My TOR Review

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Betatester Betatester
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My TOR Review

I hate to be the one to burst everyone’s bubble, but I have to give an honest opinion on The Old Republic. It is rather awful. Don’t get me wrong. I played in it for about 100 hours in beta. However, if there are not vast improvements in it in the next build, I am cancelling my pre-order. If people would get over their fanboy outlook on everything Star Wars, they would agree. I would give this a 5/10. I will give you my full reasoning behind this.

The first big letdown of the game is the graphics. The background scenery is beautiful; I will give them that. But, in the end, who really gives a shit about the background scenery? Yes, there are a couple of moments, like when you step out on the main platform on Nar Shaddaa and look out over the Las Vegas-like world, that you may take a minute or two to enjoy the scenery. For the rest of the time you are rushing about back and forth to try and complete quests, so you are just looking on your map and trying to find the next doorway, building, canyon where the object is located.

The second part of this is the character graphics. They are complete shit. The faces and bodies are cartoonish. In character creation, you get four body types: tiny/scrawny pipsqueak, average build, giant/amazon, and complete lard ass. Everyone that has played KotOR has seen pretty much all the faces in TOR. It is like they imported them without much improvement. Seriously, they are 2007 graphic quality at best. All the advertising videos of the fully rendered characters look beautiful. All the characters in game look like crap. You also get to see tons and tons of different alien NPCs. Why are they not playable? You interact with Jawas, Togruta, Chagrians, Wookiees, etc. Why are we not allowed to play any of them, even the near human species?

People also keep asking about the differences in armor. There ARE many variations, but most of those are strictly color/pattern differences. The boots and gloves came in two basic variations: short or long. The belts did have variation by way of how many compartments were attached. The pants also came in two variations for most classes: plated or non-plated (unless you are consular/inquisitor in which case you wear a skirt). Most of the characters that I saw running around were wearing pretty much the same thing. There were very few exceptions. When I played a trooper character, I did a ton of heroics with three other commandos. We looked like a squad because we all had the same armor and helmets. I would say that the best armor that could be purchased was found on Coruscant. You can purchase blues with your PvP commendations. I found that this armor was good enough to keep for several more planets (10-15 levels). This armor was available to everyone for purchase. I tried to do some variations to see what would happen and to mix my character’s look up a bit, like I purchased a powertech helmet for my commando. The helmet was glitched. My commando had the normal trooper helmet look when I put it on. When I tried putting the helmet on one of my companions, it went to the awful default of fluorescent pink. My companion walked around with a giant pink globe around his head.

I found the equipment options really irritating. They keep telling you that you can viably keep armor that you like for a good portion of the game. That is not so. I was continually upgrading my armor because they had different available slots. Not all chest pieces had overlay, harness, and support. They may have underlay. They may only have two of those. Some really awesome armor I found (purple) had no slots available. I had a chest piece for a lightside inquisitor. I picked it up at level 15 and it gave me some great stats: +35 to each of my top three stats and +115 to my force power. At level 15, that was like making me a master. I was kicking the snot out of everyone on Dromund Kaas. But, two planets later, I had to give up that armor because it wasn’t upgradeable. Also, what’s the deal of not being able to remove mods? There are numerous other games that let you do so for a price. What if I have a decent mod in a piece of armor, but want to upgrade that piece and reuse the mod in some other armor? Why can’t we remove a power cell from a rifle and put it in our companion’s weapon?

I am also very disheartened by the step backwards Bioware took with character abilities and development. In KotOR, you could choose what abilities your character specialized in. If you wanted to wear heavy armor, you could put the points into that, no matter what you started off as. If you wanted to carry two lightsabers or a single one or a single double-bladed one, you could do that. Why the hell are they pigeon-holing everyone into choosing one particular style. You can either get heavy armor or twin pistols. You can either get telekinesis or two lightsabers. It is really rather silly that they took this major step backwards in character customization. Not only that, but the type of blaster that you can use is dependent on the class. WHAT!? You mean my trooper was only trained on a blaster rifle OR cannon, but is completely unable to use a pistol or sniper rifle or scattergun? Does that make a lick of sense? Sure, the bonus stats on each of those is geared toward a particular class, but what if I want to customize my character a little differently. Why can’t I make that choice? There were also so poor choices made about when classes receive certain abilities. The biggest oversight in my mind is Sith Warrior. That class doesn’t get force choke until level 25. WTF?! Other than being able to wear heavy armor and possibly wield two lightsabers, force choke is the main reason to do this class. It is the signature Vader move. And the class doesn’t get to see it until halfway through the story? That makes no sense. Give it to the class at level 1, albeit at a lower strength.

Game play and replayability is not very high. I can’t really say how many stories there are. It is too confusing. The Jedi characters both start on Tython; the trooper and smuggler both start on Ord Mantell; the Sith characters start on Korriban; and the agent and bounty hunter start on Hutta. Each class has their own story / class quest line. However, the pairs of classes share the other quests on the origin planet. The whole faction (four classes) share quests on all the other planets. So, you are playing basically the same story over and over again for the entire faction with a little sprinkling of class specific stuff mixed in.

