Loaded Question

April 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 8 Comments
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Loading Screens. SWTOR is making me hate loading screens.

The original Guild Wars was not the greatest game when it came to loading screens. Fortunately once you had all the instances downloaded, those screens became short and barely worth mentioning even if you encountered them constantly.

In Runes of Magic you usually only encountered loading screens if warping to a specific location. If just running from one zone to another no loading screen could be noticed and it was actually quite pleasant. Rift handled things this way as well and I believe both games modeled this after WoW.

But SWTOR? Oh SWTOR. Each planet has several zones and you can load between those zones in a free and uninhibited way much like the WoW model. But curse your damned hide if you want to travel to more than one planet in a single play session.

To go from Hoth to Tattooine I would have to go from the Hoth spaceport to the hangar instance, from the hangar to the ship instance, from the ship instance to a hangar instance, from the hangar to the Tattooine instance. And believe me, some of these hangars, some of these spaceports are huge. Depending on where you start from this process can take quite a while.

The worst part is I love the grand sense of scale in SWTOR. I mean these places feel big, gigantic even. City planets feel like city planets and vast wastelands of ice or sand feel like vast wastelands of ice or sand. The distant lengths you travel just inside the Coruscant spaceport itself makes it feel like a spaceport designed not just for the players of the game but for the denizens of that planet. Unfortunately I don’t think the designers considered for a second that nobody likes airports or spending time in them.

I appreciate that Bioware has gone through the trouble of making my ship feel like my ship. They took the time to make it all seem quite epic. But at a certain point I don’t want to spend the 5 to ten minutes just getting off the planet, it’s not practical or fun.

I don’t mind loading conversations with NPCs, it is usually quite short and unobtrusive. I don’t mind loading my ship or a new planet. I do mind loading in hangars just so I can walk through them to get to the part where I load my ship or a new planet. It is facepalm design.

Fortunately Guild Wars 2, although it has loading screens and plenty of them, doesn’t seem like it has unnecessarily annoying ones. The zones seem quite large only requiring loading when doing personal story, moving to another zone, or traveling to a waypoint as when you’ve died. Now that is a new kind of death penalty.

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8 Comments

  1. I imagine anyone who can handle GW loading screens can handle GW2’s. Couldn’t be worse than Skyrim loads. T_T And yet I wait for them anyway…

    • I imagine they’re pretty similar to skyrim loads actually.

  2. I’ve always taken the loading screens as the price to pay for their awesome availability and awesome patching systems.
    GW has had what 5-7 downtimes in 7 years odd, and I’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes to patch some content.
    WOW, I can’t play Tuesdays, and often the day after a patch. I also have to download massive updates every couple of months which can take an hour or two to apply.
    Yeah, I am a little unfair, GW content updates are not that big usually. Having said that GW content updates can apply over many weeks. WOW seems to be able to download in sections, but then has to apply them all in one go.
    That said, the actual load screens, to me, are much the same. I don’t count WOWs ability to do the immedate zone as a boon anymore, how often does one do that? In both end game, and during leveling (where you do just dungeons now days) both games have fast load screens. I am glad GW2 is doing more open world stuff, itll force WOW to get out there too. Many of the changes I see in WOW atm I blame on GW2s approaching release. It’s really joy for me on both sides.

    • Guild Wars typically has had so few updates since eotn that it isn’t really fair to compare the two games really. But they do have a really good track record.

  3. I found it a bit of a pain in GW1 that you could not backtrack on through multiple areas, since the previous areas were reset, but that shouldn’t happen in GW2.
    In general eliminating loading screens is good, but the maps, I think, are much larger in Gw2 so it may not be too noticeable.

    • Itll be even worse in GW2 if you want areas to stay clear! lol. I enjoyed that bit of GW, you actually made a change to the area you went through and it stayed that way till you left. They could have done so much more with that persistant thing but they never did… oh well.

    • As the above commenter suggests, gw2 will be much more of a problem if you don’t like to reclear areas. And while the maps are larger I’m sure there will still be many loading screens.

    • Of course I’m aware that gw2 is dynamic and open world (duhh :)). The annoyance in GW1 is stuff like losing your bonuses etc. when going through portals; and also in GW2 when you reenter an area, it won’t be exactly the same as the last time you were there.


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