[SWTOR] The Duo Strikes Back

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.

– Ethic

11 thoughts on “[SWTOR] The Duo Strikes Back

  1. distilled

    That conversation system problem sounds like the one I had with LA Noire. I’d choose a “doubt” option to press a witness to release more information, and my character would jump straight to accusing this obviously innocent person that they had slaughtered ALL the prostitutes within a 5 mile radius.

  2. Stephen

    It’s the same system they’ve been using since Mass Effect for dialogue.

    The main advantage is that voicing the player character’s dialogue can sound redundant if you’ve already seen the full phrase they’re going to say. The shorter phrase also makes it easier to fit the options in a fixed space.

    The secret advantage is that it makes it easier to present dialogue trees that don’t really branch much. A lot of the time they’ll make the summaries vague enough that two of them actually point to the same or very similar line of dialogue while still making you feel like you’ve made a choice.

    1. Pardoz

      I was actually about to comment that the secret advantage is that you can write one line of written text that turns into four completely different sets of spoken dialogue, depending on which class makes the choice :)

  3. Rohan

    For social points, the mechanic is that all players get social points equal to the size of the group, but the winning player gets twice as many.

    So if you and your son have a dialogue option, and your son wins the roll, you get 2 social points, and your son gets 4.

    As well, any Light/Dark gains only apply to the player who chose them. If you choose Dark, and your son chooses Light, regardless of who wins, you get Dark side points and your son gets Light side points. But the way the conversation plays out depends on who won the roll.

    1. Ethic Post author

      Maybe it is a glitch then but occasionally we will see the person with the lower roll get the 4 social points instead of 2.

  4. Clockwork

    I did the same thing with a close friend and ironically we did the Consular/Knight as well. I like that it shows you your friends quests and allows you to participate in their questing. However I found it hilarious that in several cutscenes the NPC’s will talk about how they “lured you here alone” while your friend is standing right there in the game.

    Sadly we couldn’t afford the game at this point but it was a lot of fun! Hoping to see it on sale soon.

  5. Jaggins

    Playing in a duo is very effective when you get companions. You will even be able to complete some heroics if your comps are well geared!

    1. Doug

      You can do almost everything as a duo with pets – my wife and I are currently 42 (healer/tank) and have done every Flashpoint and heroic just the two of us.

      It’s definitely a bonus to the game. :)

      Hope you guys continue to have fun!

  6. Telwyn

    I think this is the hidden ‘sweet spot’ of SWTOR. IMHO it’s such a great game to ‘duo’. I prefer doing missions with a friend than solo actually.

    I am grateful to Bioware for making small group PVE a valid gameplay style in the game.

  7. Anjin

    That sounds like the absolute best way to play an MMO. Now if only I could get my one year old daughter interested in Star Wars…

  8. Scott McMillin

    Ethic — Ludo and I just played from 1-50 as a duo (Agent and Sith Warrior — we duoed 1-10 with the other two classes) and had perhaps one of the best MMO experiences we’ve ever had. It was a blast seeing both our stories, doing all the heroics together, seeing our companions progress, exploring each planet together, and doing Flashpoints with other duos from the guild. We kept pace (static duo, I’d guess you’d call it) and completed all missions at the same time. Frankly I couldn’t see playing SWTOR any other way. I was bored when I played by myself in beta and even being in a guild, once you have level disparity, SWTOR doesn’t make it easy to get together to help each other (travel times are terrible, no sidekick/mentor system, etc).

    We *rarely* saw other people outside of Fleet in our journey from 1-50, and I can honestly say this just doesn’t seem like the kind of game you can PUG much of the time (except for Flashpoints – maybe). Maybe others had a different experience. I feel like SWTOR should have been marketed more as a co-op KOTOR with persistent characters and a central meeting place (Fleet).

    I will say that I think we were lucky in choosing the side/classes we did. We’re doing a 4-person Republic static group now, and it’s not *nearly* as good as our Empire stories and in fact we might call it quits at 20.

    I hope enjoy it the way we did!

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