Top Five Things The Old Republic Got Wrong

top five things star wars the old republic got wrong

Star Wars: The Old Republic successfully launched to a great rejoicing in the Force and rabid fans have been playing the game at a feverish rate. However, with such a splashy launch and fans' desire to immerse themselves into the Star Wars universe, it's quite easy to overlook some aspects of the game that don't live up to expectations. Let us examine the top five aspects of gameplay that The Old Republic got wrong.

Please note that we are discussing the gameplay of The Old Republic for the time period of the game's launch and for the first few patches. MMO fans know that the first few months of a new MMO is extremely critical for the success of that game. First impressions are vitally important for online games, and if players don't find a good hook or reason to continue playing the game, then they'll drift back to the familiar game that they were playing before. A MMO can only make a first impression once.

I have previously listed five things that The Old Republic got right, but in the interest of fairness, we should examine some aspects of the game that aren't up to snuff. Personally, I think The Old Republic is a solid game, but there were some gameplay aspects that I thought were lacking. Without further ado, here are the top five things The Old Republic got wrong.

Actions Have No Consequences

In the five things that The Old Republic got right article, I talked at length about the great use of story. However, there is a hugely disappointing side to the story coin. I had great hopes for the plethora of choices that a player could choose as they adventured throughout the Star Wars universe. After all, BioWare has made amazing games (the Mass Effect games) that featured agonizing choices that had an almost infinite number of repercussions to whatever choice a player made within the game.

top five things star wars the old republic got wrong
No matter what choice you make, there are no repercussions.

Sadly, a player's actions have no real consequences in The Old Republic. The only real impact of a player's decisions is if they lose or gain a companion's affection or gain Light Side or Dark Side points. That's it. Making a choice at the end of a mission doesn't come back to bite you in the backside later. The only repercussion that my level 50 Bounty Hunter encountered in all his choices was that a Jedi padawan that he let live was part of a group that later tried to take him prisoner. Only one consequence in fifty levels? Not a great average.

What about having people get mad if I killed members of their organizations or their friends? Wouldn't it be great if you had a mission to kill a person, chose to let them go, and then the person who gave you the mission got angry with you? The result could be for the next level or two, you had to deal with random spawns of assassins trying to take you out. How about new missions becoming available due to the choices you make or having certain NPCs refuse to deal with you because you've betrayed their faction one too many times? Overall, I think it would be really cool if your actions came back to either bite you or reward you depending upon the choices that you made.

PvP Needs a Lot of Love

While I enjoy the PvE combat in The Old Republic, the PvP leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not god of war at PvP with my sloth-like reflexes, but as long as the scenarios are fun and I can get a few kills in, then I'm happy. The bad thing is that PvP in The Old Republic isn't fun for me.

top five things star wars the old republic got wrong
If you queue for PvP, this is what you are likely to get. Rage!

The main reason that PvP is lacking is that you can't choose which scenario you want to play. I understand that BioWare developed PvP without giving you the ability to choose specific scenarios in order to foster community and have really fast queue times. However, the altenative seems to be that you always end up playing Huttball. Let me now state for the record that I hate...no...loathe Huttball with the unrelenting fire of a thousand suns. I don't find the scenario fun and, yet, it pops practically EVERY single time I queue for PvP. As of the time of writing this article, I believe the percentage of Huttball popping for me is about ninety percent. There is good news on this front as that BioWare has recently mentioned upcoming changes to PvP to have other scenarios pop more regularly.

PvP can be made better by improving scenarios that players don't care for (Huttball!) and the upcoming change in patch 1.2 where scenarios will support same-faction brawling. It'll be interesting to stick it to my fellow guildies in PvP.

Space Combat Would Make Wedge Weep

The one feature of Star Wars that grabs me is space combat. I saw the original Star Wars in the theater when it came out and the opening scene of the Imperial star destroyer firing on Princess Leia's ship hooked me and the final assault on the Death Star reeled me in forever. To this day, I still get goose bumps watching the Death Star battle when the rebels are approaching and Red group starts reporting in. Later on, I played the various Star Wars games such as X-Wing, Tie-Fighter, and, naturally, X-Wing versus Tie-Fighter. To me, space combat is essential to the Star Wars experience.

top five things star wars the old republic got wrong
I haven't been this let down by space combat since The Phantom Menace.

