Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good. | PCGamesN

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers; "Every player to trigger this exploit will be punished"

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Whatever it was that draws millions to Star Wars, many were unconvinced that The Old Republic had it. The feeling of adventure, heroism, mysticism and drama just wasn’t quite right. In the old days, SWTOR just didn’t feel “Star Wars-y” enough for core fans. It’s not an opinion I ever held, but I am an extremely patient person and SWTOR, in the early days, was tailored to a player like me. But I struggled to argue with the naysayers on a critical point, it was a poor MMO.

Over two years have passed since Star Wars: The Old Republic launched.  And it has changed almost beyond recognition.

SWTOR still has, and I’ll stand by this point until the Banthas come home, the very best leveling experience of any MMO. With the right class, it’s absolutely unbeatable. Play as a Bounty Hunter and you’ll struggle to clear your name after being unjustly accused of heinous crimes. Play as an Imperial Agent and you’ll be caught between two masters: the Imperial military and the Sith that treat it as a toy. There certainly are a few choke points where stories slow, quests make little sense and scenery is needlessly obtuse; but once you have a few hours under your belt, you’ll spot the areas you can skip without hampering your experience.. Star Wars: The Old Republic was probably Bioware’s biggest story. Missing out, as a Bioware fan, would be a shame.

But there was always a hole: the end-game. 

The headline change to SWTOR’s endgame is the growth of operations The Old Republic’s versions of raids. For raiders, SWTOR offers a buffet of options: 8 separate dungeons that can be played in standard, hard or nightmare modes, with a toggle to play in groups of eight or 16. Bosses are hard, and imaginative, and that’s a good thing. For most raids teamwork is essential. Charging in without a plan will get you killed or, through contextual environmental changes make the scenario needlessly difficult. In the Dread Palace operation, for instance, players will be targeted with an attack that once channelled, causes a section of the floor to fall away. Without a plan or clear communication it’s entirely possible to leave some players isolated and unable to join the fight. It’s particularly painful if a healer is cut off from the group. 

The level 55 hard mode flashpoints, SWTOR’s version of dungeons, make the endgame feel expansive. Rewards are generous now, where before more often than not, it felt like laborious grind. With the introduction of group finder it’s easy to chain grind flashpoints and hit meaningful reward targets per session. There’s also a very there’s a generous weekly reward tied to using group finder which makes finding sessions much easier. SWTOR feels like a game MMO veterans can finally be happy in. It’s growing, too: player housing and a host of new missions are coming soon.

But focus has not been directed entirely at the end game players. Tactical flashpoints, scenarios where users are boosted to max level for the duration of the instance allow newbies to play with experienced players and gain valuable experience, resources and loot. These do not use the traditional 1 tank, 1 healer 2 DPS build. Instead any available player is placed into the flashpoint. 

Bioware listened to the end-gamers, activities at top level often took too long, they’ve redressed that with introduction of CZ-198 and Oricon. Now you have alternative activities to run through solo whilst you wait in group finder or for raids. These planets do not subject you to long rambly dialogue, they’re the perfect hubs for dailies. Just pick up your quests at a terminal at the start and away you go.

This mission terminal is from CZ-198; everything above takes place across four rooms and can be completed in under 10 minutes. Oricon takes a little longer but is still appreciably faster than the previous daily areas, the Black Hole and Section-X.

There’s an elephant in the room though: The Old Republic’s weirdly obtuse free-to-play framework. 

Describing it as free-to-play isn’t really fair: it’s more of an extended, never ending trial, that, if you like it, will end up with you picking up a subscription. The free-to-play restrictions have been described as draconian: if you’re not subscribing you’ll face too few bank slots, you’ll only be able to run a restricted number of PvP battlegrounds, flashpoints and operations. You can unlock more slots with the paid for currency (cartel coins), but it is way more cost effective to buy a subscription. 

Once you are subscribed, though, SWTOR feels generous: with Tactical flashpoints, hard modes and group finder at max level it leaves you with plenty to do. You’ll stride past budget Jedi in threadbare robes, resplendent in high level gear often with extremely eye catching designs. Thanks to dye modules now you’re able to customise your character extensively, another complaint from the early days. And players have taken the system with enthusiasm. 

