It has been just over a year now since LucasArts and BioWare made their big announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Really a matter of when, not if, the game has been in development for a long time, and dreamed of by fanboys for even longer.
When taking something as beloved as the Knights of the Old Republic franchise and turning it into an MMO, people were bound to have some interesting feelings for the game. After all, things could devolve into something like Star Wars: Galaxies, which arguably doesn't best represent Star Wars.
Hit the jump with me.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC)
Let's be real: the most exciting elements of The Old Republic would be those features that are distinctly BioWare. With over a year's worth of voice-over, each character class will have distinct plot lines with proper acting. Conversations, too, are acted out directly using the real-time dialogue systems of Mass Effect and Dragon Age. With eight character classes split between the two factions, and each offering completely different plot elements, there is a huge amount of story in The Old Republic.
Helping fuse the universe of Star Wars and the distinct development of The Old Republic is the usage of Companions. Each of the eight character classes will have different and unique Companions to fulfill gameplay roles. While they don't necessarily fulfill the role of a player-controlled character, they will help you out in important areas, especially those areas where your class might be especially weak. While I didn't have a chance to work with one of these NPC Companions, examples shown to me included Khem Val: the Bashade, and Xalek: the Kaleesh, who acts as a type of apprentice for the Sith Inquisitor class.
Starting out at the Sith Academy, I was fortunate to luck out with a posh-voiced Sith rocking a pedo-stache while doing douchy things. Everyone is delightfully self-serving, and missions in this initial area evolve around establishing authority, calling each other slaves, collecting important artifacts, killing robots, and dealing with a miner insurrection.
The actual meat and potatoes of the game looks to be pretty standard, as far as MMOs go. Actions are controlled with function keys or mouse clicks, and there is no auto-attacking. People expecting a battle system like in KOTOR will be disappointed, as The Old Republic looks to offer standard MMO gameplay across the board. Players will start off in different areas of the Star Wars universe as an introduction, then focus on taking on instances and missions. A big selling point for BioWare is that The Old Republic will bill extremely plot driven. Considering this is a company that has never made an MMO before, they are relying on what they do best -- tell a story.
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