Thursday, June 04, 2009
SWTOR hopes and expectations
I've been blasted by other bloggers for my blasphemy of expressing the opinion that SWTOR might possibly be not the second coming of Christ. People pointed out Bioware's good track record with RPGs, as well as promised features like complete voice-over and better storytelling. I am totally convinced that Star Wars: The Old Republic could become a very good MMORPG. I just don't think it will magically solve all the problems of limitations of the genre. To make this a bit more clear, I'll list a couple of features that I would *hope* to see in the ideal Star Wars MMO of my dreams, and compare them to what I *expect* Bioware to actually deliver. We can discuss in 2 years which version turned out to be closer to the truth.
StorytellingHope: I hope for epic stories being told in cutscenes, my character being part in them, and my actions influencing the outcome of each of these stories. Each story should span several subtasks, but constitute one larger heroic task overall.
Expectation: I log on my very first character and find myself on the world of Tatooine. A few steps away from me is an NPC with a glowing symbol floating over his head, identifying him as a quest giver. I click on the NPC, and he asks me to go and kill 10 womp rats. The only major difference to WoW will be that he asks me not only in a tldr text, but the text has a voice-over. Initially I can't start the quest without having listened to the complete length of the voice-over, but after a storm of protest from the players this is being changed in the first major patch.
CombatHope: I hope for a completely new, never seen before combat system, which is not too twitchy, but a lot more interactive and tactical than current combat systems.
Expectation: Combat will consist of an auto-attack plus special attacks launched by the player clicking on a hotkey button, or pressing its keyboard shortcut. But the animations of each move will be very nice.
EconomyHope: I hope for interstellar trade, in which various resources have different abundance or can only be found on certain planets. Every planet his his own separate market, so resources that are more common in one region tend to be cheap there, but expensive in other locations. This enables players to make a profit by shipping goods from one place to another. Some goods are even illegal, and can only be transported by smugglers in specialized ships. Auction houses are anonymous, use a blind auction system, displaying historic prices, but not the exact pricing details of each players goods offers.
Expectation: There will be only one auction house connecting all planets, with a clearly visible minimum bid and buyout price for every item on offer. There will be a smuggler class in the game, but there will be no actual smuggling involved in the economy, smuggling will only exist in the context of quests.
In short, I expect SWTOR to be "WoW in space", with some improvements, but no revolutionary changes to the MMORPG genre. Feel free to call me a cynic now, and point me back to this post and laugh at me when SWTOR comes out and proves me wrong. Or feel free to worship SWTOR based on nothing but hope, up to the point where it comes out and proves me right, and then start ranting about how disappointed you are.