The commercial NDA on SWTOR (or TOR as most people seem to be using these days) came this week with the revelation that back in early November, Bioware had had a boatload of fans and industry media people out to their place for “Jedi Immersion” day, including getting to see lots of stuff behind the scenes early, and most importantly, allowing 5-6 hours of hands on play time with the two Jedi classes. In case you missed it, the full round us is pretty much here:
Generally favorable reviews. Those aren’t all the hands on people’s reports, but those were a good spectrum. Gamespot I axed off the list for giving away WAY too many spoilers without much of a head’s up. Basically though, even with all the media and all the hype, I’ve been through enough Betas and launches at this point to say simply: You know what you know.
In other words, you generally, as a whole, are on target with your general impressions, hopes, and doubts about a game, even before it launches. When we were covering WAR back in the day (all of a whopping two years ago) we all knew that it was going to include some fun and memorabl PvP, but we also knew that the open questing and lower tiers were going to be deserted, that balance with only two realms was going to be an issue, and that they were idiots for insisting on such a restricted loot and gear system. We also knew that there was trouble on the horizon, both from the Beta and from the pushbacks to launch. By and large – WAR has fulfilled those general impressions to the hilt.
So what is the general impression of TOR. Well, the bottom line is that if you are curious about a major game feature – like, say – whether or not there will be Open World PvP, and Bioware has not answered the question, and Bioware has used every available opportunity to duck the question…well, there is going to be a problem there. For example, it has been asked repeatedly whether or not players will be able to have multiple names. It’s an easy question to answer, and one that should have been determined a long time ago. And yet Bioware continues to ignore the question, or sidestep it. Conclusion: They don’t have an answer we want to hear. In other words, the answer right now is: No. And the closer we get to release without information on a given topic, the less likely we are to see that question answered satisfactorily either in the media or in the game itself. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of what I’ve seen so far. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own particular piccadillos.
Large, immersive world. Players will once again be able to “get lost” in the environment.
Great storyline and a step forward in bringing the RPG back into MMO’s
Innovative crafting and pet systems.
Grouping + Dialogue Quests = frustrating, slow going for those who want to max level and who think that end game is the only game.
Content will have plenty of bugs to worry about.
Space will not be the final frontier – it wont even be close to a frontier.
Alot of people will turtle up and play this game as a solo-only effort.
There will be no Open World PvP.
Guild mechanics and tools will be sorely lacking.
Online guides will dictate storyline choices by revealing rewards content. Herd mentality will take over from there, and create a full cycle of imbalance that the devs will always be one step behind.
The game is not nearly as ready as they are implying it is, or that we are hoping it is.
Combat will be so vanilla it may hurt some people.
Jedi will not have blasters.
Bioware’s bizzare Beta testing cycles will bite them in the ass.
ETA: Greetings to the hordes of people who found this site via the TOR forums. I’m happy to have you here, so long as you behave yourselves. To clarify, I’m not a SWTOR hater or fanboy. If you take the time to read a few posts, you will see times I’m excited about things and times when I’m not happy about things. This is one of the latter, but I, like many of you, hope I’m very wrong on some of this. Check out my comment below for the tl;dr summary of this post…
ETA again: No, Open World PvP had not been confirmed as of the time of this writing. Nor has it been confirmed yet, AFAIK. As of James Ohlen’s Aug 21 video interview (posted below in the comments) they hoped to have it in for launch, but if not it was a feature they hoped to add later.