A Few Random Thoughts on The Return To SWTOR


~ Its the little things that I appreciate in the game. That big knife sticking in the torso of the defeated barbarian master belongs to me. Most games that animation would disappear on death, but not here. The adaptive armor that allows you to achieve almost any look for any character without sacrificing stats or gameplay advantage. Are you a Sith Inquisitor using dark side heals but want to look like Cade Skywalker, rocking the trench coat vibe? No problem. Elite Republic Commando but you can’t enough of Leia in that bikini? Done. Have particular or conversation choices in mind but you don’t like the companion affection or dark side/light side changes? There’s an app a crew skill for that. Want to know where your apartment is on Dromund Kass? Well, they actually coded the building into the landscape.

The one with the docking garage, just above the tail end of the speeder.
The one with the docking garage, just above the tail end of the speeder.

~ Its also the little things that are frustrating. My Agent has a blaster pistol in every cut scene (and uses it in more than one), but I can’t equip or use one at all in the game. My companions are interesting, but my use in them is limited because I have to trade them out based on my in game need. Doctor Lockin (pictured above) can only come out when I’m in a group. Vector Hyllis, a fascinating character, never travels with me at all because he is locked into two different DPS stances. The word was that early on, you could give companion’s “kits” that changed their available gear and skill loadouts. I really wish we still had that. I would love it if I could make 2V-R8 tank for me, while he complains that he is not programmed for disintegration (a la C3PO in Clone Wars). Speaking of which, the ship droids need to be fully fleshed out. We need customization and conversations options for them, if you ask me. Though I suppose that might cut into Bioware’s profits from selling HK clones at however many $$$ a pop. And those giant, beautiful worlds? Well the game gets you running from place to place so fast because of its slow leveling curve (downright abyssmal if you are F2P) that you end up missing all the cool little tidbits they programmed in, like this conversation I overheard in a seedier section of Coruscant (you may have to enlarge to read it):


~ Some things Bioware has done have improved the game. The one that nearly made me weep with joy was the removal of people shooting each other to heal them. It was not only not canonical in any way, it was just plain stupid. Just think of all the friendly fire accidents from forgetting to change to the right cylinder. Shooting darts at someone still remains, but that I can sort of see. It was unloading your gatling cannon on a buddy to heal them that made me cringe. Also the credit drop rate is now reasonable rather than deeply stingy (I remember when paying 100 creds for a jukebox token was the pinnacle of luxury spending). The game has been nicely optimized (it runs nicely on my son’s computer, which does not have dedicated graphics). Strongholds are a nice touch, and they also gave a way to cut down on load screen hopping as you try to group up around the galaxy – you can always travel directly to the stronghold and from the stronghold you can (without expending a precious travel cooldown) head to the fleet, the city the stronghold is located in, or your previous location. It still takes a bit to get to a new place, but settling your character in for the night got a hell of a lot easier. And the decoration “hook” system is nice for those of us who want a nice looking home but stink at decorating (or just don’t have a lot of time to put into it).


~ That system does take a while to learn though. I burned my free prefab and some Cartel Coins for stuff that I could have gotten for free if I had known a little more about what I was doing. Which brings me to some of the things that haven’t changed that are hilariously irritating. SWTOR is the king of awkward animations, with nobody even close to second place.




~ That last one just sums it all up. My gun magically moves itself to its invisible back holster while my kolto droid is shooting snot colored healing dust in my companions face. And I didn’t even put up any from the conversations because…surprise(!), they still have fixed the bug they introduced in beta(!!) that disables the screenshot key when you are in dialogue mode (!!!). MMO gods help us Bioware, you are reaching Sony Daybreak levels of cluelessness.

Still, we are enjoying our return to the game. So long as I play the stories with a bit of camp and frivolity, they are bearable, almost like an MMO version of Galavant. The subscription seems to offer a turbo boost to leveling, which puts it just this side of glacial (two nights on Alderaan = half a level of 30). If you are playing every night, that’s probably not bad. But for those of us playing once or twice a week, I should finish up my main character sometime this summer, and my alt somewhere in 2016. Meanwhile I will start a new character in STO next month and it will probably be my fourth to cap, which will happen probably in 4-6 weeks on a similar play schedule.

And I will say that the player base seems to have bled off a lot of the undesirables, perhaps because of how harsh the F2P climate is. My son rescued a fellow player from a bad pull the other night on Coruscant and got a big thank you in general chat and a gift of 200,000 credits – maybe more, since that’s the escrow cap on his account! And my interactions with other players have been constant and pleasent. Helping hands and patient waits for pulls have been the norm since my return.

To that end, I’m seriously contemplating something I haven’t done with any MMORPG since December of 2011, when SWTOR launched: buy a six month subscription. While I subbed to TESO for seven months in total, I never had the courage to run a multi-month sub like I have done with WoT/WoWp and WarThunder. The game still has its flaws, but the ability to play with my son seems to have helped me hit the reset button on the game. And that has been the biggest surprise, so far, of 2015.


#swtor, #mmo, #2015, #surprise