SWG NDA is up

It’s so not ready for release. There’s too many showstopping bugs in the game and there’s no way for them to fix them all before release. If a bunch of people start having their character permanently die when they just paid $75 for the privledge of playing they are not going to be happy campers. Not to mention the skill devouring bug they just introduced two days ago.

There is no balance to speak of, but that’s almost expected when it comes to MMOs. Non-combat classes are both incredibly dull and exceptionally poor… especially if you go with a borked profession like chef or droid engineer. Playing an entertainer is just hours and hours of pure torture, listening to the same song over and over and over and rarely ever seeing the world outside the cantina.

The combat is not bad. It’s MMO auto-attack combat, but with my wookie scout (who has mysteriously forgotten how to set up a tent thanks to the skill devouring bug) I can make neat traps to throw into combat and that’s pretty entertaining.

It’s a pretty game, and it runs fairly well on my poor RAM-starved machine. Languages are almost meaningless because it takes no time to teach them, the only time they matter are if you are a wookie, and that’s because new players will bug you to teach them your language.

Character creation has an impressive amount of variety, but the classes that have tattoos/markings are shortchanged by the majority of the tattoos/markings being painfully lame.

Over all, my recommendation is an overwhelming and whole-hearted “Do not pre-order, wait until the space expansion and see how it’s doing then”. It’s not like mastering a skill takes years of effort, you won’t be significantly behind for the wait, and you’ll save yourself a lot of fustration.

Still waiting for the first MMORPG released in playable condition…

Why would anyone want to be a chef? Why even have a profession like that? I can’t believe they wasted time coding something like that. While I might like to BBQ in real life, I can’t imagine cooking a virtual bratwurst and then consuming it to be satisfying. And please don’t tell me our SWG characters have to eat? I hope food only adds a temporary benefit like restoring health that would be otherwise restored more slowly. I hated having to eat and drink in EQ. NEVER ONCE WAS IT FUN!

It sounds like The Sims Online where there are lots of things to do, but most aren’t interesting.

Oh well, all I want to do is play a psychotic killer and kill lots of things. If the game handles that in an interesting manner, I’ll probably have a good time.

Did they do anything to make the process of crafting more interesting? That’s always been lame in these game. Take items A. B. and C and drop them into a window and hit the “Combine” button and wait.

At least it’s not as bad as Rubies of Eventide, a little homebrew rpg that was just released. One of the classes in that game is, I kid you not, a fucking calligrapher. Yes, that’s right. You too can go online, spending $14.99 a month to pretend to write really pretty.

It’s how you would hope. Eating’s optional.

Did they do anything to make the process of crafting more interesting?

Not much. You combine types of ingredients, and some types will provide “experimentation” bonuses. But it’s still very much just a process of selecting ingredients and hitting combine, poof you have your item with no animation or sound effect. Blah.

I’m actually suprised that they went ‘hardcore’ in implementing lots of non combat professions. My only hiope is they eventually balance it all, and make an incentive to do these things. The ‘let the players create the content/gameplay’ just wont work. I really hope they dont give up on the non combat skills. Though right now, it seems the games at least 2 or 3 months from being ‘playable’ ina balanced sense… from what I’ve read so far the game is far from complete…

etc

Also, patheticly small collection of screenshots time.

Pretty Zabrak. Strange, but people will play alien-looking aliens of any color you can imagine, but give them a humanish race like the Zabrak and suddenly everyone is white white white.

Wookie clothes look remarkably silly. Especially wookie skirts.

She’s a scientist. She’ll use her boobulator vaginalogue to oversexulate you.

That game looks absolutely nothing at all like what was shown at E3 two years ago. If I were an e3awards.com judge, I’d be demanding a recount of those awards the game won because it was so purdy.

I still use high res characters, but I have to turn down the rest of the settings because I don’t have enough RAM.

