Star Wars: The Old Republic - PC

Star Wars: The Old Republic
Game Description:Embark on the most epic Star Wars experience to date in this story-driven MMO set during the time of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Fight your way across the galaxy as a Jedi, Sith or various other Star Wars archetypes and characters, and encounter countless friends and foes along the way in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Experience the expansive Star Wars universe like never before thanks to the SWTOR's full voice acting, an MMO first.
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Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview -- Seven Hours with BioWare's Epic MMO

Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview -- Seven Hours with BioWare's Epic MMO

By Christopher Monfette - Posted Dec 15, 2010

Seven hours. That’s how long we were given to go hands-on with Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare’s epic MMO set within the iconic and sprawling universe originally imagined by filmmaker George Lucas. Seven hours to roam the world of Tython, home of the Jedi Order. Seven hours to quest, explore and level our way through just one of the six possible opening stages of the game. Seven hours to rise from Padawan to Jedi. Seven hours to prepare to save the galaxy.

Seven hours and we barely even scratched the surface. So scant was our footprint on the Old Republic that not even the Force would know we were ever there. Eight levels, dozens of quests, a handful of story missions and we didn’t even board the vessel to Coruscant where the game truly begins.

The Old Republic

Beginning on Tython, we were offered two class selections, Jedi Consular and Jedi Guardian, of which we chose the latter by virtue of our love for old-fashioned, close-quarters lightsaber combat. The Consular's abilities skew to the more "magical" side of the force with a focus on healing and ranged attacks. As the premier student in our classes at the Order, we had the opportunity to adopt either a humble or arrogant attitude, managing our responses throughout the day to keep a fairly balanced association. Immediately, the order is attacked by the local brutes known as Flesh Raiders and your assistance is required down in the valley below the training grounds.

These first few missions – from destroying a set amount of Raiders to rescuing a few stranded students – are the stuff of your basic tutorial. Thankfully, there’s little to teach as the interface is surprisingly intuitive for both hardcore MMO fans and relative virgins alike. You'll move with the WASD keys and assign useable items to the later number keys. Your basic force powers, which will evolve rapidly as the game progresses, are also mapped to the number keys. For the Jedi Guardian, many of these powers represent upgrades to your fundamental lightsaber attack, executed by simply clicking on the enemy in question. Force attacks like the spin attack and an area-attack are particularly impressive with the cool-down times on these abilities perfectly balanced to keep the combating moving without being excessively simple. Inventory management and map navigation are equally accessible as your various armor and equipment degrade over time, forcing players to be mindful of the loot they collect and equip along the way.

Force powers will be upgraded for experience as you encounter various Jedi instructors along the way. The more you level up, the more abilities will be available to you. More complex, however, is the game’s economy system, which’ll force you horde and sell your loot strategically as you go. At least this early in the game, repairing objects such as weapons or armor is usually vastly more expensive than simply equipping the best of what you find, and in our limited playtime, we did far more selling than purchasing.

The Old Republic

Eventually, you’ll discover that the Flesh Raider attacks have been orchestrated by a renegade Jedi, believed long-dead. Soon, you’re taken under the wing of a cantankerous, self-confident Obi-Wan archetype and introduced to a larger conflict currently stirring in the galaxy. But before you can journey off-world to investigate the mystery further, your skills as a Jedi apprentice must first be honed. Hell, after seven hours of gameplay, we’d still yet to acquire an actual lightsaber, fighting our way through Tython with merely a reinforced training blade.

After all, the Raiders are causing tremendous trouble for the citizens here at home, including the suffering, overlooked camp of Twi’lek Pilgrims, and there’s work to be done before we can begin meddling in much larger affairs. At this point, the game opens up into the kind of free-form questing that both MMO fans and BioWare RPG enthusiasts will no doubt recognize. In fact, were it not for the distinctly MMO control scheme, The Old Republic might very seem like a well deserving follow-up to KoTOR, playable almost entirely as a single-player experience. With the exception of one quest encountered toward the end of our playtime, virtually no single feat required more than our own brawn and determination to accomplish. However, there are quests and areas of the game that simply won't be accessible  -- or, at least, able to be accomplished -- without friends in tow, and its here where you'll find some substantial loot. That said, having never partnered up in the first few hours, we didn't exactly find ourselves missing it either, but we were only playing in a world with 16 players.

This may very well be one of the game’s most significant advantages or disadvantages as the story continues, threatening to lack the cooperative substance that MMO lovers require, yet boasting an ease of use and a straightforward mission structure that might very well invite less frequent MMO players into the genre. With any luck, BioWare’s talent for nuance will be able to fundamentally please both groups as the previously announced Crew Skills mechanic and WarZone PvP sections will serve to bridge the two worlds.

