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I selldom write here, more of a reader. Im also not a hardcore player, more of a casual but I can put in 12 hours of playing in a day if I have the time.
This is going to be a rather unstructured text I guess...
So, Ive been playing another game for a month now and with its lack of content and lack of polish I decided to not re-sub. I was looking for another game and read that SWTOR was f2p. I was never caught in the SWTOR-hype, but have read about the launch and all the hate it got.
So, I didn't have high hopes. Was prepared for a medicre game with few players in it. But...
So far I have 2 charachters - both empire and both around lvl 15 . Yes, only lvl 15: this is not a review but my first impressions.
I was struck by the amout of players in the starterareas - they are everywhere. No way this is a dead game!
When seeing this I had to google subscriber numbers and they have stated that they have just below 500 000 subs. Thatss an ok number.
Playing the game I got commited to the charachters - the storyline and the cinematic missions with choice-dialogue was very immersing! Wow I thought...
I also like the itemization - lots of different gear, tha ability to mod gear, the vehicles etc.
I love that it runs smoothly with full settings without problem in the world - yes it does lagg as hell at "fleet" where a lot of the players hang around trading and what not but that's only initially when loading (all games have "tradinghubs" where ppl come and create lagg to some extent)
The graphics are decent and totally adequate for an mmo. It has a subtle beauty to it. The environment is very well done - the starterplanet of the Sith I really loved with its monument and red/yellow sand environment.
I also like the differentiation of things to do - the cinematic flashpoints, the groupmissions (heroics), the warzones with its different pvp "games" (Huttball lol). It is also easy to get inte groups in chat or through the groupfinder-system.
Im no crafter, Im more of a gatherer/explorer type. The crew-skill system is to my liking - you find "nodes" in the world as usual but also you can pay and send your companion to a mission on his/her own. The companionsystem with different companions is a nice feature also. When you send a companion off to do a mission and they return with the stuff or a box to be opened it is like a feeling of lottery - the feeling I liked in WoW back in the pre-WotLK when I fished a lot. But yes, this is partly a feeling from novelty as with all new things. But they managed to get me to feel it so they did it well then.
As an explorer type of gamer I am lacking a bit. I love open worlds without instancing and no loading screens. In SWTOR the different areas are on different planets so you travel between them - a "natural" and believable way of not having an open world. But it has loading screens and that is kind of irritating inte the long run. Yes, we do get our own ships and get to fasttravel in them so to speak and there are space missions but since I havent gotten to them I cant say anything about it.
So, instanced zones and the zones feel a bit confinded...a bit linear. You can go wherever you like in the zone but still it has th feeling of being just a zone and not a part of the world. Sometimes you feel it and sometimes you dontnotice it. MAYBE the zones get bigger by the time...Im only lvl 15 for now as stated.
Finally: The "cashshop", Cartel coins and subscription - hot issues. It is free to play and as such you dont get access to everything all the time. You can buy access to stuff via the cashshop or you can subscribe. I do thing the 15$ is to high and that they could drop it to 10$. I won't say much about this other than thay seem a bit greedy the was they designed the cash shop and cartel coin system.
But you can be smart about it. I just looked around on the net for discount SWTOR-games (dowload edition or hardcovers in stores) that have 30 days subscription in them. I got my subscription for 9$.
This got to be a rather lengthy text about just me saying that I was positively surprised by the game!
Give it a try and dont just hop on the hate-train. Yes, there might have been issues at launch and yes, from hyped-up-SW-buffs there might be fully understandable dislike regarding some features - but I am just a casual gamer that found a storydriven and fun game. The feeling when I finally got my lightsaber as Sith was great - that is good storytelling.
There is so much to this game and I think it is sad it got such a bad rep!
I wonder if I have missed something...well it might come up when the responses start popping up.