Why I don’t play SWTOR

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with the fact that I’m not playing SWTOR, while most bloggers I read are currently somewhere up in space. Let me explain. Besides the obvious thing, that this is a general MMO blog where I usually stay up-to-date with all major releases, I really like trying new MMOs. I certainly haven’t played every game in existence, but with the exception of Aion or LotRO, I’ve dipped my toe into most major titles that have come out the past 7 years. When times are quiet, I will even go back in time and try out older games just to get first-hand impressions. I like to know what I’m talking about. I also really love newbie level.

So, why not SWTOR then? Surely the game qualifies as “major title” – it comes with a big name, history and team behind it. You can expect a high level of technical polish and crowded servers. It appears that after some initial sign-up and subscription gripes, most players are content for the moment, few audio or UI issues aside. I don’t care for small complications like that – although I really think a flawless launch without server crashes and queues should be a standard these days (kudos to Trion here).

Yet – I can’t overcome my skepticism. I blame it on not enough time available, but that’s rarely the truth. A few things just bug me about SWTOR, have always bugged me ever since the early previews – to the point of remaining turned off despite reading more enthusiastic reviews of late. Even the ever-critic Nils calls it “worth 50euros for anyone into RPGs or MMOs” and Shintar has opened a brand new blog dedicated to SWTOR. So what’s my problem? And will I be able to change my mind yet?

Judge for yourself, maybe from more first-hand experience. Here are my major SWTOR “bias”:

  • SWTOR looks horrid. Okay, let me re-phrase this: it looks incredibly dated. I’m not as single-minded that graphics are all I care about in an MMO, but I DO expect a title launched in 2011 to look considerably better than WoW. It doesn’t have to be the world’s greatest render-job, but Rift’s graphics are what I consider the minimum; its graphical polish, the atmosphere, the variety and “life” in your environment, the flora and fauna. Elaborate effects for shading, wind, fire and water. I’ve checked out plenty of SWTOR footage and screenshots since its launch and it’s just not there – the landscapes look sterile and dead, some textures remind you of the clone stamp tool in Photoshop. The cities are impressive, but anything remotely “organic” falls short. If I compare desert shots from Tatooine with desert scenarios I’ve recently played through in Uncharted or Fable 3….not good. I get it – we’re in outer space, scale and distances are vast, so you’re bound to see more boring, empty spaces. Still: really???
  • SWTOR is Sci-fi; this too needs some explanation: I like the Star Wars franchise, I love the old movie trilogy. But the Star Wars films, as is widely agreed on, are in fact more “fantasy than sci-fi”. The story of Luke Skywalker, his quest to master the Force, overthrow the Galactic Empire, destroy the Deathstar and discovering his true identity in the process, could just as well have been staged in a traditional medieval or sword&sorcery setting. This is also why many fantasy fans still dig SW, when they would never watch Star Trek or Babylon 5. To me, SW is fantasy with light sabers – no issues there. SWTOR on the other hand, does not benefit exclusively from story appeal. It’s an MMO, which means it relies on different factors to create lasting player enjoyment. Being the protagonist in this tale, the deviating settings, the combat, the weapons & technology, the space-ships etc. all impact on my first-hand experience. And I personally really prefer sword&sorcery based MMOs, I can’t help that.
  • SWTOR appeals to single-players; I’ve actually been told a couple of times now, that this isn’t “necessarily true”. I get it, you CAN always group up if you like to – that is as much a consolation to me as it was in WoW, to be honest. If part of SWTOR’s appeal is what Tobold compared to the “Tortage effect”, I worry about the game’s longterm appeal and community. I’m not sure I need to play SWTOR just to soloplay through the main storyline and send around NPC companions (which I already eye with worry as it is). Another point that’s worrying me in terms of cooperation is that combat is apparently slow and umm boring, but then it seems most players agree that SWTOR brings little new compared to WoW there, anyway.
  • SWTOR and Electronic Arts; this is maybe a minor gripe, but for me it adds to the rest. Sure, EA did bring us titles like the Sims, Battlefield or Dragon Age in the past years, but some of the recent publicity the publisher caused left me with a very bitter aftertaste. Notably the Origin debacle at Battlefield 3 launch or their ridiculous BF3 forum policy argument. Intransparent personal data security in EULAs or phony player censorship doesn’t exactly warm me towards trusting EA or any company for that matter (hello Blizzard RealID debacle). Our BF3 pre-order was canceled over this – in the end it’s a matter of principle. How far are you willing to compromise (and compromise yourself literally) just to play online games? Needless to say, posts like this one don’t improve matters for me.

