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After anticipating and defending this game very eagerly for a year or more (you are welcome to check my posting history) and after making it to max level in a very Swtor-heavy first month I am sad to say I am kind of disappointed in its long term value.
Despite its potential and the very worthwhile first month I don't think I will play it for much longer. The main things which prevent me from having fun with it for a longer time are personal but maybe also general problems:
- Poorly thought out and implemented world pvp;
Things might change for the better when 1.1 gets released but as of now it is simply beyond disappointing;
Clicking a couple of enemy tanks a day to complete your daily and weekly world pvp quests; killing players actually is detrimental to completing that objective so both factions simply "exchange" world pvp objectives in a friendly atmosphere. Very ironic since these quests are pretty much the sole incentives to seek out enemy players in the open world. ... Seek out enemy players to "click on tanks with", that is.
Questing areas don't overlap much; on most worlds factions are playing in the same open map but in very seperate areas; No Southshore - Tarren Mill random pvp raids to stumble into.
The peeps at Blizzard were smart enough to actually put factions in eachother's ways, (both zone and quest wise), and throughout the leveling range bar the first zones. This is sadly lacking in Swtor. During leveling your battles with either empire of republic will be mostly restricted to warzones and npc enemies out in the world. If you do encounter an enemy player out in the world, please give him directions in /say because he's probably lost.
World pvp kills, as of now, don't even get registered or acknowledged, let alone reward valor or tokens.
Logically all this means that even the Outlaw's Den on Tatooine is as dead as a door nail.
I might stick around for 1.1 though, to see to what extent things will change in this regard but all in all it seems that all world pvp content was added as an afterthought. Much like crafting in WAR or AoC.
- Fragmented game "world":
Even though the worlds are big, open and richly detailed. And even though world <-> personal instance transitions are completely seamless, traveling between worlds or stations means staring at a long loading screen each time; so long that it breaks my attention, immersion and possibly other -ions too.
- Uninspired design;
Making relatively compact space stations the main hub for each faction was a very, very bad call in my opinion; it has been said before by others; these kind of artificial "shopping mall like" environments function pretty well as hubs but feel very artifical and unimmersive. Also they are lag heavy with 200+ players in your direct vicinity at prime time.
I think that the fleet cantina music (at least on empire side) will eventually inspire people to choke small animals and maybe even family members, which really is a shame.
- Cookie cutter themepark formula;
Swtor is going the well trodden path of carrot-driven gameplay a little too much in my opinion; even the exploring content (datacrons and matrix cubes / shards) are based on improvement / progress driven incentives. PvP, PvE, dailies, exploring, space-on-rails; its all about gearing up and improving your stats on a regular basis.
This cunning treadmill has proven to be one of the main pillars of success for "long term gaming" in general but sadly it is a little too apparent in SWTOR. Also because of the ...
- Lack of gameplay alternatives;
At max level it's either grinding the same old warzones (mostly Huttball), doing hard mode fp's, spend your 10 minutes on Ilum for quest completion each day and if you like some extra grind: doing level 50 dailies on Belsavis and Illum for "daily commendations".
Since I am not much of an instance crawler, the things I can do out in the open world, like world pvp, harvesting, fishing, to give a few examples, are crucial.
Sadly Swtor doesn't tap into that so much; the two main time sinks for players at max level are warzones and flashpoints; the worlds are mostly leveling content and don't play much of a role at all at level 50. So yeah, at 50 you'll spend most your time in either instances or in a shopping mall.
IF world pvp on Ilum post 1.1. turns out to be very fun and engaging even after people did their daily, that might be a saving grace in my eyes. I'm very curious how it will pan out.
- Final words:
My outlook has shifted a lot; I still think its a very good game but not so much in the long run for me personally. Since the things which are important to me: world pvp, alternative open world content and immersive aspects are either lacking or disappointing.
Some of these things might successfully be addressed soon though, rekindling my fire for this game, but as for now;