I know that I’m quite late on the uptake when it comes to Lucas Arts mmorpg Star Wars: The Old Republic but I have finally decided to give it a go. I was rather skeptical when I played the beta as it was yet another game which claimed to be a ‘WoW Killer’. As you may know from my other articles I am a huge World of Warcraft fan and I have been playing the game for over 6 years. During this time I have seen roughly five different new mmo’s claiming to be the foretold ‘WoW Killer’ and yet WoW still stands as the most highly paid subscribed mmo to ever be made. Even so I finally played up to level 5 on both Jedi and Sith classes during the beta to give it a go. I was not sold on the game after this time, I know that my time on the game was very brief but it wasn’t giving me the enjoyment I expected from a game created by the legends that are Lucas Arts. Well, until they sold out and signed to Disney. I was expecting a Star Wars based mmo to be amazing, the two combined just seemed like a perfect combination.
On July 31st this year (2012) Star Wars: The Old Republic was announced to be changing to Free to Play. ‘Starting this Fall, there will be two ways to enjoy the game. First, you can continue as a subscriber, which gives you unlimited access to all game features and future Game Updates at no additional charge. Second, you have the option to play free to Level 50, with game play restrictions that limit game options and access to certain game content.’ I saw this announcement the day it was released but it failed to peak my interest as I was playing far too much Diablo 3 for my own good at that point. But after seeing the advertisement for the game pop up several times this week I decided I would finally give it a go. I mean what did I have to lose? It’s free and I was hoping that the full copy was far improved from the Beta. 25gb later and the download was complete and I was ready to start the game.
I decided to make a Sith Warrior as I enjoyed the idea of being the bad guys for once and having the ability to shoot lightning like the Emperor in the films. The first thing I noticed when making my character was that the customisation options are very limited for the free to play version of the game. 80% of the character races were locked and required either a full copy of the game or buying them in game using in game Cartel points. I was looking forward to making a Twi’Lek as these guys were awesome in the film, however this was not the case as they were one of the many races unavailable to me without paying money. So I begrudgingly choose to make a boring old human. After a few minutes of customising my hair, scars and tattoos I was ready to begin my life as a Sith Warrior!
After a quick cutscene you are met by your Sith Master who will begin teaching you their ways. The first thing you notice is there in depth dialogue when talking to npc’s. In many other mmo’s the dialogue is very vague and is primarily text based, The Old Republic was the first mmo I have seen that includes this feature, you can have an in depth conversation with the npc’s and then give them a responce depending on your own moral choice. These moral choices can affect your experience in the game as they change your light and dark karma depending on how you reply to these npc’s. As I had picked a Sith I decided it was only fitting to be as evil and cocky as I could to try and keep the theme going and I was amused at some of the responses I was able to pick including killing random ‘convicts’ just for fun.
The combat as nice and simply to use and understand, as with other mmo’s you are given a basic toolbar which contains your combat abilities as you level up you unlock more abilities and power to use at your own disposal. The combat looks awesome, it flows well and the fact you are using a lightsaber just makes it all the more sweet. As you would expect, the lightsaber’s have the same sound effects as in the films and this is just another awesome point which adds to the novelty of the combat. After a while this got boring and the novelty wore off, using the same abilities over and over again just got repetitive. The new abilites I began to unlock just felt the same as the others and only appeared to have minor changes to them just making them all the more repetitive to use. But I can’t blame them to be honest, there isn’t much variety when it comes to swinging a weapon repeatedly at a target until it finally gives you your loot.
Overall for a free to play game it is worth a play, it all depends on personal opinion whether you will find it enjoyable or not. I am a regular mmo player and I didn’t find it that enjoyable but however you might do. As I said earlier, what have you got to lose? You can check out the Star Wars: The Old Republic website and download the game’s client from here if you wish to give it a go yourself.