There you have it, all my negativity. Yet the thing is, I’m not putting it out here to rant – I would like to like SWTOR and give it a chance. There’s frankly not much else around for a while. There are features that interest me about the game: classes, multi-mob combat, difficulty level, just to name a few. I could also imagine that the sheer scale of the settings would greatly satisfy the exploration junkie in me (and traveling between different planets is kinda win).

I don’t know. For the moment I just can’t bring myself to overcome my gripes and enter my CC details to try out a game I might only play for 5 days. Am I wrong – am I right? You tell me. Maybe someone will yet be able to dispel my SWTOR doubts…Until then, the inner battle continues.

31 comments

  1. I never intended to play SW:TOR for many months or even three years. But I always thought that it’s going to be a success. Based on what I have experienced so far I don’t see how this is a possibility. It’s by no means a disaster, But it’s not going to be a huge success, either.

    While there are a few things I absolutely like (like many differently powerful kinds of mobs in the open world or consistent lore), I don’t really see what the appeal of SW:TOR is supposed to be. The abstract core gameplay is significantly worse than in WoW. The graphics aren’t much better if better at all. Really, the only thing SW:TOR has going for it are single-player-like stories. And their quality isn’t breath-taking, but rather good enough to play some hundred hours perhaps.

    Once these stories are consumed I see no reason why one would prefer to play SW:TOR and not WoW. Well, except for Pandas. SW:TOR does stay true to its lore – George Lucas insists.

  2. I’m in the same boat as you. I think what makes me even more nervous about it is that unlike a bad offline game, I can’t freely come back to it. If that first month doesn’t work, I’m out $60. To give it a second chance means shelling out $15.

  3. “For the moment I just can’t bring myself to overcome my gripes and enter my CC details to try out a game I might only play for 3 days. Am I wrong – am I right?”

    Well i think that’s a legitimate reason to hold off playing and something i personally wish i had done.

    My loss of interest was down to these reasons, not all of them Bioware’s fault.

    1. I played solo, including soloing group content as i didn’t join with a guild that was moving to SW:TOR. The thought of interacting with the Wow community again wasn’t hugely enticing. But in the end its not a good enough solo RPG to justify playing it as one. Yes I’ve been spoiled by Skyrim. It ruined Rift a bit for me, now its ruined SW:TOR too…

    2. PVP was fun but it never holds my interest much beyond a couple of matches in any one session. Even the after the fairly small amount of warzones I played I was starting to outlevel the open world content. The actual quests beyond the dialogue were mundane enough without also taking any challenge out of it entirely.

    3. Running! such badly designed zones involving repeatedly running back and forth along the same path. A topologist’s nightmare.

    4. A companion that constantly stands between your POV and your character, with an unerring ability to be exactly in front of where you want to right click. (Got to the point where i was sending it on crafting missions just for some relief from its idiotic pathing.)

    5. Large swathes of uninteractable nothing. ‘Pretend’ NPCs that you can’t even click on. An illusion of space.

    6. Voiced dialogue doesn’t hide the fact that kill ten rats is still kill ten rats.

    7. Again with the community. Would you really want to group with people who even at headstart are of the ‘go go go’ mentality, and would kick you from a group for stopping to listen to the dialogue?
    I forget who wrote this but this sums it up; ‘Like going to a fancy restaurant then congratulating yourself on how quickly you managed to bolt down your food.’

    8. Yes the graphics are uninspiring. In no place did i just want to stop and absorb it all. Its hard to explain how much the graphics and art style turn me off the game. Its like a perfectly coiffured golf course, impressive but at the same time, feels a bit wrong. It also feels like such a childishly and naively imagined future sci-fi setting. Maybe thats just how Star Wars is but its not a sci-fi that appeals to me.

    9. Ultimately you need a reason to log in each time, and with the storylines losing my interest, it being the only thing to really differentiate it from the crowd and not being sold on it, I couldn’t justify two MMO subs so I’ve gone back to Rift.

  4. For the moment I just can’t bring myself to overcome my gripes and enter my CC details to try out a game I might only play for 5 days. Am I wrong – am I right? You tell me.

    For me, it was 3 days. I’d hold off if I were you, and feel smug when the game comes crashing down in a couple months.

  5. You aren’t alone here. I’ll be waiting for a trial if there is one, and if not, I will skip SWTOR for the many good looking games coming out this upcoming year.

