Alright, guys and gals…this is it. Over the last week, you decided what I should play. I gave you the power over my destiny, and you came and cast your vote into the digital voting box. It seems we have both Trekkies and Star Wars amongst our viewers, since this one was a close call. In the end though, there can only be one. In this case, “the one” was the IP that has Wookies, lightsabers and the most annoying minor character in the entire sci-fi genre. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Before I continue, let me explain some of the rules I follow for No Fees Attached. In order to give you the full and honest F2P experience, I have created a new, virgin account. I have no Preferred Status, and I will not spend a dime on this game unless you want to (which you will decide in a later installment of this column). Also, I will try to cover all areas MMO players enjoy: PvE, PvP, crafting and maybe even some role-playing. Next week, you will decide if I continue my adventures in SWTOR, or if I should leave it behind for another title. Such are the rules of No Fees Attached. Now, let’s get into the game itself!
Consulting the Consular
Everyone, say hello to Sammor, your friendly neighbourhood Jedi Consular. Choosing a class for this experiment wasn’t that hard. When I played SWTOR during launch, I rolled a Sith Inquisitor and leveled him all the way up to about level 40. The Consular is the Inquisitor’s mirror class, so I’m guaranteed to have a familiar experience when it comes to class mechanics. However, what really convinced me to give the Consular a try were the themes of his class story: knowledge, secrets and the power gained from them. After rounding up the storyline of the first ten levels, I can say that those themes are already a part of the adventure Sammor experiences, and I’m curious to see if he will succumb to his thirst for dangerous knowledge, or stay true to the wise restraint a Jedi should show.
Talking about Sammor, who is he anyway? Well, for starters, Sammor has a bit of a weight problem. He’s chubby (especially for Jedi standards), and physical exercises were not his favorite part at Padawan boot camp. However, Sammor compensates that with his gentle behavior and unending knowledge. Really, if Wikipedia would exist in the Star Wars setting, Sammor would memorize half of the articles on there. Considering he is still a young Jedi, Sammor’s control of the Force improves every day, but he is a promising student.
Can you tell I like to role-play? I just think every character needs a story, especially in a plot-heavy game like SWTOR. But enough about my fat Force-user, what are the early levels like?
The (cartoony) forests of Tython
As a Consular, you start out on Tython, the planet where the Jedi Council was founded. Since the Jedis retreated back to Tython after the Sith attacked Coruscant, it is once again the central learning place of all who seek to wield lightsabers and push people with their minds, without resorting to electricity and other evil stuff. Sammor’s adventure started the moment he landed. It turned out that his new master, a kind but strict lady going by the name Yuon Par, was involved in some serious archaeological business, and now some Flesh Raiders are causing her trouble. Being the young hero Sammor is, he leaps at this chance to prove his skills and is out to hunt some monstrosities.
Before I know it, my young Consular is involved in a story of stolen holocrons, ancient Jedi masters and power-hungry Twi’leks, all while helping out random people here and there. The game introduces you gently to its very old-school gameplay. You complete quests, gain experience, find loot et cetera. It’s EverQuest or World of Warcraft with a Star Wars coating. However, it’s the sound and visuals that get you immersed into the game. When fighting monsters, you hear the oh so familiar action music from the movies, and the sound when you first pull out your lightsaber gives me as a serious Star Wars fan the chills. I also just love the graphics. The cartoony style will hopefully age well, since I’m actually impressed by some of the vistas this engine can render. I caught myself taking screenshots of the forests and cliffs regularly. Simply beautiful!
Your wallet’s the limit?
So, up to the point my Consular has reached, the game satisfies me. It’s nothing special, but if you like a good MMORPG and Star Wars, getting this all for free is a pretty sweet. But do you actually get all of it for free? Of course not! The moment I hit level 10, a nice pop-up reminded me of my reduced XP gain, and the two action bars I’m limited to are also getting kinda crowded. SWTOR’s F2P limitations are some of the strictest I’ve seen, though they aren’t annoying me just yet. I fear for the future though, even if I hope that it won’t be that bad. As described above, I won’t whip out my wallet just yet, no matter how terrible it will be…
So far, so good
Well, Chin, how is it so far? If you ask me like that, I have to say that I still enjoy SWTOR. The dialogues are fun, the story is good (though by far not the best BioWare has made) and you get quite a lot for not a single penny. Up until now, I can say that the game is fun and worth your time. Be careful though: this could change until next week, when I continue my report about Sammor’s adventures. Untill then, may the Force be with you!
Episode 96: Live from Dave’s Bachelor Party — The guys report from Las Vegas in Part 2 of the Dave Wedding Trilogy, then interview the leader of United We Game (and Daniel Tosh!) in a double Buzzfeed. Also, Chris gets a solo act, Dave throws his wife under the bus, and Shaun wants to pick up chicks.
On this particularly off-the-wall and Geek Force Network-centric episode, Sam and Joshua discuss slacking, soundboards, sharing the wealth, merchandise models, potential calendar photo shoots and the spread of the media empire that will be Geek Force Network. Joshua also gushes more about his lovely fiancé and Sam’s marbles get EVERYWHERE.
Hey guys, Grumbl3dook here as Cheeese is flying off on some mysterious mission – something about space cheddar and lasers…
She wanted to let you all know that this won’t disrupt the schedule here much, and on that note here’s Part 31 and 32 of the Ender Quest – who remembers that we built a quarry? Because it’s quite a surprise for us…
Okay, it happens. Every good podcast host goes through a physical breakdown where it’s literally impossible for them to remain conscious for an hour. Sorry. 😦 SO, enjoy this old episode from our archives, where we talk about the royal family, Game of Thrones, and Timothy Dalton. Enjoy!
Intro – “Round and Round” – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Thanks to Umphrey’s McGee for the kind use of their single “Miami Virtue” for the outro; they improvise music that makes angels sob their wings off. http://www.umphreys.com
It has been a really long time since I’ve played and beaten Square Enix’s Nintendo DS game The World Ends With You. It’s one of my favorite JRPGs for the DS and one of those games I could not put down. I loved everything from the battle system to the graphics. Watching the transformation of main character Neku Sakuraba go from a disaffected youth who doesn’t care about anything or anyone to someone who finds purpose, meaning, and a reason to live is one of the most compelling stories I found in a video game.