[SWTOR] A New Hope

I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic over the past weekend. While I was active in the beta test and developed many opinions about the game, I decided to try to ignore those and start fresh hoping for nothing more than a fun game. Once I put the quest to find some new miracle game that solves all design flaws ever made aside, I found out there is a fun game to be had here – at least so far.

I wanted to play a Bounty Hunter based purely on a decision in my head to role-play someone that puts morals aside and focuses on the money. Naturally he is named Ethic.

My initial impressions on the quality of the game were not as good as I’d hoped. I expected the game to be highly polished but it did not feel that way. Character movement seemed sloppy and disconnected. I crashed to the desktop a few times. Choppy gameplay made it difficult to even want to move on. I spent some time out of game looking for video tweaks to make it run smoother and it helped, so I continued on with better results.

I really enjoy the voice acting, it brings the story into the quests and makes role-playing almost second nature, although to be honest it felt like at many times I was only being given 3 slighty different paths that all lead to the same result. My favorites were the times where you can decide if you want to let someone go or take them out. Those felt special.

Eventually I got my first companion and that really opened up the gameplay for me because this really feels like a single player game. I bet I saw less than a dozen actual players in the first 10 levels. Having the companion made the questing more interesting and it felt like I had my normal duo group that I am used to. The only thing I was having troubles with is trying to understand how my decisions affect our relationship. Some of my choices made her lose respect for me and others greatly increased it and I have not yet been able to see where the lines are drawn. This makes for another dynamic that interests me and I want to keep investigating.

One of my natural tendancies in games is to not read the tips, tutorials or manuals. I enjoy trying to see if my gut instincts on how things should work match up with the designers. One place this really hit me was with my companion. I was awarded some new armor pieces specifically for her. How to equip them was the obvious question. I tried clicking on her, clicking on her portrait, looking for a tab on my inventory, dragging the armor to her avatar; nothing worked. I had to fall back to the tips on the right side of the screen to find out I need to open my character sheet (which I had yet to view even once before) and then click on the companion tab and finally I could drag gear from my inventory window over. Seems to me the logical place to have this located would be on the inventory window or some sort of right click option from her portrait.

I really enjoyed the combat. Having to regularly take on groups of 3 by myself made me feel powerful and having my companion around only made it even more fun. The best moment in the game for me so far was when I got a skill called “Death from Above”. You target a group at a distance and then jetpack up off the ground and unload just about everything you have at your disposal. Epic skill and great wow factor.

One last thing I wanted to mention is datacrons. These are little boxes around the world which when found will grant your character a permanent bonus to your stats. At least that is my impressions as I chose not to read up about them offline. I found one datacron when exploring a little path, just because I wanted to see if there was anything out there. I was rewarded when I saw the glowing box. This is a perfect way to enhance one of my natural activities. I’m always wandering into the corners of the map just to see what is there. I only hope that they are not something you need to have, and must rely on a wiki. I want them to just be a happy little bonus for wandering.

I will wrap it up, just as I wrapped up my first planet and departed on the shuttle for places unknown, I can’t wait to get back out there and blow stuff up.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

6 thoughts on “[SWTOR] A New Hope”

  1. I just read this, and it made me remember going through the same thought processes as you about a month ago. I played the beta and it didn’t really hook me. A month or so later I decided to try it again with the full retail version and I also play a Bounty Hunter. I totally remember the first time unleashing Death from Above, feeling like a tremendous assassin :)

    As to trying to figure out about your companion, and what dialogue choices affect them *SPOILER*- In your codex you’ll get an entry for each companion you receive, in that entry there is a blurb (like a bad dating profile) that shows likes/dislikes. You can choose your responses in the cut-scene dialogue to coincide with those categories for +/- affection. */END SPOILER*

    The problem I ran into is that the text response you choose doesn’t always translate well into what’s said in the voice acting.

    Once you factor in the light/dark side choices, along with trying to gain favor with your companions, it seemed to give more of a semblance of control in the cut-scenes, which I enjoyed and drew me into the game more.

    I enjoyed reading this article, and I hope you stick with the game. Later, with the Warzones and Space Missions, the game really gives you some fun options to level up and pass the time!

  2. One thing to keep in mind…
    Light Side/Dark Side choices and affection gain don’t ultimately have a tremendous in-game effect stat-wise (it’s certainly nothing you can’t fix by levelling the Diplomacy Crew/Crafting skill and giving your companions the Companion Gifts you get that way)

    Also, different companions will like different things (which seems natural). So making choices that you/your character disagrees with in order to make your first companion happy with you is ultimately counterproductive to an extent.

    I choose to play with the LS/DS conversation indicators turned off (there’s an option in the Preferences to do that) for that reason.

    Odd that you say the motion of the characters was choppy. I found the game to run glassy smooth (60 fps) even playing at 1080p on a laptop with a GTX460m inside (intel swoosh sound here), with just a couple of exceptions during one or two of the space missions…and the Republic and Empire stations…which have been super laggy/stuttery since day one for me.

  3. My favourite thing with the Bounty Hunter is that you get quite a lot of conversation options which read as [Shoot him/her in the face] :)

    1. My own favourite thing with the Bounty Hunter is that depending on your choices you can get a quest entitled “Some People Just Need Killing”, which replaced “The Republic Strikes Back” as my favourite quest title.

      Honourable mention goes to the [I can wave my hand too] dialogue option.

  4. Datacrons are not essential at end game. They provide an almost insignificant stat boost (some of which will be useless to your bounty hunter, like willpower), the opportunity to get a nice but by no means essential relic, a lot of lore entries, and satisfaction for explorers and puzzleheads.

    Enjoy the bounty hunter story: I’ve leveled a bounty hunter in tandem with an imperial agent, and while she’s on hold as I get the agent to 50, I’ve found the storyline completely satisfying. It isn’t a spoiler to say this because anyone who’s leveled a bounty hunter past 3 knows it’s coming, but your final reckoning with Tarro Blood is one of the best moments in the game.

    Of the storylines I’ve experienced to any significant degree, I’d rank the imperial agent (a mix of Jack Bauer, James Bond, and The Prisoner) first, and bounty hunter second. I understand the Jedi knight storyline feels the most like first trilogy Star Wars, but haven’t gotten one of them off the ground.

    1. Thanks for the reply. Ironically the next 2 classes I’m interested in playing are the Agent and the Jedi Knight.

      Going to stick to one character for now and resist my normal alt tendencies.

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