Sadly, the space combat in The Old Republic is a huge letdown. I was hoping to fight countless enemies in the icy depths of space and go toe-to-toe with other players. The reality is that instead of piloting a ship in thrilling space combat where we have control, we fly a handful of missions where our ships fly on rails. There are only a few different scenarios for space combat (such as escort, station attack, station defense) with a higher level of difficulty. While the space combat missions can be amusing as a mini-game, they are a far cry from what space combat should be. If I wanted to play Star Fox, I would play that game, not Star Wars: The Old Republic. I was really hoping for something similar to Star Wars Galaxies where they had free roaming space battles integrated into the game. Space battles really cry out for PvP. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as, in a recent interview, bringing PvP to space combat was mentioned.

Can I Get Some Help?

BioWare has talked quite a bit about fostering community in The Old Republic, but in one critical area, they've let that aspect down. Of course, I'm talking about the lack of a dungeon finder. Many players have voiced their displeasure over this fact and the difficulties in grouping. Without an automated system in place, it can be very hard to group up. There are a lot of cool heroics and flashpoints that I would love to play, so why not make it as easy as possible for me to find interested groups and enjoy that content? While my Bounty Hunter prefers to keep his lone-wolf reputation intact, he's not afraid to turn down an invitation to group.

Lack of Features is Perplexing

The last item on our list of the top five things that The Old Republic got wrong is lack of features. What I mean by this is that certain features have become a fixture in any MMO and is expected by the players at launch. Features such as customizable UI, guild tools, combat logs, a easy-to-use auction house, and decent grouping tools are standard in today's online gaming environment. Which makes their exclusion all the more perplexing for a game like SWTOR that has had a lengthy production schedule and an enormous budget.

top five things star wars the old republic got wrong

Players want to play a game that they're comfortable with and allows them to play with friends more easily. The first thing that most players do when they begin the game is to play with the UI to create the set-up that they wish. Gamers like to play with friends (or join new friends) in a guild, but want membership in a guild to have tangible benefits like guild housing, guild banks, or other perks. The fact that these items were not in the game at launch is disappointing. There is some good news as BioWare has stated that many of these features, such as customizable UI and a better auction house, are on the way.

Overall, I feel that The Old Republic is a solid game, but it needs some work. I've listed the top five things that I felt the game got wrong, and there are more. However, these wrongs can be righted in the long haul, but the damage may already have been done. A game only has one chance to make a great first impression, and that's when it launches. With it's stay-on-the-rails space combat, no dungeon finder, no real consequences to a player's actions, Huttball-or-bust PvP, and lack of expected features, SWTOR may have missed the window to make that all-important first impression. Time will tell if the Force is with The Old Republic.

Comments

Especially with #1. For some quests, yes it is true. But for others (example: revan cult) you can go from an easy quest to each part of the quest requiring a task of grinding mobs, from just the word choice you've made.

What ever happened to playing a good, solid mmo and growing with the game? We all did it with wow, long Que times,lots of bugs, no guild banks, and no pvp, but we stuck it out and grew with the game. People want everything and want it now, sadly there will never be another great MMO, we , the people are gonna kill every single game with this 12 year old mentality of "if i cant have it now,i will quit,im not waiting for any patches" or " the other game has this, that, andand the other". You people need to set back and think 1) is it a good game over all? 2) is it fun to play? 3) Is there a REASONABLE amount of content? 4) Do you believe the games producer will stick with it and continue to improve and expand the game? I am not talking just SWTOR, but any game as there have been some good games that just didnt make it very far. So, grab your mouse and lets get back to having fun!!!

