I’ve seen quite a few threads on both The Old Republic and World of Warcraft forums slamming SWTOR recently. So in conjunction with seeing how I myself have been more focused on the negative things in the game I am going to make a list of the some of the things that I found to be good.
It’s a Small World After All
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a big game.
Yes, I don’t have a vehicle yet and I’m running everywhere but I do remember playing World of Warcraft back in 2005 when I couldn’t afford a mount and had to run everywhere in that game. Ug. Desolace sucked.
The Old Republic game world, as you might expect, is broken up into planets. The first planet (Tython) you start on isn’t all that large. Probably about the size of an average zone in WoW. They use a few tricks to make it seem larger such as separating out some areas by means of tunnels and having mini-dungeons scattered around but all-in-all it’s not a really big area.
Once you get past the first planet it appears that they grow in size a good bit. Coruscant is probably close to twice the size of Tython. Taris is bigger still.
There are only 17 planets and 4 of those are the tiny starter worlds but if the size of the other planets keep up with ones like Taris then the total size is probably on par with what World of Warcraft had at launch.
In WoW almost the entire game world was split into two continents that you could traverse from one end to the other. Travel between continents was done by ship/zeppelin or teleport.
In SWTOR each planet does have separate areas that you might think of as zones but they are much smaller than zones in Warcraft. Travel between planets is basically the same as between continents in Warcraft. With more cutscenes inserted.
As of yet, you do not have full control over your space ship. It is more like the sailing ships in Warcraft except that you choose the destination.
This doesn’t sound all that amazing and I will admit that it doesn’t add to actual gameplay but they did a tremendous job of it. The animation of the stars, hyperspace, and the planet you are traveling to is just about perfect.
Remember the scene in Return of the Jedi where Lando is piloting the Falcon through hyperspace? The way the
Death Star (Or was it Endor? Let me check my DVD real quick. Yes, the big globe there was Endor.) forest moon of Endor zoomed up into view and then the approach slows down as the ship leaves hyperspace?
They recreated that effect in-game and it looks great.
I’m not going to capture it well using screenshots but here are pics from inside my ship of entering hyperspace, traveling through hyperspace, and the tail end of leaving hyperspace.
Now for some people the way this game is broken up (by what can be called a series of cutscenes) will make the game feel smaller. Others may find that it adds to the feeling of immersion and vastness of the galaxy.
I think I’m in a third segment in that it doesn’t affect me either way. Travel is travel. By foot or cutscene or teleport. I’ll sure that I’ll get to the point where I just want to get wherever I’m going quickly — the way that I am when I play Warcraft.
Every player begins with a “Quick Travel” ability. This is similar to the Hearthstone in World of Warcraft. Except for two points. First, it doesn’t take up an inventory slot. Second, it allows you to return to any bind point that you have discovered on the planet. Yes, it is limited to the planet you are currently on but I find that I much prefer this flexibility to Warcraft’s limitation of a single bind point.
There are “taxis” spread across each planet as well. These are the same thing as Warcraft’s flight points and found at quest hubs like you would expect. They work well enough but like Warcraft’s flight points before the current expansion you must discover them before you can use them. Seeing yourself on a speeder bike is kind of neat but gryphon vs speeder bike. Eh.
Once you get past the first planet your character will also receive an “Emergency Fleet Pass” that will return your character to its appropriate space fleet. This is important because not only will you find trade market terminals, trainers, every type vendor, etc but more importantly the fleet is where all the flashpoints (instanced dungeons) are located. Only bad thing about the fleet pass is that it has an 18-hour cooldown. So use it wisely.
At level 14 your character will obtain the ability “Sprint.” This is a 35% runspeed increase outside of combat. It’s not quite passive, it is something that you have to turn on and death deactivates it but it’s essentially always on. It is also an ability that every class is given so there is no complaints about Druids or Hunters or Shaman. It’s a nice tide over until you get mounts at level 25 and I really like that they gave it to every class.
Other Things Anyone Can Do
Every class also starts with the abilities of “Revive” and “Revive Companion.”
Revive Companion allows you to rez your companion or the companions of other players. Revive allows you to rez other players. This has a 15-minute cooldown. It appears that players that choose an advanced class that can heal have this cooldown removed.
It’s nice to see this kind of ability given to every player even if in a somewhat limited form.
Level 23 now. I expect I’ll have a lot more to talk about this coming week.