Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Star War: The Old Republic - Impressions up to level 10.

Disclaimer: I'm going to do my best to avoid spoilers for the Imperial Agent story arc.

I used my natural 20 willpower to avoid downloading SWTOR...wait, I have no willpower and purchased SWTOR after work on Saturday.  It was a 25GB download which by the time I could actually play I was pretty drunk and I had to work the next day.  My initial impression of the game was good, I think,  like I said I was pretty drunk, I do remember having serious issues with the mouse/keyboard control.  Sunday after work though I was able to have a better experience (sober) playing.  I think I will always have problems with the mouse/keyboard set up (thirty years of console gaming compared with less than five PC gaming).  I've been having a pain in the ass trying to get a wireless 360 controller hooked up to my PC so I'm gonna switch over to a regular controller (hopefully before this weekend).  SWTOR is going to play a lot smoother for me once I get a controller mapped.  As is my movement is stop and start and combat is kind of static - which sucks because combat in SWTOR is kind of awesome.

I joked about SWTOR being to WoW what G+ is to FB.  It looks better, it's cooler, I like it more even though the controls are kind of weird, nothing is really explained so you have to learn by trial and error, and I'm usually alone except for one or two other people (I'm on a light use PvE server which might account for something).

But is SWTOR good?  Yes, and more importantly it's fun and it's a Star Wars that doesn't have suck attached to it.  I've caught myself *theatrical gasp* enjoying my gaming experience and the locations I'm playing in (another reason I want to map a controller is better camera control so I can actually look at the environs easily).  The designers did a great job of creating something new and awesome while at the same time keeping within bounds of the 'verse (see?  was that so fucking hard?).  Granted SWTOR is from the fine folks at Bioware so this level of quality was to be expected.  Here's a run down of the good, the bad, and the Hutt.
  • The best part of this game so far is that I'm actually playing a character in a MMO, with a story, a personality and...uh...wait, really?  For some reason it just kind of struck me that, in my limited experience with MMOs, I haven't really played a character.  I've just been running around gathering resources to build shit (or being sent by NPCs to do their grunt work).  There have been a couple of step'n'fetch quests but these have been minimal for the most part.  Some of the missions have been pretty cool, particularly those story based.
  • I'm also aware of playing a role as an Imperial Agent and for some reason I've been playing her a little cagier than my normal chaotic good.  Now the dialogue choices use the Bioware three responses which kind of telegraph positive, negative, neutral.  "Would you like a cheese sandwich?"
    • 1. Why yes please and thank you.
    • 2. I already ate.
    • 3. I'll fuckin have you killed!
  • I haven't really explored how companion and advanced skills work.  I like being able to send my lackey to do step'n'fetch quests without really having to do anything.  This must be what it feels like to ab a NPC, "You there, go find this thing for me while I remain in this cantina.  Move along.  Chop, chop."
  • Jo Wyatt does an excellent job as voice actress for the female Imperial Agent.  Having a voiced character with a kick ass accent?  Fuckin sweet!
  • Which leads me to the point that the voice acting in this game is astoundingly good and varied (though a couple of static background NPCs have the same dialogue which made me laugh everytime I heard the guy in a cantina trying to pick up a chick.  I just imagined him saying that to any chick who walked by).  Even dialogue for side quest NPCs is good and well-voiced.  Nicely done Bioware.  High five!
On the downside:
  • Learning the controls and what all what does has been kind of a pain in the ass.  Correction - the basic controls are the same as every other MMO but nothing is particularly explained.  For example the game advised me to check the codex for info about my companion.  Uh, where the fuck is the Codex?  It took me awhile to find it as a tab on the bottom of the quest log.  Another example is trying to figure out what the hell my companion skills were doing or will do.  These are listed in the codex but this was before I figured out where the codex was and before I had selected skills.  Then I read some stuff in the codex about the skills I selected, one of which apparently makes armor for Jedi or some shit, so then I had to figure out if I could change companion skillsFortunately I can, which is going to be something I work on after I read the codex entries.  Alternatively I could have just gone here.
  • I really hate mouse/keyboard controls for basic controls and combat.  I know that some of you hardcore PC gamers are all like controllers are for n00bs but y'know what?  Go fuck yourselves.  You probably have $300 gaming keyboards and have spent decades honing your skills.  Me?  It's like a monkey fucking a football and my fingers start to cramp from all the weird combinations of keys I need to use.  I know a lot of major releases have been mapped to a controller (e.g. Skyrim) and while a controller is shite for menu control, chat, and that type of use in combat it's a huge help for me.  At least have an in-game option to set a controller and keyboard.  What are people with arthritis supposed to do if they want to play?
Other than those two complaints I'm having a good time and will post pictures and assorted schtuff soon.

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