Got the chance to play in the SW:TOR weekend beta today for about 10 hours (so far). I have to say that I’m very impressed. I haven’t played in a ton of betas, but this has been by far the smoothest beta experience I’ve ever had. In deed, SW:TOR’s beta is better than most retail release MMO’s I’ve played.
BioWare does a good job of hitting most of the MMO conventions that have developed since WoW’s appearance on the scene, though it does have the advantage of 12 years or so of MMO development hindsight. I do wish it were more sandboxy, like SWG was (before the NGE), but I realize that isn’t what they’re going for, and probably wouldn’t work well given BioWare’s excellent track record of creating story-driven CRPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. It’s not a huge departure from the themepark style games that have become prevalent, but it does introduce a few new wrinkles, like companions.
All in all, I think BioWare has a winner here (not that there was a lot of doubt, I suppose). I’m looking forward to this game’s release. And now I’m off to play some more before the weekend ends.