I've spent a lot of time in SWTOR, Bioware's latest Star Wars MMORPG, but have yet to reach endgame. The problem I’m facing is that each of the 8 classes (4 per side) have such engaging story lines I can't stick to one character. This is a testament to great storytelling because I'm so compelled to try out other characters.
This review is based on my experience with over a hundred hours across various characters from both sides on the 1.2 patch. The patch added extra stability and a lot of improvements, but it’s still missing some key features, such as an operations/flashpoint (aka dungeon) finder.
What’s the gameplay like? Is it anything like World of Warcraft?
The gameplay is similar to WOW, and you will immediately feel at home. Does that mean it’s a WOW clone? Not exactly.
It’s just as much of a WOW clone as WOW was considered an Everquest clone. However because of the similarities in the mechanics, it’s easy to see the resemblance.
It would have been nice if there was more individuality in the mechanics. Not to say that SWTOR doesn't have it’s own identity, because it does. The best feature of the game are the fully voice acted quests, no more plain old text. It complements the amazing story, a Bioware specialty. Arguably, Bioware does it better than the rest, and they are one of the few developers responsible for evolving video games as a major story platform.
Tell me about the companions?
Another major feature that separates SWTOR from other MMOs are the companions. You will come across many in your adventures, and in Bioware fashion, some may form a bond with you. Not only do they offer you companionship, they give you that extra bit of oomph that you need in combat. You can fully gear your companions as well, so save your money and build your sidekick to fulfill whatever role you make them.
Is there Space Combat?
Yes, but it’s not what you think. I was dreaming of space combat similar to X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter, but this is not the case. It plays similar to Rogue Squadron, where you control the ship through a predestined path. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun, because it is, it’s just not what I expected.
I never played an MMO before, will I be able to play this game?
What’s great about an IP like Star Wars, is you get an influx of players that are Star Wars fans, not just hardcore gamers.
This will be the first MMORPG experience for many, but that’s OK, because SWTOR is highly accessible to the casual gamer.
And since SWTOR is solo friendly, you’ll have no trouble getting through the game on your own.
How is the crafting system?
The crafting, aka Crew Skills, is not that bad. I’m not a fan of crafting in MMOs, but it’s easy enough. I would presume people who love crafting might not appreciate the more simplistic approach in SWTOR.
What’s the bottom line?
If you’re a hardcore MMORPG player and invested years in another game, you may not find SWTOR to be the holy grail you’ve been searching for. Although there are differences from other MMOs, there are just as many similarities, and it may not be enough. New features such as the Legacy system, which lets you create new characters that are related to your main character, are fresh and new.
However, the sum of its unique features may not be enough to pull you away from your current MMORPG.
In the end, SWTOR is a excellent game. It's solo friendly and you can skip the group content. The PVP is extremely fun, it's easy to get into, and there is a unique mode called Huttball. As far as I know, there won’t be a Knights of the Old Republic III, so if you were waiting for that game, this is it.
Review is a segment about my opinion on things. I like things, and you like things too. Before you run off and buy something, you should check out my review. Chances are if I like it, it’s probably awesome.