Shamus Young on Star Wars: The Old Republic

I've been a long-time fan of author, software engineer and blogger Shamus Young, and his newest series on BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is of particular interest to RPG fans. Young, in his typical fashion, discusses the game's current issues across a number of different articles, ranging from critique of the game's art style, to the overly-difficult trial and subscription process, to some of its smaller issues with narrative and characters.

While it's probably not a series for the die-hard The Old Republic fan to get excited about, due to its overall negative tone, it's interesting to see this sort of critical, in-depth discussion about the game, especially given the different standards between MMOs and single-player games.

On the artwork:
On top of the homogeneous colors, a lot of areas in the game also have homogeneous architecture. It can be agonizing running around the Sith Academy where you're charging down one long, techno-lit corridor after another. Everything looks the same and it's easy to get turned around because the place feels like it's made from prefab copy & pasted bits. The above corridor isn't bad looking, but once you run down this long corridor, turn a corner, and run down another corridor just like it, you will begin to feel the boredom in your spine.

Jedi Knight was drawing from the exact same architectural palette and it took a lot longer to become wearisome. Heck, Oblivion and Skyrim use prefab bits, but they still manage to have a lot of variety. Sure, you get bored after a dozen or so hours of tombs, but in SWTOR I was visually bored almost as soon as I arrived.

I think the difference here is that the spaces in SWTOR are too large by a factor of four. In Jedi Knight and Force Unleashed, you could move at ridiculous speeds and fought entire armies of guys at once, and once you cleared an area you never saw it again. You used that huge space and you had the means to cross it quickly. In SWTOR you're usually traversing the same couple of corridors dozens of times as you go between the quest zone and the quest givers. There's no gameplay here, and there's nothing that demands all this space.
And on a particular miscast voice actor:
You might remember Charles Dennis from Knights of the Old Republic, playing the role of Taris crimelord Davik Kang. His voice is obviously that of an old white guy, with a dash of Italian-American accent. So naturally they gave him the above role: A huge young guy.

It was really hard to accept the voice and the face going together, and I think the Italian accent made it worse. Maybe it wouldn't have seemed so off if I didn't know how old the actor was.

Although, that's just existing Star Wars baggage talking. We don't have a particular affiliation associated with Italian. Rebels have American accent. The Empire uses World War II German design aesthetics with British accents. In the original trilogy, the Rebels all wore earth tones and the bad guys were all black and white. Neither side had any particular skin pigmentation.