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> Star Wars: The Old Republic, Also known as the love child of WoW and Mass Effect
KarmaInferno
post Dec 31 2011, 06:34 AM
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So I'm in my free trial month in SWTOR and kinda having fun.

Currently leveling a lil Sith Inquisitor on the Jung Ma server. Whisper "Ayala" if you wanna chat.

If anyone's played either World of Warcraft or any other recent Bioware games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you'll see a ton of influence from both.

SWTOR borrows heavily on the game mechanics side from WoW. To be fair, WoW also borrowed from a lot of other games, so you might say that the reason Bioware adopted them for SWTOR is because, well, they work. Flight paths, skill trees, death costing money from gear repairs, mounts, 'heroic mode' content, hearthstones, etc.

From their own other RPGs, they used the social interaction system where you respond to NPCs with one of 3 choices on a wheel, usually one being "good", one being "neutral" or "sarcastic", and the third being "evil". More or less. As promised, every conversation is fully voiced, though your character is likely to repeat certain phrases quite often. I have no idea how many times my Inquisitor has uttered, "Murder and mayhem await!" in that cute British accent of hers. Because I suppose in the Star Wars universe, the British are pretty much all evil.

Bioware also uses a companion system like they do in their other games. You over time collect a half dozen or so NPCs that hang around your ship. You can only have one with you when out and about, but the others can be tasked with crafting or gathering duties while you're away. Each companion has their own likes and dislikes, and you can gain or lose affection with each depending on what you do or say. Having a companion also means that to some degree EVERY character in SWTOR is a 'pet' class, and you're really most powerful when you coordinate attacks with your companion.

All in all, so far, SWTOR doesn't stray too far from familiar MMO tropes. But that's not necessarily a bad thing - it's familiar and approachable. What SWTOR does have that most other MMOs can't even begin to approach is tons of story content. Instead of a simple quest box pop up when talking to an NPC, for example, you have a full on conversation with him. It definitely helps the immersion and makes the NPC more 'real', I guess, rather than a "click me to dispense quest" vendor machine. Each class also has an ongoing storyline that follows you pretty much your entire leveling career.

I don't know if I'll stay with the game for a long time, but its definitely got my attention for the moment.

If you wanna chat me up in-game, do be warned, Jung Ma is a RP-PVP server. There are many areas where you are force-flagged to player-vs-player mode, and you can be attacked by opposing faction folks. Just today someone ambushed me from stealth atop a river dam. Unfortunately for him, Sith Inquisitors have a shockwave-push attack that can knock opponents back several feet. So attacking one at the edge of a deep drop was probably not the wisest move my opponent could have made. I do admit to yelling "FUS RO DAH" at the screen.

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)



-k
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 2 2012, 10:03 PM
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My big question is if it is worth the time and money investment? I have wasted a lot of time in DDO without much regret because it is F2P and have bought VIP content here or there, but usually I don't bother with pay to play. The only reason I'm considering here is because.... star wars, sith, jedi, mandalorians.
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Tanegar
post Jan 3 2012, 08:44 AM
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What's the lightsaber combat like? That will be the main selling point for me, because lightsabers are the most awesome weapons ever conceived. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
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Nebular
post Jan 3 2012, 02:56 PM
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I've had it for a week and already know that I won't keep playing the game once the free month is up (up to level 35 so far thanks to having the week off). The story for the Sith Marauder is great; the voice acting, conversation system, and feel of light saber combat is really good, all of which helps set the game apart from the other MMOs. Companions are also a nice touch. One of the biggest problems is that there is very little multi-player content and zero incentive to group. I've seen a whole 3 groups during the week that I've played so far; everyone else has been running around on their own. With so much focus on story, I don't see there being any point to keep playing a character once you've reached the end of it. The people I have talked to with level 50 characters have pretty much said that once you hit 50 and the end of your story, there's really nothing left to do except run around in the small number of PVP Warzones (it's a vicious cycle of play in Warzones for better gear so you're better in Warzones). It also seems to suffer from the same old trappings of other MMOs; it's already starting to feel like a grind and I find that combat is more work than fun but I keep at it because I really want to see what happens next in the story, and the constant back-and-forth travel is getting extremely tiring.

