SWTOR: Pre-Entry Questions For Those Who Play

So… a friend of mine mentioned that they were playing SWTOR a week or two ago. “You probably wouldn’t like it,” they said, knowing my rabid distaste of the entire Star Wars universe.

But they shared that they were having quite a bit of fun with the Jedi Consular and the singleplayer storyline, because it was a sort of Zen type of balancing diplomacy/politics narrative (or that’s what I kind of gathered anyhow) and what the hey, it’s free-to-play now, right?

Though in the next breath, they admitted that since they were enjoying the game, they put down five or so bucks to get the premium benefits of earlier levels to a mount or something like that.

I said, “Uh huh. Okay” in a noncommital fashion, because I had other games I was in the midst of then, and my hard disk, suffering from a surfeit of Steam games, had only about 1.3 gb free space remaining. (A random Google said give at least oh, 38gb or so for SWTOR. *gulp*)

Here’s the thing, though.

I believe very strongly that Free 2 Play is a good model for MMOs over strictly sub-based, because it lowers the entry barrier for people who might be sitting on the fence.

And I also believe very strongly that one can learn valuable things from any MMO – eg. what you like, what you don’t – as long as you give it a shot and a fair shake, despite how convinced you are beforehand that you probably won’t like it.

So despite my hatred of holy trinity unoriginality, my not-terribly-impressed opinion of binary good/evil alignment systems and rolling-eye “What was George Lucas thinking splooging CGI into every shot of his new movies” viewpoint, I’ve always intended to give SWTOR a try some day.

Even if I think it’s a WoW clone, don’t like raiding as an endgame and have never heard of any other MMO restricting hotbars and UI customization only to paying customers before.

I figure I will at least be informed as to how they handled “story as a fourth pillar,” see how the companions system works, and get a few pretty screenshots while hopefully being pleasantly surprised by one or two unique things once I’m actually in-game.

I just finished all I cared to in Batman: Arkham City, so between removing that, and the brainwave of moving all 30+ gb of World of Warcraft (I’m never repeating that slow-ass download from scratch again, I gotta save my outdated folder somewhere in the blue moon case that I ever get the itch) to an external hard disk, I managed to free up 40 odd gigabytes for SWTOR.

I liked how quickly and effortlessly the website moved me from signing up an account with them (didn’t even need to give them an email) to throwing me the game client to begin the download.

Alas, SWTOR suffers from the same problem as WoW and TSW and frankly, all the humongous MMOs besides the GW franchise, patching takes fucking forever. I don’t get it. I’m staring at it take 100-200kb/s to download 9 gigabytes of some English video, and after that, I still have 12 gb of Main Assets 1 to go. And there’s probably Main Assets 2 and 3 and goodness-knows-how-many more still left.

I download Guild Wars 2 patches at 1 megabyte/sec or more, so it’s not my fibre-optic network slowing things down here.

Why make players wait to play your game? Get them in-game as fast as possible to be hooked. Stream other stuff later if you need to.

Case in point, the last time I tried World of Warcraft during Cataclysm, they did exactly that. Just cross the minimum download requirements, and you’re in, you can get the other non-essential stuff later. Guild Wars 1, just download the areas you’re about to see. Guild Wars 2, no queues, just overflow servers to get players playing the game first.

Anyhow, zeroth impressions rant aside, I’m aware that I won’t have the patience to try all eight classes offered by SWTOR. I might play one or two.

So my question for those who have played SWTOR, is which class(es) and storyline would you recommend for me?

Background: I have a preference of melee over ranged, though I enjoy back-and-forth flexibility. I need a class that can solo well. I gravitate towards and enjoy flipping between tanking and doing damage, though I tend to enjoy tanking very much less if I /need/ a pocket healer to keep me upright. I don’t mind rogue stealth or pure dps, but tend to twitch very uncomfortably playing pure healers.

And I’d like to experience some of the better-written (in general opinion) storylines and companions. In D&D terms, my heroes tend to lean towards a neutral good alignment playstyle – following the law is nice, but doing the right thing is better. I’m also very open to playing evil and badass and monster types, with preferably shades of grey, not so much black-and-white I-am-uber-Jedi-Knight-of-Light or ultimate-Dark-Sith-Lord type of deal.


Judging by the size of the red bar, it’s going to take DAYS to finish the download, even if I leave the computer on, so feel free to weigh in for a week or so.