Monday, November 28, 2011


After the long holiday beta weekend - all I can say is WOW regarding SWTOR.  I've honestly been so lukewarm over TOR - preparing myself for it to be more hype than substance. But EA has created a wonderful player experience.

 So, I really put in some time Friday-Monday on testing the different classes, start zones, some crafting, PvP, exploring and Flashpoints.  I didn't get past level 13, as I do want to keep the advanced storyline and questing fresh for when TOR goes live.

No screenshots though, apparently that is still turned off by EA as part of the NDA.

But even without pics, I did test every class over the last two beta weekends and it's really hard to pick a favorite.  They're all fun.  My preference would probably go to the Bounty Hunter/Trooper - just a ton of fun to play - but I honestly liked all the classes.  Some of the races (I think they're technically called species), I preferred (personal taste) over the others, and a couple of the male/female choices will have to be worked out as I didn't care for the female and/or male voice acting combo.

The start zones, I'd have to say the Sith Inquisitor/Warrior had to be my favorite as far as quest lines, not necessarily the look of the zone. Least favorite and I really found it to be on the boring side was the Smuggler/Trooper start zone on Ord Mantell.  I really don't know why, but I found it to be a bit of a yawn.  The other two start zones were excellent and definitely gave the feel for the classes starting there.

The worlds are completely wonderful and each has a different feel to them.  The capitol cities were truly unbelievable - huge, with tremendous detail and felt like a city or at least what SciFi tells us futuristic cities will look like.  Everything seems BIG in TOR.  Lots of running pre-mount (level 25), so definitely bind an auto-run key!  It's going to be truly amazing to see the other planets after launch.

Crafting is definitely different, but you really get hooked on the send the companion off to do the crafting while you carry on doing whatever - in this case my GM, another guildmate and I were doing a Flashpoint.   By the time it finished we had a bunch of crafting mats and a couple of  pieces of gear/potions - pretty sweet!

PvP in TOR is fun.  Huttball has to be experienced to truly appreciate it.  I love the added humor from the announcers, the speed of the game and learning the strategies.  There were some players that had obviously mastered the game - as they had nice titles and really knew the strats for the different PvP zones.  Each has a different feel.  Not a drop you in a zone and duke it out, but you felt like you were there with a purpose.

I only had the opportunity to try the first Flashpoint, but it was great.  The first time we did it three players and a companion. While the second was two of us and companions.  I don't know if it scales, but it was definitely do-able for two with pets.  I did do both Empire and Republic side of the Flashpoint to see the differing view points.  (Now to find out what a Moff is?  I'm sadly lacking in Star Wars lore/info.)

Any down side to TOR?

It still needs work, and I hope they'll have time to fix the issues before launch.  It's not horrible but definitely things you really hope will get fixed.

We've all experienced the bad MMO launches that make us cringe, and many of us were extremely impressed with the wonderful launch Trion accomplished with Rift,  They really raised the bar on what we all expect with a quality launch. 

I do hope EA can achieve that, they have an awesome game, but too many 'issues' will make people leave, it's happened before.

Changes I would make?

The UI - make it movable/sizable.  All the crucial info is at your fingertips, but I something's don't move and are larger than many of us need/require.

Characterization - sliders for the different facial features (eyes, eye brows, body height, size, etc.)and more variety of hair/skin tone/colors.

That said, I'd recommend TOR, if you're any kind of Star Wars fan, or an MMO player - it's definitely worth buying and playing.

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