Why the Force Wasn't with SWTOR

Updated Fri, Dec 21, 2012 by jeffprime

why the force wasn't with swtor

I've been a lifelong fan of Star Wars and can still remember seeing the original movie way back in 1977. (My dad took us a grand total of two times in the year that the movie ran while everyone I knew saw it almost weekly!) To this day, I still get goose bumps when the Rebels begin their assault on the Death Star and poor Porkins still gets blasted into space chum. So you can imagine the fever pitch of excitement I reached when I heard that one of my favorite companies, BioWare, was making a Star Wars MMO. Every detail I heard about SWTOR made me salivate in anticipation of the game's eventual release. I suppose that's why, when I began to hear some rumblings about SWTOR before its launch, but I paid the naysayers no mind.

As soon as SWTOR launched, I began to play in earnest. Sadly, very early on, I came to realize that the Force was not with SWTOR. In fact, it had turned to the Dark Side of fun and enjoyment for a variety of reasons. While I might wish I could blame its problems on Jar-Jar, or Lucas' mad decision to have Han shoot second (Han shot first!), the sad truth is that the Force wasn't with SWTOR due to some ill-fated gameplay decisions by BioWare.

Space Combat

When I think Star Wars, the first thing that comes to mind is awesome space combat. As mentioned above, the assault upon the Death Star is my single favorite movie scene ever, and I still sit down to watch it if I come across it channel-surfing. I couldn't wait until I got to try my hand at space combat in SWTOR, and when I did....

why the force wasn't with swtor
Space combat is repetitive and dull.

To put it bluntly, the space combat in SWTOR is a joke. Instead of facing off against interesting computer AI or against other players, we get saddled with a prettier version of Star Fox. Mindlessly repetitive space combat on rails is not fun, it's tedious. To make matters worse, there are only three to four scenarios with differing variations. While I wasn't expecting the glory days of X-Wing versus Tie-Fighter, I did expect something more substantial than a timid mini-game.

What boggles my mind further with space combat in SWTOR is that, when I complained in various forums, I heard SWTOR apologists say that the space combat component was added late to satisfy certain fans and not considered a central component of the game. WTF? I suppose I could understand this attitude if the only Star Wars movies we'd experienced were the crappy prequels with their incredibly lame segments of space combat, but how can any Star Wars lover write off space combat given the incredible space battles of the original trilogy, not to mention the rich legacy of space combat sims by LucasArts such as X-Wing, Tie-Fighter, and X-Wing versus Tie-Fighter? There really is no excuse for the shameful space combat currently in SWTOR.


I'm not a big PvP player because I have the reflexes of a three-toed sloth, but I don't mind getting dirty from time to time. However, the way PvP is structured in SWTOR really leeches the fun out of the experience for me for two principal reasons.

why the force wasn't with swtor
Having Huttball pop up on my screen makes me want to punch my monitor.

First, you have no choices; when you queue up for battle, you have to play a random scenario chosen for you. Normally, this means that you're stuck in Huttball hell. I got Huttball at least 90% of the time I queued up for PvP when I originally played. I can honestly say that I hate Huttball with the simmering rage of a million suns. I've gone back since SWTOR went F2P and, while I didn't get popped with Huttball, I still had no choice as to which map I was going to play. Why can't SWTOR allow players to choose their own scenario? Other MMOs, such as Warhammer Online, allow you to do so. By being able to choose what map I'm going to play, I can play scenarios that I enjoy and not waste time playing the ones I find tedious. Having a choice equals having more fun, in my opinion. Not being given a choice destroys my enjoyment and increases my frustration.

The second reason that the Force isn't with SWTOR in the PvP sense is how abilities function. I played a Bounty Hunter because I didn't want to play any kind of Jedi and I wanted to dish out lots of damage. Imagine my surprise when the vast amount of my attacks do not work on the move. Why in the name of God can't I pull a trigger while I'm moving? They do it in the movies, so why can't I do it in the game? In addition, the range of all my "long range" attacks, such as blaster fire or missiles, had the same range of a Jedi's force jump. There's nothing like the joy of running up to get in range of shooting a Jedi to see him force jump at me just as I'm pressing my attack key. A few lightsaber strikes and then he force pushes me back out of firing range. I had foolishly thought I might have an advantage in open ground, being armed with a blaster and missiles versus a sword, but no. Just let me pull the trigger as I'm moving is all I ask. If BioWare wants to confirm that moving while firing a blaster is perfectly reasonable, I'd be glad to take them down to the local paintball range to see the action.

Still best game ever for me as for many. And, btw, swtor is NOT failure, as I remember, is still second only to wow for sub numbers. Yes, far far behind, I know. Still.

If they get a proper f2p system i'll play it again, with their bullshit system, no thanks.

So, essentially you would like to eat, dress, play, ... for free? What business can come from people like you to any company? If you would own i.e. restaurant, ... guess you would not feed people for free spending YOUR money? Yes, I guessed so.

