Postcards from The Old Republic

By Shamus
on Jul 17, 2012
Filed under:
Game Reviews

swtor_alderaan.jpg

Yesterday I berated The Old Republic for the horrific art failures. I stand by everything I said, but in the interest of fairness I thought I’d point out that the game does have a couple of incongruously gorgeous locations. The above shot was sent in from a reader, and is apparently a shot of Alderaan. I don’t think I can get there in the free trial, but it’s nice to know it exists. Here’s another great location:


swtor_jedi_temple.jpg

Let’s see:

  • Nailed the established Star Wars style.
  • Set on the not-tired-and-overused planet of Tython.
  • Looks wonderful. Good use of color.
  • Well-designed angle of approach to allow the player to take in the whole scene.

That’s a win. A solid win.

swtor_err1.jpg

I clicked on one of the fast-travel points and this is what it displayed. Odd.

swtor_help.jpg

Pffft. Come on, guys. You can’t give the prospective customer a clickable link or a button? Then again, given the condition of your website, maybe the fewer visitors the better.

swtor_brell.jpg

You might remember Charles Dennis from Knights of the Old Republic, playing the role of Taris crimelord Davik Kang. His voice is obviously that of an old white guy, with a dash of Italian-American accent. So naturally they gave him the above role: A huge young guy.

It was really hard to accept the voice and the face going together, and I think the Italian accent made it worse. Maybe it wouldn’t have seemed so off if I didn’t know how old the actor was.

Although, that’s just existing Star Wars baggage talking. We don’t have a particular affiliation associated with Italian. Rebels have American accent. The Empire uses World War II German design aesthetics with British accents. In the original trilogy, the Rebels all wore earth tones and the bad guys were all black and white. Neither side had any particular skin pigmentation.

You could easily make a deliberate design choice that some faction, planet, or race used Italian accents. That would have been cool. Denied that, we sort of revert to our default expectations for voices. It’s an interesting problem. You can say, “You shouldn’t worry about these details,” but that’s like saying you shouldn’t notice if an NPC Imperial officer walks in wearing a Banana yellow uniform. We use stylistic cues to interpret the world, and when something stands out it’s natural to assume that the designers are trying to get your attention.

To be clear, this isn’t some awful crime or anything. This was a minor, two-minute quest intended to fill out the world and introduce you to the light side / dark side system. I’m just using it as an excuse to point out that there are a lot of style cues beyond the visual, and a skilled designer will use these to sell or expand the setting. Barring that, they at least should get the age of actor and character within three decades of each other.

swtor_crawl.jpg

The opening crawl for the bounty hunter class. These are all pre-rendered, so they’re the same for all players of the same class. I feel strongly that they should have rendered these instead, and used this to insert your chosen character name into the opening crawl. Referring to the player in such a roundabout, generic way felt very fake and cheap. Like when GLaDOS says, “Great job, subject name here.”

The Bounty Hunter is probably the most fun so far, though in this game he’s basically an assassin by another name. I have yet to have to run someone down and capture them. Always with the killing, these jobs. What is this, an MMO?

And speaking of my spry young Bounty Hunter…

swtor_old.jpg

Everyone refers to him as the “young hotshot” or the “new kid”. Like the opening crawl, this is another example of how the greater focus on roleplaying results in less roleplaying flexibility. In a regular MMO, you can devise any story or origin you like for your character, because it doesn’t matter. In SWTOR, your story is already written, and you work to reveal it.

Bounty hunter is one of the very few classes where I’ve enjoyed playing as a man. He’s voiced by the Omni-voice himself, Steve Blum. So many of the other male voices sound dorky. Don’t even get me started on Smugglers.

swtor_dance.jpg

He’s still young at heart, though. That’s me dancing center-left.

You know the swing number that was playing in the cantina on Tatooine? Not the really iconic one, but the more low-key one that plays in the background when Luke is talking to Solo. Apparently, that little number is thousands of years old. This is something that really bugs me about the Old Republic timeline. They take the time to wipe the slate clean by setting everything thousands of years in the past. But then they back-port the entire world of classic Star Wars, breaking a lot of ideas in the process. We have a noble and democratic-ish Republic versus a cruel and fascist styled Empire. The architecture is the same. The music is the same. The costumes are nearly the same. We have freezing people in carbonite. Same small handful of allegedly irrelevant, out-of-the-way planets. (Hoth and Tatooine being notable offenders.)

