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My personal (re)view of SW:TOR.

Treplos's Avatar


Treplos
02.06.2012 , 10:54 AM | #1
As my own response to Bioware and the Development team's complete disregard and indifference to the thousands of posts on the forums, I've decided to cancel my subscription. And here are my main reasons.

I hope BW is sensible enough to read this reflectively (there are also tons of other other views, insights and suggestions on the forums), in the hopes they would do something about these many issues. A number of you may disagree with few of the points I listed here (I may even get flammed or banned for this, but I hope not ). Regardless, this is my own honest review and opinion about SW:TOR. (Sorry, it's a long read).


I, like many other gamers, have a vested interest in the success of each game I decide to play, because I simply wish to enjoy it for a long time to come. As for SW:TOR, not only did I have reasonable expectations from it, after eagerly awaiting it for a long time, but I was expecting it to be adequately polished, at least, and with some decent support. However, I have been extremely disappointed with the result.

It seems to me that BW, unlike many developers out there, has not learned anything from 2 decades of MMO history. They did not even learn from their own past mistakes.

Gaming has matured over the years, yet this game is constantly compared to some 10 year-old games, which is sadly the truth. BW has managed to rewind gaming 10 years into the past, thanks to their archaic design and buggy, feature-lacking implementation. It's ironic really, considering how futuristically iconic Star Wars is supposed to be.


THE GOOD:


1. Story-line and VOs:

A famous franchise with a great story-line and an industry-first fully voiced game. (And since some people do not like VOs, they can skip them by pressing the spacebar!) It was an enjoyable experience and I had fun leveling to 50. I even leveled alts of almost all Advanced Classes to at least level 14, to experience some of the variety in the story-line.



THE BAD:


Here is the sad part: a ton of Cons for that 1 good Pro. It's kind of funny and makes one wonder how and why they rushed releasing this game in its current state. (It was probably just a money-grab).

Every single aspect of this game is bugged and/or has some serious problems and/or is very poorly implemented, at best.


1. FlashPoints and Operations:

I have not played an MMO before where I did not look forward -at all- to engaging in its PVE instances and end-game content. Not only are they riddled with bugs, but they are also uninspiring, lack-luster and unchallenging for the most part (there are a few exceptions of course).

To make matters worse, the loot system in them and the itemization are abysmal.

FlashPoints and Operations (along with PVP) seem to be an afterthought taped on at the end of the single player game.

--------------------

2. Class and Ability imbalance:

Although many would disagree, certain classes are in fact better than others, since they are given much better tools and abilities to be superior (Damage, Survivability, Mobility, Crowd Control, Group Utility and/or Healing).

While some classes are very restricted in game play due to a very limiting energy resource system, other classes are given a free reign with a nearly inexhaustible resource system. This helps them stay effective for extended periods of time, long after other classes have totally depleted their energy.

Some "tank-labeled" classes are given more burst damage than burst glass-cannon classes, in addition to more CC, and better sustained damage, survivability and group utility.

Those dominant classes have no downside to playing them and their “overpoweredness” goes completely unchecked. This makes one wonder: “why play anything else at all”?


3. Broken stats:

Some core stats are broken or not working as they should, including Defense and Avoidance stats.


4. Warzone imbalance:

The concept of each Warzone is fairly good, but one of them in particular (Huttball) not only favors ranged classes, but the whole design is tailored around specific combos of abilities only available to certain classes. These include: "Knockback", "Force Speed", "Gap Closer" and "Friendly/Hostlie Pull" abilities, coupled with "Bubble/Shield" skills.

The best classes suited for Huttball are the ones who possess several or most of those combo abilities, giving them a distinct advantage over other classes who lack them. As such, they are a sure way to win a lot of Huttball matches with minimal effort.

Huttball is also played around 90% of the time, which is yet another drawback.


5. Knockbacks, the iWin button:

Would you like an ability that can help you win a Warzone with a single push of a button, and with minimal skill and effort? This is it.

If one is not enough, bring a team of classes with that ability, simply chain-knockback and nullify a group of enemies with 1 GCD! Nothing will stand in your way to victory!


6. Crowd Control and Resolve, a broken mechanic:

CC is out of whack in this game, with no Diminishing Returns. And since players have only 1 CC-breaker skill, the sheer amount of CC makes PVP very difficult.

Resolve, the system which is supposed to counter CC, is not nearly enough to help avoid getting chain CC'ed to oblivion.


7. PVP Scoreboard and recognition are awful:

The scoreboard at the end of each Warzone is skewed toward those who basically do a lot of damage, healing and/or protecting, and awards them more Medals than someone who is more focused on the objective of each Warzone.

