If there has ever been a video game with a more centralized controversy than The Old Republic, I don’t know what it would be. When Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ Hot Coffee scandal hit, there was a lot of discussion about the importance of censorship, the morality of video games, and the responsibility of parents to watch what their children played. In time, the controversy came and passed, that version of the game was effectively banned, and Jack Thompson was shown to be a total idiot and a fraud. People were shot in the streets, and hookers were murdered with crowbars for a quick refund… in-game. When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched, I’m quite convinced the same happened in real-life.
The undeserved negative publicity that The Old Republic has garnered is almost mindboggling. Like a kind of collective inside joke that a fourth of the internet heard about, and then immediately forgot why was funny, the sheer amount of damage that a very vocal group in the internet will attempt to heap onto one game makes absolutely no sense from any logical standpoint. From the GameFAQS Boards, to 4chan, and even Bioware’s own The Old Republic forums, nowhere appears to be safe from this bizarre culture that seemed to have sprung up overnight with no intention but to rape all the reputation of a game seemingly at random, subtlety and experience be damned. Talk about this game, or dare admit to playing it, and you will be flamed to a well-done crisp by every meaningless troll in a desperate attempt at absorbing you into their collective of hate mongering.
Now, let me get this straight from the beginning. I am not a fan of Bioware. Not even passively. They are well-known for major games like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, the Mass Effects, and (at least the first) Dragon Age. Literally the only game I have ever beaten by them is the first Knights of the Old Republic, and though it is perhaps in my top 25 games of all time, I felt that the literally half-finished Knights of the Old Republic II by Obsidian is better in virtually every department. I did not like Mass Effect because of a severe lack of flow, and Dragon Age just bored me after I learned most of its tricks, though I appreciated its story and setting. I am not a Bioware fanboy, and any member of the ‘I Hate Bioware and Need to Let the Universe Know’ club who is prepared to call me a Biodrone is only making themselves look stupid. They are a below average developer to me. But trust me, I’ll post this on message boards, and without reading, they (the Anti-Bioware Troll Force) will assume I’m proclaiming this game the next coming of Christ (which it’s not), and call me a sheep all because they’re products of this movement. Hopefully those who did read my article will then laugh heartily at them.
Here are a few prime examples of the fanatical devotion these people have to the destruction of this game. In an interview with James Ohlen, one of the directors for the new MMO, he says, in response to the game’s Metacritic score being much higher for professional reviews (then an 85), than user reviews (then a 6.1): “Oh that’s easy. Several of the designers were watching the Metacritic page when it finally came up and what happened was there is a community out there, and we don’t know who they are – it could be a bunch of different people – who aren’t really playing the game but have a vested interest in hating the game. And we saw literally hundreds of 0/10s come up within the first couple of hours of Metacritic coming on. So it was people who weren’t even playing the game basically putting on that they hated it.
When this was posted on 4chan, I witnessed a supermassive collective of people immediately hounding, laughing, and jumping on this man’s back (at least if the internet allowed such a thing) at his ‘desperate’ attempt at ‘damage control.’ This would be completely valid reasoning, if he weren’t completely correct about the existence of dozens of user reviews formed solely for this reason. Seriously, look at the blatant ploys on Metacritic doing nothing but attempting to destroy this game’s reputation. I even made a game out of it, opening up the reviews of the first ten “zero” scores that I came across and looking at their attempts at just pure trolling, inflicting damage on popular franchises, or were only there for that single review. If you want a good laugh, here’s what I came across:
1. 0 for Old Republic, 0 for Modern Warfare 3, 10 for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Because attacking two mega-popular franchises with the lowest available score and pumping up what’s likely your favorite game isn’t bias. Zoan626
2. 0 for Old Republic, and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. My favorite line: “Even space combat/missions are copied 1:1 from Rebel Assault.” Really? 1:1, like, they ripped the freaking game out and ported it to the PC? Wow. He does admittingly have a few more reasonable reviews. Bugmenot
3. 0 for The Old Republic, 0 for Dragon Age II. Despite his saying that he was a huge fan of the original Dragon Age in his review for it, he doesn’t have a review for the original, and clearly just has it out for Bioware. MQCmD
4. Claims that there is little interactivity… “Yes there are other players running around but I think it’s a bug, since the interaction potential this game offers is equal to null.” No, I think the ability to run is rather common in MMOs, my friend. Tkwz
5. I was wondering when I would come across one of these. It’s just a 0 for The Old Republic, and absolutely nothing more to review. He claims it’s ‘decent’ if you like Bioware and Star Wars… but gave it literally a ‘no effort’ grade. BibimBOP
6. Oh, boy, another 0 and 10 guy. Guess freaking what, he’s the exact same as one of my prior ones for his most hated games (ToR, MW3, and DA2), two of which are Bioware, and otherwise showing no interest in their games. Mindless hating on a developer and utter praise for anything you like is always a sign of maturity. Best logic, and a clear indication he never played the game and drew on his vague knowledge of how most MMOs work to right his ‘review,’ he states that it’s a typical “auto-attack” combat. Which the game doesn’t have (at least at the time of this posting, they’ve talked about implementing it in a future update). Glorious. Yasuchika
7. See number 5. UpsetGamer
8. See… 5 and 7. VeryAverage
9. See… 5… 7… AND 8. God this was simpler to write than I thought. Skeletor
10. Probably the only half-way logical one, and then only if you tilt your head and squint. Still gave Dragon Age 2 a zero for my favorite Bioware Hate twofer. Every other review is a postive one, leaving him randomly attacking a developer he has no care for because he can. Evrae_Altana
This wasn’t a formulated list to point out the bad seeds. This was the first 10 I noticed on the list, and they’re all piss-poor reviews or biased to Hell and back. Why? Because they only cared due to being part of this anti-ToR movement that nobody even understands anymore, and are only suffering a loss of intelligence because of it. The very same people who call people ‘drones’ and ‘sheep’ are part of that very same hivemind of hatred that are being fed lies and misinformation in order to make an above-average MMO seem like the worst thing to ever come out of gaming. Seriously, does nobody know what an actual ‘zero’ score game is? When you get a zero on a paper, you either fail to do the guidelines on an assignment, or don’t turn anything in.
