Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Old Republic: "ZWING!"

Two Bioware posts in one day. Huh. This one won't be as long, I promise.

Here's one of my beefs with The Old Republic, the next in a line of "WoW-killers" that has never so much as hurt World of Warcraft's feelings before sputtering into an early grave. Every player in this MMO will be able to play as a Jedi, if they want to. You can also be a bounty hunter or something.

But seriously, who ISN'T going to choose to be a Jedi? Who is going to turn down a lightsaber? A few diehard Boba Fett fans? Won't this game just become a sea of bright red and pink and blue and green glow wands prancing about on fetch quests? And if everyone is a Jedi, doesn't that by virtue make it significantly less special than when there are very few left(which I believe was kind of the point of the original trilogy)?

And I'm also worried over a comment by Jerry Holkins a while back. If I may badly paraphrase: "It should not take more than one swing of a lightsaber to kill an opponent." That's the elephant in the room for me. Because this is an MMO, they're going to have to rely on monsters not falling in one shot every single time, which is pretty much how a lightsaber would function in any other Star Wars video game.

I can't tell you how it would "realistically" function, because it's so blatantly broken a piece of fictional weaponry that it couldn't possibly be realistic. That's its appeal. Blasters can miss. We've all seen Stormtroopers. Or they might not be strong enough for that dude's armor or something. But a lightsaber's only real drawback is its range, which is compensated for by wicked force powers and kung-fu acrobatics and stuff.

So imagine what it'll be like for this guy's non-Ultima-Weapon-carrying, gravity-obeying ass.

"I can pose and scowl with this thing PRETTY HARD!"

The idea is that this is such an overpowered weapon that it requires a lifetime of training and personal meditation to use it responsibly. It's something only a select few can even begin to handle properly. If you give one to every player who asks for it, I don't know how long they'll be playing for before they realize they've already won the game. If they nerf the shit out of it to prolong the game's length, then it won't be any fun to use. And if they make hundreds of different kinds of sabers that get increasingly stronger the rarer it is, then it's no different from a regular old sword. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having a lightsaber in the first place.


Simply put, you can't give an instant-kill weapon to a beginning player like that. Not in an MMO. You NEED to spend four hours chipping away a boss' health meter with your 125-man raid, while Debuffers and Tanks do their thing and you gank mobs and lord do I ever hate online-game terminology.

A lot of online games would be conquered in hours and never touched again if they didn't have years of grinding to keep people from dropping all of the time they've invested. I'm really not sure how they could pay off development without falling into old pits they claim they're trying to avoid. I'm also not sure a lightsaber, the one people would actually want in a game like this could ever reasonably fit into a game like this.

(...Wow, so much for "this one won't be as wordy". Sorry about that. All screenshots courtesy of



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