Monday, November 14, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Test Weekend Review

SWTOR is an MMO.  SWTOR does a few things really well.  SWTOR does a few things not so well.  SWTOR will cut significantly into WoW's player base (probably for 6-months to a year).  SWTOR will not kill WoW, despite WoW losing subscriptions at a rate slightly below light speed.

The Good:
Character creation is fun.  The images are crisp and clean.  The classes are well differentiated.  The visuals are nice and some of the zones are quite impressive in scope and design.  The interface is solid and the controls respond rapidly and effectively.  Making decisions based on light/dark/neutral outcomes and how your crew responds to them is fun.

The Bad:
Just as with the Conan MMO, all the races have the same 4 basic physical structures, so the only real difference is cosmetics - horns, headtails, veils, cybernetic parts, hair styles, eye color, etc.  There is a ton of clipping on all kinds of things unless your video settings are tweaked perfectly to your video card and monitor.  The AI on some of the monsters moves them to directly behind you, then your AI spins you around to face them without spinning the camera view if you are in 3rd-person - annoying.  After coming back from a cut scene, the camera angle was often changed and wouldn't immediately respond once movement started.  No "meeting stones" or automated grouping features for the Heroic Challenges - yes, WoW's addition of that was a good thing for those of us who don't have 100's or 1000's of friends playing.  Some of the areas are to large for their own good, especially the space stations - there's no need to run for 5 minutes between skills, trainers and the space dock.

The Conclusion:
I'm 50/50 on becoming a SWTOR subscriber.  While playing it, I was really enjoying the story lines and looking forward to fights and making light/dark/neutral decisions.  Once I walked away from the computer, I didn't feel a need to get back to it as soon as possible.  Possibly because it was a beta test and I knew that nothing I did this weekend would matter and possibly because I'm a cheapskate and the idea of adding a monthly subscription (even if it is every 6 months) kinda bothers me.

So, I give Star Wars: The Old Republic (Beta Weekend) 6/10 lightsabers.  They have a lot to do in the 1 month and 6 days until release.

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