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 Hands-On Preview

Star Wars: The Old Republic Hands-On Preview

By Leah Jackson - Posted Mar 12, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic To

At PAX East 2011, G4ians Nikole Zivalich, Eric Eckstein, and I got down and dirty with Star Wars: The Old Republic in the new flashpoint instance, Tarval V.  You'll find each of our impressions of the upcoming MMO below.

Our job was to take out the leader of the Tarval V Imperial research facility, as well as his jungle beast pet, Ripper. Before we got to the facility, we had to traverse the vibrant jungle terrain filled with enemies and littered with devices we could blow up to help with our mission.

While there are eight confirmed classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic, we took on the flashpoint in a team of four, as level 32 characters. For the demo, all of our classes were predetermined, and we had the classic one tank, one healer, and two damage dealers setup.


First up was a Jedi Consular Sage, one of the two damage-dealers in our group. She was a ranged caster with force powers that could also throw out healing spells in a pinch. When the fights started, I would generally put two damage-over-time abilities on enemies, then channel another move, which would allow my main spell to become an instant cast. It felt very familiar to how a Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft plays, and as soon as I figured out that's what this character's role was, it was easy for me to play, and I knew exactly how to get the most damage out of her.

She had a cool ability that let me pick up a big pile of rocks and launch it at helpless enemies. I was also equipped with quite a few crowd-control abilities that would knock enemies down, silence them, and otherwise make them useless to the fight. If my tank started to take too much damage, I could also help out with healing if needed. She seemed to do a great amount of damage and was very versatile, and while playing as the Sage, I knew I was a key part of the fight. It's a fast-paced role with a lot of different abilities, and managing them was the key to my success.

I also got to play as our healer, a Smuggler with the Scoundrel advance class. The other advance class for Smuggler is a Gunslinger, who uses fast attacks and dual pistols to deal damage. The way my Smuggler was set up to heal was in heal over time (HOT) format, but I also had the classic small, medium, and large heals. After playing a restoration druid in WoW for almost four years, it was very easy to fall into the rythym of the Smuggler. I could stack up to three HOTs on my tank and then activate them for an instant big heal based on the amount of HOTs that were on him. When you heal someone, a cute little droid follows them around splashing them with heal rays. Pew pew

Star Wars: The Old Republic GamesCom 2009 Preview

I have to say, I was expecting something very different to anything I've ever played before, and it seemed that the classes we played (and the way their talent specializations worked for the demo) was like playing a reskinned World of Warcraft. Sure, in the released game you'll get to customize your characters in tons of different ways, but for this demo, I left wanting to have felt impressed by something new to the MMO genre, and the demo didn't live up to my "I-love-innovation" expectation.

Even the Flashpoint instance left a little to be desired. There were enemies that came in packs of three or four and the occasional huge jungle beast. None posed much of a threat, and the fights were generally straightforward. I did like that strewn along the path were explosive boxes we could use to blow up the enemies, but they were few and far between.

It definitely feels Star Wars-y though, not high fantasy. The other classes were using guns and lightsabers aplenty, and even though I was using caster abilities with both classes I played, I knew it wasn't magic; it was The Force or healing droids/bots. So if you're a fan of the general World of Warcraft playstyle, but not necessarily fantasy elements, then The Old Republic will be right up your alley.

I'm very interested to try out the other classes in the future to see how differently they play than the Consular Sage and the Smuggler Scoundrel. Via screen watching during the demo, I saw that our tank wasn't exactly tanking the enemies; he was kiting it with his blaster mostly. And our melee damage dealer was doing all sorts of crazy stuff like throwing lightsabers and jumping from enemy to enemy to slam his glowy green saber into them. The classes I played didn't seem to have too many flashy abilities like those, and they were more utility than anything else.

Nikole Zivalich:

Strategy, diligence, and patience. These are all qualities that are needed to wield The Force. Qualities you won't need to be a trooper, and I'm 100 percent okay with that.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has eight confirmed classes. I played as a Trooper. Troopers are members of the armed forces of the Galactic Republic whose mission is to defend civilians, or in this case, defend your team. As a tank, I was well-armed and taller and wider than the rest of my squad.

It doesn't take prior knowledge of MMOs to understand the Trooper Class. If anything, a knowledge of first or third person shooters will give you an advantage, as the trooper is a shooter. Since I play shooters, it was easy for me to use my surroundings as a weapon (i.e. using highlighted barrels to kill enemies). Armed with a laser gun, Troopers use a variety of short to medium range attacks that vary from rapid fire to lobbing cannon fire.

The Trooper has a health bar and an ammo bar. Ammo is like stamina and is needed to attack but runs out; after a few seconds, you'll have your full ammo back. Since you're the tank, your main role is to shoot and not stop. If you communicate with your healer, you'll be able to stay upfront and not worry about health.

SW: TOR characters have an advanced class on top of their core class. Troopers can either play Commando or Vanguard. Commandos have heavy blasters, grenades, and ranged DP3. Vanguard's use blaster rifles, energy shields, and a defense tank. I played the more defense focused advanced class, Vanguard.