Apparently culture, art, politics, and technology won’t change over the next in five thousands years of history. As far as I can tell, this is not the fault of BioWare, but just a general problem with huge multi-author settings running against the wall of fan expectations. It’s a shame, but Trek has it even worse.

swtor_chair.jpg

Do you… can I get you a chair? No, I guess you don’t need one, apparently.

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2020202014There are now 94 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Usually_Insane says:

    What exactly exists on Hoth 4000 years before the empire strikes back, of all places, that one should be empty no?

    • ToastyVirus says:

      Theres the SAME shield generator I’m sure.

      STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID

    • Mephane says:

      Empire and Republic are trying to get ahold of some experimental military tech that was aboard some star cruisers that crashed down on the surface after a space battle around Hoth some time ago. Conveniently, they all hit the ground in the same area, turning into a (admittedly awesome looking) spaceship graveyard. But I am not sure whether this was the only reason, and why there were no blueprints of said tech somewhere else, you know, as backup.

      But actually I think Hoth was there only for fan service, because we all loved The Empire Strikes Back and it had Hoth and so shall every Star Wars game in history, ever.

      • Lalaland says:

        This. Why in a ‘galaxy far, far away’ do we still visit the same damn planets over and over again. This would help with the art direction problem too, ‘hey it’s the [insert species name here] wow doesn’t their architecture look different’. Instead we have apparently wound up in a universe where IKEA has not only successfully pulled off their plan to homogenise design the world over but have conquered the stars too.

        • Cody211282 says:

          Ya for some reason they love shoving us on Hoth and Tatooine, even though every game movie and book call them out of the way nothing planets it seems that they always end up being super important.

          Though I think it’s because both planets are easy to recognize and easy to make(nothing but white or brown and mostly open), thus they don’t have to spend to long actually coming up with wonderful new environments when they can leach off the good movies to do most their job for them.

          • SleepingDragon says:

            I think it’s just a matter of being iconic. Like, when people enter into the SW game they sort of want to experience the stuff from the movies, no matter now out of place it is. Also, it kinda lampshades the “generic desert planet”, “generic ice planet”. They’re not generic, they’re Tatooine and Hoth!

            • Cody211282 says:

              But with how many times we have been there it would make sense to mention they exists but show the customer all the other wonderful things you could think up of.

              Hell think of all the cool things they could have done like a planet with a force sensitive environment and the closer you are to the jedi camp the more peaceful and calm it gets, but the closer to the sith camp it is more of a hostile area that makes you have to be the best to survive it(thus reinforcing the different view points of sith vs jedi).

              But no, instead we get the damn ice and dune planets, and not a single giant worm to ride ether.

              • Volfram says:

                This whole comment thread reminds me of the best GM that my friends and I have ever known. He did a Star Wars D20 game that he was constantly tweaking and modifying(eventually ported in some DnD classes and races. Half-giant Jedi, anyone?), and in direct contrast to everything bad the Twenyt-Sided crew has ever said about a game, he had a living, vibrant universe to run around in(wrote a program to help himself keep track of it all), he always let us screw around however we want and he’d figure out what happened afterwards(we blew up Kuat by accident once), and he had probably the coolest GMPC I’ve ever seen(we all loved Torrusk!).

                Bioware could probably hire him. He could overhaul the game into something amazing. If I had a game studio, I would hire him TODAY and say “Here, you’re in charge of the writing and storytelling. Do whatever you want with it.”

                • Cody211282 says:

                  Sadly at this point it feels like no one want’s to take any risks with the Star Wars license anymore and would rather play it safe. Thus we now have a galaxy full of fantastic places, space magic, and giant fleets that feels boring and uninspired.

                  It feels like the franchise has been so run into the ground that at this point it just needs to be laid to rest, we got 3 great movies, a handful of good games, and enough other horrible products to destroy anything good brought to the table.

                  Like Star Trek before her, it’s time to take Star Wars out back and say our tearful goodbyes.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Speaking of fan service, they are re-adding HK-47 from KOTOR (oh, right, excuse me, HK-51, *snicker*) to try and boost sub numbers.

        • Good gravy. This reminds me of the problems I had with Fallout 3. It’s been 200 years since the bombs yet there are still half-destroyed FRAME HOUSES standing UNTOUCHED? BWAH?