    I don’t plan on making the box purchase since I certainly won’t get my money’s worth. Some people are able to defend shortcomings rather than get caught up in them, but I have a very hard time suspending disbelief and I’d rather cast my vote for a game that I expect to be good.

  6. I’m with you. I’m also not in the SWTOR boat. I never was enough of a SW fan just to play the game for the sake of the franchise. And the rest that I’ve seen doesn’t fascinate me enough to spend money on it right now.

    Do it like I do: wait and maybe pick up the game in a couple of months, when there’s a free trial, or box+month for 10 Euros, or something like that.

    These days, it might actually be a blessing rather than a curse to miss the release. Sure, you miss the magic moments early on, but let’s face it: most of the time these days, that means server queues and horrible community, especially for a high-profile release. In 6 months a good bunch of the annoying ones might’ve left already, and the community might be much nicer. At least that’s what I told happened with LOTRO, for example.

  7. @Nils
    There are definitely a few interesting concepts, but I doubt it’s enough for me either. I am in a place right now where I really don’t need ‘WoW in space’, meaning a game that few aspects aside, will come down to the same experience. if one has better lore and the other has a nicer setting, both will leave me with lacking feeling especially in the coop/MM corner.

    I could imagine that after the initial hype, SWTOR will become for SW/space fans, what LotRO is for Tolkienfans. they will stay because they love the setting while the game itself isn’t brilliant or better than WoW. the rest of the playerbase will move on.

    @Kleps
    Indeed – it’s a rather expensive ‘trial’. guess the best deal for us is to wait for some F2P deals in a few months. I am not opposed to this (unless that would coincide with GW2’s launch, hehe).

    @Joc
    A very interesting recap – thank you! It’s funny how you mention Skyrim, because that was one of my thoughts exactly: if I want soloplay right now, I have Skyrim which suits me 100 times better.

    What you mention in the later points really echoes my own gripes exactly. I don’t understand how they could design such uninspired zones? that in itself is a grave sin in my eyes, considering this is end of 2011. I am used to zones like this from FF11 but that was years ago. I’ve played so many eye-candy games this fall that SWTOR is very hard to stomach from that PoV.

    The companions are another turn off for me as it is; in MMOs I want other people to be my companions. and if they get in the way constantly, I am likely to turn/kill/send them off somehow (I was so relieved I could send Lydia home in Skyrim!). so not quite a selling point for me, personally. ;)

  8. @Paul
    I had “3 days” written in the post at first, but then felt I was exaggerating, hehe! ;)
    My gut feeling tells me the same as you, really. it’s just tempting right now because you see so many articles on SWTOR at the moment.

    @Gilded
    A good point – I certainly wouldn’t mind a free trial, maybe also at a later stage. that “really good game” I feel certain about is still some months away, unfortunately!

    @flosch
    It feels like SWTOR might follow the LotrO path. it’s probably worth keeping an eye on and try later, when things have settled. I’m all for the beginner feeling, but if the launch is rocky and the game isn’t 100% my thang anyway, I can live without it. :)

  9. From what I’ve read, there definitely are parallels between the two games (LotRO and SW:TOR). Both have a strong lore foundation, both bring people new people into the MMO genre, and both have a stronger-than-usual focus on storylines.

    And for all the lamenting I heard about how LotRO was sooooo much better before it went F2P, I think it still is a very fine game as it is. A SW:TOR that ends up similar to LotRO might not be such a bad thing.

    Of course, it will not make EA happy, but in my book, that counts as a good thing, too. :P

  10. Syl – who needs SWTOR when GW2 and TSW are due this year? Even though EA have got their grubby lil mitts on a slice of TSW, it’s not enough to put me off!! SWTOR is stupidly expensive for an MMO release just for the box (I may be mis-remembering but I don’t recall another wanting £50-odd+subscription at launch) and they’ve not even managed to release a finished product! I’d want a damn sight more for my money tbh. The game seems to have very little that is innovative and that which is seems to be annoying more people than it impresses (see companions). Call me Scrooge, but a game needs slightly more than intellectual-property-based-fanfrenzy to get me to part with my cash!!

  11. Oh, I agree. but for GW2, things are looking friggin’ dark atm – if we get this in Q2, we’re lucky? things have been hellishly quiet / slow on their front the past few months. =/

  12. Only nit I’m going to pick with your post is the graphics; the rest are are subjective reasons that I don’t have the right to talk about :D

    “SWTOR looks horrid.”

