Thursday, October 27, 2011

Star Wars The Old Republic: Yes or No?

I have to make a decision relatively soon about my game playing.  Do I line up for Star Wars: The Old Republic due to launch on 20 December or do I triple down and get another Eve Online account?  At first, this may seem like a stupid question.  Of course I'd play The Old Republic!  I love science fiction and have seen all the Star Wars movies (yes, even Episode 1 unfortunately).  And I haven't played an avatar-based game since I gave up on RIFT about 5 months ago.  And Bioware always puts out great stories.

And yet, I don't think I will play TOR, at least not at launch.  Those pre-quil movies tarnished the reputation of the Star Wars brand for me.  And I really don't think the devs will let me shoot Jar-Jar Binks on sight.  I think I hate that bumbling, annoying character even more than I hate Hogger.

The big thing for me is story.  While Bioware makes a big deal out of the story being the "fourth pillar" of the roleplay experience, I don't think the devs creating the story is the answer.  I'm tempted to sympathize with Jef Reardon of Massively.com's take on the story.
"The good news on the story front is that the game takes itself pretty seriously. As a result, it features adult situations and thematic material and is mercifully free of the kid-friendly Clone Wars crud that's been crapifying the Star Wars IP for the past decade. Feel like threatening an orphan to make an Ord Mantell medicine-thief see sense? Go right ahead. Ditto for facilitating the local spice trade.

"That said, I couldn't get past the fact that I'm playing a pre-destined BioWare avatar as opposed to my own character, and to be honest, if I wanted to passively consume content, I would watch television. When I sit down with an MMO, I want to play someone unique who can affect the world and the other characters around him, and in this respect,
SWTOR simply isn't an MMO (or at least, it's not the kind I grew up with and wish to play past the free month)."
I can agree with Bioware pointing to story as "the fourth pillar."  But really, I think Eve Online's players do a better job of providing multiple stories that combine into a living world than professional writers for a theme park game ever will.  Really, think about it.  From the disbanding and collapse of BoB to the collapse of GoonSwarm due to failing to pay its bills to hundreds of players of the famously ruthless PvP game rushing to the defense of Chribba, Eve's biggest and most famous carebear, the stories are mind-boggling.  And with the player generated stories, players never run out of content.  For MMOs that rely on the developers to create the story, it never fails that players eventually reach the end of the content and thus the story.

Perhaps I have become spoiled by Eve, but I'm having a hard time thinking that I would ever want to play a non-sandbox game again.  Perhaps if I had some friends in the new game I'd try it, but Eve, to borrow a marketing phase, "Eve Is Real".  Can Bioware's writers create such a world in a theme park game?  I doubt it.

I still might not get that third account unless I come up with a solid plan on how to play with three accounts.  But playing Eve with three accounts seems a lot better option than playing TOR with one.

1 comment:

  1. Some friends and family are all amped about SWTOR, but in my mind, it'll be likely pretty much the same grind as every other "standard" MMO that we played/they've played. I've been through them all from UO up til present, and Eve is a different animal. You can't "power level". There's no "I win" button. Just a slow feed to meet your goals. It takes patience, I like that. I don't miss the frenetic grind for XP. Aside from some different back story and graphics, I don't think SWTOR will be any different. Now, if you could be "yourself", and go through whatever career path and develpment YOU choose, that's a different story. Still tho0ugh, I don't miss an avatar. The avatar I want is to be able to give my boats a custom paint job. Possibly by the time establishments comes around I'll be interested in seeing Barbies interact again, but for now, I still want my carrier :)

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