Upon entering this global pandemic, many of us gamers may have found a little extra time to dust off old favorite titles, find new hidden gems, and finally play through that Fallout release that happened a decade ago.
As a former World of Warcraft player of eight years, and an avid Star Wars fan, I have always wanted to give Bioware’s, Star Wars: The Old Republic(SWTOR) a try. As most MMO players admit, you can’t just dabble in an MMO and get the full experience. You have to dive in headfirst into an epic world of fantasy, mythology, and science fiction; The Star Wars Universe, specifically set 3600 years before Luke Skywalker was born.
So that’s exactly what I did.
After watching the new hit TV series, The Mandalorian, I was met with a deep interest in rediscovering the universe that I was raised on. At the age of 10, I devoured the novel by K.W. Jeter, The Mandalorian Armor. That set me on a journey of becoming more and more familiar with the beauty of the force and the Star Wars lore that I’m still enjoying 21 years later.
Upon downloading SWTOR I was met with the traditional character/race/class selection screen of most MMO’s. Being a bounty hunter “connoisseur” there wasn’t really a choice. I joined the dark side, made a Bounty Hunter: Mercenary selection (dual wielding blasters) and was thrown into the fray.
My first impression was just how amazing the voice acting was. The initial scene reminded me so much of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’s (also made by Bioware) beautiful, interesting scenes with choice trees that allow you to mold and sculpt your character’s dark side/light side tendencies. You’re given dark or light points based on the answers you give, providing even more depth to the storyline and replayability factor.
The controls were very similar to my dear old friend, World of Warcraft. The combat system felt a bit easier and the skills used in the early game didn’t matter as much, due to how weak most of your NPC enemies were.
After a few hours of play, I realized that the easier difficulty was most likely a purposeful strategy by Bioware. There were more difficult dungeons to explore, interesting and confusing quests to take part in, but the main storyline was driven not by combat and grinding your way to the next level - but my insanely good story writing and an in depth plot that kept me coming back wanting more.
As I reached higher levels, I realized that many of the skills that my character were learning were fun and interesting, but many of them accomplished the same goals. I Googled a guide, and found the skills that were the most optimal. The uncertainty and overwhelming nature of which skills to use, and when, are some of the most difficult parts of the game as you progress.
While this game is technically an MMO, most of the questing and adventuring can be done (Han) solo. You will find fellow SW players running around questing next to you, but many times, there isn’t very much interaction between you and fellow players unless you go out seeking it.
The fact that this game was designed as an MMO, but can be played through as a single player game is amazing for someone like me who loves to just dive into the storyline and immerse myself in learning the lore and the backstories of the characters. I can take my time, research interesting characters that I find along the way, and explore the galaxy at my own leisure.
Additionally, the fact that each class has ITS OWN UNIQUE STORYLINE allows for countless hours of replayability and interesting adventures.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a free to download, free to play game with a subscription option for more features and ability to do more in the game. As someone who is just looking to experience a bunch of interesting Star Wars story lines and small amounts of multiplayer action, the non-subscription version works perfectly fine. If you’re looking to progress into late game content, player vs. player battles, and extremely difficult dungeons with other players, the subscription option at 15 dollars/month is recommended.
Release Date: Dec, 20 2011 (support ongoing)
Genre: Massive multiplayer, Sci-Fi, MMO, MMORPG
Free to play elements: 7/10
Subscription elements: 9/10
All in all, amazing game. Can’t wait to jump into it after work!
Come join me in the Galaxy!