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I had followed the development of SWTOR back then very closely, and being a SWG veteran, I was at first very hopeful. I had finished 4 class stories (Knight, Sage, Inquisitor and Sith Warrior) and that already had meant to stretch my patience to the max. Making all those plants so many times back then... oh my.
Anywho... waiting for the upcoming ESO release I thought I go back to SWTOR a bit. I tagged my Jedi and Sith over the first level of Makeb, which was kinda an ok planet, but... *shrug* My first impression after an afternoon playing was, that the game had NOT aged well. I recall it was one of the main explanations of Bioware to have these semi-cartoony graphics; and at least IMVPO, they have NOT aged well. The game looked in my eyes, after being away almost a year, just old and bad. Worst of all however was the horribly outdated combat system.
Rooting players to the ground in combat and littering the UI with 4+ full quickbars of skills felt SO outdated to me, even more now. Essentially ALL MMOs released since then have left this Everquest-combat behind in one way or the other, making combat more action packed and with fewer skills. Even in the days when EQ2 was new I found it mildly superfluous to have 10 different variants of fireballs, just to litter my many quickbars. But we didn't know better back then.
From the meh graphics over the stoneage combat system, to the fact there is NOTHING to do once you finished your class story and there is ZERO replay feeling, at least IMO SWTOR failed as a game and as a potential it should have developed, given the fact it was a) Star Wars, b) made by Bioware and c) the frigging most expensive MMO ever made. You might add, they even had the unique luxury to have a PREVIOUS Star Wars MMO as experience reference! I don't think any MMO developer had such ideal conditions to make a superior MMO. Hundreds of new planets in planning. Yeah, remember Bioware saying that? Well after what, 2 years, we have ONE. In numvbers, 1, in words one. Makeb. Oh yeah and a miniature PVP only space thing. Recall what SWG got in the same time? Jump to Lightspeed, a FULL space expansion, and a FRIGGING huge lot of new content. And that was eons ago.
One issue is even clearer to me now than back then: making a MMO so much revolving around personal class story was a HUGE mistake. No, I really enjoyed the class stories, that's not the issue. If you play SWTOR like a single player game, thats fine. Only you have those same-ish planets, which more or less EVERYBODY hates by now. But such a single player heavy, story-focussed game just makes a horrible MMO, killing almost ALL social aspects. And once you finish one or two class stories, it's game over. SWTOR was a good lesson, what things do not work in a MMO, namely, limiting the player choices too much via streamlined experience for the sake of storytelling. MMOs need open space and chances for players to do their own stuff.
And at least I didn't feel that downgrading the graphics helped. The visuals aged horribly. It's sad, since I am such a SW geek and I really wished a Star Wars MMO would be cool. But this... was not the MMO we were looking for. *hand wave*
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