Archive for November 5th, 2010

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Younglings, Younglings Gather ‘Round! SWTOR Crafting and Warzones, Hrmm?

November 5, 2010

Okay, we can all let out that collective breath we’ve been holding. The hell you say?! Star Wars: The Old Republic is actually shaping up to be an actual MMORPG?!

Now you can strike Crafting mechanics and PvP info off of that list of things the community has been hounding Bioware to give out. People speculated that a big announcement would be made at an EA press event in Europe after @SWTOR tweeted this a couple days ago, so the hype was through the roof when the news came in early this morning. Darth Hater shares all the yummy deets.

I just want to say that I’m not a big time crafter by any means. More often than not, this is how things play out: I would grudgingly try to work on crafting in the beginning, only to go “Aww, screw it!” soon after when my gathering capabilities fail to keep up with my character’s leveling. In most games, crafting feels like a chore, something I tinker around with only after I’ve reached the level cap and finished all the other fun stuff, and I’d so rather be saving the world than chopping up some beans or working the bellows. Whatever, my point is, I’m no crafting connoisseur…but I can still recognize an attempt to break new ground when I see one. When people heard Rich Vogel say that SWTOR’s crafting system will be very similar to what WoW has but with some “twists”, I think many got worried. But in fact, outside the inherent characteristics of crafting, I don’t think it sounds much like WoW at all.

You mean with the Crew Skill system I get to order my companions around to do my crafting and gathering for me? Whoa, this is going to send me on an even bigger powertrip than abusing bridge officers in Star Trek Online. In my eyes, Bioware nailed several birds with one stone. It’s nice to know that I can be the “manager” and that crafting can continue behind the scenes when I’m out adventuring, or even when I’m offline. They’ve also solved the problem of preserving the “heroic” in your characters; so for example, the snooty Imperial Agent can get his crafting done and still wench and schmooze his way across the galaxy without once having to dirty those silken-gloved hands. Finally, this also means that the companion system has been given an even greater role.

I find that last point important because I do plan on utilizing my companions, but I don’t want them to simply feel like combat “pets” or be conversation fodder. But I’m even more curious about companion mechanics now than before. Would they determine or limit how many professions you can master? Can companions die, be dismissed, or abandon you? Considering how certain companions will be  better at some mission types than others, I wonder where that would leave you.

Moving on to PvP Warzones. PvP again is not something I’m personally into, but I’m not going to let that color my opinion on the new information, or on the following video featuring the Alderaan Warzone experience:

Sure, it has all the stylings of a staged fight, but it’s no less impressive.

Warzones are an option when it comes to PvP, particularly for those players who prefer battleground style combat, squad against squad vying to complete an objective. To be honest, I really didn’t expect Warzone objectives to be so specialized and so…integrated into the story? I admit, I had been expecting something more “game-y” with flags and points, since I wasn’t sure what kind of priority PvP had in development. I doubt I’ll be participating that much in Warzones, but I’m still happy to see that so much thought has been put into setting them up. When Bioware reminds us at every turn that story, story, story will be the focus of everything in SWTOR, they really mean it. Anyway, even with one Warzone detailed, open world PvP confirmed, plus hints of a possible arena system, the game still probably won’t satiate the most hardcore of PvP fiends, but I think for many players it will be okay.

Last but not least, the good people at Bioware have come to their senses and are giving us the chance to rename the “Jedi Wizard” advanced class for the Jedi Consular. I personally voted for “Seer” but the more popular choice of “Sage” doesn’t sound too bad either. One way or another, any of the new choices would be better than naming a class after a derogatory term for a Jedi Knight or a juvenile slang term for “cool”. As in, “Wow, it’s so “wizard” when companies heed their fans’ opinions, and even better when they give us a chance to get involved!” So go check it out!