Star Wars: The Old Republic Previews
Posted on Mar 16,2011 01:03 , by EDWARD WONG
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based in the Star Wars universe. Currently in development by BioWare Austin and a supplemental team at BioWare Edmonton, the game was first announced on October 21, 2008, at an invitation-only press event.
MMO Game Site just collected some of previews from the Internet, hopefully bringing you some tips and guide before you make a purchase of this MMO when it is released.
Honestly, I was a little taken aback by my experiences with SWTOR. It’s been on my radar as the MMO to get me back into playing MMOs, after having left the highly addictive World of Warcraft post-Burning Crusade. Yet, now that I’ve played it, I realize it is more akin to WOW than I originally thought, which isn’t necessarily bad, just not what I expected from a BioWare RPG. Regardless of expectations, what I played was engaging, interesting, and had the right blend of gameplay to keep me from being bored during an hour-long demo. And as a Star Wars fan, it was definitely a blast to be adventuring with bladders and Force powers, and not inside Star Wars Galaxies.
Unlike most MMOs, The Old Republic gives each character their own unique story. The problem is that the success of the stories in Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and Mass Effect relied on scripted interactions, a dramatic pace and a sense that the player’s actions had a lasting impact on the game world. BioWare admits, “common sense says you can’t approach story this way in an MMO.” As they see it, the problem with most MMOs, even those that have large story arcs for their characters, is that they try to apply a single story to a wide range of classes and attitudes. In designing content that works equally well for both saints and scoundrels, many MMOs are left with rather generic stories where the only real roleplaying is whatever the player projects onto the action. Learn more at Youtube
The Old Republic’s warzones are the game’s PvP arenas. When you and your buddies elect to bash some fellow humans, you’ll hop into a warzone from your current location; once complete, you’ll zip back to where you were, resplendent in your new and useful gear. So far, so MMO, but The Old Republic differs from the pack by steeping its PvP combat in lashings of Star Wars lore.
Strange to say it, but when you first start playing The Old Republic you forget it’s going to be built like an MMO. Missions, such as the one we played recently, are doled out in such dramatic and wordy ways that you’re temporarily blinded to the fact that the bomb-pursuit you’re on is essentially a World of Warcraft quest in space boots.
This is the sort of massively multiplayer experience that I think could bring back a lot of people long lost to the genre. Of course I only saw a small snippet and we have no way of knowing just how far out this game is, so keep an eye out for further developments.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a fully voiced, story-driven MMORPG.
We didn’t run into any big problems until multiple groups were pulled by mistake, or the Knight and Trooper got separated and each started taking heavy damage. The energy resource for me to use is far from infinite but regenerates at a good pace. Being that this was my first hands-on experience with the game, I found the situations either too easy or nearly impossible to keep up with. Again, none of us were familiar with most of the abilities at our disposal so I’ll chalk up our loss to inexperience.
Speaking of customization, this was also a topic that was briefly touched upon, where the team used the Smuggler class as an example. By design, the Smuggler will have traits such as “take cover,” “dirty kick,” “headshot,” and stealth. Of course, depending on what type of Smuggler you play will yield different bonus abilities. “Gunsligner” carries with it the ability to dual-wield pistols and a “smooth talker” trait to help influence NPCs during quests. “Scoundrel” lets you be proficient in stealth-based damage, much like that of the Imperial Agent, and medicine (think Han Solo slicing up the Tauntaun from Empire Strikes Back). There will be more customization options announced later, but the ethos for the team in regards to these abilities stems from honoring the “truthfulness” of Star Wars rather than filling MMO archetypes.
It isn’t re-defining the genre so much as taking the next logical step. Even WoW has attempted to incorporated a fuller story arc in its expansions, even Guild Wars has a relatively versatile class system. But The Old Republic combines the natural steps and natural innovations in an impossibly polished package. It will just be interesting to see how similarly it ends up comparing to the Guild Wars sequel which is working from a very similar angle.
If you were to ask an MMO fan to make a wish list of features for SWTOR, at this point BioWare has probably marked off far more of those features than not. Pleasing everyone is an unobtainable goal – someone will have grief with one matter or another. So it’s with great weight that I say BioWare stands a reasonable chance to please most. Player housing, personal space travel of some kind and large-scale PvP are all things I’ve consistently heard requested by SWTOR forum-goers and edge fans alike. The focus on modular play – allowing players to remain solo or easily jump into a cooperative party, and the instant-switch Quest Zones – exhibits a kind of RPG and MMO mastery that is rarely seen in our industry. We’re still nearly a year away from the potential launch. As such, BioWare still has a lot to prove to the now-attentive audience of Star Wars and MMO fans – especially after the claim of KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, etc back with the official announcement of the game. Yet, shockingly, every new wave of information seems to further confirm that BioWare wasn’t filling our heads with hot air.
The Old Republic will be BioWare and LucasArts’ massively multiplayer game that takes place in the pre-A New Hope universe of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. We’ve already revealed all the game’s character classes and covered many of the basics of gameplay, which developer BioWare ambitiously intends to infuse with all the in-depth story, intriguing characters, and moral choices of a traditional single-player role-playing game.
There’s the main game setting, and a range of stories within that setting. Then there’s a third layer, which is to do with the choices you make and how they affect the story that unfolds. According to BioWare’s Greg Zeschuk, decision making is much more complex in SWTOR than in most MMOs.
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