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Captain's Blog Stardate 93591.46

This past week I started playing Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR), admittedly because I recently saw Force Awakens and got a Star Wars craving I need to fill, but also because I've heard good things and wanted to see how it measures up to Star Trek Online.

For those that don't know, I've been playing STO for the past 5 years. To say that I'm intimately familiar with it is an understatement. The one thing I've been saying for a long time is that STO is lacking a good story to keep us interested. I started playing SWTOR and was impressed by the tutorial story, but I didn't give it much thought since I do enjoy STO's tutorial stories as well.

What really got my attention was the fact that the quality of the stories didn't diminish. They flowed together nicely with character development (myself included) and a galaxy that feels like it's changing because the story is progressing. Honestly it feels more like a single player game than a MMO. Although there was a time when STO felt the same way. I remember at that time players were screaming for more multiplayer action.

In all fairness to Cryptic, they've tried to improve the multiplayer aspect of STO. I can't speak about SWTOR in that respect because I'm only at level 22. Cryptic has also tried to improve the story, but I feel like they've fallen short. Something is missing. If we took both games and converted them to book or graphic novels, SWTOR would be amazing to read and STO would fall short.

Here's my guess and I'd like to know what everyone thinks. Star Wars is fantasy. Star Trek is technical.

In a fantasy realm your imagination can run wild. There are tons of worlds, species, and people to explore in Star Wars. Stories can be told indefinitely. We're used to meeting new people in it, finding out their story, and going on adventures with them. There's no limits because new worlds and people can be created with a thought. Writing for such an open universe is easy.

In a technical realm such as Star Trek, we're limited by the technology. We're limited by the walls of the ships and stations. We're limited by the stereotypes cast upon the various species. We're used to stories involving the same characters in the same location. Sure they travel and meet different people and places, but the story always revolves around these core characters and their ship. Trying to capture that in a MMO is no easy task. It makes writing for a game harder.

Comparing the two games almost doesn't seem fair. The universes they exist in are so different and have been created so differently. Still, I can't help but wish STO could have better and more engaging stories. Maybe A New Dawn will answer that wish.

Written by Attilio on December 27, 2015 at 10:42 pm


Jimmy Jr (Guest) said...
December 28, 2015 at 06:41 am

Yep I am lifer for sto and been there since the beta testing and I am sub player for swtor for the whole 4 years as well. I totally agree with you on the story telling in swtor, that why I love the game as well as the companion that go to help you, you get an story with them and some of them you can have an relationship with them where in sto, that don't really happen. Yet Captain Sulu said it best when he was asked about star trek vs star wars after he seen the new star wars movie.

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Philip (Guest) said...
December 28, 2015 at 09:11 am

I don't think it's fair to compare SWTOR and STO, because they are really apples and oranges when it comes to gameplay. I've played STO and SWTOR since each launched.

SWTOR is a straight-up MMORPG, with the option of a single companion, but with a heavy emphasis on storytelling and narrative. This is a game you can literally play through almost all of the content without ever talking to another player. Almost all of the dialogue is spoken, and the narrative sequences between characters is heavily driven on player-choice. The few space-based sequences are all on rails.

STO, on the other hand, spends a lot of its time bouncing the player between the space and ground environments. Like SWTOR, you can solo most the game, but you are given an entire away-team of companions to complete ground-based stories and quests with. The storytelling is also different in STO, not relying on player choice to drive questing or narratives, but rather, relying on a predetermined outcome with maybe a few questions available to the player to flesh out a story line.

I agree that Star Trek is more technical-based, but that is not it's limitation. Star Wars is also technical-based to it's core fan base, which is why JJ Abrams so closely modeled the Force Awakens on Episodes IV-VI, not Lucas' fairy-tale-esque Episodes I-III. The serious Star Wars fans don't watch for ninja saber swordplay, they watch for the universe backstory, one of the same reasons those of us that also watch Star Trek watch Star Trek.

I think both games have their strengths and weaknesses, and at the end of the day, each fills a different niche. I continue to play both because I enjoy them both, much like watching Star Wars and Star Trek because I enjoy both of their characters, stories and the universe they each inhabit.

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Mountain (Guest) said...
December 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

I believe that SWTOR's F2P option is terrible, that being said, I'd still like to try it out eventually.

