I have been playing for two weeks now and have seen six planets – Korriban, Dromund Kass, Balmorra, Nar Shaddaa , Tatooine and Alderaan – and five flashpoints (instances) – Black Talon, Hammer Station, Athiss, Mandalorian Raiders and The Streets of Cademimu. I have very briefly looked at space combat and PvP – what I have seen of these I have not liked much but that is hardly the focus of the game for me so it doesn’t matter.
It has many plus points. The graphics and sound are fine. The story quest and side\bonus quests are well done. Companions are a great help – they may perhaps be too helpful! Crafting and “professions” are nicely done – using companions for these certainly speeds things up. The classes I have tried – Sith Sorcerer (mainly) and Bounty Hunter – have a lot of fun abilities.
But it is not great yet. And although it seems to be fashionable to knock it, it is not yet the equal of WoW. In some ways this statement is terribly unfair. WoW is a mature game which has been out for seven years. But, of course, things are rarely fair. And SWTOR has to compete with WoW as it is now, not as it was when it launched. No doubt the developers know this.
But, if they were reading this (yeah right), things which I would suggest they look at would be:
- allow more UI customisation: basically I like the UI but I feel it could do with slight refinements, such as the ability to move certain UI panes (e.g. the companion) and scale everything down a touch. I have never gone for wholesale changes in the WoW UI so I would not be asking for that.
- fix the guild roster bug: this is very annoying. This may well be fixed any day now – it really shouldn’t have got out to release though.
- add a LFG tool: this would be my number one request. I know that many people disagree with this and you can read some of them here. I think that they are wrong. Sure, there are times when I can get guild mates to do a flashpoint but there are times when I cannot. I don’t mind if it is restricted to your server only. I am fine looking for heroic quest groups on the local chat of the particular planet. But really for a flashpoint you need to be on the fleet and whilst looking for a group there isn’t a whole lot else to do. I have seen it said that not having such a tool encourages interaction between players but again I think that this is wrong. I am not the first to point out that typing “LFG Hammer Station” multiple times in the chat is not particularly social or interactive. It is just plain boring. Sure, an automatic dungeon finder might dredge up a really bad player, but that is why WoW has a “vote for kick” function. In all my times in WoW I have very very rarely been faced with this scenario. Well, I think that more people would be for this than not – all those who are not in mega guilds, who have limited playtime. Of course, all these games have “sinks” built into them to encourage further play – time sinks, money sinks, “reputation” sinks. You could mischievously say that the lack of such a tool fits into this. To be honest, based on what I have read on the forums from official posts I am not hopeful that this will appear any time soon.
- general “tightening up” of the UI responsiveness: it sometimes feels a bit clunky doing certain things, such as using the Global Trade Network (Auction House) or Crew Skills.
- Guild bank
- Player “armory” on the website.
So, nothing awful. And nothing too original either – I am certainly not the oracle in suggesting these things! However, in summary, it is a really good game and should do well. I am sure the bug count is lower than most games in the same life stage. From my own perspective, fix those things above and keep adding content and it will indeed have a great future.