The quests are not varied at all in style. They all are go to X location. On your way to X location, kill Y amount of Z creatures/opponents. There is some story differences in the quests, like there may be a computer that needs sliced into at the location, but it is surrounded by mobs that you have to kill. There is no real stealth option. There are no real options at all. This is the same for both factions and for all planets. What is worse… when you get to the later planets that are huge and expansive, the locations for the quests are ridiculously far away. You have to get a speeder or catch a taxi to locations nearby. There are the same number of mobs as on the earlier planets, they are just spread out more. There is nothing value added into the game for the larger maps. You get more scenery to ignore. Otherwise, it just adds greater annoyance because you have to run halfway across the planet to complete the quest. Taxi/run/speeder your way back to the quest giver, only to be given another part of the quest which sends you all the way back across the planet to finish that part… which you have to cross the planet once more to turn in the new part of the quest. Even worse. The taxi service is broken into several sections. Let’s say on a planet you have 5 bases with taxi services. Base #1 is right by the spaceport. Base #5 is at the far end of the planet. Your main class quest giver is usually close to the spaceport. When you finish the planet’s class quest, you have to turn it in near the spaceport. Instead of using the speeder/sprint, you use the taxi service because at this point on every planet, you just want to get the fuck off the planet and on to another one (This was stated in general chat numerous times for every planet). So you take the taxi. You have to go to every intermediate base along the way. So, you get on taxi at Base #5, jump off at base #4 and jump back on, jump off at base #3 and jump back on, jump off at base #2 and jump back on, and finally arrive at base #1. You turn in your quest and go as fast as you can to the spaceport. You usually will be given the option of a planetary bonus series of quests, which will send you all the way back to the far end of the planet. Usually, you are so sick of the current planet, you go to your ship to continue the class quest. It takes like four intermediate steps to do so: run to spaceport, run through spaceport to your class elevator, load screen to get to your class ship, load screen to get on ship, go to galaxy map to choose next mission planet, load screen/hyperspace, go back to door of ship to go to class hanger… It is really stupid at some points. At the end of Act 1 for the trooper, you have to go to Coruscant just to talk to your quest giver who immediately sends you off world to another mission. So, this process was way too complicated and boring and long.

As a side note, I really hate the levels that they choose to grant sprint and speeder to all the classes. I would really like to have sprint at the origin planet. You don’t get it until level 15, which is basically towards the end of your second/capital planet. It may not be so bad on the Republic side because all the maps are accessed through a taxi service from the main point. However, on Dromund Kaas, you have to casually walk around a freaking jungle the whole time. Give us sprint at level 1 or level 5, and give us the speeder earlier. The best idea would be to make them available at level 1 but keep the cost to purchase the skill high. Keep the speeder skill at 40k credits. For most of my characters, I took slicing as a gathering skill and had that amount saved by level 15 easily. Make sprint cost 5k credits. I had that saved by level 5 or so. And, I have to agree with a majority of beta testers: the speed and armor for the personal speeders needs to be increased. I took a level 35 inquisitor to Hutta. The mobs there were level 5 (for the agent and bounty hunter beginners). They would shoot me for less than 50 points of damage (I had around 10k health and armor). The speeder would explode. I would one hit AOE the mob and jump back on my speeder. I wouldn’t even get any XP for it since they were so far below my level. It is just annoying.

The next issue with this game is the fact that it is advertised as an MMO but there really is little reason to group up. Grouping up could be viewed as a mini game to participate in. I soloed 90% of the game in all classes. Let’s look at what Bioware has given us for multiplayer: heroic quests, flashpoints, and warzones/operations. The heroic missions, both the 2+ and the 4, can be soloed if you have a tank class with the right stats and using a healing companion. Also, because the game doesn’t scale enemy NPCs with your character (the game is very linear in that respect), you can go back to planets after you have gone up 5 levels and easily cake walk the heroics. The same can be said about the early level flashpoints… which there are only one for each side. The flashpoints are available to players at level ~10, ~32, ~48, and 50. There are no intermediate flashpoints. I suppose this is to keep the attention of upper level players who have finished the class stories. However, they need something in the mid levels to keep everyone else’s attention when they are bored with the regular quests. The warzones are just there for competition. They don’t have any real purpose to the game. You can enter them around level 10 9once you get to your capital planet). The player stats are given a generic setting for everyone. The only difference is abilities available to the characters. You only have what you purchased at the point the character entered the warzone. So, a level 10 Sith Warrior won’t have force choke but will have level 50 strength. In the game itself, often when I was looking for help to clear an area (usually because I was stuck in a high concentration mob area that I could not bypass because my objective was on the other side), the only other characters nearby were of the same class. It just so happens that if you are part of the same class, you cannot work together in the story instances. You each have to work on your own story. So, I would work within a group only to have to split up at the climax of the current quest.

