Co-Optimus - Editorial - MMO Co-Opportunities Volume XVIII: The Old Republic

MMO Co-Opportunities Volume XVIII: The Old Republic - Page 2

Class quests, on the other hand, are a little different than your normal or heroic quests. They are specific to your base class (e.g. Smuggler, Sith Warrior, Bounty Hunter, etc.) and will persist from level 1 to approximately level 50 (the highest level). This is your character's story, and one of my favorite aspects of the game. It plays a whole lot like the main story of another Bioware game, where players will get a quest chain for each of the questing planets (so a fairly extensive quest chain every few levels or so). I won't go into this too much, since a lot of it is a single-player experience, but the co-opportunity comes in here: other group members can freely accompany you along on these class quests and come into your class instances. Since these class quests are your own story, your friends won't be able to participate in the conversations, but they will enter spectator mode so they can see what's going on for you. I've seen the persistent story aspect tried in several MMOs, and I can safely say that (in my opinion) TOR is the first one that has gotten it right. Though some of my friends have complained that they wish they could just do their class quests for the entire game, I think that speaks more to the success of what Bioware has achieved here and not to any failure. And when you figure in that there are 8 unique storylines spanning the entire game, the amount of work they've done here is very impressive in my opinion. But I digress. I believe in every other MMO I've tried that has attempted this story-based experience, other players could not accompany them, which I've never understood. I fully appreciate that Bioware has made the choice to let other players accompany them and also watch the conversations, because it is an MMO, after all!

Last, let me make a little nod towards the companion system in TOR. The companion system is quite similar to what you see in other Bioware games. Players can select any of their unlocked companions to accompany them (though these companions count against the party cap of four members, so once there are too many party members in an area, companions will be auto-unsummoned and will not be able to be resummoned until party members leave). These companions are unlocked via the class quests and come in the expected varieties of Tank, DPS, healer, etc. You gear them out exactly like your main character, so if their gear lags too far behind their efficiency will suffer. Companions certainly make soloing easier, but they also make grouping with less than the max party size easier as well. I've run several flashpoints (i.e. dungeons) with three people and one companion. I've done Heroic 4+ quests with two people and two companions. This is a great co-opportunity for me because if your party has less than the max number of players, you can easily fill in the rest with companions and go. You don't have to pick up that random player if you don't want to and can just decide to play with your friends if you only have two of your friends on. 

I just hit level 50 before I went on my trip, and I'm certainly having a great time with TOR. I still have a couple of the level 50 flashpoints to try yet, and also all the Heroic versions of the lower level instances. Then there's the raids, of course, so I feel like I still have lots to try. TOR certainly surpassed my expectations (much to my pleasant surprise), and though the actual combat is nothing super new or intuitive, I feel like the character progression and the story aspect of the game more than make up for it. What has been your experience with the game? 

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