Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Yes and actual review from someone who made it to level 50...
on January 8, 2012
Unfortunately, most of the reviews you see about this game, are from people who played briefly and either love it or hate it. This is a review from someone who has been in the betas and has judged everything about the game first before finally adding another review to the melting pot.
Lets start first with the CE package and contents...
The box is quite large and sadly, mine had a box cutter slice through the top of it. Looked to be caused by Amazon's poor package handling. It isn't very deep so it is mostly cosmetic. Rather than put in for a replacement, I chose not to bother. The rest of the items were just fine inside. Malgus looks quite intimidating and well sculpted, but personal preference would have been for them to have done a Satele statue edition as well. The rest of the physical add ons were decent. The best of them is indeed the journal which is well crafted and quite interesting to read.
But then there is the bad news apart from the cut in the lid. The authenticator doesn't activate properly to my account. Talking with Bioware (BW) support does confirm that this is a known issue right now but this is inexcusable for paying such a premium. These devices are not hard to work. Then the CD, also is quite lacking in tracks. Those in the know, check the TOR facebook page. BW released a lot of free mp3s of the game, some of which should have been placed on this CD due to the quality.
Moving along to digital content, this area is mostly hit or miss. The mount, while looking quite nice, still makes you pay for the riding skill. The camera, becomes useless when you learn how to link TOR with Steam. Which by the way, is possible. You have to look for it and do a little work to make a application to help launch TOR from within Steam. Then you move onto the mouse droid which isn't as great as it seems. Neither is the target droid which you can only use on enemies and has no real point.
The only real hits for digital content are the flare gun, the preorder crystal, and the VIP access. The dancer is not bad, but it does not last on screen for very long. Of those, the crystal is quickly outclassed after the first levels. The yellow and black glow also gets a little dull after awhile.
Overall, if this game had been offered for DDE via anywhere but Origin, it would have been a better deal. $150 is a bit much for what you get. But I will admit, it does catch your eye when you see it. BW certainly tried to make the value worth it and if you are a Malgus fan, you will find a lot of value in the statue.
So now, lets talk about the game itself...
As of this review, you should consider TOR to be an improved beta. After experiencing the betas, it is clear BW put a lot of work into having TOR ready for the December launch, but it was maybe a month or two off from being completely ready. There is no lack of content and bugs are mostly minor. But the build is only a polished version from the Thanksgiving beta weekend. Some of the issues that hadn't been dealt with then, were still in game at launch. Some have since been fixed but overall, BW released a much better game than Blizzard has done. As one who has been in the WoW betas I can confirm this. Blizzard retail launches had been quite broken in past years. Much more than TOR.
So that said, go in with the expectation of some bugs still remaining. Of those I will try to give you an idea of what the worst faults are.
Simply put, the worst bugs with TOR right now, are mostly performance related. This has improved a lot since beta, but it is still in need of work. Those of you with Intel graphics, don't even dare run this game. You may be able to run the starting areas, but you'll need a real graphics card for some of the later worlds.
But one cannot pin all the performance problems on BW. Both graphics card vendors have not updated their drivers with TOR in mind. nVidia alone is 3 months behind and it shows. SLI systems do encounter problems on worlds with heavy grass. Turning off SLI helps a little, but for a full fix, turn off grass. Till this problem is resolved.
You will see a lot of glitches across the screen in some areas while others are fine. There are also quite a few memory leaks. BW is working hard to fix them, but as the game progresses, be aware of it completely crashing your system in spots. In my case, turning off grass solved a lot of my crashes but it may not solve yours. In fact, as of tonight I just ran into two end game instances which crash the game when you try to exit them after they end, Directive 7 and False Emperor. This will likely be fixed soon but it is clear BW needed a larger beta pool. The beta weekends were great to test the first 20 or so levels, but much of the big problems hit later as it approaches end game, which wouldn't have been tested within that brief amount of time.
