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Star Wars The Old Republic: Pre-Release Questions

We have waited patiently, and although it still hasn’t been given an official release date, BioWare’s Star Wars The Old Republic will be gracing our PC’s sometime between July and December of this year. While I have seen my own friends who had been skeptical or unsure about the ambitious new MMO since it was first announced turn into drooling fan boys, many of us can’t help but wonder if we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. It is true that Bioware seems to be hitting all of the right points MMO’s seem to be striving for these days, with an impressive list of features such as group PvP, space combat missions, crafting and endgame raids. But will it be our new digital home away from home?

I was lucky enough to play the game at PAX East, but it is hard to truly get to know an MMORPG in a single one hour play session. I really can’t claim to have an honest opinion of an MMO unless I have played it for several weeks or more, because while some games (Aion is a good example) can make a great first impression, it takes time to find out just how much a game truly has to offer. Lasting appeal is probably one of the biggest concerns for MMO fans, because most people aren’t interested in spending countless hours leveling a newbie character only to find out that there is nothing waiting for them at the top of the ladder. Considering all that we have heard and know about SW:TOR, it seems safe to say that the game won’t be falling short on content, but there have been even larger misconceptions in the past.

This year's E3 cinematic trailer made me want to play a Smuggler.

In spite of all that we know, questions still remain. This week I would like to present some of these questions to you for discussion. Hell, the game isn’t out yet so all we can do is talk about it, am I right? These are questions and concerns that I have heard voiced time and time again whenever the subject of The Old Republic springs into my conversations with fellow gamers and fans. Some are less obvious than others, yet they are all still a constant topic of debate.

 

1.)Will it be too much like World of Warcraft? We have seen games such as Rift try to make carbon copy clones of Blizzard’s top dog MMO, but is this really what people want to see? Will SW:TOR be nothing more than Warcraft with voice acting and lightsabers? God I hope not…

 

2.)Will it be too focused on single player? This is a question that has been hovering about for some time now, ever since people started hearing about class based quest lines that can carry you up to max level on your own. Also, the fact that you can bring a companion along with you for quests and leveling is another cause for concern. It is true that BioWare is trying to assure us that this won’t be a concern as they show group elements like instances and PvP, but the question still remains ever present. After all, don’t people play MMO’s to game with friends and other people? Perhaps not everyone, but I’d say it’s at least a healthy majority.

What race will you be?

 

3.)Will the graphics and animations meet the harsh standards of PC gamers? Many PC gamers are looking to find a next generation MMO that will keep them and their digital command center’s happy for years to come.  Will Old Republic measure up?  While the graphics style of The Old Republic has grown on me over the years, I still come across countless complaints and criticisms. MMORPG’s have never been the top dogs of graphics for obvious reasons, and many fans consider them to be a minor concern, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely obsolete. While I doubt graphics will hold this game back on their own, it is still something that many fans can’t help but wonder about.

 

4.)Will Star Wars fans feel at home in The Old Republic? Many people (obviously not the fanboys posting their endless praise on the forums of the Old Republic website) feel that having the game set 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader is taking things a little to far away from the story and movies that we have come to love. Indeed, it seems strange that light speed, lightsabers, auto blasters would remain practically unchanged over such a long course of time. I suppose you could argue that technology would eventually run into a wall once it hit light speed, but the truth of the matter is that it wouldn’t be Star Wars without lightsabers and blasters. Even placing this issue aside, I wonder if a fan of Empire Strikes Back who has never played an MMO before in his/her life would enjoy leveling a character in The Old Republic?

 

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  • Riley

    I’ll just say that anybody who played the critically acclaimed KOTOR series (1 and 2) would vehemently disagree with your 4th question

  • Skaden

    In response to your 4th ? I would say that star wars fans should be more open to content outside of the movies as that is how the franchise will continue to grow

  • Nciceman

    These are legitimate questions that could apply to any MMO being released today, except for the last one.  It has been stated that KotOR has demonstrated that BioWare can both make an excellent Star Wars game and craft their own story/mythos within it.  So I think that address most questions, but leaves one outstanding one: how well will this game be as a multiplayer game?  Multiplayer is its own beast; we have seen plenty of games that had weak single player content but rocked as a multiplayer game, and vice versa.

    We won’t know until we see it, but overall I trust BioWare’s experience to at least guarantee that it will be a game worth trying and putting several hours into.  Only time and updated content will tell us if it has legs.