The Old Republic

Neither of those features played a role in our seven hours exploring Tython, however, although it’s apparent that they’ll be vital to your experience later in the game. While we did recruit one companion character – a kidnapped droid who proved surprisingly useful in battle – the idea that future crew members would be able to carry out missions, gather resources and craft objects even while you’re away from the game is a difficult feature to ignore. And the story moments that funnel players into wide-scale, PvP conflicts on planets like Alderaan – otherwise known as WarZones – promise that no matter how self-absorbed we might have become, obtaining and finishing missions with little regard to the multiplayer aspect of the MMO, we’ll inevitably be forced to confront our online friends and enemies.

Seven hours and eight levels later, our time with the title expired, having never made it beyond the world of Tython. Our quests consisted of surviving ancient Twi’lek rituals, helping alien royalty, reuniting fathers and sons and deciding whether the relationship of two passionate lovers should be reported to the Council as insubordination.  And there was still much, much more to do on the planet before venturing into the true heart of the game itself. And this is only one of several potential starting points, depending upon your class – each with their own tutorials and quests – including Alderaan, Tatooine, Nar Shaada, Taris, Coruscant, Korriban and others.

In this relatively short span of time, we can confidently say that the game looks and plays extremely well, controlling with ease and readily accessible for anybody looking for a strong overall RPG experience. What we can’t say, however – considering that so many of the more complex features were unavailable to us – is whether it’ll truly please the MMO elite. But from what we experienced, and given the rate at which the narrative was progressing, there’s infinitely more to discover in this massive, unending universe.


Comments are Closed

  • mikeedro

    YAY! I can hardly wait!

    Posted: January 12, 2011 2:20 AM
  • kanabo master


    Posted: December 29, 2010 12:15 PM
  • mrandmrspenguin0507

    does anyone know what the system requirments will be for this ??

    Posted: December 26, 2010 1:36 PM
  • pigtails33

    WANT it NOW

    Posted: December 19, 2010 7:56 PM
  • cracker1138

    You can be other races but some are for certain classes only like the sith species.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 3:34 PM
  • VeeOt

    Realy looking forward to this, though i'm a little worried since i was magorly disapionted with some of BioWere's work. this at least looks good from what little i've seen. prsonaly i think they should make it free to play after you buy the game itself. with more content availible with in game awarded pionts (like was done with LOTRO and DDO)

    i also hope you can chose diffrent races than humans to add a little veriety to the experience. may not have the cash to get it at release seeing as uneployment in my area is at an altime high and i haven't had work for nearly a year now.

    though anything that helps kill that anoying waist of energy known as WOW is good in my book.

    lets just cross our colective fingers and hope fore the best.

    Posted: December 17, 2010 12:22 AM
  • HammerfistClan.com

    Our guild is ready for this game to hit already... that said we are expecting that Bioware will release a very polished product. Not perfect, but well tested. I too am planning on the Collector's Edition which would be nice to have a week early access to the game or something, but I will be ready day one and have vacation time planned for the first week.

    The biggest problem is what to do until this game actually hits...

    G4...please give us more coverage - great review, but I was hoping for some in depth interviews.

    Posted: December 16, 2010 9:01 PM
  • cracker1138

    @ Shinboe
    u must have not read my other post i said it wouldnt kill Wow and your comment on how there are more nerds for sw seems pretty far off lol just saying, oh and I cant think of any other mmo that has had this much put into it and been so talked about since WoW other then maybe.... no, no others, i can only think of guild wars and id rather forget that lol so yeah and on wow ive heard more buzz about SWtOR then any site, I think that is awesome, because some people want real change, again nothing wrong with WoW. lol oh and thanks for responding to my post in a well thought out reply :D that happens less and less these days

    Posted: December 16, 2010 2:07 PM
  • Wildcard273

    I think at this point, I'm physically unable to drool anymore than I already have for this game. Does anyone else get an actual physical ache from wanting to play this game or is it just me?

    All I want to know right now are specs. @Christopher - I'm sure you had to sign an NDA, but could you give us the specs of the computer you played it on? Or is that covered by the NDA as well?

    Posted: December 16, 2010 12:50 PM
  • Ruvkien

    I am looking forward to this and am just hoping that it doesn't get nerfed like Galaxies did. IMO Galaxies was a great game at lunch, and it's downfall began when they removed corpses, which was like 3 months into the game.

    Just to state for the record, in Galaxies, corpses were great; most if not all your gear was left on your corpse when you died. This kept noobs from going into places that they shouldn't be and also allowed for some quite entertaining corpse camping; because you knew that the guy you just killed was going to run straight back to his body and get his stuff, all you had to do is wait a little while for him to show up to get a few extra PVP kills.

    Posted: December 16, 2010 11:14 AM
  • Htownmofo

    I personally think this will be a refreshing MMO. When I started playing WoW, I read the little quest descriptions to get more immersed in the story, but after a while I was just mindlessly completing tasks. MMOs just seem like an epic grind-fest. You sit there blindly killing *insert monster here* so you can level up or get a shiny new pair of pants. Hopefully it actually has an interesting story that actually makes you want to play, and since it's Bioware I'm sure they won't disappoint.

