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Star Wars: The Old Republic
Core I-7 (930) Overlocked 3.3 Ghz
12 Gigs of Ram
Geforce GTX 460 Vid Card (1 gig)
The game ran very well on my computer, and I had no video lag at all except when the client was streaming data to me. The world was nice looking, and felt epic because it was so large. The planets have a feel about them, and it allows you to experience the game while feeling like a real part of the Star Wars setting.
The storyline is very interesting, and I felt like I was rising in power within the Sith Academy. They do a good job of making you feel like a worm, and then thrive as you rise in power to throw off the shackles of apprenticeship. As you progress through the story line, the choices you make matter..........so choose wisely.
Characters feel powerful at low levels, and have a variety of interesting moves. In other games a rat, frog, bug, etc is kicking your butt at level 1 and make you feel wimpy. TOR has the newbie feeling powerful from the start, and that is a good thing. Running around wasting time going from point to point appears minimized in this game.
The PVP instanced Warfronts are fun to play, and should provide countless hours of entertainment by themselves.
Personal ships are pure awesome!
Overall the game starts you out well, and sets you up for future character development.
The UI seems to be fairly limiting compared to other games.
PVP does not appear to have a point in this game other than as a temporary change of pace.
There are tons of boxes, crates, etc lying around the zones and within the tombs. If would be nice if there was some random treasure, as well as a random mob, that could pop out of them.
The recall to your local bind point feels too long (30 minutes!!!), and should be no more than 10 minutes.
8 out of 10 Overall Rating on the Hades grading system.
Sith Empire Classes
The Sith Warrior is the tank of the Sith side. The class does feel durable, well situated for mob damage, and has a variety of attacks in the lowbie evels. The class uses rage as a buildup to open up other abilities, and the use of those abilities lowers rage. All in all, anyone who's played a tank in any game since Dark Age of Camelot would feel right at home. A Sith Warrior can be spec'd and geared for damage burst, an endurance warrior with low to moderate damage, or some hybrid. This will all depend on gear, and other abilites available to the class that may be put in later." - Hades
This class is a little different than others I've played in the past, but the SI is the SWTOR equivalent of a wizard/mage class. The difference of course is that the SI can stand toe to toe(for a short while) and melee while firing off magical attacks. In previous MMO's a wizard that doesn't kite is dead meat in about 2 seconds. The SI is fun and exciting to play, and it is certainly a class you will want in your group. The SI can DPS, Heal, or be a hybrid that is very effective." - Hades
Bounty Hunter is a unique and fun class to play. It offers the best in Tanking, DPS, and Healing. From a MMO comparable standpoint, it matches up to perhaps a Paladin in WOW with the ability to use heavy armor. The Bounty Hunter uses a heating mechanism to control and use its array of skills. In order to use a multitude of skills the BH must make sure it does not overheat. Overheating decreases the use of such skills until cooling has taken place. From a skill set arsenal, the BH is an area dps lovers dream offering a number of skills that wreak havoc on multiple targets. The Mercenary BH can be spec'd to be a high damage AOE or hybrid healer and is a very enjoyable class to play." - Perseus
Imperial Agent can do good DPS as a Sniper using range and cover to destroy opponents. The Sniper is the typical stealth, ambush, and assassinaion type class that uses shields and cover in the course of combat. Overall they play a lot like rogues or other stealth classes in games past. The Operative is a DPS/Healing type class that is basically a slight variation, much squishier of course, of the Bounty Hunter Mercenary type gameplay. - Hades
PvE - Story Based Leveling, Heroic Quests, Flashpoints, and Operations
-TOR features a standard leveling system, and with new powers or abilities gained every two levels or so. There are other things to look forward to each level other than just new powers because there are all sorts of cool items or gear that open up at levels where you don't get a character power. What stands out in TOR is that each class has it's own storyline to follow while leveling.
-The early levels of TOR did not feel like a grind at all. Objectives are easy to find, finish, and there are extra bonuses here and there.
-There are different types of PVE and PVP content that you can do so that you are not always quest chaining, and some of the story arc missions are very entertaining.
Companions are like player pets that help you through questing and add to your personal story. Two awesome new features with companions are that you can send them off to sell trash from your inventory (saving you a trip to a vendor) and you have them craft (Crew Skills) for you through missions.
The official SWTOR site does a good job of giving you an overview of each one so just check out those links.
[*]Max Level, time required to reach:
-Perception appears acceptable, even to a casual gamer.
-15 hours a week = 1.5 months to max level (tops)
-Rolling Alts will be fun in this game as well! The leveling feels very painless compared to the MMO's of recent years. Maybe it feels that way is because of all the different types of PVP and PVE options that are available for character progression.