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            And food.Dont forget all the food you find around.And cars.And pavement.

            • acronix says:

              And Nuka Cola! What do you mean it’s not Fallout?

            • Winter says:

              Forget the food and stuff, arguably it’s canned food or whatever. (Except when it isn’t, whoops.)

              They still have fluorescent lights. (Or other kinds, but mainly fluorescent.)

              And they still work.

              And they’ve apparently been working since more than 200 years ago.

              I call shenanigans.

              • MrWhales says:

                To add, their nukes were absolutely pathetic, like, 100x weaker than the one dropped on Hiroshima. The ones you shoot out of the fat man? Only about double the size. I suppose you could argue that maybe they were that small so they could have more nukes, but quality over quantity.

                Also when the Fallout series starts seriously sucking, then all these points will be much more valid and put on picket signs. Just like this Star Wars bit wasn’t much of anyone’s concern until they the business tumbled to this.

          • Erik says:

            Almost as bad as New Vegas. Apparently decades of habitation in an area almost untouched by the nukes means you don’t bother to fix your houses or towns, leaving ripped-up paintings on the walls and sleeping on cot frames, never bothering to make even a half-assed pillow or rug from all the animal pelts from the seemingly endless critters.

        • Amarsir says:

          HK-47 is already in game, in the “False Emperor” flashpoint. Though your point is taken.

          If they want to do fanservice, where is Kashyyyk and the Wookie playable races? Saved for an expansion? (Like they’d be so lucky.)

          • Michael says:

            Well, the Wookie playable race was out because the devs were either giggly about the idea Wookie players romancing people, because it would have meant having to set up alternate camera angles, or because they were too creeped out at the idea of furries loose in Star Wars. Pick any of the above.

        • Entropy says:

          In fairness, there was totally a massive factory of HK-51s with HK-47s personality uploaded to them by the end of KotOR II (in the Restored Content, admittedly) So, it’s sorta cool to see them actually do something.

    • TA says:

      Very little. That’s actually the point. If you run the Imperial planet story, you’re informed that the reason the Empire is waging a campaign on Hoth is purely to tie up Republic resources fighting a war that gets them nothing. They call it Operation: Quagmire, and they’re clearly trying to turn it into a frozen Vietnam.

      Pretty clever, really.

  2. Mephane says:

    In terms of accents, in the movies the Neimoidians all seemed to have French accents (or at least something similar – and consistently). Sadly, in SWTOR, Neimoidians just sound like everyone else. Missed opportunity.

  3. CTrees! says:

    Although, that’s just existing Star Wars baggage talking. We don’t have a particular affiliation associated with Italian. Rebels have American accent. The Empire uses World War II German design aesthetics with British accents. In the original trilogy, the Rebels all wore earth tones and the bad guys were all black and white. Neither side had any particular skin pigmentation.

    Well… In episodes 4-6, neither side had any particular skin pigmentation, because everyone was either white, an alien, or impossible to determine (stormtroopers). The one black guy switched sides so much the old Star Wars TCG built an entire mechanic out of it.

    In so much as I admit the prequels exist, they actually got much better about this… and then got much worse with the racial stereotype aliens and their associated accents.

    • False Prophecy says:

      I think Lando gets treated a bit unfairly. (Going solely by the films; I’m not overly familiar with the Expanded Universe.)

      Yes, he sells out Han and Leia & co. on Bespin, but consider his position. He’s responsible for a whole city full of people and has the #2 man of the Empire breathing down his neck with an Imperial Super Star Destroyer on his back porch. The same guy who destroyed an entire planet because he suspected its leadership of sedition. It’s definitely not heroic to sell out an old gambling buddy to save your city, but it’s surely an understandable position. And it’s not like he stays a total quisling. He sees the writing on the wall soon enough and does the right thing.

      • Atarlost says:

        Lando is perhaps the most admirable character in the original trilogy. When placed in a no win scenario he does the best he can for the people he’s responsible for. He attempted to shelter enemies of the regime (see his line immediately before the infamous altered bargain quote) and the very nature of his business makes it likely he was sheltering less notorious enemies of the Empire as well.

        Most of the other characters developed in the OT don’t really have much of a choice about joining the rebellion. Luke was actually trying to get into the Imperial Academy before Vader had his family killed.

