First of all, happy New Year everyone and a great 2012.
Over the holidays, I played quite a bit of The Old Republic and there’s a ton of stuff I want to talk about here. So much so in fact I’m going to have to focus on small parts at a time and first on the block is the narrative structure of swtor and the replayability it brings to the game.
Bioware talked a lot before launch about how the storytelling and choices you would have to make in-game would have impacts on your play experience and how it would make each playthrough something unique. A lot of bloggers and beta testers who had tried the system also praised it saying how it made you care about your character and how it added replayability to areas you had already visited.
And I was not believing a word of it… In my mind, the game would still be about going to A and B and then killing ten rats. Ultimately, being called captain, or master, or trooper wouldn’t make that much of a difference and it would be all the same.
I have been proven wrong… after playing three times through Korriban, two times through the Tython with the exact same class and now redoing Ord Mantell, I can say that the storytelling is turning out to be one of the game strongest point. Bioware wasn’t lying, the choices you make during conversations and quests do affect future quests, gameplay and other conversations and do make for unique experiences.
For example, both the Sith inquisitor and warrior start on Korriban. As a warrior, you’re a talented and powerful apprentice dragged into a powerplay by an old and weak Sith Lord trying to save his ass from his enemies using you. As an inquisitor, you’re a slave who’s shown aptitude for the force and now you have to fight tooth and nail to survive and make your place as a Sith in a society that sees you as inferior due to your origins. Going further, if you choose to go lightside with the inquisitor you’ll be helping others to survive and try to change things while if you choose darkside you’ll be working to sabotage and manipulate the others to increase your power.
These decisions do affect some of the quests that are being offered to you and each class has quests unique to them in every zone. When you combine decisions, lightside/darkside, class specific quests and a lot of other factors, the same planet can be played ten times and still feel different every time.
So while certain quests do remain the same every playthrough, I’m finding that a lot of the game do change. So yes, I may still end up killing the same ten rats in the same corridor but by that time I don’t care anymore, I’m more interested in finding out the next chapter of the story and see how things will evolve.
Kudos to Bioware for making this happen! Sure, at some point you can probably exhaust all the possibilities but with 8 classes, 16 advanced classes, dark and light for everyclass plus my choices, I can see myself be entertained for years before I run out of stuff do with the story.