Most of the features missing are coming in patch 1.2. The real killer for a portion of my guild was the lack of end game content. In a very short period of time, we had half a dozen players, not only max out a toon, but they were very nicely geared too. The operations and instances were overall quite easy and there was little difference between modes other then more hit points to bosses. Frankly a lot of my friends expected to much from a new game and were let down. I find the game engaging and the big difference is I tried to enjoy the ride from start to finish. And BIO has slowed gear progression a bit so its not quite as easy to max out in gear. To quote one of my friends who bailed, " I am pissed that I paid out as much money as I did to play a beta. The game was not ready for release!" I disagree with him but he did make some valid points and Bioware will not be getting him back.

I think this is a fair list of criticisms. However, I would say that you are being somewhat unfair in Point 1. Actions do have consequences. If I get to the end of a quest and then kill or spare an endboss bad guy, the scene plays differently, I may get light or darkside points, and it will probably affect my companion's opinion of me. Granted, that's not a LOT of "effects", but it's a WHOLE lot more than any other MMO I've played. Hence, I would change your heading to "Actions Have No Long-Term Consequences". One point you failed to mention, although it may be implicit under "Lack of Features": traveling in this game from one planet to another is almost painfully tedious, involving running through space terminals, clicking buttons, and watching umpty-ump loading screens. For a space/sci-fi type game, space travel in SWTOR is absolutely terrible. How did Bioware ever think this was a "good system"?

There are a number of things in the game that are altered based off of earlier decisions, they're just really big decisions. The Agent alone has at least 5 different endings to the game, but no one seems to focus on that, my guess is that its because we think since we can break out of conversation with the escape key we've seen all there is to see.... BUT the escape key doesn't travel back in time and undo your choices with Jadus and Ardun.

While there are "consequences" to dialog choices, and different game "endings" etc, the problem is that none of this really matters in the context of an MMO where the playerbase just wants to level cap and raid or PvP in the endgame. It's just window dressing along the way. If you had real restrictions or advantages granted to you in the endgame based on your choices, THAT would be major.

What I don't like about conquesthunter's comment is "We all did it with wow, long Que times,lots of bugs, no guild banks, and no pvp, but we stuck it out and grew with the game". You are completely correct in that statement however here we are almost a decade later and games are still coming out with these issues despite huge budgets and long development. The issue I see is we should support games and help them grow, however a few things have become "standard equipment" and in order for MMO's to move forward they need to be included in competitive releases. It is an insult too the community to release a half finished product after all that wait and charge 15 dollars a month. Would you purchase a brand new car without airbags, abs, a radio, adjustible seats and air conditioning or heat for the same price or more than the competition that has all those things?? I want to answer some of your questions in your post "You people need to set back and think" 1) is it a good game over all? No SWTOR is not a good game overall the first 30 lvls are an amazing incomplete single player rpg experience 2) is it fun to play? Again for the first 30 lvls yes 3) Is there a REASONABLE amount of content? No there isn't for the time this game spent in development 04) Do you believe the games producer will stick with it and continue to improve and expand the game? Are you serious Bioware yes I believe they WANT to stick around and develop 1.2 is good evidence of that however I do not trust EA not to pull the plug as soon as some executive who is not a gamer decides the numbers just don't warrant further support. So grab your keyboard and continue to let developers know if the want are hard earned money the "standard equipment" is required. This is not a "12 year old mentality" this is the mentality of a responsible consumer that while a huge star wars fanboy will not support developers that cant get a finished and competitive product to market. Take off you rose colored "EA brand " glasses my friend we all deserve better.
SirRobin's picture

While the tiny warzones, 8v8 does not a war make, were an issue for me. You miss my main problem with this game. Linearity. I used to think WAR was a linear design, until I started rolling alts in TOR. At least in WoW I had a couple of continents to choose between and in WAR I had three different fronts I could cycle through. Not so in TOR. The whole "one planet one path" quickly became a brutal grind for me once I started alts. Once I started space barring a lot of the dialog, TOR lost its main attraction... It's story.

There are actually a few pretty drastic consequences to the choices you make in-game, look at the Empire's Alderaan quest line. When I leave house Thul to die, it makes me skip a whole quest line and I get severely reprimanded by my superiors I think three times. Try this, you and a friend roll the same class, then play through, one as evil, one as good. This will show your different choices change the story line.