      • Boobah says:

        “The same guy who destroyed an entire planet because he suspected its leadership of sedition.”

        ? Wasn’t that Tarkin? Y’know, the guy who was actually in charge of the Death Star project?

        The more interesting question that springs to mind is: how the heck did the Empire spin that one? Sure, the initial plan was to make sure that everybody knew the government had a planet-buster and was willing to use it even on one of the most prosperous planets in the galaxy. But mere days later it was destroyed; how do you even start to spin this?

        More to the point, I can’t see any PR campaign/damage control telling the galaxy-at-large that the Emperor’s right hand man was in the thick of it all.

        Directly to the point, all Lando saw was a creepy cyborg/alien? who was important enough to have a Star Destroyer at his beck and call.

  4. ClearWater says:

    Apparently Han Solo also has an Italian accent.

  5. Didn’t they do a production bible?

    That is what you do for huge multi author works.

    Looks like they had to ship it out the door before it was done.

  6. Deadyawn says:

    Hey, is it just me or does that first screenshot remind anyone else of solitude in skyrim (at least I think thats what its called, the one thats built on a broken bridge)? Because that was the first thing that I thought of when I saw it.

    • Cody211282 says:

      That can’t be Skyrim, I don’t see my horse chasing down and kicking any dragons to death in that screenshot.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Kinda, but imo in the case of SWTOR’s scene, once again the proportions really feel way off. There is a really strong disparity between the tree sizes and the bridge-structure-size, imo. In that sense, Solitude was better-proportioned to it’s environment.

  7. ? says:

    Star Wars franchise generally tends to use ‘Bounty Hunter’ as a slur for mercenaries and hitmen. They never hunt down fugitives in exchange for piles of credits.

    This is a thing that made me a bit sceptical about TOR in general. Forcing two classes, it would seem neutral wild-cards in it for profit not ideology, into set roles in Sith-Jedi endless conflict.

    Smugglers fight for the Republic, even though Empire is new rising power that would attract criminal element and would need blockade runners.
    ‘But Han was emotionally blackmailed by Chewie to support Rebellion so we will take away your choice!’ says Bioware.

    Bounty Hunters work for Empire, even though Republic would have longer tradition of working with them (keeping real word definition of bounty hunter which requires some form of legal recognition).
    ‘But Boba, who as we know was the only bounty hunter ever so we will copy paste him all around the galaxy, worked for the Empire, the only legal government at the time of New Hope, clearly bounty hunters can only be the baddies’ says Bioware.

    I’m currently starting free trial to see how anti-republic smuggler can be, any chance that bounty hunter can stick it to the Empire?

    • Cody211282 says:

      It would have been nice if the classes had a chance somewhere in the story to flip sides and join the other faction, hell it would have made sense for most of them.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I know that you’re supposed to be able to go darkside with a republic character and light side with an empire character, and as you go further in the transition can become more complete… but I doubt you can switch sides. The storyline seems fantastically linear :/

    • MintSkittle says:

      It does feel like the smuggler and bounty hunter were rather forced into their respective factions, doesn’t it? I always felt that there should have been 3 factions, Republic, Empire, and Hutt Cartel. Move the smuggler and bounty hunter to the Cartel, add a Republic SIS Agent, Imperial Commando, a non-aligned force user like the consular/inquisitor, and a tech based fighter that mimics the knight/warrior.

      The Republic and Empire continue their fued, while the Cartel continues to look after its own self-interests while playing both sides against each other. We can already see this in places like Nar Shaddaa where both the Republic and Empire are trying to sway the Hutts to their sides to tip the balance of power.

    • beardiemcwarren says:

      I never finished the Bounty Hunter story line but the most that I ever saw you being able to stick it to the empire was telling them that you didn’t care about their silly little war after you helped them out. The first bounty hunter companion is light side and she does tend to steer you toward being a ‘good’ bounty hunter but in the end you still work for criminal organizations and all of your side quests will be assisting the empire in some way.

  8. ENC says:

    I enjoyed the soundtrack.

    Anyway, I would’ve kept playing the game if they had given us a dungeon finder (having to /who throughout THE ENTIRE GALAXY is not a fun experience to get people to do instances), and the lack of story content at endgame. Sure, there were heroic flashpoints/operations (the flashpoints that actually had decent stories instead of the ones with next to nothing), but the stories in the flashpoints became boring after the umpteenth try, and the operations were just raiding from WoW with the lack of story (story which is why I bought the game in the first place).

