There is a new Dev Blog up for Star Wars: The Old Republic that gives us some details about what we can expect to see from the game’s map interface. Aside from pointing out and discussing some impressive features about the in-game map, the blog assures fans that Bioware has never neglected the map interface, and recognizes it as an integral part of their game. I was happy to see Bioware directly address this issue with TOR fans, as it serves as yet another reassurance that they are doing things right. Recent MMOs such as Champions Online, DC Universe Online and Star Trek Online all seem to fall short on their map interface when compared to predecessors such as World of Warcraft or EVE Online. I think most MMO fans would agree that a game’s map is very important. Personally, when I play MMO’s, I often find myself opening the map window so often that my pointer finger seeks out the ‘M’ key almost instinctively, like second nature.
Principle Lead Systems Designer, Damion Schubert, also points out in his blog that some planets/zones in SW:TOR, such as Hoth and Tatooine, will be five to six times larger than what gamers are accustomed to seeing in ‘other MMOs.’ While this sounds impressive, I am still reserving judgment about whether or not this is really a good thing. I seem to recall Bethesda boasting that the world of Oblivion would be much larger than what we saw in Morrowind, but I wouldn’t say that doing this really improved the actual gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring massive zones in RPG’s, but not if they are simply big for the sake of being big. On the bright side, it is good to know that the zones in The Old Republic will be bigger than the small explorable areas in the original KOTOR games (or even the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games for that matter).
For a full range of details on other features we can expect to see with TOR’s in game map, such as bread crumb trails and group quest options, you can check out the full blog on the official site. After reading it, I can safely say that we shouldn’t have any trouble finding our way around the vast planets of Bioware’s highly anticipated MMO. I will ride across the entirety of Hoth upon the back of a frosty Tonton. Oh yes, I will!