So why then should you buy this game now if it has such bugs?
Well simply put, TOR does a lot of things right. From the questing, to the gameplay, and even instance design...this isn't a baby MMO. The game is quite complete. The attention to detail is fantastic and the voice acting takes the game from being a basic MMO to actually feeling like you are playing the next great KOTOR game.
It is a story driven masterpiece. But even that masterpiece will vary depending on the class you pick. Some have very well written stories while others have grand moments, then settle into predictable mediocrity. But above all there is no denying the grandness you feel when participating in them. The traditional formula of kill x many or find x many, becomes lost when even the side quest actors wrap you up in their plight just as good as the main ones.
Couple that with very WoW style gameplay and you have a fluid game which is easy to pick up and easy to spend hours in. BW also made sure to make commands similar enough to WoW so players feel more at ease. Something which other titles like LoTRO could have done to help transition people.
Gone is the feel of having to really "grind" away your life for simple gains. The game rewards you for playing it and it makes leveling up your gathering or professions much easier. Instead of sitting around crafting, you can experience the game while you craft items via your companions. The interactivity of the companions brings that much more relief to a long tired out tradition.
But that doesn't mean the game glamorizes "face roll" tactics. Proper use of your companions are key on some quests and many of the instance boss battles should be considered raid level of difficulty. Yes the game gives you access to good gear as you level, but players who refuse to learn fights are going to be punished severely as later instances come. This is an opposite approach to Blizzard's way of punishing you to get gear that can make it easy. TOR gives you the gear, but makes the fights hard enough so that gear will not matter if you cannot avoid standing in stuff. People who raided in WoW to any degree will see not only familiar strategies, but also some brand new ones inspired by WoW raid bosses. Some which Blizzard would have never used in instances, only in raids.
Hopefully the difficulty of this game will remain as time goes. There is little BW could do to improve it as is. They may welcome you with open arms and purples early on, but later they demand you use your head. This mindset doesn't even escape some of the later quests which have bosses that mirror some of the strategies seen in the instances.
Really, this is the game that Cataclysm should have been. Blizzard was onto a good idea but ruined it with their mismanagement of the expansion. Vanilla WoW was never as brutal or punishing as Cata became. But it was hard enough and easy enough to make the work put in seem like the effort wasn't wasted. TOR does this well and unlike Cata, TOR is not a lazy game. Each world has it's own gear set look and upgrading does not make you feel like you are just changing numbers. In fact, if you don't like the way new gear looks, on orange gear you can keep the old look and swap in new mods. This upgrades the armor to the better level. Meaning you can forever have the same look if you choose, a step up from Blizzard's heirloom idea. Ingenious!
The replay value is there! The potential for growth is there! So should you wait till things are fixed a little better? Yes and no. If you have the hardware to handle it and aren't prone to anger but willing to work with the game, get it now. You will not regret it. But if you have a short attention span and no patience, wait a couple months. In fact, just stay in WoW if you are a player like that. TOR doesn't need their community destroyed like WoW was.
There is so much potential for this game. Grander space combat (which is quite fun despite on the rails), more customization, and the addition of new worlds, new instances, new raids...it is just fantastic! I'm proud to be an early adopter and as one who loved WoW for over 5 years, I am not missing it one bit. BW may not call it a WoW killer, but it goes far beyond what any other MMO has done. At the very least, it will deal WoW a critical strike, one which it cannot recover with mere pandas. If Blizzard does not copy a lot of what BW did, I'd be surprised. But with Activision owning Blizzard now, I wouldn't expect much from them ever again.
Overall at the end of the day, this game is fun and I can't wait to see every character's story. To see every instance, hard mode, raid...the list goes on and on. I may be running with grass off for awhile, but that is one small price to pay to be a part of something so wonderful. Just, consider digital version or standard if you don't care to get the statue. You won't be missing that much. Actually, scratch digital, the less support Origin gets, the better.