Archive for 2011

Why SW:TOR Won’t Be The Success Everyone Hopes

Fat Jedi

Fat Jedi have trouble gripping their lightsaber. It's a graphical bug.

First off, as I’m aware I’m being quite critical of the game lately, I just want to say that I’m really enjoying SW:TOR. It’s a blast to play, lots of fun, and I’ve had a good time these past couple of weeks with it. Whilst I’d urge people to check it out because of those facts, I highly doubt, however, that I’ll be playing the game in two or three months time. I expect by then I will have returned to dabbing with alts in WoW, resubscribed to RIFT and/or be trying out EVE again (at last). And this is what I mean when I say that SW:TOR won’t be the success everyone hopes it will be.

By success, of course, I mean making stupid amounts of money, money enough to rival Blizzard’s revenue and generate millions of dollars in profit a month. If success in your books means the creation of a really fun game though, then yes, The Old Republic has succeeded in spades on that account. Unfortunately I don’t think ‘fun’ is what the board members of EA/BioWare had on their minds when they dumped $300 million into their latest creation.

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We Fly Spitfires Turns Three Today

Third birthday monkey

Look mum, I'm a big boy now!

Today is the 25th December. It marks the birth of Jesus, the coming of Santa Claus, the constitution of the Chinese Republic, and general festivities and merriment all round. It also marks the day that this blog was created. Yes, whilst everyone else across the Western world was opening presents, tucking into turkey and trying to avoid family arguments, I was busy huffing and puffing, giving birth to the blogging monstrosity known as We Fly Spitfires (you can thank me for the mental image later).

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SW:TORs Biggest Flaw

Fat Trooper

He's not fat, he's just big boned

I’ve been playing SW:TOR since Tuesday and, whilst I have been enjoying it quite a lot, a number of big game design flaws have cropped up already, most of which I think will start to grate on people pretty quickly. The biggest flaw, in my book anyway, is the now very apparent terrible distribution of classes amongst the playerbase. Simply put, everyone is playing the same darn class (Advanced or otherwise)… and I don’t just mean by a small percentage either, I’m talking about by a frickin’ massive degree. I think for every one Vanguard I’ve encountered, I’ve seen about 20 Commandos and I’m not even sure the Smuggler class exists.

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What Are You Expecting From SW:TOR?

Sith Warrior

No ever goes for the bright pink lightsabers

I always knew I was going to get SW:TOR, right from the moment it was announced, but it wasn’t until the subject was being discussed in the the comments of my last post that I started to ask myself exactly what I was expecting from it. To have fun, for sure, but what else? To be honest, I’d never given it much thought.

My decision to pre-order SW:TOR was a no-brainer really. It’s a MMO, it’s Star Wars, it’s BioWare. Duh. The founders of the company themselves could’ve gone on camera and viciously insulted my mother and I still would’ve pre-ordered the game (although I might have grumbled a little about it). Lack of slander aside though, it was also never a secret that the game was anything other than a ‘WoW clone’ (kinda unfair to call it that really but you know what I mean) so at least from that perspective I expected a pretty generic themepark MMO, similar in gameplay and design to most of the mainstream MMOs released in the last few years. Plus, I expected polish ’cause it had BioWare and buckets of money behind it.

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SW:TOR’s Talent System – Outdated Already?

SW:TOR - Mirialan

A green human. One of SW:TOR's many exciting racial choices

As you may know, I’ve been avoiding the SW:TOR beta lately (and thus this entire post might be complete crap) but one thing I haven’t been able to avoid is reading a lot of information about the game. As much as I tried to resist, curiosity got the better of me and I started checking out the SW:TOR skill tree (aka talent) system to see if I could decide what class I wanted to play. Suffice to say, I was pretty shocked at how outdated, inflexible and unoriginal it was.

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You Really Shouldn’t Be Playing The SW:TOR Beta

Jedi Consular

Standard Jedi pose: squat, extend lightsaber in right hand, pet imaginary dog with left

I have a thing about betas. I used to love them and try to get in as many as I could. I remember being giddy as a school boy for the Age of Conan beta, as desperate as a lumberjack for the Aion one, and horny as hell for RIFT’s. Then recently something in me changed. A switched was a flicked, a lever was pulled, a light bulb went off in my brain and I realised that playing betas were killing the overall enjoyment for me. It’s like celebrating Christmas early.

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Skyrim: Everything A MMORPG Should Be

Skyrim Nord

The backstory for my character was a Nord who recently went on vacation to work on his tan

I’m quite enamored with Skyrim. Partially because it makes me say things to my wife like, “honey, I’m going to play Skyrim, come get me in three hours” but mainly because it gives me everything I’ve always enjoyed in a RPG and always wished for in a MMORPG: freedom, immersion, exploration and a real sense of satisfaction.

Skyrim’s not perfect. The UI is awful, the combat is a little clunky and a lot of the voice actors sound like poor Arnold Swarchenegger impersonators but all of these things, for me anyway, are easy to overlook as you get sucked into a pure, honest and unashamed role-playing experience. The game doesn’t pander to you and it doesn’t patronise you but neither does it make your life hard for the sake of creating artificial challenge or immersion. There’s no mandatory grinding and practical concepts like fast travel and providing exits at the end of long, winding dungeons keep you from getting frustrated. It’s the perfect blend of hardcore and casual (something I’m hoping MMOs will get right one day).

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