With all the doom-and-gloom surrounding The Old Republic as of late, I thought it would be fun to put together a short list of reasons why I feel the game is still worth playing. Despite the various issues with SWTOR, it’s still very much a game worth playing in my eyes and I honestly wish I had more time to put in it lately. In any case, let’s get started!
It’s Star Wars!
You had to have seen this one coming, but since it’s a given, I’ve made it my number five. I’m not going to discount it just because it’s expected, as the IP is one of the game’s most attractive features. Face it, being able to live out your Star Wars fantasy is a legitimate hook and Star Wars: The Old Republic does this pretty well on most counts. Sure, it’s not as expansive as Star Wars Galaxies, but the focus on storyline brings the various Star Wars archetypes to life and helps cultivate a sense of personal attachment. This goes a long way in making the game feel like a believable Star Wars experience.
Free Transfers & Permanent Free Trials are Coming!
There’s no beating around the bush here, BioWare’s got the clock running on them as far as getting these free transfers implemented. If this feature isn’t out the door before the next subscription cycle, I would expect a fairly significant drop in subscribers to occur. I get the feeling that many diehard fans of the game are giving BioWare this one shot to address the server population issue in a timely manner.
Fortunately, server transfers have historically done a great deal to address population issues in MMOs and you’d be surprised how much more fun your favorite game is to play when your server feels that much more alive. If BioWare really does go in the direction of ‘mega servers,’ fans of the game can expect some seriously lively servers more reminiscent of launch and that’s certainly something to look forward to.
Additionally, it was recently announced that BioWare would implement a permanent version of the Weekend Pass trials that sounds awfully similar to Warhammer Online’s ‘Forever Free’ trial. Sure, it’s not quite out and out free-to-play, but giving players a chance to play the game up to a certain point without having to worry about the timing or jumping through hoops should also help drive up population.
PvP is Fun*
PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic is still fun, that is if you don’t mind instanced battleground-style PvP. The new warzone introduced with Update 1.2 is still tons of fun, and the original rotation is still worth spending your time cracking some skulls in. The forthcoming 1.3 Update will expand the same-faction lineup by including Alderaan Civil War and will also add ranked warzones (initially for eight player premades only), so there’s some good stuff to look forward to there.
Playing With Others
Even on a well-populated server, it can sometimes be difficult putting together groups for lower level or less-run game content. Update 1.3: Allies is focused almost entirely on rectifying this issue with the introduction of the Group Finder, and I expect this to be an extremely popular feature with players.
Say what you like, but Star Wars: The Old Republic does actually have a solid amount of content. No new MMO is going to be able to compare with MMOs with years of development and content release patches behind them, though we all know people will anyway. That being said, I honestly feel like many players probably didn’t get to experience a lot of the game’s existing content due to the issues with putting together a group, and the Group Finder should go a long way towards ameliorating this issue.
Expanding Your Legacy
Despite some of the high costs of the system, the Legacy system has been a real success to me. I already have tons of characters I still want to take to 50, and the Legacy system makes that idea both less painful and more interesting. Sure, I’d love to see completely new unlockable species and all sorts of other perks, but being able to make a Miraluka Assassin got me to play a class that I’d given up on playing since beta. The Legacy system helps breathe life into the rest of the game and the forthcoming Legacy Perks in Update 1.3: Allies will really let you fine-tune your experience on each character to your liking. BioWare certainly didn’t get everything right with Star Wars: The Old Republic, but they definitely deserve kudos for the Legacy feature as it’s currently implemented, as well as its vast potential for future expansion. Nautolans, anyone?