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After really pouring over all of the info that has come out on this game since the announcement, I think I have developed a good idea how SW:TOR will play out. Basically, its going to be a MMORPG that focuses on a more single player, or co-op experience (by the use of a mostly story based leveling system) but also containing a fully realized MMO endgame. Let me expand on this:
First off I want to state that this will not be an online single player game that you pay monthly for. And while the leveling experience is going to feel like one that is not necissarily a bad thing. Personally, I am sick to death of MMOs that have you go to a new city, pick up a gillion quests and then kill boars or pick flowers for the next 10 levels. I think SW:TOR will feel a lot more like playing, vastly expanded, versions of LoTROs book quests from 1 to cap. Or more specifically, like playing KoTOR and Mass Effect from one to cap but not alone. That is the best way I have to explain this, sorry if that is confusing.
With that said I do not think either faction will see one another unless they set foot onto a conteseted PvP world or worlds. There will be no open world PvP (though the PvP area could be a whole world or multiple ones) on faction controlled planets or on planets that player's stories take place. I believe this to be true because open world PvP would really hurt the flow of the narratives BioWare is so harping on. It would pretty much be like someone hacking into your Mass Effect game and killing you over and over....not cool. Open world PvP is great in other games (mostly sandbox ones where you make your own story) but in a story based game it has no place.
Aside from your character's "story quests" I think there will also be optional side quests that will include a mix of soloable or group content. Each of these quests will be the same for all groups but the decisions you make during them may be different. I realize that BioWare said the entire game is soloable but i think they were more likely stated that your classes journey from one to cap will be solo or maybe that is a hint that you can do everything solo but if you group you can chose a "hard mode" for more xp and better loot. It would be rediculous for everything to be solo.....raids anyone? That is pure speculation but I cannot see this game not having side quests that are handled this way.
To me this game is truly different from anything we have out right now. One thing I have always disliked about MMOs is that the entire ride from 1 to cap is, for the most part, just filler. In WoW and LoTRO the stories of common quest givers are so bland there is no real reason to read them or pay attention. This is why I love single player RPGs so much but, they lack end game and/or co-op.
Which brings me to why I am so excited about this: Star Wars: The Old Republic will be as close to a single player experience as possible while still being a fully featured MMO with community, crafting and endgame. Something that Guild Wars was nearly achieved but failed due to instancing, well, everything.( I was worried at first that TOR would be the same but a BioWare dev specifically stated that they did not want to use the hub model that other games (GW) used because it kills the feel of being in an persistant living world) To me this game is a dream come true......Now if only a fully featured sandbox game would come out .
Anyways sorry for the long post and thanks for reading. Just felt like sharing how I felt.
Playing: Tera, BF3, ME3
Waiting on: Guild Wars 2