Been sick for over a month and just finally getting over it. I have a dislike for the holidays as well, they never really feel like holidays.
So I hit 50 with my Sorcerer a while ago and there was nothing to do since I was one of 20 on my server. I then leveled a Bounty Hunter and now there’s about 50 people at level 50. At peak time, there are 120 people in the “zone to find people”, which includes all levels. I do see people looking for groups, so tonight I’ll give it a shot and see.
Having leveled two evil characters on the empire, I can say that 90% of the content is identical but that extra 10% has nothing to do with fun bosses and mechanics, it’s just different cutscenes. And poorly done on the Bounty Hunter too. Sorcerers have a kick ass story and the ending is truly great. But really, it’s Star Wars. You know the magic using guys are going to be better.
Interestingly, though not surprisingly, there is a massive imbalance between Republic and Empire players, with 3-4x the amount on the Empire side. I saw this in beta. When classes are identical in nearly every respect and character avatars are all humans (though red or green or blue), the only thing pushing you to a faction is story and the dark side is so much better it isn’t funny. Not sure how they are going to fix that. Also interesting is that players are not taking the pure DPS classes. When every class can DPS within 5% of each other, why in the world would you take a pure DPS class? Take a tank or healer who can also DPS. This is even worse for the melee DPS class in a game that hugely favors ranged attacks. Quite stupid planning.
Anyhow, the gameplay from 1-49 is good and solid. Crafting makes sense in that context, so do upgrades. It’s KOTOR3 all the way and you can play alone without any problems. 50 is pure garbage where crafting skills mean nothing, there’s no way to find a group other than standing in 1 zone (out of ~20) and spamming chat, raids and dungeons are bugged and the best items in the game are worse statistically than the 2nd best. BW clearly has no experience in making MMOs and they have released a game that is simply not ready. Oh, their test servers have no level 50s and the last patch was a high level content patch. Want to know how that went?
Sort of on the same idea is Raph Koster’s recent post – Narrative is not a Game Mechanic. The argument that fancy screens and movies where you sit and watch do nothing different than putting in a DVD and eating a bowl of popcorn. Once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Using his example of Batman – Arkham City, there are quite a few instances where you to do X in Y amount of time to see a 30 second clip (thankfully there are many more spots where that’s not the case, play the game!). If the entire game was doing X in Y for a big Z, you’d probably enjoy it the first time but not the second. Especially if that took 20 hours to do the first time (cough FF-13). SW is in that group where the story is great the first time but the mechanics are the same as in every other game. Once you’ve done X in Y 10 times, do you really want to do it again 1000 more times?