Star Wars: The Old Republic GamesCom 2009 PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Aug 19, 2009
Going hands-on with Star Wars: The Old Republic was one of my most-anticipated appointments at GamesCom, and I am pleased to report that I was not let down.
My MMO background: on-again, off-again, really off-again, on-again and finally off-again World of WarCraft player. Never a raider or serious PvP player, but enjoyed questing solo and picking up bits of lore here and there.
Today, we got to see the Bounty Hunter and Smuggler ranged classes in action on the planet Hutta, and we were introduced to a new playable melee class: the Sith Warrior.
Rangers first: Both the Bounty Hunter and Smuggler are equipped with blasters and various projectile-based explosive weapons (rockets and grenades) on a very quick cooldown. BioWare was quick to point out that they were capable of engaging multiple enemies at once without being overrun -- and that's apparently a big part of TOR's combat. Bounty Hunter also had sleep darts for crowd control, while the Smuggler had the ability to take cover and fight from relative comfort. A major goal was to make each class feel the way that Star Wars fans see them in their minds.
Which explains the all-out attacking power of the Sith Warrior. This is the part I actually got to play, but only after watching a BioWare controlled live demo. The point of it, I would come to learn, was to see both sides of the branching story in this early instanced mission. The Sith Warrior and his entourage have been sent to investigate why a ship's captain is ignoring orders from a Grand Moff to attack a larger Republic ship. Our sadistic demo group voted to kill the captain and transfer command to a more bendable officer, which meant that in my personal demo later in the day, I got to see what happened if we were nice and spared his life.
My Sith Warrior was around level 8 and was equipped with a standard red lightsaber. As we made our assualt on the Republic ship ("we" refers to myself and my AI Bounty Hunter partner), it was boarded by a battalion of Republic Vanguards, Soldiers, Infiltrators, and Jedi Padawans. It was easy to slice through the threat, using basic attacks, area-of-effect stuns, force chokes (must be channeled), and saber-impalement finishers. Even at this early stage and basic complement of attacks, combat was very fast and almost like a pure action game. Each class is going to have an out-of-combat heal, which keeps the pace moving quickly.
Addressing Knights Of The Old Republic fans’ concern (or is that disdain?) that we're getting an MMO instead of a new KOTOR, BioWare simply responds with the claim that The Old Republic is actually "KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 all at once," which is just another incredibly bold claim to stack on the shoulders of this ambitious game. Whether or not they pull everything off remains to be seen -- this is an MMO, after all -- but after killing a Jedi Knight, looting his purple lightsaber and equipping it as my own so I'm duel-wielding, they've certainly put a good first foot forward. More details are to come, including an explanation of the "light side/dark side" system, PvP, game economy, and player organization (i.e. guilds).