Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview
Sean W. Gibson / Jun 6th, 2011 3 Comments
Star Wars: The Old Republic, a next generation MMORPG, is spawning tons of interest for what is undoubtedly one of the most popular movie and media franchises of all time. Soon, gamers will have an all new take on the Star Wars universe with the release of The Old Republic, an online MMO game set before the events of the Second Trilogy, some 300 years after Knights of the Old Republic, but will feature a number of familiar faces and voices. The game certainly shows a lot of promise and it has never been like BioWare to disappoint. Fans should note that we named this PC game the single Most Anticipated Title of E3 2011.
To start, as might be expected, players will be able to choose their side. They can either play for the Republic or the Sith/Empire. There are plenty of roles to choose from, including Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter, Trooper and more. The game takes place thousands of years before Darth Vader has his rise to power, and the battle between the Old Republic and the Sith is dividing the galaxy between the two sides as the main storyline of this game. One thing that certainly makes this game unique is that players have an active role in how everything shapes up.
As typical to MMOs, players will have to choose whether to be on the light or dark side of the Force, but as with many of the most beloved video games out there, every decision you make shapes the choices and situations you are faced with in the future. The characters you encounter have motives both seen and unseen as well, and you will find that determining friends and foes is not always as easy as it might seems Every choice the player makes will determine the loyalty of those closest to them, often in ways that are unpredictable and unforeseen.
There are currently four announced classes of characters for the Republic forces – Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight and Jedi Counsular. The trooper features a ton of firepower and their rifle set is their best friend. They wear a ton of armor and look to be a real fun class to play. Up next is the Smuggler, who relies on stealth and trickery in combat to tip the scales in their favor. The Jedi Knights are capable of extraordinary feats of combat using their lightsabers and special powers. Finally, there are Jedi Consulars who haven’t been defined just yet but look to be an offshoot of the Jedi with more of a priest-like quality to them.
On the side of the Sith there are also four announced classes – Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent and Sith Inquisitor. All of these roles have unique abilities from their Republic counterparts.
Now that you’re probably sketching out your main and alt character paths and know which classes you’re going to want to play let’s throw in the curveball you are going to love – Advanced Classes! Yes, these are specialized careers that your characters in this Star Wars MMORPG will take on to shape their existence. Eventually, you will unlock the ability to earn one of the two Advanced Classes unique to each character. This will determine which skill trees open up to your character and provide access to special abilities.
For the Imperial/Sith side, the Sith Warrior may choose to become either a Juggernaut or a Marauder. The juggernaut looks like a pure tank, charging into mobs and taking on tons of damage while dishing it all out. The Marauder is a dual-wielding sub-class.
Moving on to the Bounty Hunter, the two Advanced Classes are Powertech and Mercenary. The Powertech is a defensive specialist who takes on a role of shielding and defensive tactics. The Mercenary is a dual-wielding weapon specialist that has heavy armor and range weapons.
Next up is the Sith Inquisitor who can become either an Assassin or a Sorcerer. The Assassin can leap from the shadows and channel Force Lightning through double-bladed Lightsabers. The Sorcerer draws energies that sap and drain enemies or blast destruction on opposing parties.
Finally the Imperial Agent, who are masters of stealth, seduction and assassination can either become Operatives or Snipers. The Operative utilizes stealth and medical technologies to heal party members while the Snipers are a range weapon class.
Moving to the other side of the faction tree, the Republic’s Advanced Classes were also revealed.
For the Jedi Knights, the two options available are Guardian and Sentinel. The Guardian looks like it’ll be a tank-like class while the Sentinel utilizes control and focus and utilizes dual-wield capabilities with lightsabers.
Troppers will evolve either into Vanguards or Commandos. The Vanguard are stated to be the first and best line of defense in the Republic, while Commandos are trained to go in with big giant guns blazing, utilizing an extremely aggressive offensive tactic for combat.
For Jedi Consulars, they can become either a Sage or a Shadow. A Sage is said to be a wise healer and defender while a Shadow uses double-bladed lightsabers and take on a more offensive role.
Finally, for the Smuggler, they can become either Gunslingers or Scoundrels. The Gunslinger can fire two blasters at once and specialize in ranged combat, while the Scoundrel has a multitude of technology available in combat.
What makes this style of gameplay so beloved is that it greatly increases the ability to replay the game without having to mirror the entire experience. A single different choice made early in the game can change the course of everything that happens after, meaning that even those who cannot bring themselves to play for the opposite faction can still create multiple unique gameplay experiences. Of course, the game is also going to offer plenty of group content, which is what makes the series such a popular MMO, and the variety of PvP and instanced content will provide countless hours of entertainment.
BioWare announced that raids in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be known as Operations. These will be epic-sized multi-group events with settings and gameplay inspired by the movie franchise. Players will have to navigate through treacherous environments and work together to solve codes while fending off enemies. Operations will be unlocked as soon as players hit level 50. Like other BioWare games, the developers have introduced difficulty levels to the operations.
In a market dominated by World of WarCraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic has all the makings of being the next great MMORPG in gaming history. Thanks in large part to the success of KotOR, this game holds a great deal of potential and it really looks like EA/BioWare is making something very special with this title. While few have gotten to experience this game in all its glory, many of the previews thus far have been outstanding and more is expected to be revealed about the game in coming months. Although both EA and BioWare continue to punt on the answer regarding questions about when the game is going to be released, we keep hearing from the rumor mill that November 2011 is still the slated release date.
Stay tuned to Gaming Illustrated for more news about Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG as it is announced.
tags: bioware , ea , mmo , mmorpg , star wars , star wars the old republic , swtor