Some classes are also entirely denied access to several medal categories, creating a bigger discrepancy between classes on the scoreboard.

Even that objective stat is bugged. I've managed to score multiple goals in a Huttball, and open more than 1 door in Voidstar, only to a receive an Objective score of 0 at the end.


8. Stuck in combat:

The combat flag in Warzones is bad. You could be stuck in combat for 30s or for several minutes! While this is ok for some classes, especially those with an inexhaustible resource system, for other classes - especially those that rely on Stealth - it simply ruins PVP and adds yet another layer of disadvantages.


9. PVP Reward ssystem (Bags): Ollo Las Vegas!

Basically all your efforts, time and dedication hang on a roll of a dice. If you are lucky, you get rewarded; if not, well then, tough luck and everything was in vain. The current RNG system does not reward skill, commitment or time and effort spent in PVP. It is extremely frustrating and defeating for a lot of people.

EDIT: The Dev team seems to have recognized this -at last- and will be making a small step in the right direction next patch.


10. World PVP in Illum? Another bad joke with no punch-line:

For a company that has “infallible” METRICS, not only did they utterly fail to recognize the population disparity between factions on servers (leading to some catastrophic results and even "exploit-like" behavior in Illum), but the fallback for World PVP is “PVB.”

What the heck is PVB you may ask? It's a term I made up, namely, Player versus Box. You see, World PVP consists of a horde of players competing to collect a very small number of slow-spawning Armament boxes that only exist in one area. See, World PVB!

Not to mention that any type of faction skirmishes (if present) are often very laggy. Slide show anyone?


Finally, people have started kill trading/swapping in Illum, farming a lot of Valor in the process. The WORST of it all is the Dev's official stance and attitude toward this behavior. They claim it is "legit" and "working as intended".

This not only ruins PVP entirely, but also makes the whole Valor ranking a complete and utter joke.


11. PVP Daily Quests "still" not updating:

Not just an extremely annoying bug of migrainic proportions, but the fact that BW had claimed to have fixed it, but actually failed to do so, is another testament to the incompetence.

EDIT: It seems BW finally recognized that this bug was not fixed, and was in fact some sort of a miscommunication in the patch notes. No ETA on a fix yet.

------------------------------

12. Crafting is a failure:

Crafting is unrewarding once you get it to the maximum level. Item drops that you get in instances or through daily quests (Mods) or in PVP are all better than anything you can craft.

The only exception is Biochem. It is the only craft that is worth it at lvl 50. In fact it is so good that it is a must for PVP and those who dare to PVP without Biochem are at a serious disadvantage (me included).

EDIT: It is worth mentioning that some advanced crafting schematics can be received in high-end PVE content. How good is the gear that can be made from them? I have no idea. But it will have to be at least on par with the gear that drops from that same instance, otherwise what's the point in them?


13. Reverse Engineering is a farce:

Is there any worse than to introduce gambling into crafting? RE'ing gives you a chance to get better item schematics, but again it is all down to luck – a miniscule percentage of it. You can spend all your resources, and maybe days on end (like I did), and never get what you want.

It can be a frustrating and demoralizing experience that will discourage all but the most hell-bent, masochistic of crafters!

Worst of all, even if you do get the shiny epic recipe, it is still outclassed by items and mods that you can get a lot easier and faster in instances, dailies and PVP!

EDIT: It seems there might be some slight changes to this in the future. Let's wait and see.


14. BUGS:

There are lots and lots of bugs; a veritable deluge of bugs in every aspect of the game, most of which go without acknowledgement or fixing. But you can only hope.


15. Dev team's double standards:

The Dev team has the time to hastily and heavily nerf various abilities of one class (and make it underpowered or even useless in many situations), when the class only needed a little toning-down in the first place.

But they never take any time to address or even acknowledge the multitude of class-breaking bugs plaguing various abilities of that same class.

In addition to that, they single out that one under-represented class for a nerf, while turning a blind eye to other classes that are stronger and run rampant in every Warzone.


16. Galactic Trade Network (aka AH): why bother?

It’s the opposite of user-friendly; an embarrassing, archaic system dating back to the middle ages (of gaming). Needless to say, it needs a complete rework. Why not start with something decent in the first place?


17. Camera:

This could arguably be the worst feature in the game. The camera behaves very oddly: it keeps snapping forward; it swivels on its own; and it keeps zooming in when approaching any object. It is a literally a constant headache and a continuous struggle just to keep a stable camera view.

Suffice to say, the atrocious camera movement is the second-leading cause of death in PVP.


18. Targeting:

It’s extremely unreliable, unintuitive and nonsensical. Even if you wanted to target someone right in front of you, TAB targeting will cycle through everyone around you in a 100 miles radius first.

