Thursday, 16 February 2012

SWTOR - Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

I have cancelled my SWTOR sub. Yeah, I know I recently said I wouldn't be just yet, but meh... It turns out my original prediction of "It will probably keep me entertained for a month or two" was correct. So really it’s no big surprise that I’ve called it a day, but I shall now have a TLDR style ramble about why I've lost interest:

Firstly all the things that my "a game of two halves" post talked about. Getting to 50 was great and was possibly the best PvE levelling experience to date, but once at 50 it all just reverts to standard MMO farming and the entertainment provided by the storyline progression is gone. This was always a concern for me and was one of the reasons I suspected I would only get a couple of months out of SWTOR. Now that I’ve hit 50 and the storylines are all done… Well, I’m just not interested in repetitive daily missions and PvE instance farming to boost some stats by a few percent. I can sometimes be a little more motivated if the gear upgrades looks good, but the end game armour sets for my Sith Inquisitor are some of the worst art design yet seen in a MMO.

So knowing the PvE farm wasn’t for me, I went into SWTOR thinking the one thing that might keep me entertained, at least a little bit longer, would be the PvP and the Ilum open world campaign zone. If Ilum was even close to being as good as WAR’s Praag zone used to be, then I could easily have subbed for a while just for that. Unfortunately it's not good, in fact it's utterly shite. Everyone from Mythic who worked on SWTOR should be feeling a bit embarrassed. They didn't learn a single thing from WAR and actually launched a RvR zone that quite simply does not work and takes massive backward steps in RvR design. The much lauded walkers and artillery seen in videos of the zone are nothing more than stationery graphical fluff that do NOTHING and essentially the zone’s objectives are nothing more than flags to click on. A bit like WAR’s objectives but without the guards, resource carriers, etc, or the end result of a keep to attack… Basically, it’s a beautiful looking zone without anything of any interest to do.

The only purpose of the Ilum zone seems to be to complete the daily mission, which funnels everyone to the central objective and makes a mockery of about 95% of the landscape. However, worse than that, this is with a game engine that cannot cope with more than a handful of players in the zone. SWTOR’s performance is TERRIBLE in Ilum. As a result of this combined with the huge faction imbalance, Ilum is often completely empty. Of course it does have moments of activity, but that tends to be 5 Republic players veruse 30 Imperials… Which leads me neatly to my next big issue; factions and balance.

Come on, you didn’t think I’m going to miss a chance to rag on yet more 2 faction stupidity? :D SWTOR could easily have had 3 factions, those being: Imperial, Republic and Hutts. Classes for Imperial and republic are easy to do obviously, but so are the Hutts and their criminal organisations. Bounty Hunters, Smugglers, Slavers and all manner of scumbags could and should have been a third faction. This would have given the game much more of a chance to succeed on the PvP front and would have provided a very interesting different look at the Star Wars universe. However, Bioware went with the easy route, did a Warcraft and 2 factions it is. This could have been ok, after all PvE is the game’s main focus, yet they totally screwed up on making the Republic desirable to play.

All of the Empire classes are linked immediately to cool characters; Darth Vader, Darth Maul, The Emperor and Boba Fett. Whereas the Republic only have; Han Solo and the clone trooper (which sure aint no Stormtrooper and spends the first 15 levels walking round in a shirt that looks like it comes from An Officer and a Gentleman). The problem with the Jedi classes is they don’t naturally link to the interesting version of Obi-wan from the proper Star Wars films, instead they’ve been tainted by the hideous prequel films. They’ve been turned into uninteresting, wet, simpering idealists that hang around with Jar Jar fucking Binks and don’t have the sense to ram their lightsaber up his arse. The prequels made Jedi Knights boring. That’s unavoidable, the prequels did what they did, but Bioware could have made them more interesting with better alien options. In fact more than anything the Republic faction should have had some kind of tough guy class with playable Wookies as an option, something to give the faction a bit more oomph and bad-ass appeal. Instead we are left with an incredibly dull, uninspiring and desperately unpopulated faction. The effect on PvE is limited, but it totally screws over openworld and instanced PvP.

Having the Huttball warzone (instanced PvP scenario/battleground) allow same faction versus matches is a good idea. A good idea that falls apart when that is all you get. As an Empire player I am so bored of Huttball. I AM SO BLOODY BORED OF HUTBALL!!! I like the other warzones, but they just don’t happen much. SWTOR PvP is boring, simple as that.

So I’m at level 50. I’ve got fully purpled up gear. I’ve got my purple glowing lightsaber. I’ve got enough PvP gear and skill to compete comfortably. I’ve cleared all the PvE instances except one. I’ve run out of storylines and have no further progression possible except for slight stat improvements with hideous looking armour. There’s no openworld PvP and the RvR zone is broken beyond repair. Basically, I’ve got nothing interesting left to do, except play something else.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the game at all and actually I would honestly still recommend people play SWTOR. But exactly as many of us have been saying throughout its development, play SWTOR with the expectation of a Bioware single player game. Albeit one that has about a month’s worth of multiplayer PvE to complete once you’re max level. Do not expect a long term PvE or PvP subscription love affair, just go out there enjoy it’s excellent levelling experience and be ready to move on.


  1. I think maybe you are being a little hard on the people from Warhammer team working on that project.

    I think it's worth remembering that they wouldn't have gone into SWTOR with the best reputations, beyond being extra grunts on the ground. So no matter how valuable the experience gained in Warhammer, if no ones going to listen to you, then you might as well blow smoke signals out your ass.

    Still, maybe DAOC 2 :)

  2. spot on, boss man. The problem with the end game content isn't so much that it isn't there. It is that it feels like it wasn't really thought out and just slapped together from random ideas picked out of the 'what do other games do'-box

  3. Skar, normally I wouldn't be so harsh on them, however I don't think you're right. You've got Jeff Hickman as Executive Producer for Live services, so surely his word had some impact. Plus if Mythic people's input wasn't valued, then Bioware shouldn't have ever mentioned having the WAR people's expertise as a positive thing for Ilum and PvP. Or maybe not poached them and fucked over WAR in the first place.

    Though the Ilum disaster is of course not down to the Mythic guys (they should just have known better), it's everyone involved that needs their head examining.

    I'll be amazed if DAoC 2 ever happens. I don't think EA/Bioware have the balls to do it and to be fair, it is probably considered a financial risk to make a game that isn't a copy of either WoW or LoL,

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  4. I didn't realise that they had been pushing the Warhammer angle. I had just "Ass"umed that they needed more bodies on the ground.

    I agree about DAOC 2, it's unlikely to happen and I would be concerned about them dumbing it down so it was more like the warhammer combat than DAOC combat. e.g. it's all about the cool down timer.

    PS - Why do I have such a hard time publishing a comment aaaarrrgghhh.


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Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.