Star Wars The Old Republic: A New Hope to end 2011
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a new story is written and told in The Old Republic, developed by BioWare. SWTOR takes place 300 years after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic series and roughly more than 3,500 years before the Star Wars films. This long anticipated game by fans and gamers was released on December 20th and players got to step into their favorite faction to battle against each other in untold stories involving the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. I was one of the lucky people to get in early and I will be giving you a closer look into my experiences so far.
I am a big fan of the Star Wars franchise and have played every released game up until now and watched the very known trilogy multiple times already. After the brilliant KOTOR series I had a lot of faith in the release of SWTOR, and I personally was not let down.
Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
This is a line most people have already heard and Bioware took it to heart. BioWare didn’t like to take chances and created their beloved game with the most common MMORPG controls in popular games today. Many people out there have been quite critical that they didn’t try something knew but from my experience what is there works wonderfully. In fact it feels more polished than most games to be released this year and quite a few that have been out for years already.
When creating your first class you get the choice between 4 classes in each faction; each of these classes get the choice between 2 advanced classes around the level of 10 when leaving your first planet. These advanced classes are both very different from each other and thus give the possibility to play 16 unique classes. I chose to start off as a Sith inquisitor and followed the unique storyline with great anticipation. Replayability is unusually high in Star Wars due to each class having their own path to follow. It’s odd to say story differentiates one MMORPG from another but this is exactly where Star Wars breaks the mould.
Because each class has a different background story and quest line you will have separate rooms and locations just for one specific class which the others cannot enter. My Sith inquisitor started off as a slave and had the dream to become one of the best assassins in the Academy. I joined up with my new master and other pupils to get the first mission so I could show my awesome skills in combat. Unfortunately my master didn’t like the cocky answers I was giving, and I immediately found out the importance of the choices you could make in conversations. Every player has multiple options to say in a conversation and sometimes you get the choice between light and dark. If you choose between light and dark you will earn special points that will affect your character and characteristic details. You will also unlock special gear, weapons and light crystals depending on what side you chose.
In this world of light sabers, lightning shocks and laser beams there is still discussion about whether the graphics are good looking or not. Now I am a real graphics person when it comes to online games and I really hate to play a game where the graphics are terrible and the gameplay doesn’t make it up for it. SWTOR is a game that isn’t made specifically for its graphics but for its gameplay and you can easily see that in the full release of this game. Even though the graphics aren’t top notch, they still shine and feel thematically appropriate. Because SWTOR is a MMORPG BioWare has chosen to lower the graphics down to ensure the game reaches the largest possible playerbase. More subscriptions after all ensures more content updates and greater enjoyment for all. Though I will note they paid special attention to detail when crafting the background in this game. You will see many objects such as planets or large spacecraft flying by and if the player gets to the planet Nar Shaddaa you will see a city that never sleeps.
To play this game you will need the following minimum computer specifications:
Star Wars: The Old Republic can be played on Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.
Your computer should have an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better, and an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better.
Your computer’s RAM should be as follows: for Windows XP: 1.5GB, and for Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB. For PCs using a built-in graphical chipset, 2GB RAM recommended.
Your computer’s graphics card should be ATI X1800 or better, nVidia 7800 or better, or Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better.
NOTE: Minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM and Shader 3.0 or better support.
Many of you might have read my articles about SWTOR in the previous weeks and learned about the crafting possibilities and intricate economy. This of course is closely tied in with the companion system as you can choose up to 3 crew skills for your companion to assist you with. You can let all your companions run missions to earn you experience and gold as well as upgrade your chosen crew skills upon successfully completing a mission. Since you can only have one companion by your side while doing missions and quests you can let the others gather around resources or let them create items and equipment.
If PvP is more your style then you can do warzones alone or with your friends to earn experience and money. I myself got really addicted to these warzones since they require teamwork and some skill in order to win. After doing a few warzones I got to know 3 other players that were big fans of warzones as well. After a while we decided to group up (groups consist of 4 players) and join the warzones together to have a bigger chance of winning them. We didn’t know each other at all but yet it felt like we have been knowing each other for ages and we have only lost one single game out of 100 (editor’s note: Proxzor does not sleep) which is actually a very nice record. It earned us quite a few bucks to spend also and while doing PvP you will earn commendations and marks where you can buy items and equipment with to help you level up. This system is excellent for MMORPG players that normally shy away from PvP due to its inefficiency in building their character as the rewards for PvP are plentiful.
If you are a big fan of the Star Wars franchise or you are just seeking out a RPG with a great community then Star Wars The Old Republic is definitely a game for you. I myself have been grown up with the KOTOR games when they first came out and BioWare really shows the same quality with SWTOR. This game has everything for every player to do and some of the planets are recreated in amazing detail. Every planet has its own scene and story and these are quite interesting to follow through. I’ve done every side quest I’ve come across just to find out what happens next with the residents of each world. There are also untold stories that you can find involving around some known characters from the KOTOR series. BioWare has made a great title to be proud of straight from launch, and I see this game having a bright future. To those who are already enjoying SWTOR, may the force be with you.
Graphics – 3.5 Although its up to debate whether the graphics stand up to the industry standards of 2012, I would say that what SWTOR lacks in graphical power it makes up for with great environmental aesthetics.
Controls – 4 The controls are nothing new in SWTOR but why fix it if it ain’t broke?
Features – 5 There are a lot of features that can keep you occupied for hours and they are put together so well that your experience bar progress will become an afterthought. Every player also gets his or her own spaceship where you can do several missions or just visit with your companions for some NPC chit chat.
Customization – 5 There are a lot of options to choose from, be it light or dark, classes choices, class upgrades, storyline decisions, companions, or just general character looks.
Community – 5 The entire team behind this game did a superb job building up a strong community pre-launch by listening to their requests and constantly updating it to match the general public. The end result is a superb mature community protected by chat bots that block out trolling and spamming on public channels.