Star Wars

The Old Republic is out and naturally, I’ve been able to get some time in.  Two guides are up too.  The Sith Sorcerer Guide and the General Strat Guide.  They pay for the game and the monthly sub, which is nice.

I’m playing on the Imperial side, on Sith Meditation Sphere.  Called Asmiroth, naturally.I’m quite ahead of the leveling curve as the planets indicate how many people are playing with you.  Lower planets have 150-200 players while the ones I’m on have 10 or so.  I’ve unlocked my Legacy as well, which gives all your characters the same last name.  You unlock it after Chapter 1, which is around level 32.

The game has improved by leaps and bound from the beta stage.  It’s actually quite surprising how much they improved gameplay in a short period of time.  I was really worried about crafting and mods and they pulled an 11th hour switcheroo which works out pretty well.  From level 10 on up, you can get orange colored gear, which is 100% modifiable.  If you like the look, you can mod it all the way to level 50 and keep the same look.  I’ve had the same helmet for 20 levels now.  This works for all armor but does not work for weapons.  Weapons have a DPS component that is separate from the mods and even for an Inquisitor/Sage, where DPS doesn’t matter, it has Force Power which doesn’t come from mods.  So while you can upgrade your weapon with mods for 5 or so levels, you will eventually be replacing it.

Heroic quests, for 2 or 4 people, are interesting but not required to level.  Getting 2 people together is simple enough, on a populated planet.  Getting 4, especially after level 25 or so where roles are important, is next to impossible.  No one purposefully levels as a healer, so when you need one, it stinks.  Plus, everyone has piles of area effect attacks, making it a pain for a tank to do their job properly, especially if they are geared for DPS instead.

Also, it’s clear that level 35+ content wasn’t tested enough.  There are less things to do and way more bugs.  Sort of like Age of Conan.  Balance is off as well, where some enemy placements are next to impossible to get through unless you get lucky.   Here’s an example.  At level 35 there was a Heroic-2 quest I tried to solo.  Stuns and shields and planning and I was able to complete it without dying.  A level 40, with the same companion and talents, couldn’t get past the first group.  Things are balanced around the harder difficulty by that point.  I do know that Hard Flashpoints were largely broken as were all operations at the last beta.  We’ll see how that goes when I get there.

Leveling pace is decent.  If you skip all the story (spacebar) you can rush to 50 in about 80 hours.  Otherwise, it’s about 1.5-2 hours per level, after level 20 and fairly steady from that point.  There are still some balancing issues to work out (Heroics are not worth the time/experience) but it feels a good pace.

The story aspect is pretty strong.  It really plays like a single player BioWare game.  I won’t spoil anything but the story is quite a bit more solid than anything Lucas has written and you do feel invested in your character.  My questions revolve around what happens after you crush the Republic on a planet.  If you return, are they still there, story-wise?

Fun game, should last a couple months for me.