Scathing review of SWG at Games Domain

Not sure if a 2/5 is scathing or not, but…

I’d be curious to hear what players have to say about these two paragraphs:

Combat-focused characters have the usual task of tackling creatures of increasing difficulty to build their skills. The combat system is a matter of mousing over an enemy and selecting the “Attack” option, which will cause your character to repeat his basic attack until the enemy is dead. Marksmen characters will need to move around to keep a suitable range for maximum effect - don’t worry about cover, or even intervening terrain features like hills, as you can shoot straight through them. The enemy will fight back (unless you’ve found the exploit in the current build that lets you shoot them without them noticing) and make a beeline for you.

Even creatures without a visible method of ranged attack can hit you at some range, so it’s wise to have a few friends along to distract them. Once killed, they might drop an item or two of little value, and scouts can harvest the corpses for resources. Powerful items in Star Wars Galaxies are exclusively player-created, not dropped by enemies.

Is that a fair assessment of combat? It doesn’t sound very interesting. Is it also true that the mobs don’t drop cool items? That, to me, would make combat even duller by taking away that Diablo-esque excitement of getting special items.

that was my experience with the last beta test, but I didn’t put in hundreds of hours to fully experience every nuance of the game.

That’s sort of right, actually, but we tend in our groups to make alot of use of special attacks. I might be using “Threaten Shot” to keep a big beastie at bay while a brawler lunges to try to keep him knocked down. Others could be using other attacks. Trust me, when you’re in the middle of a rampaging herd of giant beasts shaking the ground all around you because someone screwed up and shot a lair or the wrong critter, you don’t feel particularly bored. I don’t.

As for the lack of loot, well, that’s not a problem for me. I know good things will be coming through my PA contacts, independant friends and the bazaar. They did in beta. My job as an ‘adventurer’ is getting resources together for artisans and taking on missions to come up with credits (another form of resource gathering). I like it alot more than camping critter spawn sites for loot. What I’m doing makes sense to me which means I’m not constantly being reminded how silly the whole premise of the game I’m playing in is - it’s not. It’s a plausible setting.

I may have a slightly different perspective because I’ve read about the game going in and I want to be part of the GCW and player cities among other things. So everything we’re working at now is building towards a long term goal. And since my server is roleplaying heavy you already pick up on intrigues and the sense of favors owed to those who do you favors. It’s SCS - a character is a character. Makes things personal and you know you’re going to be running into the same people for a very long time. And the democratic nature of PAs as well as player cities only spawns more speculative favors and alliances.

I’m still totally wrapped up in this game. I can see why certain reviewers are looking at this game through their own prisms of past experience and that’s fine. I’ve got my own experiences and knowledge to base my judgements on and the answer for me is - so far so good. But you’re only going to have as good an experience in SWG as you have company. Look for good people that grasp what’s going on here and you will have a ball whether they’re roleplayers or not.

I thought I had read, though, that this was a game for RPG and non-RPGers alike. Those who enjoyed MMORPGs and those who did not. Most improtantly for me, those who wanted to play a MM game and those who wanted a single player experience in a MMORPG world. I do love and do not wish to fuck Star Wars. I was looking to maybe make a foray back into the MMORPG* lands based on that last selling point. Looking for “good people” is not something I am interestesd in doing prior to enjoying myself in a game. That’s just me though. I am wierd.

[size=2]*Imagine how long posts, previews, and reviews would be if we had to spell out RPG and MMORPG if acronyms had not been invented. Maybe Mark could ban acronyms. That would be fun, wouldn’ it?[/size]

Lets face it, the majority of the MMOG games have launch problems, but the fact is, SOE has enough experience in this area and they should’ve seen this coming.

In truth, the more popular and anticipated an MMOG is, the more likely it is to have launch day problems if the devs aren’t prepared. SOE should have been prepared because of the hype surrounding the title.

However, the general consensus is that the game sucks. Even a good launch day isn’t going to solve that problem. To me, its looking a lot like that whole Black & White (hype without substance) fiasco or Anarchy Online (hype, substance without preparation) again.

SWG will fail. Period. Primarily because the only thing it has in common with the Star Wars franchise we thought we were going to play in, is the name. Goddmannit, who in their right minds would want to develop a Star Wars game without, oh, I dunno, the Jedi, space flight, VEHICLES!!! etc

I predict that Koster is a gonner. Watch this space.

From what Brian is recounting it sounds just like…EverQuest. Substitute the fantasy equivalents for the special attacks and abilities and you get the same group dynamic: mezzers, nukers, tanks, healers, etc. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing.

From what I hear from others, this game is very much for folks who thought UO’s crafting system was too simple and who don’t want to go within a hundred miles of a shooter-style combat system.