Let’s go back a second to what I said about the game not scaling and being too linear. This is basically the Disney World of Star Wars games. You start at the entrance (origin world), do some quests, and follow your class story. At the end of this orientation, you are sent by commercial shuttle (basically another version of the taxi) to your capital planet. You do some more quests that have different skins (Adventure Land versus Land of Tomorrow versus Magic Kingdom). You finish that planet and move on to the next. Your class quest giver usually gives you two options at the end of a major plot point. So, for example, the Sith Warrior finished Dromund Kaas. Your master tells you your next objectives are on Nar Shadda and Tatooine. Depending on how many side quests you completed and how much grinding you did in the jungles, the Sith Warrior is around level 20. You are told in the log that the Nar Shaddaa quest is level 21 and the Tatooine quest is level 24. It doesn’t matter which one you complete first. After you complete both planets, you are given the next step in the story, which is linear. You have to chase after your prey from one site to another until the completion of chapter one for your character. This is the same for the other classes. You complete a plot point, are given two planets to choose from for the next step, complete both planets to receive the next plot point. This limits replayability greatly.

The last portion that I found lacking was the voice acting. Bioware has been playing this up as the be all and end all for MMOs. The problem is that most of the voice acting parts get skipped. They take soooooooo long to complete. In conversations that I have had with other testers, the majority of the conversations get skipped outside of the class story lines. I’d say about a third of the conversations include aliens that don’t speak Basic. Why do I want to hear the same alien gibberish over and over again, when I have to read the translation any way?! I just press the space bar, read the last line of the conversation, and choose whether the DS/LS choice so I get the points. The class conversations are interesting, but once you hear them the first time, you will probably skip them too. Also, the acting is not THAT great. You don’t get a choice of your character’s voice, like you get in many other fully voiced RPGs, like Oblivion or Dragon Age. The class and sex of your character determines your voice, period. No other choice given. That’s not that impressive, sorry.

There are other issues with the game, which I don’t want to fully discuss. I will mention them here quickly. The game is very unpolished. There are areas from the origin world all the way through to the end game areas with severe lag spikes. There are numerous visual holes to the game. NPCs have no skin in some areas and show as pink blobs that have “default” written all over them. There are parts where NPCs are headless or limbless. The cut scenes and conversation movies are sometimes broken where the camera moves to goofy locations or NPCs are invisible. Holovideos do not work for people with ATI graphics cards. The mouse button sometimes loses its binding. You can set it so that you can loot an entire area with a right click. I have found that at least once per game session, I have to reset this because the right click won’t do anything. I am not as finicky as others about the UI. However, once I place an ability into the UI bar, I expect it to stay there. I have even locked the task bar only to find that it unlocks by itself and loses an ability from it. You cannot queue up for particular warzones. You just get thrown into whatever one is available. Once the warzone is complete, you don’t get an option for a rematch. Everyone gets kicked out of the area. You re-queue and enter the next warzone that starts up. Space combat sucks. It is only a mini game, I know. However, it is impossible to become good at. You need to make upgrades to your ship to make it viable past the very first mission. However, you can only upgrade your ship with combat commendations that you get in space combat. You can only earn a maximum of five commendations from the mission and that is only if you complete it. You only get the 5 commendations once a day. Otherwise, you get 1 commendation for completing a mission. Each of the minimum upgrades cost 5 commendations. So, to upgrade your ship to the point of completing the second mission, you have to complete the first mission once per day for three/four days. Players need greater ability to change the companions. Only the original companion in each class is allowed to be customized with one of three skins. Each companion is pigeon-holed into one function: melee tank, tanged tank, or healer. Only the currently “equipped” companion gets affection points. So, if you want to build a relationship with a particular companion, but they don’t meet the necessary function that your character needs in combat, you are screwed. If the currently equipped companion is of an opposite mindset than what you want for your character, you are continually losing affection (making them closer to leaving your party). Why is it that we can have three player companions in a group but can only have a single NPC companion? That just seems a bit silly and lazy programming. It does not really have that much of a Star Wars feel to it, outside of lighsabers. Seriously, some of the NPC droids look like Geth.

I leveled one class to 50. I leveled four other classes to the 30s. I want to see one or two of the other class stories. However, due to my dissatisfaction with the game, I will probably cancel my pre-order before the end of beta testing. I just don’t see the enjoyment in getting the game or paying a ridiculous amount for subscription. Other games like Guild Wars have shown that it is possible to make a profit without subscriptions. TOR would probably make the cost of development with pre-orders. A mediocre game that is just a skinned version of other MMOs is not worth it.
Chris Chris
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Re: My TOR Review

You are so full of shit.  You said you played 100 hours and got a toon to lvl 50 and a couple others int the 30s.  It takes 200 hours to get one toon to 50 so I am pretty much not going to belive a thing you say.
sickqt sickqt
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Re: My TOR Review

you just seem like a really angry person... its an mmo, you dont seem to understand this is what mmo's offer... no reason to bash it if its not for you, go back to playing whatever suites you.
Dan Dan
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Re: My TOR Review

In reply to this post by Betatester
The majority of your problems seem to stem with the fact that you dislike the playstyle of mmos. I suggest you go and play skyrim, or mass effect, or dragons age, or anything else like that. go play a game where its just you, because you do not understand or appreciate what mmos are about. thank you and good day, i said GOOD DAY
xiaopig xiaopig
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Re: My TOR Review

In reply to this post by Betatester
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