SWTOR [or Star Wars The Old Republic for the uninitiated] is one of the newest mmo’s to hit the internet and I began playing it just two days ago.
Yes, I know I should have been writing instead but honestly, SWTOR seems to be functioning more as a carrot than as pure cat waxing at the moment [see my blog ‘the joys of procrastination]. Knowing I have something to look forward to in the evenings has kick-started my writing again so I refuse to feel guilty!
Ahem. Cat waxing aside I am enjoying SWTOR much more than I thought I would. All the reviews I read suggested that it was not particularly innovative and that is quite true; apart from having cutscenes for most of the missions and allowing players to choose between three response options the mechanics of the game seem much the same as most other mmo’s I’ve played. But. SWTOR does seem to do what it does a bit better than most of its peers. For starters, it is refreshingly bug free for such a new game. And then there is the joy of playing without lag.
As an Australian player I have always accepted lag as an inevitable part of gaming in a country with such a small player base, so discovering what play on a genuine oceanic server can be like has blown me away. None of my toons is high enough yet to get to a large player hub but I’m hoping the lag-free experience continues.
At a more mundane level I am also enjoying playing as a ‘Smuggler’. For those who haven’t rolled one yet, smugglers are similar to rogues or thieves but with guns and grenades. Unlike the classic rogue class though there are no arcane skills such as going invisible. Instead we have the concept of ‘cover’ and to me this is an innovation. The cover skill/ability allows smugglers to use the terrain in order to minimize the damage they take. When you go into cover your toon literally jumps/rolls behind a rock. Once in cover you have the choice of a set of cover only skills which include lobbing grenades and bombs at the enemy.
Because cover is a battle skill it means that playing smuggler becomes a strategic experience that changes with each new set of enemies and that has given the class a degree of fun I really was not expecting. If you haven’t tried smuggler yet then I really do recommend it as a fun alternative to all the Jedi Knights out there.
At this point I’d give SWTOR a solid 8/10. It isn’t the great leap forward we are all waiting for but it is fun and deserves credit for the incremental innovations it has brought to mmo’s.
And now I’m going to go do some writing so I earn the right to play some more tonight. -rolls eyes-