Star Wars: The Old Republic – What’s In Store?
Present at this year’s E3 press conference, and not to be overlooked, was of course Star Wars: The Old Republic. Released 20th of December 2011, the highly anticipated MMORPG attracted a vast number of players, giving the game a flying start, but after a few months, the players slowly started to disappear again.
The developers behind the game, BioWare, LucasArts and Electronic Arts, have since worked hard trying to keep what players remain and to get the rest and more back into the fold with frequent patches, adding of new and innovative game content such as the extended Legacy system and free trials to be available every weekend.
As a previous SWTOR-player myself, I have caught myself starting to get half-tempted to rejoin the game. The developers are throwing us more than a bone in their desperation, and it seems like they are working towards making the game feel less “vanilla” by adding for instance a Group Finder, as we know it from World of Warcraft, in soon to be released patch 1.3.
Many players, myself included, have been annoyed with exactly the lack of “luxury” that we know from an old and experienced dog as WoW, which not only makes it easy to find and form effective groups, but also has a highly developed guild system, where you work together towards levelling your guild and earn rewards. The sense of community has somewhat been lacking in SWTOR so far, making one wonder what the point is in switching from an old MMO where beginner mistakes are long gone, to an MMO, where basic things as forming groups and levelling professions seem to be more tedious.
Something else that seems to have been bothering many players is the lack of music. Music seems to randomly start and stop, and it has in several cases not worked as intended – for instance, when engaging a boss, players have experienced that the boss music doesn’t start until halfway into the fight. And running around questing or grinding in otherwise very beautiful scenarios, has proved to be a bit of a bore in complete silence, if you, like me, enjoy listening to the music of the game to get into the mood and spirit of it and feel a sense of belonging, as great game soundtracks often can help with. To me, the music of Stormwind city in World of Warcraft is the sound of home. That’s what I would like to experience in SWTOR.
Of course, SWTOR has benefits that WoW doesn’t, such as voiced NPCs and characters, companions and your very own starship, and it is not completely fair to compare the two games, as WoW has been in the game for years, and SWTOR is an almost complete newcomer. But many players of SWTOR seem to come from other MMOs, and the fact is, that MMOs are not really a new genre any more, and by now basic things should be implemented from the start and work – even in a new game.
If, however, it happens, and it seems to be happening, that SWTOR succeeds in correcting and adding content to fit the demands of experienced MMO-players that otherwise won’t stick around, then it might actually stand a chance at competing against an MMOs such as WoW. After all, and as said before, SWTOR has already implemented unique and interesting features such as the Legacy system, and the game in general is just very well-made and thought through with great love for the little details and an ability to stay true to and even develop the amazing universe of Star Wars. You feel exactly as badass as Han Solo playing the smuggler character, you can style your female character’s hair exactly like princess Leia’s, and you can force choke whoever you like as a Sith. Let’s just get those basic things fixed.
At E3, SWTOR lifted the veil a little further for what lies in store for the game in the future. See and judge for yourself, if this game has the potential to flourish into a grand MMO able to give a game as WoW some competition, or if BioWare, LucasArts and EA are just grasping at straws in their desperation towards attracting more players:
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