Star Wars: The Old Republic
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Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe. Produced by Bioware, and set in the era following the two madly popular Knights of the Old Republic games, there was no game as hyped for by the gaming community. When it was announced it labelled as the the real deal, the "ultimate WoW killer" (according to some people).
Realistically, upon launch it became a formidable rival to World of Warcraft, the largest and most respected MMO ever created. For three months after its initial launch, it gained new subscribers faster than any other game had ever gained, including WoW and Everquest 2. Journalists and reviewers praised it before its launch, telling the public it was the best thing to ever happen to Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. Beta players gushed on every social media outlet they could find, and the pre-order boxes that contained a statue of the Darth Vader flavor of the game (because everything Star Wars has one, don't you know) vanished as soon as they were available. With the flop of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, where Blizzard had tried to hard to energize the game and simply irritated older players with new lackluster fluff and more already-outdated pop culture references than new Simpsons episodes, it almost seemed that the fate of that game had been sealed.
It seemed inevitable. This game was going to be the true WoW killer, after years of literally every MMO (including the ill-fated Warhammer Online) receiving the same praise but failing even before launch to impress. Within ten years, it was said people would forget WoW even existed and younger players would laugh at former hardcore WoW veterans whose game had been dethroned of its place.
No More Hope
Sadly, despite early content in the game being absolutely amazing to the untrained eye, the game was filled with bugs (more so than most new games) and the graphics unpolished. While early content was full of detail and options including conversations and multiple endings to storylines, later content was even more bare-bones than Warcraft content had become. Many players saw the same Mass Effect formula attempted but streamlined in terrible ways while being hamfisted into a multiplayer aspect. To add to this, the actual gameplay mechanics were as difficult to figure out as WoW's was at the time. PvP was a clusterfuck due to horrible PvP balance between classes, and new content (or even announcements) came slower than tumbleweeds on their website. The bonuses from pre-ordering were a few crappy for-fun items like a five second hologram Twi'lek dancer and a flare gun that did nothing but annoy people around you as well as access to a few cosmetic items only really there for a few types of characters (here's a hint; they use lightsabers, and all the kids wanted to be them first and only).
Players desperately begged for things that they felt would make the game better like playable Cathar and Wookies, actual exploration instead of a quest area filled with mobs and a single road leading to it on a map so big that it made the Hoth hangar look like ten planets in scope but with a few (mandatory by endgame) stat boosts that required platforming skills to get to, a continuation of class storylines rather than just being shoved into the overarching game story at a certain point, and a focus on space combat (which at that point was only an amusing rail shooter). But Bioware one by one crushed the fan's hopes; space combat was never meant to be a big part of the game and was added as a side distraction only. Lucas had declared Wookies will never be a player race again due to him thinking Galaxies was too silly and they had to abide by it, the fact that it was hard enough troubleshooting the pathing issues of the worlds as it was, and Cathar were only meant to be an NPC race for a few simple plots since their storyline is mostly wrapped up in the events of the previous two games (going from being victims of genocide to, by Luke's era, being at their former strength to be near-genocided again and forgotten about by the era of the saucy red and black Sith Twi'lek everyone's fapped to but nobody knows anything about). Furthering endgame content was being put on hold in order to bring about events. Said events were not actually given the pomp and circumstance most game events got (even "Hey, it's Halloween! Go kill the Headless Horseman!" got more advertisement in Warcraft), and were all limited to a week by week roll out of it until the event ended. Permanently. As a result, many players missed them while trying to entertain themselves with alts like they were supposed to or only discovered it after finding out they couldn't move one foot without being gang-raped by twenty end level players or a mob of end-level NPC's which were for some reason put smack in the middle of intended and mandatory for progression leveling areas. The plots of each were relatively simple, leaving players asking "Was that trip really necessary?"
The first major update brought the ability to empower main characters with the abilities of all characters, overpowering players with far more time to play and reinforcing the idea that players were supposed to entertain themselves by playing EVERYTHING rather than staying true to a single character or faction and powering through new content.
