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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic - A Strange Place

I got my invitation to play the massively multiplayer online role playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic for the Personal Computer by Bioware earllier this week that granted me access to join in on the beta-testing fun starting today at 10am PST. I actually have forgotten to log in until about an hour ago because I was distracted by the Dreamhack tournament live streams earlier today. I have downloaded the game client a couple of nights ago so all I had to do was log in and start playing.

Great introduction movie but the tutorial area where I ended up was a bit boring.

I have only played less than an hour of the beta so this is just a very brief report of my intial reaction to this hyped about game that is scheduled to come out next month on the 20th. The game feels very generic and I am sure that those who have played MMOs in the past would agree. Even though the Star Wars lore is being used brilliantly here, the character classes that you get to choose from are the typical fighter/mage/rogue/hunter variety. This game is pretty much a generic MMO that takes place in the Star Wars universe and they really didn't take the liberty to create some new class categories that we have never really seen before. Of course, it is very easy for me to say this because I haven't leveled up my character at all to discover how things would branch out eventually but the initial descriptions for these classes are just a little too familiar.

Behind that pretty face... Dark side! 

The part that is the most troubling for me with this game is the cinematic conversation that you would have with the non-player characters. Sure I always love these in a Bioware game and sure it does add a lot to the immersion but this also reminds me that the game could have been a single player adventure. Playing SW:TOR feels like you are playing a tarnished, diluted version of one of the previous Bioware titles like the Mass Effect or the Dragon Age series. I think having fully voiced interactions both for your character and the NPCs is wonderful but I couldn't help wishing that this game was not something that you would have to pay monthly fee for to keep playing. But alas, these are just the little quirks that I have against the game. I can tell you for certain that the early part of this ST:TOR beta is not as engaging as the Rift tutorial area but I am going to play as much of this game as I possibly can and write more about my experience as I discover the rest of the game's contents that are made available in this beta.

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