I haven't regretted buying the game since I've really been enjoying the story, but I don't see need to keep paying for it once you're done. You could start up another character and play through their story as well, but none of the others really appeal to me and there will be a very large number of common quests that you've played at least once before which don't change based on your class.
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 3 2012, 03:00 PM
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Is there any content really focused on mandalorians? Their culture has always been really cool to me and I think they've been severely underused in the games. KoTOR came closest to what I want to see but I really do want to be a part of one of the clans, selling my expertise to sith, jedi, or whomever else I please. I think they could make an interesting basis for a third faction like in the old miniatures game, where fringers existed as a nice wild card and most of the best fringers were mando'ad.
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Nebular
post Jan 3 2012, 04:21 PM
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There might be more content on the Maldalorians if you're playing a Bouty Hunter or Smuggler, but I've only played with the Sith Marauder (and the Inquisitor in the beta). There have been a few missions that deal with the Mandalorians but they're few and far between. None of them really delved into any of their history or given them much depth though. It's been more of a "I'm a Mandalorian so I'm tough, grr, battle!" sort of thing. There was one very small chain that had me deal with them, though the only part I remember from it was essentially "Lots of our tough Mandalorian friends have tried this and died, so you have no hope of surviving." Do the easy task. "Holy crap, you came back alive!". Unfortunately they haven't been used as much as they could have been, and most of the stuff that I've seen them in hasn't been particularly memorable.
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Fyndhal
post Jan 3 2012, 07:12 PM
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Wow, what a vacation. I spent the last 10 days or so immersed in Star Wars: The Old Republic. What have I accomplished?

Level 40 Juggernaut
Level 20 or 21 Marauder
Level 22 Sorcerer
Level 13 Sniper
Level 12 Bounty Hunter (no advance class chosen yet)

I'm nearly capped out in Cybertech, Underworld and Scavenging on the Juggernaut, which has come in incredibly handy -- she manages to mostly keep myself, my wife and all our alts Mods and Armor mods up to date.

My Juggernaut is Tank spec, and I've focused my gear towards +Endurance, +Defense, +Shield and +Absorption in that order. That gives me slightly less than 10k health at level 40, Armor mitigation of around 41%, Defense around 22%, Shield Chance around 26% and Shield Absorption around 27%. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Even with that, I end most fights around around half health solo. I rely heavily on companions for DPS. Of course, we *can* do Heroic 4's (if we're patient) as a duo, so perhaps my thoughts are skewed.

She has 6 companions! There's the starting companion who is DPS, the ship droid who *can* heal, but I never take him out due to stupid AI tricks, there's my Healer pet, a Sith assassin, a Trooper (well, Bounty Hunter, but his backstory isn't that...just his skills) and finally, a melee Tank (similar to Khem Val.) Rumor has it that it may be possible to get a 7th companion, but honestly, I rarely use half the ones I already have!

To answer a common question:
Armor with slots are all created equal, if they are of the same type. The Armoring Mod has an Armor value, which is multiplied times the Armor Type mod (I haven't done the math to figure out the number yet...I haven't been rich enough to experiment with it!) --the armor I got from Black Talon at level 12 is still better than most of the drops I see at level 40, because I've been keeping the slots up to date. The same thing applies to weapons: Hilt upgrades determine the Max/Min damage of melee weapons, while Barrels do the same for Ranged.
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KarmaInferno
post Jan 3 2012, 10:26 PM
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One thing so far that has kinda disappointing me is that the spaceship combat is not free-roaming. The only times you really control your ship is in the various set battlefields, and even then it's on rails - you can move your ship around the screen a bit but the overall direction you travel is scripted. Other than that the only times you see your ship are when it's parked in a hanger and cutscenes of it taking off or landing. You can roam about inside the ship though, which is nifty.

QUOTE (Tanegar @ Jan 3 2012, 03:44 AM) *
What's the lightsaber combat like? That will be the main selling point for me, because lightsabers are the most awesome weapons ever conceived. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

The saber combat is pretty cinematic. There are two saber-users in each faction, a melee-focused class and a ranged class. The melee saber classes builds up energy points with certain moves, which can be expended for other specialized power attacks. The ranged classes use a mana-style diminishing bar, starting full and reducing as they activate abilities. If you have a saber equipped you will also automatically attempt to deflect blaster bolts and saber strikes.

The ranged Jedi Counselor and Sith Inquisitor really only have a handful of saber attacks, mostly going for ranged strikes like telekinetic debris storms or lightning bolts.

For the melee focused Jedi Guardian and Sith Warrior, the various Saber Stances like Shii-Cho are there, and each gives various bonuses and penalties. My Jedi has this nifty leap-into-combat move that builds just enough energy to immediately expend on unleashing a second shockwave attack that can stun targets in a small area.

Really, I could type about each kind of attack, but that really doesn't capture the feel of combat, so I'll let Bioware tell you about combat in SWTOR.

I will say that as a Teen rated game, there are no decapitations or dismemberments or really much blood at all, so there is a bit of dissonance in seeing the sabers pass through a target's torso and getting a numerical damage readout instead of seeing him get cut in half. But at least they put in glowing burn trails where sabers cut, even if it's just a surface graphic.

QUOTE (Sixgun_Sage @ Jan 3 2012, 10:00 AM) *
Is there any content really focused on mandalorians? Their culture has always been really cool to me and I think they've been severely underused in the games. KoTOR came closest to what I want to see but I really do want to be a part of one of the clans, selling my expertise to sith, jedi, or whomever else I please. I think they could make an interesting basis for a third faction like in the old miniatures game, where fringers existed as a nice wild card and most of the best fringers were mando'ad.

