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While SWTOR didn’t make a giant leap forward for MMOs it does treat us to four innovations that make the game more enjoyable.
The companion scheme in SWTOR is an innovation. It comes from BioWares’ RPG single player games, and it provides the player with incredible support. First, there are the different roles the companions play; you can have a healer, a damage dealer or a tank with you at all times. Second, the companions not being used can be sent on missions to support your crafting, or to look for presents that improve your relationship with your companions; or, in the case of slicing, to simply make you some cash. These companions do not mitigate the need for grouping with other players to do heroics, instances, and operations. You can fall in love with your companion and even marry them. Way to go BioWare!
While BioWare is not the first MMO to have story lines, they have taken these stories to new heights. Your story develops your character in ways that previously only roleplaying could. These stories make you want to level up alts just to see what their story is. It’s these stories that create the Star Wars feel in the game. Luke had his story, now you have yours.
Non-Player Character Conversations
In stead of presenting us with text boxes to tell our story BioWare brings us the art of conversation with the virtual world. Some people don’t like this and skip right over it, but the immersion that can be had from following the conversations is undeniable. The fact that you can choose how your character responds gives you control over your character’s development and makes your story more interesting.
BioWare breaks new ground in the crafting area by removing the need to spend countless hours farming for materials. Your companions can do this for you, for a price, of course, while you continue your game play. I find the crafting to be useful, something I can’t say about a lot of games. I have leveled to 400 armstech, armortech, and biotech. The arms and armor gave me better equipment then what dropped, and often better equipment than the quests rewards. Of course you can’t make end game quality armor, but you can make a suit of armor that provides a good beginning place for the end game. Kudos on the crafting BioWare.
Evolution is a slow process. Some want to see giant leaps in each new MMO that comes out, but it doesn’t work that way. Tiny steps in each new MMO are what we should expect. SWTOR takes some innovative steps that will be copied in future MMOs.
Hokey religions are no replacement for a good blaster at your side.