Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

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Bean Bandit

I just got my issue and read your review and I think there even lucky to get a 7 out of 10. I was in the beta for sometime and as you stated it's more geared for the role player and fan base people but not just your average person that wants to play a simple mmo that you don't have to sit there and watch a movie.

I found questing to be ok but there were so many quests that alot of the times unless your the kind of person that has to do them all you end up just dropping alot of grey quests cause now you need to go somewhere else. You could max level so fast in that game that your almost stuck with nothing to do except maybe the daily quests or pvp or if your in a good guild that's fast leveling as well you can finally start raiding.

While I was in the beta I tried to really like the battlegrounds they had but the allowing of higher level people in the same match no matter the level was just plain stupid. Even though the stats are boosted that doesn't include gear nor the fact that there toon is better refined per the skill tree. They should really as you said FORCE CHOKE who ever thought of it and who ever decided that they would go with it.

I've watched some videos of the end game raiding and it seems very simple at best. With any end game raiding it should be challenge. Even though like in wow there's addons like DBM that can make it simple but you still have to go thru the process of actually doing what needs to be done. Just watching a you tube video doesn't mean when you 1st do a boss that your truly ready for it. Gotta experience it to know what to do.

Crafting was made very simple as well in this game. You don't really have to do much and slicing was way to easy to make credits without even having to do any crafting.

My friend tells me most people won't even bother taking a Sentinel in the group and it reminds me of vanilla wow when the only way they would take a druid or a shammy in a raid was if you were resto. The other spec's didn't matter cause your dps was better with other classes.

Space combat for me was fun but when you do it over and over it gets boring but it's a easy daily to do.

Your companions were helpful and yet they were a pain in the ass. Always talking and always getting in the way. I usually would put them on passive and then order them to attack the target i wanted cause they would usually attack a different but they were smart unless you had a aoe attack active that they wouldn't break any cc mobs.

I've been in alot of beta's and i think bioware did a poor job in the progressing of the patches in the beta's compared to what I've seen before. Can you cut them some slack for being there 1st MMO, maybe. They did a great job with Neverwinter Nights and the online experience was great but that was due mostly to the player making great servers.

I'll say this for the new Star Wars, if your of course a Star Wars fan and love gaming you'll love this. If your a role player you'll love this. If your anything else then it's a 50/50 chance on if it's a miss or hit for you. Problem is people are waiting for a descent MMO to come out cause WoW is soo old and nothing has really taken it's spot but there is one that shows great promise which is Rift.

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senshu

Add-ons and achievements should be considered "lessons learned" from WoW, and definitely not put into this game. As for the rest, for someone who's played so many MMOs, you sure do paint a revisionist history of their first few months and just how complete they were.

ToR needs some work, but that goes with the MMO territory. For a month old MMORPG, I'm pretty impressed with what it has to offer. They've kept their tried and true story telling method, added in some things that worked in WoW and other MMOs, and left out some things that didn't work. Time will tell if they can keep it all straight.

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bling581

It depends on how much they let you do with addons. Some parts of the UI I feel are terrible and I doubt they will get fixed or changed by BioWare. Yeah, we don't need another Gear Score addon, but overall addons are a good thing.

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torusya

I agree with almost everything you said in your review,

just want to add from myself:

1. i personally dont think that it is fair to charge 15$ a month + 60$ for the game, when it is really a single player game. (please no need for hate, but that's what it feels like)

2. Running... running... running, lets see, up untill lvl 25 (and thats my second toon, and i know all quests and all) i think i spent 80% of the time traveling. Now if you are not the big fan of the story (dont get me wrong, but i play mmo for MMO portion not RPG)even when you skip all the dialogs, 10% of your time will still be spent on "talking" with NPC.. which leaves me with 10% of fights...

3. Fighting... i think the problem is, and David mentioned it in the review, even when you play it the first time... there is no epicness... it is the same jedi/sith or just a stupid bandit... with more health.... so killing the boss is just... boring. you get a tank, you get a healer and a dps, done.

yes, i did not play all the way to 50, but i just cant see myself paying 15$ everymonth for an mmo that is not an mmo.

if you are a fan of SW, it is a great game, and i am sure it will only get better, but as of right now, there is nothing that grabs my attention in this game.