The Bounty Hunter first story arc focuses mainly about your character competing in the Mandalorian Great Hunt, which I haven't finished yet but so far has been pretty fun. The game specifically does NOT force Bounty Hunters to become Mando'a, but it's an option.

On my Inquisitor, I run into Mandalorian NPCs in both allied and adversarial roles. The Mandos might technically be allied right now with the Empire, but the game makes it very clear that they're still an independent bunch.

In short, they're really all over the place, and are done in the same general style as they have been presented in the Expanded Universe novels. A proud, aggressive warrior clan who take mercenary jobs to pay the bills sometimes but really are in it for the challenge.



-k
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 4 2012, 07:03 PM
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I might have to at least try the game out then, KI, thanks. Looking at the site I had hoped that they gave something like a melee focused specialization so I could be a mando blademaster, but merc looks close enough for my tastes.
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Tanegar
post Jan 4 2012, 07:36 PM
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I'm thinking Vigilance-oriented Jedi Guardian and/or Vengeance-oriented Sith Juggernaut. No effeminate dual-wielding or double-bladed sabers for me, thank you, I prefer the elegance of a single blade.
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X-Kalibur
post Jan 6 2012, 09:24 PM
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Hey Karma, I think I've gunned you down once or twice. Do you play in the warzones very often? If you ever see a Gunslinger named Cassidy sitting back and gunning folk down, that'd be me.

/50 gunslinger
//400 expertise, I keep getting doubles on PvP gear tokens.
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Jhaiisiin
post Jan 7 2012, 04:27 AM
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My best friend is playing the game, and remarked that he kept forgetting the mandalorians were mandalorians because they didn't speak with an Australian accent.
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CanRay
post Jan 7 2012, 03:10 PM
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You mean a New Zealand accent, right? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

He's a Māori, don't mess with those people!
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Sixgun_Sage
post Jan 7 2012, 04:10 PM
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QUOTE (CanRay @ Jan 7 2012, 10:10 AM) *
You mean a New Zealand accent, right? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

He's a Māori, don't mess with those people!


It's fine to mess with them, just make sure you have someone with sights on'em when you do.
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Thanee
post Jan 19 2012, 10:18 AM
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QUOTE (Tanegar @ Jan 4 2012, 08:36 PM) *
I'm thinking Vigilance-oriented Jedi Guardian and/or Vengeance-oriented Sith Juggernaut. No effeminate dual-wielding or double-bladed sabers for me, thank you, I prefer the elegance of a single blade.


Totally agree with you there! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

The double lightsabers are barely tolerable, but dual lightsabers are just stupid. Though, admittedly, it does look kinda cool in the trailer (but he doesn't run around that way all the time there). (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

I'm still playing my first character (Jedi Sage Seer, currently level 47). Next will likely be a Vanguard.

If I ever play a Jedi Knight (surely the last of the four Republic classes for me), it will definitely be a Guardian.

Bye
Thanee
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CanRay
post Jan 19 2012, 02:03 PM
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If I ever get online, I want to make me a nice gunslinger... Get a Corellian Freighter and just fly around the galaxy, shooting the hell out of anyone that gets in my way.
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Thanee
post Jan 19 2012, 05:10 PM
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Heh. I suppose the Smuggler ship is a freighter. Havn't played one yet, and you do not get to see the other player's ships (though there are probably more than enough pics and vids on the web).

But it's quite nice, that there are also Space Missions, where you control your ship and fight Empire Interceptors and Frigates (think small Star Destroyers).

Gunslingers get some really nice outfits, too. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Bye
Thanee
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CanRay
post Jan 19 2012, 06:22 PM
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I've seen all the ships from the website. I like them.
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KarmaInferno
post Jan 19 2012, 08:51 PM
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There been a lot of speculation about the Legacy system in the game.

Currently, the only obvious effect is that when you finish your first class story arc, you get a surname that can be used on all your characters. You also start earning Legacy XP, every character adding to this pool.

Bioware has been kinda close-mouthed about future uses, but it's possible that the system will unlock stuff like additional races, classes, etc.

Pro tip for world PvP: if you need to wait for something like an elevator, don't stand too close to the edge or near similar hazards.

Especially if you just team-ganked a member of the opposing faction nearby and clearly forgot characters can ressurect in-place, with a brief period of invisibility that they can use to walk up behind you unseen. Several classes in SWTOR get an area-effect knockback attack, you see...


