Archive for January, 2012

SWTOR Wish list

So, as you’re probably aware, I’ve been playing the snot out of Star Wars, The Old Republic. It’s been pretty awesome so far, though I’ll spare you a full review. I’m really loving the class storylines and the chance to play in the Star Wars universe. It’s crazy fun.

However, the game ain’t perfect, at least not to me. It lacks some polish in areas that World of Warcraft has long improved on, but it’s also made some decisions independent of those issues that I either don’t get or just don’t like as a matter of personal preference. I’ll spare you the former for now, but I’d like to discuss some of the latter category here.

Again, this is strictly my personal taste, so take it how you will.

1. The game needs more “well known” races.

I really think Bioware floundered a bit here. Some of the race selections in this game just make no sense, especially when you look at what ISN’T here. I mean, your standard humans, Twi’leks, and Zabraks are fine. The Sith Purebloods make sense if you know the Star Wars timeline, and are just plain cool. And the Chiss are an amazing addition that I didn’t expect, but really, who doesn’t think the race that Grand Admiral Thrawn, villain of Timothy Zahn’s amazing trilogy of Star Wars novels, isn’t going to be fun to play as. But the rest? You’ve got Mirialans, a race of a VERY background character in one of the prequels. The Miraluka are a race of blind people who only appear in the second KOTOR game and are more or less identical to humans in every other respect. The Cyborg race had potential, but frankly, the “cybernetic” artwork looks less like robotics and more like something you’d wear in a hospital recovery room. I don’t even know where the Rattataki came from. They look similar to the slightly well known character Asajj Ventress (she mostly appeared in the Clone Wars comics and cartoons) but they aren’t apparently the same race at all, so I don’t even know what the deal is there.

So you’ve got a lot of wasted potential there, especially when you look at what’s missing. Just going from the original trilogy races alone, there’s no Wookiees, no Mon Calamari, no Sullustans, no Trandoshans, no Rodians, or any number of races to play as.

(Each link above, by the way, goes to the Wookieepedia entry for a well known member of each of the races that you’d recognize from the films. Just in case you don’t recognize the names. We’ll do it again below)

And while you might despise the prequel trilogy, they did give us some cool looking aliens. And again, far too many of them aren’t playable here. No Kel Dor, or Nautolans, or Togruta, or Chagrians, or Cereans. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, again.

“But Brandon, maybe they just didn’t have time to build graphical models for those races!” you might say. Except I’ve seen 90% of the above mentioned races as NPCs in this title so far. So clealy they could have done it. I just wish they would have. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want to play a Wookiee Jedi? That’s just COOL!

2. I don’t like the restrictions that are currently in place for lightsaber blade colors.

Currently in game, once you get at a certain level of dark side or light side “points”, you are unable to have certain colors for your lightsaber. Once you go dark enough, you can’t have blue or green. Going light enough restricts your ability to have a red crystal. Yellow, orange, and purple have no restrictions, though the latter two are apparently somewhat rare.

Yes, I know. You movie-only people will tell me that red blades are a Sith color and no Jedi has them. Well while that is true, there are written examples of Jedi wielding red blades. In the Clone Wars era, both Adi Gallia and the Padawan and later full Jedi A’sharad Hett. Want a later example? How about Leia Organa? She used a Lightsaber described as “ruby red” during her early years as a Jedi.

On the opposite side of things, the Sith Lord Exar Kun continued using his blue lightsaber that he had from his time as a Jedi, and even modified it to include a second blue blade, one of the first double bladed lightsabers ever recorded.

I know the restrictions are in place to cater to the movie folks (or heck maybe even Lucasfilm made them) and to give each faction’s Force-users a more uniform look, but really, they’re just annoying. I’d much prefer to just let it be open to any color you wish.

3. I really wish we could name our personal ships

Early on, around level 16, you get a personal ship. I just want the ability to name them. It would be a neat little touch, some extra personalization.

4.  There are a few, very few, minor art elements that could use an update.

Most of the artwork in this game is nothing short of astonishing. Things just LOOK amazing. Bioware has done an absolutly fantastic job trying to replicate the feel of the Star Wars universe.

Which unfortunately makes the stuff that doesn’t quite measure up stick out all the more.

When you make a character, it doesn’t take terribly long to get them gear that represents their iconic look. Jedi get robes with raised hoods on them. Your Bounty Hunter gets heavy, battle scarred with lots of weapons and a jetpack. Sith get some jet black hooded robes, and eventually a cool mask. The one thing that’s sticking out to me is the Helmets for Bounty Hunters. It’s taken me until my current level to find one that doesn’t look just awful. They look like helmets from ancient Japan. I’m not expecting a full-faced Mandalorian-style helm right off the bat, but something a bit more appropriate to the sci-fi realm would really be appreciated.

Cyborgs need an update, like I mentioned above. The implants that are currently available make them look more like hospital patients and have no real weight to them.

A common complaint I’ve heard concerns the limited number of body type choices for player characters. Most are seeking something more average than what’s available, the current choices are a bit limiting.


That’s it, so far. Admittedly it’s a very minor list. That’s really how good this game feels to play, as a Star Wars fan. I”m having a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see where the game goes from here. Again, please note this does not concern gameplay mechanics or features that other games have improved upon, because I feel these are things we can all universally agree are features that need to be added. I’m speaking of things like an automatic random grouping utility, an API for mods, a more customizable default UI, dual specializations, those sorts of things aren’t quite what I was going for here. Those are no brainers.

Anyway, how are you guys enjoying SWTOR and are their any other design choices you would like to see differently?