Thanks,

and please no hate, it is just my honest opinion,

and dont mind my spelling problems:)

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bling581

2. Running... running... running, lets see, up untill lvl 25 (and thats my second toon, and i know all quests and all) i think i spent 80% of the time traveling. Now if you are not the big fan of the story (dont get me wrong, but i play mmo for MMO portion not RPG)even when you skip all the dialogs, 10% of your time will still be spent on "talking" with NPC.. which leaves me with 10% of fights...

 

Yeah, running sucks, but have you tried other MMO's? Every single one I've played invovles lots of running until you reach a certain level. SWG was like that until speeders came out, and even then I think they had a lvl requirement. Vanilla WoW was all running until lvl 40, later brought down to something like lvl 20. Lineage II lots of running. Even Eve Online is a lot of flying around and using jump gates to travel though several zones to get where you're going. It's not fun but deal with it.

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iamchrismoran

My only MMO experience is LotRO and there's plenty of running until you buy as mount or pay stable masters (most larger locations have them to take you to nearby hub, if not FAR off hubs as well). While the running became tedious, I also found it to be a good way to learn the terrain and find shortcuts that I ended up using later to get to places that were between hubs. Swift travel and other "teleporting" methods are important for saving time, but do take away from the sense of "this place is friggin huge" and "of course I cannot travel from the Shire to Rivendell in just a few minutes, duh!" or planet to planet as space travel would partly be.
I think the running complaints would be among my last, though I don't be playing SWTOR.
I AM surprised at the other complaints. New game or not, it's a new kid on an aging block. I'd think there's little excuse for a huge franchise like this to have started with so many "not yet" or "coming soon" issues.

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torusya

 

I have played a few MMOs before and I am not saying that it is something new, but that IS the problem... they didn’t try to fix it, they didn’t try to come up with something new I just don’t think that NEW MMO should be going the same way all previous once went,  there are dozens of way to change it, I think they just went with the standard instead of trying something new...

Once again, this does not mean it is bad, but they didn’t fix any problem we had with all other MMOs…

That is all I am saying

FYI, i still think there is TOO much runnig ;)

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bling581

Yeah I agree. I'm assuming it's to make leveling slower to keep you playing longer, but why not just increase the amount of XP needed for the lower levels and give you a speeder from day 1? That way it wouldn't seem as bad but take just as long. *shrug*

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bling581

Yeah, it does feel incomplete. It's been pretty great so far and the stories and interactive questing is awesome. The whole space combat seems like a gimmick to me and I think they've already stated that they will release actual PVP space combat. Right now it just feels like you're playing Star Fox. There's a lot of UI and combat related things that seem to be missing or are too basic. I don't want the game to feel like a copy of WoW, but there are many great features that they could've used and chose not to. If I was making an MMO I'd look at other popular titles that are already out and note what's good and what's not. They obviously decided to do a lot of their own stuff that didn't really turn out that great.

It has amazing potential and I think how the game fairs in the coming years will greatly depend upon updates and the first major expansion/patch. I think a 7 out of 10 is pretty close, though I'd give it an 8. It could easily be a 9 if they address the obvious weaknesses and add some more content. Addon support would make a huge difference from a UI perspective.

 

"And while the scripted quests (occasionally punctuated by John Williams’s familiar score) are immersive, they make the rest of the game’s environments seem stale by comparison. TOR’s non-instanced “generic” areas just aren’t very player-interactive. The Nar Shadda casino, a cold and lifeless location that cries out for mini-games and interactivity"

Yes! To me an MMO has large areas where you can freely roam but a lot of TOR environments feel confined and somewhat linear. They get better later on, like Tatooine and Hoth.

I'm so glad you mentioned mini-games. There's so much little things they could add that would increase the fun factor and make it feel more like the Star Wars universe. Pazak tables, SW chess, pod races, to name a few. I would really like it if they made the BH class feel like an actual BH by adding bounties to NPC's that you have to track down. Maybe even bounties on players.