(This is a zero or one score game. There is more entertainment value in a single quest or the opening cutscene of The Old Republic than this steaming pile of crap.)
Speaking of lies and misinformation, I love how these people have blown all those ban allegations completely out of the water. Or in the case of the dance bug (dancing would prevent aggro from working under certain conditions), the circulated ban offense was completely fake altogether.
Both of these cases caused a lot of controversy, and in both cases, they ended up being completely fake. Add this to a very vocal minority who wants nothing more than to destroy this game and all it stands for, it’s quite obvious what’s going on. Of course, anarchal liars who only want to watch the world burn will blame Bioware for this, saying that they’re screwing people out of their right to protest on their sites, and they’re “worse than Jews” (not my words, but the words of members of the Anti-Bioware Force) for not wanting to let people take back their money. I wonder if it’s crazier to believe this or smash your face into a brick wall twenty times every hour. It’s insanity to the highest caliber.
(Although, we did get the ‘DING DONG BANNU’ and ‘RINE ENDS HERE —— YOU CROSS RINE!?’ memes, so maybe it was worth it in the end.)
(Probably not a good idea to post an anti-ToR message in what’s kind of a pro-ToR essay, but it’s too funny not to share.)
Listening to these extreme Biohaters collectively masturbate over their own ‘unique’ and ‘intelligent’ opinions, all while placing cut-and-paste arguments against the game is hilarious in its own right. They post beta videos and highlight the glitches and extreme easiness, when the entire point of a beta is to weed out problems and test out that mechanics work, rather than provide a challenge. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has had a much better reception regarding its amount of bugs, and as a person who avidly played that game when it came out, and is playing ToR right now, there’s no comparison between the two. Skyrim was much buggier (ed. Note and arguably still is). When looking on various gaming boards, these gamebreaking glitches are usually accompanied one of three ways: rage at having a quest chain broken, getting stuck, or an item lost; laughter at how comical the bug is, and especially how easy it is to trick the A.I.; or an acceptance that mods or a later patch will soon fix it. If the same thing happens to ToR, it’s only ever one option – the first. When a patch comes out that actually, gasp, fixes stuff, you will hear people lashing out quite violently at how the game “should have had that fixed before launch,” or, if they think another aspect is more broken, laugh at where Bioware’s priorities lie. This is especially funny because The Old Republic is an MMO, the most evolutionary of gaming genres, but then again this is coming from the same people who call the game the SPORPG (Single Player Online Role Playing Game). However, anyone who actually plays will tell you that if anything there are too many group instances. It becomes a hassle trying to find people for the Heroic Dailies. Because Bioware has integrated a plot that is halfway worth playing by yourself without feeling the need to grind up to max level in order to enjoy yourself, they screech unfair obscenities and call it a subscription-based single player game. Classy.(Here’s a beta fight against one of the hardest instance bosses, Darth Malgus. I still see this video posted around as though it’s indicative of current difficulty, and it’s very simply not. Nobody loses more than about 10% health, because the game was only there at that point to test mechanics. Mechanics are not able to be tested if people die, so it was easier.) (Here’s the same fight, but on Normal difficulty post-launch. A couple of times characters lose a quarter health, but it’s still not that difficult. Thing is? There are Normal, Hard, and Nightmare versions of this fight. See where I’m getting at here, trolls?)
The Old Republic is nowhere near a perfect game. It’s not even going to make it into my top 25 unless it makes some serious changes, and I consider the Knights games my third favorite gaming series. If you must, by that logic, it is a disappointment. But by far the professional reviewers have gotten it right, with mostly 9s, 8s, and a few logical 7s for its grading. It doesn’t deserve anything below a 6 by even the staunchest critics; however, I’m sick of being unable to hold a basic conversation or read through message board posts without having to weed out those who have just jumped on the ToR-hating bandwagon. If you’re tired of this, too, make your own opinions and post this around. Maybe we can finally put a stop to this madness… though I doubt it.
inb4 “The Old Republic? Anything other than 0/10? I seriously hope you guys don’t believe this.” and related derivatives.