Monday, November 21, 2011

SWTOR Beta Thoughts- Goodbye NDA!

I figure it is about time I jotted down some thoughts on my beta impressions from my time in the SWTOR beta. I've only spent one weekend in beta, my brother had more time to test and see the game and passed on some pictures and information for me to also share. He got much further than me. I've been so very lazy this week and have been meaning to talk about this a little sooner, I was really excited about the NDA being lifted.

I enjoyed my time spent there, I really appreciated the chance to test and see the game ahead of time, I was so excited to see the beta invite sitting there in my in-box. There is another beta coming up which opens for even more players than in the past. Not sure if I will participate in the next round, my main reason being the massive queues I experienced. At one point I was 2871 in the queue. Over a weekend, for testing, I just don't have the patience to sit there. Then again... I did hear we get to access our last characters. It depends on queues.

The game is solid and I did have a great time. I still think my niche is high fantasy and that is where my heart seems to stay. But, I was a huge SW fan as a kid and, to an extent, all things SW still have a nostalgic feel to me. I can't say I didn't enjoy the change of scenery! So, here are my thoughts. I enjoyed getting the chance to beta with my brother too. He showed me some neat stuff and helped me out a bit, shared some nice blue drops with me too, he's such a sweet little brother!

The List...

Things I really liked? The races and the character customization was great too. So many games don't offer different shapes for your character, SWTOR lets you choose from four which range from skinny to pretty beefy. Plus there were lots of different things like colors, scars and just things to make you feel a little more unique- always a good thing. Appearances looked good, there is even a dressing room to check things out.

The scenery was interesting, combat was fast paced. No need for food and drink. I've missed that from EverQuest. Except in SWTOR it is the push of a button and you start to regen quickly, I loved it. The story was another thing I loved. We all know Bioware is great at spinning some tails and adding in a great story. I loved interacting with the story and making my own choices, even if they didn't always get me very far. Twi'leks. I just love those girls, they are probably my favorite race, plus they get their own special dance. Medical probes rezzzing me, loved that too.

What else to add to the list? Ships, a unique little flavor to the game. You can have visitors also, which is really cool. I love the companions. In any game I love them and even more so in this game, Bioware is the master of companions.  Questing was smooth, for the most part due to the built in quest helper.

I enjoyed the personal quest phasing, the thing with this is that you can invite someone to your group and they can also enter the phase. Very handy. This for the main story line quest and it also is nice to have no interruptions while going through the story. You know, that person who likes to jump all over the screen and on top of the NPC while you're trying to get something done. Those are just the things that come to mind when I think of all I liked about the game.

I didn't dislike much really. I can't say I didn't like the graphics, I love the character models. However the hero engine is one I've always wondered why Bioware chose to use, until I actually logged in and saw the massive structures and scenery that they were able to build with it. Sometimes it didn't always seem to mesh too well, still not sure how much I like that engine.

For me sometimes the loading was sluggish. Tabbing out wasn't always a smooth transition, beta I suppose. Queues in beta, really, really bothered me. I hope this is all in preparation for a smooth launch and it pays off. The sounds in the game were nice but sometimes the music got monotonous in some areas. Maybe it is just me.

The class selection felt rather modest. I guess that is remedied by the classes splitting off into two directions at level ten. It still looks like a small choice when starting out. Along with choosing your class, some of the starting areas are better than others. Some seem rather dismal while others are far more interesting. I found the empire to offer more of an appeal than the republic.

The last thing is the no auto attack. It really wasn't bad at all and with a companion it is minimally noticed, I just am a sucker for it in any game and will always miss it when I don't have it. Even in this game.

Final thoughts.
As you can see the likes outweighed the dislikes. I think it is a nice and very well rounded MMO which offers a solid experience. It isn't breaking the mold but it should stand on it's own two feet quite well. I will say it ties in good points and adds fresh new things to an MMO.

Where do people get that this is a single player MMO? I think the original design or idea was to allow small groups to advance together, or even solo players (a big focus on this at one point) which still seems possible. But things have changed direction a bit since then. I suppose if you add in companions and the story with the ability to solo, people will always think that. It is an MMO. It is very similar to WoW, out of any MMO I've played I suppose TOR is the most like it. TOR won't kill WoW. It is too much like it. However, it will add in another type of MMO experience for us.

Somehow the game didn't grab me with a death grip. I don't know if it is because I've been a bit tired of two years of hype or what. I did enjoy playing, I'm just not frothing at the mouth or holding my breath for it to release. I'm not knocking it at all, as I will play it.

So, now I'd like to share some pictures and a little video footage. You've probably seen tons of images and videos but I wouldn't be me without adding mine to the pile ;)

Big thanks to Nophoria for sharing his pics with me to show! The gorgeous one at the top is his character along with many others taken with his Sith Warrior! 


  1. Yeah, I felt bad for some of the people who were sitting in queues all weekend and had no time to play. But like you said, it's beta PLUS they were specifically stress testing the servers then. I hope they got good info.

    This coming weekend is another beta test and it's going to be huge, even bigger than the last. We'll see if BW is prepared for the numbers, and if not, hopefully by launch they will be.

  2. I ended up playing on one of the PvP servers when the queue got pretty heavy on my server. But... Than one ended up with a queue too, lol. Not nearly as large though. It was more bearable with around 100 people at peak time.

    I got in beta for this weekend, I just hope the queues are not outrageous with the flood of people testing! Ah well, if they are I at least hope it helps with a smooth launch, getting preparations and data that they need while they can.

  3. I thought the character creator was very weak in this game. And watching everyone with the same companion was very funny.

    The quest system is just amazing. It blew all my expectations away. As for the rest of the game, I thought it was good but standard MMO stuff.

  4. I thought the character creation was a bit more creative than some of the other MMO games I play, not the best one out there but not the worst.

    I agree, the questing tied in with the story was fantastic!