Above: We got to check "walking away from an explosion" off on our bucket list for 2012
BioWare did a fantastic job of bringing the Star Wars universe to gaming in a bigger, better way than ever before. Many of the mechanics that are in place need work, but the emphasis on story is absolutely unparalleled in the genre, and the game is paced in such a way that it should be a treat for those new to MMOs. Where it falters is in properly combining the game’s innovations with the genre’s oftentimes archaic mechanics, and that’s something that will hopefully be phased out over time as BioWare enhances the end-game content and expands on the Legacy system to further incentivize players to come back for more.
World of Warcraft? No. It couldn’t be. Not at launch. Right now there are too many problems, and World of Warcraft had a really, really, really long head start. It’s certainly better than WoW was within the first few years, and it definitely has the capability of being better in the long run, but at launch it’s just not there.
Knights of the Old Republic? Depends. If you’re looking for a single stand-alone Star Wars story, Knights does a better job. If you truly want to be immersed in the world of Star Wars, and you’re interested in not one, but eight different epic Knights of the Old Republic-style tales, than SWTOR is the one to go with.
Star Trek: Online? Yes. Star Trek: Online’s space combat was fun, but the ground game was a mess, and the updates never fully pulled together the elements of the game to make it feel like a cohesive experience. Even after a few years of patches, Star Trek: Online is a weaker game than The Old Republic, and that's something that likely won't be fixed with an update.
Massively-multiplayer online games are always a work-in-progress, so it’s not surprising that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s launch wasn’t flawless. What matters is that it’s an extremely satisfying experience that sets the stage for a bright future, so long as BioWare continues to support the game for the coming years with constant updates.
Note: This review is a living document. MMOs are constantly evolving, and if we see big changes we’ll update the text with links to articles detailing those updates.