SWTOR Impressions: Bugs, Complaints & Niggling Issues

By Adam Ma on January 12, 2012, 3:15PM EDT

Up until this point, our last two features on Star Wars: The Old Republic have been fairly positive, and to be perfectly fair there's a reason for that. BioWare has done a wonderful job creating a MMO that not only has a lot to offer players looking to level, but also seems to understand all of the nuances that make the Star Wars franchise so much fun. There's no hiding away from it being one of the most stable MMO releases that I've ever encountered, with almost no server downtime or crashing of any sort. That's not to say that playing SWTOR is full of perfect experiences from start to finish, but rather the typical issues seem to be nowhere in sight. Instead what we have is a conglomeration of problems that players should be prepared to inconvenienced by, but not for very long.

Outside of the rather game-destroying glitch of being able to become invincible to enemy NPCs by using /dance, players won't really find any other bugs that will set them back. The biggest problem at this point in time would be the individual quests, which occasionally will not trigger properly in some group phases or solo class quests. Now, before we start, I just want to say that if a quest freezes midway through a cutscene or doesn't triggering a sequence, this is easy enough to fix. Just abandon the quest and start from where you last left off. Quests also occasionally get stuck in your log without having any way to be removed, which may have to do with BioWare not wanting players to abuse the Light Side/Dark Side points acquisition process, but is nonetheless strange to deal with.

A more dominant issue in SWTOR at this time would have to do with moving about in general, as expected in a brand new launch title. Those more adventurous (or jump happy) gamers will find that hopping on top of anything is more effective at getting them stuck in fairly inconspicuous areas than it is at creating shortcuts. Having seen this trouble in advance, BioWare was smart enough to include an unstuck feature, but this bug shows up for more than just avid jumpers. Walking will sometimes cause this as well, and every player will experience (at least once) the joy of having your character inexplicably freeze in place, unable to move for several moments for no particular reason.

Load failures in SWTOR as surprisingly rare for a game that's filled with instances, and though players won't be hit with any loading screen problems for any PvE content, PvP gamers occasionally fill find that queuing for a Warzone will be an instantaneous way to get booted to the character select screen. The only fix for this is to move into another zone, but how and why the bug gets triggered is a mystery. Load times for some of the planets (we're looking at you at Tatooine) are downright abysmal. Considering that planet is nothing but a wasteland of sand and rocky cliffs it's hard to say what the deal is, but just be prepared for some planets to offer you a 2-4 minute break from the game regardless of the quality of your gaming rig.

All that taken into consideration, things could be worse. Most gamers mentally block out the first few months of every MMO, and not even WoW was immune to terrible server lag, massive server blackouts and broken quests that could never be completed. The Old Republic has seemed to avoid the worst of this, instead maintaining a few inconvenient bugs alongside the absence of some staple MMO features. Being able to add a friend to your friends list if they're offline is impossible for example, and the /who command is virtually useless. These are little things, a drop in the pond so to speak, though anyone looking to tear apart SWTOR for no particular reason will likely cite some of these things as major problems.

Though there are still some features that players would perceive as things that are core to an MMO (Guild Banks for example) the reality is that those minor additions are easily implemented down the pipeline. Server stability is something that comes first and foremost, and though the quality and entertainment factor of SWTOR's content may be up for debate, the fact that players will be able to enter the Star Wars experience relatively unperturbed by any bugs is indisputable. We'll be spending the next week trying to wrap up our journey through both the Republic and Empire plotlines to deliver a proper review as soon as possible. If there are any particular questions you've feel we left unanswered don't hesitate to ask in the comments below.

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