In my previous post, I began to touch on some of what I think is causing Star Wars to go down faster then a fat chick on prom night. There are numerous things: I don’t claim to have everything that is plaguing the game down (because honestly I don’t have 6 or 7 months of time. I’m only half kidding) but here is the long and the short of it, complied in a list for simplicity’s sake.
■ NO MACROS: The Star Wars developers took a very public “No” stance on having them in game. While I personally think that is a terrible and misinformed decision, I can deal with it. My main problem though, and what really grinds my gears is how they are offering macros through the officially licensed Star Wars – The Old Republic Keyboard. The price? 250$.
To me, this is just hypocritical as hell. Shouting “MACROS ARE BAD” but conversely supporting a keyboard that allows the creation of said macros is embarrassing and unprofessional.
■ LACK OF GUILD MANAGEMENT TOOLS: There are none. In fact, guild support in this game is atrocious. You basically need to maintain a 3rd party website that covers the severe lack of in game options. Oh, and did I mention that at launch and up until patch 1.2 they didn’t even have guild banks? Yea.
■ NO CROSS REALM LFG: I intend to do a major post on this later, but let me be frank – in 2012, nearly nobody wants to spend hours spamming “LFG 1 MORE BT!” Bioware is adding a single server one in patch 1.3, which to be a disaster on any non-transfer full servers (if they don’t shut them down already) due to low pops – not to mention its still going to be completely useless for low level players and anyone at all outside of prime time due to this.
■ SEVERE LACK OF IMMERSION: Star Wars feels more like a train that you take on the way to work every day rather than an actual immersive environment. There are several reasons for this, including but not limited to: lack of a day/night cycle, no chairs, no swimming, no ambient background noise, no chat bubbles…the list goes on and for the sake of not taking up 3 pages worth of text, I’m going drop it here.
■ THE HERO ENGINE: One of the worst engines I’ve played a game on in some time. It lags when you open your inventory, it lags when you have more then 4 people around, it lags on fleet, it lags in Warzones, and generally speaking it just lags whenever there is more then 1 or 2 people in any area whatsoever.
To make matters worse, these complaints are brushed away as being problems that are “made up by a small subset of the community that has no idea what they are talking about and or wants to see this game fail because they are haters.” Sorry guys, but this thing has optimization problems. It is NOT my 1500$ computer that has the problem. I get 80 -120 FPS in pretty much every other game on the market, including Tera which is running at 80 plus even in the most populated areas. Yet I only get 60 MAX in TOR when no one is around on an empty planet, and it drops to 30 or lower in PvP/Fleet.
■ PVP: For starters, getting rolled by premades is a huge issue. Before the most recent mini-patch, it was not uncommon to lose for 2-4 hours at a time before you could get the daily done (if at all) was a ridiculous pain in the ass. And really, it’s not even about losing – It’s about losing with no chance. Now its arguably worse since most people see a premade and go afk or stand at a turret knowing they get their points anyway. Neither daily system has worked so far.
OTHER PVP ISSUES…
1. Rated WZ’s. Say what you want, but alot of people feel like it was a bait and switch to pull Rated WZ’s just 6 hours before the patch they were supposed to be in for. I personally have a hard time believing it was Bioware taking a stand and saying “we’ll release it when its finished” Lets face it, we all know Bioware releases things that are buggy and broken or premature.
2. War Hero grind. Grinding the best gear has been calculated out to rival ust brutal.
3. Open-world PvP? Some of the worst I’ve ever seen in an MMO, This game openly goes out of its way to discourage it. Ilum was a complete, utter and total failure. Despite the “best PvP team in the world” its design flaws were only outclassed by its poor implementation. The only open world PvP in this game has been on Tat during the Rakghoul event.
■ PVE: Aside from the LFG I mentioned earlier, its impossible (literally) to log into the game any time outside of prime-time and get groups instantly on a ton of servers.
1. Endgame Raids? Difficulty is not measured in the encounter design, but about how buggy this attempt is. We’re still seeing issues 5 months in with certain buggy content that was reported in the beta. Aside from that, the content is a joke. Nightmare offers no new mechanics. Its just heal more, dps more, tank more.
2. Flashpoints. No point to do them. Story mode raids shower you with gear and are far easier and less time consuming to complete with better rewards. That said, people would still probably do them if there was a LFG.
