First Patch for The Old Republic Fixes Some Issues; Ignores Others
With Bioware's holiday giant just over a month old, the first major content patch (one of many we can hope, this is an MMO afterall) to The Old Republic was deployed last week to mixed success. Dubbed "Rise of the Rakghouls", referring to those pale humanoid creatures which feast on your flesh and make you one of their own (but definitely AREN'T zombies), it brought about brand new content to both it's PvE and PvP content.
But the question is: "did it do enough?"
As millions of World of Warcraft will be amazingly quick to argue (because if you aren't with WoW, you are against it) Star Wars: The Old Republic's success so far is built on the similarities between it and the current MMO heavy weight. Sure, Bioware's "focus on story" spiel did play out to be partially correct - with story one of the major selling points of The Old Republic, but setting that aside and there is only so many small differences which separate it from being what haters will often laud as "WoW in space". The biggest problem this similarity poses is the fact that if fans begin to assimilate the two in their minds, it's only so long before they go to where there are more features. And Bioware has a long way to go before it can rival Blizzard for amount of content (excluding the laboriously crafted class storylines).
Maybe this is getting a bit negative. Rise of the Rakghouls was a promising start on the new content The Old Republic promises to offer. With a new 5 man instance and virtuall an entire new raid (the addition of 4 new bosses to the previous 1 boss and a handful of trashpacks), PvE content development is looking right on schedule.
The PvP focus of the patch was the battleground planet of Ilum, and making the necessary changes to have it working as an outdoor battleground for the Empire and the Republic. While in the past the planet was intended to be like this, it had basically become an area for daily quests and PvP itself was quite rare. This has changed with the new patch in deployment, and now fullscale war wages around the clock (often with the Republic outmatched by its more numerous Sith enemies). And while most people would have preferred a new battleground, or at the very least a fix to the legendary broken PvP queue bug, we can only hope these are still to come.
While the state of the galaxy remains tenuous both in and outside the game world, Bioware has managed middling success so far - much to the dismay of it's "we-don't-play-wow-i-swear" critics. But with this patch and vague promises of more to come, it's hard to see if the amount of content will stand the test of time. I'm not saying I'm giving up, but wait and see seems more valid at this point than signing up for a years worth of membership.
Oh and they are giving away exclusive titles and items if you sign up for longer membership at the moment. No idea why that could be.
While The Old Republic is still my favourite player in the all out war against Blizzard's MMO dominance, I'm sticking to my "grain of salt" guns for the moment.
Time will tell.