Vanguards go in guns blazing but focus on keeping the team safe too. I was designated to go first and take out as many enemies as I could. If a big troll-enemy started attacking my healer, the smuggler, I knew I had to stop what I was doing and bring the thunder on whatever was attacking her.

Troopers have several taunts to lure enemies from attacking other characters. When a boss was getting the best of my squad, I volunteered to activate my taunt since I had the most armor. I died nobly. My team went on without me, and I shall always be remembered as a hero.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Trooper

Eric Eckstein:

If I'm to play a Star Wars MMO like Star Wars: The Old Republic, then it's going to be all about the lightsabers. So naturally, when enlisting with Master Oteg AKA Yoda to fight off the Imperial forces, I chose the Jedi Guardian class, the only one on display that gets up close and personal with the bad guys. I'm not an MMO fanatic - the last one to really capture my attention was World of Warcraft - so excuse me if i don't know all the current lingo or use WoW as a reference point.

The Jedi Guardian specializes in a few different areas: crowd control with area stuns and pushes, individual lockdowns, close combat melee attacks, and the occasional taunt or pull. He's sort of a mix between Warrior and Mage, able to channel Focus to deliver a variety of attacks individually or to aid the group. In virtually every case, I was first to run up to hack/slash a bad guy, layering armor reduction stacks (ugh, stack management) and then attempting to lock them down with either Force Stasis or a stun attack.

During our Flashpoint instance, there were many times when jungle creatures would emerge from the ground to attack the party, which allowed me to channel my area attacks. I had a few at my disposal, including a Force sweep, which would hurt surrounding enemies with a chance to stun, and an attack that would slam down on the ground, knocking enemies back.

This was my first time hands-on with The Old Republic, and it was all completely familiar and easily accessible. I definitely had way too many skills to keep track of for being newly introduced to the game, but within minutes, I knew which key chains I needed to leverage to be most effective. A little too late did I discover my larger abilities that allowed me to leap at enemies and stab them, or pull them in for some saber action.

What really grabbed me had nothing to do with combat, but the way the mission began. My squad of four approached Master Oteg to get the details, and during our briefing, we each were presented with different responses to what was being said, which gets resolved randomly. As far as this SWTOR demo goes, this dialog wheel-lite was the only BioWare convention visible.


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 blasters and Force powers, and not inside Star Wars Galaxies.

The Old Republic is definitely a game that still has my attention, and I hope the Force stays strong with it. If I've learned nothing, it's to have faith in BioWare. And besides, some fool decided to duel me while waiting for everyone else, and i totally 0wned him.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming to PCs later this year. Who knows when, but I'm guessing summer.

Comments are Closed

  • benkster

    And WoW can be traced back to EQ. Most MMO's are not new concepts, they are built off of previously successful franchises with the two biggest being Everquest and World of Warcraft. Why reinvent the wheel?

    If you want a wamadine new MMO, become a developer and develop a new engine. Otherwise, STFU because 99% of MMO's now will be based off the WoW game play engine. Sorry to piss on your parade.

    Posted: March 22, 2011 8:31 PM
  • NifSkyblade

    Making specific game references don't help people who don't play that game, but if you all read the descriptions Leah made specific in game references to play style then referred to WOW. If she had said the same about HOT healing then said it was like playing a Rune Keeper in LOTRO then people would have been just as frustrated if they had never played LOTRO before. I'm not a WOW player but you can't say she didn't tell you how the class played. When she says it is like WOW, you need to keep in mind that may be her only MMO point of reference. Even if she played every MMO out there why make obscure references to games most people haven't played?

    I like the review Leah, I just hate you because I couldn't make it to PAX to try it out and BioWare in their infinite wisdom has decided not to let me in Beta. So you and everyone else who got to try it are all the devil.

    On a side not I almost had a heart attack when I noticed the release date. Please let us know if it is real or if you are just trying to drive Star Wars fans to throwing themselves off buildings on 4/1 when you say April Fools...

    Posted: March 17, 2011 11:41 AM
  • FaerieFyre

    G4, you guys might want to alter the release date. CFO of EA was talking at a conference and stated that it could be later than July when we see the game.

    Believe me, I've been QQing for a couple days, now.

    Posted: March 16, 2011 7:41 AM
  • Funk_Doc

    you're funny April 1st. Too bad its not a joke I enjoy.

    Posted: March 16, 2011 12:00 AM
  • Kreedz86

    What a horrible review... All of you spent more time making comparisons to WoW rather than talking about SWOTR! If youre going to review a game I suggest you talk a little more about the features of it and how the combat felt if all you were doing was testing an instance demo.

    If anyone who has NOT played WoW read this review they wouldnt know anymore about SWTOR than before they came here, and would instead be asking themselves "WTF is a Shadow Priest?".

    Rookie Mistake, and Terrible Journalism.

