Eric Lim

Unsolicited commentary and thoughts

Passing on Star Wars: The Old Republic


Most people assume that I’m a WoW player, or have played WoW in the past, or in one way or the other have experienced the drug that is WoW. Luckily I’ve been smart enough to never partake, because I get the feeling that once I get a taste of its wonder I’ll be sucked in and there goes an semblance of a normal life I still have.

But then BioWare, creators of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, announce that they’re working on a new Star Wars MMORPG, and right away I’m intrigued. KOTOR and the Mass Effect games were great RPGs, and making them massively multiplayer has got to lead to nothing but awesomeness. I sign up for the beta because free is free, and then finally on Thanksgiving weekend they let me in to play.

I sink in maybe six hours the first day playing as a Jedi Knight, because really, what else would you want to be in the Star Wars universe. It’s okay, but rather…unfulfilling. Only six hours played and I already felt like I had experienced everything there was. I knew that if I kept playing I’d get a spaceship, but really, the general gameplay felt rather stale.

My second day I decide, okay, since this is just a beta and I only get to play for the weekend, I better make the most of it and try out a class that I wouldn’t really plan on playing. I go for the bounty hunter, make it a she, and just play it kinda loosey goosey to really get a feel for how it plays out.

And still…it’s not fun. I invested probably another six hours into my bounty hunter before finally stopping, and realized there was no desire for me to go back in.

A lot of the problems of the game can be summed up in this review from Shamus Young (Thanks for the link from Brad).

Let me stress, this is not hyperbole – literally, the Old Republic consists of a series of planets filled to the brim with groups of three guys standing around doing nothing.

This is dead on. I’ll come to a wide open field, and it’s just littered with enemies of groups of three standing around, waiting for me to get close and attack them. Or go around them. Is this how it is in all MMORPGs? This seems ridiculous. Why aren’t they at least walking around a bit?

I’ll admit that I had issues playing my bounty hunter. At one point I got to a quest that I couldn’t seem to beat on my own. I resorted to scouring the forums for tips on how to play the bounty hunter correctly, and there were tips on using him as a medic. A medic. Intergalactic bounty fucking hunter Boba Fett can also become an effective combat medic.

And I’m done with the game. I was trying to role play as a Bounty Hunter because I wanted to become a badass and have people fear me throughout the galaxy, not run around with a gang and tend to their wounds.

Why is the story so needlessly strung out by these mandatory side-quests – a decision that seems to exist solely because the game is an MMO and for no other reason. Why isn’t this game better?

This and exactly this. BioWare for some reason felt they needed to just…be WoW, with a Star Wars theme. That’s all this felt like to me – a generic MMORPG with Star Wars elements thrown in to please the fanboys. A lot of the times it doesn’t even feel so much like a gaming experience as much as it’s screaming at you, “This is a game, this is what you have to do, now have fun,” instead of just making experiences in the game fun.

Reviews for the game hit in December, and they seem to be glowing. Maybe I’m just missing the whole MMORPG thing and don’t “get it,” but I’m glad I got into the beta and saved myself $60 (plus the monthly subscription fee)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Filed under: Gaming Review