Thursday, September 22, 2011

STWOR "On Rails" Space Combat

I don't think I've been more disappointed by an upcoming game feature as I am with SWTOR's space combat. It is what amounts to an "on rails" shooter; where your piloting ability (as a player) is limited to moving around a 2d screen while you are pulled through combat and can shoot.

I wouldn't be disappointed by this if it weren't for the robust (if graphically challenged) space component to Star Wars Galaxies. While a direct port wouldn't be legal or necessary, I would prefer to be able to dogfight in a 3d environment; customize my ship with components; and have a crafting profession dedicated to ships.

Now I am very biased towards space combat. TBH I wasted many hours playing SWG just for the space combat (one of the things that made me come back time and time again is that the space combat aspects weren't changed a whole lot). I also play battlefront II for the space combat sections, and Empire at War for the fleet combat. With SWG closing, there's a major gap in gaming for space combat, and it is a real shame SWTOR will not be filling this gap. X3 Terran Conflict is a close filler, but wont run on my system so I cannot comment on it.

What bothers me most about this space system for SWTOR is that it shows one more aspect of the game that is very obviously single-player. The game mechanics that have been shown are very strongly pointing towards a single-player mindset. You get companions; who buff your abilities in combat (allowing you to solo more things); you get a "crew" that can have crafting and gathering skills (so you don't even have to rely on other people for those things). The only multi-player parts that have been shown are the flashpoints; which require four or perhaps more players...these apparently can even have companions invited to them (not sure if that counts towards the number of players or not). For a game that was supposed to be a refuge for former SWG players; there is little here that I would want to play. I'd rather play a new iteration of KOTOR (perhaps the KOTOR that 2 was supposed to be if it had been fully developed).

SWG's strongest component ever was one that wasn't programmed. It was the community. It was the ability to log on and see fifty people crammed into a cantina...something that is majorly lost and does not look like it will be recovered. There is a huge audience that is waiting and will be dissatisfied with this newest offering...

I pray I am wrong

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