Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SWTOR a month out

 A guildmate asked recently if I was enjoying TOR (Star Wars the Old Republic), and I said yes and no.

There are aspects of TOR that I absolutely love - it's visually breathtaking and it feels like real worlds and huge cities (maybe should be more people running around), but the major cities look/feel like what you'd visualize futuristic or syfy cities would look like.

The worlds are gorgeous - even the Hutta kinda ugly ones - are amazing.  The overhead fighting, pollution on Corellia, the details are there and just fantastic.

Add to that the mini-cinematic cutscenes with awesome voice overs (I still want to track down a list of all the actors - my guild guesses alot of them!) and you can see where the money was spent on in TOR.  

The cutscenes are really cool, most of the time.  Some are a bit overdone, like when I have a cutscene with a rock, to watch a 30 second clip of the rock doing something. WTF???  That isn't immersive to me, that's disruptive.  The major quest chains and class quests are great, but every NPC. I guess I would have been happy with the dialog in the game, not a cutscene for every quest.  The class ones are definitely great, but a rock? /sigh

The story lines are fun and distinctly different for each class as well as based on the choices you make will affect how things turn out.  That's a bit fun and as I play with the dark/light point indicator off, I'm sometimes surprised at what I get dark or light points for.  I saved his life and get dark points? Why? lol

The companions are wonderful.  Between the variety, romance options, gaining affection so they'll craft better and the crafting missions.  I really like the companions in TOR.

Moddable gear.  This is great (I can't wait for more variety of gear in the future), but being able to add the stats into a favorite piece is great.

The downside - OMG - so many of the simple mechanics and things MMO players are use to now a days are just absent or badly done.

Quests you can't delete.  Greyed out, stuck in your quest log and can't delete them.  Ask for help and "it's coming in a patch" responses.  That is just lame.
UI that can't be changed/moved/resized - really in 2012?  We're still dealing with that? Ugh.  Supposedly there is a patch that will allow us to resize, not move but resize coming soon.

Chronic 9000 errors that can't be located.  My GM has experienced these since launch and how he hasn't uninstalled TOR and sent flaming letters to them is beyond me.  They owe him a month's free play IMHO, as he can play for minutes to maybe an hour before d/c time.  This impacts space fights, pvp and flashpoints for him sadly.

Chat function that isn't highly modifiable/filterable.  Maybe it's just me, but WoW had the addons, and Rift had an awesome chat function.  So why do we have this 2005 version of a chat window?  Yes I can make separate tabs, but some of the things you want to filter can't be filtered without losing a whole block of info.

Targeting.  WTF!!!  Companions don't show in raid/group frames and mouseover targeting - even when the target appears in your target window, there's a 50% chance you'll heal yourself not the target.  This is annoying to the nth degree!!!

PvP.  The 50's have been bracketed out which helps some, but the 'tenacity' stat increase, I'm sorry, I'd rather have bracketed 10 level PvP versus this.  Yes that level 16 has more HP, but not the huge variety of abilities that a level 49 has.  And Expertise?  Didn't we travel the horrible road of resiliency in WoW?  Why is this being repeated?

Travel in the game (do I miss Rift rally banners for guild events YES!), is a love/hate.  I like the feel of  moving from planet to planet - it takes time, so you 'feel' like it's not insta-travel, BUT - the get off my ship into a hallway, into another ship into a hall to get to the planet is a bit much on the zoning.  Especially as my FPS drops from 80-100 down to 5-6 at each zoning point.  People with lower FPS and lag are really feeling it too.  We keep trying to find a reason for the excess zoning between ship and planet and keep up the hope its for future expansions, but I'd gladly love to have my ship be attached to the darn space port!

 I HATE these things that are broke and should have been fixed prior to release as it feels like extended beta at times to me.  (Been there with AoC and WAR - no thanks!)

No game is ever 100% error, bug free, but TOR, IMHO skimped on the mechanics that should have been a no-brainer (the above are incorporated into almost all MMO's now) and spent on the visuals/voice overs.  

My personal view, if you like Star Wars, you'll enjoy it.  I'm glad I'm playing as it's fun, and nothing yet has been a deal-breaker as far as cancelling.  But I don't think I'm ga-ga in love with it either even if they fixed many of the things mentioned above.  I do see TOR as a long term MMO for many people.  I mean it's Star Wars after all, and it's fun.  If they can fix the bugs and keep adding new content regularly, it should have a long life. 

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