It’s nice, and maybe they’ll eventually be interesting. Right now there’s not much to them. I already mentioned the drag drag combine crafting borefest. Dancers get some nicely mo-capped animations-- that you’ll need to watch about a hundered times before you get a new set. They’ve supposedly added mission types apart from the “delivery” and “combat” types, like “gig” missions for dancers and musicians, but given that the info about them was just put into the Holocron (the online help) with the last patch, I can’t say for sure if they work or are even available. That’s a job for the beta testers who are paying $50 instead of $12.50, as far as I’m concerned. Not that I was actually the one who had paid $12.50, but I’m still a bit sore about it anyway so I mentioned it.

Basically, with few exceptions, everything that was supposed to make this different from other MMO’s is “not in yet”. People who said “EQ with wookies” have turned out to be mostly right. At least the graphics look good enough to give the framerate an excuse to suck, unlike Sims Online. Sorry Raph-- I say as if you aren’t so busy right now that you could be reading this-- but this is what I see.

I think the graphics are fine. I’m more worried about skill balance, downtime, ‘funstuff’, varying playstyles that don’t get dull, general playability, cool pvp (playah killah griefing UO style!) etc etc.

I think SWG looks pretty cool, and the features that are in the game now are cool. Its UO in space more than EQ in space (except in graphics and mobs). I think if the game is contantly improved and balanced and whatnut, I’ll be there eventually, just not at release.

etc

also for the betatesters, how playable is the game right now compared to say, DAOC, SB and AC2 on release. I mean gameplay, options, things to do and whatnut.

etc

Hey, there’s tons of games out there that’ll let you do that, Mark. And guess what? They won’t cost you $14.99 a month!

There’s not a lot of gameplay. If you are non-combat then you do your one thing for ever and ever and beg for money to train. If you are a combat type then you either do destroy missions for lots of money or you group for lots of experience. If you don’t ask around about what’s working and what isn’t you might pigeonhole yourself into a non-working class. Travel is expensive, so you’ll probably spend your first couple of weeks on your newbie planet (don’t choose Naboo, I’ve been playing there ok, but on each server it’s the planet with the highest amount of bugs).

You can go hang out in the cantina or hotel or hospital and chat with the non-combat players stuck there and taunt them about the money situation. Or you could torment yourself by taking up crafting on the side. Personally, I recommend taking up Creature Handler if you want something non-combat related. Pet AI is buggy, but they work better than droids and you can have 5 adult bull rancors grouped with you if you play it right.

Sorry Raph-- I say as if you aren’t so busy right now that you could be reading this-- but this is what I see.

No worries, we can’t make everyone happy.

The official boards are running around 4/5 good reviews now that the NDA is lifted, which is more than I dared hope for, so… :)

-Raph

I haven’t heard many positive impressions from credible sources. The most positive ones sound really forced to me(ie, I invested a lot of time in this game and it can’t suck), but maybe I am mistaken.

Hopefully things go well for launch, I was really looking forward to this game. I need another MMORPG.

Heh, I should have known.

I know I’ve disqualified myself from impartial commentary. I’m a SWG fanboi. Why? I think a fanboi crosses the line when what he’s seen in a game inspires him to want it to succeed so he can see more of it. That’s me. I have no desire to be impartial here.

It’s fair to say that many of the things I’d like to see in SWG aren’t in it yet. Player cities and space flight among other things. It’s also fair to say there are some devestating but fairly uncommon bugs in the box (the worst is the shuttle-ghosting problem that can send you into an in-escapable netherworld when you piss off the ticket-droid. Only solution is to wait for a server reset currently). There are hordes of tiny but real bugs that are also being worked on.

What I like is the sense of scale and perspective of SWG. Worlds are huge and the wilderness feels alive and unpredictable. Creatures have varying behaviors and interact according to species. Terrain, flora and fauna all bring me into a real sense of place. And it’s not just wasted empty land used as a mat for combat. Anyone with skills can forage for food (food works as buffs - chef crafted food, medicines from doctors, and spice from smugglers also works in similiar ways to foraged goods but with stronger effects, stackable lots, and better durations) or survey for a variety of resources that crafters will use. While just using a personal crafting tool operates as previously described, serious crafters - and I’ve met a few - get obsessive about finding the best resources and components (the same resources can come in many alternate types from a given planet and also in more varieties with different traits from other planets) in order to make the ‘best’ goods. Goods are then sold on bazaars (currently not always working unfortunately) either by auction or instant sale. Often crafters trade their best goods to surveyors or scouts that help them out. Crafters can also erect harvesters on resource rich spots to come up with supplies even when they’re offline.