    Posted: March 15, 2011 2:15 PM
  • desphero

    Just tossing this out there, but the Dev's have said in interviews that the Taral V demo is just that, a demo. The actual flashpoint is longer, and much more difficult that what they have at PAX. This is the dumbed down version to show players who have not played the game and have not leveled their characters. I expect things to look and feel much better at launch.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 11:57 PM
  • mathewson

    Pls hurrey up i wanna play so dont lie about the release date and change it like alot of other games.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 6:48 PM
  • Malace82

    All I gotta say is the person who reviewed this is a WoW sack rider, lol. This game is gonna be awesome and I cant wait to pick it up on release date. So what if its like WoW, Blizzard made a great game ooooo, the game is freakin 7 years old or more time for somethin new, im sorry but wow to me sucks! its for noob rpg'ers who have no true tactical skills. I dont pay a monthly fee to only play the real game at 85 im sorry. I want to have challenge from level 1 to high levels not this lvl 85 and geared is all that matters.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 4:52 PM
  • kain307

    really hope this game comes out on the xbox360 somtime in the future

    Posted: March 14, 2011 2:48 PM
  • Gilded

    Was that "with a simple click" wording before linking to the article intentional? :P

    Posted: March 14, 2011 11:05 AM
  • macross2012

    I have been playing SWTOR for the last 2 years now in Alpha and Beta and what I can say is its pretty much Star Wars WOW. Its not a bad thing, its a great feeling to have everything done right that WOW has ALWAYS had wrong. I still play wow, but I am looking forward to things being done right from the start and SW is that game.

    Move over wow, the new and improved WOW is called SWTOR

    Posted: March 14, 2011 8:53 AM
  • jungan

    Great preview review. Pew pew indeed.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 8:31 AM
  • mlisiecki

    I'm thinking that they needed a demo like this to bring people in who are familiar with other MMO's. If you read or have followed the game for the last few years you will see that the focus, to the public at least, has been mostly about how story driven and solo based this game could be. Personally, I am glad to see that familiarity when it comes to group combat. From the preview I also noticed that handling multiple enemies seemed to take different tactics than WoW or other MMO's. I think the story aspect of the game will capture the players who are looking for that "innovative" experience and the Flashpoints maybe that crowed that does like the cookie cutter MMO. Don't forget we haven't really seen PVP or crafting yet =) According to the forums, you get end game gear by Flashpoints, PVP and Crafting. So we will see. Nice reviews though!

    Posted: March 14, 2011 5:16 AM
  • zealotx

    There are going to be WoW references when talking about a new MMO the same way that there were EQ references when Blizzard was talking about making their first MMO. Blizzard took what was good about current MMOs and added some new things and put more polish on it. That's WoW. Saying the game is similar to WoW is really just saying ITS AN MMORPG.

    There are a lot of things this game has that WoW doesn't. For instance, this game has ranged-tanking and cover. This game has offline crafting and companions that can even help gather and craft. WoW does not have that. There are innovations but you're not going to see completely different gameplay from what all MMO vets know WORKS. And that's why at the end of the day its going to be similar to WoW and other MMOs. Please do not expect a next-gen MMO to completely change things. Especially not the tank, healer, dps roles because they exist because they support and encourage team play and strategy. WoW didn't invent that.

    What I've seen from all the videos is that TOR is a really faced-paced strategic game that has a stylized graphics feel but with next-gen graphics and effects. MMO players already know its good and those who are new to MMOs will learn by actually playing this game how much fun a GOOD MMO can be.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 4:10 AM
  • darkstein

    World of Warcraft was mentioned six times in this article. I'm starting to wonder if G4's Leah Jackson has played any other MMORPG.

    But I guess this is what the MMO community has come to.

    Posted: March 14, 2011 2:14 AM
  • TyTydablackguy

    Saying the gameplay is like WOW doesn't say anything especially for a demo. Seeing as they were in an instance it doesn't seem as if they could properly have bioware Esq conversations. Most game instances are like WOW's from Rift to LoTRO they are a lot like WOW. Questing is whats going to be the big selling point for the game if it's like WOW then it may sell fairly well but, if they manage to make it better than It could give WOW a run for it's money. So, not until a Beta comes out for this is anyone going to be able to tell u how much like WOW it is or isn't

    Posted: March 13, 2011 11:41 PM
  • bob9801

    I was hoping for a multiplayer KOTOR with an expanded story and expansions from time to time. I am unsure of the WoW similarities but I will do just about anything for SW.

    Posted: March 13, 2011 10:49 PM
  • Brabble

    Sorry if I hurt your feelings son.

    Posted: March 13, 2011 9:43 PM
  • crocodilius

    So Brabble, you would prefer someone biased towards Star Wars to review the demo, rather than someone with knowledge of the most successful game ever created? According to the 2 guys that founded BioWare, TOR is based solely on World of Warcraft systems.

    Now, do you see where you went wrong?

    Posted: March 13, 2011 8:57 PM
  • Brabble

    It would be great if we can get people who are not raised on the World of Warcraft teat for an unbiased report on this.

    That would be just peachy.

    Posted: March 13, 2011 7:58 PM