That’s No Small Moon

OK, as promised, today I’m continuing my discussion of SWTOR, mostly in comparison to WoW, and discussing what features SWTOR has that wow could learn from (by which I mean, should outright steal like it has from every other game. I mean, its already stolen AOE looting).

The main aspect of storytelling in SWTOR that distinguishes it from other MMO’s isn’t the cutscenes with dialogue that everyone talks about, but rather the opportunity to make different decisions. The dialogue wheel in most cutscenes is largely a superfluous addition that you just manouvre around to get companion affection points, but you get several chances in most questlines to make an actual decision, and whether that has good or evil connotations, making these choices makes you feel more connected to your character. I suppose you could say its putting the RP back into MMORPG, but the thing is, you don’t suddenly become an RPer by playing SWTOR.

By making these choices, you feel like you have control over your character, with means you become more attached to your character, which in turn means you care about the overall story more. As an example, by about level 20 on SWTOR I felt more attached to my character than I am to my 3 year old toon on WoW, because I got to develop his character and persona – he became an actual character in the story rather than just a tool for me to be able to play through content. In SWTOR I’m a Jedi Sentinel, a beacon of hope for all those in need, and a powerful enemy of the sith. In WoW, I’m a warrior. A badass warrior, sure, but its not quite the same.

That said, while this is something that SWTOR definately has going for it, the light side/dark side system that is interlinked kinda lets it down. The idea is, the choices you make while questing give you points in one direction or another, and you get to choose how good or evil you want to be. The reality is, all the best rewards are reserved for rank 5 of light side or dark side, and so there is no incentive (in the gameplay, at least) to pick and choose when you want to be good or evil, instead just picking all the light side or all the dark side choices you get. This hasn’t affected me too negatively on my Jedi – I want the character to be a force for good who quests around the galaxy in order to help people, and so I want to choose the light side option most of the time anyway.

On my Bounty Hunter, however, I wanted to be the guy who doesn’t do evil things for the sake of it, but is out for himself and for money, and so always chooses the path of least resistance or the path that rewards the most. Of course, that means that I end up going about 50/50 light and dark, and so I see no rewards from the light/dark system at all – it might as well not be there. Bioware have stated that they intend to implement rewards in at some point for being neutral, but I’m not that hopeful that it will make much of a difference – you’ll just want to go all light, all dark, or exactly 50/50 to get the best rewards. Oh and also – Jedi should start off already light, and sith already dark. It would make sense that if you want to be a light side sith, you really have to work at it, and ditto a dark Jedi.

Another feature that SWTOR has thats good is space combat. Hold on, put down the pitchforks people, I realise that space combat isn’t as great as it could be. For those of you that haven’t played it, its essentially a rail shooter in space – it looks pretty, but you don’t really have much control of your ship. Would space combat be better if you could move freely? Absolutely. But, space combat is an example of what all MMO’s need – mini games. WoW has begun to realise this, and is implementing challenge modes and pet battles in MoP. The main issue is that space combat is too much mini and not enough game, something that will hopefully be rectified in the future. Despite this, it’s still a fun little past time and is definitely a feature that the game should expand upon.

OK, the last thing I wanna talk about before I find something else to rant about in SWTOR is the profession system. For those of you unaware of how it works, essentially the professions are tied into your companions, and they do all of the collecting and crafting. In theory this is great, because it means you can tell your companions to go collect or craft something while you quest, and so you can level your professions without spending a lot of time waiting around watching progress bars. In reality, what happens is that there is no incentive for your companions to go collect stuff, because it costs you money and you find plenty of stuff out in the world when you quest anyway. When you want your companions to craft things, you’ll need either a bunch of mats from a vendor, or rare items that you only get from other professions or the AH, so you pretty much have to be in the city to craft more than 1 or 2 items at once, meaning you end up waiting around for progress bars to finish before making more stuff. And in SWTOR, the progress bars are much longer than WoW, so leveling crafting professions is just an annoying grind. Nice idea, badly implemented.

Right, I’m reaching my word limit now so that’s a sign I need to wrap this up. Thanks everyone for reading, and remember if you want to know when I post new articles, you can sign up with your email address on the site or follow me on twitter @heroicrant. No idea what I’ll be writing about tomorrow. Ooh the suspense.

/end rant

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2 Responses to “That’s No Small Moon”

  1. The professions sound even duller than WoW

    • Yeah, it was like they intended to keep them dull but make your companions do them instead, so it wouldn’t matter. Didn’t work out that way.

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