  • Jtmcdonald

    From the heavy-handed community forum moderators’ banning of comments and threads on the Swtor boards I am beginning to worry that maybe Bioware who I am confident can craft a great immersive story, have no clue how to handle a mmo and it’s player base. Massive multiplayer games are only successful so long as the player basevfeels they have a voice, they need to feel as if they are a part of a community of fellow players. My experiences on the Swtor boards are mixed, on one hand you can chat with fellow fans of the Star Wars brand and that is fun, but the community moderators jump in and ban posts, threads, even members for seemingly insignificant “infractions” they simply shut down something, anything they want to. This makes the boards feel far too controlled, and if this the style of stewardship we are to see once Swtor releases I fear it just won’t be very fun. Shame.

    • Lol

      Haha. Get moderated unjustly did we?

    • World of Noobcraft

      Seen the same bannings happening after dragon age 2 and nwn2. Looks like Bioware shits on their customers and can’t even take critisism. Bethesda is my only hope.

  • Kd_greenacre

    anyone know what happens if you die?

  • Kd_greenacre

    anyone know what happens if you die?

  • MajorY

    Anyone who has ever played a well run MMO knows that graphics, while important, are not of paramount concern. This game has to be able to run well on a variety of machines. So at the very least it has to have a lot of scaled options.
    The stylized art we have seen in the many demos that have been posted, show a pretty decent looking game. I cant imagine MMO players being unhappy with SWTOR graphics.

    All the trolls aside, most of what I’ve read lead me to believe that this will be a solid game. It will offer a ton of playable hours and entertainment. Being fun, that is whats critical. 

  • Milanvranjes

    I am mainly concerned with questions 1 and 3, if you watch the gameplay with the sith inquistor on Tatooine where he basically spams the same lightning attack, it looks no different to me than a mage or a warlock spamming spells in wow and the fact that he never does anything with the lightsaber that he is holding only adds to the similarity. And as far as question 3 is concerned with new games such as Blade & Soul & Tera coming out graphics are definitely starting to improve in the mmo genre and anyone that is following these games know this to be true, while gameplay is a more important factor you cannot overlook graphics either.

  • Milanvranjes

    I am mainly concerned with questions 1 and 3, if you watch the gameplay with the sith inquistor on Tatooine where he basically spams the same lightning attack, it looks no different to me than a mage or a warlock spamming spells in wow and the fact that he never does anything with the lightsaber that he is holding only adds to the similarity. And as far as question 3 is concerned with new games such as Blade & Soul & Tera coming out graphics are definitely starting to improve in the mmo genre and anyone that is following these games know this to be true, while gameplay is a more important factor you cannot overlook graphics either.

  • Central Scrutinizer

    I just want to know ONE THING: Will there be monthly fees?
    if Yes, I’ll wait for the Free Servers (thank you WoW for starting that trend)
    if No, I’ll be waiting patiently in line on the release date!

    • Tim Bell

      You’re #$@ if you think there WON’T be monthly fees. I, on the other hand, would pay $50/month to play this shit

    • Kaskako

      Thank you wow for the free servers? Man people nowadays think wow was the first at everything… 
      There were free servers for ultima online over 10 years ago, and i bet that game wasnt the first…

  • Roninbear

    Will it be too much like World of Warcraft?  God I hope not, I like Rift, but about 2 hours a day ingame is as much as I can stand these days.
    Will it be too focused on single-player?  Probably not.  Looks like you’ll be doing some playing alone or with one other person, but most people do that anyway.  It’s rare to see groups of five or six tearing up an MMO unless they’re ganking lowbies.  Most people plug along on their own pretty well in MMO’s and have the guild to chat with while they’re doing it.
    Will the graphics meet the harsh requirements of PC gamers?  Well, I can name a few games lately that *didn’t* measure up, but there’s still a healthy number of people playing GW1 and Star Wars Galaxies, not to mention thousands still playing chibi based games like Maplestory.  Yeah, I think Bioware’s okay with the graphics.
    Will Star Wars fans feel at home in The Old Republic?  Pretty sure they will.  Concerns are frequently addressed by staff at BioWare, and they’ve been pretty open about the fact that this is not your ‘average’ MMO, that the questing is more linear, and the choices can change the game. 
    Will it be successful?  In the short term, phenominally.  In the long term?  Probably.  WoW is getting old for a lot of people, and there’s a huge scramble for a real change.  Will SW ToR provide it?  Probably, at least in the short term.  What will happen when players get their toons to max level and start settling down to play endgame?  Who can say til it happens.