Heroic quests are full of trash mobs, but the quest rewards are decent enough to do them. These quests require groups of 2-4 players. If you can find a group they are certainly worth doing, and once you get the right companion (tank, healer, or dps) you can easily do the 2 man Heroics with just you and your companion.
There are semi-epic instances called Flashpoints that are fun to do, give good gear, and about half of them require a full group to complete. Flashpoints are available at different level ranges 1-50. Each will have a level 50 hard mode version. I did the flashpoints into the level 30's range, and they were all very interesting from an SWTOR Lore point of view as well as being pretty action packed. Some of the earlier flashpoints can be done in a 2 man, and the others in each series generally require a real 4 man group to complete.
Since MMORPG.com doesn't allow Youtube or video embedding, all I can really do here is link back to the site overview.
Operations are the raids of The Old Republic, and they require groups of either 8 or 16 players. I haven't had time to get everyone together for one of these because we usually get wiped before level 50, but I imagine they will play like most other MMO raid content. The link is to a Youtube video the Bioware did showing some gameplay of one of the epic instances.
[*]Gear and Itemization:
Armor and itemization seems varied, and other items may be obtained by quests or through NPC merchants. There does seem to be a good initial variety in order to let a player optimize their character towards their preferred playstyle. Early level itemization appears balanced, and does not appear to skew too high or too low. If this holds true throughout the game, then people should not be turned down for groups or raids simply due to gear.
The frequency of itemization seems to vary from patch to patch. In some patches we have awesome drops a plenty, and in other patches the world drops go so slow that I get more stuff from quest rewards. As I've said earlier the best way to go about getting gear is to do the Heroics and Flashpoints as often as possible.
Player crafting does not really compete with the high level gear rewards, but they can produce enhancements and other things that are useful.
PVP gear, at low levels, only seems to be random draw lockboxes. That is unortunate because previous patches had some very good low level PVP gear, and I'd love to see that make a come back.
[*]Estimated playtime needed for casual and hardcore:
Hardcore: They will always plow through the content so no need to estimate a time
Casual: take your time, enjoy the game
The early game seems to be very casual friendly, and casual friendly games result in heavily populated servers. In my opinion the game should be targeted towards casual players for the most part, and then certain non mandatory content be added in to appease the hardcore gamers as they chew through the content.
Unlike other modern games that provide a way to sidekick up or down with your higher or lower level friends, SWTOR is one of those games that punishes you for being too much higher or lower than your friends. About the only benefit from having a higher or lower level person along is the end of the quest XP and item rewards.
[*]Fighting System/Combat Mechanics:
Typical MMO button mashing, but with more options available to you in the early levels than most other MMO's offer. Like some previous games, TOR features some skills or abilities that require a power up or specific situation in order to execute them. This is good because it prevents spam attacks by skills that may be overpowered otherwise, and it provides for a certain level of tactical combat to occurr. The user simply can't snooze through auto attacks nor are they in a situation where they just press 1111222111 all the time to win.
I am not impressed with the guild mechanics at all. Warhammer Online has more guild mechanics than SWTOR. Rift had better guild mechanics than SWTOR. In SWTOR, I feel like guild mechanics have taken a giant leap back to 2002 era MMO's.
In SWTOR you are a guild tag, and a guild roster. You don't get any perks, no emblem, nothing. This is a major NO NO for a high end title with a high end IP. Guildmasters everywhere are going to howl with disappointment over the lack of options in SWTOR, and I imagine it will be quite a while before anything worthwhile is patched into the game.
Starships are used as player housing in TOR. You have access to your cargo hold (bank), are able to interact with your companions, and get new quests. Space missions are also available. Your starship is also your means of travel from planet to planet. This is an awesome feature that gives players their own "home" and adds to the depth of their story.
You can invite a few friends into your starship, and there are vendors in the game where you can buy ship upgrades. My only disappointment here goes back to the guild perk thing in that there are no guild starships. If there were, I'd love to have something like an Imperial Battleship!!!!!!!!!!!!! HINT HINT BIOWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PvP - Warzones and Ilum
[*] Competitive PVP Disclaimer
SWTOR will not launch with competitive PVP, but Bioware did have a recent write up talking about their plans for ranked PVP.
Today, Principal Lead PvP Designer Gabe Amatangelo answers a few of your questions about Player-vs-Player Combat in The Old Republic.
Q: How important is the PvP community to BioWare? – Kryptorchid
A: Very important. The Old Republic’s PvP developers are avid gamers and active, long-time members of the MMO PvP community. We hold preservation and growth of the The Old Republic PvP community near and dear to our hearts.
