This past weekend was called “Weekend Pass” for Star Wars: The Old Republic, which granted new players a chance to try it out for 4 days without needing to spend any money. I took the opportunity to see how my favorite method of gaming (the duo) works in SWTOR. I enlisted my son to be my “other half”.
First we picked a server, easily done. Next we had to find classes that start on the same planet/area. New players might not realize that they would need to do this but as an old veteran of the MMO wars, I know how things work. Research showed us as follows:
Bounty Hunter & Imperial Agent start on Hutta.
Sith Warrior & Sith Inquisitor start on Korriban.
Trooper & Smuggler start on Ord Mantell.
Jedi Knight & Jedi Consular start on Tython.
This restricts our class choices way down as long as we insist on playing together for the first 10 levels, which we did. I just let my son pick any class he wanted and then I would take the matching class. He picked Jedi Consular so I chose Jedi Knight.
Once in game we grouped up and started playing. Here things can get a little odd due to the seperate stories being played out. It was not unusual for us to have totally different quests. At first it did cause some waiting for each other to finish quests until we realized we could go into each other’s story quest areas. By this I mean that there are areas in the game with a red haze over the doorway. These stop you from going in until you get a quest for that area and it turns green. Once my son would go in, the red would shut off for me and I can then follow him in and assist him with the quest. A nice feature is the addition of my son’s quest locations being shown on my map as well.
This brings us to the conversation system. During the quests you would be listening to someone in a cutscene and then the prompt would come for you to make a decision. The system rolls a random number for each person answering and the higher roll gets their decision used. We are both awarded “social points”, depending on who won the roll or perhaps sometimes even by who answered first. We are still trying to figure this system out. Either way, you appear to get credit for your choice no matter what choice won out.
The thing I did not like about the conversations is that no matter what phrase you chose, your character says something else entirely. It is related to what you picked but it is never exactly what the phrase you chose said. That bugs me.
One feature I liked is that if you are not nearby the quest giver when the other person in the group initiates discussion with them, you are prompted to use the holocam to join the discussion. This makes it a lot easier than having to wait for someone to run over.
We managed to reach level 10 and get our lightsabers, which I admit was a pretty geeky cool moment for both of us. Jedi Knight feels very powerful at this time and I am really enjoying the class. Leaping in from afar and knocking the enemies to the ground is very satisfying. I also notice that I am getting emotionally connected to my characters, much more than in any other online game.
To sum up the weekend? I bought another copy of the game for my son so we can keep going. Well played BioWare.