Friday, November 18, 2011

All aboard the hype express!

I’ve been trying very hard to avoid the hype behind the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.  My efforts are faltering.  I re-signed up with my old Warhammer Online guild to play in SWTOR, and on their forums was a link to the “class progression” videos.  I shouldn’t have clicked on them.  No really, I shouldn’t.  But I did.  It wasn’t an “OMG that’s amazing!” sort of thing, but it was a “huh, that’s pretty cool.”  Then I looked at another one, and it was pretty cool too.  So was the one after that.  And the next one.  Within a few moments I’d watched all six class progression videos.

What’s that you say?  Aren’t there eight classes?  Yes, there are eight classes but only six have progression videos so far.  No class progression for the Jedi Consular or Sith Inquisitor.  Even though I have no real interest in playing either of those classes, I’d really really like to see the class progression videos for them.  Crap, I just bought into the hype train!

It’s the sort of thing I wish more games did, to give you a better idea of what your character would be capable of (and look like) as you progress through the game.  The videos highlight a newbie member of the class, a mid-level version of each specialization, and an endgame version of each specialization.  I didn’t think it would be possible to have an armor progression in Star Wars that wouldn’t look ridiculous at end game and break with the spirit of the game, but Bioware has done an admirable job of melding ostentation, practicality, and (for lack of a better word) Star Wars-iness.  The end game armor suits are a little over the top for Star Wars . . . but only a little.  They’re not World of Warcraft over the top.  Nobody has Death Stars mounted on their shoulders with miniature TIE fighters orbiting in circles shooting down flies.

The other thing the videos did was make me more interested in classes I’d previously had no interest in.  I didn’t want to play a Trooper . . . but now I want to see if they’re fun.  Sith Warrior?  Blah, not for me!  Except . . . that looked kind of cool . . . in the video . . . that might be fun, maybe I should try it.

I still don’t think SWTOR is going to be all that and a bag of chips.  It’s not going to be the second (or third?) coming of MMORPG nirvana.  I do think it’s going to be pretty cool.  I don’t care if it has hotbar combat.  I’ll put on my suspension-of-disbelief blinders when confronted with people standing a few feet apart shooting each other in the face.   If the game can deliver on the ambience, environment, and spirit of Star Wars while providing an acceptably fun RPG experience (where acceptable equals WoW quality questing) I’ll be quite happy with the game.  If it can finally wash away my disappointment with Star Wars Galaxies it will have achieved something nearly miraculous.

So now the wait has begun, and I’m getting antsy.  I’m essentially done with my current crop of MMOs.  I’m ready for something new.  I’m especially ready for something new and science fiction-ish.  I hate being antsy for games, because it makes it hard for me to enjoy the games I have NOW, in favor of games that for all intents and purposes, don’t exist yet.  It’s only a month away, so I’ll just have to do my best to distract myself.  Some Diablo 3 would do it.  Ah crap.  Well, the Starcraft 2 xpac would be enough . . oh right.  Torchlight 2 . . . dammit.  Skyrim?  Not really interested, but maybe I should.

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