Playing Hero

Finally caught up with the new developer documentary for Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR). Needless to say, I’m pretty impressed. Syp over at Bio Break does a good job of summing it up. I agree, up until he says “Trooper”. I’m all about the Imperial Agent. And the Smuggler (I mean, really, what person my age hasn’t dreamt about being Han Solo?).

Sure, it was a little choppy in places. The game’s not even in beta yet. And for a product due for release over a year from now it looks pretty good. But great visuals are something I’ve come to expect from BioWare.

What really piqued my interest was the commentary. Specifically, the part about heroics and a single player taking on a group of enemies, fighting through “overwhelming odds”, and making it through. I play solo mostly, so this appeals to me. It adds a whole new level of drama. Players get to be the hero (amongst many, I know…).

What I worry about is that it’s too much focus on the solo player. Will TOR be a single player experience, grouping optional? Hopefully not. I may not always have time to group, but it’s a critical part of the “massively multiplayer” experience, and worthwhile. My hope is that BioWare just scales encounters to group size in some fashion; a solo player encounters 3 bad guys, a group of 6 encounter 15. Something like that.

The thing I always stick on is lightsaber combat. I felt it in Knight of the Old Republic (though they had an explanation for it), and I feel it now. Lightsabers cut through everything. A robot struck with a lightsaber should go down in a single swipe. For that matter, so should anything else. To see a Jedi or Sith swinging away at anything over and over just robs the experience of something, no matter how acrobatically awesome it may play.

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