Star Wars: The Old Republic

I had no intention of getting into this game for months. Really. I just heard too many good things about it, though, and I finally gave in to the temptation. I’m not disappointed. It’s not unique. It’s not breaking the genre mold. But it is highly polished, and it does do a few new things well. It also has a few annoyances.

Let’s get those out of the way first. The big one is the UI. The only part of it you can move is the chat box. You can’t resize it; you can’t put your minimap where you want, or your companion bar elsewhere, or anything else. This is very annoying. The UI takes up way too much of my screen. I would shrink my icon buttons if I could, move my minimap to my preferred location (top right) and my chat box to the bottom left. This is the default setup of theme park UIs for the last ten years, but I guess Bioware thought switching all that up for no good reason was a great idea. They were wrong. I’m starting to think UI developers need to have the Sword of Damocles over their cubicles to get them to straighten up and fly right.

Another annoyance is that combat feels a wee bit sluggish. I wish instant attacks would reset just a little faster. I’m wielding a double-bladed lightsaber. I want to look badass with it, not like I’m still in training.

My overall experience with the game is good, though. The fully-voiced quests are fantastically done and add a very strong element of immersion. I thought it would be a gimmick, that I would want to hurry through them to get to the meat of the quest, but I enjoy them. I haven’t heard any weak voice acting yet. The interactivity and strong story-telling elements do a great job of disguising the standard nature of the quests. (It’s hard for MMOs to get away from kill/collect/deliver quests). Still, I’ve had very few quests that required me to kill [x] creatures. Most of those are bonus objectives. Extra XPs, sometimes extra rewards, but not required to finish the quest line. The class storylines are great, too. I’d like to see more games focus on personal stories.

My highest level character is 12, so I haven’t seen much of the game. I don’t expect to play this one more than a month or two, which is fine by me. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s rare for me to stick with a theme park game for long. But I can easily see myself coming back to it every few months as new content is added, or when I’d like to try out another class.

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