Old Republic Postmortem

Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

Reposting this from my blog

====

Last night, after 122 hours and roughly five months of play, I have completed my first class story in Star Wars: The Old Republic, an experience that left me feeling pretty satisfied. Looking back on the game, it has certainly been one of the most enjoyable MMOs I have played largely due to its ability to break the monotony I experienced while playing World of Warcraft and Tera. While the structure of TOR is familiar to MMO veterans, more so with WoW players, creating an overarching character story for each class is just what this genre needed. By giving the Smuggler, Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith, Jedi and Solider their own individual stories,the player has an incentive to play through the game several times apart from PvP and end game dungeons. Granted, the secondary missions will always be the same but they'll play out differently for my next character's non-Force skill set.

There were instances during my story that I wish I had the ability to replay them or, at least, thought about recording my play sessions earlier. The Sith Warrior class has a number of great moments: learning the Sith Code, putting the values of the Sith into practice by interrogating prisoners, fighting Noman Karr, killing Jaesa Willsam's parents, Darth Baras' betrayal and the final confrontation with the Sith Lord himself were truly spectacular. The final battle alone had me hopped up on adrenaline. For every awesome moment, there were some lackluster ones as well. My biggest gripe was the Lord Draahg fight on Corellia. Here was a boss so hard and difficult that I really didn't have much to do with my player level and more with the boss' ability to perform so many devastating attacks. It seemed weird that Draahg, not Baras, would be the most difficult opponent in the game. Hunting down the Republic War Trust across Taris and Hoth got pretty monotonous and no matter how my masters would say, "Okay, kill this guy and the War Trust is gone" they would always follow up my success with, "Okay, now there is just one more target to kill. Promise!" The missions on Hoth and Tatooine weren't very interesting either but I attribute that to both planets being wastelands with very little to see or do. It would have also been nice for there to be more of a reason to use the in-game companions. By the end of the game, I acquired five different party companions but I only used Malavi Quinn because he served as my healer. Everyone else either sat on the sidelines are were sent out to perform Crew Skills.

I wish Bioware did more with the mysterious Holocron temple located near the ruins on Dromund Kaas. Because the player can find hidden Holocrons matrix shards throughout the game and combine them together, the game doesn't really go out of its way to tell the player about it (unless, of course, I need to find a certain number of them before the quest activates). This seems like it could be a cool feature, why not keep players informed? That will probably be something my character goes back to, if only to explore that facet of the game a bit further.

As for PvP, I really enjoying playing the battlegrounds. I never even bothered with player versus player stuff in WoW just because it seemed so intimidating, but having become so familiar with my character I've been able to hold my own quite well. My only qualm is with Huttball. I really don't care for the soccer-like game only because it adds another chaotic layer to the match. Now that my class story is done, I'd like to do more PvP and earn some of the high level gear. I'd also like to do more of the Flashpoints, even if my character is too high a level for most of the early dungeons. Getting players to help out was an issue, but having since joined a Guild, I'm hoping that I'll be able to do more community activities.

All in all, I really couldn't be happier with my time in TOR. My only concern, however, is that the Sith Warrior story class has set the storytelling bar very high. I hope that the other classes will be just as engaging and memorable.

#1 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

Reposting this from my blog

====

Last night, after 122 hours and roughly five months of play, I have completed my first class story in Star Wars: The Old Republic, an experience that left me feeling pretty satisfied. Looking back on the game, it has certainly been one of the most enjoyable MMOs I have played largely due to its ability to break the monotony I experienced while playing World of Warcraft and Tera. While the structure of TOR is familiar to MMO veterans, more so with WoW players, creating an overarching character story for each class is just what this genre needed. By giving the Smuggler, Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith, Jedi and Solider their own individual stories,the player has an incentive to play through the game several times apart from PvP and end game dungeons. Granted, the secondary missions will always be the same but they'll play out differently for my next character's non-Force skill set.

There were instances during my story that I wish I had the ability to replay them or, at least, thought about recording my play sessions earlier. The Sith Warrior class has a number of great moments: learning the Sith Code, putting the values of the Sith into practice by interrogating prisoners, fighting Noman Karr, killing Jaesa Willsam's parents, Darth Baras' betrayal and the final confrontation with the Sith Lord himself were truly spectacular. The final battle alone had me hopped up on adrenaline. For every awesome moment, there were some lackluster ones as well. My biggest gripe was the Lord Draahg fight on Corellia. Here was a boss so hard and difficult that I really didn't have much to do with my player level and more with the boss' ability to perform so many devastating attacks. It seemed weird that Draahg, not Baras, would be the most difficult opponent in the game. Hunting down the Republic War Trust across Taris and Hoth got pretty monotonous and no matter how my masters would say, "Okay, kill this guy and the War Trust is gone" they would always follow up my success with, "Okay, now there is just one more target to kill. Promise!" The missions on Hoth and Tatooine weren't very interesting either but I attribute that to both planets being wastelands with very little to see or do. It would have also been nice for there to be more of a reason to use the in-game companions. By the end of the game, I acquired five different party companions but I only used Malavi Quinn because he served as my healer. Everyone else either sat on the sidelines are were sent out to perform Crew Skills.

