The Old Republic – the first hour

I had a plan.  And like most of my plans, it fell apart.

The plan was that I wasn’t going to even think about Star Wars: The Old Republic until at least a month had passed after launch.  That would accomplish several things at once:

  • It would let me finish Skyrim
  • It would give Bioware time to work out the launch bugs, since MMOs almost never launch in a working state
  • It would also give Bioware enough time to add more servers and reduce the queue hassles
  • A month would be enough time for the community to form a general consensus as to whether it was a worthwhile experience

Etc.

Well, wouldn’t you know – a whole bunch of podcasts came out on Tuesday talking about TOR, and the general critical consensus was that it was actually pretty good, even according to people who were not big Star Wars fans.  And it’s pretty obvious at this point that I am a consumer whore, and so guess what.

The installation was around 10gb, so while I bought the thing on Tuesday evening, I didn’t get a chance to play until last night (Wednesday).

I only played for about an hour or so.  I’m still not entirely sure how I’m ultimately going to roll, so I figured I’d roll a bunch of different characters and see what sticks.   Because my general inclination when playing a morally-guided RPG is to at least start out as a nice melee fighter, I started as a Jedi Knight.  But I’m also really interested in checking out the Smuggler class… and of course I’m interested in seeing what the Sith side is like.

Anyway.  As I said above, I am currently a level 3 Jedi Knight (named Hermano) on the Whitebeam Run server.  The server was lightly populated and I had absolutely no problem at all logging on and getting down to business.

First impression:  it felt very familiar.  Definitely takes a lot of cues from World of Warcraft, and why not.  It looks quite good – my PC is somewhat powerful and I’m running it on generally high settings, and I must say I’m impressed.  Didn’t run into any lag, and for the most part it plays quite smoothly.  I did get stuck in level geometry a few times, but there is a “Stuck?” button and that did help – although the first time I got stuck, it warped me into an area that was filled with level 10 enemies, and I was barely level 2 at the time, and it was all I could do to run like hell back to the starting area.  Good news, though: I learned what the death penalty is like!  And the death penalty isn’t all that bad.  Quite forgiving actually; instead of endless corpse runs, like in WoW, you can choose to respawn after a few seconds at the nearest safe point, or wait around 15-20 seconds and respawn exactly where you died.

I’m hearing from the critics that the game is very solo-friendly, which in my case is great.  I’m very much a solo kind of guy in general, and that certainly made my first days in WoW a pretty difficult slog – especially since I, as an MMO noob, had no idea what being a “tank” meant except that everyone told me I was doing it wrong.  I’ve nothing against groups, and hopefully, when I settle on the character I want to stay with, I’ll eventually find some cool people to play with.

Are you playing it?  What do you think?

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