Like roughly the entire population of the world, I watched the full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens probably way too many times over the past 24 hours. The whole film to me is full of unknowns (including whether it will be, y’know, good or not), but what I’m seeing, I’m liking. I really appreciate how it’s not wall-to-wall lightsabers and Jedis, how there is a sad tone, how there’s this multi-generational thing going on, and how the old that we’ve loved is being married to something new and potentially wonderful.
Also, it reminds me how old I’ve gotten since I was a seven-year-old watching Return of the Jedi in the movie theaters.
Anyway, BioWare had to be loving the fact that the movie trailer came out the same day that Knights of the Fallen Empire — SWTOR 2.0, in effect — started its early access launch. They probably loved it because it was intentional, but still, people into the game felt extra-jazzed because of the trailer.
Unlike people who took off the day from work or school, I stayed fairly responsible. There’s a pressure to want to get into the new story and not fall behind the crowd, but heck, even as I type this I’m sure someone’s finished chapter 9 already. Might as well take my time and enjoy the ride.
Besides, I had a lot to do. WildStar gets top priorities for Shade’s Eve (being time-constricted and all). Then after that, the SWTOR launcher decided that it simply wasn’t going to work right, requiring me to restart it a dozen times before I could log in.
And then came the character maintenance. No matter how “prepared” you were for the expansion, there was just a lot to do here. The game gave me a complete set of new purple gear that was presumably better than what I had, so I had to put that on. Then I needed to respec my utility points. Then there was some mail to sort through, blasters to resocket, and squeeing over the addition of the random mount/pet buttons.
Finally, my Smuggler needed to wrap up all of her companions’ storylines, which took an hour and a half to do. I really, really wish BioWare told me a week ago that this update would negate the need to dump tons of money into companion gifts, as now you can get through the companions’ dialogue as long as you’ve advanced through your storyline. Seriously, WHY DID THEY NOT TELL US THIS IN ADVANCE. This studio, I tell you, they do not do a good job communicating things ahead of time. It kind of makes me think that they’re scrambling to the last minute to get everything ready.
Anyway, the companion thing was compounded by the fact that Corso (ugh Corso) had three actual missions that required some planet hopping. Why yes, Corso, I’d love to cruise around the butt nowhere of Tatooine for you instead of checking out that hawt new expansion content. Spending time with you is always more exciting than festering in a sarlaac pit!
Mark my words, if I get a choice in the expansion to kill Corso, I will. Without batting an eye. Wouldn’t mind doing Lana in too. Man, how I have fallen to the Dark Side.
Finally, finally I was able to do what I wanted to all day: to play the new story content with my Operative. I haven’t done any new story content with her in months, so it was a joyous reunion to be back aboard her sleek ship and taking back on the role of the galaxy’s best spy.
I only got through the first chapter of the expansion, but that’s fine — don’t want to blow through it all in a week, after all. It’s very much a different experience than what’s come before, with a more cinematic style, a completely solo instance, no companions (for the most part), and a great shake-up of the Republic/Empire cold war that had dominated the game since launch.
I loved playing my light side Operative again. She gets done what needs to get done, but she’s also going to look out for others in the process. The fights were very tame, which was fine since I was getting back into the groove of that character’s rotation.
The first chapter, which took me about an hour and a half, felt like a prologue more than anything else. I liked seeing my character in chains and thrust into a more hopeless situation. I really liked how she got far more emotive than in the past — you could sense the righteous fury coming off of her at one point. And I even got to use the magically disappearing blaster(tm) that comes standard with all Agents.
Really looking forward to what happens next. It’s going to be agonizing to complete chapter nine and have to wait until the new year for more story, but that’s a good sort of pain. Kind of how I always felt with The Secret World. SWTOR needed to step up its narrative game and I think it just might have done that.