Not even a year after its release, Bioware’s “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is going free to play. Falling under one million subscribers, “SWOTOR” did not live up to expectations and soon fell into the pit that every MMORPG seems to find today.
With three years of anticipation, “SWOTOR” promised to deliver a massive multiplayer experience that included an iconic “Bioware” style story with choices, alignments and characters. It also promised to make the multiplayer world more accessible to single-player mindsets by allowing a player to have computer controlled allies. These things were well executed and generally well received, but there was just one thing that broke the deal.
Combat in “SWOTOR” is exactly how it is in “World of Warcraft.” The player inputs skills via the numbers on the top of a keyboard and watches a cool down timer, then rinse and repeat. “World of Warcraft” may be a popular game, but nearly every game that copies its formula fails.
Meanwhile, the only people who are looking to play a new MMORPG most likely don’t like current ones, so borrowing from an existing one will only hurt a title.
I personally was very excited for the game and pre-ordered it for when it came out. I loved the way the story felt and the way it looked. However, the combat was extremely boring and not different at all, unlike the rest of the game.
It disheartens me to see a “Bioware” product do poorly as I have been a fan of them for a long time, but this goes to show that if the MMORPG scene is going to be broken into, innovation must occur. What I wouldn’t have given to be able to actually swing a light saber or shoot a blaster with a click like in a game like “Skyrim,” but still set in the same exact setting as the current game.
This isn’t to say free to play games are all bad, but when a game comes out with a subscription model and it very quickly drops that to entice players, there is obviously a core problem with it. Hopefully “Bioware” is able to pull this game out of the pit and make it worth playing again, as I am sure they’re capable of doing.
By: Steven Knauer