  • Roninbear

    Will it be too much like World of Warcraft?  God I hope not, I like Rift, but about 2 hours a day ingame is as much as I can stand these days.
    Will it be too focused on single-player?  Probably not.  Looks like you’ll be doing some playing alone or with one other person, but most people do that anyway.  It’s rare to see groups of five or six tearing up an MMO unless they’re ganking lowbies.  Most people plug along on their own pretty well in MMO’s and have the guild to chat with while they’re doing it.
    Will the graphics meet the harsh requirements of PC gamers?  Well, I can name a few games lately that *didn’t* measure up, but there’s still a healthy number of people playing GW1 and Star Wars Galaxies, not to mention thousands still playing chibi based games like Maplestory.  Yeah, I think Bioware’s okay with the graphics.
    Will Star Wars fans feel at home in The Old Republic?  Pretty sure they will.  Concerns are frequently addressed by staff at BioWare, and they’ve been pretty open about the fact that this is not your ‘average’ MMO, that the questing is more linear, and the choices can change the game. 
    Will it be successful?  In the short term, phenominally.  In the long term?  Probably.  WoW is getting old for a lot of people, and there’s a huge scramble for a real change.  Will SW ToR provide it?  Probably, at least in the short term.  What will happen when players get their toons to max level and start settling down to play endgame?  Who can say til it happens.

  • Roninbear

    Will it be too much like World of Warcraft?  God I hope not, I like Rift, but about 2 hours a day ingame is as much as I can stand these days.
    Will it be too focused on single-player?  Probably not.  Looks like you’ll be doing some playing alone or with one other person, but most people do that anyway.  It’s rare to see groups of five or six tearing up an MMO unless they’re ganking lowbies.  Most people plug along on their own pretty well in MMO’s and have the guild to chat with while they’re doing it.
    Will the graphics meet the harsh requirements of PC gamers?  Well, I can name a few games lately that *didn’t* measure up, but there’s still a healthy number of people playing GW1 and Star Wars Galaxies, not to mention thousands still playing chibi based games like Maplestory.  Yeah, I think Bioware’s okay with the graphics.
    Will Star Wars fans feel at home in The Old Republic?  Pretty sure they will.  Concerns are frequently addressed by staff at BioWare, and they’ve been pretty open about the fact that this is not your ‘average’ MMO, that the questing is more linear, and the choices can change the game. 
    Will it be successful?  In the short term, phenominally.  In the long term?  Probably.  WoW is getting old for a lot of people, and there’s a huge scramble for a real change.  Will SW ToR provide it?  Probably, at least in the short term.  What will happen when players get their toons to max level and start settling down to play endgame?  Who can say til it happens.

  • NewBud73

    On question 2 in all honesty I just usually play with my wife online and maybe a friend or two. With the companion system it seems my wife and I could do a flashpoint ( instance ) without needed to wait for my friends or having to get a PUG.

  • Anonymous

    Your fourth question is great. Not because I wonder if I’ll feel “at home” but it’s hilarious that you point out how little the technology seems to have changed from the Old Republic up to the movies…but really, even beyond that! If you’ve ever read the Legacy of the Force series which happens like 40 years after Episode VI most things are the same technology-wise. While it seems like an obvious insight, I actually haven’t thought about it until now.

  • Anonymous

    Your fourth question is great. Not because I wonder if I’ll feel “at home” but it’s hilarious that you point out how little the technology seems to have changed from the Old Republic up to the movies…but really, even beyond that! If you’ve ever read the Legacy of the Force series which happens like 40 years after Episode VI most things are the same technology-wise. While it seems like an obvious insight, I actually haven’t thought about it until now.

  • Anonymous

    Your fourth question is great. Not because I wonder if I’ll feel “at home” but it’s hilarious that you point out how little the technology seems to have changed from the Old Republic up to the movies…but really, even beyond that! If you’ve ever read the Legacy of the Force series which happens like 40 years after Episode VI most things are the same technology-wise. While it seems like an obvious insight, I actually haven’t thought about it until now.

  • Anonymous

    Your fourth question is great. Not because I wonder if I’ll feel “at home” but it’s hilarious that you point out how little the technology seems to have changed from the Old Republic up to the movies…but really, even beyond that! If you’ve ever read the Legacy of the Force series which happens like 40 years after Episode VI most things are the same technology-wise. While it seems like an obvious insight, I actually haven’t thought about it until now.

  • Business

    Guarantee that there will be a monthly fee to cover the HUGE expense they have put into this game. Also, the monthly fee will cover future updates/expansions. The head of story dev has said that they have story written to cover 10 years if the game stays around that long. The money has to come from the market to sustain that type of growth. I’m not condoning swearing, but he is right to say that you’re pretty stupid to think that this game wouldn’t have a monthly fee. The amount of advertising and constant upkeep of their website, voice actors, etc, conveys the business model that they will go with. That is, a monthly subscription. I’m hoping they don’t make it too much, but I’m thinking they will follow the trend and make it $15/month. Here is hoping they step on Blizz-Activision and make it around $5-$10 a month.