Blizzard Strikes Back
Then it happened. WoW launched its Mists of Pandaria expansion, which was advertised essentially as "we're doing what you asked for for years, we fixed what was shit" and brought about the ability to go with armor that looked good by superimposing it's look on better stat items (something SWTOR had promised with their orange items but failed in a big way to deliver on) along with streamlined classes, exploration based gameplay, a legendary quest chain which was for all classes, a plethora of interesting characters, and the addition of not only the long-demanded Pandaren class to the game (which would be in both factions) but also the fan favorite from Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne, Chen Stormstout (as well as his Jade Chan-like niece who developed a fan following of her own from her antics and voice acting). Then to deal the finishing blow, the long awaited and much drooled over Guild Wars 2 was released.
Within months, SWTOR had fallen from the most rapidly rising MMO ever to a free-to-play game with only a few thousand players and a playerbase who stuck around only because they were hardcore Star Wars fans. The sad tale of STWOR was over.
Later content involved going from a subscription to free to play (pay to do jack shit with convenience), adding in a few of the requested races (primarily just Cathar), expanding the "you just play everyone" idea by removing restrictions on races if you had leveled one up fully (so you could be a Sith Pureblood Jedi Knight, or a Cathar Mandalorian), expanding space combat into a full PvP experience (which was a clusterfuck mostly based on the idea of "you want cosmetic items to customize your ship? You have to play a lot to get them), and a few graphic enhancements. An expansion was released centering around the Hutts after hearing so much how some people wanted plotlines that DIDN'T revolve around jedi/sith all the time (although suddenly forcing jedi and sith into being bounty hunters and smugglers only proved to shift the complaints the other way), and finally the "Cartel Coin" system consisting of everybody's "favorite" way to play a game: buying fake money with real money, and buying everything you should be unlocking through gameplay.
The dream was over. Although the game goes on, there's no telling for how long it will. After several years only a trickle of new content has been added, while WoW released multiple major patches and produced their biggest expansion yet. Many players were left once again wondering how they could have been so dumb to waste their time and money on lies and speculation. Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise changed nothing about the game, as
Bioware Electronic Arts is ultimately the ones in charge of it while Disney focuses on Star Wars movies and cartoons.
Return of the Je- ...that guy people really wanted
Recently, the developers have started paying attention to their customers and have introduced content for things that players really wanted, like customisable housing and guild capital ships. As well as a plot arc involving "tactical" dungeon crawling that isn't as strict on party make-up, so required less time sitting queued in group finder.
While it is certainly too early to tell if it will re-invigorate the game, the current plot arc has now ended with the return of Revan - that guy who you played as in the very first KOTOR and cleaned up after in the second KOTOR. Possibly turning the next major expansion for the game into a proper third instalment and perhaps a completion of the entire plot arc, which was something that was promised at the very beginning. Revan turns out to be a crazy megalomaniac after being tortured for three hundred years and players have to kill him.
Up until this point you only got to encounter him once on either faction and for only the briefest of side-missions which was not actually essential to progress your story, rather than having him as the major player that the previous games and all the surrounding fiction made him out to be. Even allowing you to beat him in a mid-level boss fight, turning who was supposed to be the most badass character in the star wars universe into a bit of a pansy.
He's here now and he's pissed. The latest expansion took a bit of a sidestep and did "Pirates of the Caribbean IN SPACE" (coincidentally also owned by Disney) and has you running around on the Star Wars equivalent of Tortuga. But then it went back on track and took to a tiny world (relatively speaking) where you discover yet more significant plot twists regarding Revan and work your way to fighting him at raid boss equivalent. If you want to go solo, rather than weakening Revan (and cheapening it) the game provides you with a temporary NPC group to help you out.
Still, Bioware seemed insistent on disposing of one of their most famous characters outside of Commander Shepard so this is probably the last time we'll ever hear from Revan.
Unfortunately, the damage done early in the game's history appears to have become irreversible, and even his reappearance does not seem to be enough to counter the game's inevitable decline. That being said, their latest "promise" now seems to be a focus on storytelling, since they've implemented about as much as they can with the aforementioned customisable housing and the micro-transaction system. They've indicated that more large expansion packs will be coming in 2015, giving players more meat to grind through.
Sith & Jedi vs a non-Sith evil Force user faction that controls
drones droid battleships and wants to conquer the galaxy. Turns out the soul eating Sith Emperor was building this on the side. Either gets fucked by Dark Side or brought down by presumably Legends canon Light Side storyline.