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Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare's cinematic MMORPG and a colossal disappointment for many, is still trucking along to my great surprise. A new expansion for the game is even set to go live in September. With that in mind, this PC Gamer article takes a good look at the game in its current state, compares it to the initial release version, and concludes that at the moment, The Old Republic may just be the best live BioWare product. Here are a few sample paragraphs:
There are countless diversions, loads of flashpoints and operations, fast-paced PvE uprisings, and level-scaling that ensures there's always people in the queue, even if a lot of the worlds seem quieter now. A lot of the multiplayer PvE is also playable solo, while older flashpoints have also been given solo versions, letting you experience the story even if you can't, or don't want to, find a group. The rewards are slighter and fights less engaging, but it's still a welcome alternative. Groups are typically too impatient to watch the cutscenes, so if you want to enjoy the story without people moaning, you're better off using your companion and the handy robo-pal the game provides you with.
As a new or returning player, especially, you're not going to run out of group of singleplayer stuff for a very long time—and the busiest servers feel as lively as a fresh MMO, so you won't be starved for people to play with. It's still growing, too. After a long break, the war between the Empire and Republic and their Sith and Jedi pals has flared up again, and a new storyline has kicked off that takes players to new worlds like Ossus and Dantooine. Along with new missions, operations and special events, the latest string of updates has also given additional attention to PvP, introducing new maps, modes and free-for-all PvP areas.
I'm surprised I keep coming back, but each time I do it's a little bit different, usually for the better. And then I proceed to start a new character because, despite my earlier protestations, I absolutely do have a problem. I'll do it again when the Nautolans appear with the Onslaught expansion in September. Part of the allure is the fact that Star Wars fans have been a bit underserved in the game department under EA's stewardship, and while the Battlefront games do an excellent job recreating the movies' impressive battles, they don't really capture the universe in the same way that a massive RPG like TOR does. And if you're looking for a good Star Wars yarn, this game's overflowing with them.