    I don’t know what game you are playing, but it’s not the same one I am. On max settings, this game absolutely annihilates anything Blizzard put out with WoW, or Trion with Rift. Trion’s game had abysmal draw distance with poor ground clutter that popped in and out; Blizzard has terrible fog that obscures anything more than 500 yards in front of you. SWTOR on the other hand has impressive draw distance and incredible ground animation. Cityscapes come alive with flying vehicles, passing freighters, and spaceships taking off. Tatooine, which you described as ‘boring’ is a forbidding wasteland; wind whips off the dunes and carries clouds of sand. Tatooine is, by design, a barren landscape, with odd bits of rusted technology and hollowed out bunkers. For real graphical beauty, look to Alderaan with its majestic trees, and impressive mountains, grass swaying gently in the breeze and growing through ruins. If you haven’t seen the game in-person, on your computer, up close and personal, I think you’re unable to pass judgment on the graphics.

    Of course, this is coming from an unabashed SWTOR fanboy, so take with a massive grain of space salt. ;D

  13. @Gilded
    Your word in God’s ear!

    @Targeter
    Haha, well I am most definitely not playing the same game as you, because I’m not playing it at all. :) I do appreciate a different voice here, too. Admittedly, I did some extra research for max setting screenshots now, and it appears to vastly depend on the place/planet, composition/angle and also PC settings.

    It’s just odd how many pages currently present their SWTOR shots proudly while they have zero appeal. it’s much easier to come by bad shots and videos than good ones. there’s something strangely “clinical/clean” going on on a great many. maybe it’s really a matter of style more than quality, I can’t say. to me they’re mostly ‘eugh’, but I wouldn’t be opposed to see it running for myself on screen. ^^

  14. I really enjoy SWTOR, but as Targeter said above a lot of it is just a matter of different tastes and I certainly understand why some people don’t like it.

    As usual with MMOs I think it comes down to playing with friends. The game really shines when you group up. Helping people do their class quests is like being in a movie where you get to shoot things, and the Heroic questlines have all been pretty rewarding so far. The best part of flashpoints (instances) is the story bits when you can see your friends’ characters respond and mock them for their choices in chat. ;)

    The strong RPG elements of SWTOR make it extremely well-suited to small group activity. That, to me, is its strongest point right now, and I am interested to see if they can keep the same momentum in level-capped group content.

  15. @Liore/@Syl

    Pleasant discourse on the good or ill of SWTOR is always appreciated; unfortunately the trend for TOR these days in the blogosphere is frothing-at-the-mouth hatred or sycophantic joy (of which I guess you could accuse me of sometimes!). I wonder what Bioware has done to make such a polarizing game … it seems you’re either allowed to love it or hate it in equal parts. This isn’t a commentary on you at all Syl (or Nils, for that matter), just a general call for civility.

    Some of the stuff I’m seeing is just … yeesh. Folks need to calm down about some pixel loot eh?

    As for some screenshots that do the game justice, I’ll try to scare up a few and show them off. And Liore is right; big groups in TOR seem forced to me … small group activities are the order of the day! I love the fact that I can grab a friend or two, whip out a companion to fill out the group, and go run a flashpoint. Great stuff.

  16. Targeter, where you are absolutely right is that if you have a few friends and play the game together, it can be a lot of fun. SW:TOR is still a nice MMO. It’s just not what I exspected (and I didn’t exspect a WoW killer).

    I doubt that it will retain more than 1mio subs in half a year. But some 500k seems possible.

  17. I wish that one of the major selling points promoted by Bioware/EA was the group play. Unfortunately, these companies are scared to death to even mention group play most of the time, speaking only about how “solo” friendly the game is.

    As someone else noted, MMOs are fun with *people*. Why in the world is solo-ability a bigger selling point in a game where the players are supposed to be part of the content? This does track back to the issue of theme park MMOs versus actual virtual worlds. Can’t wait until the industry realizes that the future of MMOs is in sandboxes :)

    I otherwise agree whole heartedly with the sentiments here. I don’t find the graphics as pleasing as I did WoW’s on the first play through, though I do feel they’re befitting the Star Wars universe in this game. I don’t think they’re that good though and certainly not of higher quality than Rift (whoever said that, I got some glasses for you :) ).

