Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
SWTOR early access

I'm in!

Thanks to having pre-ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic at an early date, I got my early access yesterday evening, on the first day of the early access period. That was a surprisingly painless process: I got a mail, started the launcher I still had from the open beta weekend end November, and after some short patching I was able to play. I did not have to visit a website and enter some code, which tends to be the weak point in MMORPG launches.

EA Bioware is ramping things up slowly, the server list showed server loads being either "light" or "standard", and I found myself in a starting zone with around 100 players. Thus an extremely smooth first day for me, got my trooper up to level 8 without any technical complications, bugs, or other nasty surprises. In fact the only thing that didn't go perfectly was the guild, who had decided *not* to use the server EA Bioware had assigned to us, and thus we were missing out on the automatic guild formation feature. I expect the guild to form tonight, when people reach level 10 and Coruscant.

Up to now I am very happy with my character choice of trooper. The abilities are just plain fun, especially the sticky grenade and the AoE knockback shot. Ord Mantell is somewhat less interesting as a starting zone than Korriban (where I played most of the beta weekend), but it is still okay, and it's only the first 10 levels. I'll see tonight how my character develops once I choose the advanced class, going for healer. I like the idea of a healer with a big gun. :)

Damn, I wanted to play a Commando too! But if you are I guess I can't =\

Oh well, tell me how it is.
I'm confused. You gave RIFT very short shrift, if I remember correctly around 10 hours of gameplay then dismissed it as a WOW clone and barely gave it any further consideration. Now we have SWTOR, a WOW clone in space that you appear to be very enthusiastic about. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to play SW but it'd be interesting to know how you can have radically different levels of enthusiasm for what is essentially the same thing - a WOW clone.
I *still* haven't receive my email telling me I'm in, but I've been in for over 24 hours now and spent all of last evening playing. I've reserved my names and last night started making the actual characters to go wit hthose names adn getting them to where I can log them out in cantinas for rested xp to build while I play my main. Not quite through all the alts yet and I'll admint to having gotten sucked into the BH story more than anticipated and thus playing it longer than I planned . . ..
it'd be interesting to know how you can have radically different levels of enthusiasm for what is essentially the same thing - a WOW clone

This is why I always wait until I actually played a game before being enthusiastic or not. You can't judge a game based on a feature list. It is only by playing that you see whether a game "clicks" with you.

I played Rift, including the interaction with the rifts, and found that I played the game EXACTLY like I played WoW. I played SWTOR for not more hours than Rift and found that I played that game with a very different focus. Suddenly I cared for the quests, for my character, etc. I make considered dialogue choices even in cases where I know that the choice doesn't matter, only so that the choice fits with how I imagine my character.

So even if the feature list looks very similar, a game which I play very differently than I play WoW is not a WoW clone.

Damn, I wanted to play a Commando too! But if you are I guess I can't =\

I think SWTOR allows different people to choose the same class. ;) Why would my choice inhibit yours?
Glad to hear you got in already Tobold! Hope you keep having a blast for a long while yet! Do you think your wife will give TOR a go?
Interesting that you like it better than WoW in that it's more story oriented and escapist, yet your commenters still suggest that they plan a structured "work ethic" style of play to get to the end efficiently.

Wonder where the community will end up taking the game?
Two things:

1, SWTOR feels less like a WoW clone than Rift because of some subtle things. Companions, crew skills, fighting multiple mobs from level 1, they make tiny differences that manage to alter the feel when they all add up. Your mileage may vary.

2 Why I think SWTOR will do better than you'd expect, is that it's a polished game set in a futuristic time with lasers and aliens.

It sounds utterly trivial; even if it's not quite just a different skin on bows and elves. But a lot of people categorize fantasy differently than sci-fi, and can enjoy lasers and aliens more than elves and longbows. (And some are exactly the opposite, but they are *well* served by the current games on the market.)

But sometimes, when I reach for a game, I don't think 'What gameplay do I want' but 'What kind of world do I want to be in'. Until yesterday, I had basically no competently-executed, character-based sci-fi games to choose from. (Eve is cool, but it's not the same as exploring worlds on foot). SWTOR now owns that market. They'll make mistakes and piss people off and nerf things to hell, but if I want to pretend to shoot a blaster and trek across distant worlds, I've got one choice.

Ok, STO is another choice, but it is not nearly as polished, even a year+ after release.
I think SWTOR allows different people to choose the same class. ;) Why would my choice inhibit yours?

Because, my dear Toby, I have an irrational compulsion to be as unique as humanly possible. I make my class choices based on the least used class!

Speaking on that note, what I do find funny is that, using the class forums as a proxy for use, the classes people predicted would be most popular from the start (Both jedi classes) have turned out to be the least played class and the third least played class.
I remember some pretty skeptical posts about SWTOR from a few years back, Tobold. If they've managed to make you a believer, it makes me really happy and hopeful for the future of the game. :-)
I was going to buy SW:TOR but I am reluctant to pay sixty dollars for something that requires an additional monthly fee. It would be interesting to know historically what the other high end MMORPGs cost in adjusted dollars upon release.
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