I have to say, one of the things SWTOR does well that I don’t think I’ve seen another MMO handle is recontextualizing the environment based on class. I recently came back to the game after a few months’ absence – I’d tried the free week they offered and they’ve fixed many of the issues I had – and I’ve been focusing on my level-44 Sith Inquisitor, to whom the large ground clutter in SWTOR plays like large ground clutter in pretty much every other game – just random crap everywhere to jump over or go around (or get stuck behind, in certain cases, not that I’ve ever done that).

But on a whim, today I logged into my Republic Smuggler, and all of a sudden, all of that ground clutter wasn’t just an obstacle – it was cover. On my Jedi Consular – at least thematically; it’s rarely physically true – the ground clutter wasn’t an obstacle or cover, it was ammunition. And so on.

I know it draws from the mechanics in Mass Effect, but SWTOR’s use of cover (and, thematically, Telekinetic Throw) really does a lot not only to justify but to enhance the idea of the environment being an interactable element. It’s not quite Red Faction – although it would be awesome if I could uproot a boulder with my Consular so my Smuggler friend could use it as cover – but it’s getting there.

(It occurs to me that part of the reason the environment isn’t more interactable is because it’s a persistent, multiplayer world, and it would be very easy to render the environment unusable if people had the ability to alter it at will. But we can dream!)

(Excellent comments on the last few posts, by the way – I haven’t replied simply because I don’t have good answers. :)

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