-k
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Thanee
post Jan 24 2012, 12:42 PM
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Heh. That is helpful in some Flashpoints, too, where opponents have knockback abilities and the battle is close to an edge with a long way down. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Bye
Thanee
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Tanegar
post Mar 18 2012, 08:06 AM
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OK, I lied. I've been playing the weekend pass free trial as a Jedi knight, and when I got to the point of choosing an advanced class I went with the dual-wielding Sentinel. Big damage seemed like more fun than big tanking.
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Shortstraw
post Mar 18 2012, 09:07 AM
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QUOTE (Tanegar @ Jan 3 2012, 06:44 PM) *
What's the lightsaber combat like? That will be the main selling point for me, because lightsabers are the most awesome weapons ever conceived. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.


Blue Peacock wins hands down.
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Thanee
post Mar 18 2012, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (Tanegar @ Mar 18 2012, 09:06 AM) *
OK, I lied. I've been playing the weekend pass free trial as a Jedi knight, and when I got to the point of choosing an advanced class I went with the dual-wielding Sentinel. Big damage seemed like more fun than big tanking.


To be fair, you can also play the Jedi Guardian as a damage dealer class. You don't have to be a tank. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

But, the Sentinel is really good as a melee damage dealer.

Bye
Thanee
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Chinane
post Mar 19 2012, 02:44 PM
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QUOTE (Nebular @ Jan 3 2012, 03:56 PM) *
One of the biggest problems is that there is very little multi-player content and zero incentive to group. I've seen a whole 3 groups during the week that I've played so far; everyone else has been running around on their own.


Grouping gives more exp per player for the same stuff, which is also easier due to more prople doing it. I call that SOME incentive.
The main problem is that most people are coming from WoW where it's the other way around and never questioned their habitual 'truths'.


That said, i'm still undecided wether the game is worth a subscription, as things get more tedious and grindy the further one progresses.
I had to end after my 'free' (as in paid via the game price, i.e. not free) month due to life happening - specifically NEW life (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) - and am currently debating if it's worth renewing to see the remainder of my classes' stories unfold, now that things have settled down at home.

One of my main gripes with the game is that while it's pretty much a straightforward copy of WoW in many aspects, core developments in said blueprint were ignored.
For example keeping a skill rank system is IMO an extremely bad idea after your main competitor did away with them years ago. Also their version of phasing (curtains limiting travel) is way inferior from WoW's.
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JonathanC
post Mar 20 2012, 04:03 PM
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I played SWTOR at launch, and even was the leader of a pre-launch guild. I quit after two months (one free, one paid) due to a combination of circumstances and game stuff.


First, let me say this: leveling your first character to 50 in this game is awesome. It can easily be done within the free month included with the game, and is an experience comparable with a single-player game. The stories are engaging, though some more than others. The Imperial side has, overall, slightly better writing, but once you're off the starter worlds things start to come together. I played an Imperial Agent. I absolutely loved Chapter 1, kind of hated chapter 2, and chapters 3 & 4 were well done, but left the character in a place I wasn't entirely happy with, but I suppose that's because I started to really care about the character, which speaks well of the writing.

The people who were co-leading the guild with me mostly started to peter out due to RL issues, and my own irritation with certain aspects of the game led to me spending less time online...unfortunately, that's enough to kill a young guild, and seeing the writing on the wall I cancelled my sub and the guild disbanded.


The Good:
- Class stories, especially the first chapters, which are pretty epic. The Jedi have the worst starting planet in the game (IMO), but Ord Mantell, the starting planet for Smugglers/Troopers, kind of makes up for it.
- The PVP modes are pretty well-designed. Some people hate Huttball, but I really enjoyed it. Voidstar is pretty underrated. Alderaan is really just the standard capture point mode.
- The space missions are a nice diversion; it's like getting a free Star Fox clone with your MMO.

The Bad:
- Endgame is poorly designed, IMO. The gear progression is problematic, because while you *want* to be doing hard-mode flashpoints and raids, to get what you need to do those things you have to grind daily quests in one of two places (Ilum and Belsavis), and neither one of those places is particularly fun. In WoW, at least, you could grind for emblems in a variety of instances, and get to practice your grouping skills at the same time.
- UI design is a problem, but a subtle one. You'll mainly notice it when trying to use the Galactic Marketplace (Auction House), or if you get lost on a map.
- Crafting is of dubious long-term use. Some crafts are very useful while leveling, but once you hit endgame none of the stuff you can make is of much use, and discovering better patterns requires you to either "disenchant" your own crafted gear endlessly, or (I think) picking up patterns as raid drops. Because of this, the Auction House saw limited use when I played, and it was hard to find stuff there.

Some of these problems were scheduled for fixes as of the time that I left the game; perhaps some of these gripes are out of date by now. It's a good game overall, and I still have it installed on my PC. Having hit 50 on the Imperial side I'd love to give Republic a try, but I don't really like playing MMO's alone. If anyone here wants to start up a Republic-side guild, I'd happily give it another go, since the big content patch that they were promising in February should be out by now.
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