SWTOR – A Quick Review for Lore-Junkies

Star Wars The Old Republic

Just a quick review before I get back to my usual posts.  I’ve been playing SWTOR since early closed beta, and I’ve been especially enjoying it since pre-release began.  (There’s just something about knowing your character is now “yours” and won’t be deleted after a few weeks.)

I’ll keep this short and sweet, since I know most of you don’t come here for reviews.  SWTOR has, quite simply, the best storytelling I have ever seen in an MMO.  Period.  If you love MMO’s for their stories and you’re not playing SWTOR then you’re not experiencing the MMO that was made for you.  It’s as simple as that.

How good is it?  The stories are so riveting, the biggest problem I’ve had so far is needing to turn off general chat to avoid spoilers.  Yes.  Spoilers.  The stories in this game are actually deep enough with enough awesome moments and twists to warrant “spoilers”.  And this is YOUR character’s story mind you, not the general story of the game.  These twist and awesome moments feel like YOURS.

Game wise, is it perfect?  No.  It’s an MMO Client 1.0 release that plays mechanics-wise like Burning Crusade era WoW.  But if story is what you’re into, you won’t care.

I once heard a story about a developer who had a meeting at Apple then Microsoft within 48 hours.  At Apple, the designers were considered the most important people in the room.  At Microsoft, it was the engineers.

Having played both WoW and SWTOR the best comparison I can make is at Blizzard it’s obviously the game designers who are the most important people in the room, while at Bioware, it’s the storytellers.

Go play SWTOR, you’ll love it.  I’m currently playing Empire on “The Swiftsure” server (the one with the longest queue).  Feel free to say hello.  Ask nicely and I may even toss you a guild invite. 😉

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Milan Sovilj January - 2012 at 1:24 pm

I love Biowares story-tellers, and I think that Blizzard needs to pick up the pace in the lore and story district.

2 Telp January - 2012 at 1:25 am

I beg to differ, having played SWTOR myself in beta and at launch.
Obviously this is just my opinion and we all know different people likes different things, but i have found story in SWTOR quite predictable and flat. Voice acting, one of the major strong points announced for this game, becomes quite boring after level 20 already forcing you to skip 90% of the dialogues (1 min of chit chat to send you in a quest to kill 20 mobs, example).
Amatorial quality overall in my opinion, not terrible but at the same time not the masterpiece that was announced, for all the money they have spent they could have done much much better.

3 Cocles January - 2012 at 2:03 am

We’ll just have to agree to disagree then as everything I’ve seen on the Empire side so far has been anything but “predictable” and “flat”, and I seem to be in the majority. The fact that you’re already skipping through dialogue at level 20 tells me you might just not like the game as a whole. Level 20 comes pretty quick. As for the voice acting. We all have our breaking point on how many times we can here “The winds guide you…” and “For the Alliance”, which is what I think you’re referring to. Your comment, though, sounds like you’re referring to the voice acting itself. If that’s the case… good god… if SWTOR has anything it’s the best voice acting I’ve ever heard in a game. Mass Effect is up there too. Bioware and Lucasfilm went balls out acquiring some of the best voice actors in the business. Steve Blum (Spike from Cowboy Bebop) plays a companion on the Empire side, while James Urbaniak (Doctor Venture) plays a character within the Trooper storyline. The other actors are just as talented.

Strange thing about WoW… You may have noticed that the voice acting is “different” in Cataclysm. It sounds like many of the actors are doing “impressions”. The actor doesn’t sound like a troll… they sound like you or me doing an “impression” of a troll. For whatever reason, Blizzard thought it’d be a snazzy idea to hire New York stage actors for Cataclysm instead of Los Angeles voice actors. I’m convinced that many of the actors they hired had never even seen WoW, let alone heard it. That may explain why they sound so… off. When it comes to technique, voice acting is very different from stage acting, just as screen acting is very different from both of those.

4 Milan Sovilj January - 2012 at 1:23 pm

I hear that with Swtor one of the biggest downsides is while in like a dungeon only one person can talk with the NPC at the start or something along those lines. I understand it makes sense, but this seems like it should at least be tweaked a little.

5 Milan Sovilj January - 2012 at 1:27 pm

Also with the Swtor story being predictable I honestly see why. I mean its a universe that’s already exists basically. With WoW you cant predict it because even they dont know what the hell they want to do honestly. “Lets do Cataclysm, and lets just put Azshara will play some role, but then lets not have her as a boss or anything in the next Xpac. Instead we will just do Mists of Pandaria starting a new story line that won’t really touch on any other story arcs that still need to be resolved.”

6 Cocles January - 2012 at 2:57 pm

Milan, the way group conversations work is immersive, and fun. As for the stories being predictable? No. They’re not. I emphatically disagree with Telp. As for the universe already existing, here’s a question. What happened on Azeroth 3650 years ago, in detail? The story may take place in the past. But it’s still new.

7 Milan Sovilj January - 2012 at 3:37 pm

I would like to know what happened in between the war of the ancients and now, but I dont think WoW could pull it off like ToR.

8 Kotor Lover January - 2012 at 4:31 pm

“As for the stories being predictable? “[Quoted from Cocles]
I think he mean’s that we already know what happens at the end of the MMO. The story is already written all the way to the last episode of the original series. The Original Kotor game’s were about a single person and his story, not the galaxy as a whole. We got more insight about Revan and the Exile in Kotor 1-2, the MMO does nothing to truly enchance the story of the character and mainly looks at the sith empire and the Republic. This is just my opinion.

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