I was lukewarm to Star Wars: The Old Republic in beta. I started as a Jedi Consular and the storyline was meh. The graphics on the starting area were meh. The cut scenes (ohgodtheendlesscutscenes) were pretty but everything else looked kind of, well, meh. Combat didn't do much for me. The skills seemed pretty generic. It felt very much like I'd listen to eight minutes of yap, then go kill five womp rats. Meh.
Then I switched from Republic to Empire and discovered an entirely different - and totally awesome - game.
The Jedi Consular starts out all good and do-the-right-thing and save-dudes-in-danger. I generally go with the paladin-esque gameplay in RPGs so I figured this would be right up my alley. I'm a Paragon in Mass Effect. I'm the good guy in Dragon Age. I'm the Thief with a Heart of Gold in Skyrim (except for all that Dark Brotherhood stuff but I totally wore a mask the whole time so let's pretend it wasn't me). I was so bored I wanted to stab myself in the eye.
|Sulaco, Hired Gun|
Let's talk about the Sith. I really expected Bioware to soft-paw the Sith by having them do some faux-bad sort of things. Like, Sith kick puppies or they're mean to droids or they keep princesses locked in a Death Star. No. The Sith in Star Wars: The Old Republic are fucked up psychos. They make Darth Vader seem like a totally balanced, reasonable guy. The first Sith lord I met sent me to poison the water supply of a rebel slave camp to see how many weeks of agony it takes for the slaves to die - for the purpose of science, of course. I had to disrupt the operations of a rogue Sith lord who has been ripping the brains out of humans and putting them into droids. Another bounty hunter accidentally got caught up in a ring where Sith were hunting the inhabitants of Dromund Kaas for sport and he was too afraid to just quit the job so we had to murder them. Soft-paw indeed.
|The Sith Enclave at Dromund Kaas|
Bounty Hunter combat is a world of awesome. I took the tank spec, Powertech, and I love it. I fire my jetpack and rain death down on my enemies. I bust out the flame thrower and set dudes on fire. My jetpack-powered uppercut puts suckers on the ground. My companion and I take out gold elites with ease due to my tradeskilled armor and my orange shield. It's a lot of fun.
I highly recommend this game. It's a lot of fun and a very unique experience among MMOs. Most of all, it's quintessentially Star Wars. Bioware hit it out of the park in that regard. Go pick it up.