Q: Will there be any kind of arena system? If so, which brackets will it support? - Inquiescent
A: ‘Arena System’ has come to mean two different things depending on the context: Single Elimination PvP game mode and Ranking/Tournament Systems. Whether or not we add that game mode to The Old Republic’s current lineup (domination, assault and bombing run) is TBD. However, one of the top things on our list for post launch is a rated Warzone system where players can form teams, earn team ratings, earn individual ratings, as well as participate in tournaments, etc.
If they can get some competitive ranked PVP in the game in the first three months I think it would make a difference. If they can't and their RVR planet isn't up to snuff, then the population could write PVP off as a joke before Bioware can get serious about it. Time will be ticking after release for them to get better guild support and PVP support features into the game.
Warzones are typical instanced warfront PVP with victory scores, bonuses, etc, but no organized ranked ladder/competition system at this point. I hope that something is done on that issue. Somewhere in recent months there was an article with a Bioware person talking about putting in ranked Warzone ladders, and I think they need it sooner rather than later. The reason is because a formal competitive ladder that allowed for guild or team creation would help to deal with the premade vs PUG issues that have plagued recent MMO's that launched with instanced/arena type PVP. The premades would sign up for real competition, and the PUG's wouldn't so just having a formal competitive ladder system would take care of a lot of issues.
Again I am limited by MMORPG.com's inability to embed videos so I'll just provide links to examples of each PVP Warzone.
Alderran is a control point Warzone with 3 areas to attack and defend. When you control a point it fires on the enemy ship. It's similar to Nordenwatch from Warhammer.Alderran PVP Youtube Video
Huttball is an interesting warzone. It's like a mix of football, rugby, and soccer. There is a ball that spawns in the middle of the map and your team tries to carry it to the other teams goal line to score. You can also pass the ball from player to player. If the ball carrier dies the opposing team gets the ball. There are obstacles all over the map like poison pits, fire pits, and vents that shoot you up in the air. It's a lot of fun, as long as there is no lag. Also you can be teamed against your own faction in Huttball so watch out!Huttball Youtube Video
Assault style warzone where attackers and defenders fight over points on the map. Once the attackers break through they move on to the next objective in the warzone. This Warzone seems to come up a lot, and I really prefer it over Huttball.Voidstar Youtube Video
[*]Ilum - World RvR:
There still isn't a lot known about Ilum at this time. What we do know is that it will be objective based open world pvp. Towards the end of this trailer you see some action on Ilum. From what little we've gathered Ilum does have some sort of resource battle in play in the PVP zone, and it works a little bit like the newer resource stuff in Warhammer's RVR zones.Ilum PVP Youtube Video
Outlaw’s Den is an Open World, Free for All PVP area on Tatooine where Guilds and other random players can congregate and attempt to best each other in a neutral, segregated area. To reach the area, players will travel to a remote location on Tatooine nestled between the planet’s mesas and canyons. Once players reach this area, they will dismount and encounter banners warning them of the trouble ahead. Inside, players of both factions will find conveniently placed obstacles that break line of sight: a large building containing a Galactic Market Kiosk, a vendor, high ground and a pit for small groups to combat each other.
There are special vendors in that area as well, who can be killed also, and supposedly the stuff there will be worth the trouble.
[*]Would a Guild play this game officially?
[I]"Of course they would, it is Star Wars afterall. In order to retain guilds there needs to be a robust end game system, opportunities for guild growth, good player/guild management systems, guild rewards and incentives, and an engaging competitive component. Several of these features do not appear to be there for guilds at the present time. I hope that in the not too distant future that SWTOR can bring guild systems up to the present day 2011 MMO level with benefits, guild stuff, etc.
I don't think SWTOR will have a problem attracting guilds, but I do think they will have a problem retaining them without the things I've mentioned." - Hades[/I]
[*]Who should and who shouldn't buy this game
[I]"If you love Star Wars, this is your game.
If you want to feel like a hero, this is your game.
If you want a change of pace from your current MMO, this is your game.
If you are expecting a revolutionary MMO, this isn't your game.
If you are playing solely for PVP purposes, this isn't your game....right now.
SWTOR takes most current MMO concepts, refines them to make them better, but at the end of the day it plays like all the other MMO's out there. SWTOR is a fine MMO product that has a lot of potential, but at this point in time it delivers a solid game in an exciting universe, and a lot of things to do while we look forward to post retail content patches.
It is retail ready based on what we can see today, but they need to push out fast content patches after release." - Hades
Lords of the Dead, LotD