    I would’ve also liked to have more than 1 companion at a time (but scale the combat up of course) so I wouldn’t have just invested all my spare gear into the one person and couldn’t be bothered to do the rest.

    The story also fell apart towards the end, I wasn’t sure where I had finished, and (as a commando) after I had cleared the big war-winning gun and got back at my betraying ex-commander off the map I felt it should’ve ended.

    Also; playing through KotOR for the first time (Steam sale, have played KotOR 2), besides the soundtrack that booms all the time, I was reminded that it is better to have everyone with the possibility of playing jedi, instead of feeling like you wouldn’t get into groups based on class choice.

    The advanced classes should’ve been switchable at any time (it’s just lazy design not to do this by having half the abilities shared) and included the ability to switch been playing as a jedi or non-jedi at any time (e.g. trooper can choose sentinel-guardian-vanguard-mercenary-assassin, smuggler can choose scoundrel-gunslinger-sentinel-assassin-consular so I don’t feel like I’m not having as much fun as the glowstick wielders as they make SHWOOM, VWOOP PSSHHH VWOOM sounds in real life).
    Except make us go on an epic to become a jedi like galaxies (albeit not have it be hidden) that feels like a central goal of the first 2 acts like you had in the previous 2 old republic games. Someone could choose to spend say 10 hours building their lightsaber, receiving training, uncovering plots, or continue to level up and beat their main story.

    Also, restricting lightsabers based on class choice was also stupid.

    Playing KotOR makes me miss SWTOR a bit… but then I remember how insanely fun the combat is in jedi academy and I go play that.

  9. ehlijen says:

    That last photo is clearly the jedi butt trick.

    • DaveMc says:

      Ha! “Learn the ways of the Force. Never lack for a chair, you will …”

    • swimon1 says:

      No! She’s sitting on a pillar of compressed air. Some member (I forget who therefore weasel word) of the german architecture movement Bauhaus noted that as technology has improved chairs have become thinner and lighter (specifically compare an old heavy set wooden chair to a more modern sleek steel-frame one) and predicted that in the future we would sit on air-pillars like the one in said photo.

      Bioware is here clearly referencing said prediction. By placing this chair in the Star Wars galaxy, a world where technology is far more impressive yet is still mired in war and strife, Bioware is satirizing the belief that technology could be used to create a utopia free of such problems (a belief central to Bauhaus) as naïve. At the same time said galaxy is “a long time ago” in fact it is several thousands of years before a long time ago making it a critique of the romantic view of the past held by many proponents of ludditism. SWToR argues instead that technology is neither saviour nor villain but rather just surface noise something superficial that doesn’t change anything deep or real. Technology took us to the stars but once there the world looks pretty much the same: the same wars, crime, poverty and strife.

  10. Just because Google was so quick and helpful. (search: italian accent in star wars universe )

    Davik Kang’s italian accent is actually: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Galactic_Basic_Standard#Accents
    Bannamu (a Patrolian) and Mee Deechi (a

    Umbara) has “italian” dialects.

    Star Wars is so huge now that almost anything has a reference now. *gets a headache*

  11. Daktylo says:

    Remember the hype? Remember the excitement? I’m glad I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. Sheesh.

  12. Joe Cool says:

    Yes, yes, all this is true. I will say that, the one thing that finally, ultimately drove me away from SWTOR wasn’t the bland art direction, copy/paste boring WoW combat, or uninspired use of the Star Wars license. Why I finally left the game, despite the really interesting story that I did really want to see where it went, was the loading times. It eventually came down to this: I could spend about 3-5 minutes starting up the game and loading a character, or I could spend 10-15 seconds starting Diablo III (when it worked) and have killed a hundred enemies and acquired some sweet loot in the same amount of time it took to start SWTOR.

    In WoW, Just Cause 2, and Fuel, you can go from one end of the massive world to the other without a loading screen, and it only takes about 20 seconds to first load that world. In SWTOR, you can’t leave your small, claustrophobic zone without getting a two-minute wait. And you have to zone quite a lot.

  13. 13_cbs says:

    This, combined with the previous posts about SWTOR and Shamus’ Tweets, gives me the impression that the Old Republic is a colossal sack of pure, undiluted incompetence.

