I don’t cover board games nearly as often as I would like to or should. But at GenCon this year, Fantasy Flight Games announced a new title that has me really excited. Star Wars: Imperial Assault. The game basically is Decent with a Star Wars license and a 1v1 skirmish mode option… I mean I was excited that Abyss was going to be on sale at GenCon (though I wasn’t going, so can’t secure myself a copy… though if anybody is in the area and wants to gift me a copy, cover order goes purple, green, blue, red, pink/orange), and I was excited to hear more about another must have game, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest a new LCG from FFG, which I hear sold out in a couple hours, and of course their Star Wars: Armada game (another must have), but Imperial Assault took me, and I think everyone, by surprise. Huge reveal. The fine folks over at Team Covenant have posted a nice full playthrough… Haven’t watched it fully yet, so excited about it I had to share it right away.
During the Thanksgiving Day weekend I gave my Initial Impressions of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Since then the game launched, and is undergoing its weekly Tuesday morning maintenance so I can’t play right now, I figured it is time for a little followup. I won’t go over everything I did there, so if you didn’t read that, it may be a good place to start. I ended up getting in the Friday before launch.
Like most MMOs, Star Wars: The Old Republic will need new content after launch to keep players in the game. World of Warcraft regularly adds Content Patches. These expand the content of the game… sort of mini-expansions, and at least in the case of WoW, adds up to nearly a full expansion by the time they do release a new expansion the players have to pay for. Seems SWTOR is going down the same path, which is good news.
I think so. Right now, we have a legacy system in place to encourage and reward players for trying out new classes and seeing new storylines. So there’s a lot of content there to entertain those players who like to play the “level-up game.” On the other hand, there are high-level players who are focused on bringing one character to level 50, and those guys are going to be our main focus for new content. We’re going to be producing new flashpoints, new operations, new warzones, and even new single-player content for our highest leveled characters. We already have multiple teams working on that as we speak, and they’ve got a bunch of flashpoints and operations in the can.
We’re also not shrinking the content team at all, and we have a huge content team. Our content team is essentially bigger than… well… I’ll just say we have a big content team, how about that! [laughs] We have a very big content team and those guys will continue to work on delivering a regular cadence of high-level content. I can’t talk exactly about our delivery schedule, but I can say that within a month of shipping the game, we want to have more high-level content being delivered into the game. We’re going to continue to deliver high-level content after that and for the foreseeable future, basically. It’s obviously important to us. We want to keep people playing the game, so it’s in our best interest to keep doing that.
Of course I’ll likely not be a high level character myself by that point as I tend to be an altoholic and level several characters up to a point then do another and another, switching “mains” and never getting any up to any high levels… Hopefully that changes this time. 🙂
UPDATE 3 (14 Dec 11pm EST) – The issue has been resolved. I just got an email saying thank you for registering your Pre-Order Code. Thank you to the Star Wars: The Old Republic customer service team and specifically whomever fixed it! I still can’t post to the official forums to offer help based on my experiences, but it is showing up on the accounts pages which was the main concern, and the forum issue will only be a problem if it keeps going past the 20th, though I would hope it resolves by the time my Early Access starts (which should be Friday at the earliest).
Well, not everything is honky dory in Star Wars: The Old Republic pre-order land for me. I ordered the Digital Standard Edtion fine back on the morning of December 9th. Then I followed the procedure to redeem my pre-order code so I could start my early access (UPDATE – if this gets fixed I should get my early access email on Friday telling me when I can get in) and made it to the congratulations screen. However, on my account screen it still shows I haven’t registered my pre-order on either the games screen (which says to register) or the Code Redemption page which shows no codes redeemed, so I might not be able to get in early. I’ve emailed the support team at SWTOR, but no results yet. I chatted with the people at Origin, where I pre-ordered the game, and everything is okay on their end and they sent me back to the SWTOR people. What is more disturbing is that they got back to me super fast initially, but now it has been like 24 hours since they last communicated with me and early access starts soon, and it is based on when you put in your code. There was no chance of getting in on the 13th this late in the year anyhow, but now, unless they fix the code put in originally, it will not have counted for the 9th, but whenever they resolve the issue and give me a new code, or fix the code I put in back when, which may increase the time until I can get in… it is very frustrating. It would be nice to at least hear from them saying they have a lead or something… In the end I’ll be in on the 20th anyhow, since the actual order itself is fine, and I’ll get my retail code from Origin on the 16th or so, which allows me to get in on the 20th, but the early access code is what is at issue here and the whole point of pre-ordering was the early access.
