So after literally years of anticipation, what is probably the biggest MMO since World of Warcraft is about to finally hit prime time. This post is not going to be about what Star Wars: The Old Republic is or isn't. That topic has been beat to death by a thousand bloggers already and I don't care to add my voice to the list simply for the sake of being heard. If you follow MMO's at all, you already have an opinion of this game and if you are anything like me, you're actually tired of other people trying to tell you what to think about it. At this point, SW:TOR is what it is, take it or leave it. For myself, I have decided to "take it," and more than that, I am pretty much "all in" on it. Cataclysm drove me out of Azeroth once and for all, RIFT bored me to tears in less than six months, and the free-to-play market depressed me with it's useless cash grabs. So it's lightsabers and Gungans for me. Wait... we DO get to kill Gungans, right? Right...?
Since I know I will be with this game for the foreseeable future, I've actually taken quite a bit of time to "plot out" how I intend to approach it. I did skip on the whole pre-launch guild process, so that will be one of my first priorities. The reason being is that I was somewhat put off by the fact that Bioware would select what server to put you on based on the type of guild. I know that seems like a minor thing, but my time in WoW was marred by bad experiences on several servers, and so that part of me bristled at having that choice taken away. In hindsight this was short-sighted as now I will have to filter through all the "noise" at launch to try and find a good guild to hook up with. I do have a couple of leads thanks to some fellow bloggers and will probably try those first before simply tossing my line in the "lake" and seeing who snags me.
I am pretty big into role-play (zomg nerd!) and so I will definitely be selecting an RP server when my turn comes up in early access. I was somewhat disappointed to hear that Bioware will be doing nothing to enforce any kind of RP server guidelines for these servers, but oh well, it would really be naive to expect otherwise. To actively enforce and police those kind of standards would require more effort and manpower than a company can afford to justify for the cost. At best they can simply state what the expected standards are and hope the players police themselves. While we all know that won't happen and tons of people will roll on these servers just to grief the RP'ers, it is nice to hope that maybe this wouldn't be the case. But I do enjoy creating a background and story for my characters in MMO's, and I will be trying to find a guild that does at least some organized RP. And one nice thing about the Star Wars setting, no need to pretend you understand Middle English just to say you are RP'ing. :P
My planned main character is going to be a Republic Smuggler. I find the cover mechanics very interesting and I wanted to play a class with healing potential. So I will be taking the Scoundrel advanced class with the intent of specializing in the Sawbones tree. I learned long ago that I lack the "killer instinct" necessary to play a damage dealer at the highest levels. Oh I can do it well, maybe even above average (in my own humble opinion) but I lack the single-mindedness and aggression that is needed to squeeze every ounce out of a class. I tried tanking in WoW, mostly as a paladin, and while it was very rewarding in a guild setting, it was utterly thankless in a "pick up group" environment. So my plan is to stick with the healer at first, get familiar with the content, hook up with a good guild, and see where things go from there.
I do plan to roll four characters altogether with the intent of seeing as much of the game content as possible between them. The aforementioned Smuggler will of course take most of my attention, but I will be rolling a Jedi Counselor on the Republic side as well. I find the Counselor fascinating in that between its two advanced classes and their individual talent trees, the Counselor can be melee DPS, ranged DPS, tank, or healer. The potential is very intriguing and it will allow me to see the rest of the Republic starting content, as the classes are divided between two different starting worlds. Odds are I will play this character as either ranged DPS or tank, and that will probably depend on how my Smuggler is working out and if I have found a good guild.
Of course I don't plan to neglect the other faction. I will be rolling two characters on the Empire side to spend time with as well. These will be a Bounty Hunter and a Sith Warrior. The Bounty Hunter is really just for one reason, and if you follow this game you probably know what I'm talking about... Blizz. A Jawa companion with a rocket launcher? Sign me up. Hell that's almost enough to make me want to make this class my main. But I know companions will have somewhat diminished impact at the end-game, so no reason to invest fully in a class based strictly on that choice. I'll probably play this class as either ranged DPS or a healer. And the Sith Warrior will let me see the other Imperial starting planet. I'll keep my options open with him as either tank or melee DPS.
While I fully intend to make the Smuggler my main character and primary investment of time, I will be keeping my options open. I will divide my time a bit more equally at first, trying to get each character off their starting world and into their advanced class at the least, maybe even to the point where they get their personal ships. If something happens in that time, like say my Sith Warrior hooks up with an awesome guild, or I just really start to dislike the Smuggler, I am very flexible to changing gears and going in a new direction. As I said in an earlier post, I want SW:TOR to be fun. If I end up just loving to stab things with my two-ended glowstick on the Counselor, or if watching Blizz fling rockets just fills me with too much joy, then that's what we'll do. It is a game after all. We're here to have fun.
So that's my plan for my time in the big ol' Galaxy Far, Far Away. How are your plans shaking up? "Calling in sick" for a week? Sending the kids off to grandma's? Or just locking yourself in the basement with a case of Red Bull and Hot Pockets? :)