In a discussion last night in RL someone mentioned that PlanetSide, with Empire and Rebel “empires” would be a better model for a Star Wars game than the EQ paradigm. I’d have to agree. SW is about blasting and fighitng and glory and adrenaline, not about making fishing poles and harvesting corpses for resources.

But different strokes, etc. More power to ya.

EXACTLY. From what I can tell, had they canned (!) Planetside and used that backdrop for SWG, they’d have been MUCH better off. Then again, what do I know.

Then, they’re going to include a space flight (and vehicles as I understand) as an add-on pack. More lemmings fodder for idiots who would buy it. Its the same EQ model all over again. Milk a cow’s tits - any cow - until powder comes out.

" SWG will fail. Period. Primarily because the only thing it has in common with the Star Wars franchise we thought we were going to play in, is the name."

I’ll take that bet. I’m not a fan of the game, and don’t know if I’ll ever try it myself(maybe when the space expansion comes out), but I can see it going on and becoming a successful game. Why? I remember hearing many a person talking trash about EQ. How it was a boring level treadmill, that was nothing more than endless killing and camping. well 4 years and 450K subscribers later…

I think plenty of people will stick with this game for a long time, and give SOE plenty of chances.

You’re on.

One thing you forget is that EQ came at a time when only UO was a viable alternative. Times have changed.

I still do not think it will all out fail either. If AO, and WW2O and for crissakes Meridian 59 can stay around, it will survive. Maybe as only a shadow of what it was intended to be, but it will survive. A death sentence on its 2nd or 3rd day of existence may, if I may be so bold to say, sir, also be jumping the gun a bit Commander, sir. [salute]

I’ll take that bet too and double the ante. And it’s because the game is good - the players get it, the ‘pros’ don’t seem to. Who is more relevant?


Here’s an example of combat that just happened before the servers went down for maintenaince.

I was with a party from The Vagabond (a multi-PA city founding group I joined up with some time ago) and we were all taking missions, two at a time, to destroy targets to the south of Narmle. Loaded up and ready to go. Five, and later six, of us. The sixth was a Rodian who wandered by and helped out with a battle - turned out to be an unaffiliated roleplayer himself.

We came up on a den of Borgles - batlike critters in several varieties. Well, there was an argument about whether to attack the den or the Borgles first. In the middle of all this a mated pair of tusk cats prowled up on the Borgle nest and started doing some hunting of their own. I tried to convince the others to back off and wait for the cats to trim the number of Borgles down, as they are pack creatures and will rush you en masse, then we’d finish off the weakened cats.

Well, as usual, some hotshot decided not only to go ahead and attack but to attack the nest rather than pick off the Borgles first. This wasn’t a bright move because now not only did all the flocking Borgles attack but the nest spawned more including a couple that sat around and rebuilt the lair. One of the cats decided we were tasty and jumped in himself after he’d had his fill of Borgle snack-ums.

The scouts, who can move up steep slopes fast, beat a fighting retreat up a cliff nearby to gain distance. This doesn’t work so well against flying creatures -because they ignore terrain- I stuck it out with our party leader alternately healing him and firing warding shots against the larger Borgles. He was soon incapacitated, so in order to keep him from getting killed I distracted the pack of borgles from him with a point-blank spray of laser fire (point blank group attack) and made a run for another pack of animals - birdlike rasps. Sometimes you can scrape off one attacker on another creature or NPC group and, in the chaos, slip away. This time it didn’t work and I was soon laid out myself.

Half the party was incapacitated a few escaped and a few died, then had to make the dangerous trek back from the cloning center.

Now I listen to people in channel talking about how the Borgles should have been distracted by the cats or how the mission was too hard. I pointed out that we could have won it if we’d used our brains and employed tactics rather than just rushing in like barbarians.

We were about to try it again, and noticed happily that one of the surviving cats had returned to her borgle hunting, when the servers went into sheduled maintenaince.

This is boring?

>This is boring?

Yes.

  • Being incapacitated and having to wait 90 SECONDS to do anything (including chat in the open channel) is boring.

  • Being killed and having to go through a whole treatment process in the city hospital, then off for a corpse recovery is boring.

  • Being a medic with stimpacks that heal at a rate of 1% health every 5 seconds (and need to be crafted 10 stimpacks at a time through resources that the medic himself can’t even harvest) is boring.

  • Getting battle fatigue that can only be cured by RUNNING back to a city (there is no “teleport/return home” skill), going into a cantina and finding a player character playing a saxophone is boring.

  • Having no form of class/race-specific quests or mission progression, any feel of story or a dynamic world, is boring.

Whether SWG will fail - depends on the definition I suppose. I’m sure it will hit NPD Top Ten at No. 1 when the relevant week is compiled. But like Matrix Reloaded and Hulk and all the other high profile movies that are smashes at the box office the opening weekend, then drop off immediately the following week because of poor word-of-mouth, I think SWG won’t continue to sell.

