These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For

After playing Star Wars: The Old Republic for some time now, I can finally write down some conclusions I’ve drawn about the game and, more importantly, why I feel this way. Pretty much since day one I knew that SWTOR simply wasn’t as good as WoW, but I continued to play it for two simple reasons. The first was that it’s a Star Wars game, and I enjoy the Star Wars universe and story (running around with a couple of lightsabers doesn’t really get old). The second is that its new – not new as in it looks nicer than WoW, but new as in it had lots of content to play through, whereas I’d run out of things to do in WoW. After leveling a character almost to level 50, and listening to what people playing at end game are saying, I can now contextualise exactly why SWTOR just simply isn’t as good as WoW.

So, what you’ll hear about SWTOR from most fanboys is that it is very story focused, and that the cutscenes make questing a lot more engaging and fun. This simply isn’t true. The difference between SWTOR and WoW isn’t the level of story, but the way story is shown to the player. When I first started playing, I was confused as to why everyone was saying the story in SWTOR was so much better than WoW, when it really wasn’t, and I realised after some time that it’s because I actually read quest text in WoW. Most people skip it, whereas in SWTOR, because you can sit and listen to characters talk in cutscenes rather than read, most people will actually pay attention. I, on the other hand, get annoyed with how long starting and ending quests takes in the game, so I put on subtitles and read it myself with the sound down, because I get the same story but much faster, and it means I can then sit in skype or listen to music/podcasts as I play.

So essentially all SWTOR has done is figured out a way to get lazy players to pay attention to their story. Not a bad thing by any means, but at the end of the day, their questing system ends up as the same old stuff in WoW – kill x amount of wompa rats, collect y amount of z. And because WoW has had 7 years to refine their questing process, questing and leveling in WoW is simply better. This wouldn’t matter so much if it wasn’t for the fact that basically all SWTOR has going for it is its leveling game. I don’t PVP, so I have no idea how good the PVP side of the game is (but from what I’ve seen with lag around other players, I can’t imagine its all that great), and its raiding and dungeons end game is buggy and not hugely rewarding – certainly its not as expansive and refined as WoW. Once you take all that away, the few features that SWTOR has left just simply don’t compare with what WoW has to offer. I ran out of things to do in WoW because I played the crap out of it for about 3 years, whereas I’ll run out of things to do in SWTOR in a couple more months.

One of the only systems that is unique to SWTOR (and is therefore a selling point) is the companion system, and it’s definitely not a feature I admire. While it sounds like a good idea to be able to swap out combat companions to fill different roles, what actually ends up happening is you find out which companion helps the most with questing, and then you never use any of the others. For example, I can’t quest with my DPS companion, because she doesn’t take aggro and I just die constantly. This means I don’t get to choose which companion I want to hang out with, or get more story with, which removes all incentive to have several different companions. What’s more, because companions provide so much help in combat, your character feels fairly weak in general, because without them you can’t take on any mobs without getting destroyed, and it just feels weird. I’m the Jedi Knight – the leader of this ragtag crew of people and the catalyst for the story – and I should be doing significantly more in combat than my companions. You can build affection with your companions, but the only way to do this is quest with them (which as I said, you can only do with one or two) or buy them gifts. Needless to say, grinding money to buy gifts for my companions so I can get some more story is not a fun system.

OK thats it for now. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up this talk with a discussion on the few things that SWTOR does better than WoW, and some talk about a couple features that have the potential to be better but have just ended up failing so far (hint: its professions and light side/dark side points).

/end rant


8 Responses to “These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For”

  1. I look forward to hearing about what you think SWTOR does better than WoW, think I will just be a WoW fangirl forever :/

  2. I’ve missed your rants Chris 🙂

    I played ToR when it came out but I quickly got bored of it
    LIke Portia already said “think i will just be a WoW fangirl forever”.

    I never did get to raid in SWToR but it doesnt look as good as WoW!
    Dont know if thats because im to used to wow and how it works

    Look forward to see what it does better 😀

  3. “fangirl”, love it 😛

  4. Xantieppe Says:

    I bought SWTOR, installed it, logged in and logged out and never logged in again – ever and thats because

    Nothing compares to WoW.

    It’s been seven hours and fifteen days
    Since you took my WoW away
    I go out every night and sleep all day
    Since you took my Wow away
    Since Wow been gone I can play whatever I want
    I can see whomever I choose
    I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
    But nothing
    I said nothing can take away these blues
    `Cause nothing compares
    Nothing compares to Wow

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