    Posted: December 16, 2010 8:27 AM
  • persiflage101

    Sorry for dobule post -- I meant to add a link to a site that gathers all SWOTR info as it comes out on the web. Awesome place to stay informed.

    http://www.swtor.com/communi ty/showthread.php?t=188836

    Posted: December 16, 2010 7:52 AM
  • persiflage101

    Dark_Jedi_Dave - Not April, 2011 anymore. They have pushed back to b/t 4/11 and 12/11. I'd guess toward end of year given what they are trying to do.

    General Statement: Paraphrasing what Nicolas Cage said in "The Rock," I am not a SW freak.. I am a SW SUPERFREAK! That being said, I can remain objective (case in point, I dropped SWG when it started to suck). I am excited for this game beyond b/c it's SW. I am excited for the possibility that a MMO will have a plot and be emmersive. I've played a ton of MMOs, but only have stuck with WOW - not because of plots (b/c not really much of those, even with Cataclysm). I still yearn for plot, as I have enjoyed with single-player games for years. Hoping that Bioware can pull it off. If anyone can, I believe it to be them.

    I'll be purchasing the Collector's Edition and taking a few days off of work when it comes out. My wife and daughter have already been warned to leave daddy alone. Heh.

    Posted: December 16, 2010 7:47 AM
  • PsychoBowl

    Even though this game will be extremely successful, I'm sure, It's impossible to completely destroy a game that has around 12 million subscribers.

    Posted: December 16, 2010 6:29 AM
  • MrTexas

    chits bout to get real!

    Posted: December 16, 2010 4:50 AM
  • Dark_Jedi_Dave

    Is the April 1st 2011 release date for real??? Games that fall of April Fools day make me skeptical

    Posted: December 16, 2010 1:48 AM
  • ColdSilence

    I have said this many times before, I'm STILL getting this DAY ONE! The nay sayers are gonna be speechless when this game is released! Go right ahead and keep sleeping on Bioware! Heads will be swimming in amazement. The potential will be realized, because it's time for WoW to pass the torch.

    Cataclysm, though a refreshing change, is has shown its wear for some time now. They have implemented seemingly every popular mini-game and have "borrowed" the deeds (or achievements) from LoTRO. They have blessed people with what I'll call "mountus maximitis". An "ungodly" (to me) amount of mounts you can now have per character, switching between them at will. Who in the HELL wants 20 or 30 mounts?!!

    I'm sorry, but I have always wanted to feel as though I was part of an MMO adventure. Too much of it these days is less about the quest/storyline aspect and more emphasis is placed on PVP and endgame. People, in my experiences, simply do not have time to wait for you while you read the quest giver's story and its containing information to figure out what to do. They mindlessly click the button without bothering to find out what to do. Those party members will then ask what to do to the rest of the team, that irks me to no end.

    When I play an MMO I want to feel like I'm a part of the story, not a mindless drone in the bigger grind to the endless endgame or PVP. Age of Conan touched on the concept by bringing voice into portions of the game, but Bioware has gone full bore, making the entire experience vocalized. We ALL know that when we can hear a character's tone of voice, the effect it has on our thinking is innately personal. This is why games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age (on a different level) are so popular.

    Yeah, there are the people that have actually gone through the trouble of breaking down Bioware's storyline formula, unfortunately. For them, it doesn't matter if they cheapen the experience for themselves. They dislike Bioware so much, that these charts and graphs, if you will, of the "secret of success", will hopefully push others back into the mindless MMO drivel of WoW and other similar games. Their goal is a deep-seated disdain for Bioware and what they do. Those people, in my opinion, are simply NOT true RPG fans.

    We STRIVE for storyline in our games, THAT is the lore in the first place! Second, albeit newer component these days, voice, makes us feel connected. The time is finally looming where the MMO community will see how masterful Bioware is. The Old Republic is just the icing on the cake. A series that I KNOW has far more fans globally than the Warcraft universe ever will.

    Join me people, lets enjoy the ride!

    Posted: December 16, 2010 12:47 AM
  • Ericthepilot

    I've been waiting for a good sci-fi mmo since Earth and Beyond shut down. hopefully this is the one

    Posted: December 15, 2010 9:39 PM
  • Vaelhan

    Grouping before level 10 only worked in EQ and because of the way the spawn system worked, and the fact they designed many ''dungeonesque'' zones, like cb, bb, guk ect ect. Ofc EQ was a game that really wanted you to group so those zones were basically part of a tutorial that didn't exsist at the time.

    Now there's so many features and so much to tutor you'll be lucky to finish the tutorials by level 10, pretty much like this game.

    Posted: December 15, 2010 7:42 PM
  • SilentFisher

    Why must we play the genre tango? Let's just call this game what it's already turning out to be: A masterpiece.

    Posted: December 15, 2010 7:04 PM