  14. Here’s a fun little video for all of you: http://youtu.be/vCMAy-2e1LU

    At some point during the development process the player body types were redesigned (yes, they used to be even worse). Until the animations could be revised to fit the new bodies, we had what we affectionately referred to as the “John Carpenter Effect”.

    The first time I saw it I had my nose pressed close to the screen, looking for something specific. Not expecting the horror show, I nearly fell out of my chair from shock!

  15. Kdansky says:

    Great moment to point to some of my favourite essays on RPGs and story in the last few years:

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/01/20/narrative-is-not-a-game-mechanic/
    http://www.dinofarmgames.com/false-choice-bad-for-stories-bad-for-games-inevitable-in-story-games/

    Note that the dinofarmgames one is a bit rambly, and you really need to read multiple of his posts to understand him in full.

    Essentially, it comes down to this: If you add a story to your main character, you have to limit his freedom, or else you won’t finish the game. The more story you have, the less your product is a game, and the more it is a film.

  16. scowdich says:

    The fact that you’re a bounty hunter voiced by Steve Blum who always kills his targets must be especially jarring.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really dont care about this game,at all.But one thing theyve mentioned this morning is bothering me:Are there really npc romances in there?In an mmo game?What the hell is biowares obsession with romances that theyd cram one in an mmo?And even if they wanted so badly to have players do the nasty,why not just make it as an achievement youd get for interacting with actual people?

    • *Blah* says:

      …sex. In an MMO. Between PCs. Oh gods, I can see the headlines now. Not in good papers, mind, but they’re still there.

      I do agree with you that it’s an odd decision to have NPC romances in an MMO. Especially since, if you think about it, this means that the NPC in question has been involved with a *substantial* portion of the galactic populace.

      That’s kinda funny, actually.

    • Cody211282 says:

      The game very much feels like “Well we have no idea how to make a multiplayer game, so lets just make a single player game with other people in it.”

      Hell a good number of things in the game become a pain in the ass when you add other people into the mix, or at least it was a problem back during launch when I last played.

      It just goes to show Bioware had no idea what to do.

  18. Ravens Cry says:

    At least on Star Trek, all canon takes place within a fairly small period of time (‘only’ a few hundred years) and technology, and even culture to a degree, does change pretty drastically in that time.
    I wish they’d stop trying to shoe-horn the Borg everywhere though.

    • ps238principal says:

      I’ve always found the tech on ‘Trek to be problematic because it doesn’t change the culture. Even without it, humans 300 years into the future should be pretty different from us in several ways, but even with transporters (that have been shown to cure disease, regenerate the old into the young, and even clone people, though for some reason it’s never really used on purpose), very little cultural impact seems to happen from any given tech or what would appear to be its obvious effects.

      Take the Borg. Humanity should be the Borg, pretty much. Bob the Angry Flower basically nailed it with this comic. Everyone should at least have some kind of cell-phone-implant-link to the ship’s computer or something.

      Star Wars is just stagnant except for the artistic design. Technology in its world is magical anyway, unless some kind of explanation is needed for the plot (though it’s usually “that thing, if hit hard enough, will make the big bad’s ability to cause harm explode”). I mean, even in KOTR, you’ve got an R2 unit, just like in Episode IV, except in one it’s shaped like a hamburger on a trash can with wheels, and in the other it’s a roll-on deodorant mated with a trash can with wheels, but otherwise it’s no different. Lightsabers are functionally the same, as are hyperdrives, holograms, and so on. The only difference is in how the item, object, or macguffin is decorated.

      About the only show I can think of that seemed to make an effort to incorporate newly-found sci-fi-tech into itself was the Stargate TV series, where the characters did something unheard of (outside of an RPG) and started using the alien enemy’s guns as part of their standard equipment (it was also to give the good guys a “stun” weapon, but still), and eventually built their own spaceship by reverse-engineering the stuff they were blowing up or capturing.

  19. Lightningstrike14 says:

    My biggest issue with KOTOR, and the expanded univserse in general is that it makes the jedi dumb. In just about every instance where the Jedi order has fallen it has been because they don’t trust the hot-blooded warrior, because they think emotion is bad. They then shun him, causing him to turn to the dark side and murder everyone, it made the Jedi seem like they don’t learn from the countless times they were nearly wiped out

    • Jeff #3 says:

      Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

    • drlemaster says:

      Padawan: So I am supposed to trust my feelings, but also not give in to emotion. What exactly do Jedi base their decisions on?