UPDATE – Still no official resolution, but over at OldRepublic.Net there is an Anyone else unable to post on Official Forums? post with somebody else with the same basic issue. They managed to get another pre-order code from customer service, put it in, and got a message that the account already had a pre-order code. Seems that people who ordered and put in their codes on the 8th and 9th had this issue. Why the official responses don’t mention this I don’t know. So there is a good chance that anyone else having the issue is okay.
What is driving me crazy with the Official Forums is that you have people posting to the customer service area that they have pre-order code issues… if you can post to the official forums from your own account, you don’t have any issues, you can’t get to the forums if you don’t have a valid pre-order code put in. They really need to make a Sticky message about that to cut down on the millions of threads about people have pre-order code issues. Of course those of us who might have real pre-order issues can’t post about it there… and people never read Stickies anyhow. 🙂
There is a thread about this at the official forums as well: Pre Order Code Not in History / Forum Access? where it again seems largely due to Origin orders that people did on the 8th or 9th… Something went funky for a while there.
“This build has our first iteration of the Legacy System! At its core the Legacy system is about allowing players to create a family tree of characters. Family is pretty important to the Star Wars universe, with the Skywalker family having one of the most interesting dynamics in movie history.This version is just the foundational components that we will use to build upon in the future. Here are the features of this iteration:
Once your character has completed their Chapter 1 storyline, they will be able to choose a Legacy Last Name. This Legacy Last Name must be unique and is shared across all characters on that server – so choose carefully!
Once you have unlocked your Legacy, any and all characters on that server will now contribute to that player’s Legacy Experience Points. Much like normal experience points, when you reach certain Legacy thresholds, you will increase your Legacy Level.
We already have plans for how we will expand the functionality of the Legacy System in one of our major post-ship patches. This will include being able to shape your Legacy’s family tree, and give you a reward for all those Legacy Levels.”
So all your characters on a given server will earn the Legacy name. The issue is more that it isn’t race restricted, or even faction restricted. Not being faction restricted is okay, after all, some people fall to the Dark Side, and some are redeemed from it, so that doesn’t seem odd. In WoW, I typically kept my Horde characters on one server and my Alliance characters on another, and originally was planning on doing the same here. The Legacy system has no bearing on that decision for me. Heck, look at the Skywalker family and the ups and downs of them, with two of them earning the Darth title.
What strikes me as odd is being cross species. A human Jedi and a Sith Pureblood Sith Inquisitor both having the same Legacy just doesn’t fit. It is more a clan then than a Legacy. Even if cross species mating is possible in the Star Wars Universe (given that Twi’lek’s are sexualized there must be at least some… compatibility… but that doesn’t mean there would be viable offspring), it really just doesn’t seem to fit the idea of Legacy.
Still I like the idea of building a Legacy, but I think they really need to restrict the cross species to certain limits… what those limits are I don’t know. Humans and Cyborgs could be part of a Legacy, Twi’lek and Human or Chiss, possibly, but the Sith Pureblood and Human… no…
Back on the old original XBox is where I played the predecessor to Star Wars: The Old Republic came out, the original Knights of the Old Republic. It was a great game that would help setup (or at least popularize with the non-comic Star Wars fans) a regular Star Wars era that is super popular to this day, and the era the new game takes place in. Your character could go down a light sided path or a dark sided path, and my character went down the dark sided path. You have a couple of companions through the game, Zaalbar, a Wookiee, and his best friend, Mission Vao, a young Twi’lek. They help you through many missions, but near the end of the game, you can force Zaalbar to kill Mission, which I did… got lots of dark side points for it as one would expect… and that moment would stick with me years later. I sometimes feel guilt over going that far overboard. And that is the hallmark of a great game, that moments from the game will stick with you years later, that you make an emotional connection to the game that deeply.
Update: I pre-ordered the digital edition.
So I’ve been wondering if I should pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic by going to Best Buy/Game Stop which might have a midnight release for it allowing for early morning play, off Amazon and get it sometime during the day, or digitally directly from BioWare…
When you pre-order the game, you get a early access code. With this early access code you can play up to 7 days early. How early depends on how soon you put your early access code. With nearly 1 million pre-orders out there already, this late into the pre-order period, those of us pre-ordering now will probably only get an extra day or so. Here is the thing though. There is no grace period to enter the actual retail CD key code, so if you wait to pick it up on the 20th or wait for it to be delivered than that is that much more time to wait before you can play the game on launch day. If you order a digital copy, you’ll get an email with the CD key code super early, but will lack a psychical copy of the game. And what if the local Best Buy/Game Stop isn’t having a midnight release?