I wish Bioware did more with the mysterious Holocron temple located near the ruins on Dromund Kaas. Because the player can find hidden Holocrons matrix shards throughout the game and combine them together, the game doesn't really go out of its way to tell the player about it (unless, of course, I need to find a certain number of them before the quest activates). This seems like it could be a cool feature, why not keep players informed? That will probably be something my character goes back to, if only to explore that facet of the game a bit further.

As for PvP, I really enjoying playing the battlegrounds. I never even bothered with player versus player stuff in WoW just because it seemed so intimidating, but having become so familiar with my character I've been able to hold my own quite well. My only qualm is with Huttball. I really don't care for the soccer-like game only because it adds another chaotic layer to the match. Now that my class story is done, I'd like to do more PvP and earn some of the high level gear. I'd also like to do more of the Flashpoints, even if my character is too high a level for most of the early dungeons. Getting players to help out was an issue, but having since joined a Guild, I'm hoping that I'll be able to do more community activities.

All in all, I really couldn't be happier with my time in TOR. My only concern, however, is that the Sith Warrior story class has set the storytelling bar very high. I hope that the other classes will be just as engaging and memorable.

#2 Posted by Leptok (942 posts) -

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

#3 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@Leptok: You bring up a great point. Old Republic tries to create an incentive for social play during class quests (the flow of the conversation becomes much more dynamic and you earn social points), but I can tell you that I wouldn't want anyone influencing how certain conversations could play out. Maybe someone will figure out a way, but then again maybe not.

#4 Edited by clstirens (847 posts) -

Swtor, for me, was incredibly fun through the first act, but the more I played it, the less I was happy with the MMO aspect. I'd have rather bought a Kotor 3 that had 4 player co-op. It's really not even that a good single player experience shouldn't be in an MMO.

For me, it was that Swtor felt completely barren of players after the first week. The only place I could find them was the fleet, but that's not the only place I like interacting. On top of that, the game had incredible performance-related issues (some have been patched with 1.2, I found this out on the free weekend).

Honestly, it was a pretty well put together game, I just disagree with the decision to so closely clone WoW's mechanics, but then place the players in a world that ends up feeling (with the exception of a couple of planets) like big, one way corridors.

#5 Edited by PenguinDust (12626 posts) -

@Leptok said:

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

From what I hear, the Elder Scrolls Online MMO will follow in TOR's footsteps and have a single-player story. The point is the player gets to feel like the hero even though there are thousands of others doing the same thing. There was a joke about how in Lord of the Rings Online there was a line of players leading out from Strider who would tell each one of them that they are the only one who can handle the quest. Such oversights ruin the sense of gravity to the situation. A compelling single-player storyline can keep the player interested when alone and give them a reason to continue to advance their character. Adding single-player adventures to MMOs is probably going to be a greater focus for developers in the future especially if they want to break away from the monotonous kill-fetch quest.

#6 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

The battle with Draahg and some of the Flashpoints were the only reasons why I turned to player support, but since there was a lot of content to experience in class stories and PvP, I didn't really end up doing Flashpoints at all.

#7 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@PenguinDust said:

@Leptok said:

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

From what I hear, the Elder Scrolls Online MMO will follow in TOR's footsteps and have a single-player story. The point is the player gets to feel like the hero even though there are thousands of others doing the same thing. There was a joke about how in Lord of the Rings Online there was a line of players leading out from Strider who would tell each one of them that they are the only one who can handle the quest. Such oversights ruin the sense of gravity to the situation. A compelling single-player storyline can keep the player interested when alone and give them a reason to continue to advance their character. Adding single-player adventures to MMOs is probably going to be a greater focus for developers in the future especially if they want to break away from the monotonous kill-fetch quest.

There was a similar experience in WoW involving Onyxia. When you get into Stormwind, the NPCs send out a /yell about how my character rescuing a hero and confronting the evil in the castle. Immediately after, another player got the same /yell. I never really felt like I was accomplishing anything and feeling like a hero no matter how hard I suspended my disbelief.

#8 Posted by jakob187 (21757 posts) -

@Leptok said:

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

It definitely made doing anything solo in the game drastically less boring, and the story was well-done. Meanwhile, every quest inside of other MMOs are just a window of text that I ignore, followed by fetching/killing and then turning back in.

#9 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

@Leptok said:

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

It definitely made doing anything solo in the game drastically less boring, and the story was well-done. Meanwhile, every quest inside of other MMOs are just a window of text that I ignore, followed by fetching/killing and then turning back in.

That's the one thing I give a lot of credit to SWTOR. Even though the missions tend to follow the "Go Here, Kill X" variety, the writing and presentation for these quests are so well done that instead of thinking, "Oh lord, now I need seven Tantaun tusks," I'm often thinking "Holy cow! The Republic have planted bugs in Tauntaun tusks! I must destroy them! FOR THE GLORY OF THE EMPIRE!"