■ BOREDOM: Rolling alts is not an endgame. Please don’t trot out “It’s a story based MMO” No, its a single player game with some basic, rudimentary and archaic MMO features. Even so, rolling alts isn’t all its cracked up to be. The class stories (the unique ones) only take up about 20% or less of the quests. Worse, when people actually roll alts and experience all the single player content (cause the multiplayer at cap is laughably bad) they get told that “they are burnt out” and that “its their fault”
■ GEAR DESIGN: Wow. Just wow. My consular looks like a mummer. The orange gear was/is a complete waste of time and is a much worse alternative to having an actual appearance tab. And the cost of ripping out the mods to put them into something you like is ridiculously over the top. We’re talking a half mil credits. Considering Bioware said that most players don’t even have a million, its hard to justify the pricing.
■ TALENTS AND SKILLS: Complete rip-offs of previous games with very little innovation. In fact, some of the similarities between this and WoW are downright embarrassing…
■ CRAFTING: While I’ll readily admit it is interesting to send your companions out, most everything you can make is either not useful and/or not worth the time, credits and effort. REing itself has made me want to punch babies. Biochem is still practically the only endgame profession worth a damn.
■ “DEAD” WORLDS: The worlds are just don’t feel vibrant and alive. Further, exploration is extremely limited. Some planets aren’t claustrophobic and linear in their design. Mob AI is another issue. There is just tons of guys standing 10 feet away starting off into space. As much as I want to believe they are plotting my demise, I just don’t see it. To be fair, many MMO’s struggle with this. However, in Tera, the mobs try and dodge your attacks. They sometimes run away too. In other words, something other then the occasional PAT is possible in 2012.
■ LEGACY: Honestly? I’m glad some people like it but IMO its a stupid, overdeveloped, overhyped and useless feature that is slowing down important things like server mergers. Why do we need to be able to make a chart that links our characters into relationships again? Ok, whatever…
1. Most of the unlocks are useless and not worth the price. Nobody minds paying a premium price for something useful (target dummies) or unique (speeders that were removed, rare color crystals) but they sure as hell mind paying exorbitant amounts of money for minor convenience items (ship GTN) a few of which many feel should be standard anyway (ship mailbox).
2. Some of the unlocks are absurd for what they do (fleet pass cooldown? useless) thus making the required price irrelevant. Fleet pass cooldown could be 10k credits and I probably still wouldn’t buy it because even at max reduction the chances of me using it twice in one day and/or play period are slim to none.
3. Some unlocks are becoming mandatory (rocket boost) which is making legacy become less of that fun thing you mess around with in your spare time and with your alts and more of a thing you have to waste your time doing regardless if you want to or not (especially with the class specific buffs)
■ A REAL COMBAT LOG: Not only is it really freaking annoying to try and parse your damage because you have to jump through hoops to use it properly, you still cant see what other people hit you with. Plus, the fact that its basic intent is to make sure no one can make anyone feel bad about how they play. Its anti bulling for the 21st century. You know, since none of us are grown up enough yet to admit me might not be good at an online video game.
■ FEATURES: We could spend all day (literally) going over the sheer number of missing features, but that really isn’t productive. Lets just say that the MMO part of this game looks amateurish, rushed and poorly done for the amount of money dumped into this game.
■ LOADING SCREENS: How and why is this happening in today’s day and age? It reminds me almost of PS1 where you had to load when you went from one small area to the next. To get from Fleet to a planet, it goes like this…
1. Go from fleet to hanger, 1 load screen.
2. Go from hanger to ship, 1 load screen.
3. Go from ship to airlock, 1 load screen
4. Go from airlock to orbital station, 1 load screen.
5. Go from orbital station to planet, 1 load screen.
Why? It’s frustrating to me with an SSD, which dramatically cuts down load times. It’s worse for anyone without one.
I’ll stop myself here. My point is, this game as produced and delivered currently does not meet the standards of a game released in 2012 (Dec 20 2011), especially when other studios are marking games with more features and less of a budget that play better. Had this game been released in 2006, then TOR would have been a pretty big hit. Unfortunately, this is 2012 and most people aren’t willing to deal with this – hence the huge hit in sub numbers.