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TheMurph

"I don't want the game to feel like a copy of WoW, but there are many great features that they could've used and chose not to."

Bingo.  I don't want a WoW clone either; I want Bioware to offer at least the same innovations that current MMOs employ, if not one step greater.

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Joshin

So, I've played MMO's half my life, literaly (currently 25) and I have to say. SWTOR is amazing. However, it is unfortnuate that a lot of MMO standards have been passed up. But really, its something should be easily added in a content patch. No lfg system isn't a bad thing, it forces people to sit at "town" and actually mingle, instead of finding a grp when you are half way across the galaxy. The Galactic Trade Network needs a LOT of work. This is an awesome game so far. But they do need to build upon it, and  fast if they want to keep people. Still, totally worth someones time currently.

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TheMurph

"it forces people to sit at "town" and actually mingle."

and by that, you mean scream "LF1M Healer" for 20 minutes in group chat.  Ain't no mingling going on. Also, for a game with a huge space component, it's silly that you can't have three people "call for a shuttle" to pick up a group/guild member for a Flashpoint.  Insert Warlock summoning analogy here.

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Gezzer

I totally agree on the fact that no summoning system is kind of stupid. It's compounded by the fact that the mapping system, while great for questing, is kind of obtus when your trying to find your other party members. And yes the feeling of community could be better, both in a Guild or while playing. But again these are things that could be fixed and wouldn't be too hard at that.

I guess if the game had been developed by Blizzard there would be less of this. There's something to be said about only shipping when it's done and not before. But it is what it is, and I have faith that even saddled with EA's management that Bioware will deliver. In fact that's the only thing that could really cause problems for the game. If EA's pencil pushers decided it's not worth it to continue improving it.

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sadatoni

Since this is basically my first MMO, just what are the features that seem to be missing?

The biggest problem I've run across as a single-player is some of the bosses fight well above their stated level and I have to get up 2 or 3 levels about it before being able to win.

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TheMurph

Oof.  Well.  I try to hit a number of the big ones in the review itself.  Really, though, just for comparison's sake, go fire up the WoW free-to-play version and give it a shot.  I'm not saying that's a better game in all areas, nor the perfect example of an MMO, but you'll kind of get a feel for what features SW:TOR would stand to benefit from.  For example, a better way to party up with people or a stronger auction house.  Or all that, you know, customizability.  : )

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h e x e n

Are those seriously the games graphics? That cant be a real shot of the game.

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TheMurph

Actually, I painted that image of what the game looks like, to me, on a beautiful piece of canvas. MPC then shot a picture of my picture in the photo lab.

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h e x e n

Haha, wow. Those are pathetic. It looks like PS One graphics at best. Hilariously bad, especially for a game launched in 2012.

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bling581

The game looks terrible unless you force some settings with Nvidia control panel. I logged in and couldn't believe it. It looked like some game I might have played 10 years ago. Once I forced 8x AA it looks tons better. Maybe the screen shot doesn't have any settings forced? That would be why. Why in the world would BioWare release a game with no AA support? Who freakin' knows! That's just wrong in my opinion.

Even after forcing settings don't expect cutting edge graphics. It is an MMO after all and I don't know too many that have cutting edge graphics. They're good enough for me and I'd rather have them focus on better gameplay.

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Gezzer

I'm really enjoying the game so far. With that said, yeah it's not perfect, but I think it has the bones to be given a bit of time.

I started playing WoW about a month after it launched, and it was far from perfect as well. PvP didn't exist until about a year after launch. And you want to talk about running? Till you had a mount it was nothing but endless running. Even then it felt like there was way too much time spent in travel. If anything I think SWtoR is better in that regard then vanilla WoW was. But WoW did fix a lot of the travel problems over time.

I do agree that the developed worlds so far seem pretty sterile, and the undeveloped, well better, still feel some how unoccupided no matter how many NPCs are around. I think that's the one downside to the high level of instancing the game has. There's simply less players around you at any given time, so the world loses a lot of it's dynamic nature due to this.

