First impressions from a few days in the headstart Star Wars: The Old Republic are positive, a solid MMOG with a nice sprinkling of Bioware story and voice-work. Special mention on the latter to Simon Templeman (if Wookiepedia has the right voice cast) for his honey-coated Grand Moff Kilran, giving the Black Talon flashpoint a bit of a Leslie Phillips/Roger Allam vibe (I say, ding dong!) (Slightly random aside, Roger Allam is particularly fine in the excellent Cabin Pressure, well worth a listen.)
Playing solo is highly reminiscent of a single player Bioware RPG, odd MMOG-ism aside (a marketplace of infinitely respawning bandits here, an orderly queue to click on a quest item there), no bad thing, and in a group the conversation system (everyone picks a reply, there’s a roll to determine which is actually used) has worked rather well so far. With a single voice (per gender) for each class one slightly jarring thing in a party was someone else speaking with ‘my’ voice, which did make me realise how much I was identifying with my character.
With many servers already groaning under the strain of pre-order players it’ll be interesting to see if today’s official launch brings them crashing down like a lassoed AT-AT, but queues aside the pre-launch period has been pretty smooth. “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near”, as Oscar Wilde said when he was fronting The Doors, but for now it’s not a bad start.