Tuesday 29 November 2011

Last weekend, in a living room not very far away...

So I got to play a bit of Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weekend. I'm a big fan of the original Knights of the Old Republic games so I had high hopes for this game even though my MMORPG experience is limited to a few months of DDO, a shambolic trial of the Lord of the Rings MMO and a stint as a Rodian droid builder on Star Wars Galaxies which saw me make nothing more complex than a mouse droid. What I got was a great RPG that was hamstrung by the MMO elements.

Even though I was among the first batch of weekend testers, by the time I logged on the UK server was full so I had to opt for an East Coast server - lag ahoy! Ever since the game was announced I'd had my heart playing on a Sith Inquisitor though at the last moment I opted against playing a true Sith and chose Zabrak as my species. I'm glad I did as this seemed to enrich the role-playing element as my character's backstory was now that of a freed slave who is vying to become the apprentice of a Dark Lord - though in the first big twist we discover that Lord Vash is in fact female. She's also slightly hot in a MILFy kind of way.

After grinding through the first couple of levels - killing slugs YAWN - the storyline starts to open up and in addition to the apprenticeship adventure thread, you start to become immersed in the politics of the Sith Academy and begin doing little favours for some of the other Dark Lords. I got pretty close to level 8 by the time the beta test closed but should have got a little further and that's where my first criticism of the game arises. Some of the quests open up too early and, with no suggested level flagging, means you can easily waste time trying to complete quests that are several levels beyond you. Some of the quests also require you to join a group to complete them and, while I understand that the overwhelming majority of people play these games to form questing groups, why can't they cater for miserable bastards like me who want access to the full story without having to rely on somebody else having a decent rig and stable broadband connection?

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the game were the many times I forgot I was playing a Star Wars game and thought I was playing a 40K game. And I don't just mean the shared tropes between Sith and Imperial inquisitors. One quest in particular had me thinking that the outcome would be summoning a Bloodthirster and some of the NPC names are shared with characters from Horus Heresy novels. Not a bad thing, just unexpected...

Regardless of any of the above, the game is worth its RRP for the intro movie alone. Better than a lot of full length, big budget movies I've seen this year.

Other than swinging my training saber over the weekend, I've broken ground on my super sekrit novella and have got further down the line with Shadow Captain, my SMB Raven Guard novella, and another super sekrit project, this time of an audio bent and featuring a cast made up entirely of dreadnoughts... As always, more details as I'm allowed to release them. I've also been playing a lot of Innistrad draft on MTGO and while I've yet to settle on a favourite archetype - both BR rush and UW control seem to get me 3-0 records - I did manage to kill an opponent during his own combat phase yesterday! Never underestimate the power of the Rage Thrower!