SWTOR is not a bad game, itís nice to see a Star Wars environment again. I like my trooper, my big gun and my armor. I played a couple of MMO and I always have only one character and Iím more the RP-PvP type than PvE even tho I raided in that game that shall not be named. SWTOR is good for a while up until when you reach the end, at this point it becomes like a lot of other MMO and all you can do is essentially raid again or PvP again. Players that want to LIVE in the Star Wars universe wonít be able to do it, too many features are simply missing, sometimes they are very basic features expected in a AAA MMO like it was falsely advertised by the devs. Iíll try not to talk about bugs and to talk more about absent features and restrictions.
Letís start with the main problem about the game, the dead world. Best example is Coruscant. Remember the Coruscant scenes in the movies? Huge crowds of people, dense traffic, in short, a living world. Now go to Coruscant in the game, youíll see a tiny zone linking the spaceport to the senate (nice coincidence by the way!) with barely a couple of NPC standing in place, frozen in time. That plaza is the only ďlivingĒ area of Coruscant and the only place youíll go back to (on that planet) after finishing the game, all other zones are full of enemies, completely linear and underground or in buildings and donít represent at all what we expect of Coruscant. Zones are not connected and there is no feeling of unity. Some zones are obviously made for a video game since they would be impossible in reality by their poor design, it might not be as bad as The Citadel or Illium in Mass Effect but itís still obvious.
You wanted to go to a place like Dexís dinner? Sorry, there is no such open sky area nor any place like that. You wanted to stand at the 300th floor of a skyscraper and look and the scenery through the window? Not possible. You wanted to visit the planet through the catwalks high in the air? Not possible. The same problems are visible on Nar Shaddaa. One zone is above ground, everything else is away from the landscapes that make the planet notorious and there is little to no NPC life.
The main cities like Coruscant, Kaas City, Nar Shaddaa, Corellia, etc. need more life. Hundreds of NPC must be added and they have to walk around, have animations and do things like using a computer, moving to talk to other NPC, going to cantina, etc. Dozens of NPC vehicles must also fly by and fill up the sky. Zones like in the movies must be added, social zones with no enemies, like the bar district or the dinner in ep2, or the building in the books, apartments, shops, attractions, social places, etc. Stop putting everything and every important NPC in the same place, we are not in that much of a hurry. The fleet is currently the only important place to be at level 50, add reasons to go back to the planets.
The PvE enemies are almost always in packs and placed in such a way that it doesnít make sense for a battle and they are frozen for eternity, not moving or doing anything and it just adds to the feeling of dead worlds. They also have to do things and move so it look like a real world.
What it is: Coruscant Spaceport
| Coruscant Senate
| Coruscant Streets
What is has to be: Coruscant crowd
Exploration is currently really hard to do. You want to go explore that coast? Chances are good that you are going to enter an exhaustion zone and die, even if you are on land and unaffected by weather. The lands are filled with invisible walls and useless limitations. Most structures are unclimbable or simply inaccessible. As said in previous point, we need more non-fighting zones to go to.
As other caring people on the forum at that time, I was shocked that day a couple of years ago when they announced that every planet would be frozen in time, never to evolve, never to change. Itís mind boggling to see that in a 2012 MMO. A day/night cycle is essential for the mood and immersion of the game. You wanted to organize a RP event during night on a day planet? No chance. You wanted to watch the lights of Coruscant at night? Not possible. You wanted to finally see a day on Nar Shaddaa? Not possible. You wanted to watch the sunset between the hills of Alderaan? No.
You'll never see: Coruscant Night
| Tatooine sunset
| Tatooine at night
ďBut the day/night cycle was crap in that other game!Ē
Just because it was crap, too dark, too light or ugly in another games does not mean that it must be the case for SWTOR too. Iíve seen that argument many times and yet it never made any sense.
ďPlanets donít all have a 24 hours rotation in the Galaxy Far Far Away!Ē
So? The rotation just has to be based on the actual data of that planet.
