E3 2011: Gameplay Impressions
Darth Hater once again sent a substantial team to E3 and experienced a new demonstration of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Several staffers share their personal impressions of various classes on Tatooine in the following pages, and you are welcome to ask them questions about their experiences at tonight's Q&A. Please note that even though Orionark and Emlaeh also attended, they both felt their time spent with the game was too limited comparatively to give substantial written impressions.
Individual Impresssions Pages
I played the Level 26 mission on Tatooine several times as both Imperial Agent Advanced Classes and also as a Sith Assassin. I'll start out with some general impressions, and then move on to more class-specific thoughts.
In general, the game felt familiar enough to be intuitive. The user interface was easy to navigate and comfortable to use; the default key binds were easy to guess at (like "M for the map), and the game's mechanics didn't have any unpleasant surprises. I went through several combat passes before I remembered that there was no auto attack, so apparently it wasn't even a big enough deal that I noticed it missing. The only general problem that I had was that I didn't know my abilities nearly as well as if I had leveled the character from the start, so I had to spend a bit of time reading tooltips, and this made combat less fluid than it could have been.
Aggro range for mobs seemed to be a little on the short side, but not so markedly short as Lord of the Rings Online. In the open world, it was possible to dodge around groups of creatures without entering combat-though I would frequently see the "alerted icon illuminate as I zipped by on my speeder.
Speaking of speeders, Tatooine seemed quite large, and transport was definitely nice to have. Although it may not be an indication the game would release with this feature, my speeder was usable inside as well as outside. This was particularly nice given the length of some of the caves and passages I had to get through.
Both Operative and Sniper were a lot of fun to play, though it took me longer to kill things as an Operative. I'm not sure if that is the intention, or if it is just a reflection of the positional requirement of Operative combat. It could also be that I'm just more used to gunning things down at range. I was able to do a lot of sneaking about as Operative though, which sped up my mission runs considerably; it is way easier to just walk past the mobs than to fight them.
The Sniper was a ton of fun. On occasions when I crit on my "Ambush opening move, I was able to one-shot one of a group, and Scorpio's crowd control grenade would take another out of the picture for long enough that we could burn down a third while taking minimal fire. Cover Pulse was an amazingly handy ability when melee mobs closed; it would knock them back and keep them at range for a few seconds, which was usually enough time for me to take care of them. The only problem I had with it was in the final encounter of the mission chain, when my Cover Pulse knocked a mob I needed to kill over a balcony, which triggered an evasion glitch.
The Sith Assassin was also a lot of fun to play. I had plenty of area effect melee attacks, and was able to kill groups of mobs in pretty short order. I didn't seem to take much damage, but I'm guessing that's because Dover was doing his job as a Powertech and keeping all the baddies pointed at him.
Overall, the game was a ton of fun to play, and I'm even more excited to get to actually play it on release.
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