Sunday, January 8, 2012

Let's Keep a Little Optimism Here: Ten Best Things About SWTOR

We've all seen "Return of the Jedi" a bazillion times, so we know that the stolen Imperial shuttle Tydirium is blasted out of the sky by Vader's flagship because the rebels' clearance code was too old.

Wait, what?

This started as a post about what fixes/updates/additions need to be made to SWTOR. But after poking around the internet a bit, I realized that plenty of people have done that already. I hope (and do believe) this is the work of a vocal minority, but yeesh, there is a lot of negativity surrounding this game (some coming from my own guild)! Do I think that mouseover macros or UI customization or endgame bug fixes need to happen? Yes. Do these break the entire game? Are they going to stop me from playing? Of course not.

You can go just about anywhere else to read about what's wrong with SWTOR. Here you're going to read about what's right. Presented in a tidy list format!

1. It's Star Wars: Duh. Talk all day about flashpoints vs. instances or crew skills vs. professions or whatever other game system. The Star Wars license rocks and is indeed the main reason for many people playing SWTOR at all. You can't have lightsaber in WoW. You just can't. Add in John Williams' sweeping score, Corellian stock light freighters, scrolling yellow text, Mandalorian armor, and force lightning and you're in for a good time.

2. Missions: I know there are plenty of players who mash spacebar and 1 or 3 and I feel sorry for them because they're missing the core experience of this game. Missions,  and especially class missions, are so much more engaging than ever before. The voice acting is generally fantastic (I have to make a female Trooper, I hear she's voiced by female Commander Shepherd from Mass Effect), drawing you in to every step of your character's adventure. Considering the sheer number of lines spoken, I consider the dialogue system a major achievement. Not everybody agrees. We have a close friend and guildy who may be leaving the game because the talking "interrupts [their] cleave." I think Phyona addressed this best on our guild's facebook page, where she wrote
"I guess it has to do with how into your character you are. I'm obsessed (borderline in love) with my character so I listen to all the dialogue intently and flip out on people when they talk over it haha. I despised questing in WoW and adore questing in this game, which is a huge deal for me. I can understand that if all you want to do is the actual gameplay, the story can be frustrating, but I genuinely believe that if you find a character you really connect with, this game is unlike any other. For me, the major difference between this and WoW was that in WoW everything I did was to achieve a goal (leveling in one way or another), and in SWTOR, you're meant to savor and experience the journey. If you can manage to embrace that intention, I think this game will evolve (it's still just a fledgling) into something incredible."

 3. Combat Abilities: I was initially skeptical of Bioware's ability to bring a number of exciting, varied abilities to each class, especially non-Force users. Let me tell, you watching Dirty Kick into a Back Blast is every bit as fun as it was the first time I saw it. From grenades to saber throws and beyond, I find the combat fluid and fun. Are the combat systems perfect? No. Responsiveness and ability redundancy need to and will be addressed, along with many other tweaks. But with such novel ideas for abilities, Bioware is well on their way to making SWTOR combat as exhilarating as it should be.

4. Not Having to Watch Crafting Cast Bars: Corso, go make this for me. Thanks, pal.

5. Companions: Want to level as a tank? Go for it. A healer? Sure. Gotta love the flexibility that the companion system brings, not to mention the (occasionally steamy) storylines. Besides, what's a captain without a crew? Or a Jedi without a Padawan? Everybody needs a protocol droid.

6. Sprint: Number six on the list is also the number one reason that players regret starting alts. Once you get it, it's hard to go back.

7. Community: I want to touch on this more in a post of its own, but I love that there are players who picked up this game solely out of love for Star Wars. In WoW, Rift, etc., a sort of uber-competitiveness permeated the community, leaving the goblins feeling smug and the noobs feeling bad about themselves. Can't we all just enjoy the game together?

8. Bones Big and Skinny: All bodies are beautiful, baby. Here's to body types one through four.

9. Spaceships: What a great diversion! As MMO mini-games go, this is pretty great. Beats playing the old WoW Peggle add-on.

10. The Smuggler Class: Though, I'm a bit biased. More seriously, the combination of class choice, dialogue options, and character customizations combine to make you insanely attached to your toon. I find myself telling Phyona that "I love my smuggler" like ten times a day.

See? There's so much to love about SWTOR. And it's only going to get better.

What are your favorite things about this game?


  1. I love the optimism in this post! Too many people are critical of this great game! Of course, as you said, it could use some tweaking, but it's far from the end of the world.

    My favorite thing about the game is the storyline. Specifically the Smuggler class story (I got seduced to this class from my Jedi much more fun!!) combined with the Scoundrel Scrapper abilities! Really though, everything except C2-N2 is just great. Keep up the blog!

  2. Thanks for the feedback!

    Obviously, I agree that the Smuggler class storyline is amazing. That said, there are 8 class stories and each one has its merits. I took Phyona on a Smuggler mission or two with me and she said, "So wait, I'm shutting down Sith superweapons while you're playing with your Smuggler friends in the sewers?" To each his or her own, I guess.

    I think C2-N2 is a necessary evil. You have to love to hate him. Shut him up or shut him down, so to speak! Maybe we can find some Ugnaughts to melt him or something.

  3. Class missions rock. I finished my inquisitor line last night and after the last cut scene I had to stop playing. I felt like I had just "won" the game; returning to missions or crafting after that EPIC THING would have been... too anti-climactic.

    I raced to my class missions, often begging help to do them early because I didn't want to wait another two or four levels to find out what happens.

    I had never expected a video game to give me story-high, the same kind that book writers and movie producers strive so very hard to create. But here it is one planet at a time inside an MMO.

    Nice post. :)

  4. So true, Peal. And just think, there are *eight* of those stories to experience.

    Cheers ;)