ďI donít want to play during night all the time!Ē
Many planets are at perpetual night at this moment. Anyway, as said before, the rotation isnít always 24 hours and it doesnít have to be on a 1:1 ratio with real life either.
Some planets have special weather but in most case itís just to limit (limitation being the key word in this game) the zones you can go to like the killer sandstorm on Tatooine if you try to go PvP in the enemy city. Weather needs to be more dynamic, make it rain on Coruscant, spawn a huge blizzard once in a while on Hoth, make the sky change, give life to the world.
Environment interaction, social activites & RP
To live in a world, we must interact with the world. Elevator buttons are not enough, there isnít much liberty in the environment. Cantinas are filled with chairs, why canít we sit on them? We must be able to gather friends, go to a cantina, sit at a table start playing a game like Pazaak or Sabacc with the possibility to bet credits. I see some kind of Dejarik game in my ship, why canít I use it?
Allow us to activate more buttons in our ship, like a viewport toggle, lights, training simulation, etc. Allow us to put waypoint on the map and establish a route for a player created race event. Allow us to climb obstacles like in other games so we could actually go to places that are obviously possible to go to for a trained warrior instead of being blocked like if we were on a wheelchair
Allow swimming! Not having that in a modern game is an insult. The reveal of Otoh Gunga in The Phantom Menace was a great moment and we canít do similar things in the game.
ďI wear heavy armor, I canít swim!Ē
Itís the Galaxy Far Far Away with technology thousands of years ahead of us, many solutions exist. Submersible armor, waterproof electronics, scuba gear or simply remove armor when swimming!
ďUnderwated content was crap in that other game!Ē
See answer for day/night cycle. Because other games failed in doing a good job doesnít mean that it will fail here too. A lot of potential for underwater content exists.
Some people might like boxed PvP and love to play ball with the enemy or destroy a ship in Alderaan for the hundredth time but many of us come from games with excellent world PvP with a lot of possibilities. One thing that the system of planets with a range of levels prevents is good world PvP. You wanted to raid the capital of the enemy faction? Not possible, capital world are restricted by faction. You Imperial scums wanted to occupy Anchorhead? Not possible, youíll get killed by a sandstorm while trying to go there. You wanted to have epic battles on Alderaan? Sorry, due to the fact that planets have a level range, there is no reason for a 50 to go there and youíll only piss lowbies off. You wanted to go the the Jedi Temple on Tython and kill Satele Shan? Not possible, that planet is also off limit, In fact, it will be impossible to ever do any PvP on Ord Mantell, Hutta, Korriban, Tython, Coruscant, Taris, Balmorra and itís impossible for most of Nar Shaddaa. All iconic worlds on which you will never have the chance to fight the other faction. Solution would be to add more zones to all planets so lvl 50 players have a reason to leave their fleet and explore the world.
Space & vehicle
Like many people, I was very disappointed when they announced the tunnel space combat. The current system is not bad for what itís worth, but it could be so much more. It should have been at least as good as the previous one, in SWG, with the liberty and possibilities, or even better, like in X-Wing Alliance. It was said the space combat will be improved soon and itís very exciting. It needs to be multiplayer and free roam. The travel could also be improved so it doesnít feel so disjointed. Allow us to go to empty space and float aimlessly, race in a field of asteroids or land on them and mine. Allow us to build structures and bases in space or in asteroids.
The vehicles are also very basic. As other said, the speed bonus is very small so it could be boosted. Companions could sit behind the player on the speeder when travelling instead of disappearing to oblivion. Vehicles could be parked and stay there while the player walks away or they could be called from the ship and have an animation of auto-piloting to the player from distance instead of appearing out of nowhere and disappearing every time in an unrealistic way. We should also be able to use them in more places like caves and big buildings.
