Get to know an MMO – Star Wars: The Old Republic
A continuing series where I look at current MMO games from a Free to Play perspective (as I’m too much of a cheapskate to pay for a monthly fee unless the game is REALLY good).
I wanted to try this as soon as I’d heard of it – a new Star Wars game from Bioware? Great! I was disappointed when I saw it was a MMO, but if anyone would get some benefit of the doubt, it’s them. I gave it a shot in the beta, and it was pretty darn fun. I couldn’t justify a subscription as I always feel like I don’t have enough time to play that would justify it. Now that it’s ‘free’ to play, well, here I am.
Just as during the beta, the most impressive part of TOR is the story – expansive, detailed, worthy of the Star Wars name. Just what you’d expect from Bioware. It doesn’t stray too far from the usual MMO combat, but it looks great. The right touches are there from the source material, all the right races, and a deeper look at much of it. If you consume the ‘Expanded Universe’ books and comics, you’ll be at an advantage. One other nice touch is your companion – they have their own stories, can sometimes be romanced if you’re into that sort of thing, and can cover some of the gaps in your own abilities. Beyond that, the game seems pretty similar to others of it’s type, just really well done.
“Free” to Play Annoyance Factor: High. Look, it’s not completely the game’s fault. I think any MMO that didn’t have a free to play model in place day one will have these annoyances, but it’s still worth pointing out. What do you keep away from the FTP folks? How obvious will it be after the change? Unfortunately for The Old Republic, it’s pretty damn obvious. I played a Jedi, and I got my lightsaber after the climactic battle that ends your training. I got a rare hilt in the loot drop, but guess what? Can’t use rare gear unless you subscribe, or buy an ‘authorization’. So just put that on the shelf as a souvenir, I guess. There are whole rows of vendors in some areas that are for real money stuff (or at least, I couldn’t figure out how I’d use them). This link shows you all of the restrictions FTP players face. I understand they need to have compelling reasons for people to subscribe, but it gets annoying to get hit over the head with it so often.
Despite all of that, the game is quite a bit of fun. I actually considered subscribing after playing it again for this post, but ultimately decided it still wouldn’t be of use to me. Even though I really wanted to pimp out my lightsaber.