While I think you do raise some fair criticisms that do have some caveats expressed by fellow posters here, I highly disagree with your comments about PVP, which undoubtedly come from your personal perspective, and should not warrant a broad criticism of the game as a whole. From my perspective as a more PVE focused gamer, SWTOR's PVP has enticed me far more than other MMOs I have played. I think BioWare has brought a fairly balanced, story influenced PVP environment. While you may loathe Huttball, I simply can't get enough of it, I think it is easily the most innovative aspect of PVP, BioWare has brought to the MMO genre. While my defense holds true, I understand your concerns about selecting which warzone in which to queue, but I can accept BioWare's stance that selection of queuing cannot occur until cross-server queues are implemented. BioWare certainly has some things to work on in regards to PVP, but I believe your broad criticism of it is a bit unfair and fails to account for its surprising popularity and successes.

A lot of this is getting fixed in 1.2 and beyond, but the auction house and space combat are both disappointments that will live longer. I think they will try to improve the Galactic Trade Network (GTN), although this is one of those things that shows BioWare's inexperience with massive multiplayer - it might take them a few iterations. But the repetitive rails arcade-game for Space Combat is a five star embarrassment in 2012. Sony was doing it better with Jump to Lightspeed almost eight years ago! I think they didn't have the time, the answers or the energy to put their heads into space combat during OLD REPUBLIC's agonizing development timeline, and this was the best compromise they could release. Either that or they tried a free-movement space component and it was a disaster in alpha, so they fell back on rails. Either way, it's a useless feature at the moment except for some quick credits and XP if you can stand the boredom.

I agree that a few things like a UI and Guild banks shouldve been standard. But the whole whine about the Space combat component is obvious that none of you folks were reading the developer interviews and such source material available through the time since the game was first announced. The designers clearly stated why they did the Rail Shooter. 1. They did not want to get into something too big for them to adequately handle. Think about it: What is Bio Ware most known for in the gaming community but providing a gloriously rich and entertaining storyline that enriches the player. Add that with developing a solid MMORPG world, with bosses, and lvling zones and class/character/faction balance all while trying to diminish the "grind" feeling that turns players off, and designing PVP grounds and ops and dungeons with mechanics and what not? And now you want all that also in space too? Now they have to balance ships, and weapons and create environments out there and handle space physics...ect. It took them how long to put together a rich "ground" experience as we have? and now add all that in again for a whole space environment for players to explore and fight in. c'mon guys be realistic. We'd still be waiting for this game 15 years from now in that case, and it would probably run into my second point 2: It would probably fail. Bioware clearly stated that Space combat was not in their priority of things to make. In fact they originally weren't going to have it at all, which I think was a better idea, since they weren't making EVE or X-wing, they were making an MMO of KOTOR. Tell me where you had immersive space combat in KOTOR? You didn't! Why? Because it wasn't about that, it was about a rich story based RPG experience. It wasn't for the combat it was for the exploration and the story telling, with combat sprinkled in for progression. Regular RPG players understand this idea. And they didn't want to run into the same pitfalls of SWG. AS much as Space Combat may have been cool on the small scale on SWG, it ultimately failed. It detracted and it wasn't well managed. It couldn't be well managed honestly, not when you are also trying to manage all the other places that the game is supposed to take place. SWtOR is about having the same KOTOR like experience that we all enjoyed but on a social, community scale. If you want a story driven Space combat game, go reboot X-wing. If you want to have an MMO of PVP space combat, go play EVE. But SWtOR was NEVER EVER supposed to be about the space combat. They only put it in because a bunch of fans were getting butt hurt that there was no space combat initially, and thus they threw in the rail shooter to quiet them up and went back to putting together that game that they promised us. Bioware even said that it was just an add in, it wasn't central and that they didn't want to do it but get you more focused in exploring, playing your character and growing as a player in a community of SW fans who wanted an immersive MMO experience of epic proportions. I certainly buy TOR to have dog fights with other players, no, I got it so I could explore the greater SW galaxy with friends on foot to all the famous locations while having a unique character and experience, like we look to in WoW or Ever-crack or whatever. Yes PVP is nice, but if you want to play a PVP centric game, go wait for Guild Wars 2 or something. PVP was only ever a feature and not essential to the design of a story driven RPG experience. It's just a feature. Okay so off that soap box. I agree that are some real annoyances. My personal pet peeves have been as follows : 1. Non-bracketed PVP. heading into an arena as a lvl 12 just to have a little fun and test out my toon and getting CONSTANTLY raped by a pack of lvl 50's, to me is not fun. Over all the PVP IS INDEED funa nd i enjoy it, but I quickly refrained from it until I hit roughly lvl 40 and could swing enough to kill someone or survive a single hit. 2. the passage after passage after passage you pass through to travel to any one place. You enter the space port, you load screen, to the airlock, to loadscreen to you ship, to load screen to the next planet, to loadscreen to the air lock, to load screen to the space port, to load screen again... get my point? 3. Raid/dungeon finder. I always try to do every dungeon I can as a lvl a character. I did it in WoW, and I do it now in TOR. But sometimes it has been a week of cruising Fleet General chat to get a group for a mid 40's FP, only to have the grp be a bunch of fail sauce and not finish and wait some more to get another one. My gripes are few and far between and many of my other ones I had are already being fixed. As a seasoned MMO player, I expect bugs, additions and pray for patches. SWtOR has not truly let me down in my gaming experience, they have pretty much kept every promise that I read or heard of and even added more than they originally intended, and it truly is only patch 1.2 folks. Yeah first impressions are worth a lot but if it was a case of do or die, WoW would've never survived its first installment and would've never been the Juggernaut that all other MMO's aspire to beat. So initial players may quit. Big deal, more will join. and hell a lot of players who quit will come back later when whatever their gripes are, are fixed. That's what Expansions do kids! They bring back in all the other players who said, "Oh I'll never play TOR again, OOOH! Look new player races?! I'm in!" Bioware has put out a really nice product considering all their other on going projects (ahem, Mass Effect, *cough*) and that this was their first experience with an MMO, trying to create something unique and yet familiar to fans of Bioware or KOTOR.

