Wow, am I disappointed. I was under the impression that the new Star Wars browser MMO was… actually an MMO. It’s not. It’s a multiplayer lobby for mini-games ala Free Realms. I played for a good couple hours tonight in dead silence. Since you’re given the option to ignore the world entirely, many players just jump right into games without worrying about their avatar in the slightest. There is no tutorial or quest when you begin. It just plops you into a menu with a “Play Game” option. Since there’s no clearly labeled “enter world” button, you have to close the window manually to log in.
I felt lost when I first got control of my character. I felt sure that their must be a quest or something to guide me. There wasn’t, anywhere. The starship itself is very compartmentalized and your plane of movement is pretty much 2D. Every door requires a loading screen, though for a browser game I guess that’s alright. I looked around but couldn’t find any exit to the starter zone — explore space, I must! /yoda — but there probably was one. Considering how claustrophobic the beginning sets feel, it would be good to make exits apparent.
This disconnect also does a disservice to the game’s business model. There’s not much MMO here worth subscribing for, unless you want to pay just for the apartment. The huge emphasis on cash shop items when so much else is missing or seems unfinished only makes it seem like they’re out to grift you. Clone Wars looks like a cash grab. Seriously, if I knew nothing else it was that there were some SUPER MEGA COOL CASH SHOP ITEMS IF YOU GIVE ME CASH NOW PLEASE AND MAYBE BE A JEDI TOO, MMKAYTHXBYE. And where was the quest again? Story? Lore? Anything other than mini-games?
The games themselves are pretty good. There’s not much context behind them. If you enjoyed Free Realms, you’ll enjoy the puzzles here, too.
But, the major problem is that it’s almost impossible not to compare CWA to Free Realms. By comparison, Clone Wars looks like a stripped down reskin. They hacked out the world and replaced it with a few pseudo-3D lobby screens. In short, Clone Wars falls flat. It doesn’t offer anything (other than being Star Wars) that Free Realms doesn’t. I can’t help but feel like many players won’t bother to make the switch. They’d be missing out on so much.
Anyways, I’m going to continue to explore. These are my initial impressions after a couple hours in the beta. I wasn’t really hyped for the game, but I was looking forward to it. This experience has been disheartening so far to say the least. Still, I have to remind myself that the game is still in beta. There’s a lot of room for improvement and it could really shape up into a decent game. Right now, it’s not worth your subscription dollars.
Seriously, no quests for the new player? You have this great IP and you don’t involve new players at all? I don’t understand that line of thinking.