingly good given the scale of the project, and the overarching story is excellent.

And yet, I just don't care that much about it.

I've been in on the beta for a couple weeks now, and, as I said previously, the game really is quite excellent. Yes, it's basically a WoW clone, but as I mentioned a while back in this series, that's not a bad thing. WoW is successful for a reason, after all, and the majority of that reason is because it cherry-picks the best attributes of its competition and integrates them into its own model.

In most ways, I'd rank The Old Republic as a superior game to its competition, and certainly a major improvement on the launch version of Warhammer Online, my favorite "This is how you fuck up a potentially awesome game" whipping boy.

And yet WAR grabbed me in a way that TOR just hasn't. Part of that I can rack up to it being a beta: I don't like making major progress during betas for RPGs, because, in theory, I'm going to have to repeat all that content again if it's a class/job I want to play. I tend to muddle around in the shallow end of the character leveling pool, trying a wide array of different classes while deliberately avoiding the ones I really want to play.

And part of it I rack up to George Lucas and his seemingly-unstoppable drive to destroy the cherished memories of my childhood. The new trilogy was, in a word, shite. Awful. And given that it was a sure-fire winner in terms of setting, was cast by an array of usually impressive actors, and had more money thrown at it than most lottery winners, the source of its failure is incredibly obvious.

George Lucas is a hack.


The interesting comparison I draw between TOR and WAR is how the games start; for the most part, with the various classes I've tried out, you're immediately thrust into some sort of conflict, and you have to go out and kill X enemies, free X prisoners, destroy X objectives, etc. Which is basically the same way that Warhammer Online started out, yet somehow it feels significantly less... visceral. Everything is too clean, too crisp, and while there might be Flesh Raiders out there devouring the Padawans, I'm strangely inclined to let them have at it.

I don't know why, but rescuing peasants from being trapped in their burning homes by Chaos Marauders was oddly more enjoyable for me than rescuing incompetent trainee Jedi from being eaten by Hammerhead sharks with legs.

And yet, I can't think of a single thing actually wrong with The Old Republic. The game, as I've experienced it so far, is excellent, and I recommend it highly. I'm just not sure if I'll actually be playing it.
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  1. Ecks -
    Ecks's Avatar
    I gotta say. I love this game and it's only going to get better. There are a lot of things with it that do need improving upon, but BioWare has stated they are going to be improving upon those things that need improvement.

    UI Customization, this is a biggy. Right now, to say it is limited is rather an understatement. However, the current UI is still operational and honestly not bad. BioWare knows people want to arrange their UIs in ways that work best for them and the current UI, while functional, isn't ideal. BioWare will be changing this. I don't care how long it takes (but my money is that it's one of their top concerns) as long as it happens.

    Well, that's really the big one. They are going to be adding a lot of other things that won't be in at launch but are really all kind of 'extras'.

    Guild Ships (guild base), sound cool.
    More Operations and Flashpoints, always good to have.
    Reintroduction of the 'bind color to chest piece' feature. Was taken out because of an apparent undesired side effect of limiting players potential loot drops in a bad way. The concept is fantastic and is the cure to mismatching color armor pieces. Can't wait for this to be fixed and put back in! (all gear will take on the color tones of the chest armor)
    Improvements and changes to Space Combat. Yes please. They tease of something new they can't go into details about.
    Other stuff I can't remember.

    BioWare has started to realize and accept that they are indeed very new to the MMO scene and that sometimes you have to listen to your fans who have more experience playing the kind of game they are creating here. Now that launch draws near it seems BioWare isn't neccisarily sticking to it's "This is our game and we'll do it our way." theory completely. At least not when that directly impacts their game in a negative way.

    I have been enjoying the Early Access since Wednesday evening and loving it since then. I have a few minor complaints about the appearance of the Sith Lord I am serving under in my Sith Warrior storyline. Like, why is he a fatass? But I digress, this is still fairly early in the story and perhaps I'll kill his tubby ass or have him killed at somepoint. Dunno. But I still love it!