Thanks for visiting - Crew Skills has retired! If you'd like to catch up with what I'm playing and writing lately, check out Siha Games!, my general MMO and gaming blog.

21 October 2011 3 Comments

Something Old, Something New

Alostrael, a friend and guildmate of mine who blogs over at Han Shot First, has posted an interesting summary of today’s press reports, including links to many of them.

He also makes the point that:

[there] are a wide variety of opinions, each of which seems to be coloured by the hopes and wishes (ie baggage) that the reviewer entered with. One reviewer will praise the story whilst another will say that it is awkward and doesnt fit in an MMO environment. One reviewer will quip “this is not the MMO you are looking for”, whilst another will sings songs of praise. The only general themes that everyone agrees on is that there is a metric shit load of story, and that at its core there is nothing else new that has been brought to the genre.

To me, “metric shit load of story” is something new that’s been brought to the genre. It’s all too easy in most MMOs to click through the quest text to the “Accept” button, and you have to make a specific decision to stop and actively read the story. In SWTOR, the story is presented to you – not inescapably, but certainly immersively. As Charles Onyett says in his IGN review:

“Many quest goals are still pretty standard for the genre, but at the same time the narrative wrapped around each quest is so well presented with voice-acting, detailed character animations and dialogue choices that it’s easy to get swept up in the fiction and forget about the menial kill and collect quest goals.”

And John Walker at Rock Paper Shotgun says:

“It’s impossible not to appreciate the difference voicing a game makes. It’s extraordinary to appreciate the difference being able to answer back makes.”

I absolutely agree with Alostrael that overall the game is “more evolutionary than revolutionary”, but I think the voiced NPC interactions (and multiple response choices) are a very important evolution for the genre to have made. World of Warcraft, the behemoth in the field, was evolutionary rather than revolutionary too, and look what it did for us. SWTOR is just evolving MMOs to the next step, not changing the face of them – but, as it is for Alostrael, that’s more than enough for me.

Tags: ,

3 Responses to “Something Old, Something New”