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Stability and Launch A+
The game is stable. I don't believe I've had a single CTD. Launch was smooth. There is no detectable lag.
SWTOR has an amazing amount of content, far more content than any other MMO* I played at launch. There are plenty of single player quests for the lone wolves out there, and also plenty of heroic encounters and flash points for those who like to group up. There's so much content that I had to skip a lot of quests, and even skipped one planet completely after doing the required class quests.
Some people have complained that there is a lot of cut & pasting. That's true, but the sheer amount of content makes some amount of cut & paste OK in my opinion. This isn't like Dragon Age 2 where you keep going back to the same cave or the same alley over and over.
Some of the planets feel very constrained due to the lack of a truly open world.
The artists did a great job on the character models. Masks and armor look great. Sadly, both world and dungeon design are lacking. Many of the structures, especially the larger ones, feel lifeless and generic, due in part perhaps to cut & paste design. The world lacks jaw dropping art. There were very few times when I stopped to look at a landscape just because it was pretty.
Never tried it. Seems to be popular, though, judging from the number of people hanging out at the PVP quest terminal.
Crafting is a mess. It's easy to get to max skill in any craft in under two days. Sending companions out to gather resources was an interesting design decision, but I think it has made things too easy. You should not be able to acquire rare mats by not playing the game.
Craft recipes are mostly obtained by buying a base schematic from a trainer, crafting a number of the items, and then reverse engineering (deconstructing) the items in order to obtain a recipe for a higher tier item. You build green items, RE to get a recipe for a blue item, and then RE the blues to get purple recipes (artifacts). The process is quite easy, although it can be frustrating due to a bug which may or may not get fixed in the future ("you already know that schematic").
Once you have your purple recipe , your goal is to craft an augmented item (an item with a slot for extra stats). The chance of getting an augmented item is 10-20%, so you may need to make a few items to get the augment. Level 49 augmented crafted items are better than T1 level 50 gear.
A disappointment I have with crafting is that each crafting skill seems to be in its own little world. It would be nice if I needed someone to make component X so that I can craft item Y. With armormech, at least, that isn't the case. Everything I need, I can get myself via scavenging or underworld trading.
It is easy to make money in SWTOR. I have about 5.5M credits despite wasting a lot of money on gear and crafting. The vast majority of that money was made by selling mats. Crafted gear sells, but not as well as mats. This money isn't doing me any good, though, because there's nothing to spend the money on.
Challenge Level: D+
The game is not challenging. Heck, it's easy, especially for players who keep themselves geared via the GTN (auction house). SWTOR is all about the equipment. Of course, that's true of any MMO*, but it's more true of SWTOR than any other game I have played. The game was designed to minimize downtime - and death is downtime.
Fun Factor (prior to level 50): A
I played a PowerTech (tank). They're fun. I enjoyed running single player quests, and I enjoyed flash points. I didn't ever feel like I was grinding away at something. I think the voice over quests really add something to the game. At level 50 I have over two dozen skills and I use almost all of them.
Fun Factor (level 50): D
When you hit level 50 you can run dailies, hard mode flash points, or operations. The daily quests are just a grind, so after doing them a few times I quickly lost interest. Hard mode flash points and operations can be fun, but there is a problem. For hard mode flash points and hard mode operations, the developers decided to give bosses an "enrage timer", which means that if the boss isn't killed after X minutes, the boss gains the ability to 1-shot the party. Each boss encounter is a dps race where the tank and healer don't really matter, and the only thing that matters is whether or not the dps can burn down the boss before the timer hits. The reason the developers added the enrage timer is because players essentially have infinite resources during the fight. You'll never have an "out of mana!" situation. If the healer is overheated, he'll simply need to wait a few moments for his heat to dissapate. Without the enrage timer, a tank and a healer could probably take down a boss by themselves (although it would take a while). So basically, the enrage timer is a flawed design choice which is needed to cover up flawed game mechanics.
The enrage timer forces groups to have a certain composition. Every hard mode flash point group consists of a tank, two dps, and a healer. There is no variation. Players should be allowed to determine the group composition. In my opinion, if three tanks and a healer want to try a hard mode flash point, they should be allowed to give it a go; but everyone knows the enrage timer will result in a party wipe, so no one tries.
The enrage timer forces a gear check on dps. In a PUG, you'll need to check out your dps gear prior to entering a hard mode (gear for tanks and healers is not as critical). If you see a lot of green gear, or maybe even blue gear, expect a lot of wipes and an unfinished flash point. It doesn't matter how skillful the player is: remember, in SWTOR, gear trumps skill.
I have only tried one operation so far. In my guild, operations are hard for a tank to get into, because an 8 man operation needs just 1-2 tanks, depending upon the zone. Tanks are fun to play, and many tanks + few spots = long wait.
Overall Rating: B+
SWTOR is a fun game, but I would have been happier if Bioware had tried to do something new, rather than create a WOW clone. End game content would be more enjoyable if Bioware allowed non-conventional groups to run hard more flash points.