But there are still reasons to like SWTOR, and that’s what I’d like to talk about today. I think it’s time to put a bit of a positive spin in my column, so in no particular order here are five things that SWTOR still does well.
I don’t want to give the impression that I believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best at any one of these items, but everything I’m going to mention here is executed well enough to hold my attention. The first is, of course, related to story. After all, it’s one of the pillars of the game. But I believe that it goes beyond that. Its whole solo gameplay is still quite fun.
I have been playing this game for more than six years now, and I’m never been without something to do as a solo player. I can log in and immediately do content that’s interesting or challenging. Admittedly, if I set a specific large goal, like hitting Command Rank 300 in a day, things will get very grindy very quickly. But if I log in and want to play a part of the Eternal Throne storyline, I can hop right in and do just that.
I like to ease into challenges. In solo games, I will start with a low challenge setting and slowly graduate to the more masterful modes. And SWTOR has that same kind of feature for its solo gameplay. And it’s challenging. From the Eternal Championship to the master-mode Eternal Throne instances, SWTOR delivers on difficult solo gaming.
We are past the time when SWTOR fansite will get millions of hits just on the SWTOR content alone. Despite this, SWTOR fans continue to produce internet content revolving around the game. There is even some highly produced regular content like SWTORista’s instructional videos and Vulkk’s news and commentary.
Recently, Community Manager Eric Musco and Creative Director Charles Boyd made the rounds through some of the content creators, answering questions about the future of the game. In particular, Musco and Boyd revealed that there would, indeed, be a new expansion coming in the near future. They also revealed that they weren’t wholely sure what was going to be in the expansion yet.
I am not an influencer for SWTOR because I’m press, but I do work closely with some of the people who are. And I don’t want to give the impression that everything that BioWare does with the influencers is the greatest, but the studio does utilize them well, and the devs aren’t afraid to talk to them directly on a regular basis. I personally know a couple of influencers who have Musco’s near-immediate attention. And from what I know of Musco personally, I think if you make regular content around the game and would like to have some questions answered, he’s more than willing to answer them directly for you.
I don’t think I have to go any further than TOR Fashion to demonstrate just how much character customization has played into the role of SWTOR‘s success. There are thousands of outfit pieces and literally millions of combinations of pieces. There are so many different armor pieces and combinations, and there are so many people interested in finding just the right outfit for them, that TOR-Fashion has been one of the longest-running SWTOR fan sites still requiring full-time maintenance.
I don’t think that SWTOR‘s handling of its armor options is 100% the best. The fact that the vast majority of good outfits have been available only as random loot box items really puts a stain on the whole system. But with very recent changes to the Cartel Market, we are starting to see more and more outfits come up for direct sale, an improvement that I have been asking for for a long time. It still means that you have to spend real-life dollars to access the good outfits, or like me, have a lot of in-game credits to buy them off the GTN.
Here’s another thing that I think that seems to perform well for SWTOR, even though I don’t think it’s necessarily handled well. First, PvP in SWTOR is really easy to get into and there are excellent daily and weekly rewards for participating. It’s likely that is the main reason for its popularity. It doesn’t require much thinking to play a substantial role.
But I think the fact that you can pop in and be done in about 15 minutes makes it the most appealing. Most anything else in the game is going to take a lot of time, and players like how easy PvP is. I also think that I don’t give SWTOR enough credit for its maps. I know there are flaws, and there are many people who can exploit those flaws. But averaged out, SWTOR‘s PvP is solid.
Lastly, I have enjoyed SWTOR‘s small-group PvE since the game launched. In fact, more than PvP, this is where this game shines. The massive variety of content in this area still blows my mind. More than anything else, SWTOR devs continue to make good content in this area. Flashpoints, Uprisings, and Heroics fall into this category. The challenge levels range from sleepwalking through Heroics to what-just-happened-to-my-face master-mode Uprisings.
Small group content is only a hair more difficult to get into because much of the more challenging content requires specific roles, but the group-finder queue doesn’t usually take too long to pop. Also with the recent addition of gear score averaging, it’s not difficult to determine if you’re ready to participate in certain activities.
People are going to disagree with my list. There are other things that SWTOR does well, and maybe you think SWTOR doesn’t handle something well that I listed. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.