Keen has a post up today about Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it sounds like he’s about where I am on the title, for different reasons.
I am not a really huge Star Wars fan. Sure, I loved the movies as a kid and as an adult looked back on them with immense nostalgia. But the dreadful prequel trilogy (while it did have its bright spots,) soured me on the whole property, now that I look back on it. In the world of computer games, I never played either KOTOR or did more than dabble in Star Wars Galaxies, so while the franchise may have a well-deserved rep for germinating solid video games, I was really never a part of it or indeed much interested in it at all. So in the end the Star Wars name really doesn’t do anything for me one way or the other.
My preferences in video games lie largely in the field of MMOs. I dabble with other stuff (mostly Rock Band, really,) from time to time, but the great majority of my gaming time goes into MMOs. And my preferences in MMOs would seem to help unsell SWTOR to me. Namely, persistent, seamless, non-instanced worlds, which it sure looks like SWTOR will lack, although I don’t think we’ve yet seen to what extent that will be true. Conventional wisdom says that the game will be very heavily instanced, but although conventional wisdom is sometimes wrong, Bioware has said nothing to disabuse us of the notion, and has shown us and said a great deal that implies heavy use of instancing.
As I’ve said in the past, I think instancing is a crutch used to plaster over holes in a game’s design. Ultimately, I think the practice is antithetical to what MMOs are all about: the shared virtual massive space.
But on the other hand, there’s Mass Effect. Back in the day when people were still speculating about what Bioware’s big MMO project was going to be, I was publically hoping that it would be Mass Effect Online. I really liked Mass Effect, and it certainly looks as though a lot of what Bioware did with that game will be heading into SWTOR. That alone is enough to make me interested. But it’s not enough to make SWTOR an MMO, at least by my definition, and while I would very much like to see and try the finished game, I’m not at all sure I’d stay interested in a SWTOR that’s not.