#10 Edited by Encephalon (1332 posts) -

@SithLibrarian: If you're looking for a new class to try out, I would try the Imperial Agent, which is the one class quest I finished before unsubbing. It's one of the only classes without a direct analogue in the Star Wars films, which as a consequence gave the writers the most freedom, so big surprise that it's one of the best. It's also the class quest that most unabashedly embraces the Space Cold War motif.

#11 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@Encephalon said:

@SithLibrarian: If you're looking for a new class to try out, I would try the Imperial Agent, which is the one class quest I finished before unsubbing. It's one of the only classes without a direct analogue in the Star Wars films, which as a consequence gave the writers the most freedom, so big surprise that it's one of the best. It's also the class quest that most unabashedly embraces the Space Cold War motif.

Cool, thanks for the head's up! I'm also thinking of going over to the Republic and playing as a Smuggler. I heard that class story was, according to the Making Of book, in some ways based on Big Trouble In Little China.

#12 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

Yeah, I have very mixed feelings towards SWTOR. The class quests are, at times, amazing, and the Imperial Agent storyline is one of BioWare's best (I'm about halfway through the second act, and the first turns it takes are really amazing), but they are really broken up by the MMO-ness of it all. Even if I get hooked on a class quest, I can't just head straight through it, I have to pepper it out with world quests. The class quests also make grouping through the whole game near-impossible because everyone is given different goals at any given time. I think the stories in the game would just be better off if each had their own separate game built around them, as crazy as that idea sounds.

#13 Posted by EXTomar (4943 posts) -

The issue isn't that changing the presentation of story in MMOs to be like SWTOR is bad but I suspect that isn't the reason why many MMO players play MMOs. I would make the same observation if Valve announced "We think the thing lacking in Team Fortress is story". It isn't that story isn't important for a MMO but making it the focus isn't that valuable.

#14 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1539 posts) -

I really enjoyed my time with TOR and the different story lines.

#15 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@Red: I found it easy to get impatient when it came to class story missions. There were times when all I wanted to do was blitz through it just to see the story unfold, only to be too low a level for the encounter. Thus, I had to slam on the breaks and grind in order to get through it (of course, I could have tried to get help from other players, but I was stubborn about doing it on my own).

#16 Edited by Grimhild (722 posts) -

@SithLibrarian said:

@Encephalon said:

@SithLibrarian: If you're looking for a new class to try out, I would try the Imperial Agent, which is the one class quest I finished before unsubbing. It's one of the only classes without a direct analogue in the Star Wars films, which as a consequence gave the writers the most freedom, so big surprise that it's one of the best. It's also the class quest that most unabashedly embraces the Space Cold War motif.

Cool, thanks for the head's up! I'm also thinking of going over to the Republic and playing as a Smuggler. I heard that class story was, according to the Making Of book, in some ways based on Big Trouble In Little China.

Seconded. And I also blew through the Sith Warrior class first, and it 'is' one of the better ones, for better or worse. I've found that the quality of the voice actor really makes or breaks the storylines, too. I couldn't stand my jedi since you're usually forced through dialog to be the "overly zealous and naive tree-hugging jedi" or the "bratty, impatient, Anakin-esque renegade." One hang up I have with the agent storyline is that your first companion, who's name I've already forgotten, is such a tryhard, stereotypical "tough girl." She's basically the ME2 Jack for SWTOR, whom I despised. And since Jennifer Hale also voices the female Republic Commando, that storyline is uncomfortably close to a ME vibe as well. That being said, some friends and I all rolled differently spec'ed Republic Troopers and did all the missions together, which really added to the feel of a SW elite spec-ops group. Very enjoyable.

#17 Posted by librariangmr (181 posts) -

@Grimhild: Unfortunately, Nolan North isn't a big enough lure for to play a Jedi character since I don't like them and the story could potentially be a boring one. I remember trying a Commando during the beta and had the same feelings towards Jennifer Hale (having just come off from replaying Mass Effect 1 & 2 with a FemShep), but I really like yur idea of getting multiple Commandos together!

#18 Posted by Leptok (942 posts) -
@SithLibrarian

@jakob187 said:

@Leptok said:

Why bother having a single player story in an mmo? Isn't the whole point that its massively multiplayer? How come no one can crack that?

It definitely made doing anything solo in the game drastically less boring, and the story was well-done. Meanwhile, every quest inside of other MMOs are just a window of text that I ignore, followed by fetching/killing and then turning back in.

That's the one thing I give a lot of credit to SWTOR. Even though the missions tend to follow the "Go Here, Kill X" variety, the writing and presentation for these quests are so well done that instead of thinking, "Oh lord, now I need seven Tantaun tusks," I'm often thinking "Holy cow! The Republic have planted bugs in Tauntaun tusks! I must destroy them! FOR THE GLORY OF THE EMPIRE!"

Yeah, but its still crappy lore. It's still kill x and bring back quest. It's only there to keep the treadmill moving.
#19 Posted by coakroach (2492 posts) -

Glad you liked it.

Still think it was a really dumb approach to the genre.

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