Only 2 hours of sleep, 4 hours of travel and 6 hours in line to play 45 mins of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Was it worth it?
The year was 1977 and I was 5 years old. Star Wars was released and it changed my life forever. My whole childhood was consumed with the mythos of Star Wars. Star Wars would be the gateway to many things in my life, comics, video games, and toys. It is so a part of my DNA I could go on for paragraphs but I think you get the point.
In 2003 Sony Online Entertainment released the first ever Star Wars massively multi-player role playing game called Star Wars Galaxies. It would be my introduction to a genre of game play I have become a big fan of ever since.
Unfortunately, it was not all roses and sunshine for players of Star Wars Galaxies. Plagued by balance issues, bugs, and a complex system to unlock the Jedi class, SOE decided two years into the life of the game to completely revamp and change the game to more of a first person shooter in an effort to appeal to people NOT playing the game.
Whittling down 32 professions to 9 and making Jedi a starting class it left many players feeling burned for their money and time invested. Despite Sony's best efforts they hemorrhaged subscriptions and the fantastic player-base we had quickly dwindled. I have popped in and out over the years but I have been ready for a do-over for sometime now and a do-over we are getting...
Bioware has made a reputation for themselves over the years by making games with great gameplay and top-notch story telling. Hands down the best storytelling moments I have experienced have been playing Bioware games. So when EA and Bioware announced in October of 2008 that they where working on a new Massively Multi-Player Game for the Star Wars universe I was excited.
Set several thousand years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and 300 years after Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: The Old Republic takes place in a period before the rule of two. The Sith Empire has devastated the Republic forces and taken over the Core Worlds.
Time has dragged on as Bioware has dribbled out bits of information here and there over the past few years, but with a release date sometime this year in 2011 we are starting to get much more substantial information and it's shaping up to be an amazing game. Last weekend at PAX EAST, Bioware was letting folks play 45 minutes of the game and I got to try it.
The embedded video above is the developer walk-through of the "Flashpoint" I got to play last Friday. It's a Level 32 (the level cap in game is 50) instance designed for four players. While standing in line members of Bioware's team would help you pick out the class you wanted to play and go over strategies to get players prepped. I choose to play the Jedi Guardian (a damage class and secondary tank) and was paired with three others to play.
Now I want to preface this by saying that being dropped into a mid level character with two full rows of specials I have never played before is not the ideal way to try out an MMORPG, but it did give me a solid feel for where the game is at and it's all good. Very good.
Game-play was smooth and fluid. The graphics are gorgeous and the Bioware group conversation system worked very nicely. I now want this game out NOWWWWWW! Seriously, I have every confidence the story, combat and general adventuring are going to be top notch.
Through the course of my time at the booth on Friday and my time at a Meet and Greet on Saturday a bunch of disparate info was made available. So here are the bullet points in no particular order.
-While the starter area and things like Flashpoints and certain boss battles are instanced TOR is full open and higly explorable universe as you would expect from a MMORPG.
- -Space combat is more of a tunnel shooter than a full on sim like X-WIng vs Tie Fighter was. A design choice I prefer, actually.
- -It's not all about combat and adventuring. Bioware knows social elements are an important part of games like this and promise there will be very good reasons for players to seek out social hubs. It was specificly mentioned there is a Rest XP to be gained by frequenting Cantinas and the like. What Rest XP gives you was not explained.
- -It was VERY clear that the folks working on this game are HUGE Star Wars fans and they are endevoring to make the game we all want.
- -Each class's story (eight in total) is the equivelant of a KOTOR 1 and 2 combined and they are promising that if you are a story person you will most likely want to play all eight classes. No story or missions are repeated. Each class is a unique adventure.
- -They plan to support the game for at least 10 years.
There is now tons of information on many details of the game available on the official site. I highly recommend checking it out if your even vaguely curious about the game. This is shaping up to be the biggest thing to hit in years and a ton of fun in the process. Star Wars: The Old Republic is slated for a 2011 release.