Loaded QuestionApril 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 8 Comments
Tags: MMO, mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic
Loading Screens. SWTOR is making me hate loading screens.
The original Guild Wars was not the greatest game when it came to loading screens. Fortunately once you had all the instances downloaded, those screens became short and barely worth mentioning even if you encountered them constantly.
In Runes of Magic you usually only encountered loading screens if warping to a specific location. If just running from one zone to another no loading screen could be noticed and it was actually quite pleasant. Rift handled things this way as well and I believe both games modeled this after WoW.
But SWTOR? Oh SWTOR. Each planet has several zones and you can load between those zones in a free and uninhibited way much like the WoW model. But curse your damned hide if you want to travel to more than one planet in a single play session.
To go from Hoth to Tattooine I would have to go from the Hoth spaceport to the hangar instance, from the hangar to the ship instance, from the ship instance to a hangar instance, from the hangar to the Tattooine instance. And believe me, some of these hangars, some of these spaceports are huge. Depending on where you start from this process can take quite a while.
The worst part is I love the grand sense of scale in SWTOR. I mean these places feel big, gigantic even. City planets feel like city planets and vast wastelands of ice or sand feel like vast wastelands of ice or sand. The distant lengths you travel just inside the Coruscant spaceport itself makes it feel like a spaceport designed not just for the players of the game but for the denizens of that planet. Unfortunately I don’t think the designers considered for a second that nobody likes airports or spending time in them.
I appreciate that Bioware has gone through the trouble of making my ship feel like my ship. They took the time to make it all seem quite epic. But at a certain point I don’t want to spend the 5 to ten minutes just getting off the planet, it’s not practical or fun.
I don’t mind loading conversations with NPCs, it is usually quite short and unobtrusive. I don’t mind loading my ship or a new planet. I do mind loading in hangars just so I can walk through them to get to the part where I load my ship or a new planet. It is facepalm design.
Fortunately Guild Wars 2, although it has loading screens and plenty of them, doesn’t seem like it has unnecessarily annoying ones. The zones seem quite large only requiring loading when doing personal story, moving to another zone, or traveling to a waypoint as when you’ve died. Now that is a new kind of death penalty.
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