Grouping has been hit or miss so far, but due to the "newness" of the game you can still find some one to group with, especially if you tank or heal. What will happen once a lot of the players hit cap is hard to say, but I think it'll make lower level grouping harder. My trooper is a healer, and we did a "flashpoint" without a tank. We were all a couple of levels higher then needed except for one, which made it pretty easy till the last boss where we wiped 3 times before taking him down. Even then I died just moments before he went down. As for how uninspired they are, again WoW's early fights were pretty basic till molten core. Even then there's only so many tactics a person can envision, so it makes it hard to always have a "fresh" concept I would think.

The one thing I'm finding is due to the stronger single player focus, if you try to do everything you soon find a lot of your quests are green or even grey. And the rewards due to this means your gear might be less then perfect for when you actually try something meant for your level. But that's a small thing after all, and much better then finding yourself with nothing but orange and red quests to do (yes I'm looking at you RIFT).

I do agree that AH is pretty much a joke, and crafting isn't much better. But I think this goes in hand with a design meant to produce less grinding and more fun. I've never found I didn't have enough credits, well for anything. With WoW you really needed a robust AH and crafting because getting a mount without it was a real PITA.

So while I think 7 might be a bit harsh, it's like all MMOs after all, a work in progress. As well I think Bioware was trying to make a MMO that was less of a grind and as far as I'm concerned they succeeded. In fact WoW is no longer the grind it once was and I think that's one of the new concepts driving current MMO design. The big question is will Bioware and EA put the time and resources needed into the game to address anything that is holding the game back? Only time will tell I'm afraid.

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TheMurph

Also, I couldn't really address crafting in the review due to space constraints, but I'll say it here: SW:TOR's crafting system is just dumb.  It really devaules crafting to just a rote exercise that you toggle once an hour, and gives people a very low incentive to actually go out and find things in-game (unless you just want to save money, which isn't very compelling of an argument once you hit the big 5-0).

In short, either integrate crafting well or don't include it at all.  SW:TOR really half-asses it, I feel.  Unless, of course, you're a slicer.  Then $$$$$.  A++ game.

(that was a joke)

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TheMurph

It's tough to compare vanilla WoW to SW:TOR because we're now talking about two vastly different time periods.  I, myself, would compare vanilla WoW to like, Everquest.  Not SW:TOR.

I think it's fair to say that SW:TOR lacks details that modern MMOs simply have.  Whether they grew them from the ground up or shipped with them is irrelevant.  Why someone at BioWare said, "hey, we don't need an easy way for players to group and meet, or good guild support, or any of that" when the competition has just that is beyond me.

I'm not saying SW:TOR couldn't be good, given it's a work in progress.  However, for those on the fence about whether they should pick up the game (or switch over from any MMO), i'd caution that they wait -- the conclusion of the review.  This just isn't a polished enough of an MMO to offer a significantly greater experience (even for its immersive storylines) than what's out there right now, or what could be coming out in the future.

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Gezzer

I know thread has dropped a lot but I still feel the need to reply to one comment you made.

The cautioning people to wait. The problem with all MMOs is they need a player base large enough to make upgrading and improving viable. If too many people wait it out it becomes a freemium game or worse just fades away, which would be a shame.

Also my comparison to WoW wasn't meant to be a comparison of designs but more one of the condition of any MMO when it first launches. There's always things that could be better, and things that are just too great for words. The question is, as a MMO player does a person want to be a part of the current community and help build a great MMO? Or do they want to sit at the sidelines and only jump in when they feel the game is fully fleshed out? The problem is, as I said before, it might not happen if too many people sit out. Plus a lot of people will be missing out on a lot of fun if they do, because with all it's warts it's still a fun game to play. Then again I haven't hit the cap yet so I don't know how the end game will be.

