Star Wars: The Old Republic: in a flash

, | Game diaries

In The Old Republic, there aren’t any big spooky caves full of monsters. Or hell, maybe there are and I haven’t seen them yet. I’m cave-free at the moment. Instead, in this game, there are flashpoints. Which sound suspiciously like flash mobs, but with less dancing. Note that I said “less”.

After the jump: the neutron dance

The first flashpoint you encounter as an Imperial is the Black Talon. The point of this mission is to board a transport ship and charge after an escaping defector. This is one thing I really like about The Old Republic: the missions might all break down to “go somewhere, kill stuff, repeat”, but at least they sound like you’re doing something cool.

Old Republic sticks to the Bioware style of conversation, with a film-like style that offers different responses as the characters talk. When you’re in a multiplayer party, you all share the conversation. Each player makes his conversation choice and the game rolls dice for everyone. Whichever player rolls the highest gets his choice played in the conversation. Since the Star Wars universe as interpreted by Bioware uses a good and evil system based on Light and Dark sides, the conversation choice that wins gets played. However, the Dark and Light side points are assigned to the individual players according to their own choices. This is another part of SWTOR that I really like.

If there’s one thing I really appreciate in an MMO, it’s the smoke and mirrors. In World of Warcraft, when you’re doing the heroics that lead up to the Lich King, you find yourself running from him as he slowly advances up a winding icy path. At the end, when you have no recourse left but to jump off a cliff or fight Arthas, the cave collapses around him before he can reach you. At that moment, an airship floats up and takes you and your party away from the mountain.

The Black Talon flashpoint has that kind of spectacle. When you first enter the ship, an officer directs you to your droid. The droid showed up before you arrived and insisted it was yours. I don’t actually own a droid, so this was a mystery to me. However, the crew didn’t seem to care and let it on board. Tight security. Once alone with the droid, you’re apprised of a situation on the ship. The captain refused a direct order from a Grand Moff to chase down a fleeing ship harboring a high level Imperial defector. This is the kind of guy who should not make it into enemy hands. Sounds like a job for Willy the Revanite! We make our way to bridge, after decimating the ship’s security forces, and “relieve” the captain of his command. At this point, we order the new captain to chase after the rebel ship. The hunt is underway!

After repelling a few sabotage attempts and being threatened by a Jedi (Ooo, scary!), we head down to the hangar. In Old Republic, the dungeons link rooms together by standard design and by teleportation devices disguised as doors or elevators. Or, in this case, a shuttle. We fly through to the enemy ship and hop out, dispatching any enemies in our way.

Finally, we reach the heart of the conflict: the defecting Imperial officer. I have the option to let him live or kill him, taking his cybernetics, which contain the information we need. The choice is an easy one for me.

Once back on the ship, a mutiny has broken out and the new captain is dead. The current captain followed your orders and when the crew wanted to escape, they murdered her. Shouldn’t I be stomping the hell out of these people? I want to, oh so bad. Then…nothing. This is a major disconnect for me. You don’t get to punish the crew for the mutiny. The mission ends and I’m dumped back into the fleet.

Kind of an anti-climactic ending to an otherwise exciting mission.

Next up: space, the daily frontier
Click here for the previous Old Republic entry.