Interface & graphics
Other people have talked a lot about the problems of the interface and it seems the devs finally understand and are going to give us some liberty. The maximum of 2 windows is ridiculous, we donít have enough bars for all skills and items. The friend/guild lists need many functions like personal comments and a complete right click menu. The market must have options to filter better, by type of items and stats.
Chat bubbles needs to be in the game, itís a basic feature for social interaction.
The real high resolution textures needs to be available at least for our own character, companion and groups and preferably for everyone in close proximity.
The lack of races at release was disappointing. After SWG, one could expect at least the same races and preferably more, but we got at lot less and most of them are humans with a different color. I guess itís too late for that, we already made our character and I will certainly not start over.
The weapon system didnít receive any innovation either. A class will have a certain weapon proficiency and it will keep that for all the game. The rockets, grenades, laser shots, beams and electricity all come out of the same barrel.
The bounty hunter has a jetpack, thatís great, only he canít use it at all to access restricted places or jump higher, the Force users canít use their ability on the world either.
Using a jetpack (don't mind the music)
The cover system is years behind the current standards and requires the player to go to a specific location instead of allowing to take cover anywhere and behind anything and it is restricted to two classes.
Real cover system
The current item modification is a good step in the right direction but a complete appearance tab system is missing. We should be able to change the color, change logos, have clothes on top of armor and be able to have multiple gear setups for social, combat or events.
No guild ship, no guild HQ, nowhere private and special to go. They are going to add a guild bank, thatís good, but we also need to be able to wear a guild symbol like an emblem, logo, piece of equipment or maybe even a rank patch. Having a guild is really just a permanent group chat.
Raid again or PvP again. Most MMO do that mistake. These things are dev-made and have an end, a limit. We must have ways to make our own content, RP tools, possibility to make events, housing, collections, achievements, these things can keep people busy for a long time and if made correctly they can never end. I donít plan to stay in the game if itís to log and wait between raids and PvP events. Quests and stories have and end, we must be able to create.
As said above, housing is a good way to keep people busy. If we could decorate our ship with furnitures, change the color or, like in SWG, drop every item of the game on the ground and move/rotate in anywhere in our ship to create a real personal space. Most objects in the ship are actually useless. Allow us to use the med center, go in the bed, put items in crates and wardrobes, allow people to sit in the council room and do a briefing for a future mission. Allow us to change the weapon racks so they actually display the guns we used and want to show. We could also buy a home on planets like Coruscant and Corellia and be in our apartment in a skyscraper high above the ground and watch the life on the planet and decorate it like said above.
| Player made council room
ďHousing isnít heroic!Ē
You canít be a hero all the time. Han Solo spent a lot of time in his ship, customizing it and changing everything. Luke and Mara had an apartment on Coruscant and Iím pretty sure they had good times there creating Ben. Han and Leia have a place on Coruscant too. Obi-Wan lived like a cave troll in his little house on Tatooine for years so is Yoda on Dagobah. Students at Lukeís academy all have a room. The examples are countless. We canít be expected to live in this game by fighting all the time.
The current discovery system is too random, we need more control. The resources could have stats and qualities, that would allow dedicated crafters to be famous across the galaxy and people would go look specifically for their items. I remember that weaponsmith in SWG that was known for the good materials he used in crafting guns. I made the trip to Naboo then went far in the wilds to find his shop and buy stuff from his vendor then I could see him in the backstore, crafting and working, that was great and I actually felt I was in a real world.
SWTOR has potential, but at this moment it is too far behind in many aspects. SWG was bad on many points but it had awesome ideas, the housing was great and the immersion was present. LotRO has a good appearance tab, Champions Online has awesome personalization possibilities and dynamic combat system so does Age of Conan, EVE online has good ideas and incredible liberty and World of Warcraft must have something too.
Donít tell me to go back to X MMO, SWTOR is the only Star Wars MMO and that represents a lot in my life. Accept that it would gain a lot by having most of these sometimes very basic features and the game would only be better and last longer.