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December 20, 2011



- Great production values

- So many opportunities await

- Very comfortable to MMO vets to just jump in and start playing

- Inspires fan fiction!



- Maybe not as different form World of WarCraft as you'd like

- Grinding



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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Score: 8.0 / 10


Axel: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .

Samothrace Zhyrr stood motionless as the frigid wind slid over him like a blade over a whetstone. Fat snowflakes shot past and swirled around him, some of them disappearing in tiny puffs of steam as they made contact with the burning blades of his matched lightsabers.


Standing on the icy plains of Ilum, far from the bustle of the Core Worlds, even beyond the rough “civilization” of the Outer Rim, he took a moment to reflect on how he had come to this place. A frozen orb in what had to be the farthest corner of the Galaxy, less a culmination of events than an epilogue, a final detail that required his sole attention.


His companions had understood the need to go forth alone, though they'd argued strenuously against it. It seemed, too, that his nemesis had understood and come




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to the same conclusion.

Standing across from him was Ergardur Malath, a Dark Lord of the Sith, one of the Empire's most fearsome Sith assassins, and as intimately tied to Samothrace's destiny as his own Padawan. If the reports he'd read were correct, none who had seen Ergardur's face still lived to speak of it, not even the instructors of the Sith Academy on


Korriban. And here he stood, a Pureblooded Sith, his mask momentarily off for Samothrace look upon, though the effect was somewhat wasted. The Miralukan could see Ergardur's features, but could not the blood red skin or the topaz color of his irises. The Sith's features were sharp, fine boned, but they didn't seem to carry the obvious signs of Dark Side corruption found in many of the Sith.


stars wars the old republic          star wars the old republic


Samothrace knew that this meeting was destined, that there was no escaping it. For every move that Samothrace had made, each eddy of the Force guiding him, a similar eddy of the Dark Side had doubtlessly pushed Ergardur. It was the eternal dynamic between the Light and the Dark, brought down to a single incarnation of each. Samothrace knew that the battle could not be avoided, yet his training and his nature demanded he at least make the offer.

“I've been waiting a long time for this,” Ergardur said over the wind. “You've accomplished much, and such an accomplished warrior as yourself is the only suitable challenge left for me. It will be an honor to face you, and a greater pleasure to strike you down.”

“The honor is mine, Lord Malath,” replied Samothrace, raising the tip of one lightsaber slightly from the low guard position in salute. “And honor compels me to offer you the opportunity to forsake the impending violence of this meeting. You have great power, a position of importance in the Empire. Are you so eager for more that you would risk becoming one with the Force by challenging me?”

“It must be this way. You're a powerful enemy, as well as honorable, and if I cannot defeat you, then I am unworthy of holding what power I have now.” Ergardur brought his double-bladed lightsaber up in an attacking stance. “I don't believe I've ever faced a Miralukan before. What I wouldn't give to see the Force as you do.”

Samothrace stretched his off-hand lightsaber behind him, keeping his dominant hand in the low guard position, inviting the Sith Lord to attack. “I can only wonder what you would have been like had you trained with the Jedi. We might have been comrades.”

A strange, almost sad smile passed over Ergardur's face. “This is our destiny, Sentinel. Let us not cheapen it with what might have been.”

In the blink of an eye, the sound of the wind was drowned out by the actinic crackle of lightsaber blades clashing. . .

Yeah, But Is It Star Wars or WoW with A Different Skin?
Mr. Nash: So, what is the draw of SWTOR? After playing WoW for years, and regularly picking up Bioware, it's hard to see innovative gameplay being what brings players to the game because it isn't here. What you will find is something very familiar, especially if you do happen to be coming off of Blizzard's monolithic MMORPG. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the combat and abilities are solid, and Bioware continues to provide good quests of the calibre that people have come to expect from their games. If you are burned out on WoW, though, the game is going to be a much tougher sell. Combat plays out much the same, Warzones feel like Battlegrounds Mark II, and as someone who actually is burned out on WoW, I've been finding myself not even inclined to do Flashpoints, as group-based dungeon-y stuff has lost its appeal to me (it also doesn't help that there isn't a group finder in the game at the moment, making getting people together to run those things a bit of a PITA).

The one thing that I do think has the best chance of pulling people in to the game is the fact that it has the Star Wars license. It does feel like this is the KotOR sequel that many people have been waiting years for (the game does take place only a few hundred years after the events of those games after all). SWTOR does capture the feel of the Star Wars universe extremely well, and it's neat that we can actually see a lot of the locals from it in quite a bit more detail than we have in past Star Wars games. Just wandering around Coruscant, and seeing all of the buildings everywhere, and car-thingies zipping around is a sight, or wandering around the imperial fleet with its jet black, well-polished architecture. The environments just scream "This is Star Wars!"

Questing further drives this point home. Whether playing a Jedi or a Sith or an imperial agent, the various errands that you get sent on really feel like something you would do in one of those roles. It isn't just a string of tasks players are sent on wrapped in a Star Wars-esque veneer, but the sorts of things you would expect to do if you were any of these sorts of people. The imperial agent in particular feels exactly like what I would expect if I was some sort of covert operative of the Empire.

It's stuff like this that will likely get people playing SWTOR. The Star Wars license is a big draw in general for a lot of people, and it's put to good use here.


star wars the old republic          star wars the old republic


Aaron: Having never played WoW (yes, I’m one of those people) and only, what I’d consider limited exposure to MMOs -- City of Heroes is the only one that I really paid any attention to -- for me to try to make any comparison with WoW so I’ll stick with City of Heroes.

I stopped playing City of Heroes when I found myself constantly grinding out experience for the sake of grinding out experience. The stories weren’t anything more complex than “go there, defeat that super villain, run back to quest giver for a reward” but I liked the world and being witness to some of the most whacked-out character designs I’ve ever seen. But when the grind set in... that was it. And this same problem smacked me in the face so quickly in SWTOR that my interest in even progressing further than the opening planet waned. I was Level 4 and spent nearly an hour trying to defeat a big robot who was Level 5. I realized that I’d have to grind out a few levels in order to have any hope of turning the robot into scrap. To me, that’s not much fun so I was going back to the likes of Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row: The Third. Those games also have some grinding aspects to them but the combat and action is much more engrossing than watching ability icons cool down.

So, I guess, if WoW has a lot of grinding -- I’ve been told it does -- then SWTOR can tick that aspect off the checklist of necessary MMO tropes.


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