Star Wars: The Old Republic has been out for 4 months and has gathered quite a few accolades along the way. Such as, the world record for Biggest Entertainment Voice Over Project of All Time, as well as being the fastest growing MMO of all time, gathering over 1 million subscribers in the first three days. SW:TOR has also garnered critical acclaim from all sorts of media outlets, but how has the game fared over time? Well, let’s take a look.
The Leveling Experience
The leveling experience has pretty much remained the same, except for the inclusion of the “Legacy System”. Now all of your characters share a set of skills, items, and emotes. Sprint is now usable at level 1, which will speed up the lower level questing process until you get your first speeder. The added legacy abilities are a set abilities from each class that you’ve leveled past chapter 1 of their story line. For instance, if you have a Smuggler and it has been progressed past chapter 1 it will unlock most of the melee skills. You can use those skills once you activate your Heroic Moment ability. The inclusion of the Legacy System has added a lot of incentive to whose who already have a level 50 character and want to “reroll” another class. The leveling experience has done nothing but improve since launch, and it seems like BioWare is really trying to push all 8 storylines by making the experience not easier per say, but a little more fluid.
When The Old Republic launched Bioware took every precautionary measure to insure that were no server issues due to the high population. In order to do this they decided to create a large amount of servers, at launch these were all full, but as months came and went the population started to decrease. Therefore, 80% of the servers are usually Light in population, and only peak as high as Medium. This causes a lot of frustration when trying to do any Flash Points, or Operations. There is also a high volume of server faction imbalance. On the server I play on it seems as though the Imperials severely outnumber the Republic, and I can’t remember the last time I was in a winning Warzone match. It seems the only way that Bioware will regain some of the subscription and keep people around is to offer server transfers or start a server merge.
PVP has changed drastically in terms of the rewards. Centurion and Champion Commendations/Gear no longer exist. In order to purchase PVP gear you must collect the Warzone commendations, you can now also buy a starting set of PVP gear with credits. Bioware released a new Warzone map, Novare Coast. It’s a lot like the original Alderaan Warzone in terms of objective, but the setting is more of a beach front forest. Now upon completion of a Warzone, the amount of rewards you get are dependent on your performance. If you get no medals, you get no rewards. The downside of PVP is still the same that it’s ever been, server faction imbalance.
PVE (End Game)
The end game PVE to me, is the best aspect of the game, if you find people to do it with. Once again, one of the games main features is hindered by the lack of community (due to the massive amounts of servers). Rarely will you ever find some one who is willing to run a Hard Mode Flash Point, or rarely will you ever find a pick up group for an Operation. Until Bioware decides to add server transfers I fear this will shove people away as they will grow restless of trying to find a group. I was lucky enough to be recruited by a guild and that seems like the only way you can get anything done. There are 3 planets to do dailies, upon completing the dailies you will be rewarded with daily commendations and you can use those to buy some end game mods, as well as gear for your legacy characters. PVE is in the right direction, but the server popularity issues are holding it back.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is in good shape, it has enough subscribers to keep going, and enough content to keep people around. Unfortunately there are way too many servers and that is hindering the games strongest aspects. If BioWare resolves this issue, I firmly believe SWTOR will be a top contender for World of Warcraft for a long time. BioWare is taking many steps in the right direction, and with every title update the game feels more and more like an MMO, but server merges or transfers are an absolute must. Stay tuned for my next State Of The Old Republic Address when 1.3 launches. See ya then!