I work the 20th anyhow, so I wouldn’t really be able to do anything on launch day until after work and I do something with my son Ari anyhow, so I could just as well easily wait a few more hours, and I have enough points at Game Stop to earn $5 or $10 off… I can’t recall which.
The 60 Day Game Time Card are finally out for Star Wars: The Old Republic so that people can give the gift of time for the game. I still don’t have a copy of the game yet, so I would need that first, but after I finally have one, then people can feel free to give me game time. 😉 Actually… feel free to gift that, that is on Brian’s Wishlist so go for it as I’ll have a copy of the game one way or another.
As always with these sort of things, it is still better to buy lots of game time at a time than one or two months at a time (heck the card costs $0.01 more over two months than buying that time alone… but there is a convenience factor in having game card over charging your bank card each month):
The folks at GamePro gave a video review of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ll let you check it out before I rip into them… at least the one guy.
The ladies seem okay so there is nothing to say about them… save some of the YouTube commentators were overly rude to the one lady.
The one guy we only see a couple of times and complains about the character creation being too limited and wanting more aliens and complains about the Miraluka being just humans with blindfolds on… and Zabrak are just humans with horns… It would seem he isn’t very familiar with the expanded universe as a couple of the races aren’t in the movies at all, and some others are just featured in the background. I know what he means however, the races being used on release are perhaps “overly humanoid”. As I noted before, there is no Rodian, there are no Ithorians, Mon Calamaris or Wookies as playable characters. I would expect some of those to come up in either content patches or more likely expansions as that is the model established by WoW. That said I think the character customization is fine within the limits of an MMO. You cannot have the same degree of customization in an MMO as you could with Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Also the humanoid form of aliens has been a problem with TV/Movie based Sci-fi for some time and is something we just have to accept for the time being, so that this game has them isn’t an issue, it is a built in limitation of the universe it is set in. It also allows people to more readily accept and immerse themselves in the character than if it was a some tri-legged creature, or intelligent worm like thing…
Okay so now we get to the one guy who just seems to really hate the game.
He felt he wasn’t part of the game, just following along… really? He finds WoW more immersive than this? He notes at one point about the Death Knight quest line in WoW as being done right. The problem is, that to play a Death Knight at all you have to first grind a character up to level 55, and it was a grind when the DK first came out. The thing the Death Knight starter area does right is that it was instanced. That is the zone actually changed as you progressed through it which helps push the story. But for a long time, it was the only zone that was like that. As a matter of fact it was only Cataclysm that brought it to other areas, and then for the most part just to the new races. Could SWTOR have used that? Yes. The starting zones should have been more instance based than just generic starting zones. But I felt part of the story and not just a spectator.
He also complains about the cut scenes. He wants just to know what to do and go out and do the quest and not listen to them talk… which makes me wonder if he was tuning out there then perhaps that is why he didn’t feel connected to the story. I liked the cut scenes. I think that the fact that they want every quest to have spoken dialog does limit the number of quests we could have had otherwise, but it still is good. I can see wanting to skip it, especially if you are rolling an Alt, which is part of why I wanted flavor text in the quest log, but it is one of the main selling points of the game, and is what helps drive the story, otherwise it is sort of just like playing WoW, skipping the flavor text and just running out and doing the grind. The cinematic and story is what helps set it apart from WoW. Would it be nice to be able to skip if you are impatient? Perhaps, but then what is the point of playing a game like this?
I just don’t get how you can say you are just passively watching the story play out in this game and not part of the story…
The guy complains about grind, but seems to love WoW… seriously, talk about grinding. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy WoW, I’ll likely keep playing the free version and just roll new alts when I hit 20, but the game isn’t as fun anymore…
I agree with some that you can’t compare SWTOR beta with WoW beta 7 years ago. They had years of watching WoW and Guild Wars and the others to learn how to make it better. I am sure some issues will be dealt with before launch and others in the months following it. I personally found the game engaging and I look forward to playing it for many hours… now if I can just get somebody to preorder it for me (and give me my pre-order code on the receipt) so I can get in early… because the sooner I am in the game the better. The one guy can have WoW and Rift if he wants, as for me and my house we’ll be playing SWTOR.
The UI was fairly good for a base UI. I still hope that they open their GUI API for some innovative Lua developers, but for a stock UI it was good. It might not work for a hardcore raider, but for most players it will function well.
Reading the developer blog gave some insight into their process, and I enjoyed their screen mock-ups, there were some promising ideas there that would be nice to see some add-on developers play with… again if they open the UI interface for developers to use. The trick of course is how open to make it to avoid giving some people an unfair advantage. For example some Unit Frame addons for WoW, not only give you better info on the small unit frame that are over enemy heads, which is fair, but also put unit frames on enemy units not that are not yet in line of sight, behind a wall or something, which is a bit unfair.
