I’ve found myself playing Star Wars the Old Republic again for the first time in a while. The levelling trio Imperial-side were brought back out of mothball. I’m taking a break from World of Warcraft because I’m not likely to play enough to justify using a WoW token for the next month or so, so it was time to hit up some other mmorpgs for group fun.
The group was left at the end of their original launch-game content, so it was time to take them on to Rise of the Hutt Cartel’s Makeb!
I’ve only played through the planet twice before: on my original Jedi Sage and my Trooper characters, both Republic-side characters. I do remember the Republic faction-story pretty well so it was a very pleasant surprise how very different the Imperial faction-story starts and develops (no spoilers in comments please for either!).
A faction-story split like this, if done well, can offer a measure of replayability to zones without going to the extreme of per class story arcs that SWTOR offered up to this point, and World of Warcraft offered in the Legion expansion. When such varied content is available I’ll certainly take it, but I realise it’s not that viable for mmorpg developers to invest that many resources into parallel story production. At least if there are two distinct perspectives on the story or zone it offers something extra.
Since the 8.2 patch cinematics there have been discussions online about whether World of Warcraft’s story is heading towards an abandonment of the current factions. From one perspective I’d be happy to say goodbye to what I see as a tired, over-worked storyline. Perhaps new factions based on for or against the Void/Old Gods could shake things up without taking away mechanically from the PVP aspects of the game? If the factions were to be merged for all intents, as Rift did some time ago, the one thing I would miss would be the potential loss of faction-specific storylines.
Although I’m not a big fan of the traditional two faction model in many mmorpgs, they can at least offer a fresh perspective on familiar content if handled well.