Friday 3 February 2012

SWTOR - A game of two halves

One of the issues that Bioware needs to deal with for SWTOR is that it is effectively 2 very different games. Firstly there’s the level process which is very much the traditional Bioware RPG, that being; fairly repetitive (but reasonably good fun) game play, which is beautifully masked by excellent story writing and an involving plot that you want to play through. Alas (and perhaps predictably) after you’ve finished that, you’ll find yourself automatically placed into the second game, which is the standard MMORPG instance farming and repetition with no real progression aside from stats and to a point, your characters appearance. The storyline is over, now kill those mobs, move out of the fire on the floor, interrupt that attack and repeat.

Now this is quite normal in MMORPGs ever since WoW cemented the modern standard. You level through quests and their storylines, then when you hit max level you then do the same dungeons over and over again until a new one is added later on. Critical I may sound, but clearly the system has proven popular, despite it’s fairly sterile and workhouse like nature. So this “levelling and end-game as two separate games” thing does hold subscribers and perhaps you could say “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. However, with SWTOR the difference between the two is far more pronounced than what we’ve seen before and it’s a lot more likely that once you’ve finished the first game, you might not be so keen on what you’re left with.

Bioware have put so much emphasis and effort into the storylines, it makes levelling a much more enjoyable process and it really does feel similar to Dragon Age and the like. Unfortunately this means when you hit end-game in SWTOR, it’s with a considerable and very noticeable BUMP. You’re dumped into “just another MMORPG” and the same old repetition we see in most other games. There is very little reason to choose to do that repetition in SWTOR instead of other games. Bioware’s primary selling point, the story, becomes completely and utterly irrelevant. I now know what happens with Darth Malgus, I don’t need to watch the same cut scenes over and over again. Doing so is not fun and it adds nothing of any merit. You might as well play RIFT or WoW, as they have the same end-game but are FAR more fleshed out when it comes to features and functionality. No light-sabres of course, but no chance of Jar Jar Binks either…

A friend of mine, who has now quit SWTOR, was expecting the game to have regular storyline content added. As in monthly updates at the least and not just a dungeon that is cleared in 1 hour. He was expecting them to have new quests, companions, etc and to see the whole plot and storyline progressing at a pace that could distract from the standard MMORPG instance farm. But instead he got daily quests and dungeons, again. To be honest this is actually not an unreasonable expectation on his behalf. Bioware has the pedigree and they’ve certainly had the cash to do this, so I would suggest that they could and should have had masses of storyline prepared and ready to be drip fed into the game post launch.

This could all be rectified, though I doubt it will. It’s more likely that we’ll just see a wide range of good, but generic post launch MMO updates. The basic features (by modern standards) that are missing will get added (guild banks, dual spec, etc) and we’ll see new instances for PvE and PvP added. The big issue there is how it will compare with what other games are offering for their end-game players. It’s not like RIFT will stop adding features to let SWTOR catch up…


  1. This is an excellent post and there is almost nothing to critique. Perhaps some recognition for the difficulty and scope of the story driven content.

  2. Sadly can only fully agree

  3. so bored of the game aswell have over 25 days played right now spread over 2 lvl 50 characters. i myself dont see any reason to keep playing anymore since ive seen everything the game has to offer and the pvp is so lackluster compared to WAR. to be honest im so close to starting WAR again. altho is anyone still playing it ? :D

    best regards chirea/graasnoulg

  4. Bulls eye Bootae!
    The questing was fun,not the normal rats/wolfs to kill. But as an PvP player must I say that PvP is mabye to most boring I ever have seen in any game.
    And still Bioware had all the money in the world to make an outstanding game.

    Now just waiting for GW2.

  5. this again cements why RIFT will still be around and relevant in 2 yrs time and SWTOR will most likely end up like SWG.


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