I’ve played a good amount of Star Wars the Old Republic, though not so much of late. I started playing way back in beta before the game launched. Since then I’ve played in blocks of varying lengths of time (from multiple years down to 3 or so months) over the intervening years. Among the many MMORPGs that I’ve played it has tended to be one that, once started, I stick to playing for a good length of time. That’s saying something compared to other games that I might return to play for one or two sessions and immediately ‘bounce’ from again.
My gaming trio has come to a “let’s take a bit of a break from WoW” moment, and discussing the alternatives we decided to go with leveling a new trio in SWTOR. The base levelling content is some of the very best coop MMO gaming there is in the genre. This time around they’re both playing Imperial Agent; I’d previously recommended this storyline (no spoilers in comments, please!) and it makes a nice contrast for both of them from the Sith classes they played in the last trio. I’m switching from Bounty Hunter dps in that group to Sith Assassin tank for this group. I played Jedi Shadow tank as my most recent ‘solo main’ character and really loved the class mechanics, so in my new role as tank this was the obvious class to choose.
It has been long enough since I last created a brand new character that I was surprised by the lack of base class: at the character creation screen you now choose the “advanced class” right away. Simplifying such nuances of character customisation is the overwhelming trend in the genre so it came a no surprise to see it here. After levelling this way through to 10 and off Korriban and on to the Fleet, I think it didn’t detract anything from the original, probably quite confusing system. There was no way to change advanced class once selected at level 10 before, so choosing it from the get go makes no real difference. One could argue that playing the class a bit first might help to choose, but in reality the few abilities you gained in that time were generic and not particularly representative of either advanced class, so how did it really help? I guess most players would pick what they liked the sound of, or go to the website pages to read up on it. In any case, despite this little surprise, I knew what I was going to play anyway.
I’ve done the Korriban levelling experience a lot over the years. I played both Sith classes through here in beta. Then I redid it on both classes again to create alts, my Sith Marauder languishes at level 28 and my original Sith Assassin remains abandoned at level 11. I guess playing Sith has never really stuck with me that much, I’m not that into the whole “evil and cruel” thing.
As a counterpoint to my own arguement, and despite playing through Korriban pretty efficiently in one session yesterday evening, I did find myself enjoying the Sith Inquisitor story this time around. That was in contrast to the last time I played through it (in 2013!). I guess the enduring quality of the eight class stories in SWTOR is the complexity to the storylines, at least compared to most MMORPG class-related offerings. Despite wanting to eye-roll a few times at the clownish “I am the most evil!!!” nature of some of my rivals at Sith school, I do find the political scheming theme of the storyline engaging. The dialogue and alignment systems offer more replay value than most MMOs can muster in their questing content, as I was able to reflect on what I may have answered eight years ago. While playing I also decided on what to choose for this character’s nascent identity and personality. It’s not often I do any such “character building” in a MMORPG to be honest, SWTOR has always encouraged that from me.
I’m on a bit of a Sci-Fi binge at the moment: running my Starfinder RPG campaign, watching some good TV series (e.g. the Expanse), so a return to SWTOR, for however long this visit lasts, is a welcome occurrence.