      Master: A severely sedated Samuel L Jackson.

    • ps238principal says:

      The Jedi are like a religious order with no release valve and no demonstration of how they arrived at their tenets beyond “I said so, now shut up.” I don’t think Lucas ever delved too deeply into any of his “ideas” about Star Wars, but were I in charge, someone would have taken Anakin or some other Padawan aside and done a quick demonstration about how emotion can get in the way of the Force when you need it to work, how rushing to judgement can increase the potential for making mistakes, and how even if you do get the Force to function while you’re hot-blooded, it might do things you didn’t want it to do. That latter one is usually played for drama, where a Sith gets angry and in addition to his target a bunch of stuff explodes, but what if that was important stuff, like your music collection?

      I think there was an idea about crossing Zen Buddhism, Sir Lancelot, and being a magician, but Lucas didn’t seem to have the language to effectively communicate it. Or he didn’t care, and this is what we got.

      • mysterycycle says:

        After “Revenge of the Sith,” I’m inclined to believe the latter. The contradictions in Obi-Wan’s and Anakin’s dialogue were so over-the-top (“Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” etc.) that I had to conclude that there was no internal consistency to Jedi philosophy in Lucas’s mind except the immediate demands of his script.

        “The Empire Strikes Back” seemed to be onto something in its depiction of Luke’s struggle to confront Vader without succumbing to anger and hatred, but of course “Empire” had a better screenplay writer, and Lucas wasn’t yet surrounded by yes-men.

  20. David A says:

    I think the bottom line about this game is that it’s boring.

    I bought it on release, canceled on the second month, and have no desire to look back. The game was boring. And I’ve read nothing that implies the issues I had with the game have been changed.

    I was absolutely not gripped by the story of my character the way I was with Revan, or Shepard, or my Jade Empires character.

    Bioware has come a long way since their early hits, and every step down the road has been a step down.

  21. John Beltman says:

    “The above shot was sent in from a reader, and is apparently a shot of Alderaan. I don’t think I can get there in the free trial, but it’s nice to know it exists.”

    I also am happy that Alderaan exists.

  22. Michael says:

    Okay, on the first shot… I realize it’s kinda an improvement over the starter planets… but… wow is that bad.

    It’s got a slightly better color range, but rocks and snow just do not work that way. It’s like someone who’d never seen snow in their life came along and paved down this vomit yellow and white carpet between Styrofoam rocks.

  23. swcrusader says:

    It seems like I’m the only one here who likes this game. I played wow a lot, for most of it’s run and apart from LOTRO it’s the only thing I have to compare it to. The PVP is just flat out better in SWTOR than anything WOW ever came up with mostly because the classes are so well balanced. And say what you will about the different stories (The Imperial Agent story is amazing) but at least I actually remember them. The only storyline I really remember at all anywhere in wow is the wrath expansion one. And you were never the hero of those stories, you weren’t in cut scenes, you were some anonymous guy/girl. My smuggler got screwed by someone he trusted, married a mandalorian and killed a moff , my imperial agent shagged a female darth, saved millions of people of the empire at the expense of letting a renegade sith go and became a triple agent! . It has a groupfinder now (much better than the one in WOW too), the flashpoints/instances are much more interesting and the operations/raids are epic. So thats my defense of a great game.

    • Daimbert says:

      You’re not alone.

      I tried WoW in the free trial, started an undead Warlock and a dwarf Paladin, found the missions to be pretty much the same — at least in the early stages — and the gameplay similar, got bored, quit. At least in TOR, I have a strong connection to my character and my companions that’s pushing me through the more boring parts, and the story is different enough to support different characters. The big problem here is that the starting planets are all the same and too much of my XP is coming from the sidequests, so taking an Imperial Agent through Drummond Kaas right after I’ve been there with my Warrior is too repetitive even for me.

      But the combat is tolerable, I hate the WoW elements, but the story and companions are great. This isn’t as good an MMO for me as CoH, but I like it and have been playing it for a few weeks now … and am likely to get my highest level in an MMO. I’m looking forward to GW2 (I didn’t play the first one) to see if it will be better.

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