    Gameplay is sooo bland. I can’t figure out why I want to play this versus Skyrim, Dragon Age, any other solo game that came out this year. Their timing for selling the solo friendly gameplay couldn’t be worse. This simply wasn’t the time and I think this is going to hurt them as early as February, when the bulk of their players will be 50 or nearing it.

    Guild Wars 2 can’t come soon enough. So tired of the mediocrity :(

  18. Well, I did say in my comment to you on my blog that I don’t think it’s a game for you as you seem to be looking for other things right now. :) I just think it’s funny that you felt the need to write a whole post about all the things that look unappealing to you, especially as I mostly see bloggers predict doom and gloom for SWTOR anyway (aka “it’s kind of fun but I think still it will be a failure”) so I’m not sure why anyone would feel defensive about not liking it. (I haven’t seen anything close to the drama poor Reala had to put up with at the time for her “RIFT-free zone”.)

  19. I’m also a card-holding member of the Can’t-Be-Bothered-with-SW:TOR Club. I’ve been reading a lot of posts on it though, they’ve been mostly positive. It’s only now that I see peeps who aren’t playing, putting their posts up (myself included) and going, ‘what are we actually missing out on’?

    Given that I’m not seeing any MMO on the horizon that is offering anything astoundingly better (I’m hanging out for TSW but not that impressed with the gameplay elements I’ve seen so far) I only really have one issue with it, simply that I’m just not interested in the SW universe. I’d LOVE to play a great sci fi MMO but like you say, SW is more of the same-same fantasy masquerading as sci-fi. And it’s old, I grew up with it. As usual…I want something new. ;)

  20. “I really like trying new MMOs.”

    So do I. Which is why I jumped onto the beta of TOR even though I had pretty close to zero interest in it. And then the beta turned out to be so disappointing, even given my low expectations, as to remove any chance of me ever buying the game.

  21. @Liore
    I think this goes for all MMOs – if you got a good group going, it’s enjoyable for sure. apparently questing in small groups is a strength of SWTOR.

    @Targeter
    Yeah well, there are a lot of kids out there – and some places in the blogosphere attract clowns like that, I guess. MMO players also tend to be rather “territorial”, but personally I hold to that you can discuss everything in a respectful way (doesn’t mean it can’t get passionate, but there’s a ‘how’ to all things). differing voices are after all more interesting than a crowd of yes-men. :)
    I look forward to see those screenshots.

    @Doone
    It’s a little baffling that solo-play is starting to become the major selling point of some MMOs; I’m not sure Blizzard ever meant for this to be their legacy – but here we are.

    That said, I DO welcome playing in smaller groups or having small-size servers even, quality over quantity. but solo-play and companions? – no thanks.

  22. @Shintar
    Oh wow, I never actually saw that Rift-drama on the other blog, poor her! for what its worth, I didn’t intend to come across as defensive in any way in this article; it’s really an attempt to rationalize why I’m not playing SWTOR and checking whether it’s entirely justified or not. as I said, I tend to play almost everything, so there’s always a “rest temptation”. ;)

    And I hadn’t actually seen your other comment to me before, cheers! I think you’re quite right.

    @Play
    I mostly read positive reviews myself, which also inspired me re-thinking matters here. I don’t have much to play right now like yourself, but I also long for innovation. so even if I played SWTOR, it would be a placeholder that ultimately leaves me unsatisfied. I’d still consider it though if it wasn’t so expensive atm.

    btw I’ve been wondering – is it on purpose that there’s no comment function on your blog?

    @Carson
    That makes sense. for all those who weren’t there, I guess they can only wait for free trials now.

  23. I’d be playing it if they didn’t use a sub model, but rather the GW model. As it is, I’ll wait until I can get it for less than $10 (like I did with RIFT) or they go for the F2P conversion.

    …but I’d have purchased KOTOR 3 without much fuss. *shrug*

  24. Yeah, I turned blog comments off on purpose. My original interest in blogging was to regularly write something good enough for ME to hit publish. I didn’t want the ‘community’ aspect of blogging or the anticipation of a response to affect that while I built my regular writing habit and experimented with my own personal style. I also wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with responding to comments…I used to write so slowly! I’m much faster now.

    Experimenting with Google+ has allowed me to try an avenue for comments that is more conversational but the disadvantage is that only G+ users can comment there. Still, I’m always reviewing what I do online so I may yet turn comments on.

  25. I’m enjoying swtor despite some glaring problems that have been solved in other games in very effective ways. I’ll give you what I like, not to convince you I’m right but for another perspective.