The general perception of SWTOR is that it is a game that struggles. But that’s no longer true. It has a sizeable community, increasingly refined mechanics, regular content updates and strong support from both the developer and publisher. 

Star Wars: The Old Republic is waiting for you. Why not return? 

Login or Register
2
+2
-0
Shriven's picture
1636

Holy hell. I'm actually downloading it right now...... some Google trending shit right here.

2
+2
-0
avatar
133

This game is the best example of a completely flawed strategy when it comes to implementing F2P. You want F2P to increase your number of players. A large player base is *mandatory* for an MMO (allows you do to dungeons, PvP, crafting, trading, almost everything requires a large number of players to work and be fun). Also, a large player base means people get engaged in activities and are more willing to invest in their character (pay a sub or buy cosmetics).

And what do they do? Implemented the most Draconian F2P known to men, a system which basically yells at you "pay a sub or get the fuck out". Guess what ... a got the fuck out.

(restricting the number of action bars ... who the hell thought of that? Surely some executive w/o any clue about games or gaming in general).

/venting off

1
+1
-0
Dog Pants's picture
949

The story arcs while levelling, for the part I played at least, were a standout point for SWTOR. That was where the good part of the levelling experience ended for me - the rest was exactly the same formula of number-key tapping your way through an evenly spaced spread of bad guys and hostile fauna. I actually fell asleep several times while playing, which is how I came to the decision to cancel the subscription before the first payment even came out.

1
+1
-0
return 0;'s picture
2

Why is the same paragraph repeated four times? This site desperately needs an editor.

1
+1
-0
Fraser Brown's picture
456

It's not an editing issue. It's a glitch.

Edit: It's fixed now.

1
+1
-0
moredreadd's picture
6

Give me some pazaak and races, then maybe I'll call it good.

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
Guild Wars 2: Tyria prepares for war with the return of the Living World Season 2

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2: Tyria prepares for war with the return of the Living World Season 2

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Codemasters' Toybox Turbos offers kitchen table careening in the mode of Micro Machines

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers;

Riot chase down League of Legends hackers; "Every player to trigger this exploit will be punished"

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

What to do in Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris: Murder, stealing and a bit of detective work

What to do in Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris: Murder, stealing and a bit of detective work

Take a free weekend break in Arma 3

Take a free weekend break in Arma 3

Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Stockholm Syndrome: Why Scandinavia loves DreamHack

WildStar's Carbine Studios loses over 60 staff in NCSoft

WildStar's Carbine Studios loses over 60 staff in NCSoft "restructuring"

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty will come to PC

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty will come to PC "as soon as possible", and a beta is being considered

Look at Dark Souls 2 through new eyes with the first-person mod

Look at Dark Souls 2 through new eyes with the first-person mod

3D Realms rises from the grave with a 32-game anthology

3D Realms rises from the grave with a 32-game anthology

World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

Civilization: Beyond Earth review

Civilization: Beyond Earth

Civilization: Beyond Earth review

Past Team Fortress 2 Halloween events reactivated to warm you up for Scream Fortress 6

Past Team Fortress 2 Halloween events reactivated to warm you up for Scream Fortress 6

Risk of Rain patch 1.2 adds killer chef and Aliens-inspired Loader

Risk of Rain patch 1.2 adds killer chef and Aliens-inspired Loader

Dota 2 players outnumbered all 99 other games on Steam's most-played list put together today

Dota 2 players outnumbered all 99 other games on Steam's most-played list put together today

Assassin's Creed Unity system specs are as steep as Notre Dame

Assassin's Creed Unity system specs are as steep as Notre Dame

Nvidia now support DSR scaling for GeForce GTX 500, 600 and 700 Series graphics cards

Nvidia now support DSR scaling for GeForce GTX 500, 600 and 700 Series graphics cards

Warframe Archwing update turns you into a rocket-powered space ninja

Warframe

Warframe Archwing update turns you into a rocket-powered space ninja

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies