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Joined: 23 May 2010
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re: First Impressions

I played the final(?) beta weekend and had a great time. There are still some minor bugs/tweaks but overall I was very impressed with the quality of the build.

There were plenty of servers to choose from and all were labeled "Full" and most times I was able to log in without a queue. The one or two times I did have a wait to get in, the queue was only a couple of hundred and I was playing in 5 minutes.

There were a few lag spikes but overall for a "stress test", I was pleased with the frame rate and minimal lag.

I really enjoyed how every quest involved a fully-scripted cut scene with excellent voice acting. Unlike most MMOs that you can just skip the text and get to the objectives, the cut scenes really helped to immerse me in the storyline. It really did feel more like I was interacting with a movie than a game.

I played a Sith Inquisitor to level 12 solo except for a few quests that were labeled "Heroic" and recommended a group. I had no problem at all getting a group together to do those quests. The class quests serve as the main storyline but there was an abundance of side quests, each with their own stories. There was never really a feeling of grinding out mobs because of the stories.

Linn and I created new characters to play duo. She created a Jedi Consular and I chose the Jedi Knight. When grouped, all of our non-class quests shared "conversations" with the quest giver. Throughout the cut scene, we were given a choice of three responses to questions from the npc. Linn discovered that if you hover over a response, you could see if it was considered Neutral or Light or Dark.

Apparently there are certain weapons (and/or armor?)that require a certain ranking for Light or Dark to equip. So even though we were playing Republic Jedis, we could choose to be Dark or Light within those bounds. Because it was a short beta weekend, we were unable to flesh out the ramifications but it adds an interesting quirk in the gearing mix.

We attempted a "Flashpoint" which is the equivalent of a dungeon/instance that requires a group to complete. We made several attempts but were unable to defeat the final boss (but we were oh so close! Like within a hundred HP). It was fun but there was definitely something we were missing as far as the strategy for that particular boss. Because it was late in the weekend we decided to continue on to attempt to obtain our ships instead of hammering at this flashpoint.

Each class gets their own companion around level 9 or 10. The companions have their own quickslot bar for their attacks and they can be AI or you can manually activate their skills. The companions were actually very useful and were a lot of fun. It appears you can have several (three?) companions and each can be armored and equipped just like your own character. Companions can also be sent on missions while you do something else. This could be crafting or resource gathering or even missions.

Your weapons can be modified (similar to a legendary weapon in LOTRO). The mod system is available very early on however.

At level 10 each class chooses their Advanced class. In most classes, there is an option to have a healing/damage dealer so it would seem that soloing with just about any class would be possible.

Once you have chosen your Advanced Class, you are presented with a set of three different skill trees within that Class with which to build skills with points (similar to WoW). It appears to be a very deep level of customization but with such a short weekend to test, it's difficult to assess how this will work in the long term.

I will say that it appears that with the level of customization in class, weapons and companions, there will be lots of possibilities and perhaps a world without a bunch of cookie-cutter classes.

At around level 14 (depending on how soon you finish the Prologue storyline of your class), you get your ship. Your ship has a cargo hold (vault/bank), a 3D galaxy map for choosing your destinations, a holoterminal for communicating with questgivers, and even a ship-based companion that you can customize. Again because it was late in the weekend before we were able to obtain our ship, it is difficult to determine how much this affects the game but I will say that immediately there were missions available for space combat.

I chose one mission to escort a diplomatic shuttle through hostile space. My ship followed the escort w/o my control but what I did control was blasters and missiles. The mission was to keep the escort ship safe for 3 minutes as various enemy ships attacked. This was a different kind of combat and was quite fun.

Overall I am very excited about the possibilities in this game. In many ways it is similar to most MMOs however there are enough differences to make this a lot of fun to play. Unlike Aion or Rift, both imo were graphically gorgeous grindfests, SWTOR really immerses you in the story and there is a wide variety of things to do. Again because of the short weekend, I did not attempt to delve into the crafting system or the PvP zones. I am looking forward to doing both and can't wait to explore.

See you soon in a galaxy far, far away...



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Joined: 18 Nov 2009
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re: First Impressions

Well I got my Bounty Hunter Mercenary up to level 22! This was the first time I played the SWTOR beta and I was blown away.

The Bounty Hunter story line is great. I like how the classic star wars prologue displays your current class quest when you are at the load in screen. I also enjoyed the fact that you can stick and move with some of the BH abilites as well as having some with inductions. There are plenty of knockback abilities and before I logged I had one missle that stunned you for one minute.I have never seen a game that makes you so immersed in your character and leaves you wanting more when you log.

I liked the video conversations/interactions with the npcs'. If you make the wrong choices in the conversations it can cost ya some gear down the road. I also like the companions you get as you level up. You can give them your old gear when you upgrade or use companion gear that drops.

Crafting was a bit of a mystery for me. I didn't spend much time in that area but I did send my companions off to do the crafting quests while I was out causing mayhem. That Is something I really like!

I didnt see a real grind because there are many ways to get experience in the game. You get a good amount of exp from exploring, questing, pvp and the daily space combat quest gives you a lot. There are some bugs related to the taxi system, ships and logging in and out of the game is borked. Overall I give it five stars! They did a great job on this game and I will be buying a copy.

P.S. I was running thru about twenty at level mobs and aoeing the bejesus out of them! MERC FTW


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