There are few good points in op article, like ability to resize interface (I have no objection however over anything else in ui), some kind of dungeon finder (on ther other hand there are so many many good quests that I actually do not need, but will miss at end of the road), .... About PVP, I could not care less in any game. About space combat ... I simply did not like it. Tried two times, never got gasp on. But .... hey .. this is MMORPG, remember? Usualls is all about avatars. Could be good addition to somebody ... I'm just skipping it. No matter all this ... so far after long years of constant search, Swtor has finaly settled me down. All I need at my close to 50 of age are swtor, rift and wow. Incredibly well done game, I enjoy really every second I stay in game, no matter if for sometimes long travels from one point to other in docks or whatever. Impressive feeling of being part of Star wars world.

I do 50/50 50% Questing or PVE and 50% PVP with every toon. I skip all the side quests and just do the class quests in PVE which takes up most of your time per planet, and I make up for it in PVP. I'll PVP till a certain level than start the next planet in my quest. I find this method of playing SWTOR more interesting and keeps me wanting to come back for more every time.

Just a couple things I wanna say here. I'm speaking from the perspective of a person who has never played an MMO before TOR, so make of that what you will. On the issue of PVP, I personally don't mind the current setup because Huttball is my favorite. So for me the fact it pops frequently is good. I get others not liking that however, thankfully for them though more options are coming soon. I also like the idea of choosing what zone to queue for though, as I don't want to play less huttball when the new zones hit. The second thing is this expectation that TOR should be perfect straight out of the gate. I feel TOR is getting judged too harshly. People are comparing it to MMOs that have had years to get it "right". Even those who aren't comparing it to anything still have unreasonable expectations. Bioware has never made anything like TOR before, and it is MASSIVE. There are bound to be a few problems and issues that need to be worked out. All they've even released so far is a story mission, the first really big patch hasn't come yet. At least give TOR a chance before pronouncing it DOA. Bottom line; there are problems and annoyances(getting groups is a pain), but TOR is really fun and I don't wanna see it fail before it even gets going.

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