SWTOR Beta impressions part 2

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Gaming, SWTOR
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This past weekend got another shot at the SWTOR Beta. I unfortunately have been a little sick so I didn’t get as much time with the game as I would have liked. The time I did get in was really awesome. I also had a friend of mine bring his laptop over and spend the weekend playing as well. This was his first time getting hands on with the game and whatever doubts he had about whether he would actually play when the game releases are gone. I spent some time leveling bounty hunter to 10 or 11ish with him and despite him never having much experience with MMOs in the past he was able to pick up things very quickly and had a great time.

That brings me to the first thing I want to touch on in this post today. The accessibility of the game. It is an MMO and has more going on than most single player RPGs but it’s built in a way that newcomers can jump right in without worrying too much. Bioware really outdid themselves by making a game that really has something there for everyone. Whether you’re just a fan of MMOs, story driven RPGs, fast paced action games, big PvP fans, or a really hardcore MMO player, Bioware has you covered. The game has a lot of depth for the more hardcore players that for the more casual gamer may not even be interested in. From the intricacies of talent builds, taking full advantage of powers and combinations and crafting the hardcore players really have the opportunity to excel. For the more casual or newcomer to MMOs the game really does a great job of easing you into the game and doesn’t cut you off at the knees if you skip over crafting or avoid group play and solo your way to 50. They have implemented social points to encourage people to group up but it is not necessary. Personally, I really enjoyed group questing and what little I did experience of the Flashpoints. The way the group conversations work is really awesome and interesting and one of my favorite parts of the game. In other MMOs that I have played I usually just solo quest my way to cap level but am looking forward to grouping up with guild mates or random people as I level. Definitely a very unique way to evolve the PvE experience and make it much more engaging than reading a wall of text in a quest log. Off on a little rant there for a second but my point is that if you are a Star Wars Fan, a casual gamer, hardcore gamer or whatever, that this game really does have something for everyone no matter your gaming history or play style.

I’d like to go a bit more into the classes and how different they really do feel unique compared to one another. Now in order for game balance, especially in PvP, the classes do have to be somewhat mirrored on either side. The example that I will use because it’s the mirror that I have had the most time with is the Bounty Hunter/Republic Trooper. They both have similar abilities. For example, the BH has something called carbonite spray that is a coned crowd control ability while the RT has the carbonite grenade. Both have basically the same effect they are just deployed differently. While this is only one example they have a lot of similar abilities like that. Pretty boring right? Wrong. While they do share a lot of similar abilities Bioware has done a marvelous job making sure that they feel nothing alike. I think it has a large part to do with the resource that the classes use. The BH uses heat. Your heat bar begins empty and by using abilities you generate hat and if you overheat it stuns you for a few seconds. You have a vent heat ability that has a cooldown to help you manage it. I really enjoyed the way that this resource mechanic worked. The RT on the other hand has ammo. It starts at 12 if I remember correctly, and you use up ammo as you use abilities. The less ammo you have the slower it recharges so finding that balance and learning to manage it to its full potential will be tricky. You also have a reload ability that has a cooldown to help you manage it. So despite the two classes being mirrors of one another something as simple as slight deployment differences in the abilities and a varying resource I found that they felt completely different and I had a lot of fun with both. Had so much fun with the BH that I will be making that my second character after my Sith Inquisitor instead of the Imperial Agent. Death from above = win.

So instead of writing a lot about story again this time around and worrying about spoiling anything all I’m gonna say this time around is that everything I have experienced story wise in the game has been absolutely stellar. Really engaging characters and plots and the voice acting is probably the best I have ever heard in a video game. Scratch that. Some of the best voice acting I have ever heard. The highest level character I had was my Sith Inquisitor. She was level 24 and the story just kept getting better and better. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out when the game is live.

This past weekend was a HUGE stress test for the servers. I personally didn’t have any queue times or noticeable lag at all. Actually had two minor crashes this weekend but that was it. Tweets from @SWTOR announcing addition of more servers throughout the weekend. I noticed a couple of servers went down but it seemed that they were able to bring them back rather quickly from what I saw. Overall a pretty smooth weekend and things are really looking great for launch.

I mentioned in the previous SWTOR post that I did a few great resources to check out for all you SWTOR needs but I’ll throw them out there again. Be sure to check them out.
GamebreakerTV
Darth Hater
Darth Hater Database

If you’re a fan of PvP and would like a little more insight into SWTOR PvP be sure to check out Ed aka Taugrim. He now has a weekly spot on GamebreakerTVs show The Republic and his own site has videos diving into how PvP works for some classes and game play footage from SWTOR warzones. He also does live streams on his Twitch TV channel that you can check out. Actually been watching his videos while I’ve written this. Really great stuff full of insightful commentary to help you out while you PvP.

Thanks again for reading. I’ll see you soon in a galaxy far far away. May the force serve you well.

-FMG-

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