…Maybe my decision not to make any resolutions wasn’t a great idea after all.
Anyway, that, plus it being an admittedly slow news week, my explanation for the current blog hiatus. When I haven’t been out, drinking, Star Wars: The Old Republic (which I finally got around ot installing and subscribing to, on the insistence of a good friend) has been eating my life.
FWIW, SW:TOR is remarkably good. It has a handful of bugs that need to get ironed out, but nothing particularly fatal or critical (i.e, nothing nearly as bad as Skyrim), and MMOs tend to get patched pretty regularly, so that’s not worrisome.
Prior to this, my only real MMO experience came in the form of Guild Wars, which means that I have some passing familiarity with the language of the game and with some of the fundamental mechanics, but still a bit leery of one that featured the resource-grinding and crafting that most “standard” MMOG’s are somewhat notorious for. Oh, and the subscription structure, too. That thing terrifies me, as someone with a theoretical budget.
Gameplay is, in broad terms, extremely WoW-like, but with a number of elaborations that should be familiar to any fan of Bioware’s previous titles. Returning features that Bioware fans might recognize the light side/dark side scale and companion affection systems -as well as the presence of the semi-autonomous companions themselves- as distinctively Bioware, if rather effectively adapted to an MMOG environment.
Similarly drawn from their offline RPG tradition comes the prominence of conversation and the emphasis on storytelling necessarily engendered by extended dialogue and conversational decision-making: my experience in Guild Wars suggests that in many games, story is traditionally a background element of many MMOGs: certainly, players seem eager to skip dialogue and exposition whenever possible and jump back to the action. In a sense, Bioware’s taken a bit of a gamble with their added focus on these elements: they’re essentially betting that these tweaks to the MMOG reward cycle -pushing resource-gathering to the background, and emphasizing dialoge and storytelling- won’t alienate their players-base. This is probably well-founded, since Star Wars and the EU comprise a setting -perhaps even moreso even that Warcraft- with a fandom that’s actively engaged in the setting fiction.
Plus, you get to be a Jedi. With, like a lightsaber and everything, and you get to fly around your spaceship on missions. What’s not to love?
Anyway, more hiatus coming up: I’m going to be out of town at MagFest for most of the upcoming week, and so expect postings to be even more sporadic than they have been this past week.