A small, semi-UI related aside. When you load a created character, they have some cool “prelude” text that changes depending on where you are in the story. This is a nice, subtle, little thing that really helps move the story along.
Anyhow, to the main UI. Like one of the commenters pointed out, it would be nice if you are on the Empire side the UI was red. Being blue seems so Republic…
If they don’t open the API up, then they need to give us more control over the UI. A few things I want personally:
Ability to move parts around, say the text box to the lower left and the party frames up, and I personally like my mini map in the top right.
Ability to separate hotbars and move them around. Perhaps I want to move bar 4 to the far right and have it going vertical and show up only when I mouse over it.
Basically, as one of the other commenters said, I want the functionality of Bartender4 from WoW in SWTOR.
Still, for a stock UI it is good and functional. Beyond the dashboard UI, I think the UI is well done enough that I probably wouldn’t modify it, again beyond the color scheme for the Empire anyhow. That may change after playing the game more, but based on the Thanksgiving weekend stress test of the game, it seemed fine…
Well… the quest UI needs cleaned up. I would like to see more text when I click a quest, like what the NPC said to me, to serve as a better reminder of what the full quest is. Beyond that though, the stuff past the dashboard seemed good.
EDIT: It seems I simply didn’t play long enough as the UI is far more customization available than I thought already, and apparently there will be more coming after launch.
See this video for some very helpful tips:
You can gain light or dark side points as the game progresses depending on choices you make, but at present basically only effect what weapons you can use, and how your companions will react to you. I would guess that a future expansion will allow for more dramatic changes, and perhaps even side switching, though that may create complications.
I have given it further thought and I feel this should be fixed with a content patch, not wait on an expansion. Of course the problem is that the game is perhaps too done to do anything about it at this point.
Choices have consequences. A Jedi running around full dark shouldn’t be treated lightly. It shouldn’t just be companions and weapon/armor choices that change, but the world around you should react different. Perhaps the quests already in can remain since it would take too much to change them, and players who got past them by the time the content patch came out would have to re-roll, but add new ones that are a result of a Republic character being too Dark, or a Empire character being too light. I mean, if you are a Jedi Knight and you are being a jerk to everyone, then people should stop treating you like one of the good Jedi Knights. It sort of ruins the immersion to a degree as that wouldn’t happen in the “real world” of that universe, and they wouldn’t have done that if it was a regular RPG. A Sith Inquisitor who is being super nice and peaceful to everyone will seem out of place… of course there one would still expect some degree of mutual respect, but still, a light sided Sith Inquisitor wouldn’t be very welcome in their society and takes you out of the game… especially on an RP server.
I really hope they explore this more, and soon.
Well, this past weekend was the stress test for Star Wars: The Old Republic. They let an apparent 1.5 to 2 million people download a near finished version of the game and play for free for the weekend. The purpose of the weekend is to test their servers, to see what issues they will have under the heavy loads they expect at launch. It also serves as a motivator to get people to buy the game after trying it and seeing that yes, they do want to play it. I am sure their pre-orders went up a lot as a result of the test since people who pre-order can get into the game up to 5 days early, though I think people ordering now are getting 4 days.
For those who don’t know, Star Wars: The Old Republic (ST:TOR or SWTOR), is a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO for short, taking place in the Star Wars universe and made by BioWare, who have made a number of great RPGs like the Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic games, Dragon Age games and the Mass Effect games to name their most well known outings. In an MMO you create a character and explore and play in a universe online with thousands if not millions of people around the world. The most publicly well known MMO, at least in the US, is undoubtedly World of Warcaft (the game and first expansion available as World of Warcraft Battle Chest) a game I played for some time and I had the other expansions like World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as well and played them a great deal. However, I probably won’t be playing their new expansion World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria because I am more or less done with WoW. It was a great deal of fun while it lasted, but I want to move on. I may drop in on occasion and play a sub-level 20 character since those are free, but for the most part I am done with WoW now. WoW has about 10.3 Million subscribers, spread across many servers.
The story of SW:TOR takes place 3,500 years before the events of the Star Wars movies, and about 300 years after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic games. The Jedi had abandoned Coruscant and relocated to Tython to seek guidance from the Force, which causes the Republic to fall into some disorder and raise some grudges. The Jedi are now starting to make returns to the Republic. Meanwhile the Sith have established a Sith Academy and trying to gain more power as usual. Continue reading Initial Impressions of Star Wars: The Old Republic→