January 19th, 2012

Ghaleon

The Old Republic.

I've been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic quite a bit recently. And by "quite a bit" I mean that I now have a level 47 Imperial Agent (Sniper) and will probably hit the max level (50) before my 30 day free trial is up, and I didn't even really start playing until a week after I bought the game. Did I mention that it is ABSURDLY easy to level up in this game? It's not necessarily that it takes less grinding to level up than in other games, though that's part of it, but rather it's how the game is structured that makes the difference.

What I really like about this game is that each class has its own unique story, fully voiced and acted out in Bioware's signature style. So it never comes down to "I got to kill X amount of enemies for exp," it's all about "I really want to see what happens next in the plot!" The MMOs I've played beforehand either had a non-existent story, or a shoehorned-in story which is basically just a thinly-veiled excuse to explain why you're running around and poking goblins with sharp things. The Old Republic reverses this, and the story takes center stage. So I'm not all that interested in min-maxing my character or mindlessly killing enemies for money and experience points. No, I'm actually interested in what's going to happen to my character from a story perspective. Frankly, I think that's awesome.

Probably the best thing about The Old Republic, in my opinion, is that you can play it solo. There is, of course, plenty of group-based content. Every planet has at least several group missions called heroic missions, and there are also "flashpoints," which are special group-based dungeons with their own storylines that give some great rewards. There are also operations, which are basically flashpoints but involve more players. An operation is the equivalent of a raid dungeon in World of Warcraft. There are also player vs. player options if that's your thing. I personally hate PVP in any game and don't participate in that, so I tend to favor MMOs that don't try to force PVP on you.

For me, though, I play The Old Republic solo the vast majority of the time and pretend I'm playing Knights of the Old Republic 3. I honestly think that this would have been a better game if it were an offline single-player RPG, but that's just my opinion. I have done heroic missions and flashpoints, and when I hit 50 I do intend to try out some operations. I probably won't do so heavily, as I have absolutely no intention of going back to my raid-happy World of Warcraft days. Frankly, if my brother hadn't badgered me to play this game I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place.

I can easily see this being the last MMO I ever play, and I'll probably cancel my subscription in a few months. It's not that this is a bad game (I wouldn't have praised it otherwise), but I'm just not into online games and playing with other people. I'm a single-player kind of guy who, frankly, doesn't give a damn about online multi-player in any form. If The Old Republic turned out to be one of those MMOs where you have no choice but to group constantly in order to get anything done, my subscription would already be canceled and my copy of the game would be on its way to the nearest dump.

I picked this game up initially out of curiosity, because I'm a big fan of the Knights of the Old Republic games, and also because my brother really wanted me to play. Had The Old Republic been just another World of Warcraft clone with no identity of its own, even those reasons wouldn't have been enough to keep me playing, and I'd have stopped a few days into the game. The Old Republic managed to hold my attention because it spins a genuinely interesting story that I want to see the end of. I may even make other characters so I can experience their stories as well.
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