Me, my lightsaber, and my non-furry ugly companion who always wants to eat me.
Star Wars…with no Jar Jar…and pretty attractive 50′s pinups for the female toons makes for a pretty compelling start to “The Old Republic” MMO set to officially launch tonight. I happened to pre-order the game and got my early access invite on Dec. 14, but unfortunately haven’t been able to play it as quite as much as I had hoped. I have my two night committment to my raid team, and this week the family has had quite a few holiday and school activities.
That said, I did start a Sith Inquisitor (named Sihx on Keller’s Void) and have leveled him to 13 as of 6 hours prior to the official launch. My early impressions of the game are good. The quest dialogue has been superb, and graphics are very good, and the combat style is fluid. I acquired my first companion at level 9 (ugly SOB, btw), and fully functioning lightsaber, and left Korriban at 10. Many of my guildies have already unlocked their starship and droid, but I’ll have to get those later.
I also participated in my first flashpoint with 3 other guildies. It was very engaging, and I like the group dynamic where we each get to choose what we want on the dialogue wheel, and the most popular choice is what the group selects as a whole. Speaking of the dialogue wheel (or “choose your own adventure”), I’ve been trying to go fully dark side with my choices, but sometimes I fly through the quest text a little too fast and have found myself acquiring light side points from time to time.
Quests have not been quite as numerous and grouped as I would like them. I’ve found myself running for 3-5 minutes to a quest objective just to complete it and turn around and run back that same distance to the NPC who assigned it to me, then just as far in another direction to accomplish something else. I like exploration, but I’m surprised there aren’t more quests available. It seems like I only have 2-3 “active” in the same map at the same time. Leveling has been a little slower than I anticipated, although I’m used to the rapid leveling in WoW with heirlooms, recruit-a-friend, dual boxing, and leveling guides and addons. I remember vanilla WoW leveling being quite tedious and lengthy.
I'm on a speeder! Where's my flippy-flops?
I have encountered a few bugs. Once my force lightning kept arcing continuously from me to a dead mob for more than 30 seconds, even after I engaged a new mob. I’ve seen this happen with a bounty hunter in a group as well (although his blasters were what were continuously shooting). Back on Korriban, I also had a quest that I had already turned in still show up as being active on the NPC on the map. Other than that, it’s been smooth.
Long-term I’m concerned about replayability. I know there are choices in the game which can direct players down different paths, but the starting areas won’t change much based on those choices. Also, the server queues have been a little long during early access. Considering the flood gates will open in a day or two, I anticipate queues of more than an hour for the first few months. This does not fit in with my schedule of limited playing time. I have short and infrequent windows that often can’t allow a wait.
End-game raiding is another concern of mine. I really do like the current tier 13 raiding in WoW, and my team. I’m not sure if I will get into raiding in SWTOR, as I can’t raid more than I already do in WoW, therefore one would have to drop. At least this is a couple of months away.
Alright, back to squeeze out another level or two before they shut down the servers in preparation for launch. Then let the queues really begin?!