previewed on PC
The Light or Dark Side?
The Star Wars universe is one of the richest in the science fiction genre. It has been explored through books, movies, TV shows, cartoons and videogames. BioWare has made some of the best Star Wars games around such as Knights of The Old Republic and Knights of The Old Republic II. Now they are going to take a swing at the Massive Multiplayer Online genre with their newest title Star Wars: The Old Republic. Set approximately 300 years after the events of Knights of The Old Republic II, this title hopes to maintain the feel of the original Xbox games but in a vast, open-world setting.
Set over 3000 years before the Star Wars movies, the Republic and the Sith Empire reach an unstable truce – one that falls apart shortly after the game begins. You will have the option of choosing between the Republic and the Empire. Each side hosts a bunch of different classes but only the Jedi and Sith classes have been officially announced. Other classes, such as The Bounty Hunter or The Smuggler have been rumored but have yet to be officially cleared by BioWare as being in the game.
This MMO is going to have a much more story driven campaign than most. Your actions along the way will affect your affinity with the Light or Dark side, a now classic stable of BioWare games. This will allow players to create their own epic stories and each experience should feel unique. Other classic MMO features will be included such as Player Vs Player, guilds and crafting but none have been revealed in detail.
The amount of content in this title is more than BioWare has ever made before. Each class is going to have their own unique storyline. A warrior class is not going to have the same quests, missions, and dialog as a mage class. Nothing is going to be recycled or reused, there is no cutting corners here. As a result this game will have more content than all other BioWares games combined. To put that in perspective, that’s: Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gates and all the expansion “do not touch our content” amount.
Taking a page from the ridiculously successful World of Warcraft, the game is be able to run on mid-to-high range PC’s. The art direction will have a common ground between a somewhat cartoony and realistic style. This allows the game to showcase a unique look while being able to scale pending the power of your rig. Prepare to travel through iconic Star Wars locals from the old Knights of The Old Republic games and some hidden surprises sprinkled throughout.
The goal of the BioWare doctors up in Canada is to recreate the essence of what you know and love from past games in a MMO universe. They are doing this by incorporating things like companion characters and a dynamic battle system. This new battle system is doing away with the old formula of “click and hope the dice rolls in your favor”. Light sabers will collide and lasers have to be dodged making a much more action heavy combat experience. It is not yet known if the game will have a “hit-box” style of combat like the new Warhammer MMO but it is definitely striving for it.
Companion characters are more than just fancy names for pets. They battle along side you, comment on your actions and might even offer strategies for whatever you are doing. They are more than just command bots; they have their own views and opinions on what is happening. These may conflict with what you are doing and your buddy might turn on you, even fight you. It adds a whole new dynamic to the mundane task of soloing in MMO’s. Based on your choice of companion, they can also affect the story of your character.
The Star Wars franchise seems to be in perfectly capable hands over at BioWare. These developers have made some of the most critically and commercially acclaimed RPG’s available and from what we know about the next Old Republic title, they are out to do it again. A unique battle system, a story you will actually care about and a setting that’s rich for exploitive story telling make this MMO one to watch out for. Will this finally be the one to take out World of Warcraft or will it just be a nice little distraction until the next expansion, find out when the game ships soon.