That’s right, Bioware’s freemium MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has another expansion. And what does that mean for us? That means we get another frustratingly awesome trailer. Why do I say “frustratingly awesome”, you ask? Well, it’s because SWTOR itself plays absolutely nothing the fuck like its trailers do. Now don’t get me wrong – tons of games do this. World of Warcraft’s cinematics have been substantially more action-packed than its gameplay for over a decade, but at least its core game is fun to play.
To Blizz’s credit, they’ve made some big strides in making the game more cinematic (see Scenarios, making Dungeons less of a bore, making Raids more accessible, implementing more cutscenes). It makes for a better overall game experience, and it lets the players (especially the longtime fans) allow themselves to expect a fraction of the awesome shit we see in the cinematic actually appear in-game. With SWTOR, it’s not quite that simple. Go ahead, check out the trailer.
This six-minute trailer is a fantastic setup for what an uninitiated consumer might assume should be an epic game. What it actually is, though, is a flashy, gorgeous veil draped over a bland MMORPG surrounded by 5-mile high paywalls. This trailer is making so many rounds on Social Media, and even non-gaming outlets are claiming that it’s “better than some Star Wars movies” and are heralding it’s thought and emotion-provoking cinematic beauty… It’s just too bad the game is nothing like that at all. Am I bitter? Yes, absolutely I am. SWTOR is too bogged down with paywall reminders and stiff combat to ever hope to provoke the same types of emotion that we get when we watch the trailer, and that’s a fucking shame.
I’m ranting enough, so I’m not going to go into explicit detail about all the things wrong with SWTOR. It’s a passable MMO for those who actually subscribe and don’t already dedicate their time to other MMOs. The voice work is good, and Bioware is one of my favorite developers – but the freemium model they’ve implemented is obnoxious and honestly cripples the experience for any would-be longtime players who just want to get their feet wet for the first time without subscribing. If you don’t believe me, check out SWTOR.com for yourself and take a look at the Free-versus-Paid features. It’s gross.
What are your thoughts about a game’s cinematic and real-time representation? What games have disappointed you similarly in the past? Let us know on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.