The Old Republic Diaries; Day Two.

I was a bit nervous logging in today, not least because I was so obviously not enjoying myself yesterday. My friends, to their credit, must have realised that very quickly because suddenly they decided what I really needed was some team play.

With team play, I managed to get through the starter area without too many issues, but with very little input from my Sith Warrior. It became apparent very quickly that Sith Warrior has some inherent issues with timing – or, at least, the lack of it. The damage was so-so, but compared to the casters throwing bolts of lightning around, and the companion I picked up, Vette, and her guns, I may as well have been on the sidelines cheerleading in nothing but a pair of frilly pink undies and with fluffy purple pom-poms. Vette is like compensating someone for knocking them over by giving them a brand new Ferrari. You have to marvel at the sheer audacity of it.

Still, they assured me that it would get better, and that Korriban isn’t exactly the most brilliant of places (which I could have told them yesterday). I argued that was a big problem for someone not versed in Star Wars mythology – the game clearly assumes and expects prior knowledge, and that they were very clearly steeped in it and I was not. This was a hard case to argue as they said, the atmosphere they got was in part knowing the backstories, the history and the future worth of Korriban. I had no clue at all, so to me it was more tombs, and then – finally – killing that annoying little nemesis, and my dead old-superior’s daughter, and then it was off with a sparkly new lightsaber at level 10 to the Imperial Fleet. I went through the motions, but there was still no tug, no pull, and somehow I wondered why my character was so unbelievably special that they could get away with breaking all the known rules.

The Imnperial Fleet reminded me of Undercity, oddly. It’s not as dank and creepy, but its circular design and generally uneasy lighting definitely recalled the earliest days of walking into Undercity, sadly sans Sylvanas and her enormous… umm… bow! Yes, bow. Ahem. Bow.

After getting an advanced class sorted, Marauder (much to one friends annoyance as he expected me to tank), my friends decided for the final couple of hours we should run The Black Talon instance.

The instance was where I could finally get to see Sith Warrior in its natural habitat, and technically I just admit, the Black Talon instance is, surprisingly, enjoyable.

Star Wars fans may wish to hold a parade for that comment.

But the class, I began to have my doubts over. With a Bounty Hunter and an Inquisitor behind me, a couple levels higher, and with Vette running around, I again found myself lagging behind the rest of them. The DPS isn’t terrible – just somehow, melee isn’t getting a lot of love. Mobility is awful, by the time you get in and slam the enemies, everyone else has already killed them.

My role, much to my chagrin, was to tank. Stand in melee range, attempt to hit big ugly Captains and robots and just move out of AoE. That was it. The trash just fell like flies to fly spray, falling with ease.

I felt, ironically, surplus to requirements.

I logged off more conflicted than I had done yesterday. On the one hand, The Black Talon was a wonderful setpiece, it had no real lore behind it or any real deep meaning, it was an instance that was just about doing some fighting and it felt all the cleaner and interesting when you can just focus on the environment, the crashing shuttles, the space outside and alarms blaring at you.

On the other hand, Sith Warrior I believe needs work. Mechanically, it’s about managing cooldowns, but from what I could tell, there were two batches of abilities that shared a global cooldown of 5 seconds apiece, and multiple other abilities that had their own independent cooldowns. With no mobility, and no shortening, a Sith Warrior basically has to do an energy charger, a heavy move, and independent cooldown, and then wait three seconds before doing anything else.

Three seconds when the ranged DPS is throwing out unbelievable damage is an eternity, and to me, that’s unacceptable in an MMO these days.

I still have some ways to go, though. Part of me fears much of the single player will be a chore, as it has been all the way to lvl 14 so far, but at the same time, it seems the instances may be a saving grace the game badly needs.

As for the lore, really, I’m not sure I care. Oh look, my character – like every other female Sith warrior I bump into – is “special”.

She sure is… but with those combat mechanics, I’m thinking of a very different meaning to the word…

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