Old Republic Unleashed

November 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 9 Comments
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I applied to join the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta something like 2 and a half years ago, maybe longer, and a month or two back finally got my reply.

I jumped at the chance to sink my teeth into the beta! Opening up that 30gig download and holy crap! 30 gigs! Sigh. I have DSL. This thing took an age and a half to download. On my first attempt, Bioware suddenly informed everyone that they had to download the client again if they hadn’t finished the download.

If that wasn’t enough, running this game on a measly 2 gigs of RAM and 512mb of VRAM when the beta forces you to run on high settings is…not good.

But setting aside the massive load times, the weird clipping and video problems that came with not being able to move to a lower setting, I actually really like the SWTOR beta.

I don’t so much like the quests. I mean I do, well, I’ll explain.

Every single quest in Bioware is voiced. It is awesomeness. It really changes up the dynamic of just reading boring text that has nothing to do with anything. The writers get rid of all the extraneous material so they can focus on what can be said aloud. I think if you are writing text as opposed to dialogue you get dragged down by the length. The voice overs have more of an advantage in the actors as well, because the tone and attitude can often tell you more with less words. Add to that that you get to hunt around the dialogue trees for the options that will please your companions or gain you dark/light side points and this part of questing is actually pretty fun. I do love Bioware games and this is yet another Bioware game.

But I don’t like much of the quest content.

For the most part they are very typical quests, not unlike Rift or World of Warcraft. I don’t have much else to say about their bad qualities, I mean, there are people out there that like this type of quest, I’m just not one of them. What I will say is that although I only got to around level 15 before I stopped playing the beta, they didn’t seem excessive. Many of the quests had bonus options of killing 10 of this or 12 of that. You could ignore these options and just finish off your basic quest with no worries.

Another thing that made the quests bearable was that I felt more connected to the activity thanks to the voice overs. You really shouldn’t underestimate how much this improves the questing experience.

And that is my big takeaway from the beta. I can play this game despite its reliance on old fashioned basic quests. It feels like a Bioware game despite the change in mechanics and other players running around. I like the game overall but I’ll talk about some of the things I don’t like along with other interesting notes in another post.


  1. […] “But setting aside the massive load times, the weird clipping and video problems that came with not being able to move to a lower setting, I actually really like the SWTOR beta.  I don’t so much like the quests.” ~Hunter’s Insight […]

  2. I admit, when I first heard about the “big thing” that was the voice overs, I thought to myself, okay that’s cool, but I don’t see how that really changes the way we do MMO quests. It’s still really just a bunch of objectives, but instead of reading it, now you get someone speaking them to you.

    Well, I take it back now. The voice overs do add a lot to the game and to the quests. I think it’s something about following a conversation that helps your brain seize upon the jist and you don’t really even have to do much thinking about it, it just clicks. I knew I was doing the regular mundane themepark quests, but it didn’t feel as tedious. Maybe I was looking forward to seeing my questgiver’s reaction, or what I can say to him/her upon completion, and stuff.

    • Yeah it just plain is not as tedious as reading, and I know that sound anti-intellectual but I just can’t be bothered to read quest text in an MMO any more, especially not after swtor.

  3. I didnt have any load time issues for the voice stuff, it popped up as soon I clicked on an npc, I was impressed. I also like how seemless going into the green private quest area was.

    • I had plenty of load times for the voice scenes but I wasn’t even really refering to that, I meant the game in general took 5 minutes before I could play it. No idea why.

      • Same for me. Load time for the launcher was quick, but once I hit Play on that then I’d go get a drink and take a bio, and it *might* be loaded in once I got back. The quest giver dialogs always needed 5-10 seconds to load in also, so I actually got to the point where I dreaded talking to an NPC since I’d have to wait for the load, then have to wait to listen to their endless yammering.

        For me, the voice-over cutscenes are actually something of a negative. small negative, but… I read about 5x faster than anyone speaks, so I’d prefer an option to display subtitles and skip the listening on click or something.

        • I think I’ve got a little more patience than most, so the 5 or so second wait didn’t seem like anything much to me, but yeah, that long wait to get the game to load just seems so weird.

  4. So the voice-overs are helpful in making the kill 10 X quests more engaging… do you think this feeling will persist? All the way to max level? Going back to level 1 and starting over again?

    I guess I’m asking if you think the voice-over and decision trees are enough to make this a long-term game?

    • I think the truth is probably somewhere in between. It all depends on the individual playing and how interested they are in the story. It helps that aside from the “bonus” parts of quests, you never have to kill that many X’s, but if you’re playing the same storyline over, no I don’t think it will help that much. A different class? It’ll help a bit. To max level? I think so, but I’m not sure yet. Decision trees? I don’t think they’ll make the story different enough, but maybe there are people who disagree.

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