I made the tragic mistake of letting my friends talk me into this game. I remember watching videos of beta and being completely underwhelmed, but for reasons I couldn't explain. Now that I have the game in front of me, I can more accurately describe my frustrations.
A) Lifeless World
I'm a WoW player (and I know someone's going to be a cheeky bastard and quote that one line in their response), and what enchanted me most about WoW was the immense open world I could explore. I could (and did) spend hours exploring. Gryphons flew overhead. Wolves attacked poor bunnies. Random caves and secret passageways with elite mobs were everywhere. I loved that.
SWTOR is the definition of linear. I daresay it was easier to explore in Mass Effect. I understand that it would be too difficult to create literal planets, but surely there's more to Coroscant than the senate tower and the market?
Mobs just stand around. They don't do anything. NPCs have the same trouble. Am I the only one who's noticed this? Take the Jedi Temple for instance: most of these guys look like they're in the middle of training. . .except they don't move. They don't budge. It's a frozen, lifeless world where everything just stands around, waiting to be talked to or killed.
WoW had mobs, but they'd at least MOVE, and were located in plausible places like camps.
I want to run over the dunes of Tattoine, not bump into invisible walls. It's ridiculous that a purportedly 300 million dollar game is so savagely linear and DEAD.
B) It's a Single Player Game
This vexed me more than anything. I feel like Bioware is trying to pull a fast one with SWTOR. Basically they're trying to make me pay a subscription for a single player game. Everything is a series of instanced corridors. Why can't two Jedi Knights go into the same story area? THEY'RE DOING THE SAME STORY FOR GOODNESS SAKES. Some heroic areas are needlessly instanced too, for no apparent reason.
Thanks to companions, there's no reason to group with another player outside of pvp, flashpoints, and raids. It's basically a microcosm of everything I dislike about modern WoW: the fact that you can stay in the capital city and idle through ques, without interacting with anyone.
If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's probably a KOTOR game in MMO clothing. This is not an MMO. MMOs are worlds with players in them. This is a single player game with multiplayer functionality.
Starcraft is just as much of an MMO as SWTOR.
C) Class quests mean nothing
The goal of class quests is to give every player their own meaningful story. This succeeds until you realize that every player of the same class EVER will have the same exact story. Details aside, the same things are happening to someone, somewhere. Character stories have to evolve organically from the game itself. This ties back into the linear game world. A linear game world promotes linear stories. A world that's both huge and beautiful fosters memories of seemingly small things, like walking over a hill and seeing the sun setting, with a sandstorm brewing and the stars twinkling on. That's imagination.
This is important for RPers, for the ability to go where they want, and have the place be specific and open ended. I'm not an RPer in the strict sense, but I can empathize as a player who wants to be immersed and even drowned in the game world.
Great quest chains also help. Sadly, SWTOR quests are standard fare with voice acting. Go here, kill this. Go here, collect this. I don't remember any story or any dialogue because they were so forgettable.
Also (and I found this hilarious), whenever you're directed to a new area, ALL OF A SUDDEN these people have quests for you. Apparently these things weren't so pressing before, but now that you're heading there, would you mind. . .?
The fact that they're so conveniently located and bunched together just further broke my immersion.
That said, class quests mean absolutely zip. Obtaining my lightsaber was cool for about five minutes. Apparently, I'm not the only one who's "particularly gifted" with the force. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the ones who are "particularly gifted" far outnumber the Jedi masters who are, by all accounts, pretty average. In WoW you're basically a mercenary, an adventurer in the old plucky sense.
Again, it's a single player experience with multiplayer functionality.
D) Now for some good points
But only because I've run out of vitriol. I can't stress how much I hate this game and what it stands for. IF YOU WANT ME TO PLAY A SINGLE PLAYER GAME, DON'T CHARGE ME A SUBSCRIPTION.
Anyway, here goes:
1. It looks nice. Especially the Sith world of Korriban. Jedi's world is okay. But all the beauty just reminds me of what could have been.
2. Combat is smooth. There's immediate satisfaction in force leaping into a group of enemies. Unfortunately, that's about as meaningful as combat gets.
3. Voice acting is well done. Can't really complain about the voice acting accept it sucked away resources from more important areas like game design.
E) That's about all
I think I'm just mad because I spent 60 bucks on something that I knew I was going to hate. I don't care. It's a mediocre-bad game and I don't understand why everyone's slobbering over its mediocre-bad design. There are far better MMOs and far better single player games to make this an expensive piece of obsolescence.
Poll: Is SWTOR Awful?
I hate it. (123)
It's okay. (61)
I like it. (48)
232 total votes
It's okay. (61)
I like it. (48)
232 total votes
Your vote: Is SWTOR Awful?