Early access was granted earlier in the day, though I only just got started at about 4:30pm est. There’s a slight hint of trepidation going on, as this became one of the most anticipated releases I have encountered. I did enjoy my time with the beta, however I had concerns with certain aspects, such as the massively multiplayer online portion of this RPG. But, I can’t hold out any longer….mostly because I’ve been craving to hack away into the Sith Warrior > Juggernaut storyline to get back to where I had left off when the beta closed.
I chose to start with, and most likely main, a Sith Warrior > Juggernaut for the simple fact that throughout my MMO life, I have always veered towards a tanking class (for those unfamiliar, a tank is basically the wall to your group or raid, keeping every enemy on them and absorbing the damage as the rest of your party delivers damage to them, as well as keep you alive with heals.) I tried out several classes in beta, and quite frankly, I wanted to play them all equally, but knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on all of them enough to be satisfied. While I will delve into the Bounty Hunter and Jedi Consular arcs in due time (probably while doing this Sith Warrior dissection) I think that most of the attention in gameplay and written pieces will be on my main focus.
I had a Cyborg make during beta, but decided to switch it up to a generic Human Male. From an aesthetics standpoint, there isn’t a great deal separating either one of them. That and I had a little boys haircut during beta that looked ridiculous with my head equipment I received towards the closing stages. So I just decided to go to the ordinary man route. In terms of customization, there’s enough meat to the bones in which it’s entirely possible to create a character that looks just different enough from you, from the myriad of facial selections, to the skin tone and complexion combinations. I’m sure I’ll have a few people ripping off my style since, admittedly, it’s pretty plain Jane. But at least there won’t be exact duplicates of me roaming around, like a bearded man with an eye-patch from Everquest. (click each picture to enlarge)
Star Wars theme away!
While discussing my journey, I’ll try and keep anything that can be a mid range or major spoiler, unspoiled. I definitely will mention some gameplay aspects, as well as certain events that take place, but in no way will I ruin any part of any storyline that will leave an impact. Meddling through side quests without much bearing to the grand scheme of things will be discussed, as well as some early tidbits. Screenshots will be taken and shared, some of pivotal moments as well, though I won’t make mention of those moments, nor will I let them lead to any kind of spoiler laced comments. The reason being? The Old Republic is story heavy, something that no MMO has ever focused so much upon. There are a good number of classes, each with their own storyline, which judging from even the first twelve levels of the several classes I already tried out last month, will not disappoint.
Galarian (my Sith Warrior’s name) is a new recruit who has some untapped potential. He must face certain trials in which his worthiness to be a Sith will ultimately be tested. If he survives, he has the potential, if he dies well….he wasn’t going to make it that far anyway.
Every bit of information is voice to me, something unprecedented within the MMORPG genre. Anytime dialog is initiated, either by an NPC (Non Player Character) or your character as well, a vocal delivery is given. You can always see what is being said through subtitles and such, which is greatly beneficial to those with hearing loss and such, so a vocalized performance does not hinder the enjoyment of those who rely on reading captions.
The dialog wheel return in The Old Republic. For those unfamiliar, as with other Bioware RPG hits such as the Mass Effect series, the dialog wheel lets players select the kind of response they want relayed to the NPC. There’s an added fold to those who cling to the light side in terms of their responses, or hold the dark side close to their hearts. There will be a point later on in the game where certain items can only be used by those with an affinity to the light or dark sides, in regards to the decisions they make within the dialog wheels. You can be a Bounty Hunter, a staple in the Sith line up, yet have compassion with how situations are dealt with, leading to light side points being awarded. So even if one picks a Sith or Rebel character, they can act upon certain things to their liking, changing perspectives along the way
So right away, I was informed that someone wants me dead already. Such in the life of a Sith combatant. I am told the practice sword I have arrived with is insufficient for someone such as myself, and that I am to go into a temple and retrieve a more powerful relic to use at my disposal.
Once I officially take control of Galarian, I am reminded of the rich, orchestral compositions that the Star Wars franchise has been known for. After setting my graphics to maximum on all settings (how I can run The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV on max settings on this relatively strong year old rig yet Everquest II chugs along, I couldn’t tell you) I begin to venture forward, just in time as well, as it seems like you get auto logged out for inactivity, as an onscreen prompt showed me. Guess I should spend more time gaming and less time discussing?
Respawn points are dependent upon whether or not players identify Offworld Orientation computers that are spread around certain sectors. Activating these computers act as a beacon to which you will respawn to upon a death that isn’t revived. Players can revive themselves to either move away from where they had just perished, or re-engage in battle once they pop back in, although there is a bit of fatigue thrown in. Death never really feels like a deterrence though, it just feels like a rewind key in some cases. At least early on in The Old Republic, death seems like a joke, as the penalty for dying is negligible, due mostly to the fact that one can recover where they died almost every single time, as they come in invisible for about eight seconds. Even though movement is snared somewhat, it’s relatively effortless to escape imminent death once more. Furthermore, no experience point penalty is given towards a death. It might be a breath of fresh air to some, but there’s a distinct lack of risk versus reward when you’re playing in your teens. Again, we’ll cross this bridge again much later on in our journey and see if anything changes.
Already near or at 1200 words for this initial entry. Didn’t think I’d give so much to read on this first day! I’ll wrap a few things up for now and if there’s anything significant I’d like to share then I’ll do so before posting this officially. If people want this much to read each day, let me know in the comments here, on my Twitter or my Star Wars: The Old Republic Blog on Tumblr. Lets keep going for a little longer though, shall we?
With my experience in this story arc still fresh in my head, I was quickly able to gain a few levels, locate the weapon I was told to retrieve and advanced the story somewhat. Throughout all that, I just noticed that the final build finally unlocked anti aliasing, which really does improve the rough around the edges presentation that The Old Republic beta had. It’s not a visual marvel like Final Fantasy XIV was at times, but it’s not an aged, second grader with broken crayons look that World of Warcraft possesses.
I exit the crypt like area and emerge towards a much larger Sith settlement, to which I meet up with my superior once again, and am introduced to the person who so desperately wishes me dead. The exposition banter during this portion, as well as the following portion, help infuse more intrigue to the story. Mention is made of a higher ranking official named Darth Barus, who sees potential in this Sith that has threatened my life, so he has been deemed untouchable for the time being. I am being sent to the Tomb of Marka Ragnos in which I await a beast to arrive and slay it by my own hands.
That is where the coverage for today will end. I’ll give a brief recap of things tomorrow on the things of note that I experience overnight. For now, here are a few screenshots taking place between just before where we left off, and a little taste of things to come. Again, if you have any comments, suggestions or anything about this that you would like to say, leave a comment below, follow me on Twitter and ask me there, or drop a line in my Star Wars: The Old Republic Blog at Tumblr. For now, here are some screenshots I’ve taken throughout the early portion, as well as a little past where we left off. Any questions or suggestions for this once each weekday piece, please leave a comment below. Remember to click each picture to enlarge: