First Opinions on The Old Republic
I know a lot has already been written about Starwars The Old Republic (TOR) but I wanted to add my two cents to the mix.
Let me start by saying I like TOR.It’s a fun game. The writing is good. I wasn’t sure I was gonna like the voice overs, but I do. The stories are entertaining and I like the plot twists. Overall, I like it.
However, the play experience in TOR is vastly different from other MMOs, and I don’t just mean the voice overs and stories. I’m talking about the complete play experience. Now that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means it’s different.
Let me explain.
Playing World of Warcraft, or City of Heroes or Lord of the Rings Online or any of the other major traditional MMOs out there is a lot like playing cards with friends.
When you play cards with friends, you all sit around a table, facing each other. There is the card game going on, and at the same time there is conversation going on between the players. This conversation may be about the card game or it may be about something totally random. But in either case, the focus of the group is inward. The interaction is between players. You can play card games until the wee hours of the morning.
Playing TOR is more like going to a movie with friends. You all sit, facing the screen, usually in silence or in only occasional whispered comments. It is usually a 1 – 2 hour experience after which you may or may not socialize for a short while afterwards as you leave the theater.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad thing. I LIKE to go to movies with my friends. It’s just the focus of the group is different than if we were playing cards together. And, like the movies, I find that after 1-2 hours of TOR, I’m ready to go somewhere else where I can talk to my friends.
And before you suggest that I simply haven’t found a group yet, I will tell you that groups of my friends from two of my previous MMOs, all of whom I played with regularly, if not daily, all went to TOR and started a guild of which I am a member. In fact, I’m in several guilds. Still, I find that the experience is not inwardly focused. It is not focused on the group. Instead it is focused on the movie we are all watching. My groups are silent. There is no chatter in guild chat. And why is that? Because we are each watching a movie in which we are the star!
The question is, does that matter? Is the story telling enough to keep players playing (and paying) for TOR? I’m not sure. I have found that I leave TOR after an hour or so and return to my former MMOs mostly so I can talk to people. I actually find I get lonesome after a couple of hours of TOR.
Now it is said that social stickiness is the key to MMOs. That it is the social that keeps people coming back and playing. What about TOR’s social stickiness? I’ll take a look at that shortly!
Thanks for reading!