For up front in your face notice, my experiences were from playing at a TwitchCon preview event and playing a beta build on the PTS server. I haven't had a chance yet to play on the live server, but from my understanding the experience is literally the same. Additionally, I will try not to spoil as much of the story as I possibly can, so I will be vague in some parts. This is also based on limited experience in the game (I'd say roughly 20 or so hours) and isn't an official review. So let's begin.
Oh boy where do I start with Star Wars the Old Republic's expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. Right now, I absolutely love it, for a plethora of reasons of which I'll ramble on about. To start with, it makes the leveling process easy and fun. I figured someone like me would absolutely hate an MMO where the entire leveling component is not only reduced to an easy "click this button and you're now instantly almost max level" but also provide a single-player only route to level 65. I figured boy, howdy, I'd hate this, but then I figured something out.
The chapters are really fun, in of themselves, they're like contained single player missions that you go around, fight some trash mobs that jump through windows, and take out a boss at the end while trying to find out what happens next in the story. It's very... satisfying. It's part cinematic experience and part action game. It's very, very satisfying if you like those kind of games and sure, it disconnects the idea of massively multiplayer from the overall experience, but you can still play with friends if you must, and it's a very easy self-pacing kind of way to level. As soon as you're done with the ninth chapter, you're now introduced to all of the multiplayer content and have hand quests / teleporters for everything.
The enter at level 60 option is also amazing for new players. You start the game, right at level 60, play through some really good introduction maps to not only the game itself, but other mechanics like companions and even some boss fight training. After about 5 to 10 hours, you're now done with the leveling process, and if you enjoy the game you can either do the endgame, try a different story playthrough on another character, or try the elder content (level 1~60). I think the option of taking your sixty back through the older content is available too, but I didn't personally try it.
The new companion system is rather hype too, you get a new set of companions which worked wonderfully for me. Throughout my playthrough I only died a few times, and most of it was because the companions were able to keep my health up without me engaging with them at all throughout the entire experience. Actually, as a level sixty, I never once had to modify my buttons or settings, since the default worked "good enough," although I think some tinkering is required for veterans who need to play a specific way.
Getting to level 65 was really enjoyable and I think this is a really great take (so far anyway) on an MMO expansion. It's actually the most unique expansion I think I've seen, considering the massive change in not only how you receive content, but also pricing (not DLC price for the chapters, just subscribe to unlock) and pacing (the content has a very epic, building pacing to it).
While the first nine chapters feel like just an introduction to the bigger story, it does also provide a compelling reason to come back to the game, to see where things move from here to there. My understanding is that a new chapter will be released monthly, after the holiday season, so that's a good way in my opinion to keep a game fresh, deliver new cool content (like companions), and even introduce new operations and flashpoints.
I'm rather happy with my experience so far. Again, this isn't an official review or a glowing review of SWTOR as a whole, but from leveling through the content and playing it a few times, I'm rather happy with what I see.
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