Friday 27 January 2012

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.

Aside from the story-drive class missions and general planetary exploration of Star Wars: The Old Republic I’ve been putting in a bit of time with some of the repeatable content, daily missions, mostly those for warzone PvP and space combat.

Space combat is… fine. A bit disappointing if compared to the space elements Star Wars: Galaxies introduced in Jump to Lightspeed, which were great; free-form PvE and PvP combat with whole fleets of iconic and not-so-iconic starships including multi-crew ships (Melmoth once manned the rear turret of my Y-Wing) (no, that’s not slang). Of the few trial weeks I had in SWG, they were mostly spent flying, but it wasn’t enough to persuade me to subscribe to the game. I hanker for the days of X-Wing as much as the next man (probably considerably more than the next man, unless the next man is someone who’s legally changed his name to ‘Hank Wing’, middle name ‘er After X-‘), but I think I’ve established it’s mostly nostalgia, even with Black Prophecy available and free to play I’ve not been back to it. I haven’t entirely abandoned hope that SWTOR might unveil an expansion, Something Very Similar To Jump To Lightspeed But With A Different Name To Avoid Trademark Issues, but commercially it probably wouldn’t make sense, rather like the beloved sandboxiness of the rest of SWG.

So taking the space combat in SWTOR for what it is, it’s a decent enough rail shooter evoking the 1983 Star Wars arcade game, though shinier graphics and the odd ship upgrade aren’t massive steps forward in 30-odd years. There are daily space ‘operations’ available from your ship-board computer which, combined with the rewards from the individual missions themselves, give a decent return in XP, credits and space commendations. The missions are fun enough the first couple of times but with no random elements (that I could discern, at least) they pale fairly quickly. Still, it serves a purpose as quick-hit self-contained blast as a break, or while waiting for friends, or during crafting.

In terms of random elements PvP warzones are right at the other of the spectrum from space missions, somewhere betweeen “long term weather forecasts” and “things The Daily Mail say cause cancer”. For 30-odd levels I’d been hopping in to warzones now and again for a bit of a break from PvE and generally rather enjoying them (and wasting commendations, as it turned out you’re limited to 1000, and I’d been saving them up for level 50), it was only recently that I noticed there’s also a daily mission to win a warzone battle, available near the class trainers in the Imperial Fleet. As with the daily space operations it gives a nice chunk of XP and credits on top of those gained in the warzone, plus a box that contains a couple of stacks of warzone-only consumables and a random green item, so it’s worth grabbing, though it’s a bit of a pain to have to schlep up to the Fleet to pick it up when you can join a warzone from anywhere; I’ve taken to using the emergency fleet pass to wrap up a session at the end of an evening, then starting the next session with a bit of a bag clear-out at the market and a crack at a warzone or two.

There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about SWTOR warzones, but where the unchanging nature of space combat meant my interest has dropped away over time, the endless variety of human interaction of PvP means warzones have generally supplanted World of Tanks for my daily drop in dose of screaming frustration (and/or triumphant victory).

No comments: