The only thing worse than coming back to a book after a weeks weeks away is coming back to an MMO after a couple expansions. You have no idea what’s going on, things sort of feel familiar but new, and there’s a pile of plots points / items in bags that you need to clear out. Getting back in Warframe was a kick in the teeth. With both Fallen Order and Onslaught out, I figured I’d give SWTOR another kick.
To fall back, I had started KOTFE way back when, but only the first part and my interest had waned. When the original launched, I was eyeball deep into the game, writing a ton of guides and simluators. So I have a few level 50s standing around to tinker with, and I think some 60s given I had completed Shadow of Revan with more than one. I opted for my Sith Sorcerer, cause Star Wars ins’t Star Wars without Force Lightning.
First job – figure out the inventory. Since SWTOR offers a F2P version, I wasn’t “authorized” to use any single piece of gear. More or less naked. Took me a bit to figure out how to solve that through the Cartel, but done. Then the bags. I am a pack rat in MMOs, keeping things “I may need”. I’m 90% sure this character ended up being a mule for the auction house, cause there was so much stuff he couldn’t use. I ended up selling everything that wasn’t bolted down.
Second, figure out the skills and toolbars. I don’t often use default UIs, and in SWTOR that is certainly the case. Thankfully the UI layout is super modifiable, and after 20 minutes things were good. Next up was figuring out the skills and rotation. WoW feels like kindergarten compared to SWTOR’s text-heavy descriptions. The actual rotations are simple, but figuring them out feels overly complex. Added to this is SWTOR’s need to have combat nearly always be against groups, and the AE attacks are a different set of skills. Took a few deaths, but I got it sorted out.
Third, what the hell am I doing? Nearly all MMOs today have breadcrumb quests to get you in the new stuff. Not here. I knew KOTFE was the next step after Ziost, but I just couldn’t figure out how. Not terribly player focused. The main website didn’t have any information either. A few message boards later and it seems you need a sub to get access to the content. Fine. 60 days is $30, which should be ample to get through (and less than I spend on a team lunch that day.)
I had totally forgotten how jarring the KOTFE style was compared to the base game. I see it as a huge improvement, much more in the KOTOR vein in terms of story telling, using the MMO toolset. Somewhat similar to what FF14 does. A noticeable gap here is the lack of group-based content. This makes the odd time you see another player stick out.
In terms of storyline and presentation, this is really quite solid. With all the Star Wars mania going on these past years, this feels like an adult wrote it to continue to world-space, as compared to the recent films which feel more like a tribute. I’m not far into the story (act 6), but so far it’s sufficiently “epic” yet “personal”.
I tend to compare a lot between games. Many of us do. It’s hard to compare SWTOR to others, since the story-first lens is fairly unique. Other games tell a story in the world, SWTOR builds a world to tell a story. And that works.
I am curious as to how the social aspects will work out later on. I know Onslaught added some bit, and changed the reward structure to a more “gatcha” model, but I’ll reserve judgment until I get there.
Right now, I’m quite looking forward to the journey.