Player villages are forming and usually it’s a pretty natural thing in beta. Someone popular or successful sets up a house and maybe puts in crafting stations or a vendor and folks that do business with her, for convenience, set up houses nearby. Some houses serve as homes, others as shops or warehouses. Often there are harvesters around pulling resources or generating power set up nearby.

NPC missions are admittedly limited but they’re still the best sources of money. You’ll spend time running Fed Exes to raise cash for travel or training or items sold on the Bazaar. Generally, I just use these to pass the time when I’m waiting for friends to get online because once they are I’m hammered with pages from people needing something. Augustine wants to fetch stuff from her harvester on Dathomir and needs a bodyguard, Saldor has a good spot for a settlement and wants me to check it out with him, Vren needs fiberplast or furs, someone else is going to a party at the Talus Cantina and is getting people together, some newbies want me to be leader of a hunting party (again), a friend needs training, other Rebels are looking to raise faction points and want me to meet them at the ‘secret’ rebel base for some raids, etc.

Missions are gerbil wheels to waste time on - they’re not the game. The players are. Anyone with people skills develops contacts and friends very quickly as folks do need each other. Folks that help are helped and thus communities, even in beta and especially after chat was fixed, start dynamically forming.

All that said, it’s very possible to solo and never see anyone at all quite successfully. The key here is that a character is a character and not a class. From the get go you understand that you’re making a unique persona - character creation isn’t about min-maxing stats and skills so much as it is messing around with graphical sliders. Tall, fat, short, thin, young, old, freckles, flat nose, long nose, cheeks, jaw, hair, facial hair, skintones, hair colors, hair styles…and that’s just humans. But while creation forces you to chose one basic, beginning, class you can buy any skills you want. And the smart soloist will.

Most of my early time was as a soloist as I’m the sort who likes to figure out how things work by himself. While not a master at anything, my character could hunt, fight, make basic medicines, and do surveying and sampling of resources. Wandering through the wilderness and pulling up or hunting down stuff that artisans in town wanted was how I made my living. And since POIs spawn dynamically there’s alot of content that isn’t tied to static locations. There are common POIs, creature lairs or factional/criminal camps, but there are also uncommon POIs that offer unusual encounters and special quests. And no lines, no 12-year-olds from stratics camping a ‘spawn site’ for ‘good loot’. It’s a place you’ve found in the wild that’s a part of your world, not somebody else’s walkthrough.

Anyhow, that’s enough from me for now and it doesn’t scratch the surface of all the cool stuff I’ve seen and done in beta.

I love this game, it really respects my intelligence for the most part and tries to present a world that’s believable and relatively unpredictable. Interactions are complex. There are balancing and bug issues but nothing that won’t be resolved. There are problems with particular professions (smugglers that don’t smuggle is a sore spot for me - maybe vehicles or the SE will fix that some).

What there is, as I’ve put it elsewhere, is the basic building blocks for something that’s going to be astounding. What could be said against it is that to a non-roleplayer’s eyes, in which immersion and suspension of disbelief matter a bit less, it might not be as astounding on the surface yet as it will be.

Like I said in the other thread. Bugs or boredom aren’t going to keep people away. It’s going to do well.

BTW Angie, unless you go by GashPrex on the GA Forums, you’ve got a fan.

http://forums.gaming-age.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=42102

–Dave

I seriously doubt SWG will be an AO or SB style clusterfuck. But man, I’m not going to pay $75 8 days from now to deal with the same problems I have now. I’ll give the game another look in the future.