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I was one of SWTOR's harshest critics and left the game 2 months after launch...returned a year later for one month and then returned this past week.
1st off - I know they're a lot of MMORPGers here that hate theme parks and will hate SWTOR forever - I understand that but the game overall has improved much and I felt it was time to revise my opinion.
Stronghold's (or housing) has always been a favorite part of MMO's and SWTOR did a really nice job with the design - although placing of decorations is a bit stiff (you can't just drop stuff down anywhere) it's a great diversion from combat and it's made traveling around SWTOR so much easier. (from your Stronghold you can port to your ship...The Fleet or even the last place you were at.) I never understood why Bioware/EA just didn't let people use their ships as a home with decorating capabilities - just seemed like a waste.
The F2P model is very limited but it's a good way for people to try the game out for themselves and IMO if you decide to check out SWTOR and like it just go ahead and pay for the month's sub - it's only 50 cents per day and you'll end up spending much more if you buy add-ons or unlocks.
The game engine seems better but I would advise that anyone playing this game have at least a Quad-Core with 8 gigs of ram and 1 gig Video card - this will give you a playable FPS even in PVP but you will be set on the lowest graphic setting (yes...it's a hog and one of the biggest mistakes Bioware/EA made with game design)
The crafting system has depth and the Companion system was always one of my favorites but I have yet to assess whether or not end game crafting is viable now or still behind drops (I'm sure someone here will let me know)
In retrospect I wish my starting character had been a Jedi and not The Trooper....I love the Jedi story and nothing feels more like Star Wars than swinging a lightsaber and hurling foes through the air with the Force
It's a solid game now and since it's free and all you have to pay for is a sub for full access....why not give it a try? The new expansion is coming out in December so now is a great time to start
Currently playing SWTOR and it's MUCH better than it was at launch.