If you owned a restaurant would you let people eat for free, but then charge them for each fork they used, knives and plates cost extra, and charge them for how long they sat in the chair, oh yeah, maybe they could only open the doors to the restaurant 3 times a week too and could only eat some of their food. Unless they payed a subscription to your restaurant ofc, then they could enjoy your sub-par food all the time!

No, if you had a restaurant you'd have a proper business model in place. Most likely you'd have a menu of products and people payed for the ones they want. You wouldn't charge them to sit in the restaurant or punish them for doing so for free.

Engage your brain before you try to make some stupid ass self-justified crappy comment thanks.

You completely missed the point. That proper business model of yours would work in normal world. But here we deal mainly with people that are satisfied to stand and eat with bare hands ... just not to spend money, because usually they need that for "better" use, drinks, cigarettes, ... etc. This is problem with so called "free games". You would broke pretty fast with restaurant with yours. I prefer sub so I can select my table, chair, take any food from big selection.

It amazes me how cheap people are. I'm a subscriber. I think it's a good game and is worth paying for. If people want to try the game for free then great. But they shouldn't expect to get the same experience that I'm paying to get. I see people whining about things they can't do on FTP accounts. Well guess what. If you like the game then pay for it. In my opinion FTP is only meant to let people see if the game's any good before they shell out for it. It's not meant to be a way for people to experience the whole game without playing a cent.

Exactly this I wanted to say. English is of course not my natural language, so maybe I'm not using at all times right words. :-) And this is true for any game. F2P for great majority is just meant as eating every day few times good food for free.

Space combat is one of my favourite parts of the game. Guess you can't please everyone. Pretty much all your criticisms would be null and void if you'd played the KOTOR games. The space combat in SWTOR is much the same as it was in KOTOR which was even more arcade style. It was never more than a mini game and in SWTOR it's a lot bigger than that. And anyone who thinks they're not challenging hasn't tried the new heroic space missions. Of course I'd love it if they added the other mini games such as swoop racing and pazaak.
As for the story - again it's much the same as it was in KOTOR and let's be realistic, if the sort of consequences you described happened in an MMO people would rage. Your group's getting attacked by random assasins because of a choice someone else made earlier? Not gonna work.
As I said you can't please everyone but in my opinion it's the best MMO around. Most fun I've had in an MMO since world of warcraft a few years back prior to it's rapid decline. It's actually made levelling and questing fun rather than just a mad rush to endgame/pvp which are the only parts of some game where you actualyl find any substantial combat (and yes I do enjoy endgame content in swtor also).

I completely agree with the author on space combat and the "decisions," but after a year I've not even tried any PvP, as it's not something I usually enjoy. If you can't even choose WHERE you PvP, though, I must also agree by default, as that is just awful.

Back to space combat, I did it for awhile and grew pitifully bored doing the same missions over, and over, and over. Making them harder just makes them frustrating, not fun. This version of space combat can stay for the few that actually enjoy it, but they also need to add a REAL, 3-D space engine, one worthy of the six films and the grand space scenarios set forth within. Heck, even the Clone Wars series has spacefights that trump anything in SWTOR. I, too, would gladly pay for an expansion which brings this to the table.

The storyline decisions are also a great idea, but poorly implemented. I've cancelled out of many decision choices to run the conversations again for more companion affection or Dark/Light points, and no matter which options you pick, the end never changes, ever. You still leave NPC #5 to run Mission X on Planet Q, etc.

I'm still a SWTOR subscriber, even though I rarely play anymore in favor of other, more dynamic MMOs like Star Trek Online, Firefall (beta) and Planetside 2. I like SWTOR, but I find I'm loving it less and less the higher my characters get. I suppose if I keep paying, even though I'm not playing, BioWare has little incentive to change or improve SWTOR. Yes, I've even pre-ordered the new Hutt Cartel expansion, of which I'll probably play less than 50%. The whole expansion just looks like more of the SAME content with a different story, nothing actually new. No new game systems, no new crafting mechanics, just more same-old, same-old. If SWTOR is going to remain interesting, it needs actual NEW mechanics and systems, not just rehashes of what's already there.

Some suggestions: Ship customization, both inside and outside. New ways to harvest resources for crafting. Expanded companion relationships. A REAL smuggling system, with consequences good and bad. Guild halls, cities or space stations, etc. In essence, MORE to do than just fight in Warzones and play Huttball. MORE that doesn't involve constant combat at all.

C'mon, BioWare, we know you're capable of greatness! All your games don't have to fit the same mold. they don't even have to adhere to the same mold in which they began. Don't be afraid to expand, explore and take chances, which is EXACTLY what us players want to do in your game.

I'm stunned that Realm vs realm conflict was so badly done. IMO it never was finished. The STAR WARS saga is about conflict. A central feature of the game should have been world class realm vs realm conflict.

SWTOR is what you get when you have a world class RPG games maker TRY to make an mmog.


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