Aggro Me: SWG Me (for Free)
SWG Me (for Free)
Alright, before I start this post I want to clarify:
1. While I didn't rip SOE (or Lucas) too hard for the whole NGE thing, I did get my digs in. But not being a SWG player, I didn't feel knowledgeable enough to go totally overboard about it. I will say that I definitely would have handled the whole thing much differently and leave it at that. But this post is not a discussion of that issue. It's also not getting into the old vs. new game debate. From what I understand, regardless of what you thought of the old SWG it was pretty original in many ways. But this post is just taking a look at the new game as a first-timer.
2. I'm not one hundred percent sure on this but I think I was able to download the entire game (with the Jump to Lightspeed expansion) for free. I also think I will be able to play free forever. No, it's not my special Aggro powers. It's because I'm an All Access Pass subscriber, or whatever they're calling it these days.
The All Access thing is kind of funny because it shows how quickly business models change with the trends. A year or two ago it seemed like SOE was going all out on the All Access concept of playing several games for one price. Now they seem to be trying different concepts such as the free game (pay for extras) idea or the Station Exchange stuff. So I don't know if the All Access thing will fall by the wayside.
But for that probably very small number of All Access subscribers who do not currently play SWG, you may as well take advantage of it.
And for a free game, it's not bad.
The profession choice wheel is a bit corny but the character creator is more flexible than EQII or WoW.
The NGE combat is actually quite fun. I prefer the Commando class so far to the Jedi or Bounty Hunter and the ranged combat seems more fun than the melee. The grenades are a blast. It does move quickly. You fire or attack with the left mouse and a lot of the "strategy" comes from using different specials with the right mouse button.
The "tutorial" part is pretty nice. You get to hang with Han Solo and Chewie and within minutes of playing you're engaging in ranged blaster combat and even gunning down ships from the Falcon's gun turret. It pulls you into the world nicely.
Then you arrive on a space station and you do quests which are basically "kill ten x" and "deliver x to y" only in space. They're not badly done. The whole starter zone is accessible and pretty easy to understand. The waypoints are much easier to follow than EQII though they can be a bit much graphically. You also get involved with space combat and flight pretty soon which is enjoyable.
I thought the overall quest path was a little unclear at points and the rebel/imperial faction quests should have been made more apparent. But on the whole I would say it's not bad. The cut scene with the Falcon that pops up every single time you fly back to the initial station has to go (you can skip it by pressing esc but it's still pointless and repetitive).
The biggest negative (and it is a pretty big one) is how bad the lag is. And I mean it's bad even in areas you wouldn't expect it. I very rarely get any lag in EQII so it was a surprise and a disappointment.
When you choose to leave the initial station for good you get plunked down on Tatooine (Mos Eisley I think). And boy, it really is a shock. While the station prepares you well for most aspects of gameplay, nothing can prepare you for the social elements. There are tons of people running around spamming merchandise and other stuff and the whole thing is a bit daunting.
The game does set you on a continuing quest path, giving you a free speeder. The name is really a misnomer because it "speeds" along at the pace of a Segway going at one-quarter velocity. The quests continue though and you become embroiled in trying to pay off a debt of sorts to Jabba.
That's about all I played through so far so I don't know how the actual main gameplay is. But it was fun enough so far for me to take two characters through to that point. I wouldn't buy it, but for free I don't regret the time I've spent in the SWG universe.
Okay, since I first wrote this I've played a bit more. A friend bought me a swoop bike and wow, that makes a huge difference. I've been working the legacy quest series around Mos Eisley and I don't think I would have done it with that slow, cumbersome speeder. But with a cool swoop bike with nice animations, even fed-ex quests seem fun. The early quests seem completely solo-oriented though it helps a great deal to have an experienced player around who you can ask questions to.
Oh, I also received some kind of Wookie Life Day Holiday Gift or something like that and it had me laughing for twenty minutes. I don't want to ruin the surprise for you but that was one of the neatest, most surprising things I've seen upon opening an item.