So we’re a couple days shy of the 2 month mark and here’s my opinion.
TOR launched 2 months early, at the very least. The first month had so many crashes, exploit and bugs that they patched once or twice a week to address it. We’re at the 2 month mark, and there’s a patch every week still. When Rift launched, it was nearly bug free and they worked on major things, like a group finder and guild stuff, plus content. SW came out to compete with WoW and Rift, two fully functioning MMOs, with a wiffle bat.
What does TOR do right? The single player aspect. Leveling from 1-49 is a pretty cool journey. It can get repetitive at times, but so do most games. I enjoyed it tremendously the first time through. The settings made sense, travel was long to give a sense of scope and you had well spread out enemies. It’s a single player game with minimal replay (since there are no side-quests) and that’s worth your money.
What it does wrong is everything else. I leveled another character to 50 and skipped all the dialogue since 99% of it was the same as the first time through. My 3rd char is 30 now and I’m bored to tears of the questing, flying, zoning garbage that breaks up the MMO aspect. You feel like you’re alone for ever.
So let’s do a feature comparison. If you were in an MMO, you left that one to come try this one right? So you left stuff to try new stuff.
This is a strong point for WoW, though Rift has some decent elements to it. There is a PvP stat that completely unbalances PvP in all 3 games though it’s being addressed in Rift. TOR has massive exploits and a RNG system where once a week, you have a 25% chance of getting PvP gear. Massive exploits too, you can max your PvP level fairly easily by Googling.
WoW has this down pat. Rift has some balance issues for raids but the open world content is great. Rift battles are amazing and you can do pretty much what you want, when you want. I like it. ToR has flashpoints that have a 25% chance of rewarding you at the end – and their loot tables are fixed. Each takes 90mins to 2 hours to complete, many are bugged. It’s better to run raids, as each boss has a 75% chance of dropping something you can use. You need gloves? There’s only one way to get gloves. Rift and WoW both have LFG tools. TOR is 2 months old and you can still wait an hour or more spamming LFG.
This is a bit tougher to measure. WoW has many methods to make cash, AH, dailies, raids whatever. It let’s you buy flavor items (pets, mounts) and power (enchants, gems). You need it certainly but not a whole lot. Rift is close to WoW in this regard, though overall there’s less to buy. TOR’s only expenditure right now is re-specing your talents (100-400K per shot). The AH doesn’t work, dailies give 13K per (4 you can do alone), crafting is useless and your best bet is running a level 30 dungeon for money. My 2 50s are millionaires, many times over with nothing to do.
This is the part where you look at the systems. WoW and Rift both have balanced stats. You know what’s good, it’s somewhat simple to move things around to get stronger. TOR opted for a modding strategy, where you move slots of gear within gear. Sadly, these slots were designed by a drunk monkey where the 2 stats that are most prominent are the least wanted by any class (accuracy and haste). The core issue here is that 2 of the 4 main classes are resource dependent and that resource regenerates at different rates. Both need to be above 60% at all times, making for somewhat static playstyles. Making them attack faster, depletes their resources faster. That makes them change their rotation to regenerate power instead of playing the game. So what’s happening in game is that everyone is buying 3 particular items, breaking them down and using them to power the rest of their gear. Every DPS and Healer (80% of the population) is doing this. That’s bad planning.
Crafting has no use past level 49. Do a single daily and the rewards outstrip any thing you can possibly craft. Ship combat is an on-rails shooter. I can play those for free.
The game from 1-49 is great and if you’re looking to try that out, then it’s worth the free month. It looks and feels Star Wars (as long as you’re not a Sniper/Gunslinger). Playing through once is fun.
If you want to play with other people, find another game. If you want an MMO with PvP, wait a few months for them to fix the exploits and PvP stat. If you want PvE in your MMO, wait until they put in a LFG tool and fix their item drops. If you want to craft, find another game. If you want to socialize/collect, find another game. If you like alts, find another game.
TOR is not an MMO. It’s a single player game that lets you talk to other people.
EDIT: I wanted to add a link to a population measuring tool. TORStatus does a decent job, considering. A 5% drop over last week. Let’s say they have 1.5 million paying players (they said 1.7 were playing, most paying). 5% is 75,000 players or about 1.2 million dollars a month.