I am absolutely loving the Sith Inquisitor story. I had thought Chapter one was entertaining and engrossing (and so totally unexpected!), but chapter two is turning out to be better yet. I also finally completed the portion of Chapter two today that I was most looking forward to. Well, actually, the only part that I knew was going to happen as I’ve intentionally ignored internet research to find out more than I already know. I’m talking about the acquisition of Ashara Zavros, my latest companion. Ashara, once a Jedi Padawan is now my apprentice!
In so far as Ashara goes, she’s a melee DPS companion, similar to any melee DPS companion. Except of course that she’s swinging Lighsabers instead of a vibro sword. But what I find most interesting about her is her story. Whomever wrote Chapter two did a fantastic job with the breadcrumb quests that unfolded her story. Through a series of easy quests you learn that Ashara is restless, headstrong and more aggressive than a Jedi should be. In short Ashara is prime to be tempted by the Dark Side. And tempt her I did! After killing her Master and another companion Jedi, of course.
Above all else, it’s the strong bonding between story and game play that has driven me over that proverbial edge making me a long-term player vice simply one of the “WoW Tourists” that Syncaine likes to speak about. I’ve always identified strongly with my characters and so its no real surprise to me that I like the story element to SWTOR as much as I do. I’ve even warmed up to the voice over acting aspect of the game, though I’m still not entirely sold on it as an integral game element. It clearly adds something intangible to what still amounts to PVE questing — gives it a little more life than normal — but to be honest whether I listen to the voice overs or not depends on how impatient I am. I find I’m spacing through the dialogue as often as I listen to it. Actually probably a little more than I listen to it.
I was thinking last night where would WoW be today if Blizzard had done something similar? WoW has as deep a back story and mythology as Star Wars does. Sans the upcoming Pandaran expansion I might still be playing WoW if Blizzard had. Unfortunately for Blizzard I’ve now switched permanently because unlike in WoW, there are actually other things to “do” in SWTOR outside of Raiding and PVP. And this is even before any additional content has been added via content patches. If Bioware is to take any significant market share from Blizzard it’ll be mostly through this fact.