Thread: SW:TOR Beta Impressions (LONG!)
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
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SW:TOR Beta Impressions (LONG!)

[NOTE: The non-disclosure agreement for SW:TOR's beta is now lifted.]

The last MMORPG that I played with any regularity was EverQuest--yes, the EQ, which proved massively addicting (and expensive). I've only played the free trials of WoW and DAOC, perused a few gameplay videos of RIFT on YouTube, and completely ignored UO. That said, I may not be the best person to judge the merits of SW:TOR. Do I know whether it's a groundbreaking game, or simply "a WoW clone", as others have deemed it? I do not. Nevertheless, I've come away with a few distinct impressions of TOR in its beta stage. It isn't perfect; neither is it terrible. What it is, is a game that I'm honestly not sure if I should buy. What do you think, my friends?

Storyline: Instanced Joy versus Copious Companion Copies

One of the features of SW:TOR that I immediately enjoyed was that each class had a separate storyline. As far as I know, no other MMORPG has done this, and the change is refreshing. In EverQuest, for example, a Monk had the same missions as a Cleric, Warrior, Rogue, etc: Kill monsters and level up. Only in the mid-to-endgame did players receive a detailed "epic weapon" quest that focused specifically upon their class and its story arc in Norrath. In SW:TOR, from the very start, you know that you have a different role from others. There are areas where certain classes can and can't go. I was absolutely riveted as I had to escape a cave that was collapsing, just because I was in it (and a Sith was out to get me!) Instanced zones = joy!

On the other hand, seeing players run around with their own personal "copy" of SW:TOR companion characters was unsettling to me. There were dozens of T7-01's accompanying their Jedi Knights, and dozens of Qyzen Fesses trying to follow their Consular counterparts. I know that these companions can be customized, but still, they remind me of the Jango Fett clones in the movies. Qyzen did not seem like my Qyzen, and even a certain perky utility droid became one of hundreds as more Jedi added "him" as a loyal companion.

Customization: Fantastic Faces vs. Boring Bodies and Races

Another thing that can make or break a game for me is its level of character customization. Let's face it--if I'm going to be one Jedi Consular among many, as was my lot in the SW:TOR beta, I want to make sure that people will remember me. Hence, I need a face that I can decorate, and body to match. I highly enjoyed the "Cosmetics" and "Complexion" slider tabs in SW:TOR's character creation screen, playing with them to my heart's delight. I could be as beautiful or hideous as I desired, or even a combination of both. Marvelous!

However, whereas my Consular's face looked like a dream, her feather-light frame was a nightmare. To my dismay, there were only four "Body Types": 1) toothpick 2) pencil 3) emaciated model or 4) a slightly-less-emaciated model. I know that Jedi have to be physically fit, but absolutely none of the female models looked like they had any muscles. What's a lovely head imposed on a stick body? A Barbie doll, or even worse, a grotesque-looking automaton. What was I...?

Also: why are there very few playable races, and all of them are humanoid? Even the mysterious Miraluka are only Humans with fancy veils and masks (and different social abilities). Why can't one be a Trandoshan, or even a Hutt? To be sure, this would take up more time, space and memory, but come on! Remember all the aliens in the Star Wars movies, and how they impacted the plot? I might even want a turn as a protocol droid, whirring and beeping!

Environment: MMO vs. No, No, No!

Chat box. Off. These three words encompass my opinion of the SW:TOR environment. Personally, if I'm playing a Star Wars game, I don't want to be distracted by other players cracking stupid jokes or even talking about the "epic music" (even if it IS epic). I know this is an MMO, but for me, the chat box spoiled my immersion in the SW environment. Not only that, but TOR has a sizable population of what I call "statue people" as well as sentient players. These "people" do not move, talk, or give you quests. They're simply there, frustrating one's every attempt to interact with them. WHY? WHY??? I understand their necessity in a rushed and half-finished game like DA2 (don't get me started!), but in an MMORPG, every person should at least WIGGLE.

In Conclusion

Should I buy the game? I want to see how the Consular and Sith Inquisitor story lines turn out, but I don't know if $60 + $14.99 a month is worth it...
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:48 AM   #2
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It's worth it.


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Old 11-30-2011, 09:24 AM   #3
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You know Lucasforums has a whole sub-forum dedicated to TOR right?

By the way, if you have to ask if it's worth buying, you shouldn't buy it.
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:21 AM   #4
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You know Lucasforums has a whole sub-forum dedicated to TOR right?

By the way, if you have to ask if it's worth buying, you shouldn't buy it.
This...games cost 60 euro's/dollars now, pick ones that stand out for you instantly. Plus, it's an MMO. Paying monthly for a game is not something small to consider. However, it's great.

OT:
I only played through the first 10-12 levels of the Inquisitor storyline and it was great. It feels and breaths Kotor. The setting is closer to Kotor then you'd expect, with beasts from both games appearing.
The fact you can choose the way conversations go is extremely cool and draws you into the story like Kotor did. In comparison, WoW feels...distanced from the story.