    The way stories play out in group content is fantastic. The minigame of voting for a response to an NPC is really fun, and seeing your character speak in the following cutscene is rewarding. If you’re in a party with someone who’s doing their class quest, you can watch the same cutscenes they are seeing, including their portion of the conversation, which is way more fun than it might sound. I’ve never given a damn about my own character’s motivations, let alone those of the other pc characters around me, but this game makes me actually RP some and I like it.

    The combat is more varied and interesting than in wow, as are the instances. I like that packs of mobs might kill me if I screw up. Mixing different difficulty enemies in each pack makes for interesting choices that vary depending on your class composition.

    The companions basically make every class a pet class, but they don’t replace another human. Difficulty is tuned with companions in mind, so you can’t really solo group content at all. The way tradeskills and companions interact is also really fun and original.

    Space missions are badass! It’s like Starfox all over again, in 5 minute chunks with xp and cash rewards.

    I’m sure you’ve heard all about the terrible AH system, restrictive UI, overly simple quests, and running back to the trainer every goddamn level to BUY SKILLS (we need that in real life!) so I won’t harp on them.

  26. I’ve tried many of the MMO titles that have been released the last few years together with guildies, but this time around they’re doing it without me. Previous titles I’ve at least felt compelled to try, but SW:ToR while probably a good enough game and likely to be a hit just doesn’t appeal to me.

    I enjoyed reading your many reasons for why you’re not interested in trying it. For me it’s probably mainly the “sci-fi” reason. I loved the old movies, heck I even used to watch Star Trek for a while.. but sci-fi in general is not a genre I’m interested. I have no interest in running around with a lightsabre when I can run around with a sword and board bashing skulls in. Or summon my demonic minions.

    So SW:ToR will be a miss for me. Other people seem to enjoy it, which is great – but it’s just not for me. I will wait and then give GW2 a try instead.

  27. Let’s face it, MMO-RPGs are a dying breed. And if not dying, they’re on at least on a respirator.

    Players today don’t WANT to rely on others to accomplish anything. They WANT to be alone. And if they HAVE to group up, they WANT it to be as quick and painless as possible. Hence why “Looking For Group” and “Server Sharding” features have become a requirement.

    I might be pulling a “Grumpy Gramps” routine, but I truly miss the old days. Remember when you couldn’t even leave your zone without dying? That the ONLY way to see another area was to either commit to doing a corpse run, have a higher level escort you? (Yes, in WoW you had Portals but not every game had those.)

    Imagine players today having those same restrictions. Imagine being trapped into a zone until you ACTUALLY qualified for the next one by either gearing or leveling appropriately! That game would fail!

    Oh well, that’s what we get for growing old I guess. :P

  28. Really can’t see how =anyone= thinks SWTOR looks better than Rift. I can stand at the top of the stairs to Meridian and see Lantern Hook, a full zone away, off in the distance. The only other MMOs that have managed that sort of “long distance terrain” experience are LOTRO and AC.

    At the other end of the scale are things like clothing/armor textures. And many, many games do a better job with those: LOTRO, AoC, Rift, even EQ2 occasionally.

    Then again, there are also people who think the graphics in WoW are attractive. So clearly there’s a certain subjectivity involved….

  29. When it’s all said and done, I’m in the same boat, but for different reasons I think. I love SW, the lore, the universe, and TOR is truly a fantastic, if somewhat uninspired.

    On the Scifi angle, I find it a good thing to have another scifi game in the genre, even if it does have plenty of fantasy leanings. The simple shift in scenery was a fairly welcome breath of fresh air.

    On single player, it’s designed to be a successor to KOTOR 1&2, so when you take that into account and involve Bioware, it’s not horribly surprising that the game solos fantastically well. This is actually something I’d expect even without Blizzard’s obvious influence on MMO design with WoW. That said, I do feel that you get a *much* better experience overall by having a small group of 3 other people that you play with exclusively; the shared story cutscenes are exceptionally well executed and a welcome addition.

    And then, there’s EA. I wasn’t aware of that snafu with not being able to play on the included time, and while I’ve been waffling on playing since the last round of beta, with heavy leanings away from the game, that pretty much sealed it for me. I’ve had a nagging itch about not buying it everytime I’ve thought about it, and that sort of behavior really kills it for me.

    Overall, TOR truly is a fantastically executed game, with plenty of good about it, but when it’s all said and done I don’t think it will fare well in the long run, short of a F2P conversion, which I have the stark feeling that EA will mangle horribly.

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