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galahadkoa

Thank you for giving this game the real review it deserves. Most of the critics, including your sister magazine PC Gamer, are giving this game glowing reviews as if it was handed down by god when the reality is more in line with what is here. TOR is not a bad game, but it shouldnt be considering how much they spent on it. At the same time it should be better than it is. If the game came out 5+ years ago it would dominate, but its behind the times a a bit and it shows in the current MMO landscape. Its long term future truly depends on Bioware's ability to fix the game and put out rapid content updates cause whats there now is not going to keep a lot of people around for long. 

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TheMurph

Thank you for the kind note.  I just reviewed the game based on my experience with it, and my experience with a wide range of MMOs over the past many, many years (starting with good ol' EQ).  You said it perfectly though: The game is behind the current MMO landscape in some key areas.  It's also above the current MMO landscape in others (instancing), but that's not enough to seal the deal.

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jth

Seems about right. 

I've never cared for Star Wars, and I tend to overall steer more toward fantasy rather than sci-fi genres. I've given the game a fair shake at the request of a few friends from work. Overall, it's a pretty fun leveling experience, marred more and more as you continue by the painfully obvious absence of many standard features. 

 

I'll stick it out for the level cap and most likely shelve it very shortly after. If I ever have a change of heart about Star Wars I may give the game another chance, pending a couple coats of polish.

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herochild

I agree with this review, though I feel I should mention that BioWare has stated that they plan to address many of the complaints mentioned in this review. (For example, in this month's upcoming PvP update)

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Red Ensign

Spot on review. Don't let the fanboys see this though. The long list of missing features doesn't exist in their world. Funny thing is the Bioware has many Devs who worked on DAoC, WAR, and UO. There's no excuse for the mess they call the Galactic Trade Network. All they had to do is have the intern running DAoC or WAR show them what a functioning AH looks like. While this is technically BW's 1st MMO they've released, they've been running the other 3 for long enough know better. I don't hold much hope for TOR if the people in charge can't even look at the other MMOs they have and figure out what works and what doesn't.

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bling581

Yeah, the "AH" is a mess. Lots of the filters don't even work for starters. In some cases you have to enter in several categories to start a search and if you close the window by accident or your companion decides to come back from their mission at that time you lose it all and have to re-enter it. Why can't I just pick one main category and then search by name? Nope, you have to enter all the information in first, then search, then add a name filter. Ridiculous. Anyone else have a problem with the reset button being too close to the search button? I can't tell you how many times I've hit the reset button by mistake. Oh, and no filter by slot type. If you want to find just a helmet you have to wade through armor for all slots to find what you need.

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wolfing

I don't feel the 'running' issue that much. With the quicktravel feature, I find it's actually faster to go to most places than in other games.

Also, boss fights (in flashpoints) are not 'tank and spam' after like level 15. Some pull the whole group to him, slows and brings a nasty AoE attack. Others keep spawning more mobs, others throw nasty mines you need to avoid. Others paralyze your companions, etc.

Yes, it can be mostly a single player game (or 8 games) you play with other people, but for people like me, that's exactly what they want.

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TheMurph

FWIW, most of the fights leading *up* to the bosses are fairly tank and spank.  And the bosses, once you figure out their simple mechanic (e.g. don't stand on the stuff about to blow up in your face), aren't very tough or interactive at all.

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chronium

But that's the same with all MMO's once you know the strat it's easy.

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bling581

"But that's the same with all MMO's once you know the strat it's easy."

WoW Lich King hard modes weren't that easy at all. Maybe if you were in an elite guild that raided every night, but for most they were a challenge. A lot of them have very unique mechanics you never saw before or were hard to master.

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TheMurph

I should rephrase what Im trying to say: In general, the instances feel uninspired.  It's the same old formula of clear trash, easy sub-boss, simple end boss that's the problem.  Bioware innovated a great deal with storylines and all that -- why not give gamers the same kind of "new" thinking with the actual gameplay, too?

I didn't want to make the obvious comparison, but Flashpoints, to me, feel even duller than your average World of Warcraft instance.

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Straegen

Fair review. Higher levels can also turn into a bit of a grind having to do every quest to maintain a proper level to see the full character story. However the biggest screw up was forcing users to run so much they spend more time going places than enjoying the world.