Also, weapon customisation. It's very cool to customise your own weapon and give it your own 'feel.' I was wielding a dual-bladed blue lightsaber as Light sided inquisitor, just to see if I could.
I was mocked for my weakness everywhere though until I took revenge..

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Old 11-30-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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I had to turn the chat off because there was already one ****head who had to spoil part of the Trooper storyline. It was the only really annoying experience I had during the Beta Weekend, but one I sadly can't forget. But there were smaller things that I didn't quite like. Maybe it was because of the Beta, but a lot of the world felt empty. What's a huge world if there are barely any people in it? And indeed, those "statue-people" don't help.

My time on Ord Mantell with the Smuggler wasn't the best experience I've had. The Smuggler's prologue wasn't the best writing or voice acting I've seen/heard, and I couldn't get its gameplay to give me any satisfaction. The Inquisitor storyline did give me what I expected from this game, however. Was it because I fell into familiar territory on Korriban, or because the Inquisitor prologue reminded me of KotOR's Korriban storyline? I don't know, but it felt right. And the gameplay of the Inquisitor felt better than that of the Smuggler. The Inquisitor's a class I had ranked low on my list of classes to play first, but it surprised me greatly.

I do want to play more of this game, which is definitely a good thing. Once I started playing on my desktop pc, the game was really pretty and loads of fun to walk around. Eventually, however, a game called Guild Wars 2 will decide how much time I will spend on TOR. MMO's are time consuming, and playing two MMO's might be a bit too much.


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Old 11-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #6
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I do want to play more of this game, which is definitely a good thing. Once I started playing on my desktop pc, the game was really pretty and loads of fun to walk around. Eventually, however, a game called Guild Wars 2 will decide how much time I will spend on TOR. MMO's are time consuming, and playing two MMO's might be a bit too much.
I used to be an avid Guild Wars player too...but the lack of content over the last few years(!) made it lose my interest...if it turns out to be an awesome game, I'll be in the same situation as you though.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:13 PM   #7
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I used to be an avid Guild Wars player too...but the lack of content over the last few years(!) made it lose my interest
True. But for a game without a subscription fee, I don't feel like they had to. In any case, in the short term, this game could eat up a lot of time I'd otherwise be spending on TOR.

But seeing a Bounty Hunter (my first choice for a class in TOR) fly past me on Korriban was very cool and exciting. Can't wait to start my Bounty Hunter adventure!


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Old 11-30-2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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My time on Ord Mantell with the Smuggler wasn't the best experience I've had. The Smuggler's prologue wasn't the best writing or voice acting I've seen/heard, and I couldn't get its gameplay to give me any satisfaction.
My experience was the complete opposite of yours.

Over the two beta weekends I played 4 Smugglers to getting off world, one of those I continued for a few quest on the next planet. In my experience I found the smuggler by far the most satisfying. Not the most Knight of the Old Republic-ish, but the most fun. I also really enjoyed the Smuggler’s story and voice acting. I was however playing as a female smuggler, so that could be the difference or it could be merely a difference of taste.

Now if you want to talking about the class that I experience the most KotOR feel, then that would predictably be the Jedi classes. The first time I started walking into the valley, heard the change in music and then saw the Jedi Temple through the tree, I finally felt I was back in the KotOR universe.

I never got that feeling with a Smuggler, but don’t really need it to enjoy TOR on its own merit. I’m sticking with the Smuggler as my main toon.
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Should I buy the game? I want to see how the Consular and Sith Inquisitor story lines turn out, but I don't know if $60 + $14.99 a month is worth it...
That is going to be a question that only YOU can answer.

For me (someone who has never touched a MMO) after playing the beta, yes it is worth it to me. Don’t know how long I’ll play, most likely only until March 06, 2012, but maybe I’ll go back to TOR after saving the universe from the Reapers.


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Old 11-30-2011, 03:12 PM   #9
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Well from my perspective, the issue with the companions goes away after Nar Shaddaa. And of course as you get more companions, and more choices, and all the customizations... Hard to really see that as a problem.

The voice acting I understand. If you played a male, the voice actor sounded BLAND. The female actor actually sounded like she cared.

I don't recall any "statue people" per se. But there were a lot of non-interactive people. Some of them actually had witty banter at odd intervals. Like the bounty hunter on Nar Shaddaa that sounded a lot like Garrus.

Speaking of:
Mim. you could do like I plan to. Once ME3 comes out, I'll take a break from TOR to save Earth and all of OUR galaxy from the Reapers, and once done reactivate my TOR account.


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Old 11-30-2011, 03:18 PM   #10
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You mention "impressions" on thread's title so...