Manual targeting isn't that much better either, since players' hit boxes are small and any kind of movement can make manual targeting a nightmare. And good luck selecting an opponent player amidst a group of enemies.


19. Looking for Group:

The LFG tool in this game consists of flagging yourself with an icon on the "Social/Who Panel", and then writing a comment about your destination. Seriously? I wonder why no one ever came up with this ingenious idea before. -.-


20. User Interface:

Strangely enough, the UI is one of the first things I look for in any game. It is, after all, the one aspect that players will be staring at almost all the time.

In SW:TOR, it can be summarized as a bunch of unmovable and uncustomizable blocks. It isn't pretty or sleek. In fact, at level 50, I ran out of space for my skills, and had to forgo using quite a few of them. I also had no place for my Relics or Medpacks.

EDIT: I saw in a video that they are planning to make it a bit resizable and movable in the future (not sure if expandable though).


21. No flexibility in spec swapping:

In this day and age, every major game that I've played had a flexible system that allows swapping of builds: dual spec, multiple specs, etc, except for SW:TOR.


22. Game engine and technical issues:

The game engine seems out-dated. Movement is not fluid or seamless. The animations are luck-luster for the most part. The graphics are bland. I get constantly stuck in rocks and objects while trying to explore the world, resorting to use the /stuck feature often.

As you expect from any MMO at launch, there are technical issues galore, and SW:TOR unfortunately is no exception. The problem is that even high-end PCs with the highest specifications seem to have problems with graphics, FPS and other technical issues.


23. Loading screens:

With almost every step you take there is a loading screen. Some take a minute and are bearable, while others are considerably longer, especially if you are on a planet.

Some players reported that using an SSD has helped them solve this problem, yet many others -who also use SSDs- say that it made little difference. I would assume that for a game to require an SDD to have slightly faster loading times only points to something wrong in the coding.


24. Combat log:

Not included.


25. Addons:

Not included.


26. Macros:

Not included.


27. Customer Support and Communication:

Not included.

Ok, so I saved the best for last. They need to invent a new word to describe just how awful Customer Support is in this game; how disconnected the Dev team is from the player-base; and how non-existent their communication is with their customers.

This is -by far- the worst thing in the game. I am sure players can be patient with everything listed above, “IF” they knew there was a Dev team who is looking after them and taking care of them; listening to or at least acknowledging some of their problems and concerns; and communicating with them or giving them some sort of feedback.

I am sorry to say that, unfortunately, this does not happen in this game. As far as I can tell, the only Customer Support claim I saw from the Devs was a sales pitch at the end of some video on the website. And that makes me really sad.



TL,DR:

It seems to me that this game is a glorified single-player game. With tons of bugs, missing features and the worst Customer Support in the known universe, I would say that approaching the current game as an MMO in 2012 will certainly be a sore disappointment for many.

I only hope the Development team re-establishes its connection with the community and open clear communication channels with their player-base and be transparent about everything concerning the game; and also move much faster to rectify this heap of problems before things get out of hand, that is if they wish any success for this game in the near and intermediate future.


-

darthdoll's Avatar


darthdoll
02.06.2012 , 10:59 AM | #2
Hugos? Huuugos? is that you hugos?

I did not read anything except you saying awful CS.

I beg to differ, I have had worse in WoW.

ArtMonster's Avatar


ArtMonster
02.06.2012 , 11:01 AM | #3
post seems like a lot of personalized dev hate to me.

I dont see the 'problems' as glaringly horrendous as the OP does I guess ...


I see a half full cup that is in the process of filling up dynamically as it grows, and the launch and current state is "fabulous" compared to other launches Ive experienced.


...it's all in the perspective, and how you decide to deal with it.



none of the issues you posted as gamebreaking are even near to me considering quitting.... or even considering that you are correct..

Jett-Rinn's Avatar


Jett-Rinn
02.06.2012 , 11:05 AM | #4
Wow talk about a Vendetta against the devs.....
Remember kids say anything remotely positive about SWTOR and you're automatically labeled a Bioware employee.

Zilrota's Avatar


Zilrota
02.06.2012 , 11:09 AM | #5
Hello everyone,

While we do appreciate anyone who takes the time to compile constructive feedback for us, we're closing this thread, as we do have threads for feedback compilations.

If you have a specific suggestion or individual piece of feedback, we encourage you to post in the Suggestion Box forum or to make a thread regarding your issue in the relevant sub-forum. If you'd like to add your list of bugs or suggestions, we encourage you to post in the following threads in the interest of helping us keep compilations consolidated:

Thank you!