And the majority (not all - not the Brian Ruckers and few like-minded certainly) will either eat their loss or complain for a refund to LucasArts. Might even see a class action suit; didn’t another MMORPG get a suit against it for false advertising on the packaging because features were broken?

The stories people invent to tell how the battles went can be interesting, but the underlying game mechanics that lead to those stories bore me. I’m not big on games that purposely make simple tasks time consuming.

Oh god, not another “you are dead and therefore we’re going to make you stare at this screen in silence for 90 seconds” screwup.

Knock it off, devs. Dying sucks enough as it is without being made to stand in the corner and think about what we did wrong.

HAHA this post on the official boards is a riot:

"I was just name RAPED

I had a perfectly acceptable, and loved by many, name. My name was Dinky Poopstick, and this mornig it was changed to Inky. This is unacceptable, I followed the name scheme set by lucas himself. The last name is a combination of a noun and a verb Sky(noun) Walker(verb), Poop(noun) Stick(verb). but wait i know that many of you may say, but poopstick is a bad word; but to you I say, maybe you should look up poopstick in the dictionary, maybe you will find that a poopstick is a pole that hang above the aft end of a ship on which you hang a flag. Try looking it up, and expanding your mind instead of castrizing everyone for what you think is wrong. The strong grip of the empire has nothing on the closed mind of the people. as for my 1st name Dinky, if you never had a friend named Shorty, Tiny, or Dinky try getting some.

I beg of the Devs, plz don’t make me delete this char and start a new one. the name Inky is a slap in the face and a huge disapointment."

SWG will fail. Period. Primarily because the only thing it has in common with the Star Wars franchise we thought we were going to play in, is the name. Goddmannit, who in their right minds would want to develop a Star Wars game without, oh, I dunno, the Jedi, space flight, VEHICLES!!! etc

The only mmopg I’ve played was Everquest, and I only stuck that out for 2 months. Even so, I’ll give this one a shot just because of the chance to be in the Star Wars universe. Hell yes I’m a fanboy, and fanboys are going to drive sales on this one. As long as they can provide the content to get people to stick around I don’t see why it would ever fail.

And thats it right there. My defiinition of fail is of TSO proportions, simply because of their long term projections in which they assume that because of the Star Wars name, they’ve got another EQ type success on their hands. They’d be hard pressed to sustain Planetside type subs.

Oh man, thats funee. Link please?!? :D

Question: How many hours did you have to play in order to have that one “combat”?

And, to tell the truth, it sounds a lot less interesting than a typical combat in Planetside (though I even think Planetside is pretty boring).

Brian’s point is valid–there’s a lot of folks for whom what he described is a damn fine bit of role-playing.

I just don’t happen to be one of them. Which is why I won’t say “the game is bad” or “it’ll flop,” though it may well be and it may well do so. Or not. Time will tell.

But I do have some trouble getting my head around the concept of these Star Wars settings where, apparently, despite ultra high technology and interstellar space travel, most inhabited worlds are covered in virgin tracts of undeveloped land filled to the brim with sentient-being eating critters, or just plain critters, the wholesale destruction of which seems to bother no one a whit.

In other words, while my poor little brain has no trouble conceiving of a fantasy world like Norrath or Brittania or whatever with “monsters” in the wilderness–after all we’re talking about pseudo-Medieval tech and level of development after all–I just can’t grasp the concept of Star Wars with ecologies and social systems cut from the same cloth. Yes, there were critters in the movies, on places ranging from Hoth to Tatooine to Naboo, but I never got the impression that the entire population of, say, Mos Eisley spent most of their time foraging the countryside shooting womprats or what not. It just doesn’t…grab me.

No, to me Star Wars means blasters and space ships and dramatic battles big and small. I have never had any desire to be a craftsman or a musician or a shoe shine boy in the Star Wars universe. I have, however, had the desire to play a bad-ass Stormtrooper (oxymoron?) or a Bounty Hunter or a ne’er do well smuggler. And those are the things that SWG really doesen’t let you do—not now, and probably not ever. Not in a viscerally satisfying way. They have to make sure eveyrone fits into the level and experience lattice properly, that no one is too powerful too fast, and that there is a precious balance between all the players and classes and professions, etc. Which of course is counter to the fiction, where all the interesting people are, well, bad asses. And it’s the essence of these treadmill games that nobody, ever, is a bad ass really. There’s always a nicely balanced area for you to operate in, and if you go elsewhere, you get nada.

So this long-winded ramble of mine is simply to say I’m not a nay-sayer or critic necessarily, just someone who doesn’t want to play this game for the above reasons. It’ll be interesting to see how many others feel the same way and how many feel like Brian and the others who are enjoying the experience. Again, time will tell all…