The game is great, best I played so far even if it is a mmo.
Being part of beta test sounds more like a joke now... 20 mb downloaded in 1 day, 3 days of waiting to account activation and 2 days of play. I mean, let's face it, I was not as tester but to spam the helpdesk with a 1 ticket 3 times. That was all. I was that bad to let the account active for a week? Beside, all I saw on 2 days was only complains from the "real" testers... Nevermind.

I barely "taste" it.

Recommend to a friend, yes. Buy it? No. I will not pay twice for one product.

And, btw, it was sweet (the taste).


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Old 11-30-2011, 03:31 PM   #11
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@ MsFicwriter: The multiple companion factor didn't phase me because... after all, it is just a game and as much as we'd like to get immersed into the world of The Old Republic I do have to take a step back and realise that there are limits as to what can be done.

I do agree about the character creation though, it's far too limited and we know that BioWare can do a much better job than they had with it. They even removed a few features during beta which everyone found to be really stupid. However, that said... despite the limitations I've managed to make some pretty decent looking characters using the TOR character creator... the only problem I see is that the options are so limited that there's more of a greater chance that other peoples characters will look a little too much like my own.

And finally, about the chatbox. Jeff says this is a no-no, but I ALWAYS have the chatbox turned off. Both the chatbox and objectives pane on the top corners are always off. Don't like em, they clutter up the screen and obstruct the pretty scenery.



Also, don't listen to DarthParametric... he doesn't like any games Even the one he says he likes, he just says he likes them so that people don't say "you don't like any games"... true story.

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #12
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And finally, about the chatbox. Jeff says this is a no-no, but I ALWAYS have the chatbox turned off. Both the chatbox and objectives pane on the top corners are always off. Don't like em, they clutter up the screen and obstruct the pretty scenery.
I had them on for the most part, but pretty much ignored the chatbox. Like it on though just to see if anyone is talking bad about me. Otherwise I wouldn't have known I play pretty good for a "girl".


Couldn't live without the objective pane.


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Old 11-30-2011, 06:41 PM   #13
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You can't play with people and have the chatbox off. You pretty much have to pick one or the other.


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Old 11-30-2011, 07:26 PM   #14
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The best compromise is to have the chat box on, but just set General Chat to off, that way you can still see incoming /tells and Party/Group chat but you wont see everything that randoms say.


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Old 11-30-2011, 10:52 PM   #15
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The best compromise is to have the chat box on, but just set General Chat to off, that way you can still see incoming /tells and Party/Group chat but you wont see everything that randoms say.
True, but I wish they'd appear as social message that appear and disappear on the side like when friends come on and offline so you don't have to have the chatbox on during cutscenes/conversations.

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Old 12-02-2011, 12:09 PM   #16
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Also, don't listen to DarthParametric... he doesn't like any games Even the one he says he likes, he just says he likes them so that people don't say "you don't like any games"... true story.
Lies! I Besides, my point was that the OP should follow his/her own feelings on the game, not listen to what someone else thinks about it. Hence why I said if you have to ask, don't buy it. If you need someone else to convince you then chances are you are fighting a losing battle.

For myself, I actually bought TOR in August (a full pre-purchase too, not just a pre-order). I've been in 3 beta weekends so far and enjoyed it well enough, although the ever increasing grind to story ratio once you get to level 20+ is a tad concerning. I guess I'll see in two weeks how much of an issue that becomes.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:38 PM   #17
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For myself, I actually bought TOR in August (a full pre-purchase too, not just a pre-order). I've been in 3 beta weekends so far and enjoyed it well enough, although the ever increasing grind to story ratio once you get to level 20+ is a tad concerning. I guess I'll see in two weeks how much of an issue that becomes.
I'm reaching the end with my Bounty Hunter in testing atm and yes it does take longer to level up, but I've found that it doesn't make you grind too much and distract you from the story at least no more than early on. On the later planets if you continue to do the main story quests and pick up side quests along the way, by the time you enter and exit each planet you'll be right at the recommended level for your next destination and story quest. Though I guess some would consider side-questing to be grinding, I don't really, but a couple other things can help you proceed smoothly, such as always making sure you log off in a rested area.

Edit: Oh also of note, once I got past about 25, I stopped doing the group stuff like Flashpoints and Planetary Heoric missions, mostly because my testing comrades weekend tests ended XD, but if you continue to do those, level wise I would assume you'd easily be ahead of the curve without grinding.


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Old 12-02-2011, 07:51 PM   #18
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I found that doing some PvP warzones was a great way to break up the grind. Plus after a few war zones you could boost up your levels.

I used that during my game play and find it where if i feel over whelmed with to many story gameplay to just a change of pace i did the warzones

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:44 PM   #19
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By the way, on what TOR server are you going to be creating your characters?
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:58 AM   #20
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By the way, on what TOR server are you going to be creating your characters?
*answers for everyone* The one that the LFN guilds are on of course We'll find out what server that is in a few days when BioWare finally tells us.

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