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SWTOR: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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.

 

Content A-

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.

 

Art: C

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.

 

PVP: n/a

Never tried it. Seems to be popular, though, judging from the number of people hanging out at the PVP quest terminal.

 

Crafting/Economy: D

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.

Comments

  • MosesZDMosesZD Member UncommonPosts: 1,361

     

    Originally posted by Kien

    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.

     

    Content A-

    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.

     

    Art: C

    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.

     

    PVP: n/a

    Never tried it. Seems to be popular, though, judging from the number of people hanging out at the PVP quest terminal.

     

    Crafting/Economy: D

    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.

     

    Stability and Launch

    There were at least three memory leaks patched in the first week, two on Typhon alone.   They caused crashing.   You may have gotten lucky, or you may be playing games like many fanboys did.   I don't know, I don't care.     The most effective way to avoid this crashing was to exit the game every two hours (wait in line to get back on (at least during EGA)) and reboot your computer.

    Further, there was another bug that caused crashing-on-exit of the game.   In order to avoid that bug, you'd have to exit via your character-selection menu.   Making it a two-step process to avoid crashing.

    Then there was the 'inventory updates and crashes you bug' on loading.   They didn't fix that one until two patches ago...   That one was fun...   Load, load, load... CTD...  What the heck?    And then they'd get mad out of you because you didn't send an in-game ticket.    Huh?   My character crashes the game while loading...   How am I supposed to send an in-game ticked when I can't get in-game?

    Those were just three of the CTD bugs that were all on BioWare I personally experienced.   I know there were a lot more.   Those were just my BioWare-created CTDs.

    So, saying there were no bugs because you personally didn't experience them didn't mean there were no bugs. This alone makes your 'review' suspect.   I would suggest you go to the customer service forums and look at all the bugged, CTD quests going on even as I type...    And this is two-months after the game opened...

     

    As for the content grade...      Even the main quests relied on nothing more than smash-and-grab.   I never had a single, intelligently designed mainquest that wasn't done the same exact way as a different classes...   Trooper on Tattooine wasn't effectively different than Smuggler, Knight or Consualr...     Same went on the Imperial side...   

    Different dialog, same cookie cutter...  

     

    And that was the high point...    The rest...   I'll just lol becaues they were all the 'same ol', same ol'" and you're just preaching the Gospel of BioWare Press Releases...   

     

    As for the rating.   I'll let the market decide.   And the early returns are brutal.  This game is dropping faster than Warhammer.  But not as fast as AoC.   And squeal all you want about hater...    Numbers don't lie in and of themselves...   And these say "CTD" SWTOR.

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  • WickedjellyWickedjelly Member Posts: 4,990

    Originally posted by I_Return

    everybody has an opinion. Games rentention 6 months out will be the only true review.

    I will be very curious to see where they stand at that point.

    1. For god's sake mmo gamers, enough with the analogies. They're unnecessary and your comparisons are terrible, dissimilar, and illogical.

    2. To posters feeling the need to state how f2p really isn't f2p: Players understand the concept. You aren't privy to some secret the rest are missing. You're embarrassing yourself.

    3. Yes, Cpt. Obvious, we're not industry experts. Now run along and let the big people use the forums for their purpose.

  • KienKien Member Posts: 520

    Originally posted by MosesZD

     This alone makes your 'review' suspect. 

    LOL, classic. I'm tempted to "admit" to being a Bioware developer in disguise, just to stir up the hornets' nest.

    Obviously, my review is based upon my opinion and my opinion alone. I was not paid by MMORPG.COM to do a complete survey of the customer experience. I will add, though, that many members of my guild share my experience regarding the launch. That is, they felt it was a smooth launch when compared to other launches.

  • KienKien Member Posts: 520

    Originally posted by I_Return

    everybody has an opinion. Games rentention 6 months out will be the only true review.

     

    Agreed. I gave a generally positive review of the game, but I'm on the verge of leaving due to my disappointment with how end game content was handled. I'll bet a lot of people are in the same boat. I think I might try Secret World....

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  • BenthonBenthon Member Posts: 2,069

    Originally posted by Kien

    Originally posted by I_Return

    everybody has an opinion. Games rentention 6 months out will be the only true review.

     

    Agreed. I gave a generally positive review of the game, but I'm on the verge of leaving due to my disappointment with how end game content was handled. I'll bet a lot of people are in the same boat. I think I might try Secret World....

    I think end game should have a little more weight over the grading system than early game. You are in early game for only a few days played. You're in end game all the rest of the time.

    He who keeps his cool best wins.

  • iceman00iceman00 Member Posts: 1,363

    Originally posted by Kien

    Originally posted by MosesZD

     This alone makes your 'review' suspect. 

    LOL, classic. I'm tempted to "admit" to being a Bioware developer in disguise, just to stir up the hornets' nest.

    Obviously, my review is based upon my opinion and my opinion alone. I was not paid by MMORPG.COM to do a complete survey of the customer experience. I will add, though, that many members of my guild share my experience regarding the launch. That is, they felt it was a smooth launch when compared to other launches.

    I just wonder how 3 of the things you list are given "D's" and yet the game is overall a B?  This isn't high school where a girl can sleep with the teacher to inflate a grade.  Honestly, how do you do the math on that one?  :p

  • AldersAlders Member RarePosts: 2,183

    Overall rating makes no sense.

    "A" for content makes no sense.

  • DannyGloverDannyGlover Member Posts: 1,277

    I'm getting my money's worth out of TOR. That said, I will be playing TSW on launch day.

    In response to the OP, I think you got a lot right. The "You already know that schematic" message pushed me towards the cancel page. They took a very cool concept with crew skills, reverse engineering, companion crafting stats, and crafting crits yielding bonus mod slots... and then proceeded to make the whole thing a RNG nightmare. It sucks because they have admitted this needs to change and have said they are going to fix it, but apparently it takes months to remove the ability to "learn" already known schematics.

    I'll check back on TOR if I get around to it.

    I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.

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