[SWTOR] The Saga Begins

Bioware is already hitting the ground running. The early access has started but they aren’t done with the game yet. They express their new goals for post launch in this post. For those who don’t care to click, here’s the quick and dirty of it:

  • New Content – We will be adding new content to the galaxy on an ongoing basis. These worlds will include Operations, Flashpoints and solo content.
  • Guild Functionality – Guilds are important to the long term health of any MMORPG. We have a huge list of guild centric features. This will be an ongoing effort that will probably never end. Guild banks are the first thing we’ll be delivering in our plans for increased guild functionality. Eventually we even want to deliver on the promise of the long hinted at “Guild Capital Ships”.
  • UI customization – You like choice. We hear you! SWTOR is all about choice. Being able to choose how you interact with an online game is something we feel is very important. We are going to be giving more control over the UI as an ongoing effort. This is a very big priority for us.
  • PvP – We have an entire team dedicated to adding content and features to player vs. player. We have some of the most experienced PvP developers in the world on this team. So far very few people have seen, or know much about the stunning Open World PVP on Ilum; when you get to the high levels prepare to be blown away! In addition to that high level PVP content, expect new Warzones and new PvP features on a regular basis.
  • Space Combat – We will continue to add missions to the space game. We also have a special project going on right now that will expand space gameplay in a significant way… for now the details will have to remain under wraps.
  • Legacy System – The ability to select a surname for your character is just the start of something much bigger. Soon, the Legacy experience and levels you earn will grant your characters access to powers, objects and other cool benefits.
  • And more – We have an entire team of developers working on future content. Right now we are focused on nothing else but Star Wars: The Old Republic, so expect new and cool things.

I am VERY excited to see what the good ol’ folks at Bioware cook up in the coming months, if not years!

[SWTOR] Attention: Piqued

After a bout of Spring Break, rediculous school trouble to be solved, and a new quarter of classes (featuring more classes than before in addition to new material), my free time was chewed up and spat out and I’m finally able to get back to talking to you fine folks. Now, what you came here for…

Before, Star Wars: The Old Republic barely appeared on my radar. Admittedly, I wrote it off as just another Sci-fi game that was supposed to come out, which I figured would either just be like SW Galaxies and become a lackluster attempt to bring back KOTOR or even go the route of Stargate: Worlds and disappear entirely.

Light vs Dark sides of the Force

All combat sequences interact, including lightsaber blocks and laser deflections.

This was before I heard 2 things: It is made by bioware and it features things we might find very familiar from bioware games, such as AI companions that you can form relationships with (when you’re not in a party already) and they can perform tasks outside of your supervision, reputation, “morality” in the form of light or dark side points (like KOTOR) and a personal ship to move about the galaxy in.
After further inquiry I found something very interesting concerning battle mechanics: interactive fighting. This is something I do not think I have seen in any MMO ever, and makes auto-attacking a bit more action packed. Lightsabers clash when jedi knights and sith warriors collide. They dont just stand there, doing their own animations (which could even cause people to move THROUGH each other, as if they don’t really exist). Animations actually connect to each other, making them seem real and visceral instead of just someone rolling some dice in a backroom of the game. You FEEL like you are fighting, despite being disconnected by that third-person point of view.

As the more ranged classes go, they also get a realistic animation, irregular blasts and shots. This is not QUITE as revolutionary, but it still deserves a looking into. How often do you hear perfectly intervaled shots fired in real life or any movie? NEVER, thats when. We are all familiar with the pew-pewpew of a blaster or a bambam-bambambambambam of a rifle. This seems insignificant by itself, but it adds to the fast pace feel of what is a naturally calm genre. Now, you may feel the rush of trying to manage the situation in an RPG or MMORPG, but its RARELY because you feel part of the action, as if it’s your pair of boots on the ground and you’re in the thick of it.

Between the story, the combat and the gameplay, I am excited to see what this major contender to the Guild Wars 2 machine will shove in our eager faces, but for now, I’m just waiting for the two games to live up to the hype they have created for their impatient, yet faithful fanbases.

EDIT: Above, I mention auto-attacking as the basis for normal attacks. Via video reviews I have discovered a mistake or misconception on my part. It seems that there is a skill that serves as a basic attack and you have to hit it every time you want to do a normal attack, but not a more resource consuming skill.