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LoyalExpert (Guest) replied...
December 28, 2015 at 10:27 pm

I have been a Subscriber since SWTOR came out and being a Subscriber has it benifits over being a F2P. Yes it maybe $30 for 60 days, but it is worth it in the long run.............I have been a Lifer of STO since before it came out also, now i am just wishing they would offer a lifetime sub for SWTOR

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Malikius (Guest) said...
December 28, 2015 at 11:38 am

I've got 4 tools there as well. Maybe we can build a guild there and play with each other there as well. Keep the clan going in both arenas. I've got tons that can craft there as well. Just saying. SWTOR is more complex.

Warmest Regards, Malikius.

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Chris (Member) said...
December 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm

I've dabbled with SWTOR for a few years when it went free to play, and then as a preferred member.
It felt very much like a Bioware single player game. (Not a bad thing.)
My main is a Sith Juggernaught (lvl 21) on the Harbringer server, but I also created a Chiss Imperial Agent, A Twi'lek Sith Inquisitor, Chiss Bounty Hunter, a Twi'lek Jedi Consular, and a Mirialan Jedi Knight. [No wonder that I the higest I made it was level 21, as I have too many characters!]

There is just enough exciting things to do in STO, that I haven't played SWTOR. If there was no STO or Neverwinter, I'd play SWTOR. ; )

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ShadowGirl (Guest) said...
December 28, 2015 at 07:21 pm

I own both, and there's a good reason I always come back to STO for an mmo fix, instead of SWTOR. To those who says its like apples and oranges, you are correct, it is indeed a bit unfair to compare the two but compare we shall.

The number 1 reason I come back to STO, and enjoy it more, is it's more complex options/playstyles. All those different ship and ground abilities you can pick and choose, the traits for your character and starship, the reputation choices, the choice of ship and console lay out, the weapons choices... it all adds together to form a customized experience that gives an impression of self importance since your decisions do very much ultimately effect how things play out. The costume options and weapons, bridge officers and their looks layouts and equipment... all of this choice and decision making is what makes a smart game.

The number 2 thing that brings me back to STO is the ship combat, the feel of it, the intensity and fun of maneuvering a ship, managing it's shields and all the customized abilities you've selected. Ground stuff can be fun too, but for me it's space that makes the game.

Ok now what about SWTOR??
Is it a beautiful game? Yes. Does it have good story and voice overs? Yes. Does it have good clothing customization? Yes. Is it a smart game? No. And here is where the problem for me lies with this game.

While there are skill trees and morphs, the actual number of abilities your going to have and use are very limited, and there will be many other people with exactly or nearly exactly the same setup your using. As such, its much easier for lower IQ people to pick the game up and enjoy it, but the consequence is a big lack of feeling like you really have a unique customized character with neat abilities, instead you have abilities like everyone else of your class and are nothing special. Another MMO game that has this issue is DCUO (DC Universe Online), and there are no doubt many more.

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CptZak (Member) said...
January 07, 2016 at 12:37 pm

I left WoW to play SWTOR when it released and I played a Sith Sorcerer to max level, which I think was 50 at the time. I really liked the ground game in Star Wars, but the space game left a lot to be desired. SWTOR was, however, by far the most fun I've had leveling in any game. The PVP was fun (I was especially fond of Hutt Ball) but didn't have the options that WoW had. I ending up going back to WoW for MoP and eventually remembered why I left in the first place. My son then introduced me to STO (of course he's now gone back to SWTOR) and I've been hooked since.

Reply to CptZak
RiverSong (Member) said...
January 18, 2017 at 09:46 pm

Ok I have to admit I hafve cheated on STO a little this month. Yes I knwo I should go clean the whatever the grunt workers do.

I agree comparing Trek to wars is like comparing apples and oranges. And I never understood the trek vs wars stuff.

I downloaded The old republic and dabled in a little bit. I wanted to try it. I checked alittle bit of each story. I don't like the empire side, way too mean and nasty.

The FTP thing stucks... I am sorry but it isn't fun when every time you level or get a drop that subscribers get better things. oh and the xp is lower for FTP when you hit a certain level. THis is what makes STO 100 times better. YOu never know you are playing a game that people subscribe to. well unless you look in the shop thing. But still.

The ground stuff is good you do get alot of stuff to do but they are really hard. I don't know but alot of the story stuff was hard, yes some of it seems fun. I guess I would have to be a die hard Star Wars fan to enjoy it more. I am a bigger trekkie and whovian. I only dabbled in the story stuff. The landscape is nice but way too big. Way too much travel time to get from point a to point b

I do wish STO had more content or more missions on planet. But then they would probably have to do the same thing that Old Republic does and bully people into subscribing. I don't want to see that happen.

It is fun, I might keep it on or not . It is taking some space my computer.

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