Star Wars: The Old Republic review diary, level 30-45

Above: We'd buy Huttball jerseys in real life - just sayin'

The last mode, which is easily the most loved/hated mode, is Huttball. Since players can’t actually choose which PvP map they want to play, they’ll get stuck in Huttball more often than the other two, as Huttball doesn’t actually split the teams by factions (and, thus, always has enough players). Huttball is literally a sport, where two teams need to fight over a ball that spawns in the middle of the arena. To score a point, a player must get the ball over the enemy’s goal, which is fairly difficult with a dozen enemy players attacking.

The ability to pass the ball, however, makes this a much more interesting game, and a well-organized team can succeed well, regardless of level. We really enjoy Huttball and hope that the developers add more Hutt-sports in the future. How about Huttflag? Capture the Hutt? Whatever they want to call it we’re interested – we like that it’s not actually bound by faction, and the announcers provide a nice, humorous flare.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Above: Griefing is fun for everyone

For as much fun as we had with the PvP, we definitely found issues with every mode that should be cleared up, as well as one overarching problem. As of now, all levels from 10 to 50 are thrown into games together. BioWare does a better job at buffing the lower-level players than some other developers have, making the difference between a level 30 and a level 50 much less detrimental, but the lowest-level players are completely outclassed. Gamers are begging for some sort of segregation, and we can't disagree. While splitting it too much would hurt the game in the end, having at least two separate categories (one for levels 10 to 30, then one for 30 to 50) would go a long way to balance the game for everyone.

Open-world PvP came with its own set of issues, too. We rolled a character on a player-versus-player server because we wanted to engage in open-world PvP, but there are still some issues with this in some of the later levels. While we’re fine with killing enemies and being killed back, BioWare hasn’t protected players against spawn-camping, creating a situation where a group of 20 to 30 enemies can completely prevent a player from playing.

Above: Cool guys don't look at explosions

Usually games let players respawn in a safe zone, or allow them to spawn at a different point if one is being camped. Adding insult to injury, some of the late-game towns the guards, which are high-level and powerful, stand idly by when enemy players attack. While we’re not completely against city raids like this, we’d really like to see the AI-controlled guards actually do something to keep spawnpoints safe from rolling gank-squads. We’re hoping the developers find a tasteful fix to this, because it’s all fun and games until a group of level 50s camps a city without any resistance from NPCs.

A short, short time from now...

But now, the real test starts. Sure, we’ve already pumped nearly 200 hours into the game, but next week we’ll discuss the end-game in our full, robust review, as well as going deeper into every single element of the game so that you can decide, once and for all, if SWTOR is worth your money.

Hollander Cooper

Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.